English Literature- midterm


The Task: Select 4 of the quoted selections listed below. For EACH selection, construct an extended paragraph of approximately ONE FULL PAGE (no more than a page). Do not simply summarize the quotation or the work, from which it derives; do not simply list a number of generalizations about the quotation or the work. Instead, write a focused, organized argumentative analysis that analyzes the specific significance of the quoted material in the context of the larger work, the author’s major themes, and/or the literary movement. Focus on the specific language choices the author uses. Write on 3 DIFFERENT AUTHORS. Use the present literary tense in your analysis. It is not necessary to copy the quoted passage in its entirety at the top of the page or within the analysis. Begin your analysis at the top of the page. Follow the standards of formal composition outlined in the Five Categories located in Course Documents, including correct formats for quotations. Also, in Course Documents are sample Midterm/Final Exam extended analytic paragraphs to use as a guide for what is expected. Finally, be sure to proofread your paragraphs. The quality of your writing will obviously impact your grade.
1) Stanza 16 (Whitman P.35–8th edition song of myself Walt Whitman)
2) "I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself. I can’t make it more clear; it’s only something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me? ( the awakening by Kate Chopin P. 561)
3) "The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, not in the significances. Fifty degrees below zero meant eighty-odd degrees of frost. Such fact impressed him as being cold and uncomfortable, and that was all. It did not lead him to meditate upon his frailty as a creature of temperature, and upon man’s frailty in general, able only to live within certain narrow limits of heat and cold; and from there on it did not lead him to the conjectural field of immortality and man’s place in the universe". (to build fire, Jack London P.1047)
4)"She gazed ahead through a long reach of future days strung together like pearls in a rosary, every one like the others, and all smooth and flawless and innocent, and her heart went up in thankfulness. Outside was the fervid summer afternoon; the air was filled with the sounds of the busy harvest of men and birds and bees; there were halloos, metallic clatterings, sweet calls, and long hummings. Louisa sat, prayerfully numbering her days, like an uncloistered nun" (A New England NUN P.653)
Reference book is The Norton Anthology American Literature Volume C 1865-1914 8th Edition
Sample Midterm Analysis
1. Alexander Pope’s "Rape of the Lock" is a satirical epic poem that mocks the aristocracy and the seriousness with which they regard their vanity. The poem clearly reveals the telling contrast and irony between the actual action and the lofty and formal language Pope uses. This contrast illustrates Pope’s criticism of the aristocracy and their self-focused and self-indulgent behaviors. In line 121 of the quotation, Pope introduces Belinda’s "toilet," or vanity set, by "unveiling" it, signifying the beginning of a big event. Her "toilet stands displayed" because it is the center of attention and is meant to be stared at and admired. In line 122, Pope describes the vases as silver to imply wealth and to create a shiny heavenly image of the toiletries as they are "in mystic order laid." Here, Pope uses divine associations to describe a simple morning ritual to magnify the importance the aristocracy places on appearances. As Belinda sits down at the vanity table, she is "robed in white" to give a pure, virginal image. The white robe and veil are symbolic of a wedding gown and bridal veil, implying that there is something akin to a marriage in Belinda’s relationship with her toiletries. Pope is using the sanctity of marriage to ridicule Belinda’s all-consuming relationship with her makeup. In line 124, Pope describes the make-up as having "cosmetic powers," referring to its divine ability to make Belinda beautiful. Pope even refers to Belinda as a "heavenly image" in line 125, as she bends toward her image in the mirror so she can admire her beauty. Betty, Belinda’s maidservant, is described as an "inferior priestess" and Belinda as an "alter" in line 127 because Pope wants to invoke a scene of divine worship at Belinda’s vanity table. And as a priest or priestess would perform rituals at the alter to worship his or her god, Betty’s "sacred rites" are those of applying make-up to Belinda’s face and combing her hair. These "rites" are performed in the name of "Pride." And Pope capitalizes the "P" in "Pride" to parallel the "G" in God. The elaborate preparation that Betty and Belinda go through in the morning is compared to a religious worship because Pope is seeking to satirize the aristocracy and its inherent vanity.
Item Sample 2
When Washington Irving wrote "Rip Van Winkle", he used an old German folktale and relocated it to the Hudson Valley, as a way of providing American mythology to a newborn nation. An important feature in the rapid development of the New World was its magnificent and undeveloped landscape, which contrasted greatly to that in England. Irving used the setting to describe a familiar place in order to create a previously non-existent American identity. He drew upon vivid imagery to depict a majestic landscape that one wants to surround themselves with. The reader becomes captivated through a dream-like state, as if they were physically present in the Hudson Valley. In the author’s statement "Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the Kaatskill mountains" (848), he implied that not only is it beautiful but also that it is as recognizable as landmarks of note over in England. He provided validity to the story by using a genuine location. The author described the Catskills as "a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family" (848), which evokes an image of isolation, as well as paralleling the American "dismemberment" from "the great family", which was England. He states that they are "seen away to the west of the river" (848), almost as if providing directions to any who is in search of this destination. The mountains are described as "swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding country" (848), and "blue and purple" (848), which represents royalty. By using these descriptive words, the author introduces the landscape as if an "American aristocracy". The mountains have immense authority and power, ruling and protecting its population. Irving believed that nature itself was enough to stimulate one’s imagination. The author described the land through "magical hues" (848), evoking the image of an enchanted forest, both a desired site to see and setting the tone for a folktale. Irving states that "every change of season, every change of weather" and "every hour of the day" (848), cause a modification in the "shape of the mountains" (848). It is almost as if the mountains are morphing in some mystical manner. Irving notes that the mountains are "regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers" (848). In every culture, there is some form of "good wives" that exist as a reliable authority. The author used the weather conditions to depict a crusade. At this point in time, American history was too young to have great Greek and Roman battles and legends. The author depicts a "fair and settled" (848) sky as times of peace and beauty, as well as "bold outlines on the clear evening sky" (848) to reassure a firm power, even in times of calmness. The term "evening" refers to old age, dating the mountains and reminding that the land of the new nation has existed for a great period of time. As the weather changes, the author notes that the commanding mountains "gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits" (848), and act as if defensive against an impending threat. "In the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory" (848), proclaiming victory over the adversary. Irving mastered the use of visual imagery, painting the American landscape as a master work of art captured on canvas. By helping to identify the American identity, he provided a sense of belonging in a world of ancient nations.