So Many Choices

I have a paper to write for history class. Well, all my classes, except for French. We have to come up with 4-6 pages of original thought on any of the readings.

This assignment asks you to return to one of the texts we have read during the semester and to analyze it in a sustained and detailed way. You should return to one (and only one) of the assigned readings with the intention of asking and answering a question that we were not able to pursue in class. Again, the intention here is not to repeat what we’ve discussed in class but to combine your knowledge of the American literary-historical narrative with your skills as an astute interpreter of literary texts. This combination of background knowledge and interpretive skill should permit you to make an original argument about one of the texts we’ve discussed.

Let’s see if I can narrow it down…

My Choices for this Crazy
History Paper

Introduction: American, Literary, History

Discovery: Appropriation and Transformation

  • Christopher Columbus (N I 24-35) —“Letter to Luis de Santangel,” N I 25-26 ; “Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella,” N I 27-28
  • Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (N I 28-30)—From The Relation, N I 30-36

British Colonization and the Beginnings of American Exceptionalism

  • John Smith (N I 43-45)—From A Description of New England, N I 54-57
  • William Bradford (N I 57-58)—From Of Plymouth PlantationN I 58-75
  • John Winthrop (N I 75–76)—“A Model of Christian Charity,” N I 76–87

Personal Practices, Puritan Ideals

  • Anne Bradstreet (N I 97)—“The Author to Her Book,” N I 106-07; “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” 109; “Here Follows Some Verses…,” 109-110

Personal Practices, Puritan Ideals–continued

  • Mary Rowlandson (N I 117-118)—From A Narrative of the Captivity, N I 118-134

The End of “The Old New England Way”

  • Edward Taylor (N I 134-135)—“Huswifery,” N I 142
  • Cotton Mather (N I 143-144)—From The Wonders of the Invisible, 144-149
  • Jonathan Edwards (N I 168-170)—“Personal Narrative,” N I 170-180

Literature of Revolution and the New Republic

  • Thomas Paine (N I 324-325)—From Common Sense, N I 326-332
  • Thomas Jefferson (N I 338-340)—From The Autobiography, N I 340-46

The American Scene

  • J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur (N I 309-310)—From Letters from an American Farmer, N I 310-20
  • Phillis Wheatley (N I 419-420)—“On Being Brought from Africa to America,” N I 420-21; “To His Excellency George Washington,” N I 427-28; “To the Right Honorable William,” N I 428-29
  • Thomas Jefferson—From Notes on the State of Virginia, N I 750-52

Auto-American-Biography, Auto-Atlantic-Biography

  • Benjamin Franklin (N I 218-220)—From The Autobiography, N I 276-292
  • Olaudah Equiano (N I 355-356), The Interesting Narrative, N I 357-390

Early Romanticism

  • Washington Irving (N I 453-455)—“Rip Van Winkle,” N I 455-466
  • James Fennimore Cooper (N I 467-469)—From The Last of the Mohicans, N I 469-475
  • William Apess (N I 482-483)—“An Indian’s Looking Glass for the White Man,” N I 483-488

Early Romanticism and Transcendentalists

  • William Cullen Bryant (N I 475-477)—“Thanatopsis,” N I 477-478
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson (N I 488-492)—From Nature (Intro and chapter one),  N I 492-495
  • Henry David Thoreau (N I 825-829)—“Economy” (From Walden), 844-886
  • Margaret Fuller (N I 736-739)—“The Great Lawsuit,” N I 739-747

Romanticism and the Gothic

  • Edgar Allan Poe (N I 671-674)—“The Black Cat,” N I 705-711
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne (N I 589-592)—“The Minister’s Black Veil,” 622-631
  • Herman Melville (N I 1089-1092)—“Benito Cereno,” N I 1118-1174

Literature of Slavery and Abolition

  • Frederick Douglass (N I 920-923)—From Narrative, N I 956-963
  • Harriet Jacobs (N I 804-805)—From Incidents, N I, 808-815

Proto-Modern Poetry (Unit 3 carry-over)

  • Walt Whitman (N I 991-995)—Preface to Leaves of Grass, N I 996-1010; From Leaves of Grass (“Song of Myself”), N I 1011-1018
  • Emily Dickinson (N I 1197-1200)—Poem # 236 (p. 1203-1204), Poem # 260 (p. 1204), Poem # 340 (p. 1207), and Poem # 374 (p. 1211)

Regional Realism

  • Mark Twain (N II 93-97)—“The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” N II 97-101
  • Sarah Orne Jewett (N II 414-415)—“A White Heron,” N II 415-422
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar (N II 641-642)—“An Ante-Bellum Sermon,” N II 644-645; “Sympathy,” N II 646; “We Wear the Mask,” N II 646-647

Psychological Realism

  • Henry James (N II 315-318)—“The Beast in the Jungle,” N II 374-403
  • Edith Wharton (N II 519-521)—“The Other Two,” N II 521-34


  • Theodore Dreiser (N II 585-587)—From Sister Carrie, N II 587-601
  • Stephen Crane—“The Open Boat,” N II 603-619

Anglo-American Modernist Prose

  • Ernest Hemingway (N II 1065-1067)—“The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” 1067-83
  • Katherine Anne Porter (N II 971-972)—“Flowering Judas,” N II 973-81

Anglo-American Modernist Poetry

  • Ezra Pound (N II 842-843)—“A Pact,” NII 845; “In a Station,” N II 851
  • H. D. (N II 849-850)—“Mid-day,” N II 850-851
  • Amy Lowell (N II 757-758)—“September, 1918,” N II 761
  • T.S. Eliot (NII 861-863)—“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” 863-866
  • Gertrude Stein (NII 763-765)—From Tender Buttons

Harlem Renaissance

  • W. E. B. Du Bois (N II 551-553)—From The Souls of Black Folk, 553-558
  • Countee Cullen (N II 1107)—“Yet I Do Marvel,” N II 1108;
  • Langston Hughes (N II 1087-1089)—“The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” N II 1089; “The Weary Blues,” N II 1090-91
  • Zora Neale Hurston (N II 981-982)—“The Gilded Six-Bits,” N II 985-93

Modernism and American Frontiers

  • Frederick Jackson Turner (676-677), from The Significance of the Frontier in American History, 677-681
  • William Carlos Williams (831-833), “To Elsie,” N II, 836-838
  • Carlos Bolusan (N II 1121-1122)—“Be American,” N II 1122-1127
  • Ralph Ellison (N II 1253-1254)—“A Party Down at the Square,” blackboard (Course Materials under “Non-Norton Readings”)

Twentieth-Century US Drama

  • Tennessee Williams (N II 1158-1160), A Streetcar Named Desire, N II 1161-1222


  • Thomas Pynchon (N II 1541-1542)—“Entropy,” N II 1543-1552
  • Raymond Carver (N II 1556-1557)—“Cathedral,” N II 1557-1567


  • Toni Morrison (N II 1461-1462)—“Recitatif,” N II 1462-1475
  • Gloria Anzaldúa (N II 1586)—“How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” N II 1587-95

A little discussion.

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