Learning Unit 13

The poem “The New Review” by Bertha W. Howe is contextually important for two different reasons. The first reason is that it is the first poem featured in the magazine, and the second being that the title of the poem is the same as the title of the magazine The New Review. The title is especially important because whatever message the poem is giving, it should be synonymous with message and purpose of the magazine, which is a call-to-arms for the working class and socialism. The poem’s rhetoric is a promotion for revolution and a promise of equality for all people. The poem is quite simply the mission-statement for the magazine.

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Learning Unit 12

1. White Fang is a unique text because, in all my history as an English student, it is the first text I have studied that features an animal as the protagonist. The book is unique because it explores human nature from the perspective of animals, which forces the reader to see themselves in a completely different light. White Fang reminds me of other books like Watership Down in that it features animals as the main characters. At the same time, White Fang is surprisingly similar to the book Iola Leroy in that the protagonists of both are “hybrids” or of “mixed ancestry”. White Fang is a wolf-dog hybrid and, like Iola, has trouble fitting in due to his background and struggles to find a place for himself in the world. In this manner, the challenges of both man and beast are remarkably similar.

2. Daisy Miller, The Awakening, The Yellow Wallpaper, and Iola Leroy are all considered examples of early feminist work. Pick two of these texts and explain they are similar in addressing feminist issues. Explain how they are different.

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Learning Unit 11

1. The key difference one notices about the images of the “New Woman” compared to the depictions of women in most of the works we’ve read is that they are actually outside. Many of the works we read focus on women in the domestic sphere and their roles in the home. The main conflict in The Yellow Wallpaper is that the main character is confined to her bed and is not allowed to move. The fact that these “New Women” are seen outside must have been shocking to people back then.

2. The discontent of the protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper stems from her confinement to a room that, right from the beginning, she finds very uncomfortable. The sheer length of time she is forced to stay in that room drives her further and further into madness. Due to the character’s psychosis and obvious mental issues, I find her unhappiness slightly more justified than the protagonist of The Awakening, whose unhappiness stems from her new knowledge that there is more to life than just being a wife.


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Learning Unit 10

Part I:

This quote relates to Daisy Miller in that the titular character, an American, tries to forge a new identity in Europe. She rejects her “Americaness” to embrace a European way of life. This can be seen as a sort of reversal in that Europe has become a sort of frontier for the American identity. The American identity is now seen as separate from the European identity.

Part II

1. The poem “Avalanche” can be seen as an almost literal example of the first quote. In the poem, when the narrator is trapped within her house after the avalanche, everything outside the house becomes foreign. She is unable to leave the house because it is too dangerous. In this manner, the domestic sphere becomes a literal nation, with everything outside the home as a border.

4. The poem “Cattle-Killing Winter” is similar to this quote in that the characters in this poem are struggling to survive and conquer the frontier. Their struggle to survive is part of  the process of domestication, in which they must learn to adapt and survive in this new foreign environment.

5. The short story “The Luck of Roaring Camp” is similar to this quote in that the characters living on the camp are not entirely civilized, but not exactly savage either. They have not truly made a domestic sphere because they have not yet conquered their savagery. The birth of Luck is seen as the first step towards domesticity, however the baby’s death indicates that domestication is not an easy process.

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Learning Unit 9

1. Mobility equals survivor. They have to keep moving before it gets too cold. To be unable to move is to be trapped and to die.

2. The family is a unit in which everyone depends on the other to survive. Everybody has a job. Everybody has a purpose. If one dies, another must take their place.

3. Brett Harte describes family as a symbol of hope and survival. When the baby Thomas Luck is born, the family grows and brings hope that things will be alright and that they will survive. When the baby dies however, hope is lost and the family becomes smaller again. Brett Harte sees family and hope as synonymous.

4. Mobility serves as a symbol for survival in Harris’ poems. In “Cattle-Killing Winter”, the family is trying to reach their destination before it becomes too cold. If they stop moving they will die. “Avalanche” is similar in that being trapped equals lack of mobility. Lack of mobility equals death, as seen when the mother and the Reverend die at the end of the poem.

5. Snow, ice, cattle, railroads, starvation, tears, empty fields, lumber, oxen, creek, cabins, snow-covered trees, corns, rifles, mines, gold, corpses.

6. In my prompts, I see constant references to survival and death. This is important because life on the frontier was often a life-or-death scenario. Chances of survival were slim and the body count was high. The works we read about the frontier all have references to hopelessness and death, showing how unlikely survival was. I think this is why survival is such a constant theme.

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Learning Unit 7

My paper will be about how Civil War era poetry illustrates the conflict between the North and South in terms of culture and ideology. I will be focusing on the poems “Manassas”, “Another Yankee Doodle” and possibly another poem. I have not yet found any secondary sources though I might be using historical books on the Civil War in order to better examine the poems.

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Learning Unit 6

Part A:

In A Hazard of New Fortunes, William Dean Howells spent a substantial portion of the novel discussing March’s difficulty in finding a place in New York. I believe his reason for including this is that it gives the reader an idea of the psychology and thought process of a semi-affluent American at the time. It shows both the pettiness and somewhat materialistic mindset of the people at this time in history. In this manner, it is both a satire and a mirror for the reader, showing them the foolishness of acting in such a manner,

Part B

After looking at some of my blog posts, I think I focus heavily on the Civil War in my writings. It is not hard  to understand why the Civil War fascinates me as it was a war that had a huge effect on both American history and American writers. Unlike other wars in American history, this war was fought with America itself. There were no foreign nations to declare the enemy, and America was almost torn apart. I think what fascinates me the most about the Civil War is how it reflects the modern age. The values and beliefs that divided the North and the South during the Civil War, still divide them even now. In this manner, one can say that the Civil War never really ended.


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Learning Unit 4

In both Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Life in the Iron Mills, the narrators often seem to talk to the readers as they narrate. They often comment on what they’re describing and talk to the reader about what they’re describing as if they were having a conversation. In both texts, the narrators speak to the reader almost like tour guides, as if the reader is from someplace far away, and are being exposed to a completely new environment.  Sometimes, the narrator seems to express emotion about the characters, as if he or she was a character too.

I chose the photo of a street because it reminds me of when Deborah had to walk to the mills to bring Hugh food.

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What does it mean to live during times of war? Draft

For writers living during the Civil War, their work was often directly inspired by the war itself. Such work often showed how the war affected the writers themselves, and how they were or weren’t able to cope with it. What makes such work unique is that the men and women who wrote them were not always soldiers and did not have to fight. Nevertheless, the Civil War was still enough of a reality for them that they could write of how it affected them and others. By looking at some work, one can see what it meant for these men and women to live during times of war.

Emily Dickinson’s poem “It feels a shame to be Alive”, is told from the perspective of one who did not have to fight in the war. Nevertheless, her life is still affected by the war, causing her to feel guilt. The narrator’s feelings of guilt come from the fact that she is still alive, while many soldiers are now dead. This can be seen in the first two lines of the poem, where the narrator writes “It feels a shame to be alive–/ When men so brave–are dead.” Here, one can see from Emily Dickinson’s poem is that to live during times of war is to feel guilt and shame for those who have died in one’s place.

Another work that shows what it means to live during times of war is Walt Whitman’s poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!” Unlike Emily Dickinson’s poem which shows how war can affect the individual, Walt Whitman’s poem shows how affects the community. In the poem, the phrase “Beat! beat! drums!–blow! bugles! blow!” is repeated throughout the work, and represents war itself,  describing it as “a ruthless force” (2). This “ruthless force” disrupts life all over the community, as seen in these lines: “Into the solemn church and scatter the congregation, / into the school where the scholar is studying.”(3-4) Here, the the terrible power of war wrecks the lives of both the congregation and the scholar. Not even the bridegroom is safe from war, as seen in the next line. In Walt Whitman’s poem, what it means to live during times of war is to have everything in your life be uprooted. One’s life is changed almost entirely by war, and can not be easily put back the way it was before.

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Learning Unit 2

Image: Soldiers at rest after drill, Petersburg, Va.

1. In the photograph, a large group of soldiers are sitting in the grass. Some are playing cards or just laying down, while others are reading a newspaper or letters from home. All their weapons have been put to the side. In the background, soldiers of a higher rank are monitoring the relaxing soldiers.

2. To me, this image represents a brief moment of peace and tranquility during war. Though the soldiers all appear relaxed, they know it will not last long and are trying to enjoy it as best as they can.

Image: Ringgold, Ga., battery at drill.

1. The image depicts a large group of soldiers. In the front, the soldiers are standing at attention next to cannons. The rest of the soldiers are on horseback, standing in organized rows. Everyone is looking straight ahead, as if they are waiting for something.

2. To me, this image represents anticipation and anxiousness. All the soldiers are standing or sitting with stern faces, and seem ready for an attack. It represents the threat of war and the terrible moments leading to it.

Image: Soldiers in the trenches before battle, Petersburg, Va.

1. In this image, soldiers are sitting in a trench, looking uncomfortable. Their guns and equipment are scattered about on the floor and there is little room for the soldiers. Outside of the trench are two commanding officers  who seem to be on looking for something.

2. Like the previous picture, it is a depiction of the soldiers waiting for the battle to begin, and represents the anticipation of war. They know an attack can come at any time and yet there is nothing they can do but wait for it to happen.

4. The images are all similar in that they show what the soldiers did when they were not fighting, even though they were in the middle of a war. They are also similar in that even though they were not fighting at the moment, a battle could start again at any time and they would never know when. The overarching theme is of soldiers being unsure of their fate, not knowing if they were going to live or die.


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