Spotlight on Historical Context – Footbinding

After you read the poetry of Chinese activities Ch’ui Chin last week, many of you in class decided that you wanted to write your extended response over how Chin used imagery in her poems to protest the Chinese practice of footbinding. I thought I would post a little information for those of you that were interested in learning a little more about this ancient and taboo Chinese custom.

596441-001Foot binding (also known as “lotus feet”) was the custom of applying painfully tight binding to the feet of young girls to prevent further growth. The practice possibly originated among upper-class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in Imperial China (10th or 11th century), then became popular during the Song dynasty and eventually spread to all social classes. Foot binding became popular as a means of displaying status (women from wealthy families, who did not need their feet to work, could afford to have them bound) and was correspondingly adopted as a symbol of beauty in Chinese culture. Its prevalence and practice however varied in different parts of the country.

The Manchu Kangxi Emperor tried to ban foot binding in 1664 but failed. In the later part of the 19th century, Chinese reformers challenged the practice but it was not until the early 20th century that foot binding began to die out as a result of anti-foot binding campaigns. Foot-binding resulted in lifelong disabilities for most of its subjects, and a few elderly Chinese women still survive today with disabilities related to their bound feet.

Click here to listen to a very interesting podcast that details the history of foot binding, as well as the procedure and when it was outlawed. 

According to some news organization, foot binding has recently made a come-back in China, with modern girls choosing to have their foot broken and bound in the traditional ‘lotus foot’.

Click here to read a 2014 article about modern foot binding resurgence.

Remember, this isn’t information for a test or quiz – I just appreciated how interested so many of you were in learning more about this historical custom, and wanted to point you in the direction of more information! 🙂

10th Grade Literature Fall 2015 Fall 2015

Thoreau’s Walden

Henry_David_Thoreau_-_Dunshee_ambrotpe_1861Friend and follower of Emerson, Henry David Thoreau is probably the most well known and well read of all the Transcendentalist. His book, Walden  is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings.The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. First published in 1854, it details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. The book compresses the time into a single calendar year and uses passages of four seasons to symbolize human development.




The one room cabin Thoreau built himself and lived in on the shores of Walden Pond.

Although Thoreau is held today in great esteem, his work received far less attention during his lifetime, and a considerable number of his neighbors viewed him with contempt and the book found only marginal success during Thoreau’s lifetime. It was not until the twentieth century that Thoreau’s extraordinary impact on American culture was felt. In the upsurge in counterculture sentiment during the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights era, Walden and “Civil Disobedience” inspired many young Americans to express their disavowal of official U.S. policies and declare ideological independence, even at the risk of arrest.


Click to watch a video that tours Walden Pond and Thoreau’s cabin by the woods.


Walden also expressed a critique of consumerism and capitalism that was attractive to the ‘hippies’ and others who preferred to drop out of the bustle of consumer society and pursue what they saw as greater and more personally meaningful aims. Moreover, Thoreau politicized the American landscape and nature itself, giving us a liberal view on the wilderness whose legacy can be felt the current environmentalism. He did not perceive nature as a dead and passive object of conquest and exploitation, as it was for many of the early pioneers for whom land meant survival. Rather, he saw in it a lively and vibrant world unto itself, a spectacle of change, growth, and constancy that could infuse us all with spiritual meaning if we pursued it.

The American poet Robert Frost wrote of Thoreau, “In one book … he surpasses everything we have had in America”, while John Greenleaf Whittier, a contemporary of Thoreau, criticized what he perceived as the message in Walden that man should lower himself to the level of a woodchuck and walk on four legs. He said: “Thoreau’sWalden is a capital reading, but very wicked and heathenish… After all, for me, I prefer walking on two legs”.


Thoreau’s original journals from his time at Walden Pond.

As you read through the excerpts of Walden this weekend, be sure to look for examples of Thoreau’ main themes – simplicity, self-reliance and ‘progress’ (think about our discussions during Expansionism for this one!). Also, you will need to be able to discuss how Thoreau is at once a student of Emerson, and also how he interprets Emerson’s Transcendental ideals in a new light, or how he contributes new ideals to Transcendentalism.



Click here to watch an overview of Thoreau’s Walden


Near Concord, Massachusetts --- Autumn Trees at Walden Pond --- Image by © Mick Roessler/Corbis

Near Concord, Massachusetts — Autumn Trees at Walden Pond — 












We will have Socratic Seminar on Monday – and you will be writing a substantial essay over Emerson and Thoreau on Tuesday! Come prepared! I re-read all of Walden each summer you guys, so you’re really going to have to ‘bring it’ Monday…. I have high expectations of you next week! 🙂

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015

Spotlight on Historical Context – Creating Transcendentalist Utopias

If it weren’t for the Transcendentalist, the summer of 1969 and the Hippie Communes of the 1970’s may have never happened – the idea of communal living and finding a ‘heaven on earth’ didn’t start in the 20th century, but way back in the 1840’s.

In the 1840s, Boston’s West Roxbury suburb — which was completely rural at the time — was home to an experiment in transcendentalist utopian living: the Brook Farm community. The idea was to create an environment of balance and equality. But as is often the case when a group of people unprepared for the realities of living off the land try to live off the land, the Brook Farm Community wasn’t a completely successful endeavor. Many famous Transcendentalist are connected to Brook Farm – Nathaniel Hawthorne lived there, and Emerson was invited on multiple occasions. Additionally, many of the women at Brookfarm were able to experience more personal freedoms than they had at any other point in their lives, contributing to the first wave of Feminism and the Women’s Suffrage Movement that was taking off in America.

Click here to listen to the podcast about the Brook Farm Community – A Transcendental Heaven on Earth

0520417cc1f0f804f082843ee3a6dacdIn addition to Brookfarm, there was also Fruitland, the community start by educational reformer and Transcendentalist Bronson Alcott. That name may be familiar as his daughter, Louisa May Alcott, is a famous Transcendentalist herself and author of the novel Little Women. The Alcott family lived in Concord, Massachusetts and was connected to many of the most famous Transcendentalist of the day – Hawthorne was good friends with Bronson, and bailed him out of debt on many occasions; Louisa was neighbors with Emerson, and would visit Thoreau at his cabin on Walden Pond, bringing him fresh wildflowers. The Alcott’s serve as a reminder that the Transcendental movements brought new ideas not just about scholarship and philosophy, but also education, slavery and women’s rights.

Click here to listen to the podcast on Bronson Alcott

And click here to listen to the podcast on Louisa May Alcott

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015

10th Grade Literature Vocabulary

Students – below you will find the vocabulary lists for class, divided up by week. Rememeber, you will have a quiz each Friday!

Week One:

  • Oral Tradition
  • Cultural Values
  • Themes
  • Cultural Experiences
  • Universal Theme
  • Point of View (1st, 2nd, and 3rd)
  • Myths
  • Folktales
  • Legends
  • Epics
  • Characters
  • Settings
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Archetypes
  • Diction
  • Protagonist
  • Antagonist

Week Two:

  • Alliteration
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Metaphor
  • Extended Metaphor
  • Allusion
  • Tone
  • Mood
  • Symbolism
  • Parallelism
  • Repetition
  • Rhyme
  • Connotation
  • Denotation
  • Irony
  • Personification
  • Rhyme Scheme
  • Stanza
  • Enjambment
  • Imagery
  • Kennings
  • Diction
  • Anaphora

Week 3

  • Apartheid
  • Philosophical Assumptions
  • Disreputable
  • Amenable
  • Edifice
  • Dialect
  • Destitute
  • Inaudibly
  • Dissent
  • Commiserate
  • Lamentations
  • Indifferent
  • Pigments
  • Lassitude
  • Indelible
  • Inexplicable

Week 4

  • (See posts on African Epic, Short Story and Memoirs for groups’ individual vocabulary lists)

Week 5

  • Nationalism
  • Filial Piety
  • Deliberately
  • Prefectures
  • Associations (verb)
  • Subsequent
  • Diction
  • Shrine
  • Concessionaires
  • Plausible
  • Cohorts
  • Vagrants
  • Corpses
  • Betrothals
  • Inaugurate
  • Counterfeit

Week 10

  • impede
  • stupor
  • ragpicker
  • grandeur
  • magnanimous
  • frivolous
  • conjecture
  • catechism
  • impertinence
  • antiquarian
  • terrestrial
  • ingenuous
  • pontiff
  • befuddled
  • virtue
  • proliferate
10th Grade Literature Fall 2015

The Father of Transcendentalism – Emerson’s ‘The American Scholar’

“The American Scholar” was a speech given by Ralph Waldo Emerson on August 31, 1837, to the Phi Beta Kappa Society at the The First Parish in Cambridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was invited to speak in recognition of his groundbreaking work Nature, published a year earlier, in which he established a new way for America’s young  society to regard the world. Sixty years after declaring independence, American culture was still heavily influenced by Europe, and Emerson, for possibly the first time in the country’s 01-emerson2-450history, provided a visionary philosophical framework for escaping “from under its iron lids” and building a new, distinctly American cultural identity. Consider this message in relation to the works of the Fireside Poets who, though they wrote about American images, still maintained the formal style and meter of British poetry of the time. William Cullen Bryant, Fireside Poet, declared that Emerson’s “American Scholar” speech was essentially the nations “intellectual Declaration of Independence”.

Click here to watch a brief video that will provide background and biographical information about Emerson, as well as his role as the ‘Father of Transcendentalism’.

Emerson’s prose is very complex – please know that before you begin reading the text. Plan to write in your text with a pencil, and plan to spend a little more time than normal reading through each paragraph. Emerson’s complex syntax is not the only reason you will need to carefully read and analyze this text – his use of heavily layered metaphors, allegories, fables and allusions add an incredible amount of depth. Please take your time analyzing and understanding this text – and be sure to leave comments on here if you have questions over the break about ‘The American Scholar’ – I WILL be checking and answering them! It is important that you understand this text – Emerson is pivotal in understanding the Transcendentalist writings and ideas that follow him.

Remember – “The American Scholar” starts on page 390 of your textbook Writing In American: Composition in Context.

If you left your book at school – 1. Shame on you! and 2. You can find this speech for free online, as its now in the public domain.

 If you would like to listen to the audio of the speech and following along, please click here.

As you prepare for our Socratic discussion of Emerson, let the following questions be a guide to help you.

  1. What is the first influence on Man Thinking (the Scholar)? What does the intellect do with nature? What is he really studying when he studies Nature?
  2. What is the second influence on Man Thinking? Discuss the complexities of Emerson’s musings here.
  3. What is the third requirement for Man Thinking? Explain.
  4. Why is labor essential?
  5. What phrase sums up the totality of the duties of the American scholar? Explain
  6. What are the snags that are thrown in his way? What are the only rewards?
  7. Why is self-trust vital?
  8. What are the most dangerous pitfalls to the scholar?
  9. Look through The American Scholar and choose four sentences which, if taken out of context, could strike a reader as outlandish. How can we explain their inclusion in this essay? What is their effect? When Emerson declares that books “are for nothing but to inspire,” does he mean precisely that? How are we to respond? Is a sentence like this to be taken at face value?
  10. When Emerson delivered this address, the systematic study of the natural, physical, and social sciences was only beginning at British and American universities. Engineering, psychology, organic chemistry, economics–these were virtually unknown as subjects for formal study on campuses. Do modern college curricula reflect Emerson’s thinking in significant ways? Has Emerson been left behind by the educational revolution which he helped to begin? Which principles voiced in The American Scholar figure in your thinking about this question?

Some of the interesting question that you guys have proposed in class (because you are amazing, amazing kids), and that deserve a more in-depth analysis (or would make good essay topics, or may end up on your exam) were:

  1. Do you believe Emerson would have approved of the education that the young men of Phi Beta Kappa were receiving at Harvard? What about the American education system today – how would Emerson react to it?
  2. What are the syntactical similarities between Emerson and Patrick Henry (Speech to the Virginia Convention)?
  3. How did Emerson and Jefferson pick out a similar audience to appeal to, and why did they pick this particular group (ie. In Jefferson’s letter to Chastellux, discussing the abolition of slavery).
  4. Did Emerson decide to speak to a Greek organization for a deeper reason? Did he consider that if his message was successful, the fraternal brotherhood would pass these ‘Transcendental’ ideas on in their traditions?
  5. Does assigning a numeric/monetary value to knowledge/education undermine the entire idea?
  6. Why do we assign value to knowledge (numeric/monetary) and when did this begin happening?
  7. Was Emerson a Christian? How does he reconcile some of his more radical ideas (the divinity of nature/man=nature=man) with his Christian faith?
  8. How is Emerson’s approach to faith and religion similar to those of some of the Founding Fathers?
  9. Why does Emerson use so many seemingly contradictory and paradoxical ideas in ‘The American Scholar”?
  10. Do you think Emerson believes that everyone should be educated? Do you think Emerson believes everyone should receive an Ivy League, liberal arts education? What value does Emerson assign to education, and does he differentiate between education about different skill sets and classes?
  11. How would Emerson feel about academia today and the seeming drive within it for scholars to prove others wrong, rather than engage in collaborative dialogue?
  12. Are we a more introverted society, or a more extroverted society? How has the ‘individualism’ that Emerson calls for changed since 1837?  How does social media figure into the changing perception of ‘individualism’?
  13. Emerson says that the American Scholar must be brave and heroic – that to take action is to be brave. How do you see this tenant of Transcendentalism in your own experience as a student/scholar? Do you feel comfortable accepting failure as a part of learning? Do you feel that the educational systems allows you to struggle in order to grow?

No wonder so many of you guys said your brain hurt after class today – these are incredibly deep questions you poised to each other! I’m very proud of your progress! Best quote from the discussion goes to Taylor:

“Emerson doesn’t want us to seek the approval of the public opinion, but to be comfortable in the assertions of our own experience and knowledge.” 

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015

The Early Romantics – The Fireside Poets


Until the third decade of the 19th century, America had little literature to call its own. Fireside poets represented a “coming of age” for the young country, as a first generation of poets took their name from the popularity of their works which were widely read as family entertainment (and in the schoolroom). These poets chose uniquely American settings and subjects, but their themes, meter, and imagery, however, were borrowed from  English tradition. Though not innovative, they were literary giants of their day, and by examining their poems for images of American daily life, politics and nature we can see the beginnings of the Romantic writings that follow.


You will be examining the poetry of two fireside poets – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and William Cullen Bryant.


The Mount of the Holy Cross – Colorado

Longfellow is by far the most famous of the Fireside Poets. No other American poet, not even Robert Frost, has matched Longfellow’s popularity at the height of his career. A bust of Longfellow was placed in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey (alongside Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton. Longfellow was a classmate of Nathaniel Hawthorn. He believed his task was to create in memorable form a common heritage for Americans and in the process to create an audience for poetry.


Picture1You should remember Bryant from our unit over Expansionism in American Literature, as we read his news article ‘On the Right to Strike’. The fame he won as a poet while in his youth remained with him as he entered his eighties; only Longfellow and Emerson were his rivals in popularity over the course of his life. “Thanatopsis,” if not the best-known American poem abroad before the mid nineteenth century, certainly ranked near the top of the list, and at home school children were commonly required to recite it from memory. At his death, all New York City went into mourning for its most respected citizen.



Below you will find the link to both of Longfellow’s short poems you will be analyzing – “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls” and “The Cross of Snow”, as well as Bryant’s poem “The Chambered Nautilus”. You need to not only analyze the poem in depth, but be sure to make connections between the content of these poems and the ideals of the Romantic/Transcendental writers we will be reading later.

Click here to access the poems in case you lost your hardcopy from class.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015

American Romanticism

The “Romantic Period” refers to literary and cultural movements in England, Europe, and America roughly from 1770 to 1860.  Romantic writers (and artists) saw themselves as revolting against the “Age of Reason” (1700-1770) and its values.  They celebrated imagination/intuition versus reason/calculation, spontaneity versus control, subjectivity and metaphysical musing versus objective fact, revolutionary energy versus tradition, individualism versus social conformity, democracy versus monarchy, and so on.

Other elements that influenced the writing of the Romantic period was that the frontier promised opportunity for expansion, growth, freedom (which Europe lacked as it had nothing new to ‘discover’); the spirit of optimism invoked by the promise of an uncharted frontier; the new cultures and perspectives brought in by immigration; the polarization of the industrial north and agrarian south;
and the growth of secularism that had begun in the Puritan Era, and now resulted in Americans looking for new spiritual roots.

As we have discussed in class multiple times, it is very hard to define literary movements are draw a clear line between when this literary era began and ended and when another starts. This is very true for the Romantic period.  Early writers in the Romantic periods are often identified as The Fireside Poets -the first group of American poets to rival British poets in popularity in either country. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier,Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and William Cullen Bryant are the poets most commonly grouped together as the ‘Fireside Poets’. Their strict focus on form and meter make their writer seem very British and Victorian when contrasted with later Romantics, but the content of their poetry usually focuses on uniquely American images (images of nature or the frontier,American home life and contemporary politics ). In general, these poets preferred conventional forms over experimentation, and this attention to rhyme and strict metrical cadences made their work popular for memorization and recitation in classrooms and homes. At the peak of his career, Longfellow’s popularity rivaled Lord Alfred Tennyson’s in England as well as in America, and he was a noted translator and scholar in several languages—in fact, he was the first American poet to be honored with a bust in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.

Emerson and Thoreau, along with Margaret Fuller, are a part of a literary/philosophical/theological movement known as “Transcendentalism” (they had their own literary magazine, The Dial, which Fuller edited).  They privileged imagination and wanted to resuscitate spiritual values in a era in which institutional religion dominated (or so they felt).  According to them, we are, if we only knew it, Gods in ruin, with the power to regain our spiritual birthright by attending to the divine within. Walt Whitman is also a Transcendental writer, and heavily influenced by Emerson – however, his unique style separates him from other Transcendental writers. As the longest living Romantic writer, Whitman published well into the 1880’s, and later in life readers can see a definite shift in his writings that reflect the work of other Realist (the period after Romanticism)

Dickinson, Melville, Hawthorne and Poe however, were not Transcendentalists, and often (implicitly or explicitly) critique Emersonian idealism. Melville, Hawthorne and Poe are often categorized as ‘Dark Romantics’. Dark Romantics are much less confident about the notion perfection is an innate quality of mankind, as believed by Transcendentalists. They believe that individuals are prone to sin and self-destruction, not as inherently possessing divinity and wisdom. Secondly, while both groups believe nature is a deeply spiritual force, Dark Romanticism views it in a much more sinister light than does Transcendentalism, which sees nature as a divine. For these Dark Romantics, the natural world is dark, decaying, and mysterious; when it does reveal truth to man, its revelations are evil and hellish. Finally, whereas Transcendentalists advocate social reform when appropriate, works of Dark Romanticism frequently show individuals failing in their attempts to make changes for the better.

If all of this sounds really confusing, as all of these periods and genres seems to be overlapping and happening simultaneously, hopefully this graphic will help:

Romanticism Bubbles

Make sure you have a clear understanding of Romanticism and its various sub-genres before we return from fall break! For all of my audio/visual kids out there, please click the link below to watch a short video that covers the Romantic period!

Click here to watch the notes over Romanticism!

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015

Andrew Jackson – On Indian Removal

As we examine the effects of manifest destiny on the American identity, we must also remember to pay attention to how westward expansion and the resulting idea of ‘America’ affected the country’s native inhabitants.
Since the beginning of the course we have examined the representations of the Native Americans in early American texts and literature. As we approach the end of American westward expansion and enter into the Romantic period of American literature, it is important to examine multiple perspectives surrounding the Indian Removal Act and Trail of Tears to have a richer understanding of this important event and the rhetoric surrounding it.


Below you will find a the link to our reading materials for this assignment – 11 different documents over the removal of the Native Americas of the southeast by the Indian Removal Act. The documents include:

  • jackson-meme-rulesThe Cherokee Constitution of 1827
  • A first person account from a Cherokee tribesman on the success of the ‘civilizing’ project among the Cherokee
  • A letter from a missionary about Cherokee religion
  • Andrew Jackson’s Second State of the Union Address
  • “To the Cherokee Tribe of Indians”, from Andrew Jackson
  • The memorial of a delegation of the Cherokee Nation of Indians
  • A petition by ladies of Steubenville, OH, against Indian removal
  • A memorial and protest of the Cherokee Nation
  • John Burnett’s Story of The Trail of Tears
  • Letter from Chief John Ross defending the Cherokee’s right to their land
  • Letter to the Cherokee’s from Major General Scott


As you read these documents, be sure to analyze the use of rhetoric and pay attention to the author’s choices in regards to diction and syntax. You will need to complete SOAPSTone Plus analysis for the documents and a series of constructed responses that cite textual evidence.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015

The Foreign Mission School and Religious Tolerance in America

The relationship between earlier settlers, and later Americans, and the Native inhabitants of this country is an ongoing topic that we revisit in the texts we study in class.  In our class discussions we have noted the use of stereotypes when referring the Native Americans – the term ‘Native America’ itself in its homogeneous application, the ‘Noble Savage’ and ‘Wise Chief’, the ‘Indian Princess’ and the ‘Squaw’ and the barbarous ‘Savage’. We have also discuss how the Native American individuals themselves also seemed to purposely play into these stereotypes knowing that, unless they appeared to fulfill the preconceived notions of the white settlers and early Americans, there was a greater chance of their protests and pleas being ignored (See the post over Red Jacket’s speech for more information on this).

While many of the founders of the nation practiced Deist principals regarding religion, Christianity was still the dominant religion and touchstone for most Americans. The conflict between Puritan ideals and the Catholics and Quakers eventually shifted into the conflict between Protestants and all other religions (even other sects of Christianity) by the time of expansionism. In the early days of settlement, the conversion of the Native American was seen as a vital step to ‘civilizing’ the new world (as we discussed in our readings of Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative and Ben Franklin’s ‘Notes Concerning the Savages’), and as America set her eyes westward to expand, so the need to convert and assimilate the Native people of the American west to Christianity became another vital step in expansion.

One of the earliest accounts of this attempt at conversion took place at The Foreign Mission School. As we discuss and analyze the writings of Native American and Hawaiian students of this school, it is important to have a deeper understand of its history and historical context. 

The Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut was founded with the

plan that it would draw young men from world cultures, educate them, convert them to Christianity, and then send them back to their native lands to spread their new found religion. Click here to listen to the podcast episode over ‘The Heathen School’. 

And click here to read and listen to a recent interview with the author of the new book “The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Early Republic” and read a short excerpt from the book

We we be examining the letters of two Cherokee students at The Foreign Mission School, David Brown and Elias Boudinot, to a Swiss Baron that wanted to fund the school. These letters were written at the insistence of the school’s principal who claimed that the letters were the students’ own writing except for the changing of “a very few words”.


Elias Boudinot

Click here to read the letters of The Foreign Mission School students.

You will be working together in small groups to conduct a rhetorical analysis of the letters, focusing on the syntax, diction and rhetorical devices used by the students of the mission school to achieve their purpose of securing further funding for the school. Be prepared as a class the effectiveness of the author’s writing during the time period and compare that to its effectiveness to a modern readership. Also be able to discuss the reliability of the letter as a primary source document, and  cite specific evidence from the text that adds or detracts from its credibility.

*Note: If you are interested in researching or learning more about the issue of religious tolerance in America, this article from The Smithsonian can provide a jumping off point for more information – Click here for the Smithsonian article.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015

The Expedition of Lewis and Clarke – Synthesizing Multiple Perspectives


As we examining the Era of Expansionism, it would be impossible to skip the contributions of the thousands of pages of information supplied by the expedition of Lewis and Clarke. Recording daily notations on the flora and fauna of the west, as well as the Native inhabitants, weather patterns, natural resources and maps charting the terrain, the team members of the expedition provided the young America with valuable 1st person accounts of the new frontier into which we wished to expand.

As you read through the journal salmonlcentries that appear in your text, and in the attached document below, you will see the contribution of not just Lewis and Clarke, but also expedition members Floyd, Gass, Ordway, and Whitehouse. As you read through these be sure to consider the questions below, as we will discuss them in class:

  • Which writer provides the most descriptive account vs. the most factual account?
  • Why is it important for modern reader to analyze all the accounts from each given writer for each day?
  • How should a modern reader synthesize this information to create a more complete understanding of their journey?
  • Even after synthesis, is our understanding of the journey still affected by historical bias?

**A Note About Spelling In The Attachment (from 144613-004-50D3A138the source,
The spelling and capitalization of Lewis, Clark, and other members of the expedition have been retained as nearly as possible, but some conventionalizing has been necessary. Uncrossed t’s and undotted i’s and the like have been silently corrected. Misspelled words have been corrected in brackets when necessary for clarity. When letters or words defy comprehension, conjectural readings have been given in brackets with a question mark signifying the editor’s uncertainty. With ambiguous spelling, the journalist’s typical spelling has been taken as a guide, or the modern spelling has been adopted in disputed cases. With Clark that is nearly impossible. One researcher discovered that Clark spelled the word Sioux “no less than twenty-seven different ways.” Little can be promised in the way of consistency, for no rule can stand against Clark’s inimitable style.

Click here for the handout of the expedition letters not included in your textbook.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015