Keith

Multi-Genre Research Project PDF


Post #6

Week 14



Two poems from two different authors will be looked in this post. Both dealing with death in a different way.
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712 is a about a person who has seemingly died and was picked up by a horse and carriage by Death. The opening line “Because I could not stop for death- He kindly stopped for me” leads me to believe that the person who died was not older like most people who died but a younger person who's death came as a surprise. While in the carriage they pass by a school filled with children which would represent life and when they reach a House that is buried in the ground I would assume that it is a grave. One of the most interesting things is that time passes so fast for this person “Since then- 'tis Centuries – yet fells shorter than the day I first surmised the Horses' Heads were towards Eternity” Time is only something the living are concerned with and when someone is dead it does not matter anymore. It's also interesting because they will be in the grave forever since they cannot move on their own. They will spend Eternity in that grave.
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The other side of the coin, Walt Whitman's The Wound-Dresser deals with a doctor or a medic treating soldiers within some sort of conflict. Given the time this was written, I would have to surmise that it was about the Civil War and treating soldiers injured within it. While Dickinson dealt with death after the fact, here is Whitman trying to keep it away. He treats all sorts of patients and injuries mostly from gunshots and some are so young that he feels great pain for them. “Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you”. There is only so much that a doctor can do and given the time that it was taking place medical treatments were not advanced at all and were very ineffective. There are a few cases of amputation within the poem and that seemed to be the treatment for most things back then since medicine was still very new.
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There are even some cases where Whitman comes across a patient who is actively fighting death for nothing and the only thing the Doctor can do is wish for death to come fast. “(Come sweet death! Be persuaded O beautiful death! In mercy come quickly!)” Even though the doctor has been put through Hell to treat these men and it has taken a toll on his mind and body, he remains strong in the face of death and does not let it stop him. “There and more I dress with impassive hand, (yet deep in my breast a fire, a burning flame.)” He stays strong to stop people from seeing the same fate as the person from [712] saw.


Post 5

Week 13 Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Eliza Harris

NAAL: 1191-1193

1853, 1854

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Eliza Harris is a poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. It is interesting because it is named after a character from the anti-slave novel Uncle Tom's Cabin and it deals with Eliza and her escape with her child through an icy cold river. The woman was trying to cross the freezing Ohio river to escape her life as a slave and give her son the freedom he deserved. This was going to happen even if it ended up killing them. “For she is a mother -- her child is a slave -- she'll give him his freedom or find him a grave!” The poem is interesting because it gives a great view of how desperate slaves were becoming and how badly they wanted freedom from the South and to come up North. The poem is told in an interesting way as people look on at Eliza and how she is tired and frightened but her maternal instincts are so powerful that she won't stop until she's dead. This narrator is interesting because they feel sorrow for what the woman is going through but they don't seem to do anything but watch. The identity of these people came up a lot, were they slaves too, were they white people who didn't care that she was escaping? It makes me wonder how they could do nothing while they watched this woman almost die in a river. “A woman whose crime is the hue of her face” One of the more interesting facts that came out of this poem is the fact that Eliza's race was in question. I had assumed that she was black since I never read Uncle Tom's cabin but many of the picture depicting her make her look white and still she was a slave. From what I can find out she was lighter skinned because her parents were different races but even then she was forced to be a slave.
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The times before the Civil War are one of the most mind-blowing times I can every recall in the United States history. The North and The South are just so different in the way they went about things and how they lived and it's a shock that before the Civil War they were united. It almost seems like a different planet when you hear some people talk about how cruel the south was and how progressive the North was. It's actually surprising that the Civil War did not happen sooner than it did. “How say that her banner in mockery waves- Her “star spangled banner”- o'er millions of slavers”
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Post # 4

Week 12

“The Raven”

Edgar Allan Poe


http://www.youtube.com/v/k0gsduLrfSU?fs=1

The Raven is one of the most amazing pieces of poetry I have ever come across in my opinion. I learned a lot about it in high school in many literature classes and even today after writing this post I find new things hidden within it that I had no idea existed before. The Raven tells the story of a scholar, sitting in his home during a rainstorm. He hears a noise outside and he opens it to find a raven. This raven sits atop a statue and the narrator is shocked to find out the raven can speak. It only speaks one word however: “Nevermore”. The narrator is suffering from the death of his lover Lenore and because of this he is in a fragile mental state. The narrator, intrigued by the raven tries to find out more about this peculiar thing that has visited him and while doing so he begins to ask it questions and every answer he receives is “Nevermore”. Eventually the bird begins to drive the man insane and he begins to curse it. “Prophet, said I. Thing of evil!”Eventually the man asks the bird if he will even see his lover Lenore in heaven and he replies yet again “Nevermore”. The raven does not leave the man and the narrator says he will never have his spirits lifted again.
http://www.youtube.com/v/hIXKwA4xt-o?fs=1&hl=en_US

As I said in the intro, I have a lot of love for the Raven, mostly because of how much I worked with it in school back in the day. It is one of those things that is so open to interpretation that over the years you find more and more things about it and opinions about things you thought you knew before change. One of my favorite things about it is how well written it is. One of my favorite things is to hear someone else read it aloud. It carries so much emotion with it and in the hands of a good narrator, it can send chills down your spine. The dark tones, the rainstorm, the black bird speaking all set up for the perfect mood for horror. You feel the pain the narrator feels because of the death of his loved one and you feel the decent into madness he is going though as he is tortured by grief and this talking bird.

http://www.youtube.com/v/sXU3RfB7308?fs=1&hl=en_US

Post #3

Week 11

From the Great Lawsuit: Men versus Men, Women versus Women

NAAL Page 739-747

Margaret Fuller

1843

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Equality is something we as a people have become very accustomed to recently. Prejudice is something many of us have probably not seen in our lives and those that have probably don't want to remember it. It's amazing to think that one point in time we, The United States of America had slaves. We also suppressed Women and did not allow them the same rights as men. Margaret Fuller in an excerpt from her full text spoke briefly on the problems many people were facing within the 1800's. Women were not allowed the same freedoms as men when it came to how they lived their lives, how they learned in school and what they were allowed to do for the rest of their lives. It seemed hard to find any woman not being raised to be a mother or a wife. Fuller has an interesting view on marriage and how both people are two sides of the same coin and how they complete each other and such. I was instantly reminded of the old saying: “Behind every great man is a great woman.” and I'm not sure if that was Fuller's point but that's what I got out of it at least.” Women the poem, men the poet; woman the heart, men the head; such divisions are only important when they are never to be transcended.” The entire point however was that it was not right for women to be treated differently than men and they should be allowed to live the way men live. “Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to liquid. There are no wholly masculine men, nor purely feminine women.” This is also a very good point brought up by Fuller in her text. Many of the reasons why women were held back in the world could probably be credited towards some kind of man somewhere. Whatever the reasons people thought that women couldn't do certain things probably didn't think that a man out there was probably in the same boat. I've never seen some kind of problem that couldn't be fixed by someone who knows what they're doing. Man or Women if you teach them they will understand.
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After Fuller discussed the many example she had of equal marriage and the problems she had with the way things work out she gave a great example of how the times were back than. A father is seen with his daughter and wants the best things to happen for her, but when she has a chance to become educated the father does not allow it because a man would not marry a superior woman and that would leave no one to protect her when he dies. “A profound thinker once said “No married woman can represent the female world, for she belongs to her husband””

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Post # 2

Week 10

"A Pslam of Life"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

NAAL 645-646

1838

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem “A Psalm of Life” in 1838 about how life is meant for living. This is a time where religion was strong in culture and many people were living here on earth just passing time before death where they would be rewarded in the afterlife. Many of the religions that have an afterlife paint it as some sort of paradise if you follow the rules and repent for your sins. Seeing life as some sort of test before you get to the real meat and potatoes of your soul in heaven is fine in a way but it really devalues the way people look at life in the long run. Life is meant for living and I think Longfellow felt the same way. Death should not be the goal of your life it should be the opposite. You should live your life your way and accomplish your goals. Death is the end of your life on Earth and because of that you should live and fulfill yourself. It's almost hedonism in a sense but as Longfellow says “Life is real—life is earnest—And the grave is not its goal” Another thing Longfellow brings up in his poem is being against following the crowd. Many people in that time were all following the same rules and values mostly because they didn't want to upset the majority and all of their power. Back then, if you were an outsider, many things could happen to you that could change your life forever or even end it depending on who you were. But Henry didn't see it that way. “Be not like dumb, driven Cattle! Be a hero in the strife!”
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I value individuality very much. One of the things that drive me crazy in the world is when people try to suppress people and their beliefs mostly because they are in the majority. Now I'm not saying that you should do anything. There are some opinions that are too extreme and encourage suppressing and hurting others and those are the only cases where you should be oppressed. But to be topical, people in New York trying to stop Muslims from creating a community center just because it's close to Ground Zero or Old Men in the government campaigning to stop gay rights are not good. These people, as long as they don't want to hurt anyone should be allowed to do what they want without persecution and ridicule. I'm a huge supporter of living your own life and unless these people are trying to hurt me in some way, they should be allowed to do what they want. This is the land of the free and now more than ever we should enforce that.

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Post # 1

Week 9

"An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man"

William Apess

NAAL Page 483

1833

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William Apess wrote a piece of writing titled An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man all about discrimination seen against other races within the United States at the time. Race relations during the time this was written were very poor. This is 1833, 30 years before the Emancipation Proclamation and slavery was still perfectly legal within the United States. Slaves were not the only race the White Man treated poorly however, Natives were abused very much during this time and many of the Natives were taken away from their homes and almost removed completely from the homes they had lived in all of their lives. This is 3 years after the Indian Removal Act was passed and you can tell the relationship between the White Man and the Native Americans were strained to the breaking point if not broken already. makes a very good point in the start of his writing. “God who is the maker and preserver both of the white man and the Indian.” Apess, a Native American himself, sees that there should be no difference between races since God loves and created all. The people, enacting this discrimination, preached all these teachings of God and Jesus Christ and for them to that believe in their teaching and then go and kill and remove all these people from their homes and then say all men are created equal and own slaves is some of the biggest hypocrisies ever. “Why are we not protected in our persons and property throughout the Union.” The government will protect your rights, as long as the person that needs protecting is a white person. Native Americans specifically, were abused so much during the time this was written. They were removed from their land, and this is after they were removed from the land they lived in before, and then put in some of the poorest quality land out there. Many of the people involved in this however, did not see anything wrong with what they were doing. They said that it was destiny and willed by God. “Can you deny that you are not robbing the Indians daily, and many others?”Slavery.jpgexternal image trail_of_tears.jpg
One of my biggest problems with the History of the United States is how poorly we treated the people who owned this land before us. They welcomed us with open arms when we were escaping from our old homes and in return we took them for all they were worth and stole all kinds of land from people and quickly swept in under the rug. But the people we abused did not forget what we did and I'm glad nowadays we see the horrors that people went through and learn never to commit such acts to anyone ever again. Slavery is also something that is such a great part of our history and for people to try and to downplay its significance and impact throughout history is inexcusable. We have what we have now because of what we did in the past. Good or Bad, we need to embrace the actions our forefathers were responsible for. We need to apologize for our actions and be responsible for them to all the people we hurt in our history and only then can we grow as a people.

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Mini-Essay Prompt:

Select a few lines from a specific piece of Revolutionary War literature –lines that you find particularly memorable or inspiring. Write an essay in which you identify the line or the passage, explain its relationship to the work in which it is found, and analyze the reasons for its effectiveness.



Literary Text Chosen:

Letters from an American Farmer by J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur

From Letter III. What is An American
The Norton Anthology American Literature Textbook
Pages 310- 320


“Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow.”


People are a product of their environment. These people, absorbing all the knowledge they can about their values from their family. Developing a culture from the society they live within and learning social norms from the people they interact with. People in Europe however, were not happy in their place and sought to go somewhere new to better themselves. They were tired of the culture they grew up in and dropped everything to come to North America. All types of people left to this new land and made towns full of all types of races and colors. These people were not truly free though, as the people who oppressed them were still in charge. Then one day there was a revolution and these people stopped being French or English and were united under one new name: American. People left the world they grew up in behind and all the knowledge and values they had were rendered useless. The prejudice and hatred, people learned from the bickering European nations had no place in this new land. French and English worked side by side, Mormon and Catholic were now neighbors instead of enemies. Instead of growing into the same tired people that were found in Europe at the time. These people grew into their own people. Eventually pushing back completely from their countries and becoming something completely new to the world. With fresh new soil present, these seedlings were able to grow and become something entirely different.

Sociology suggests that people are the product of the culture they are brought up within. This quote suggests something similar. If your farm continues to produce the same weak, unhealthy crops the soil might be to blame. This was probably one of the main reasons why many people within Europe left their homes for the Americas. Minorities within England for instance were punished for being different. Religions quarreled amongst themselves about who is right. It was a very depressing and oppressive place to live if you didn't follow the bandwagon and it's no surprise people left it. The soil had become useless. An interesting thing happened when many of the people left however, they did not bring New England to the Americas. It resembled nothing of the sort. These people were different, with different viewpoints and different values. They were entirely different people and they were not happy being controlled by other countries anymore.

The author talks at length about a group of neighbors that are farmers and shows how this change from European to American takes place. They are all different people, with different views and different religions. They are different, but all their farms are the same, all of their hard work pays off as much. No one is more entitled than the other even though many were brought up to think this. Then these people will have a family and their children might grow up to marry one of the children of their neighbor. Then they will teach their child both cultures and the differences eventually won't matter. The people will focus less on the values they were taught from their old countries and focus on making their own, based on how their lives are here, not there. This new type of plant will flourish and create something entirely new, not the same fruit we have seen time and time again.