American Literature

Paper #2 Assignment


For this paper assignment, I will give you a specific set of questions. However, should you have a different subject or a different focus that you wish to write about than what is offered here, be sure to ask and I will probably okay your subject. These questions should be used as STARTING POINTS in writing your paper.

  1. The Early writers are interested in defining this new person called an American. Based on these writers, how can an American be defined up through the Civil War era? What are the important issues and ideas being discussed and developed in the Literature of the day and time shown in this credit?

  2. This section adds what is commonly called diversity to the study of American Literature. We get women's voices, slave's voices, poor voices, etc. Explain, in detail, why diversity is so important in studying a culture and/or its literature. What do these voices add that Franklin, Crevecouer, Irving, Poe, etc. did not?

  3. Compare and contrast Douglass' view and depiction of freedom and liberty with the other writers in this module. All American writers of the 18th and 19th centuries are interested in Freedom, but Douglass takes the discussion to a different level.

  4. Compare and Contrast Fern’s view and depiction of women with how they are represented in the other, earlier, male writers. Be sure to explain WHY Fern’s depiction was different, not just show that it was.

  5. THESIS: one element that is very significant, and yet often overlooked, in American literature is the use of humor, whether subtle or broad. These works help show how even the most serious of American authors uses humor on a regular basis as well. AGREE or DISAGREE, citing evidence either way.

You do NOT have to answer one of these questions. As indicated in the first paragraph above, if you have a different subject or focus that deals with these readings, feel free to write that paper instead. These questions are only to be considered possible STARTING POINTS, to get you thinking the right way. REMEMBER THAT IN THIS CLASS, THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT ANSWER.

Don't spend much time summarizing or re-telling the stories. Remind us of the important plot points or pieces of dialogue, but assume that your readers have just recently read the stories and the philosophers.

This is an essay and should be written as such. Introduction, conclusion and body paragraphs are expected. I expect to read details and examples from the authors to back up your claims.

This should be a multi-page essay.

You do not have to worry about citing your sources at this time. You also are NOT expected to do any additional research, whether on the Internet or at the Library. I am interested in YOUR interpretation, not other authors' interpretations.