American Literature

These works of literature can be viewed as explorations of the American identity in their respective time periods. American literature reflects many aspects of American life. Choose texts from at least three periods on the reading list below to show the evolution of one element central to American life, such as love and marriage, school, family, community, or work. Through close textual analysis, illustrate how this element changes over time in response to a changing America.

Please write the paper in the MLA format. You must also use at least four credible, outside sources and cite them using MLA format as well. Please include a mix of both primary and secondary sources, with at least one source from a scholarly peer-reviewed journal. Include a works cited page at the end. A title page is not necessary but a title is needed.

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Colonial & Early National Period
James Fenimore Cooper: The Last of the Mohicans
Mary Rowlandson: A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
Johnathan Edward: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Thomas Paine: Common Sense

Romantic & Dark Romantic Period
Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Washington Irving: Rip Van Winkle
Washington Irving: The Devil and Tom Walker
Edgar Allan Poe: The Cask of Amontillado
Edgar Allan Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven
Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter

Transcendentalism Period
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Self Reliance
Henry David Thoreau: Walden
Henry David Thoreau: Civil Disobedience
Walt Whitman: Song of Myself

Realism in American Literature
Frederick Douglass: A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Mark Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Modernist Prose in American Literature
F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
Ernest Hemingway: A Farewell to Arms
William Faulkner: As I Lay Dying
John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men

Modernist Poetry in American Literature
T.S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The Harlem Renaissance
Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Contemporary Period
Tennessee Williams: The Glass Menagerie
Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman
Richard Wright: Black Boy
J.D. Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
Jack Kerouac: On the Road
Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Sandra Cisneros: The House on Mango Street

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