The Dark Romantics and Young Goodman Brown

A part of the Romantic period, the Dark Romantics were a group of writers that, instead of focusing on the beauty of nature and the inherit good in man, focused instead on the supernatural, spooky and darker side of nature and the inherit evil that was possible in man. Death grief, mental illness and the supernatural were all common in the poems and short stories of the Dark Romantics. You may recognize some of the writers in this group – Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. In class we will also be studying Emily Dickinson during this period, though there is some debate on whether or not she is truly a ‘Dark Romantic’ writer.

First, be sure to review the video from class over the Dark Romantics:

Our first Dark Romantic tale will be Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Young Goodman Brown’. Before reading this story let’s review an important literary concept that will be very important to understanding Hawthorne’s purpose – the allegory.

In class we discussed the classic allegory of the cave from Plato, where prisoners only know the world through the shadows of objects reflected on the cave wall by firelight. One prisoner escapes and see the real world outside of the cave; he is determined to go back and share what he has found with the other prisoners – however, few dare to leave the cave to find out about the real world for themselves, and most don’t believe this man.

 

We also discussed other allegorical stories you may be familiar with – the story of the hare and the tortoise, or George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

 

In Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, we see a young man travel one night into the woods outside of Salem, leaving his sweet wife at home to worry for him. On the way through the woods he meets a series of characters that challenge his beliefs and reveal to him the true nature of man and himself. Hawthorne set his story during the Puritan period – Hawthorne’s own great-great grandfather, Judge John Hathorne convicted’witches’ to hang during the Salem Witch trails; his great-great-great grandfather William Hathorne persecuted Quakers. These events and Hawthorne’s family history feature prominently in his story, including “Young Goodman Brown”.

As you read the story, remember our discussion that each of the characters serves as a symbols for a larger idea, or has very specific symbols associated with them. For example, Brown’s wife is “Faith” – her name serves as an obvious symbol for what she represented. The Old Man in the story has a black walking stick that looks like a snake – this is closely associated with what his character is meant to represent in the story. As you read, keep track of the character’s actions and the symbols associated with them in your Character Analysis Chart. We will use this after we finish reading the story to help us understand the deeper allegorical meaning that Hawthorne is trying to make.

Click here to read the story of Young Goodman Brown

Click here to find a copy of the Character Analysis chart if you misplaced yours.

Click here to find the discussion questions for the story if you have misplaced yours.

we discussed how the symbolic meaning of the character’s names can help you to better understand the overall allegory of the story. As you read, be sure to keep track of the character’s actions and the symbols associated with them in your character analysis chart. We will use this analysis to help us discuss what we believe the allegorical message of the story to be by the end.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

Informational Essay Outlining and Writing

 

Now that we’ve reviewed what an informational essay is and you’ve brainstormed your ideas for the following prompt:

      • Select two poems that you have read an analyzed from Fireside poets. Think about the themes and devices used in BOTH poems. Then write an explanatory essay in your own words comparing and contrasting how the poems, their style  and their themes are similar or different. Be sure to use information from BOTH passages in your explanatory essay.

it is time to begin the next step in the writing process – planning out and writing your essay.

Compare and contrast essay have two distinct structure, subject by subject or point by point. For the purpose of our essay prompt about, it is best if we look at point by point. Watch the video from class below if you need a review of these structures:

In class we took notes and reviewed exactly how to structure your paper:

*Notice that we also came up with a quick structure for your thesis, and I wrote an example thesis for you


In class we wrote clear thesis statements and used them to determine how many point (or paragraphs) we would have in our essay. As you work on your essay, please be sure to review the writer’s checklist I provided you to ensure you include all the required items:

Writer’s Checklist

Be sure to:

  • Introduce the topic clearly, provide a focus, and organize information in a way that makes sense.
  • Use information from the two passages so that your essay includes important details.
  • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
  • Identify the passages by title or number when using details or facts directly from the passages.
  • Develop your ideas clearly and use your own words, except when quoting directly from the passages.
  • Use appropriate and varied transitions to connect ideas and to clarify the relationship among ideas and concepts.
  • Use clear language and vocabulary.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style.
  • Provide a conclusion that supports the information presented.
  • Check your work for correct usage, grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

You can also assess your own work with the EOC grading rubric I will use – click here to access the prompt and the rubric. 

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019 Uncategorized

Informational Essays – Structure and Brainstorming

For this unit’s writing assessment, you will write an informational essays over a series of selected passages that you are provided.

According to Owl Purdue:

“The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.

Please note: This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.

The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

It is essential that this thesis statement be narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment.  Does your thesis answer the prompt? If not, fix it!

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.

  • Body paragraphs that include support.

Each paragraph should be limited to one general idea. Each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.

  • Support! Support! (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

You should have two pieces of quality evidence from the sources that support your thesis statement in general, and the topic of that particular paragraph specifically. Use a mix of direct quotes and paraphrases.

  • A bit of creativity!

Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of  writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.”

There are also different types of information essays with different structures –

 

 

For this first essay we will be writing a compare and contrast essay.  Our prompt is as follows:

      • Select two poems that you have read an analyzed from Fireside poets. Think about the themes and devices used in BOTH poems. Then write an explanatory essay in your own words comparing and contrasting how the poems, their style  and their themes are similar or different. Be sure to use information from BOTH passages in your explanatory essay.

In class we discussed the importance of the writing process, specifically brainstorming and planning, to write a high quality essay. You first step is to choose the two poems from class you would like to use and brainstorm ways that they are similar or different – use the venn diagram as we demonstrated in class, or a three column chart to organize your ideas. This is the first step to writing a solid essay, and you’ll need it in class later!

 

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

The Early Romantics – The Fireside Poets

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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, themes, and imagery; however, there format and structure 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  fireside poets – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendall Holmes, James Russell Lowell 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. His first wife Mary Potter died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife Frances Appleton died in 1861 after sustaining burns when her dress caught fire. Longfellow sustained severe burns to his face trying to put out the flames, which he hid under his beard afterwards. His severe grief over her death meant he wrote less, and instead translated his previously written poetry into other languages.

 

Picture1William Cullen Bryant wrote poems, essays, and articles that championed the rights of workers and immigrants. In 1829, Bryant became editor in chief of the New York Evening Post, a position he held until his death in 1878. His influence helped establish important New York civic institutions such as Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1884, New York City’s Reservoir Square, at the intersection of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, was renamed Bryant Park in his honor. “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.

John Greenleaf Whittier was the son of two devout Quakers, he grew up on the family farm and had little formal schooling. From 1831 until the Civil War, he wrote essays and articles as well as poems, almost all of which were concerned with abolition. In 1833 he wrote Justice and Expedience urging immediate abolition of slavery. Whittier founded the antislavery Liberty party in 1840 and ran for Congress in 1842. While Whittier’s critics never considered him to be a great poet, they thought him a nobel and kind man whose verse gave unique expression to ideas they valued. The Civil War inspired the famous poem, “Barbara Frietchie,” but the important change in his work came after the war. From 1865 until his death in 1892, Whittier wrote of religion, nature, and rural life; he became the most popular Fireside poets.

James Russell Lowell was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Charles Lowell and Harriet Spence. An ardent abolitionist, Lowell published widely in many anti-slavery newspapers, such as the Pennsylvania Freeman and the Anti-Slavery Standard. He also published a number of literary essays, political pamphlets, and satirical works. In 1853, Lowell’s wife and three of their four children fell ill and died. Two years later, he returned to Harvard to replace Longfellow as professor of modern languages and literature. He spent the following year traveling and studying in Europe, then returned to Harvard to teach for the next twenty years. Known for his politics and personal charm, Lowell was appointed to the position of United States Minister to Spain in 1877, then served as United States Minister to England from 1880 to 1885.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. was an American physician and poet from Boston. A member of the Fireside Poets, he was acclaimed by his peers as one of the best writers of the day.  He was also an important medical reformer. He began writing poetry at an early age; one of his most famous works, “Old Ironsides”, was published in 1830 and was influential in the eventual preservation of the USS Constitution. Following training at the prestigious medical schools of Paris, Holmes was granted his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1836. He taught at Dartmouth Medical School before returning to teach at Harvard and, for a time, served as dean there. During his long professorship, he became an advocate for various medical reforms and notably posited the controversial idea that doctors were capable of carrying diseases to their patients if they didn’t take precautions and properly sanitize. Holmes retired from Harvard in 1882 and continued writing poetry, novels and essays until his death in 1894.

 

 

Below you will find the link to the poems you will be analyzing. Remember, you need to not only analyze the poem in depth, but be sure to make connections between the content of these poems and the themes of the Romantic period. You will also be completing a project with these poems – the instructions and assignment is attached below as well.

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

Click here to access the assignment and grading rubric.

Click here for an annotated copy of the poems. 

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

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. The five major themes we’ll be looking at include:

  • Imagination and Escapism
  • Looking to the Past for Wisdom
  • The Common Man as a Hero
  • Nature as a Source of Spirituality
  • The Importance of the Individual

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’) – this 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 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. 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 movement known as “Transcendentalism” (they had their own literary magazine, The Dial, which Fuller edited).  They valued imagination and believed that one could find God in nature. 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 critiqued Emerson’s idealism. Melville, Hawthorne and Poe are often categorized as ‘Dark Romantics’. Dark Romantics are much less confident about the notion the common man as a hero, as believed by Transcendentalists. They believe that individuals are prone to sin and self-destruction, depression, low morals and a lack of wisdom. Dark Romantics saw the natural world as dark, decaying, and mysterious – not a spiritual place to be close to God.  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!

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019

Putting it All Together – Analyzing Primary Sources from the Expansionist Period

In class this week we have been looking at documents from the Expansionist period – each examining a major event or key concept from the period. Below you will find your classmates’ presentations over the use of rhetoric in each of their primary source documents, as well as an annotated copy of the text. Finally, you’ll see my copy of the notes I took during their presentation on our foldable. NOTE: KEEP UP WITH THIS FOLDABLE. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO USE IT ON THE NINE WEEKS EXAM.

 

 

 

Expansionism Foldable

Your job is to read the two remaining documents and add annotations and analysis to your own copies. Then, with all of these resources I would like to answer the following questions for each document on the back of the foldable:

  1.  In the article about Lowell Mills, why does the author reference Patrick Henry when she says “ In the language of one of old, we ask when shall we be stronger?Will it be the next week,or the next year? Will it be when we are reduced to the servile condition of the poor operatives of England?”. Why is this allusions to a Revolutionary founding father effective?
  2. In “The Profession of a Woman”, why does Catherine Beecher use rhetorical questions so often? What effective does this have on the reader?
  3. Why is there a lack of logos, but many appeals to pathos and ethos, in President Andrew Jackson’s Second State of the Union Address?

Finally, let’s discuss the BIG QUESTION for these documents – What defined America during the Expansionist period? What changes from the Revolutionary period and Puritan period can we see in the primary source documents we have examined? Why are these changes so important in shaping the America we live in today?

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019 Uncategorized

Analyzing Expansionist Documents

As we transition out of the Revolutionary Period it is incredibly important that you understand that literary periods are fluid…that means that there isn’t a line in the sand drawn between Revolutionary Literature and Romanticism right after 1776. The time after America’s Independence and the start of the Transcendental movement is an incredibly important few decades in which our economy, our borders, and our perception of what it means to be ‘American’ rapidly grew and changed. The literature from this time period reflects these changing viewpoints and the conflict that arises when social, political and economic upheaval happen all at once. Without this period of expansionism, we wouldn’t have the Transcendental movement.

During this period issues of economic changes, the role of women in the new country of America, and the displacement of Native Americans were reflected in the documents and literature of the time period. We will be examining documents from a report at Lowell Mill, Catherine Beecher and Andrew Jackson on each of these topics.

In groups you will examine one document from the period, identifying the speaker and the intended audience. You will annotate the text for examples of ethos, pathos and logos. Finally, you’ll determine how the speaker/write of the document effectively appealed to their audience using ethos/pathos/logos.

Next, you will work to create a presentation of your analysis for the class. Each group member will be responsible for one portion of the presentation, but ALL group members will need to have annotated and analyzed the text. Click here for the assignment instructions Rhetorical Analysis and here for the group work checklist.

You will present your analysis of the documents to your peers on September 30th, 2019.

Please click here see an example of a previous group of students’ powerpoint presentation to give you an idea of what this project could look like.

 

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019