Emerson Readings

Read from Nature (182-3) and from Self-Reliance (185-6) in your textbooks.

Collect 3 split-quotes from each selection.

Explain how each quote represents some quality of either the Romantics, Transcendentalists, or Dark Romantics.

Quotes are due as soon as we are done discussing each piece in class.  from Nature will be due on Tuesday 10/04.

from Self-Reliance quotes will be due after we discuss it – post-homecoming-insanity.

Due Wednesday 10/12.

You will be required to memorize and recite a small section from one of these pieces for a grade in coming weeks.  Keep an eye toward parts of the selections that appeal to you most.

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American Romanticism

  • Borger went over the Romanticism part of these notes in class on Tuesday 09/20
  • Be prepared to take a quiz over Romanticism on Thurs. or Fri. 09/22-09/23

American Romanticism: 1800-1860**

Before American Romanticism
Puritans: (1600’s)

  • Broad tem referring to Protestant groups that sought to ‘purify’ the Church of England starting around 1560.
    • Thought religion should be a personal, inner experience
    • Wanted to return to a simpler form of worship
    • Persecuted in England (noses slit, ears chopped off, whipped & jailed, etc.) = journey to “The New World” in 1620
    • Philosophy centered on doubt: humanity is damned for all eternity because of Adam & Eve’s sin = unregenerate / damned. BUTGod is merciful (ergo Jesus) = elect / saved
    • You couldn’t know if you were elect or unregenerate.  Theology was clear about what would happen to saints & sinners but it was fuzzy about who were the sinners & who were the saints
  • Puritan values developed as a way to try to become elect / saved:
    1. Self-reliance
    2. Industriousness
    3. Temperance
    4. Simplicity

Age of Reason: (1700’s)

  • Enlightenment
  • Rationalism: belief that human beings can arrive at truth by using reason rather than religion, past authority, or intuition.
  • Rationalist values:
    1. Arrive at truth using reason
    2. God created universe but does not interfere with its workings
    3. World operates according to God’s rules & people can discover those rules using reason
    4. People are basically good
    5. You can worship God best by helping other people

American Romanticism: (1800-1860)

  • American Romanticism
    • Developed as a reaction to rationalism in light of the Industrial Revolution
      • To rationalists, the city was place of success, prosperity, & self-realization
      • To romantics, the city becomes a place of shifting morals, corruption, & death
    • The imagination was able to discover truths that the rational mind could not reach; favors intuition over reason
    • Romantics didn’t reject logic completely; for art, the emotional, ‘felt’ experience was key
  • Romantic Values:
    1. Value feeling & intuition over reason
    2. Prefer youthful innocence to educated sophistication
    3. Places faith in inner experience & imagination
    4. Finds beauty in the exotic & supernatural
    5. Believes poetry is the highest expression of imagination
    6. Shuns artificiality of civilization & seeks out truth in nature
    7. Believes nature is path to spiritual enlightenment
    8. Defends individual freedom & self worth
  • Romantic Escapism & Nature:
    • Rise above ‘dull realities’ to a realm of higher truth
    • Searched for exotic settings (nature, away from cities, folklore, etc.)
    • Reflect on the natural world to find Big-B-Beauty (and Big-T-Truth)
    • In nature, the ordinary becomes EXTRAordinary / SUPERnatural
    • Nature could provide sense in a chaotic world
    • Nature was the key to God
    • Symbolism is EVERYWHERE in nature
    • How many times have you found perfection walking down SHS’s halls?  Never!  That’s because you’re indoors – go outdoors to nature.  Therein lies truth and beauty (so thought the Romantics).
    • Contemplation of nature = emotional and intellectual awakening
  • Wilderness & the Frontier
    • America = limitless frontiers, westward expansion = idealization of frontier life
    • Frontier is the physical division between civilization & wilderness
    • Frontier = create your own identity
  • American Romantic Hero:
    • Young / youthful qualities
    • Sense of honor based on some higher principal but not on society’s rules
    • Has knowledge of people based on intuition – not on education
    • Loves nature – avoids towns
    • Quests for higher truth in natural world
    • Uneasy with women = domesticity
    • James Finimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo (Last of the Mohicans)
  • Transcendentalists: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau
    • Transcendental: to know the ultimate reality of God, the universe, and the self, one must transcend, or go beyond, everyday experiences in the physical world
    • Roots in idealism: Plato (400 BC) True reality is found in ideas rather than the world perceived by the senses
    • Believed in human perfectability
    • Transcendental Values:
      • Everything in the world is a reflection of the Divine Soul
      • Physical world is a doorway to the spiritual or ideal world
      • Use intuition, the capacity to know things immediately through our emotions, to behold God in nature (or God within)
      • Self-reliance & individualism vs. external authority & blind conformity to tradition
      • Spontaneous feelings superior to deliberate rationality (heart over mind)
  • Dark Romantics: Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville
    • Anti-Transcenentalists: didn’t believe that the “Truths” of nature were good and harmless
    • Explore conflict between good & evil
    • Explore the psychological effects of guilt & sin
    • Explore the madness of the human psyche
    • Believed that horror & evil resided behind the facade of social respectability
    • “Fathers of Psychology”
    • Characterized by horror, tragedy, macabre, supernatural, & the Gothic

**Adapted from: Arpin, Gary Q. “American Romanticism: 1800-1860.” Elements of Literature: Fifth Course, Essentials of American Literature. Ed. Laura Wood. Austin: Holt, 2005. 138-149. Print.

Romanticism

Read the section in your text over American Romanticism (138-148). Take notes which cover the following main ideas from the reading.  Notes will be checked for a grade on Tuesday 09/20; we will quiz over the material Thursday or Friday (09/22 -09/23).

  • Characteristics of American Romanticism
  • The Role of Nature in American Romanticism
  • The Role of the City in American Romanticism
  • Characteristics of the American Romantic Hero
  • Characteristics of Transcendentalism
  • Characteristics of the Dark Romantics

 

Dark Romantic Essay or Short Story

Dark Romantic Culminating Activity
Borger
lborger@sparta.k12.il.us (email me if you have questions)

PromptWrite a 1000-1500 word short story or essay synthesizing information related to the Dark Romantics. (choose one – not both!)

Short Story

Discussion of the prompt:  Create a short story that includes the elements that we have talked about in relation to the Dark Romantics (as evidenced in Poe’s work).  Originate characters, plot elements, dialogue, etc. to enhance your story.  The story can be of your own design or you may choose any of the quotes from Poe’s stories and build your own story around that. All stories must be cogent, organized, and appropriate.  If you are going to tackle mature subject matter, do so maturely.  You can go over the word count if you need to (and many of you will).

Lab time has been scheduled for 11/17 – 11/19 to help with construction of the story.

Grading Criteria:

  • Be sure to build some sense of dramatic tension into your description before it reaches the climax of your moment.
  • Use dialogue to bring your characters to life.
  • Because there is relatively little plot, you need as much detail as possible.  Be as descriptive as you can with each sentence.  Use imagery, metaphor & simile, personification, contrast, vibrant words, etc.
  • This assignment is worth a MAJOR GRADE (remember, this is where a bulk of your grade comes from—get it in!).
  • Follow MLA format
  • Draft due for review on Thursday 11/19/15
  • Final due Tuesday 11/24/15
  • Short Story Rubric

Possible Prompts:

  • Focus on any of the main ideas of the Dark Romantics:
    • Anti-Transcendentalism: a belief that the “Truths” of nature are not good and harmless
    • The conflict between good & evil
    • The psychological effects of guilt & sin
    • The madness of the human psyche
    • The idea that horror & evil resided behind the facade of social respectability
    • Horror, tragedy, macabre, supernatural, & the Gothic
  • Choose a quote or two from one of Poe’s works and build a story around that.
  • Create a modernized Dark Romantic story: what would Poe’s stories look like in today’s world?
  • Create a Dark Romantic story with characters that represent you.  Most of Poe’s characters are white men.  I’m not a man & I would like to see a story with someone who looks like me in them (a giant, Amazonian, red-headed female protagonist – even if she is crazy and buries people in her walls J).  Or create a Dark Romantic story with characters from all sorts of different cultural backgrounds.

Essay

Discussion of the prompt:  Write an essay that analyzes how Poe’s represents the ideals of the Dark Romantics.  You might want to compare and contrast characters / plot-lines.  You may want to focus on a single theme or idea: madness, guilt, the macabre.  Each paragraph should include at least one quote (preferably two).  Remember the equation to use when quoting:

Tag + quote + cite + explanation = good support

You can go over the word count if you need to (and many of you will).

Lab time has been scheduled for 11/17 – 11/19 to help with composition of your essay.

Grading Criteria:

  • Have an introduction with a clearly worded thesis (with points of support)
  • Have at least one quote per paragraph (“A” papers must have more)
  • Move beyond summary and into analysis: focus on a single, primary idea / concept / theme / motif across multiple texts. You can include other texts like “The Cask of Amontillado” or “The Raven” if you’ve read them before.
  • This assignment is worth a MAJOR GRADE (remember, this is where a bulk of your grade comes from—get it in!).
  • Follow MLA format
  • Draft due for review on Thursday 11/19/15
  • Final due Tuesday 11/24/2015
  • Dark Romantic Essay Rubric

 Possible Prompts:

  • Focus on any of the main ideas of the Dark Romantics:
    • Anti-Transcendentalism: a belief that the “Truths” of nature are not good and harmless
    • The conflict between good & evil
    • The psychological effects of guilt & sin
    • The madness of the human psyche
    • The idea that horror & evil resided behind the facade of social respectability
    • Horror, tragedy, macabre, supernatural, & the Gothic
  • Analyze similarities among protagonists in his stories.
  • Argue that we are basically good or basically evil using his texts for support.
  • Create a theme / thesis of your own.

Poe

We read “The Tell Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat” and “The Pit and the Pendulum” in class. Students collected 5 split-quotes per story in the form of in-class quizzes (worth 50 points each).

Here are a few adaptations of the Edgar Allen Poe stories we have read.

The Tell Tale Heart animation. (1953)

The Black Cat stop-motion animation. (2009)

The Pit and the Pendulum stop motion animation. (2006)

We will be seminar-ing over these stories for 3 days in class (25 points per day). Students who contribute three quality comments to discussion will earn full credit.  Students  who take notes can earn partial credit (C).  Students who submit a combination of spoken & written commentary may also earn full credit (depending on the length and quality of comments / notes).

Expectations of Others vs. Individualism & Non-Conformity

We will listen to two podcasts related to Romantic & Transcendental ideas.  As students listen, they should draw pictures, doodle, or take notes: they should be engaged in listening the whole activity.  Students who are not listening or talking will be given a transcript of the show & go to alternative to finish their work.

Invisibilia: “How to Become Batman” 6:40- nearly the end

Invisibilia: “Entanglement: Contagion” (listen to the Candid Camera & conformity portion)

Notes/doodles will be due at the end of the hour.  We will be discussing & writing on these ideas later in the week.

Try to connect the ideas in these stories to the ideas in the quotes of Emerson & Thoreau below:

  • “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore”
  • “This American government…has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will.”
  • “The sun illuminates only the eye of man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child.”
  • “Our life is frittered away by detail….Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”
  • “The lover of nature is he…who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.”
  • “…if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
  • “We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.”
  • “I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another.”
  • “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.”
  • “Trust thyself: Every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
  • “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…”
  • “Whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist.”
  • “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.”
  • “I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there….I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.”
  • “envy is ignorance…imitation is suicide.”
  • “Let everyone mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.”
  • “Nature never wears a mean appearance.”
  • “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
  • “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
  • “The life in us is like the water in the river.”
  • “Why has every man a conscience? I think we should be men first, and subjects afterward.”
  • “…it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: What is once well done is done forever.”
  • “Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further toward recognizing and organizing the rights of man?”
  • “To be great is to be misunderstood.”
  • “There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.”

In-Class Essay

Using your notes from American Romanticism & Transcendentalists, split quotes, journal entries, and texts from Emerson and Thoreau, explore one of the following prompts.  This is an in-class essay exam. You should introduce your ideas in a short paragraph, then explore the theme in a number of body paragraphs, then conclude your ideas.   USE QUOTES TO SUPPORT YOUR IDEAS.

  • Double-space (write on every other line)
  • Write in ink
  • Do not write on the back of the page
  • Follow proper quote format: tag+quote+cite+explanation = good support

 

  1. Intuition & Emotional Knowledge: The Romantics believed that imagination was able to discover truths that the rational mind could not each.  They favored intuition over reason.  Pull quotes from each writer that connect to this concept of intuition – the capacity to know things immediately through our emotions – and why intuition is more important than the reason.
  2. Nature: American romanticism developed as a reaction to rationalism, and as a result the city becomes a place of shifting morals, corruption, & death.   One must reflect on the natural world to find Big-B-Beauty (and Big-T-Truth).  In nature, the ordinary becomes EXTRAordinary / SUPERnatural.  They believed that nature can provide sense in a chaotic world.  Pull quotes from each writer that connect to this concept of nature as the locus of truth and cities / society as the locus of the dishonest majority.
  3. Non-conformity: The Transcendentalists believed strongly in self-reliance and non-conformity to tradition.  Pull quotes from each writer that examine the need and motivation to be a non-conformist.
  4. Compare/Contrast: Compare and contrast the writings of Emerson and Thoreau. Use specific quotes from each author to show their similarities & differences. Discuss how they represent the ideas of the Transcendentalists.
  5. Civil Disobedience: “Are the principles endorsed by Thoreau, King, and Gandhi still relevant in the twenty-first century?  Could these principles lead to a resolution of the violent political conflicts in the world today? Use quotes from each of the three authors to support your response.