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Final Essay Exam for English 2328
There is no grace period for the final essay.
please turn your final in to me in the assignment area in an attached file.
Be sure to read all of the instructions (the entire file). PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS.
The final should show me that you have read selections from various parts of Volume E.
Here are some possible ways to group the reading selections (choose one):
If you consult sources for the paper, you must cite the source, even if you paraphrase the author’s words rather than quoting directly from the source. If you don’t cite these sources, you are plagiarizing. The final is a test of your ability to use critical thinking skills as you discuss the stories and poems, so you should use sources sparingly.
You will find the following overviews and timelines helpful in writing your paper.
The following information comes directly from the website for the 7th edition:
After World War II, the United States emerged as the strongest world power and assumed the role of speaking on behalf of liberal democratic ideals. Having fought until Germany and Japan had unconditionally surrendered, the triumphant Allies attended to their war-ravaged economic infrastructures, but only the United States had the wherewithal to build on its success in the conflict. The overseas empires of Britain and France began to dissolve, often violently. And the Soviet Union, weakened by the German assault of 1941, eventually could not sustain the investment necessary to vie militarily with the Americans. The Cold War (1946–89) between the United States and the USSR involved an ideological struggle between capitalist and communist states worldwide, which erupted into proxy fights in Korea and Vietnam, but eventually confirmed American military preeminence. At home, these political struggles resulted in three major aesthetic reactions. First, the period immediately following World War II was characterized by cultural conformity and nationalist ambition, as artists responded to the Cold War by closing ranks and writing on behalf of an assumed collective identity. Second, in the 1960s and 1970s, the unfulfilled promise of the Kennedy administration along with the turmoil of the Vietnam War prompted cultural introspection, as more and more artists rejected conformity and searched for ways to represent previously excluded minority voices. Third, from the 1980s to the present, artists consolidated the progress made in the previous years, until diversity and inclusivity became aesthetic ideals as well as political goals.
In the aftermath of the economic and cultural reorganizations of World War II, American society became fascinated by cultural homogeneity and political unity. The war effort had shifted industrial production to military ends and recruited women to replace factory workers fighting overseas. When those workers came home, many women found returning to domesticity only temporarily acceptable. Similarly, African Americans who had been drafted into a fully integrated army found their return to second-class citizenship difficult to accept. But for the majority of the 1950s, most Americans dedicated themselves to stability at home in order to bolster the American cause abroad. During the Cold War, American competition with the Soviet Union took the form of political “containment” of the Russians, Chinese, and their satellite states through international organizations like the United Nations (for the Korean War) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (in the case of the Eastern European Warsaw Pact). Once the USSR developed nuclear weapons, both sides formulated policies that favored deterring their adversaries economically rather than deploying the weapons. In light of the struggle between capitalist and socialist economies, Americans treated materialism (which valued wealth as a good in itself) as patriotic. The G.I. Bill, which granted college educations to returning soldiers, ensured a highly skilled workforce, and the developing network of American-owned international corporations resulted in prosperity and the creation of a managerial class. Interstate highways connected suburbs with urban hubs to allow businessmen to shuttle between work and home, but this increased mobility underscored the homogeneity of these interchangeable zones of commerce.
The literature of the 1950s reflects the cultural preoccupations of stability and conformity as it responded to the aesthetic project of modernism. Many artists sought to depict what they took to be common or essential to all Americans regardless of gender, class, ethnicity, or regional identity. Such striving for representativeness derived in part from the grand ambitions of modernist novelists like Ernest Hemingway, whose lingering macho challenge to write the “Great American Novel” pushed writers to universalize or generalize so that their works could speak to any reader. Other novelists were inspired by William Faulkner to use regional specificity to make major statements about race, history, and national identity. By the end of the decade, fiction writers began to suspect that novelistic conventions were inadequate to the task of representing essential Americana, much less contemporary reality. The “Death of the Novel” controversy, as it was called, pointed to the dependence of novels on stable assumptions about character, plot development, and symbolism. During the 1960s, novelists like Philip Roth were increasingly skeptical of such assumptions. Poetry followed a course similar to that of prose in these years. Starting with finely wrought, intricate, personal lyric meditations, which were stylistic holdovers from modernist influences, poets in the Fifties began to experiment with formal openness and thematic inclusiveness of non-mainstream perspectives. Two books that symbolized poetry’s break with modernist form are Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (1956), with its wandering, oral rhythms and energetic rejections of conformity, and Robert Lowell’s Life Studies (1959), featuring a less difficult, more direct style and an autobiographical intensity. Ginsberg’s and Lowell’s works helped prepare for the “confessional” poetry of the 1960s, which stressed the distinctiveness rather than the representativeness of the lyric voice.
The inevitable collision of conformity and individuality was foreshadowed in the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960. Kennedy’s “New Frontier” challenged the prosperous and complacent to provide for the underprivileged and socially marginalized through the desegregation of the South and government programs like the Peace Corps. Many of Kennedy’s civil and voting rights proposals were realized by Lyndon Johnson in the late 1960s as part of his “Great Society.” The assassination of Kennedy in 1963 began a dozen years of cultural revolution in which intellectual unrest over the Vietnam War resulted in urban and campus violence, but also gave rise to movements for the betterment of women, blacks, and Native Americans. The feminist movement, which encouraged women to promote their collective legal, political, and cultural interests, made strides in equality for women not seen since suffrage; similarly, the civil rights movement made advances in awareness and combating racial discrimination, unfinished business since Reconstruction one hundred years earlier. But the good will earned by the Great Society was largely squandered by escalation in Vietnam under Johnson and Nixon and the government’s often deceitful handling of information about Southeast Asia. Cynicism and activism in universities resulted in riots on campuses and deaths at Kent State and Jackson State in 1970; unrest did not cease until Nixon resigned in 1974 under threat of impeachment for abuse of power during the Watergate scandal and American troops withdrew from Vietnam in 1975.
The political divisions, disruptions, and uncertainties of the 1960s were mirrored in the literature of the decade, in which writers came to terms with changing attitudes toward social involvement, government and corporate power, individual and minority rights, drug use, and technological advances like television and consumer air travel that lent themselves to a global perspective but disrupted normal ways of thinking about time and space. The Death of the Novel debates in fiction and the increasingly provisional, momentary nature of poetry emphasized the fragility of language. In literary theory, the school of deconstruction, starting in about 1966, examined the fundamentally unstable quality of all utterances and how any statement depends on often unspoken and arbitrarily constructed assumptions. Still, some writers like the novelists John Updike and Ann Beattie and poets like Elizabeth Bishop and Stanley Kunitz remained committed to realistic description and traditional connections between text and represented world. Others, like those in the “Minimalist” school of prose fiction, labored to create a rigorously believable and philosophically acceptable aesthetic. While some mainly white voices responded to the 1960s by accounting for their aesthetic privilege, others took the decade as an opportunity to add their voices to American ideas of distinctive identity. Large platforms like literary feminism and the Black Arts Movement allowed individual authors to render particular experiences without having to feel they spoke for their race, ethnicity, or gender: Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud were American writers participating in this trend, and Adrienne Rich and Ursula Le Guin are good examples of powerful women writers. In the case of Native American literature, for which historical and cultural contexts did not exist to combat lingering stereotypes, the 1960s saw a parallel movement of critical writings to supplement creative works by Native authors.
After the Vietnam War, Americans voted on their cynicism about government intervention and nostalgia for traditional values by electing Ronald Reagan president in 1980. Reagan presided over the demise of the Soviet Union thanks to a massive buildup in American military spending that the Russians could not match. His economic policies hearkened back to the personal quest for wealth of the 1950s rather than the social activism of the early 1960s. Under Reagan and Clinton, industries downsized and were made more efficient for competition in a globalized marketplace. Instead of a monolithic communist threat, the United States faced a succession of smaller challenges in Grenada, Panama, Somalia, and Iraq that it could dispatch handily. The new shape of American influence materialized with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; instead of large states, Americans now face radical fundamentalist cells, and U.S. culture has only begun to respond to this antagonist.
As the Cold War ended, writers worked to broaden the cultural achievements of the 1960s, widening the scope of American experience and casting diversity and plurality as aesthetic ideals. African American women like Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, and Rita Dove wrote in national, racial, and ethnic terms; likewise, Sherman Alexie and Louise Erdrich succeeded in writing in the often ignored or suppressed tradition of Native American literature. Immigrant writers like Maxine Hong Kingston and Jhumpa Lahiri augmented national dialogues of assimilation and ethnic identity for Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian Americans. Perhaps the most telling emblem of this contemporary acceptance of new perspectives into conceptions of American experience is the Internet. Online, new hypertext realities need only be imagined to exist virtually, all users may join online communities, and writing exists in open-ended and interactive relationships with its readers.
|1941 Eudora Welty, “Petrified Man“
1944 Stanley Kunitz, “Father and Son“
|1945 Randall Jarrell, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner“||
|1947 Tennesse Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire||
|1948 Theodore Roethke, The Lost Son
1949 Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
|1950 Richard Wilbur, “A World without Objects Is a Sensible Emptiness” • Charles Olson, “Projective Verse“||
|1952 Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man|
|1953 Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March • Charles Olson, “Maximus, to Himself“||
|1955 Flannery O’Connor, “Good Country People“
1955-68 John Berryman composes The Dream Songs (pub. 1964, 1968, 1977)
|1956 Allen Ginsberg, Howl||
|1958 Bernard Malamud, “The Magic Barrel“|
|1959 Philip Roth, “Defender of the Faith” • Robert Creeley, “Kore” • Robert Lowell, Life Studies • Frank O’Hara, “Per sonism“||
|1960 Thomas Pynchon, “Entropy” • Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool” • Robert Duncan, “Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow“||
|1961 Denise Levertov, “The Jacob’s Ladder“|
|1962 Jack Kerouac, Big Sur • Robert Hayden, “Middle Passage“||
|1963 James Wright, “A messing” • Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream“||
|1964 John Cheever, “The Swimmer” • Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) “An Agony. As Now.” • Frank O’Hara, “A Step Away from Them“|
|1965 James Baldwin, “Going to Meet the Man” • A. R. Ammons, “Corson’s Inlet“||
|1966 James Merrill, “The Broken Home” • Sylvia Plath, Ariel||
|1967 A. R. Ammons, “A Poem Is a Walk” • W. S. Merwin, “For a Coming Extinction“|
|1968 Donald Barthelme, “The Balloon” • Edward Abbey, “Havasu“||
|1969 N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five • Galway Kinnell. “The Porcupine” • Robert Penn Warren, Audubon||
|1970 Ishmael Reed, “Neo-HooDoo Manifesto“||
|1971 Audre Lorde, “Black Mother Woman“|
|1972 Rudolfo A. Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima • Anne Sexton, The Death of the Fathers • Letter from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell objecting to use of personal letters in manuscript of The Dolphin||
|1973 Alice Walker, “Everyday Use” • Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck||
|1974 Grace Paley, “A Conversation with My Father” • Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
1975 John Updike, “Separating” • John Ashbery, “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” • Michael S. Harper, “Nightmare Begins Responsibility“
|1976 Elizabeth Bishop, Geography III • Maxine Hong Kingston, “No Name Woman” • Barry Lopez, “The Raven“
1977 Audre Lorde, “Poetry Is Not a Luxury“
1978 Ann Beattie, “Weekend” • Jamaica Kinkaid, “0”
1979 Philip Levine, “Starlight” • Mary Oliver, “The Black Snake” • Robert Hass “Meditation at Lagunitas“
|1980 Toni Cade Bambara, “Medley” • Sam Shepard, True West
1981 Leslie Marmon Silko, “Lullaby” • Lorna Dee Cervantes, “The Body as Braille” • James Dickey, “Falling” • Simon J. Ortiz, “From Sand Creek“
|1982 Raymond Carver, “Cathedral” • David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross||
|1983 Toni Morrison, “Recitatif” • Joy Harjo, “Call It Fear”
1984 Louise Erdrich, “Dear John Wayne”
1985 Ursula K. Le Guin, “She Unnames Them” • Stanley Kunitz, “The Wellfleet Whale”
1986 Louise Erdrich, “Fleur” • Art Spiegelman, Maus I • Rita Dove, Thomas and Beulah • Li-Young Lee, “Eating Together”
1987 Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera • Sharon Olds, “I Go Back to May 1937”
1988 Yusef Komunyakaa, “Facing It“
|1989 Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club||
|1990 Robert Pinsky, “The Want Bone“||
|1991 Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek||
|1993 Gary Snyder, “Ripples on the Surface” • A.R. Ammons, Garbage • Sherman Alexie, “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona“|
|1994 Cathy Song, “Lost Sister” • Stephen Dixon, “Flying“||
|1995 Jorie Graham, The Dream of the Unified Field
1996 W. S. Merwin, “Lament for the Makers” • Sherman Alexie, “The Exaggeration of Despair” • J unot Dfaz, “Drown“
|1997 Julia Alvarez, jYo! • Fanny Howe, “[Nobody wants crossed out girls around]“||
|1998 Billy Collins, “I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey’s Version of ‘Three Blind Mice’“
1999 Jhumpa Lahiri, “Sexy” • Charles Simic, “Arriving Celebrities”
2000 Charles Wright, “North American Bear” • Lucille Clifton, “Moonchild“
|2001 Charles Simic, “Late September“||
|2002 Dorothy Allison, “Stubborn Girls and Mean Stories” • Alberto Rfos, “Refugio’s Hair“||
|2004 Louise Glück, “October”
2005 Kay Ryan, “Home to Roost” • Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
2006 Thomas McGuane, “Gallatin Canyon” • Richard Powers, The Echo Maker • John Crawford, “The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell“
|2007 Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying||
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