Literature an Introduction to Reading and Writing 8th Edition

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Reading, Responding to, and Writing about Literature.

What Is Literature, and Why do We Study It?

Types of Literatures: The Genres.

Reading Literature and Responding to It Actively.

Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace.


2. Fiction: an Overview

Modern Fiction.

The Short Story.

Elements of Fiction I: Verisimilitude and Donnée.

Elements of Fiction II: Character, Plot, Structure, and Idea or Theme.

Elements of Fiction III: The Writer’s Tools.

Raymond Carver, Neighbors.

Edwidge Danticat, Night Talkers.

William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily.

Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried.

Alice Walker, Everyday Use.

Plot: The Motivation and Causation of Fiction.

Writing about the Plot of a Story.

Illustrative Student Essay:

Plot in Faulkner’s“A Rose for Emily”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Plot in Fiction.

3. Structure: The Organization of Stories.

The Structure of Fiction.

Formal Categories of Structure.

Formal and Actual Structure.

Laurie Colwin, An Old-Fashioned Story.

Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal.

Katherine Mansfield, Miss Brill.

Eudora Welty, A Worn Path.

Tom Whitecloud, Blue Winds Dancing.

Writing about Structure in a Story.

Illustrative Student Essay:

The Structure of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path.”

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Plot and Structure.

4. Characters: The People in Fiction.

Character Traits.

How Authors Disclose Character in Literature.

Types of Characters: Round and Flat.

Reality and Probability: Verisimilitude.

Willa Cather, Paul’s Case.

William Faulkner, Barn Burning.

Susan Glaspell, A Jury of Her Peers.

Joyce Carol Oates, Shopping.

Amy Tan, Two Kinds.

Writing about Character.

Illustrative Student Essay:

The Character of the Mother in Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Character.

5. Point of View: The Position or Stance of the Narrator or Speaker.

An Exercise in Point of View: Reporting an Accident.

Conditions That Affect Point of View and Opinions.

Determining a Work’s Point of View.

Mingling Points of View.

Point of View and Verb Tense.

Summary: Guidelines for Point of View.

Alice Adams The Last Lovely City.

Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

Ellen Gilchrist, The Song of Songs.

Shirley Jackson, The Lottery.

Jamaica Kincaid, What I Have Been Doing Lately.

Lorrie Moore, How to Become a Writer.

Writing about Point of View.

Illustrative Student Essay:

Bierce’s Control Point of View in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Point of View.

6. Setting: The Background of Place, Objects, and Culture in Stories.

What Is Setting?

The Literary Uses of Setting.

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street.

Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Portable Phonograph.

James Joyce, Araby.

Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl.

Irwin Shaw, Act of Faith

Writing About Setting.

Illustrative Student Essay:

The Interaction of Story and Setting in James Joyce’s “Araby”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Setting.

7. Style: The Words That Tell the Story.

Diction: The Writer’s Choice and Control of Words.

Rhetoric: The Writer’s Choices of Effective Arrangements and Forms.

Style in General.

Ernest Hemingway, Soldier’s Home.

Alice Munro, The Found Boat.

Frank O’Connor, First Confession.

Mark Twain, Luck.

John Updike, A & P.

Writing about Style.

Illustrative Student Essay:

Mark Twain’s Blending of Style and Purpose in Paragraphs 14 and 15 of “Luck.”

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Style.

8. Tone: The Expression of Attitude in Fiction.

Tone and Attitudes.

Tone and Humor.

Tone and Irony.

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour.

Leslie Marmon Silko, Lullaby.

Americo Paredes, The Hammon and the Beans.

Mary Yukari Waters, Aftermath.

Edith Wharton, The Other Two.

Writing about Tone.

Illustrative Student Essay: Kate Chopin’s Use of Irony in “The Story of an Hour”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Tone.

9. Symbolism and Allegory: Keys to Extended Meaning.






Allusion in Symbolism and Allegory.

Aesop, The Fox and the Grapes.

Anonymous, The Myth Of Atalanta.

Anita Scott Coleman, Unfinished Masterpieces.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown.

St. Luke, The Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Katherine Anne Porter, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall.

John Steinbeck, The Chrysanthemums.

Writing About Symbolism or Allegory.

Illustrative Student Essay (Symbolism): Symbols of Light and Darkness in “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”.

Illustrative Student Essay (Allegory): The Allegory of Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown ”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Symbolism and Allegory.

10. Idea or Theme: The Meaning and the Message in Fiction.

Ideas and Assertions. Ideas and Issues. Ideas and Values. The Place of Ideas in Literature. How to Find Ideas.

Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson.

Anton Chekhov, Lady with Lapdog.

Ernest J. Gaines, The Sky Is Gray.

D.H. Lawrence, The Horse Dealer’s Daughter.

Irene Zabytko, Home Soil.

Writing About a Major Idea in Fiction.

Illustrative Student Essay: Toni Cade Bambara’s Idea of Justice and Economic Equality in “The Lesson ”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Ideas.

11. A Career in Fiction: Four Stories by Edgar Allan Poe, with Critical Readings for Research.

Poe’s Life and Career.

Poe’s Work as a Journalist and Writer of Fiction.

Poe’s Reputation.

Bibliographic Sources.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Poe.

The Fall of the House of Usher (1839).

The Masque of the Red Death (1842).

The Black Cat (1843).

The Cask of Amontillado (1846).

Selected Criticism of Poe’s Stories for Research

12. Ten Stories for Additional Enjoyment and Study.

Robert Olen Butler, Snow.

John Chioles, Before the Firing Squad.

Stephen Crane, The Blue Hotel.

Stephen Dixon, All Gone.

Andre Dubus, The Curse.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper.

Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Had to Find.

Tillie Olson, I Stand Here Ironing.

Gaius Petronius Arbiter (Petronius), The Widow of Ephesus.

Joy Williams, Taking Care.

12A. Writing about Literature with the Aid of Research

1. Writing and Documenting the Research Essay on Fiction: Using Extra Resources for Understanding.

Selecting a Topic

Setting up a Bibliography

Online Library Services

Important Considerations about Computer-aided Research

Taking Notes and Paraphrasing Material

Documenting Your Work

Strategies for Organizing Ideas in Your Research Essay

Illustrative Research Essay: The Structure of Mansfield’s “Miss Brill”.

Commentary on the Essay

Special Topics for Studying and Discussing How to Undertake Research Essays



13. Meeting Poetry: An Overview.

The Nature of Poetry.

Billy Collins, Schoolsville.
Lisel Mueller, Hope.
Robert Herrick, Here a Pretty Baby Lies.
Poetry of the English Language. How to Read a Poem. Studying Poetry.
Anonymous, Sir Patrick Spens.
Emily Dickinson, Because I Could Not Stop for Death.
Robert Francis, Catch.
Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
Thomas Hardy, The Man He Killed.
Joy Harjo, Eagle Poem.
Randall Jarrell, The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner.
Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus.
Louis MacNeice, Snow.
Jim Northrup, Ogichidag.
Naomi Shihab Nye, Where Children Live.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 55: Not Marble, Nor the Gilded Monument.
Elaine Terranova, Rush Hour.

Writing a Paraphrase of a Poem

Illustrative Student Paraphrase: A Paraphrase of Thomas Hardy’s “The Man He Killed”.

Writing an Explication of a Poem

Illustrative Student Essay: An Explication of Thomas Hardy’s “The Man He Killed”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Meeting Poetry.

14. Words: The Building Blocks of Poetry.

Choice of Diction: Specific and Concrete

General and Abstract.

Levels of Diction.

Special Types of Diction.

Decorum, the Matching of Subject and Word.


Denotation and Connotation.

Robert Graves, The Naked and the Nude.
William Blake, The Lamb.
Robert Burns, Green Grow the Rashes.
Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky.
Hayden Carruth, An Apology for Using the Word “Heart” in Too Many Poems.
E.E. Cummings, next to of course god america i.
John Donne, Holy Sonnet 14: Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God.
Richard Eberhart, The Fury of Aerial Bombardment.
Bart Edelman, Chemistry Experiment.
Thomas Gray, Sonnet on the Death of Richard West.
Jane Hirshfield, The Lives of the Heart.
A.E. Housman, Loveliest of Trees.
Carolyn Kizer, Night Sounds.
Maxine Kumin, Hello, Hello Henry.
Denise Levertov, Of Being.
Sylvia Plath, Tulips.
Henry Reed, Naming of Parts.
Edwin Arlington Robinson, Richard Cory.
Theodore Roethke, Dolor.
Stephen Spender, I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great.
Wallace Stevens, Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock.
Mark Strand, Eating Poetry.

Writing about Diction and Syntax in Poetry.

Illustrative Student Essay: Special Topics for Writing and Argument about the Words of Poetry.

15. Character and Setting: Who, What, Where, and When in Poetry.

Characters in Poetry.

Anonymous, Western Wind.
Anonymous, Bonny George Campbell.
Ben Jonson, Drink to Me, Only, with Thine Eyes.
Ben Jonson, To the Reader.
Setting and Character in Poetry.
Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach.
William Blake, London.
Elizabeth Brewster, Where I Come From.
Robert Browning, My Last Duchess.
William Cowper, The Poplar Field.
Louise Glück, Snowdrops.
Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
Thomas Hardy, The Ruined Maid.
Dorianne Laux, The Life of Trees.
C. Day Lewis, Song.
Christopher Marlowe, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.
Lisel Mueller, Visiting My Native Country with My American-Born Husband.
Joyce Carol Oates, Loving.
Marge Piercy, Wellfleet Sabbath.
Al Purdy, Poem.
Sir Walter Raleigh, The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.
Christina Rossetti, A Christmas Carol.
Jane Shore, A Letter Sent to Summer.
Maura Stanton, Childhood.
James Wright, A Blessing.

Writing about Character and Setting in Poetry.

Illustrative Student Essay: The Character of the Duke in Browning’s “My Last Duchess”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about the Character and Setting in Poetry.

16. Imagery: The Poem’s Link to the Senses.

Responses and the Writer’s Use of Detail.

The Relationship of Imagery to Ideas and Attitudes.

Types of Imagery.

John Masefield, Cargoes.
Wilfred Owen, Anthem for Doomed Youth.
Elizabeth Bishop, The Fish.
William Blake, The Tyger.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portugese, No. 14: If Thou Must Love Me.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan.
Ray Durem, I Know I’m Not Sufficiently Obscure.
T.S. Eliot, Preludes.
Susan Griffin, Love Should Grow Up Like a Wild Iris in the Fields.
Thomas Hardy, Channel Firing.
George Herbert, The Pulley.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring.
A.E.Houseman, On Wenlock Edge.
Denise Levertov, A Time Past.
Thomas Lux, The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently.
Michael O’Siadhail, Abundance.
Ezra Pound, In a Station of the Metro.
Friedrich Rückert, If You Love for the Sake of Beauty.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 13: My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun.
James Tate, Dream On.

Writing about Imagery.

Illustrative Student Essay: Imagery in T.S. Eliot’s “Preludes”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Imagery in Poetry.

17. Figures of Speech, or Metaphorical Language: A Source of Depth and Range in Poetry.

Metaphor and Simile:

The Major Figures of Speech.

Characteristics of Metaphorical Language.

John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.

Vehicle and Tenor.

Other Figures of Speech.

John Keats, Bright Star.
John Gay, Let Us Take the Road.
Jack Agüeros, Sonnet for You, Familiar Famine.
Robert Burns, A Red, Red Rose.
John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning.
Abbie Huston Evans, The Iceberg Seven-Eighths Under.
Thomas Hardy, The Convergence of the Twain.
Joy Harjo, Remember.
Langston Hughes, Harlem.
John Keats, To Autumn.
Maurice Kenny, Legacy.
Jane Kenyon, Let Evening Come.
Henry King, Sic Vita.
Judith Minty, Conjoined.
Marge Piercy, A Work of Artifice.
Sylvia Plath, Metaphors.
Muriel Rukeyser, Looking at Each Other.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 3: When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought.
Elizabeth Tudor, Queen Elizabeth I, On Monsieur’s Departure.
Mona Van Duyn, Earth Tremors Felt in Missouri.
Walt Whitman, Facing West from California’s Shores.
William Wordsworth, London, 1802.
Sir Thomas Wyatt, I Find No Peace.

Writing about Figures of Speech.

Illustrative Student Paragraph: Wordsworth’s Use of Overstatement in “London, 1802”.

Illustrative Student Essay: Personification in Hardy’s “The Convergence of the Twain”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Figures of Speech in Poetry.

18. Tone: The Creation of Attitude in Poetry.

Tone, Choice, and Response.

Cornelius Whur, The First-Rate Wife.
Tone and the Need for Control.
Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est.
Tone and the Common Grounds of Assent.
Tone in Conversation and Poetry.
Tone and Irony.
Thomas Hardy, The Workbox.
Tone and Satire.
Alexander Pope, Epigram from the French.
Alexander Pope, Epigram, Engraved on the Collar of a Dog which I Gave to His Royal Highness.
William Blake, On Another’s Sorrow.
Jimmy Carter, I Wanted to Share My Father’s World.
Lucille Clifton, Homage to my Hips.
Billy Collins, The Names.
E.E. Cummings, She being Brand-new.
Mari Evans, I Am a Black Woman.
Seamus Heany, Mid-term Break.
William Ernest Henley, When You Were Old.
Langston Hughes, Themes for English B.
X.J. Kennedy, John While Swimming in the Ocean.
Abraham Lincoln, My Childhood’s Home.
Sharon Olds, The Planned Child.
Robert Pinsky, Dying.
Alexander Pope, From Epilogue to the Satires, Dialogue I.
Salvatore Quasímodo, Auschwitz.
Anne Ridler, Nothing Is Lost.
Theodore Roethke, My Papa’s Waltz.
Jonathan Swift, A Description of the Morning.
David Wagoner, My Physics Teacher.
C.K. Williams, Dimensions.
William Butler Yeats, When You Are Old.

Writing about Tone in Poetry.

Illustrative Student Essay: The Tone of Confidence in “Themes for English B” by Langston Hughes.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Tone in Poetry.

19. Prosody: Sound, Rhythm, and Rhyme in Poetry.

Important Definitions for Studying Prosody.

Segments: Individually Meaningful Sounds.

Poetic Rhythm.

The Major Metrical Feet.

Special Meters.


Accentual, Strong-Stress, and “Sprung”


The Caesura: The Pause Creating Variety and Natural Rhythms in Poetry.

Segmental Poetic Devices. Rhyme: The Duplication and Similarity of Sounds.

Rhyme and Meter.

Rhyme Schemes.

Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool.
Robert Browning, Porphyria’s Lover.
Emily Dickinson, To Hear an Oriole Sing.
John Donne, The Sun Rising.
T.S. Eliot, Macavity: The Mystery Cat.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord Hymn.
Isabella Gardner, At a Summer Hotel.
Robert Herrick, Upon Julia’s Voice.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, God’s Grandeur.
Langston Hughes, Let America Be America Again.
John Hall Ingham, George Washington.
Philip Levine, A Theory of Prosody.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Sound of the Sea.
Herman Melville, Shiloh: A Requiem.
Ogden Nash, Very Like a Whale.
Edgar Allan Poe, Annabel Lee .
Edgar Allan Poe, The Bells.
Alexander Pope, From An Essay on Man, Epistle I, lines 17-90.
Wyatt Prunty, March.
Edwin Arlington Robinson, Miniver Cheevy.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, From Idylls of the King: The Passing of Arthur, lines 344-393.
David Wagoner, March for a One-Man Band.

Writing about Prosody.

Referring to Sounds in Poetry.

Illustrative Student Essay: Rhyme, Rhythm, and Sound in Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Rhythm and Rhyme in Poetry.

20. Form: The Shape of the Poem.

Closed-Form Poetry.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Eagle.
Anonymous, Spun in High, Dark Clouds.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116: Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds.
Open-Form Poetry.
Walt Whitman, Reconciliation.
Visual and Concrete Poetry.
George Herbert, Easter Wings.
Elizabeth Bishop, One Art.
Billy Collins, Sonnet.
E.E. Cummings, Buffalo Bill’s.
John Dryden, To the Memory of Mr. Oldham.
Carolyn Forché, The Colonel.
Robert Frost, Desert Places.
Allen Ginsberg, A Supermarket in California.
Nikki Giovanni, Nikki-Rosa.
Robert Hass, Museum.
George Herbert, Virtue.
William Heyen, Mantle.
John Hollander, Swan and Shadow, 867.
John Keats, Ode to a Nightingale.
Claude McKay, In Bondage.
John Milton, On His Blindness.
Dudley Randall, Ballad of Birmingham.
Theodore Roethke, The Waking.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou May’st in Me Behold.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias.
May Swenson, Women.
Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.
Jean Toomer, Reapers.
Charles Harper Webb, The Shape of History.
Phyllis Webb, Poetics Against the Angel of Death.
William Carlos Williams, The Dance.

Writing about Form in Poetry.

Illustrative Student Essay: Form and Meaning in George Herbert’s “Virtue”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Poetic Form.

21. Symbolism and Allusion: Windows to Wide Expanses of Meaning.

Symbolism and Meanings.

Virginia Scott, Snow.

The Function of Symbolism in Poetry.

Allusions and Meaning. Studying for Symbols and Allusions.

Emily Bronte, No Coward Soul Is Mine.
Amy Clampitt, Beach Glass.
Arthur Hugh Clough, Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth.
Peter Davison, Delphi.
John Donne, The Canonization.
Stephen Dunn, Hawk.
Isabella Gardner, Collage of Echoes.
Louise Glück, Celestial Music.
Jorie Graham, The Geese.
Thomas Hardy, In Time of “The Breaking of Nations.”
George Herbert, The Collar.
Josephine Jacobsen, Tears.
Robinson Jeffers, The Purse-Seine.
John Keats, La Belle Dame Sans Merci.
X.J. Kennedy, Old Men Pitching Horseshoes.
Ted Kooser, Years End.
David Lehman, Venice is Sinking.
Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress.
Mary Oliver, Wild Geese.
Judith Viorst, A Wedding Sonnet for the Next Generation.
Walt Whitman, A Noiseless Patient Spider.
Richard Wilbur, Year’s End.
William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming.

Writing about Symbolism and Allusion in Poetry.

Illustrative Student Essay: Symbolism and Allusion in Yeats’ “The Second Coming”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Symbolism and Allusion in Poetry.

22. Myth: Systems of Symbolic Allusion in Poetry.

Mythology as an Explanation of How Things Are.

Mythology and Literature.

William Butler Yeats, Leda and the Swan.
Mona Van Duyn, Leda.
Six Poems Related to the Myth of Odesseus.
Louise Gluck, Penelope’s Song.
W.S.Merlin, Odysseus.
Dorothy Parker, Penelope.
Linda Pastan, The Suitor.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses.
Peter Ulisse, Odyssey: 2 Years Later.
Six Poems Related to the Myth of Icarus.
Brian Aldiss, Flight 63.
W.H.Auden, Musée des Beaux Arts.
Edward Field, Icarus.
Muriel Rukeyser, Waiting For Icarus.
Anne Sexton, To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph.
William Carlos Williams, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.
Four Poems Related to the Myth of Orpheus.
Edward Hirsch, The Swimmers.
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Sonnets To Orpheus, XIX.
Mark Strand, Orpheus Alone.
Ellen Bryant Voight, Song and Story.
Three Poems Related to the Myth of Phoenix.
Amy Clampitt, Berceuse.
Denise Levertov, Hunting the Phoenix.
May Sarton, The Phoenix Again.
Two Poems Related to the Myth of Oedipus.
Muriel Rukeyser, Myth.
John Updike, On the Way to Delphi.
Two Poems Related to the Myth of Pan.
E.E.Cummings, in Just-.
John Chapman Farrar, Song for a Forgotten Shrine to Pan.

Writing about Myths in Poetry.

Illustrative Student Essay: Myth and Meaning in Dorothy Parker’s “Penelope”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Myths in Poetry.

23. Meaning: Idea and Theme in Poetry.

Meaning, Power, and Poetic Thought.

Issues in Determining the Meaning of Poems.

Meaning and Poetic Techniques.

Robert Creely, “Do you think…”
Carl Dennis, The God Who Loves You.
John Dryden, A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day.
Donald Hall, Whip-poor-will.
Robert Herrick, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time.
Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers.
Ben Jonson, To Celia.
Donald Justice, On the Death of Friends in Childhood.
John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn.
Philip Larkin, Next, Please.
Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica.
Eve Merriam, Reply to the Question: How Can You Become a Poet?
Lisel Mueller, Monet Refuses the Operation.
Sharon Olds, 35/10.
Linda Pastan, Ethics.
Molly Peacock, Desire.
Anne Stevenson, The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument.

24. Three Poetic Careers: William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Frost.

William Wordsworth.

Wordsworth and Romanticism.
William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up.

Romanticism and Wordsworth’s Theory of Composition.

Wordsworth’s Poetic Diction.

Bibliographic Sources.

Special Topics for Writing and Arguments about the Poetry of William Wordsworth.

Fourteen Poems by William Wordsworth:

Blank Verse Poems.

From The Prelude, Book I, lines 301-474.
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey.
Stanzaic Poems.
Daffodils (I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud).
Lines Written in Early Spring.
Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood. Expostulation and Reply.
The Tables Turned.
Stepping Westward.
The Solitary Reaper.
Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3.
It Is a Beauteous Evening.
London, 1802 (in Chapter 17).
On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic.
Scorn Not the Sonnet.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Twenty-Five Poems, with Critical Readings for Research.

Life and Work.

Poetic Characteristics.

Poetic Subjects.

Bibliographic Sources.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about the Poetry of Emily Dickinson.

After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes (Poem J 341, F372).
Because I Could Not Stop for Death (J 712, F479), in Chapter 13.
The Bustle in a House (J 1078, F 118).
The Heart Is the Capital of the Mind (J1354, F1381).
I Cannot Live with You (J 64, F 76).
I Died for Beauty–but Was Scarce (J 449, F 448).
I Dwell in Possibility.
I Felt a Funeral in My Brain (J 28, F34).
I Heard a Fly Buzz–When I Died (J 465, F 491).
I Like to See It Lap the Miles (J 585, F 383).
I’m Nobody! Who Are You? (J 288, F 26).
I Never Lost as Much But Twice (J 49, F39).
I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed (J 214, F 27).
Much Madness Is Divinest Sense (J 435, D 62).
My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close (J 1732, F 1773).
My Triumph Lasted Till the Drums (J 1227, F 1212).
One Need Not Be a Chamber–To Be Haunted (J 67, F 47).
Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers (J 216, F 124).
Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church (J 324, F 236).
The Soul Selects Her Own Society (J 33, F 49).
Success Is Counted Sweetest (J 67, F 112).
Tell All the Truth but Tell it Slant (J 1129, F 1263).
There’s a Certain Slant of Light (J 258, F 32).
To Hear an Oriole Sing (J 526, F 42), in Chapter 19.
Wild Nights–Wild Nights! (J 249, F 269).
Edited Selections from Criticism of Dickinson’s Poems, for Research.
A Line-Storm Song (1913).
The Tuft of Flowers (1913).
Mending Wall (1914).
Birches (1915).
The Road Not Taken (1915).
‘Out, Out–’ (1916).
The Oven Bird (1916).
Fire and Ice (1920).
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (1923), in Chapter 13.
Misgiving (1923).
Nothing Gold Can Stay (1923).
Acquainted with the Night (1928).
Desert Places (1936), in Chapter 2.
Design (1936).
The Silken Tent (1936).
The Gift Outright (1941).
A Considerable Speck (1942).
Choose Something like a Star (1943).

25. One Hundred Twenty-Four Poems for Additional Enjoyment and Study.

Maya Angelou, My Arkansas. Anonymous, Barbara Allan. Anonymous (Navajo), Healing Prayer from the Beautyway Chant. Anonymous, Lord Randal. Anonymous, The Three Ravens. Margaret Atwood, Variation on the Word Sleep.

W.H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen. Wendell Berry, Another Descent. Louise Bogan, Women. Arna Bontemps, A Black Man Talks of Reaping. Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband. Gwendolyn Brooks, Primer for Blacks. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, How Do I Love Thee? Robert Browning, Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister. William Cullen Bryant, To Cole, the Painter, Departing for Europe. George Gordon, Lord Byron, The Destruction of Sennacherib. Lucille Clifton, this morning. Lucille Clifton, the poet. Leonard Cohen, ‘The killers that run…’.

Billy Collins, Days. Frances Cornford, From A Letter to America on a Visit to Sussex, Spring, 1942. Stephen Crane, Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War Is Kind. E.E. Cummings, if there are any heavens. James Dickey, Kudzu. James Dickey, The Lifeguard. James Dickey, The Performance. John Donne, The Good Morrow. John Donne, Holy Sonnet 1: Death Be Not Proud. John Donne, A Hymn to God the Father. Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sympathy. T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. James Emanuel, The Negro. Lynn Emanuel, Like God.

Chief Dan George, The Beauty of the Trees. Nikki Giovanni, Woman. Marilyn Hacker, Sonnet Ending with a Film Subtitle. John Haines, Little Cosmic Dust Poem. Donald Hall, Scenic View. Daniel Halpern, Snapshot of Hué. Daniel Halpern, Summer in the Middle Class. H.S. (Sam) Hamod, Leaves. Frances E.W. Harper, She’s Free! Michael S. Harper, Called. Robert Hass, Spring Rain. Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays. George Herbert, Love (III). William Heyen, The Hair: Jacob Korman’s Story. A.D Hope, Advice to Young Ladies. Gerard Manley Hopkins, Pied Beauty. Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Windhover. Carolina Hospital, Dear Tia. Julia Ward Howe, The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Langston Hughes, Negro.

Robinson Jeffers, The Answer. Galway Kinnell, After Making Love We Hear Footsteps. Maxine Kumin, Woodchucks. Irving Layton, Rhine Boat Trip. Li-Young Lee, A Final Thing. Alan P. Lightman, In Computers. Liz Lochhead, The Choosing. Audre Lorde, Every Traveler Has One Vermont Poem. Amy Lowell, Patterns. Heather McHugh, Lines. Claude McKay, The WhiteCity. W.S. Merwin, Listen. Edna St. Vincent Millay, What Lips My Lips Have Kissed. N. Scott Momaday, The Bear. Lisel Mueller, Alive Together. Howard Nemerov, Life Cycle of Common Man.

Jim Northrup, wahbegan. Mary Oliver, Ghosts. Simon Ortiz, A Story of How a Wall Stands. Linda Pastan, Marks. Marge Piercy, The Secretary Chant. Marge Piercy, Will We Work Together? Sylvia Plath, Mirror. Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven. Katha Pollitt, Archaeology. John Crowe Ransom, Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter. John Raven, Assailant. Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck. Alberto Rios, The Vietnam Wall. Theodore Roethke, The Light Comes Brighter. Luis Omar Salinas, In a Farmhouse. Sonia Sanchez, rite on: white america. Carl Sandburg, Chicago. Siegfried Sassoon, Dreamers. Gjertrud Schnackenberg, The Paperweight. Alan Seeger, I Have a Rendezvous with Death. Brenda Serotte, My Mother’s Face.

William Shakespeare, Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29: When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men’s Eyes. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 146: Poor Soul, the Center of My Sinful Earth. Karl Shapiro, Auto Wreck. Leslie Marmon Silko, Where Mountain Lion Lay Down with Deer. Dave Smith, Bluejays. Stevie Smith, Not Waving But Drowning. W.D. Snodgrass, These Trees Stand… Gary Soto, Oranges. Gary Soto, KearneyPark. William Stafford, Traveling Through the Dark. Gerald Stern, Burying an Animal on the Way to New York.

Wallace Stevens, The Emperor of Ice-Cream. May Swenson, Question. Dylan Thomas, A Refusal to Mourn… Daniel Tobin, My Uncle’s Watch. Chase Twichell, Blurry Cow. John Updike, Perfection Wasted. Tino Villanueva, Day-Long Day. Shelly Wagner, The Boxes. Alice Walker, Revolutionary Petunias. Edmund Waller, Go, Lovely Rose. Robert Penn Warren, Heart of Autumn. Bruce Weigl, Song of Napalm.

Phyllis Wheatley, On Being Brought from Africa to America. Walt Whitman, Beat! Beat! Drums! Walt Whitman, Dirge for Two Veterans. Walt Whitman, Full of Life Now. Walt Whitman, I Hear America Singing. John Greenleaf Whittier, The Bartholdi Statue, Richard Wilbur, April 5, 1974. William Carlos Williams, The Red Wheelbarrow. William Butler Yeats, The Wild Swans at Coole. Paul Zimmer, The Day Zimmer Lost Religion.

25A. Writing about Literature with the Aid of Research

2.Writing Essays on Poetry: Using Extra Resources for Understanding.

Topics to discover in research. Illustrative student essay written with aid of research: “Beat! Beat! Drums!”

“I Hear America Singing”: Two Whitman poems spanning the Civil War.



26. The Dramatic Vision: An Overview.

Drama as Literature.

Performance: The Unique Aspect of Drama.

Drama from Ancient Times to Our Own: Tragedy, Comedy, and Additional Forms.

Anonymous, The Visit to the Sepulchre (Visitatio Sepulchri).

Reading Plays.

Edward Albee, The Sandbox.
Susan Glaspell, Trifles.
Betty Keller, Tea Party.
Eugene O’Neill, Before Breakfast.
The “Wakefield Master”, The Second Shepherd’s Play.

Writing about the Elements of Drama.

Referring to Plays and Parts of Plays.

Illustrative Student Essay:

Eugene O’Neill’s Use of Negative Descriptions and Stage Directions in “Before Breakfast” as a Means of Revealing Character.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about the Elements of Drama.

27. The Tragic Vision: Affirmation Through Loss.

The Origins of Tragedy.

The Origin of Tragedy in Brief.

The Ancient Competitions in Tragedy.

Aristotle and the Nature of Tragedy.

Aristotle’s View of Tragedy in Brief.

Irony in Tragedy.

The Ancient Athenian Audience and Theater.

Ancient Greek Tragic Actors and Their Costumes.

Performance and the Formal Organization of Greek Tragedy.

Sophocles, Oedipus the King.
Renaissance Drama and Shakespeare’s Theater.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
Tragedy from Shakespeare to Arthur Miller.
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman.

Writing about Tragedy.

An Essay about a Problem.

Illustrative Student Essay: The Problem of Hamlet’s Apparent Delay.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Tragedy.

28. The Comic Vision: Restoring the Balance.

The Origins of Comedy.

Comedy from Roman Times to the Renaissance.

The Patterns, Characters, and Language of Comedy.

Types of Comedy.

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The Theater of Molière.
Molière, Love Is the Doctor (L’Amour Médecin).
Comedy from Molière to the Present.
Anton Chekhov, The Bear.
Beth Henley, Am I Blue.

Writing about Comedy.

Illustrative Student Essay: Setting as Symbol and Comic Structure in A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Comedy.

29. Visions of Dramatic Reality and Nonreality: Varying the Idea of Drama as Imitation.

Realism and Nonrealism in Drama.

Elements of Realistic and Nonrealistic Drama.

Langston Hughes, Mulatto.
Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie.
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun.

Writing about Realistic and Nonrealistic Drama.

Illustrative Student Essay: Realism and Nonrealism in Tom’s Triple Role in The Glass Menagerie.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Dramatic Reality and Nonreality.

30. Dramatic Vision and the Motion Picture Camera:

Drama on the Silver Screen

Television Set

Computer Monitor

A Thumbnail History of Film

Stage plays and film

DVD Technology and Film Study

The Aesthetics of Film

The Techniques of Film

Editing or montage

Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz, Shot 71 from the Shooting Script of Citizen Kane.

Arthur Laurents, A Scene from The Turning Point.

Writing about a Film. Demonstrative Student Essay: Welle’s Citizen Kane: Whittling a Giant Down to Size.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Film.

31. A Career in Drama: Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen’s A Dollhouse

An Enemy Of The People

–with critical readings for research

Ibsen’s Life and Early Work.

Ibsen’s Prose Plays.

Two of Ibsen’s most significant realistic prose plays. Ibsen and the “Well-Made Play.”

Ibsen’s Timeliness and Dramatic Power.

Bibliographic Studies.

Henrik Ibsen, A Dollhouse.

Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Ibsen.

Edited Selections from Criticism of Ibsen’s Drama, for research.

31A. Writing about Literature with the Aid of Research

3. Writing Essays on Drama: Using Extra Resources for Understanding.

Topics to Discover in Research.

Illustrative Student Essay Written with the Aid of Research: The Ghost in Hamlet.


32. Critical Approaches Important in the Study of Literature.



New Critical/Formalist.



Economic Determinist/Marxist.





33. Taking Examinations on Literature.

Answer the Questions That Are Asked.

Systematic Preparation.

Two Basic Types of Questions about Literature.

34. Comparison-Contrast and Extended Comparison-Contrast:

Learning by Seeing Literary Works Together.

Guidelines for the Comparison-Contrast Method.

The Extended Comparison-Contrast Essay.

Citing References in a Longer Comparison-Contrast Essay.

Writing a Comparison-Contrast Essay.

Illustrative Student Essay (Two Works):

1. The Treatment of Responses to War in Amy Lowell’s “Patterns”

2. Wilfred Owen’s “Anthem for Doomed Youth.”

Illustrative Student Essay (Extended Comparison-Contrast):

Literary Treatments of the Conflicts Between Private and Public Life.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Comparison and Contrast.



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