Archive for the 'Unit Blogs' Category

Learning Unit 10

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Fredrick Jackson Turner’s Frontier thesis characterizes the American frontier experience in expansion. Both Turner and Davis Harding have first hand experience of the developing changes within American history; he explains why the American governemnt was differenr from their European counterparts. He also deals with the idea of the American identity and the future of America. Turner’s essay can be utilized to show the changes of American society and the progression of the frontier.

Learning Unit 9

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The Custom of the Country, Edith Warthon
Chapter XI

“He turned the hand over and traced the course of its blue veins from the wrist to the rounding of the palm below the fingers; then he put a kiss in the warm hollow between. The upper world had vanished: his universe had shrunk to the palm of a hand. But there was no sense of diminution. In the mystic depths whence his passion sprang, earthly dimensions were ignored and the curve of beauty was boundless enough to hold whatever the imagination could pour into it. Ralph had never felt more convinced of his power to write a great poem; but now it was Undine’s hand which held the magic wand of expression.” (Warthon)

As soon as Ralph married Undine his “upper world had vanished”, she manipulated him to marrying her. His “universe had shrunk” into her artificial desires. “Blue veins” symbolize the depression that will undertake Ralph when he ultimately finds out the truth behind Undine. Undine has the power over Ralph, “which held the magic wand of expression”, she can control his feelings and wants. Undine’s relentless to go further at no cost, where she pursues him seems very serpent like where she goes in and out in “mystic depths” towards his passions. Here on their honeymoon, Ralph realizes that Undine has the control over his emotions and feelings. Her beauty has overtaken him, “then he put a kiss in the warm hollow between”. There’s a space between them where Undine has poured her vivacity. Ralph’s world will never be as the same as he once had it, he now shares everything with Undine. She wants this social status and power that Ralph has leading him “boundless enough to hold” his own against her. Undine represents something coming undone, unbound, she finally unveils herself to Ralph.

Learning Unit 8

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Henry James had several attempts at studying science and law but that never stuck to him, so he decided to become a writer. He was very well read in Russian, French, English and American Literature. He traveled Europe and presented stories and published them in many journals. Since James was so immersed in the culture of Paris and London his works were reflected by these experiences. Al lot of his essays were also inspired by his travels across America as well as his travels in Europe. Also, his father was a very famous intellect which included relations with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and many others. His relationships with them had a profound effect on James’s life. Since education was very important to James Sr., he and his family traveled Europe a lot which resulted in his children being tutored in the language an literature.

His life’s journey had a great influence on The Portrait of a Lady because he developed the novel of an American girl traveling to Europe, which was much of his life. He was very much interested in the old life and the new rising American culture which is shown throughout the novel. It also addresses the transatlantic life of Isabella and the life of his own.

Learning Unit 6

Monday, October 17th, 2011

In the story, “Of the Coming of John”, from the novel The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B Du Bois displays the hindering factors of blacks at the time of Jim Crow. Du Bois introduces John who goes off into the world of the white man to gain an education despite the social and personal costs that affects him in returning to his people. John believing that an education will further him in life, and possibly not reject him from society, comes to find the racial oppression of the north. Even though John has an education it hinders him from being seen as an equal to his counterpart the “white” John. The story hints at John when he comes home where there is no place for him in either society which affects his acceptance. Even-after the emancipation, there are still no freedoms for blacks, so why still chase after something that will be shunned by ones own people. Du Bois points out how African Americans were treated in a hostile society where they face many problems in going about to change their lives. Education had little impact on the status of the African American race and therefore leaving them in social restraints.

In my essay I would like to focus on how society affected African Americans perusing an education and the social factors that came with those restraints in obtaining an education. I will use W.E.B Du Bois’s “Of the Coming of John” story as well as other critical essays that show these arguments.

Learning Unit 5

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

In the story, “Of the Coming of John”, from the novel The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B Du Bois displays the hindering factors of blacks at the time of Jim Crow. John goes off to gain an education despite the social and personal cost that will affect him after he comes back. John believing that an education will further him in life and possibly not reject him from society comes to find the racial antics of the north. Even though John has an education it hinders him from being seen as an equal to his counterpart the “white” John. The story hints at John when he comes home that there is no place for him in either society which affects the social norm. Even-after the emancipation, there are still no freedoms for blacks, so why still chase after something that will be shunned by ones own people. Du Bois points out how African Americans were treated in a hostile society where they face many problems in going about to change their life in society.

Module 3

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Dayward” and The Souls of Black Folk, political aim adhere to the newly founded freedom of blacks. Both texts show the progression of how these freedoms and rights were attained. Although, written in two different time periods, the development of blacks was still suppressed by whites.

Module 2

Monday, September 26th, 2011

In Huck Finn, the limitations were far worst than in “Dayward” and “Of the Coming of John”, being a slave at that time, you couldn’t venture far without running into some trouble. If you weren’t with your master, you would get beaten or killed, or subjected as a run-away. It was a hard environment for any slave, if things were not right with your master the outcome was being sold or beaten to death. Slaves were not free to go anywhere as they please. Jim running away causes trouble, if he were to be found out. In “Dayward”, Lazerous and Mary Celeste were “free” slaves, they wanted to leave their masters home in search of the only family that they had. At this time, they had a bit more freedom to venture where they pleased without the limitations. Their journey did set them back a bit into the old role of slavery, where Lazerous was wounded by a dog and needed help to repair his arm but there was no help for a black man. He would of not have gotten the expected treatment because he was black. Both of these stories show a progression of some freedom for blacks but with limitations of what they can do. In “Of the Coming of John”, John goes off to school, but many of the people believed that he would be ruined. At this time it was after the emaciation and the time of “Jim Crow”, which severely had a lot of limitations on blacks. Although they had the opportunity to seek out an education and seen “equal” in the eyes of society, they still weren’t. John had a great opportunity to go to school but when he came back to his hometown, he was shunned by both blacks and whites. His intelligence was inferior to the people where they didn’t understand the constraints of society. John knew too much for his own good in their society, so he left to find a place where he could be seen as an equal.

Learning Unit 4

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Module 1

When Lilac’s Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d– Walt Whitman

  • Nature mourning the death of beloved President Lincoln through the progression of the assassination, the burial of the president and the mourning process by the public offering flowers as the coffin goes by.

Ashes of Soldiers– Walt Whitman

  • The many sacrifices made by our soldiers in preserving our country from the birth of our country to today.

“Bits of Gossip”- Rebecca Harding Davis

  • A collection of stories of people who she has come into contact in her life and experiences that have shaped her life.

“Dayward”- ZZ Packard

  • The harsh experience by brother and sister to reach their Aunt in New Orleans for a new start as free slaves.

The Souls of Black Folk: Chapter 13- W.E.B  DuBois

  • The journey of John admitted into school, becoming someone that can fight the oppression that’s lead by whites as well as some blacks.

Module 2

Learning Unit 3

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Module 1: Review of Huckleberry Finn

In the critical essay “One Hundred Years of Huckleberry Finn: The Boy, His Book, and American Culture. Centennial Essay”, by John Seelye, focuses on the voyage taken by Huckleberry Finn and Jim. The journey that Jim and Huck have endured depict that “the place that you head for is never the place that you end up at”. Seelye views the novel as a book about “enlightening the world” and of American liberty. He states,

“[H]olding aloft a corncob pipe and clasping a catfish under his other arm, while in the background we behold the Raft as Ellis Island, Jim being introduced to America (Miss Watson in a bedsheet) by the Duke and the King. Because if to many of us Huck stands for certain specifics of Liberty in America-the God-given right to light out when things get complicated by the discontents of civilization-so for many others Jim stands for the complications, both as a Slave (in America, ca. 1850) and a black (ca. now).” (Seeley 85)

Twain represents Huck as a form of liberty where the contrast of Jim as the complications that blacks face in yearning for freedom. Seeley depicts the raft as Ellis Island to implicate the road to freedom, where Jim is being introduced to a life of freedom. As one can see in the novel, Twain wants to show the journey of Jim obtaining his freedom. When things get complicated between Huck and Jim, he seems to be the one that helps to render the situation. Huck lies entirely for Jim, so they can get themselves out of every situation they are put into. Huck represents that freedom Jim doesn’t have.

Seeley also indicate that our understanding and appreciation of the novel is set by the accuracy of the language. Although it’s differently plotted, the story alludes to many underlying problems of society as well as Twains “conscious artistry” of constructing the language. The flexible use of language by Twain shows a societal relationship difference between Huck and Jim. The raw language of the use of the “n” word puts the reader into perspective as if they were living at the time.

Seeley also argues for the relationship between Huck and Jim; they learn about their common humanity. Jim is a noble, long suffering and generous human being but he’s still not angry about the condition that he’s in. Seeley comments on the relationship stating, “[To] Huck’s great decision to go to Hell rather than betray Jim, the pastoral interlude has nothing to do with what is happening in the book. It is an illusion of Freedom, an “evasion” as patent as the prolonged agony with which the book ends.”(Seeley 88) Huck would rather put himself in jeopardy than to give up Jim. It shows that a white boy and a black man are able to find common ground on which to stand. Since Huck represents “liberty”, Jim has stuck by him through all of the different circumstances that follow in front of them.

Seeley does argue in his essay, the affect that the novel has taken on America during the time of slavery and then after. The journey down the river implicates the long hardship that has fallen on them. Jim sold back into slavery and the poor white trash boy that has risked his life to save a black man from slavery. All of these implications that the novel makes, proves why it’s worthy of reading.

Works Cited

One Hundred Years of Huckleberry Finn: The Boy, His Book, and American Culture. Centennial Essays by Huckleberry Finn; Robert Sattelmeyer; J. Donald Crowley American Literary Realism, 1870-1910 Vol. 19, No. 2 (Winter, 1987), pp. 85-89

Module 2: An introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the American novel that’s surrounded by so much controversy places itself within the history, literary and cultural context of adventure. For some time the novel has been attacked by the public more than any novel in the American culture for its racial, cultural and morality which complexes the teaching of the novel.

Set along the Mississippi River, satirizing the Southern Antebellum society of its attitude and particulars to racialism. The story of two boys, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer commences the novel with the accumulation of a substantial amount of money. Huck was placed under the guard of the widow Douglas, along with her sister Miss Watson; attempt to knock some sense into him. Huck attempts to escape the clutches of the ladies, and is proclaimed by Sawyer to join his gang, to seek out adventurous crimes.

Huck initially fakes his own death, where he goes down the Mississippi River living comfortably in the wilderness. He runs into Miss Watson’s slave Jim. He finds out she was intending to sell Jim downriver where conditions for slaves were rather harsh. Jim and Huck team up and begin a misfit of many adventures, where Huck dresses up as a girl in seeking information. He comes into town and learns that Jim’s wanted for a sum of $300, who is indeed accused of killing Huck. Farther into the novel, we come upon the mischievous duo and their many plots to run away into freedom.

Keep an open mind when reading the novel, as well as the relationship between Huck and Jim. The relationship between these two is important where Pap, Huck’s real father is contrasted with Jim. Pap is abusive to Huck, who’s also an alcoholic. Pap comes in and out of Huck’s life setting a ruptured example of a father who believes his child is worthless. Jim’s relationship with Huck begins to resemble a father-son relationship which Huck has never had with is real father.

The controversy of the novel derives from the language as well as the racial factors embedded into the novel. Twain wrote the novel post-Civil war where there was an intense hatred of blacks. Twain depicts the racial prejudice, segregation, and the belief of blacks being sub-human. To the readers Twain shows the moral conflicts that Huck has as well as the social values with his relationship with Jim. Twain wanted to show that Jim was good natured, deep loving as well as a good human being. However, many have cast the novel as racist because of the usage of the “n” word. Twain simply wants to show the hypocrisy of slavery condoned into a moral system.

Learning Unit 2

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Module One

Primary Source Analysis Sheet:

1)  Type of Document: Other: Memoir

2)  Unique Physical Characteristics: Typed, Other

3) Dates of Document: 1904, 1905

4) Author: Rebecca Harding Davis
Position: Author

5) For what audience was the document written: For anyone in contact with America and the Civil War.

6) A. List three things the author said that you think are important:

“Besides the country was so new, so raw, that there were few uses for wealth” (Davis 2)
The view that few Southerners and many Northerners had on slavery.
The view of the ideal American.

B. Why do you think this document was written?

Davis wrote this memoir to give account of her life, the people who have influenced her, as well as to show her progression, and how her experiences have shaped her life.

C. What evidence in the document helps you know why it was written? Quote from the document.

“I have known other women-whom I do not name because they are still living- whom have exerted a wider and stronger influence in this country than any of these whom I have spoken”(Davis 230).

D. List two things the document tells you about life in the United States at the time it was written.

Money was not an important aspect of life since the country was “raw”.
American life for women in the south were different from the women of the north. They were doing more labor than the northern women.

E. Write a question to the author that is left unanswered by the document:

Would you have changed any aspect of your writing? Whether it be, a passage, an event or the entire memoir?

Write two paragraphs in which you discuss intellectual connections between your secondary sources (i.e. Miller ) and your primary source

In Rebecca Harding Davis’s Bits of Gossip, and Nancy K. Miller’s critical essay, “Facts, Pacts, and Acts”, both emphasize the importance of an autobiography. Davis wants to show the readers that her memoir is not a traditional memoir but something that is more cultural, where readers will be influenced by her experience as well as the time that she has lived in. Her memoir is non-traditional, where it’s told like a story, unlike the traditional progression of a memoir. Davis’s memoir shows how events in her life has impacted her and also help the reader understand. Davis is the “I” that Miller discusses, we as readers get her point of view but we also know that she writes with a purpose, to inform.

Miller states,”He’s not happy because as a character he does figure sufficiently in the narrative. But he’s even unhappier as a critic and reader of Roth’s writing, because he’s not convinced that the autobiography is truthful”(Miller 4). Miller’s definition of a great autobiography deviates from the idea that it has to step away from the person writing the piece and the character whose in the story. One must not sugar coat the memoir but write as the “I”, not as the other “I” that you would to be perceived as. Miller makes a great argument as to what form the autobiography should relate to, and Davis shows the reader that she’s writing as the “I” that Miller states. Miller states,”The facts, pacts, and acts I allude to there are all bound up with the autobiographical, and they are meant to serve as signposts to my necessarily rapid walk through the vast territory of autobiography studies”. Miller suggests that autobiographical study has a vast majority of cultural effect, where we overcome a lot as the “I”, being subjected to “attaining freedom, finding a voice, and being published”(Miller 5). But it’s more than that, it starts with finding who you are and what truth you present to the reader.

Module Two

So I’m having some trouble with uploading my speech, but here it is. And the audio will be up asap, till I figure this out.

The Escape of a Slave

I hear the barking of the hounds through the pitch black, the hoofs of the horses in the dead of the night. I’m running, I hear them coming. Where to go, there’s  a path, so dark and gloomy. I crept down it but so scared of what is to come next. I still hear the howling of the dogs, the noises creeping up behind me. I hear a stream, I wander closely to it, the moonlight shining on it. I need to hid, but where. I plunged right into the stream, holding my breath. They’ve finally arrived. I’m so small but thankfully its so dark out, they can’t catch a glimpse of me. My heart pounds, that I feel they can hear it, oh how scared I am. I feel their shadows moving about, casting on me. I see my master looking into my direction, but I try not to move, I’m trying to hold my breath. They look around, and didn’t find anything. Oh relief. I was so happy, but still so frightened, but now the hard work comes. I’m a slave, in torn dirty rags. How will I get to the north like this? As I was about to leave, someone grabbed me. My body felt paralyzed, at the moment, I knew I was doomed. I was going to be sent back. Beaten till I bled, what fear came over me. I might die by the whip of my master. Someone come save me. My dream just shattered. The north looked so far away now.

Module Three

In Rebecca Harding Davis’s Bits of Gossip, and Nancy K. Miller’s critical essay, “Facts, Pacts, and Acts”, both emphasize the importance of an autobiography. Davis wants to show the readers that her memoir is not a traditional memoir but something that is more cultural, where readers will be influenced by her experience as well as the time that she has lived in. Her memoir is non-traditional, where it’s told like a story, unlike the traditional progression of a memoir. Davis’s memoir shows how events in her life has impacted her and also help the reader understand. Davis uses the “I” that Miller discusses, as readers to get her point of view but to also know that she writes with a purpose, to inform.

Miller agrees with Zuckerman when she states,”He’s not happy because as a character he does figure sufficiently in the narrative. But he’s even unhappier as a critic and reader of Roth’s writing, because he’s not convinced that the autobiography is truthful”(Miller 4). Miller’s definition of a great autobiography deviates from the idea that it has to step away from the person writing the piece and the character whose in the story. One must not sugar coat the memoir but write as the “I”, not as the other “I” that you would to be perceived as. Miller makes a great argument as to what form the autobiography should relate to, and Davis shows the reader that she’s writing as the “I” that Miller states. Miller points out that, “The facts, pacts, and acts I allude to there are all bound up with the autobiographical, and they are meant to serve as signposts to my necessarily rapid walk through the vast territory of autobiography studies”. Miller suggests that autobiographical study has a vast majority of cultural effect, where we overcome a lot as the “I”, being subjected to “attaining freedom, finding a voice, and being published”(Miller 5). But it’s more than that, it starts with finding who you are and what truth you present to the reader.

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