Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
Classic American Literature
Week VII May 8-12
“Nobody Knows,” pp. 58 – 63
“Respectability,” pp. 121-127
“The Thinker,” pp. 128-142
“The Strength of God,” pp.145 – 156
“The Teacher,” pp. pp. 157-166
“An Awakening,” pp. 179 – 189
“Death,” pp. 220 – 232
“Sophistication,” pp. 233 – 243″
“Departure,” pp. 244 – 247
Week VI May 2 – May 5
This week we begin our study of Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson.
Monday – Introduction to the book – is it a novel, a collections of short stories, a collectiuon of sket ches ior a novel – or something else? What was happening in America during the time period in which the book takes place?
Assignment: Read “Mother,” pp. 39 – 48.
Wednesday – Assignment: read the following stories for Thursday. On Thursday we will discuss the first story, “Hands,” together. Next Monday and Wednesday students will lead the discussion of one of the remaining stories.
“Hands,” pp. 27-34
“A Man of Ideas,” pp. 102 – 111
“Adventure,” pp. 112 – 120
“The Thinker,” pp. 128 – 142
“Queer,” pp. 190 – 201
Week V April 25 – 29, 2011
Questions on “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”
On Monday finish reading “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” in class and then reflect upon (and jot down some ideas about) the story from the perspective of the following four questions. You are going to write an extended essay on one of these questions. By the end of class, please be prepared to email me which question you have chosen to write about. For Wednesday, come to class prepared to lead a discussion on the question you have chosen and also bring the beginning of a rough draft. The final essay will be on the order of two pages in length (1.5 spacing, 10 font.)
- The British Hunter, Robert Wilson, respects neither one of the Macombers, whom he is guiding on safari. Summarize his attitude toward each of them. Does he have more contempt for one or the other? Do you agree with Wilson’s assessment of them? If so, why? What, on the other hand, is your assessment of Wilson, both for the attitude he has toward them and the way he treats them?
- In your reading of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”, is Robert Wilson a teacher or tyrant, a hero or bully – or is he a bit of each? Does he take advantage of a weaker man? Or is his cruelty calculated to redeem Macomber’ life in some way? We know how things end for Francis. How do they end for Margot?
- We’ve noted the themes of manliness and nature in Hemingway’s stories. The first theme involves a code of behavior emphasizing stoicism, courage and, in his famous phrase, “grace under pressure.” The second stresses the curative, purifying, redemptive powers of the natural world as opposed to the lack of honor, moral shallowness and corruption of so-called civilization. How do these themes play out in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber?
- Why is the life of the story’s title character described both as “short” and “happy?” What is “happy” about the life that ends on the last page? What philosophy about the meaning of life does Hemingway mean to convey by the situation he describes in this story? Are the values he ascribes to Robert Wilson meant to be taken by the reader as admirable? What are the moral issues Hemingway raises in this story?