DR. halbert's american literature I (Fall 2008) Final Exam Preparation



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DR. HALBERT'S AMERICAN LITERATURE I (Fall 2008)
Final Exam Preparation:

Your final exam will take place on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 from 10:15 AM to 12:15 PM. in our normal classroom. You will have to identify seven out of 13 quotes for the exam (selected from the quotations submitted by you and redistributed in class by me). You will need to give the title of the piece, the author of the piece, and give two or three thoughtful sentences on the quote explaining its importance in the context of the course. In addition, you will need to prepare an essay exam prep card using the following specifications:



  • The card may be no bigger than 5" x 8".

  • Your name must appear in the upper right corner of the card (with a horizontal orientation so that the longest side is at top).

  • A clear space at the top left corner should be left blank for stapling.

  • You may record quotes on the card, but each quote on the card needs to appear in the essay. Listing other quotes in an attempt to have the answers to the ID section is unacceptable. Quotes are expected in the essay since you can prepare ahead of time.

  • You may not write out the essay on the card, but you may outline the key points.

  • Failure to follow these directions will result in the card not being allowed during the exam.

  • I will inspect the card before the exam starts. You may wish to show up early to get my approval.

Essay Options for Final Exam

1. The early nineteenth-century period of American literature saw the rise of political and social discussion, satire, and disdain of government. Find at least three examples from different authors to illustrate the authors' disenchantment with sociopolitical issues and use your knowledge of each author to explain their gripes.

2. As the first European to encounter the Americas, Christopher Columbus embodies the introduction of European peoples and cultures into the Western Hemisphere. This pivotal historical moment has since served as moral mirror for citizens of the United States, reflecting their feelings and concerns about the origins of their national identity. Using Columbus, Washington Irving, and Whitman as your primary sources, identify at least two attitudes about Columbus that reflect upon the character of the United States and offer an explanation of what cultural forces helped shape those attitudes.

3. Along with issues about race, freedom, and egalitarianism, gender issues offer a rich subtext for readings in the course. From overt calls for gender equality to spirited discussions of traditional and transgressive gender norms, the question of what it means to be male and female in America to different groups remained a constant struggle. Using at least three texts, analyze different attitudes about the genders and argue what these attitudes suggest about the cultural values they represent. You may choose to talk about both genders or focus on either male or female roles.

4. While the American Revolution literally declared the United States an independent entity, the writers of the nineteenth century helped to articulate an American attitude about meritocracy, personal independence, self-reliance, and non-conformity in political, social, and even literary pursuits. Using at least three authors, argue what it means to be an individual in America and how that attitude evolved.

5. As the United States grew through Manifest Destiny policies, the scope and grandeur of the American landscape ignited the American imagination on the subject of nature. Using Emerson and at least one other writer, describe how images of nature have helped define the American character.

6. The early nineteenth century saw the rise of transcendentalism, particularly in the works of Emerson and Thoreau. What precisely does transcendentalism transcend? Give examples that illustrate how their writings are able to make universal judgments while remaining isolated from social, cultural, and political struggles.

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Potential Quotes For Final Exam Fall 2008

QUOTE: These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God. (Page 965)

SOURCE: Thomas Paine, The American Crisis



QUOTE: I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other that human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
SOURCE: Paine The Age of Reason Pg. 643-4

QUOTE: Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems. Although they are in full force, you know they are little more than theory. We dare not exert our power in its full latitude. We are obliged to go fair and softly, and, in practice, you know we are the subjects . . . We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight.

SOURCE: John Adams to Abigail Adams, April 14, 1776 pg. 979-80



QUOTE: This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!”

SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson. Notes on the State of Virginia. Vol. A. Pg. 1010.

QUOTE: He is arrived on a new continent; a modern society offers itself to his contemptation, different from what he had hitherto seen. It is not composed, as in Europe, of great lords who possess every thing and of a herd of people who have nothing. Here are no aristocratical families, no courts, no kings, no bishops, no ecclesiastical dominion, no invisible power giving to a few a very visible one; no great manufacturers employing thousands, no great refinements of luxury. The rich and the poor are not so far removed from each other as they are in Europe. Some few towns excepted, we are all tillers of the earth, from Nova Scotia to West Florida. We are a people of cultivators, scattered over an immense territory communicating with each other by means of good roads and navigable rivers, united by the silken bands of mild government, all respecting the laws, without dreading their power, because they are equitable. We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained, because each person works for himself

SOURCE: Crevecoeur: Letters from an American Farmer



QUOTE: I am constrained to say, both from experience and observation, that their education is miserably deficient; that they are taught to regard marriage as the one thing needful, the only avenue to distinction; hence to attract the notice and win the attention of men, by their external charms, is the chief business of fashionable girls

SOURCE: "Letters on The Equality of The Sexes, and The Condition of Woman”, Page: 2082- Volume B, Sarah Moore Grimke



QUOTE: Now it's no use to take your pocket handkerchief and go snivelling round the house with a pink nose and red eyes; not a bit of it! If you have made the interesting discovery that you were married for a sort of upper servant or housekeeper, just fill that place and no other, keep your temper, keep all his strings and buttons and straps on; and then keep him at a distance as a housekeeper should --- "thems my sentiments!" I have seen one or two men in my life who could bear to be loved (as women with a soul knows how), without being spoiled by it, or converted into a tyrant --- but they are rare birds and should be caught stuffed and handed over to Barnum!

SOURCE: Fern "Hints to Young Wives" pg 2102



QUOTE: Are the dearest friends and relations, now rendered more dear by their separations from their kindred, still to be parted from each other, and thus prevented from cheering the gloom of slavery, with the small comfort of being together, and mingling their sufferings and sorrows? Why are parents to lose their children, brothers their sisters, or husbands their wives? Surely, this is a new refinement in cruelty, which while it has no advantage to atone for it, thus aggravates distress, and adds fresh horrors even to the wretchedness of slavery.

SOURCE: The Interesting Narritive of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself pg. 1171, Olaudah Equiano



QUOTE: "Mr. Thomas Lanman, of St Michael's, killed two slaves, one of whom he killed with a hatchet, by knocking his brains out. He used to boast of the commission of the awful and bloody deed."

Source: Frederick Douglas, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" pg. 1899



QUOTE: Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in everything. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.

SOURCE: Frederick Douglass. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American
Slave.
Vol. B. Pg. 1907

QUOTE: The first source of right, by which property is acquired in a country, is DISCOVERY. For as all mankind have an equal right to anything, which has never before been appropriated, so any nation, that discovers and uninhabitated country, and takes possesion thereof, is considered as enjoying full property, and absolute, unquestionable empire therein.

SOURCE: A History of New York by Washington Irving, page 2145 of Book Volume B

QUOTE: It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgement into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day.

SOURCE: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance, page 1626



QUOTE: "Your genuine action will explain itself and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. Act singly, and what you have already done singly, will justify you now. "

SOURCE: Emerson: Self-Reliance, pg. 1627

QUOTE: Where is the master who could have taught Shakspeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakspeare will never be made by the study of Shakspeare

SOURCE: Emerson Self-Reliance pg 1635

QUOTE: Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes: it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific, but this change is not amelioration. For everything that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts and loses old instincts

SOURCE: Emerson Self Reliance pg.1636



QUOTE: The world thus exists to the soul to satisfy the desire of beauty. This element I call an ultimate end. No reason can be asked or given why the soul seeks beauty. Beauty, in its largest and profoundest sense, is one expression for the universe. God is the all-fair. Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All.

SOURCE: Emerson- “Nature” pg 1589



QUOTE: Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for the law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their will, aye, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart.

SOURCE: Thoreau: Resistance to Civil Government pg1739

QUOTE: I have paid no poll-tax for six years. I was put into jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. I wondered that it should have concluded at length that this was the best use it could put me to, and had never thought to avail itself of my services in some way.

SOURCE: Thoreau: "Resistance to Civil Government" pg 1747



QUOTE:I’m still a Salt River roarer! I’m a ring-tailed squeler! I’m a reg’lar screamer from the ol’ Massassip! WHOOP! I’m the very infant that refused his milk before its eyes were open, and called out for a bottle of Old Rye

SOURCE: Mike Fink: "Mike Fink's Brag"

QUOTE: Abstracted from the Law, I cannot conceive (may it please your Honours) what the Nature of my Offence is. I have brought Five fine Children into the World, at the Risque of my Life: I have maintained them well by my own Industry, without burthening the Township, and could have done it better, if it had not been for the heavy Charges and Fines I have paid. Can it be a Crime (in the Nature of Things I mean) to add to the Number of the King's Subjects, in a new Country that really wants People? I own I should think it rather a Praise worthy, than a Punishable Action. I have debauch'd no other Woman's Husband, nor inticed any innocent Youth: These Things I never was charged with; nor has any one the least cause of Complaint against me, unless, perhaps the Minister, or the Justice, because I have had Children without being Married, by which they have miss'd a Wedding Fee.

SOURCE: Franklin: "The Speech of Polly Baker" pg 815-16.

QUOTE: But, ah, think of what you do when you run into Debt; you give to another Power over your Liberty. If you cannot at the Time, you will be ashamed to see your Creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor pitiful sneaking Excuses, and by Degrees come to loose your Veracity, and sink into base downright lying….

SOURCE: Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth pg 812



QUOTE: If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body

SOURCE: Edgar Allan Poe "The Tell-Tale Heart" pg 2494

QUOTE: At length my eyes, in going the circuit of the room, fell upon a trumpery filigree card-rack of pasteboard, that hung dangling by a dirty blue ribbon, from a little brass knob just beneath the middle of the mantelpiece. In this rack, which had three or four compartments, were five or six visiting cards and a solitary letter. This last was much soiled and crumpled. It was torn nearly in two, across the middle --as if a design, in the first instance, to tear it entirely up as worthless, had been altered, or stayed, in the second. It had a large black seal, bearing the D-- cipher very conspicuously, and was addressed, in a diminutive female hand, to D--, the minister, himself. It was thrust carelessly, and even, as it seemed, contemptuously, into one of the upper divisions of the rack. . . No sooner had I glanced at this letter, than I concluded it to be that of which I was in search. To be sure, it was, to all appearance, radically different from the one of which the Prefect had read us so minute a description. Here the seal was large and black, with the D-- cipher; there it was small and red, with the ducal arms of the S-- family. Here, the address, to the Minister, was diminutive and feminine; there the superscription, to a certain royal personage, was markedly bold and decided; the size alone formed a point of correspondence. But, then, the radicalness of these differences, which was excessive; the dirt; the soiled and torn condition of the paper, so inconsistent with the true methodical habits of D--, and so suggestive of a design to delude the beholder into an idea of the worthlessness of the document; these things, together with the hyperobtrusive situation of this document, full in the view of every visitor, and thus exactly in accordance with the conclusions to which I had previously arrived; these things, I say, were strongly corroborative of suspicion . . .

SOURCE: Poe, "The Purloined Letter" pg 2513

QUOTE: I would prefer not to.

SOURCE: Melville: Bartleby, the Scrivener pg 2633

QUOTE: Thee in thy panoply, thy measur’d dual throbbing and thy beat convulsive,/ Thy black cylindric body, golden brass and silvery steel,/ Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, gyrating, shuttling at thy sides,/ Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar, now tapering in the distance,/ Thy great protruding head-light fix’d in front,/ Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with delicate purple,/ Thy dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke-stack



SOURCE: Whitman: "To a Locomotive in Winter" (3024)


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