2 Unit 1: Colonial Period (Native Americans, Explorers, and Puritans) Time Period: Beginnings – 1750Basics of Literary Time PeriodNative Americans were the first settlers in North AmericaColonists from Europe did not begin arriving until the late 1500sReligious reformers called Puritans sailed from England on the Mayflower in 1620
3 Background on Native Americans Native American MythsExplain customs, institutions, or religious ritesNatural landmarksEvents beyondpeople’s controlUse oral tradition
4 Background on Puritans Pilgrims, or Separatists, wanted to withdraw from the Church of EnglandPuritans wanted to reform or “purify” the church from within; they wanted to create a theocracyHuman beings exist for the glory of GodPredestination (John Calvin)- God’s elect vs. the damnedThought they could accomplish good only through continual hard work and self-disciplineGreat Awakening-series of religious revivalsEarly 1700s, Puritanism was in a declineIn 1720, religious revivals, known as The Great Awakening, were led by ministers, such as Jonathan EdwardsThis was done in hopes of reviving the Puritan ways and beliefsIt did little to revive old-fashioned Puritanism
5 Literature of the Time Period Native American Tradition: myths, folktales, etc.Explorer’s AccountsSlave NarrativesReligious writingsSouthern Writers
6 Writers and Works of the Period Native Americans“The Earth on Turtle’s Back“When Grizzlies Walked Upright”ExplorersChristopher Columbus – “Journal of the First Voyage to America”William Bradford – “Of Plymouth Plantation”PuritansEdward Taylor – “Huswifery”Anne Bradstreet – “To My Dear and Loving Husband”Jonathan Edwards – “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”The Crucible (written in the 1950s, but about Puritans in the 1600s)
7 Unit 2: Revolutionary Period (Age of Reason-Rationalists) Time Period:Basics of Literary Time PeriodDeists-believed God created the world and set it up to run without Him on a daily basisValued logic and reason over faithScience will further human progressUnlike Puritans, little care was given to the afterlife or cleansing of sinsBelieved that people are by nature good, not evil. Could become perfectValues rationality, order, and balanceBelieves the universe is orderly and good
8 Writers and Works of the Period Benjamin Franklin“The Autobiography”“Poor Richards Almanack”“Speech in the Convention”Thomas Jefferson“Declaration of Independence”Thomas Paine“The Crisis, Number 1”Patrick Henry“Speech in the VirginiaConvention”
9 Persuasive Techniques (Rhetorical Devices) Literary TermDefinitionRepetitionRestating an idea using the same wordsRhetorical questionAsking a question whose answer is self-evidentParallelismRepeating grammatical structureAllusionReference to a well-known/existing piece of literature, history, etc.AlliterationRepetition of initial consonant soundsSimileComparison of two unlike items by using “like” or “as”
10 Common Universal Themes in American Literature American Individualism- the colonists who first arrived in America were seeking freedom to practice their individual religionsAmerican Dream-the idea that anyone in America can achieve prosperity through hard work, perseverance, and determinationCultural Diversity-individuals of diverse backgrounds are accepted in the U.S. (melting pot)Tolerance-acceptance of others’ beliefs (religious beliefs are often illustrated with American literature)
11 Unit 3: Romantic Period (Romantics, Transcendentalists, and Dark Romantics) Time Period:Basics of the Literary Time PeriodEmphasized imagination, feeling, and intuitionover reason (fiction popularized as opposed to non-fiction of the Revolutionary period)The 5 Characteristics of the Literature (Stories, Poems, and Novels)Imagination and EscapismIndividualityNature was seen as a source of spiritualityLooked to the past for wisdomEmphasized common man as a hero
12 Background on Romanticism Characteristics of the American Romantic hero:young, or possesses youthful qualitiesInnocent and pure of purposeSense of honorKnowledge of people and lifeLoves natureQuests for some higher truth
13 Fireside Poets Couplet: 2 line poem Quatrain: 4 line poem Cinquain: 5 line poemCharacterization: reveals personality traits of a character (Direct and Indirect)Represented a literary coming of age with the first generation of acclaimed American poetsUsed American settingsSome of the most read and most beloved poetsWrote poems that were usually told around the fire
14 Transcendentalism Background Everything in the world and God are 1So… God is in everythingSo… Everything in the world (nature) contains laws and meanings of existenceSo… each soul also contains the soul of the world and all the world is connected to God (the over soul connects us all)
15 Dark Romanticism Background Can be referred to as anti-transcendentalismThought transcendentalists were too optimisticFocused on the perceived darkness of the human soulFelt humans were inherently selfishBegan the gothic movementImagery: use of language to evoke a picture or concrete sensation of a person, thing, place, or experienceGothic Style: (Poe) remote settings, violent acts, tormented characters, and often supernatural elementsAllegory: story/poem that can be read on one level for its literal meaning and on a second level for its symbolic meaningParadox: statement that appears self-contradictory, but that reveals a kind of truth
16 Writers and Works of the Period RomanticsWashington Irving (A.K.A. the father of American literature -Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and “The Devil andTom Walker”James Fennimore Cooper – First American novelist; wrote about Natty Bumppo (character was considered the first American hero)Herman Melville – Moby DickWilliam Cullen Bryant - “Thanatopsis”Dark Romantics-Reflected the darker side of lifeEdgar Allen Poe - “The Raven” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter and “The Minister’s Black Veil”Emily Dickinson – “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” and “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died”
17 Writers and Works of the Period (Continued) Transcendentalism – Reflected spirituality and optimismRalph Waldo Emerson – “Nature” and “Self-Reliance”Henry David Thoreau – “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience”Walt Whitman - “I Hear America Singing”
18 Unit 4: Realism Time Period: 1850-1914 Basics of the Literary Time PeriodStyle of writing developed in the 19th centuryDepicts life accurately without idealizing, romanticizing, or filtering it through personal feelingsFocuses on ordinary people suffering the harsh realities of everyday life “our common course”Subjects include poor factory workers and corrupt politicians
19 Writing TechniquesObjective Point of View- reader follows the action without understanding any character’s thoughts about the eventsThird-Person Limited- the narrator relates the inner thoughts and feelings of a single characterFlashback-interrupts chronological presentation of events to relate to an earlier timeSituational Irony- outcome of an action or situation is very different from what one expects
20 Background Emphasizes a specific geographical setting RegionalismEmphasizes a specific geographical settingReproduces a speech of people in a certain areaAlso shows behavior and attitudes of people living in a certain areaNaturalismHumans are subject to the laws of nature and controlled by instinctFate determined by environment, heredity, chance, or by uncontrollable forcesCharacters have limited choices and motivations“we are all fighting a losing battle”Dissected human behavior with complete objectivity (like scientists)
21 Writers and Works of the Period Mark Twain – Huck FinnStephan Crane – “An Episode of War”Kate Chopin – “The Story of an Hour”, “Desiree’s Baby”Owl Creek Bridge”Bret Harte – “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”Jack London – “To Build a Fire”Abraham Lincoln – “The Gettysburg Address”Paul Laurence Dunbar – “Douglass”, “We Wear the Mask”
22 Unit 5: Modernism Time Period: 1914-1946 Basics of the Literary Time PeriodTwo World Wars and a Great Depression marked this era.The devastation of WWI brought an end to optimism. People were left feeling uncertain and disillusioned; they did not trust the ideas and values that once characterized our country.The quest for new ideas occurred in the world of literature, and modernism was born.
23 Modernism Key Points (Cont.) Modernist authors sought to capture the essence of modern life in both the form and the content of their work.Modernists constructed their works out of fragments. Poets abandoned traditional forms and meters, in favor of free verse.Themes of their works were usually implied, rather than directly stated, making readers draw upon their own conclusions.Modernist works demanded more from readers.
24 Imagism ( ): demanded hard, clear expression, concrete images, and the language of everyday speech; their models came from the Greek and Roman classics, Chinese and Japanese poetry, and the free verse of the French poets. (Poets: H.D., Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams)Expatriates: writers who settled in Paris after WWI, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest HemingwayWriter Gertrude Stein created the phrase “lost generation” to describe those who were disillusioned by WWI; she influenced the ideas of those writers who had settled in Paris.Writers began using stream of consciousness attempting to recreate the natural flow of a character’s thoughts. (William Faulkner and Katherine Anne Porter were known for this.)
25 Modernism Key Points (Cont.) Poets also sought to stretch old boundaries – E.E. Cummings, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, etc.Harlem Renaissance: African Americans from the South created their own renaissance in Harlem; it began in 1921 (Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal HurstonClaude McKay, and Jean Toomer)Major themes in the early 20th century: loss of innocence in people and pursuit of the American Dream
26 Writers and Works of the Period F. Scott Fitzgerald – Great GatsbyT.S. Elliot – “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”Earnest Hemingway – “In Another Country”Eudora Welty – “A Worn Path”Poets: Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, E.E. Cummings, Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, and Langston Hughes
27 Unit 6: Postmodernism Time Period: 1946 – Present Basics of the Literary Time PeriodWWII and Holocaust was hurting the meaning of lifeInfluenced by the growth of informational technologyLoss of trust in author’s irrational thoughtsLess confidence that work is unique – culture continually copies itselfInterest in work as process and how it evolvesLoss of belief that work is immortalBelief that fine art can be a cartoonWorks consisting of dialogue aloneWorks that blend fiction and non-fictionExperimentation of the physical appearance of a workEssence of contemporary life in worksImpersonal and commercial nature of today’s work
28 Writers and Works of the Period Arthur Miller – The CrucibleJ.D. Salinger – Catcher in the RyeFlannery O’Connor – “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”Naomi Shihab Nye – “Mint Snowball”Alice Walker – “Everyday Use”Carson McCullers – “The Mortgaged Heart”Sylvia Plath – “Mirror”Gwendolyn Brooks – “The Explorer”Tim O’Brien – “Ambush”
29 The End!I hope you’ve learned plenty about American Literature, and perhaps, you can now reflect upon the significance of this history and how it continues to shape the ideas, culture, and literature of today.
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