Demonstrate an understanding of literary terms and critical approaches to studying American Literature
chosen work of literature, supported by significant research from scholarly sources. This researched essay should not be a “report” on the text, ; instead, the paper should explore issues of interpretation related to that text.
Since this is a literature class, the argument should primarily focus on analyzing the text, although it may also connect that text and author to their historical or cultural contexts. The secondary sources should be from the field of literature so that they present literary arguments like the one you yourself seek to write
The Summative Project should fulfill all the course outcomes.
1. Demonstrate an understanding of literary terms and critical approaches to studying American Literature
2. Explain brief, factual information about American Literature and its historical, thematic, and literary context.
3. Analyze the broad cultural and social changes that occurred during this particular era of American history and their impact on
4. Demonstrate practical skills in reading, studying, discussing, and writing about works from American literature.
Example: In “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is a symbol of Gatsby’s longing for her and his dreams of a better life.
Foreshadowing: Foreshadowing is a literary device used to hint at what is to come later in the story. It creates suspense and anticipation in the reader by providing clues about future events.
Example: In “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, the death of Candy’s dog foreshadows the death of Lennie, who is also shot by George.
Imagery: Imagery is the use of language to create sensory impressions and mental pictures in the reader’s mind. It appeals to the reader’s senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.
Example: In “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, the author uses vivid imagery to describe the desolate landscape and the bleakness of the post-apocalyptic world.
Irony: Irony is the use of words to convey a meaning that is opposite to or different from i
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Example: In “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator lures his victim into a wine cellar to taste a rare wine, only to trap him and wall him up alive. The irony is that the victim, Fortunato, is not very fortunate after all.
Formalism: Formalism is a critical approach that focuses on the literary work itself, rather than the author’s biography or the historical context in which it was written. It emphasizes close reading and analysis of the text’s formal elements, such as structure, style, and language.
Example: Formalist critics might focus on the use of imagery and symbolism in “The Great Gatsby” to understand how the novel constructs meaning through its language and structure.
Marxist Criticism: Marxist criticism is a critical approach that examines literature in terms of its social and economic context. It looks at how the literary work reflects and reinforces the dominant ideology of its time, and how it may challenge or subvert that ideology.
Example: A Marxist critic might analyze the representation of class and social inequality in “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, and how the novel critiques the capitalist system that causes poverty and suffering for the working class.
Feminist Criticism: Feminist criticism is a critical approach that focuses on the representation of gender and sexuality in literature. It looks at how the literary work reflects and reinforces gender norms and stereotypes, and how it may challenge or subvert them.
Example: A feminist critic might analyze the portrayal of female characters in “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, and how the novel critiques the restrictive gender roles and expectations of Victorian society.
Postcolonial Criticism: Postcolonial criticism is a critical approach that examines the representation of colonialism and its aftermath in literature. It looks at how the literary work reflects and reinforces colonial power dynamics, and how it may challenge or subvert them.
Example: A postcolonial critic might analyze the representation of race and colonialism in “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, and how the novel critiques the imperialist attitudes and practices of European colonialism in Africa.