BJU American Literature Chapter 8
Terms in this set (38)
Bret Harte (1836-1902)
The first writer after the Civil War to win a large public following in the United States. For a short time around 1870 he was regarded as the most important of all living American writers.
His stories about the West
• were written in a clean, disciplined style
• their PLOTS move crisply to climactic endings, often of surprise
• seasoned with humor and unexpected turns
• skillfully used Western dialects in both his poetry and his fiction
He also blended two widely accepted views of the West
• barbaric land with half-civilized, immoral people
• American Eden where dreams could become realities
• Left in poverty by his father's death
• Moved to California at the age of 17
• Began contributing materials to California newspapers
• Published a short-story collection that made him immensely popular
• Returned to the East to capitalize on his popularity
• Served as a US consul in Germany and Scotland
• Took up permanent residence in London
The Boom in the Calaveras Clarion
Lacks the moral vagueness and tolerance of Harte's frequently reprinted stories.
The SETTING, which appears in several of Harte's stories, is Calaveras County.
Story centers on three meetings between one or both of the Dimmidges and the acting editor of the Clarion. The story ends with an unexpected twist. The Dimmidges are humorous figures.
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
He usually wrote gruesome tales of destruction and dying. Because of his pessimistic tone, he is regarded by many as the first writer of BLACK HUMOR in American literature. The last two decades of his life were the most productive of his literary career. Although his work is strongly regional in SETTING and situation, it reflects the universal problem of someone's trying to establish values and discover life's meaning apart from God.
• Served as a Union soldier (wounded in Battle of Kennesaw Mountain)
• Began training himself to be a writer
• Began writing a regular newspaper column
• Published Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, a collection of short stories
• Published In the Midst of Life, which included "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
• Published The Cynic's Wordbook, later retitled the Devils Dictionary
• Finished his Collected Works (12 volumes)
• Entered Mexico, probably killed by government troops after he joined Pancho Villa's army
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
The story's ending may startle the readers unless they are attentive to the details of this tale.
Sidney Lanier (1842-1881)
Considered the best Southern poet during the last half of the nineteenth century. His poems often call Americans to return to values they once held.
• Attended Oglethorpe College, graduating with highest honors
• Served in the Confederate army
• Imprisoned in a Union prison camp in Maryland for several months
• Published Tiger-Lilies, his only novel
• Admitted to the Georgia bar and practiced law with his father
• Named the first flutist with the Peabody Orchestra in Baltimore
• Published Corn, the poem that launched his career as a poet
• Wrote Cantata for the nation's centennial celebration in Philadelphia
• Lectured on English literature at John Hopkins University
The Revenge of Hamish
This poem tells the story of Hamish's revenge against his lord. The SETTING is Scotland during the Middle Ages, when noblemen ruled and the majority of people lived to serve them. This poem has been called one the best modern BALLADS.
Focuses on a single episode or situation, portrays the events as they supposedly happened, and conceals the narrator's feelings about the events.
The Song of the Chattahoochee
This poem is Lanier's best-known work. In the final stanza Lanier reveals that the river is responding to the call of duty. The ONOMATOPOEIA and verse form suggest both the fluid movement of the river and the obstructions seeking to hold it back.
A Ballad of Trees and the Master
This brief poem (one of Lanier's last) portrays the Savior being fortified for His experience in the judgement hall and on Calvary by His time in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Hamlin Garland (1860-1940)
His most powerful short stories portray the plight of the farmer. They show, first, that he was a local colorist who used realistic details to make his work concrete, and, second, that he was an idealist who tried to bring about reforms through his writing.
• Graduated from Cedar Valley Seminary, Osage, Iowa
• Moved to Boston and began a career as a writer
• Returned to the Midwest to visit his boyhood surroundings
• Published Main-Travelled Roads, his most famous short story collection
• Published Crumbling Idols, a collection of essays on literature
• Received a Pulitzer Prize for A Daughter of the Middle Border
Garland's brand of realism. Implies not only accurate observation and realistic reporting but also a moral viewpoint on his material.
The Return of a Private
In this story from Main-Travelled Roads, Garland explores the plight of a Civil War veteran returning to his Wisconsin farm. The final paragraph establishes the THEME developed by the two parts of the story. Although lacking Christian elements, this is a moving portrait of an American whose spirit, though bent, is not broken.
James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)
Probably the most popular midwestern poet of the late nineteenth century. His poems often express the homely values that he found in the Midwesterners of his day. Witty and folksy philosophy, happy endings, and celebration of the simple virtues fading from American life are common in his work. He depicted the pleasure of ordinary life.
• Dropped out of school
• Worked for the Indianapolis Journal
• Published his first collection of dialect poems
When the Frost Is on the Punkin
Though the language is informal, this poem, with its regular rhyme scheme of rhyme and rhythm, has a fairly formal structure. What Riley tried to do is to recreate something of the sights and sounds associated with autumn on the farm.
Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)
She tended to concentrate on the positive side of her characters rather than to reveal the suffering or tragedy of their lives. Her stories tend to focus on CHARACTER rather on PLOT or SETTING.
• Graduated from Berwick Academy in Southeastern Maine
• Published her first short story, "Jenny Garrow's Lovers"
• Published her first collection of stories, Deephaven
• Published A Country Doctor, a fictional portrayal of her father
• Published The Country of the Pointed Firs, rated as her best book
• Seriously injured in a fall from a carriage
A White Heron
The PROTAGONIST, Sylvia, is a young girl who faces a major decision. The problems in this story are minor in comparison to the convincing portrayal of SETTING, CHARACTER, and CONFLICT.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Unquestionably the best of the regionalists writing during the post Civil War era. Her work signals the beginning of modern American poetry.
Her poetry reflects New England's
• Puritan tradition
• Yankee humor
• spiritual unrest
Her favorite subjects include
Her verse reveals modern attitudes of doubt and denial. Since she did not give titles to her poems, these titles are editorial additions.
• Graduated from Amherst Academy
• Withdrew from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary during her first year
• Published the first of seven poems appearing in print during her lifetime
• Wrote more poems during this year
than at any other time; also began a literary correspondence with Thomas Wentworth Higginson
• Suffered a nervous breakdown
The Poet's Self
In these poems Dickinson reveals the very special nature of her mind.
In this, she says that she writes what Nature tells her.
I'm Nobody! Who are You?
In this poem, one of Dickinson's most playful lyrics, she glories in being a nobody. She uses simile to describe the life of a somebody.
Much Madness is Divinest Sense
This poem reveals Dickinson's determination to be independent of the world. Here she states a paradox.
According to this poem, success is appreciated most by those who never succeed.
She implies that we often surprise ourselves in a critical situation by doing something we did not think we could do. This poem is very much in the Emersonian view of New England transcendental thought.
I Never Saw a Moor
The speaker in this poem seems to suggest a childlike faith in God.
The Power of Imagination
In these poems she shows the liberating power of the imagination through words and reverie. She also illustrates her imaginative power in the figurative definition of hope.
In this, she argues that words have life.
In this, Dickinson uses similes of a ship and of horses to describe the journeys one may take by reading.
To Make a Prairie It Takes a Clover
In this, the poet combines nature and reverie.
By picturing hope as a bird, Dickinson suggests that it is constant and unchanging in spite of the worst circumstances.
The Railway Train
Dickinson saw the train as something amusing.
Glimpses of Nature
Rather than directly stating what she is describing, she imaginatively depicts the objects.
She Sweeps (with Many-Colored Brooms)
In this poem Dickinson compares the sun at sunset to a housewife, sweeping the sky and its swirling clouds.
Here the poet seemingly recalls how as a barefoot child she would react to seeing a snake.
The poet seems to value the qualities of solitude, freedom from cares, independence, and simplicity in life.
The Poet and Death
She describes the suffering and pain that go before death. She also depicts what family members undergo after a loved one has died.
I Never Lost as Much but Twice
In this Dickinson presents God as playing the different roles of burglar, banker, and Father. As a burglar God had stolen her friends away. As a banker He had paid her by giving her others to love. Now she stands before her Father seeking His comfort again.
Presentiment (Is that Long Shadow on the Lawn)
This is one of Dickinson's definition poems. While it does not deal explicitly with death, it is closely related to it.
The Bustle in a House
This poem considers those who are left behind when someone they love dies. Their response to the loss is compared to cleaning house.