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 American Literature

Final Project Example: Money

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The theme I found throughout most of these works is one that we as Americans focus on in almost every aspect of our daily lives: MONEY. Of course, not every selection we read deals directly with money, but most include it somehow. In some cases it shows up more in the form of success, rather than actual money, but money is easier to illustrate on a bulletin board.

My bulletin board would have a large piggy bank in the center, with a green dollar sign on his side. Surrounding the bank would be several characters from the literature showing their relationship to money in their particular stories.

  • Benjamin Franklin would be carrying under each arm a loaf of bread and a gold dollar sign.
  • Poe's Toby Dammit would be shaking hands with the devil, but there would be a black dollar sign in place of his head to represent what he lost in his bet.
  • Although Hawthorne's Aylmer was not in search of money, he went after perfection as wildly as some do for money, so I would include him, holding his lifeless wife in his arms, who of course would have a birthmark on her cheek, a black dollar sign.
  • Ruth Hall would be seated at a desk writing, and on the paper would be a large dollar sign, starting at the top of the page in black and gradually changing to gold.
  • For Twain's novel, I would create a two-part scene. I would show Roxie making her fateful switch, sort of, placing a gold dollar sign around her own son's neck, and a black one around the neck of the true "master," followed by a picture of Pudd'nhead reversing the switch on the grown boys.
  • For O Pioneers, I would start with Alexandra planting a small black dollar sign in the dry ground, and then show her looking out over her fields, now filled with bright gold dollar signs.
  • "A Deal in Wheat" would be displayed by a black dollar sign being taken from the wheat farmer, placed on a train car, where it changes to gold, on a circular track around Hornung and his brokers, and finally, back with Sam Lewiston in his red wagon (the dollar sign is still gold, but smaller in size).
  • I would also show Lutie standing in the "street" desperately reaching out her arms. Standing in a circle around her would be Junto, the Chandlers, and Mrs. Hedges, all holding gold dollar signs just out of Lutie's reach. Outside of the circle would be Boots, lying on the ground with a black dollar sign lying next to him, and Bub, behind bars which of course are black dollar signs.

There were most likely other references in several works to money and/or success, but these were the ones that really stuck out in my mind (and any more would make my bulletin board the size of Sleepy Hollow).