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									                                              The Colonial Period (Beginnings to 1750)

Native Americans

Emphasis/Characteristics: Native American culture focused on the common origin of all things, tribal traditions and rituals, and
respect for all of nature.

Literary Formats: Folklore, mythology, ceremonial songs, prayers, historical narratives, and poems.

Writers:          Onondaga – ―The Earth on a Turtle‘s Back‖ p. 16-18
                  Modoc – ―When Grizzlies Walked Upright‖ p. 19-21
                  Navajo – ―Navajo Origin Legend‖           p. 22-23


Emphasis/Characteristics: Exploration of ―America‖, fascination with the wilderness.

Literary Formats: Diaries, journals, narratives/autobiographies, and letters.

Writers:          Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca – ―A Journey Through Texas‖                        p. 32-36
                  Garcia Lopez de Carndenas – ―Boulders Taller Than the Great Tower of Seville‖ p. 37-38
                  Olaudah Equiano – ―The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano   p. 44-48


Emphasis/Characteristics: Puritans wanted to ―purify‖ the Church of England. They felt that the Bible was God‘s law, that people
were basically sinful, and that only God decides who will be ―saved‖ and who will not. The Puritans valued education, art, and literature.
The ―Great Awakening‖ was also an important aspect of this time period.

Literary Formats: Sermons, diaries, journals, narratives, and poetry. Fiction and drama were not allowed.

Writers:          William Bradford – ―of Plymouth Plantation‖                     p. 78-84
                  Anne Bradstreet – ―To My Dear and Loving Husband‖               p. 102
                                    ―Upon the Burning of Our House‖               Handout
                  Jonathan Edwards – ―Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God‖       p. 108-112

                                               The Revolutionary Period (1750 – 1800)

Emphasis/Characteristics: This time period was called the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment because people believed that the
universe was a well-ordered place that was able to be understood through reason. They also believed that the use of reason would
result in scientific advances, better government, and an ideal society. It was determined that imagination must be restrained by reason
and common sense, and there was more concern with ―now,‖ rather that the ―hereafter‖ or the supernatural.

Literary Formats: Almanacs, pamphlets, essays, songs, poetry, and speeches.

Writers:          Benjamin Franklin – ―from The Autobiography‖                    p. 140- 145
                                      ―from Poor Richard‘s Almanack‖              p. 146-148
                  Thomas Paine - ―from The Crisis, Number 1‖                      p. 160-162
                  Patrick Henry – ―Speech in the Virginia Convention‖             p. 186-190

                                               The Early National Period (1800 – 1855)

American Romanticism

Emphasis/Characteristics: The movement called Romanticism believed that reason had been emphasized too much. The
Romantics felt that emotion was more important than reason and than nature was more important than society. The Romantics were
interested in the individual, folk tales, legends, and the supernatural. These ideas fit the mood and ideals of America, since closeness
to nature and importance of the individual were important themes of American life. The Romantics and their optimism toward life were
a good fit with our young, growing country. A great deal of focus was placed on the Anti-slavery, women‘s rights, and free public
education movement.

Literary Formats: Poetry, novels, shorts stories, sketches, and folklore.
Writers:          Washington Irving - ―The Devil and Tom Walker‖                   p. 242-252
                  William Cullen Bryant – ―Thanatopsis‖                            p. 267-269


Emphasis/Characteristics: This literary movement developed during the 1830s in the Boston area. Transcendentalist writers
believed that there are kinds of knowledge that transcend, or go beyond, reason and experience. They encouraged people to have
faith in their own ―inner light,‖ or intuition, focused on the individual, and looked to nature for inspiration.

Literary Formats: Essays, novels, short stories, and poetry.

Writers:          Ralph Waldo Emerson - ―from Nature‖ and ―Self-Reliance‖                           p. 388-390, 391-392
                  Henry David Thoreau – ―from Walden‖ and ―Civil Disobedience‖                      p. 403-411, 412-413
                  Walt Whitman – ―I Hear America Singing‖ and ―A Noiseless Patient Spider‖          p. 442, 444


Emphasis/Characteristics: Unlike the early Romantics and Transcendentalists, this group of writers did not express a hopeful outlook.
Their work explored the darker side of human nature. They believed that truth and happiness are not always found and that human
nature is a mix of good and evil. Poe and Hawthorne are credited with inventing the modern short story.

Literary Formats: Essays, novels, short stories, and poetry.

Writers:          Edgar Allan Poe – ―The Fall of the House of Usher‖               p. 308-325
                  Nathaniel Hawthorne - ―The Minister‘s Black Veil‖                p. 336-348
                  Emily Dickinson – ―Because I could not stop for Death‖           p. 420-421
                                    ―I heard a Fly buzz--when I died—―             p. 423

                                              The Late Nineteenth Century (1850 – 1914)

Literature of the Civil War

Emphasis/Characteristics: The question of slavery divided the nation as tension grew between the Northern and Southern states.
Important political documents were written during this time. The focus of much writing was on slavery and States‘ Rights.

Literary Formats: Speeches, debates, letters, essays, narratives, newspaper articles and short stories.

Writers:          Stephen Crane – ―An Episode of War‖             p. 476-480
                  Ambrose Bierce – ―An Occurrence at Owl Creek‖   p. 508-521
                  Frederick Douglas – ―My Bondage and My Freedom‖ p. 496-507


Emphasis/Characteristics: Writers of this era began to break with tradition and rebel against the sentimentality of the Romantic era.
Writers developed a style called Realism that used clear direct language to present ordinary, everyday events. This style reflects the
careful look that many Americans were taking at their country. Subject matter often included factories, slums, workers, bosses,
criminals, and social outcasts. During this time people also began taking particular pride in the region in which they lived. This
movement, called Regionalism, focused its attention on the unique character of the various regions of the country with a focus on
dialect, customs, and characters.

Literary Formats: Short stories, novels, poetry, travel books, songs, and spirituals.

Writers:          Mark Twain – ―The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County‖            p. 569-579
                  Bret Harte – ―The Outcasts of Poker Flat‖                                p. 580-590
                  Kate Chopin – ―The Story of an Hour‖                                     p. 634-643


Emphasis/Characteristics: Naturalism was a type of writing developed during the second half of the 1800s. It represents an extreme
form of realism in that naturalists try to portray people and events accurately but believe that people have no control over their fates.
Human beings are viewed as victims of their surroundings, desires, and drives.

Literary Formats: Short stories, novels, poetry, travel books, songs, and spirituals.

Writers:          Jack London – ―To Build a Fire‖               p. 608-622
                                                    The Modern Age (1914 – Present)


Emphasis/Characteristics: No longer trusting the ideas and values of the world out of which the war had developed, people sought to
find new ideas that better suited 20 century life. Modernists experimented with a wide variety of new approaches and techniques,
producing a remarkably diverse body of literature. Yet the Modernists shared a common purpose: They sought to capture the essence
of modern life in both the form and content of their work. To reflect the fragmentation of the modern world, the Modernists constructed
their works out of fragments, omitting the expositions, transitions, resolutions, and explanations used in traditional literature. In poetry,
they abandoned traditional forms and meters in favor of free verse, whose rhythms they improvised to suit individual poems. The
themes of their works were usually implied, rather than directly stated, creating a sense of uncertainty and forcing readers to draw their
own conclusions. In general, Modernist works demanded more from readers than the works of earlier American writers. At the same
time, Modernists helped to earn American literature a place in the world‘s esteem.

Literary Formats: Short stories, novels, poetry essays, songs, speeches, and narratives.

Writers:          John Steinbeck – The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men p. 768-770
                  Earnest Hemingway – ―In Another Country‖ p. 809-814
                  Eudora Welty – ―A Worn Path‖ p. 820-831
                  Carl Sandburg – ―Chicago‖ and ―Grass‖ p. 838-839
                  William Faulkner – ―Race at Morning‖ p. 840-845
                  Robert Frost – ―Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening‖ and ―Mending Wall‖ p. 885-887


Emphasis/Characteristics: The Modernist movement was ushered in by a poetic movement known as Imagism. This movement
lasted from 1909 – 1917. The Imagists rebelled against the sentimentality of nineteenth-century poetry. They demanded instead hard,
clear expression, concrete images, and language of everyday speech.

Literary Formats: Poetry

Writers:          Hilda Doolitle (H.D.) – ―Pear Tree‖ and ―Heat‖ p. 737-743
                  Ezra Pound – ―A Few Don‘ts by an Imagiste‖ p. 729-731

The Harlem Renaissance

Emphasis/Characteristics: African American writers in Harlem, mostly newcomers from the South, were creating their own
renaissance. It began in 1921 when Countee Cullen published ―I Have a Rendezvous with Life.‖ What occurred thereafter was a burst
of creative activity by African American Writers, few of whom had been born in New York. Most of them moved to Harlem during the
renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was publicly recognized in March 1924, when young African American writers met the literary
editors of the city. These writers who were said to be long ―oppressed and handicapped… have gathered stores of emotion and are
ready to burst forth with a new eloquence.‖ The Renaissance lasted throughout the 1920s into the 1930s. The writers of this
renaissance belonged to no single school of literature, but they did form a coherent group. They saw themselves as part of a new and
exciting movement. In addition to producing their own exceptional works, they opened the door for the African American writers who
would follow them.

Literary Formats: Short Stories, novels, poetry, narratives, speeches, songs, and essays.

Writers:          Zora Neal Hurston – ―from Dust Tracks on a Road‖ p. 914-925
                  Langston Huges – ―The Negro Speaks of Rivers‖ p. 926
                  Claude McKay – ―The Tropics in New York‖ p. 930-935
                  Countee Cullen – ―From the Dark Tower‖ p. 936
                  Arna Bontemps – ‗A Black Man Talks of Reaping‖ p. 937
                  Jean Toomer – ―Storm Ending‖ p. 938

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