1. Choose any ONE of the works/authors of the American Renaissance or Romantic Period studied in this course and write a literary analysis of the chosen work. The focus of the essay should be three-fold: to discuss the theme of the author/work, the major characteristics of the period that are evident in the work, and major narrative devices the author uses to communicate his or her message. Your essay must have a clearly-defined thesis statement, well-developed paragraph(s), and fitting conclusion. In your thesis, assert how the author uses narrative devices to convey the theme of the work and how the theme or narrative devices demonstrate major characteristics of the period. Include direct quotes from the primary sources for analysis and support.
2. Discuss Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” as an allegory—that is, as a self-sufficient narrative that nevertheless signifies more than what is said. You may choose to focus on the entire narrative, or on brief sections or episodes that you consider allegorical. Include direct quotes from the “Rip Van Winkle” for analysis and support.
3. Compare and/or contrast the way in which Washington Irving, Cullen Bryant, and David Thoreau used nature in their writing. Include direct quotes from the primary sources for analysis and support.
4. Choose ONE OR TWO poems by ONE of the following poets: Edgar Allan Poe, William Cullen Bryant, or Phillis Wheatley. (The poem MUST be one of the assigned readings in your textbook). Analyze the poem(s) thoroughly, considering aspects such as theme(s), verse form(s), political, cultural, social, economic, religious, literary, and historical background, and the thematic significance of important figures of speech. Remember to choose an appropriate title and in your introduction an opening sentence and a clear thesis statement that will attract the reader. After your discussion, be sure to “tie up” your essay with an appropriate conclusion. Include direct quotes from the primary sources for analysis and support. If you wrote on one of these authors in a previous paper for this class, you cannot write on that same author again.
5. Imagine that someone unfamiliar with American Literature has asked you to characterize the writing of the Age of Colonialism, Age of Reason/Revolutionary era, and American Renaissance/Age of Romanticism. Begin by writing a brief survey (including the major characteristics) of these periods of American Literature, indicating the major writers of each period. Select ONE writer from each period and write a thumbnail description of the themes and/or characteristics of each writer’s work(s). Include direct quotes from the primary sources for analysis and support.
6. Choose one or two characters from either Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” or Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” and discuss the ways in which each experiences conflict (either with self, other characters, or with the social and/or physical environment); the ways in which each attempts to deal with it, and the relative success or failure of each. Who receives your deepest sympathy? Why? Include direct quotes from the primary sources for analysis and support.
Your outline is due by 11:59pm (ET) Monday of module/week 6.
Your essay is due by 11:59pm (ET) Monday of module/week 7.
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