English Literature Reading Response English homework help
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Reading Response 1: Whitman, Dickinson, Chopin, Wharton, Far
Walt Whitman is sometimes viewed as an egotistical poet because of the title of his best-known poem, Song of Myself. When you read a few stanzas of this poem, however, you will see that he doesn’t mean the physical Walt Whitman–he is writing about what it means to be human and to be an American. Although it’s hard to imagine two people as different as Whitman and Dickinson, they both wrote about some of the same subjects, just in different ways. Both are unique, not just for American poets, but for all poets, because they created new ways of writing poetry.
You will also be reading and discussing stories by American women writers of the late 19th and early 20th century this week. Kate Chopin’s work is set in Louisiana where she lived for many years before returning to her home in St. Louis. I especially like “At the ‘Cadian Ball” because it reveals much about the Acadian (Cajun) culture. This is especially true in the description of the ball (a party at a general store). I like the conversation the old men have about the young and rich Alcee. Although Edith Wharton’s stories aren’t really regional, they reveal the values of the culture of the wealthy in old New York at the turn of the century. You will find a bit of humor and irony in both stories. Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton) wrote stories that depict Chinese culture on the west coast during the same time period. The first story includes humor; the second is very sad. I hope that you enjoy the readings of both the poets and the fiction writers!
The following file will provide additional information and suggestions for response. Please let me know if you have questions, and I’ll answer promptly. It is essential for you to read the entire file to do well on this response. I have included information about the authors and translations for the French phrases in “At the ‘Cadian Ball,” since many students have had difficulty with these.
Read this file for instructions for responding to the readings for this week