â¢ Key themes and features:Â â¢ individualism and self-celebrationÂ â¢ patriotism, democracyÂ â¢ overflowing lines of verse with no strict meterÂ â¢ unconventional punctuationÂ â¢ often first-person voiceÂ â¢ ordinary scenes from American life, 1830 - 1886 Emily Dickinson James often restricted the information in the novel to what a single character would have known. Their separation took them ultimately to the New World, 1612 - 1672 Anne Bradstreet was born in England but moved to the Massachusetts Bay Colony when she was 18 years old.Â Despite a number of illnesses and the pressures of a rigorous domestic and religious life, she soon began writing poetry about her everyday experiences, including "the simple events in a woman's life" (Adrienne Rich).Â She is regarded as the first notable poet in the American colonies. Loss of Innocence. Military victory fanned nationalistic hopes for a great new literature. Modernist novels destroy conventions b… Major Themes in American Literature. If, according to Romantic theory, self and nature were one, self-awareness was not a selfish dead end but a mode of knowledge opening up the universe. A theme is considered to be the main idea of the work, or a meaning behind the story. Continuing navigation without changing your browser settings, you agree to receive all the cookies of the website www.summaryplanet.com, American Literature Â Â Â Â Â Eudora Welty This was the era of the millionaire manufacturer and the speculator, when Darwinian evolution and the "survival of the fittest" seemed to sanction the sometimes unethical methods of the successful business tycoon. Robert Creeley Because imported authorized editions were more expensive and could not compete with pirated ones, the copyright situation damaged foreign authors such as Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens, along with American authors. 1843 â 1916 Henry James From 1908 to 1920, he resided in London, where he associated with many writers, including William Butler Yeats, for whom he worked as a secretary, and T.S. The typical protagonists of the American Romance are haunted, alienated individuals. Romanticism was affirmative and appropriate for most American poets and creative essayists. â¢ Key themes and features:Â â¢ the imminent dangers of hellÂ â¢ conversion of "natural men" to "born again" believersÂ â¢ comparison of human beings to wretched insects in an effort to convince them of their lowly, fragile, and precarious condition as sinners utterly reliant on God's grace. Writing, on the other hand, did not pay. Such a view of time produced a literature that focused on the major events in the life of a character and showed a rational relationship between those events and the character’s development. It can bolster us when we're feeling down. Many English novels show a poor main character rising on the economic and social ladder, perhaps because of a good marriage or the discovery of a hidden aristocratic past. The absence of adequate copyright laws was perhaps the clearest cause of literary stagnation. Test. 1706 â 1790 Benjamin Franklin 1927: Charles Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic 1929: Stock Market crashes… He now lives in New England. The American study guide contains a biography of author Henry James, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Stieglitz's salon influenced numerous writers and artists, including William Carlos Williams, who was one of the most influential American poets of the 20th century. His life-work was The Cantos, which he wrote and published until his death. Fifty years after their fame in England, English neoclassic writers such as Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Oliver Goldsmith, and Samuel Johnson were still eagerly imitated in America. On the contrary, it confirms it. History was a symbolic religious panorama leading to the Puritan triumph over the New World and to God's kingdom on Earth. â¢ Some prominent works: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (short stories, 1840), The Raven (poetry, 1845), "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Fall of the House of Usher" The idea of form as the equivalent of content, a cornerstone of post-World War II art and literature, crystallized in this period. And it's also a wonderful prize when celebrating life's special moments. 1891 â 1960 Zora Neale Hurston The theme is a pivotal element, because it lingers throughout the entire story, from start to finish. Â Â The development of the self became a major theme; self-awareness a primary method. 1874 â 1963 Robert Frost, 1899 - 1961 Ernest Hemingway American literature - American literature - The 18th century: In America in the early years of the 18th century, some writers, such as Cotton Mather, carried on the older traditions. Whether you're reading your favorite Disney book or wo… The texts are the property of their respective authors and we thank them for giving us the opportunity to share for free to students, teachers and users of the Web their texts will used only for illustrative educational and scientific purposes only. Matthew Carey, an important American publisher, paid a London agent -- a sort of literary spy -- to send copies of unbound pages, or even proofs, to him in fast ships that could sail to America in a month. One of the ways mood can be established is through the point of view in which the story is being told. As one American magazine editor wrote, around 1816, "Dependence is a state of degradation fraught with disgrace, and to be dependent on a foreign mind for what we can ourselves produce is to add to the crime of indolence the weakness of stupidity." The lack of an audience was another problem. America was, in part, an undefined, constantly moving frontier populated by immigrants speaking foreign languages and following strange and crude ways of life. What lesson did the main character learn? Eliot, whose Waste Land he drastically edited and improved. What message can you take away from the story. â¢ Related literary movements:Â Puritanism, Revivalism Quite often, … War production had boosted industry in the North and given it prestige and political clout. The history of American literature stretches across more than 400 years. Colonial writers of the revolutionary generation had been born English, had grown to maturity as English citizens, and had cultivated English modes of thought and English fashions in dress and behavior. Major writers include Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo … â¢ Related literary movements:Â Transcendentalism, 1811-1896 Harriet Beecher Stowe The "sublime" -- an effect of beauty in grandeur (for example, a view from a mountaintop) -- produced feelings of awe, reverence, vastness, and a power beyond human comprehension. As industrialization grew, so did alienation. MODERNISM / EXPERIMENTATION 1914-1945Â Â Â Subject and technique became inseparable in both the visual and literary art of the period. If, according to Romantic theory, self and nature were one, self-awareness was not a selfish dead end but a mode of knowledge opening up the universe. Let's take a closer look at these common themes, as well as some interesting examples from popular works of fiction. It can sustain you through moments when you need to pull out all of your courage. Few American novels achieve formal perfection, even today. â¢ warnings against the Devil's invisible but real presence in the world, 1703 â 1758 Jonathan Edwards was one of the leaders of the Great Awakening revival movement in New England (1734-1750).Â Born in Connecticut, he wrote a study of the behavior of spiders called "Of Insects" when he was 11, entered Yale University when he was 12, and became increasingly devoted to ministry following a conversion experience when he was a graduate student. Key Concepts: Terms in this set (10) The American Dream. Over 23 million foreigners -- German, Scandinavian, and Irish in the early years, and increasingly Central and Southern Europeans thereafter -- flowed into the United States between 1860 and 1910. â¢ Related literary movements:Â Realism, Naturalism, 1862 - 1937 Edith Wharton Life was seen as a test; failure led to eternal damnation and hellfire, and success to heavenly bliss. Courage is a wonderful theme to explore in writing. (Hilda Doolittle), and Amy Lowell. Regionalism â Another outgrowth of Realism, Regionalism in literature is the tendency among certain authors to write about specific geographical areas.Â Regional writers like Willa Cather and William Faulkner, present the distinct culture of an area, including its speech, customs, beliefs, and history.Â Local-color writing may be considered a type of Regionalism, but Regionalists, like the southern writers of the 1920’s, usually go beyond mere presentation of cultural idiosyncrasies and attempt, instead, a sophisticated sociological or anthropological treatment of the culture of a region. Meaning, in Stein's work, was often subordinated to technique, just as subject was less important than shape in abstract visual art. Â Shirley Jackson â¢ Some prominent works: Â The Awakening, Story of an Hour Throughout every bit of character development and conflict resolution, a theme should be prevalent. Seen as traitors to the king as well as heretics damned to hell, they were often persecuted. Maybe it's a theme of bravery, perseverance, or undying love. Despairing of purifying the Church of England from within, "Separatists" formed underground "covenanted" churches that swore loyalty to the group instead of the king. Modernism describes the avant-garde styles of the early twentieth century, while postmodernismdescribes the period of art that evolved after World War II. Slavery and slave narrative are recurring themes in African-American literature adopted in the modern times by writers like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. The exception, Benjamin Franklin, though from a poor family, was a printer by trade and could publish his own work. 1. Perhaps it'll inspire you to live a better tomorrow. Posters and advertisements of the period are full of images of floodlit skyscrapers and light rays shooting out from automobile headlights, moviehouses, and watchtowers to illumine a forbidding outer darkness suggesting ignorance and old-fashioned tradition. But at least the foreign authors had already been paid by their original publishers and were already well known. means more than a glass even a Carey's men would sail out to meet the incoming ships in the harbor and speed the pirated books into print using typesetters who divided the book into sections and worked in shifts around the clock. Sylvia Plath For almost a century and a half, America was merely a group of colonies … The moral is a specific lesson that the author is trying to teach. Â Â The way the story was told became as important as the story itself. Common themes include: Of course, the list goes on and on. Toni Morrison The childlike quality of Stein's simple vocabulary recalls the bright, primary colors of modern art, while her repetitions echo the repeated shapes of abstract visual compositions. Companions… Literary work of the 1930s focused on the rejection of the notion of progress and a desire to return to an earlier age of … Once you're comfortable speaking on each of these elements, it's time to dive into the theme. Richard Hugo Hawthorne's Arthur Dimmesdale or Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter, Melville's Ahab in Moby-Dick, and the many isolated and obsessed characters of Poe's tales are lonely protagonists pitted against unknowable, dark fates that, in some mysterious way, grow out of their deepest unconscious selves. In truth, themes are far more general than the moral of the story. Piracy starved the first generation of revolutionary American writers; not surprisingly, the generation after them produced even less work of merit. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. James Baldwin (1924-1987)Â James Baldwin No longer was it sufficient to write a straightforward third-person narrative or (worse yet) use a pointlessly intrusive narrator. Naturalism â An outgrowth of Realism, Naturalism was a literary movement among novelists at the end of the nineteenth century and during the early decades of the twentieth century.Â The Naturalists tended to view people as hapless victims of immutable natural laws.Â Early exponents of Naturalism included Stephen Crane, Jack London, and Theodore Dreiser. Now that we know the different movements, let's look at the common themes found in t… Certainly the New England Transcendentalists -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and their associates -- were inspired to a new optimistic affirmation by the Romantic movement. Are you ready to frame a theme into a fascinating story that'll stand the test of time? It can be divided into five major periods, each of which has unique characteristics, notable authors, and representative works. The first Puritan colonists who settled New England exemplified the seriousness of Reformation Christianity. They wanted education to understand and execute God's will as they established their colonies throughout New England. Editorial assistance, distribution, and publicity were rudimentary. A resident of Paris and an art collector (she and her brother Leo purchased works of the artists Paul CÃ©zanne, Paul Gauguin, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, and many others), Stein once explained that she and Picasso were doing the same thing, he in art and she in writing. â¢ Some prominent works: "Wonders of the Invisible World" (1692) Known as the "Pilgrims," they were a small group of believers who had migrated from England to Holland -- even then known for its religious tolerance -- in 1608, during a time of persecutions. This world was an arena of constant battle between the forces of God and the forces of Satan, a formidable enemy with many disguises. Such a pirated English book could be reprinted in a day and placed on the shelves for sale in American bookstores almost as fast as in England. Here are a few examples of love in major works of literature: Of course, the theme in a novel doesn't always have to be a positive thing. Photography began to assume the status of a fine art allied with the latest scientific developments. The symbolic plots reveal hidden actions of the anguished spirit. Modern life seemed radically different from traditional life -- more scientific, faster, more technological, and more mechanized. â¢ Some prominent works: "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (sermon) Â Gothic novels feature places like mysterious and gloomy castles, where horrifying, supernatural events take place.Â Their influence on Edgar Allan Poe is evident in “The Fall of the House of Usher.”Â â¢ Some prominent works: â¢ Their Eyes Were Watching God â¢ Mules and Men â¢ Dust Tracks on a Road (autobiography) The search for a native literature became a national obsession. The democratic American individual had, as it were, to invent himself. 1737-1809 Thomas Paine In a way, the mood the author establishes creates an emotional setting. Survivors, like Twain's Huck Finn, Humphrey Vanderveyden in London's The Sea-Wolf, and Dreiser's opportunistic Sister Carrie, endure through inner strength involving kindness, flexibility, and, above all, individuality. Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. Discussion of themes and motifs in Asian American Literature. The self-made and often self-educated Puritans were notable exceptions. Instead of carefully defining realistic characters through a wealth of detail, as most English or continental novelists did, Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe shaped heroic figures larger than life, burning with mythic significance. 1835 - 1910 Mark Twain 1914: WW I begins (Archduke Ferdinand assassinated) 1917: Russian Revolution breaks out; U. S. enters WW I 1918: Armistice declared in WW I (stopping the fighting) 1920: 19th Amendment to Constitution gives women right to vote; 18th amendment prohibiting manufacture, sale, and importation of alcoholic drinks goes into effect (Prohibition) 1925: Scopes Tennessee Evolution trial (debating whether schools can teach evolution). That's the beauty of artistic expression. 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