Early American Literature Researched Essay

You will be writing a brief researched essay that will address one aspect of your reading in the second half of the course.  Choose one of the following two options.

1. Using Angela Sorby’s introduction to her book entitled Schoolroom Poets as a critical lens, analyze the poetry of Whittier, Longfellow, and Bryant provided.  Evaluate Sorby’s claims and explore their validity regarding the works of the Fireside poets.

2. Evaluate Uncle Tom’s Cabinusing Jane Tompkins’s essay “Sentimental Power” as a critical lens.  Explore Tompkins’s claims and use the novel to substantiate or question those claims’ validity.

The essay by Sorby is available through Google books and linked below and Tompkins’s essay is available on the web using the full bibliographic citations below.

Your submission must be at least 1000 words in length, and it must incorporate at least one primary source (though in the first option you’ll obviously use more) and at least three substantive secondary sources that come from the library databases (not websites).  You should use proper MLA formatting, including heading, parenthetical citations, and a works cited page.  Your essay must be saved as a Word document or as an RTF file. 

Sorby, Angela. “Introduction: Learning by Heart.” Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry, 1865-1917.Durham, New Hampshire: U of New Hampshire P, 2005. xi-xlv.

Tompkins, Jane. “Sentimental Power: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Politics of Literary History.” Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790-1860. New York: Oxford UP, 1985. 122-146.

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