Final Exam Review

William Cullen Bryant: Thanatopsis and To a Waterfowl

Washington Irving: Rip Van Winkle

Washington Irving

  • 1st American writer of the 19th century to achieve an international Literary Reputation.
  • He is considered one of the “inventors” of modern short story.
  • Influential horror and humor
  • Not many stories are set in America
  • World-wide influence
  • Other famous work “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Rip Van Wrinkle

  • Rip helps others, but avoids “domestic duties” at home and is considered lazy by his wife.
  • Stayed out all night by drinking beer with strange men and slept under a tree.
  • Woke up to find out it was 20 years later and grew a long beard like Dumbledore.
  • Slept through the Revolutionary War.
  • Missed out on his children growing up.

James Fenimore Cooper: The Last of the Mohicans

Ralph Waldo Emerson: The American Scholar and Self-Reliance

Native Americans: Removal and Resistance

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Young Goodman Brown


  • Very religious – Puritan
  • Many allusions
  • Gothic Style
  • Awareness of evil

Young Goodman Brown

  • Takes place in a Salem Village
  • He goes into the forest where he meets someone resembling the devil. Snake staff
  • He meets a woman who turns out to be a witch.
  • Moral Questioning
  • He hears a voice and finds his wife’s ribbon
  • Fails to save his wife
  • Wakes up like it was a dream
  • “His Faith is gone! There is no good on Earth; and his sin is but a name.”
  • Snake staff leads him to the ritual grounds.
  • Sees his parents

Edgar Allan Poe: Selections

  • Best known for his poetry ad short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and macabre.
  • Regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the U.S.
  • Ligeia: Author whose wife Ligeia dies, then he remarries Lady Rowena, who also dies. Rowena slowly comes back from the dead but as Lady Ligeia. Debatably due to opium induced hallucinations.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher: Unnamed narrator arrives at the house of Usher. Twin sister of Roderick, Madeline, dies. They put Madeline in the tomb in the house. Madeline comes back to life and Roderick and her fall dead. The house is destroyed.
  • The Black Cat: The narrator and his wife loved animals and had many animals including a black cat. The narrator was a bitter drunk and grew to hate the cat. He gouged the cats eye out. He hangs the cat. His house catches on fire and is destroyed all except for one wall which has the figure of the hung black cat burned into the wall. He finds a replacement cat because he feels guilty. He grows to hate this cat too because it follows him everywhere and won’t leave him alone. He tries to kill the cat with an axe but the wife stops him. He gets angry and kills the wife instead. He puts his dead wife in the wall. The police come investigate the wife’s disappearance. He almost gets away with it but the cat was put into the wall along with the wife and it shrieks, revealing the hiding place of the the wife’s dead body.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: A Psalm of Life

Henry David Thoreau: Walden

  • Henry David Thoreau
  1. Thoreau was a transcendentalist.
  2. Lived at the pond for 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days
  3. He looked up to Emerson/mentor
  4. His essays, books weave together two central themes (nature and conduct of life).
  5. He brought interpretations of nature to bear on how people live or ought to live
  6. He brings readers to their own awakenings
  7. Raises the question of life’s economy

Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Frederick Douglass: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Walt Whitman: 1855 Preface and Song of Myself

  • Walt Whitman broke many conventions of poetry at the time (not everything rhymed, not everything followed a structured pentameter)
  • Considered first true American Bard, voice of the country
  • Walt Whitman, universalism, large emphasis on the importance of the average American citizen, every American citizen
  • Whitman was a spiritual man, but not religious.

Herman Melville: Bartleby


Emily Dickinson: Poems

  • She began writing letters as a child and after college (1855) she wrote poetry. She complied nearly 2k poems in ten years from then.
  • Published 11 poems when she was alive
  • Her poetry is either about her struggle with religion, mortality, or occasionally love
  • Her poetry uses a simplistic and elliptical form.
  • She uses slant rhyme