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Early American Romanticism

23.

Evaluate the following descriptive paragraph. How well does it appeal to the reader’s senses? What is the overall effect?

“About 15 miles below Monterey, on the wild coast, the Torres family had their farm, a few sloping acres above a cliff that dropped to the brown reefs and to the hissing white waters of the ocean. Behind the farm the stone mountains stood up against the sky. The farm buildings huddled like the clinging aphids on the mountain skirts, crouched low to the ground as though the wind might blow them into the sea. The little shack, the rattling, rotting barn were gray-bitten with sea salt, beaten by the damp wind until they had taken on the color of the granite hills. Two horses, a red cow and a red calf, half a dozen pigs and a flock of lean, multi-colored chickens stocked the place. A little corn was raised on the sterile slope, and it grew short and thick under the wind, and all the cobs formed on the landward sides of the stalks.”

— John Steinbeck, “Flight”

24.

Respond to one of the following essay prompts:

A. Poe believed that good short stories require a single, unifying effect. Evaluate one of the stories in the American Romanticism unit using Poe’s standard of unity. Do the descriptions, incidents, and images all contribute to the single effect of the story? Is there a single effect? Feel free to evaluate Poe’s own story.

B. Consider what you have learned about American history during the period of 1820 to 1864. How do the stories in the American Romanticism reflect what was going on in the country then?

C. Read and analyze “When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer” by Walt Whitman. What Romantic ideas does it express, and how does the structure of the poem reinforce the meaning?

When I heard the learn’d astronomer;

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;

When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;

When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;

Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

21.

In three to five sentences, explain how Ambrose Bierce’s use of foreshadowing or flashback influences “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”

22.

Respond to one of the following prompts:

A. Regionalism is a form of Realism that emphasizes realistic settings, using local dialect, customs, and other specific details of a place. Identify the regional stories in the Realism and Regionalism unit. What part of the country is portrayed, and which details in the story distinguish it from other regions in America?

B. Consider what you have learned about American history during the period of 1860 to the early 1900s. How do the stories in the Realism and Regionalism unit reflect what was going on in the country then?

 
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