Monday, March 2, 2015

Blog #3: American Romanticism


Assigned: Thursday, February 26, 2015   
Due: Wednesday, March 11, 2015

  • Proper grammar, spelling, capitalization and punctuation will be expected and benchmarked.  Check your work (proofread) before submitting.
  • Choose wisely.  If you do not have access to the internet, then do the essay instead.

If done as an ESSAY:
You will choose 4 questions to answer below.  Use the standard page layout and proper name/class/period information at the top.  This is a formal paper which must be typed, double-spaced, and include at least a ONE paragraph answer for each question.  Final copy due by: Wednesday, March 11, 2015.
If done as a BLOG:
You will choose 3 questions below and 2 student responses.  Begin your blog comment by writing your first name, the first letter of your last name, and your period number (John S. Period 4).  Then, reference the question number at the beginning of each answer. This is a semi-formal assignment written on the classroom blog of at least ONE paragraph per question and TWO minimum responses (3-5 sentences) to two different students. Final entry due by: Wednesday, March 11, 2015.


1)    In the story “The Devil and Tom Walker,“ Washington Irving engaged readers both in America and in Europe for many reasons – sometimes conflicting ones.  Look at the story again through the eyes of each of the following people.  What reasons would you give for recommending the story to others?   Give specific reasons for each of the following:  a revolutionary (radical), a puritan (conservative), an American politician, and a banker.

2)    Through statements Washington Irving makes about Tom Walker, his wife, and his community, what messages is Irving communicating about the following topics:  women (lines 31-37), the Puritan attitude (lines 115-118), the slave trade (lines 224-227), and moneylenders (lines 228-230).

3)    How does “Thanatopsis” reflect Romantic notions of nature and democratic values? Explain why.

4)    Reread lines 8-10 in “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” AND lines 25-32 in “A Psalm for Life.”  Consider what happens to the footprints in each poem.  Based upon this and other images, how would you say Longfellow’s outlook on life and death in each poem is similar?  Explain your reasoning.

5)    Recall from Holmes’ biography on page 248 that the poem “Old Ironsides” was instrumental in saving the USS Constitution.  What techniques and details used in the poem might have motivated readers to act?  Cite evidence from the poem to support your answer.

6)    Review the elements of transcendentalism listed on page 369.  Then, reexamine “Self-Reliance” and “Nature” identifying key ideas that reflect each tenet of transcendentalism. 

7)    Writer Henry James argued that Emerson had no concept of the evil that exists in the world.  In James’ words, it was “a side of life as to which Emerson’s eyes were thickly bandaged…He had no great sense of wrong…no sense of the dark, the foul, the base.”  In your opinion, is this a valid criticism of Emerson?  Use evidence and explain why or why not.