BJU American Literature Chapter 12

Terms in this set (45)

Born in 1869 and died in 1935. This traditionalist is representative of both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Early in life he sensed that he was meant to write poetry. The sense of tragedy that darkens many of his poems are born out of his youthful experience in Gardiner, Maine. His parents favored his 2 older brothers and did not encourage his writing career. A local doctor taught him meter and, with others, provided a sympathetic audience for Robinson's early work. He moved to New York City after 2 years in Harvard and 4 years back in Gardiner. President Theodore Roosevelt wrote an article on this man and offered him a governmental position. However, this man dropped this position after 5 years because he could not write under the requirements of a regular job. Lived off of the generosity of friends until he could make enough money from his writings. Wrote most of his poetry in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Mostly long narratives in blank verse. Drank heavily while here. Reaped numerous awards during his last years of life. According to most critics, his best works are the short, revealing sketches of painfully isolated people. This man wrote in traditional forms using rhyme and meter and depended on sonnet and quatrain. He portrayed his characters as victims in a narrow, repressive environment. His poems explore what goes on inside of the character. Saw humanity going down an endless plight. However, he sometimes softened this by speaking of a coming redeeming "Light."
Born in 1874 and died in 1963. Named after Robert E. Lee. His works, while strikingly regional in setting, character, and language, are universal in theme. Born in San Francisco but was a New Englander by ancestry and choice. Published his first poem in his high school newspaper. His mother supported the family by teaching after his father's death. Replaced his mother and taught in Methuen, Massachusetts. Married Elinor White in 1895. Attended Harvard from 1898 through 1900. Moved to a farm in Derry, New Hampshire in 1900. Also taught after 1906. Devoted himself to poetry and moved his family to England for the cheaper living. He published 2 volumes of poetry A Boy's Will (1903) and North of Boston (1914). In 1915, this man returned to the U.S. and found himself famous. His fame continued to grow as he grew older. Frequently served at prominent colleges and universities, published 10 more volumes of poetry (4 of which earned Pulitzer Prizes), and received honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge as well as from nearly 40 other American colleges and universities. He was even invited to the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. His personal life was much more tragic. 3 of his children died, his wife died, one of his sons committed suicide, one of his daughters had a mental illness, and he was denied a Nobel Prize in literature and other real and imagined slights. Used many details on nature to act as a backdrop for human thought and action. His poetry contains subtle didacticism. His views left little room for the Bible.
Written by Wallace Stevens. This poem states that God either does not exist or, if He does, than He is absent from the universe. Two characters, the woman and the woman's conscience (the narrator). The poem asserts that Christ is no different from Greek mythology. Thus, Christianity is replaced with neo-paganism. The title of the poem puns on son (as in the Son of God) with sun. The woman is contemplating religious matters on a Sunday morning (when Christians are in church) in the morning sun. Stanza 1: This stanza sets up the setting, situation, and central question of the poem. The woman begins to consider why Sunday is celebrated. Christ's resurrection makes her uneasy. Stanza 2: Here the woman questions her need to give her life ("her bounty") to Christ. She instead turns to nature for comfort and meaning and to the romantic ideology. Stanza 3: The first part of this stanza relates God to Jove/Jupiter of Roman mythology. Then states that both are merely wish fulfillment. The woman then believes that there is no division between earth and heaven. Stanza 4: The woman wonders if Earth is all there is. The poet says that eternal life is a delusion. Stanza 5: The woman states that she needs some eternal bliss. The poet states that she should simply be aware of death. Such an awareness raises the appreciation of life. Stanza 6: The poet caricatures paradise by calling it static. It is static because death is not there to change things (reference to the previous stanza). Stanza 7: This stanza depicts the pagan sun-worshipers who chant the praises of the creation, not God. The last two lines emphasize that man has a natural beginning and end (God did not create us nor will we spend eternity in heaven or hell). Stanza 8: The argument against Christianity is brought to a close. The poet states that Christ did not rise and that death is all that man has to look forward to. The final lines introduce a movement toward darkness, symbolizing death.