General Assessment Assignment for American Literature

Test II
Fall 2014

In an in-class essay, discuss one of the works studied since Test One (Lincoln, “Reply to Horace Greeley”-Fitzgerald, “Babylon Revisited”).   Focus, especially, on the text as it reflects the culture of its era.

For example, you might select Mark Twain’s, Life on the Mississippi, which can be discussed as an example of narrative with its strong characters, settings and conflicts.  But beyond the literary aspect, you would investigate the text’s role in revealing a part of the American culture and history.  The finished product should be a well-developed essay in which you have practiced the appropriate critical and analytical methodologies in order to establish the strengths (and/or weaknesses) of the work as a literary and cultural expression.

Please include at least three quotations from the primary literary work within your essay.  In addition, you may use the historical/cultural data within your textbook to support your response.  Please include in-text citations for any borrowed ideas, quoted or otherwise.  Please provide a complete Works Cited page with your essay. I recommend that you create this in advance.

In addition, it is recommended that you create a quotations page in advance as well.

Finally, you may bring a brief outline to class—nothing remotely resembling a completed essay.  Here is an example:

“Love Is Not All: It Is Not Meat nor Drink”
I.             Introduction

A.      Author

B.      Publication date

C.      Theme

D.      Thesis

II.            Poem Analysis

A.      Rhyme, meter, tone

B.      Type of poem (sonnet, villanelle, narrative, ode)

III.           Poem Analysis

A.      Theme

B.      Universality vs individuality

IV.          Historical/cultural/social time period

A.      When, where, what

B.      National/local events

V.            Author’s life

                A. Lifestyle

                B.  Beliefs

VI.          Conclusion