Literature

Follow directions or I will dispute!!!!

minimum of 300 words for original forum 

Respond to each student 100 words minimum in first point of view

original forum on page one with references 

David  response on page 2 with references 

Kenneth  response  on page 3 with references 

original forum

Part I: Describe the qualities of life in America that TWO of our authors this week were criticizing. (Mark Twain “war prayer” &  Edward Arlington ”Miniver Cheevy“) Do these criticisms seem valid to make of today’s America?

Part II:  Try a gendered/ feminist reading of 2 readings not mentioned in your Part 1 response. (Joyce Kilmer ”trees” & Amy Lowell ”Pattern”)Describe what the writers seem to be saying about masculinity and/or femininity. Are these stereotypes/expectations still present in contemporary life?

Student Response 

David

In “A War Prayer”, Mark Twain begins by depicting a town or city honoring its soldiers before sending them off to war. Twain describes a parade of families and friends commemorating the young prideful soldiers for their commitment to their country and their patriotism. This essentially portrays the glorification of war by society. This glorification is put into perspective by Twain when he introduces the “aged stranger” while the citizens are praying for victory over their enemy in church. The stranger makes an astounding analogy about praying for rain on one’s crop, but being ignorant to the fact that the rain can drown another’s. He continues to recite a prayer describing a gruesome scene of a battlefield and all of the damages that are caused because of war. In the end, the stranger asks if anyone in the congregation desires this to speak up to which he is regarded as a lunatic and his words made no sense. In this piece of literature, Mark Twain is essentially criticizing the way society glorifies war when in reality there is no glory in war. War causes destruction to all involved and Twain brings light to this. I think that this criticism is still valid in America today because American’s tend to glorify war. While service members should always be honored, no one really takes the time to comprehend devastation war entails on both sides.

In “Miniver Cheevy” Edwin Arlington Robinson depicts a man reminiscing about past history to which he believes were better times. Miniver venerates the past, wishes that he was born at a later time, and feels that culture is not like it once was.  He wants to be successful but does not want to put in the work to be successful. Miniver is a drunk who continuously complains about his current situation in life but essentially does not do anything to improve it. In this poem, Robinson is describing a person who is a complainer and does not do anything to improve their current situation. I believe that this criticism is still valid in America today because I know many people who complain but do not but in the effort to improve their unhappiness and better themselves.

In Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees”, she describes a tree in nature during all of the seasons. In describing the tree, Kilmer labels the tree as a female using the pronoun “her”. He depicts the tree in a beautiful and feminine way. One could describe Kilmer’s perception of this tree to come from the perspective of a woman. I think that this poem almost breaks stereotypes because some might not believe men can perceive nature in this manner. I personally thought that this poem was written by a woman at first, to which I later found that Kilmer was actually a man.

In Amy Lowell’s poem “Pattern”, starts off describing a woman dressed very elegantly on a beautiful day sitting underneath a tree. While the woman seems to be dressed for a special occasion, she is quite sad for some reason. The woman then imagines in herself and her lover, who is a military man, playfully enjoying nature with each other. At the end of this imagination, the woman reveals that she received a letter in the morning that her lover had died in combat. The woman states that she was to marry him underneath the tree where she now sits. This poem is quite sad. Lowell’s poem is written in the perspective of a woman and promotes the stereotype that women stay at home while men fight the war. This poem’s relevance can be still present in today’s stereotypes, but it also irrelevant in some instances. Even though the majority of the military is made up of men, women do serve in the military and have spouses who are civilians. That being said, this stereotype can and cannot be present in today’s contemporary life.

Kenneth

In “War Prayer” Mark Twain was criticizing the notion that war was justified through religious ideology.  His criticism of praying to the Almighty so that our side was victorious highlighted that the enemy would experience death and suffering and this would make the throngs of war supporters elated. I think that American culture has shifted quite noticeably since the time of Twain’s writing.  Religion is definitely nowhere near as prevalent as it was during the early 1900s.  There are still many believers of the faith, but by and large it has decreased overall.  I would also think that the current American culture towards war is nowhere near as supportive as Twain describes in “War Prayer.  Maybe this is due to our prolonged involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, but by and large today’s America is ready for an environment without war.

In “Mending Wall” Frost is criticizing the need for fences, walls, or any boundaries between neighbors.  He did not think fences or walls were necessary while his neighbor pointed out that “good fences make good neighbors”.  This criticism is even more valid today.  Our Nation has been divided drastically along, political, religious, and ethnic lines.  Neighbors don’t really talk to each other anymore, especially in urban areas.  In rural areas, fences are emplaced to keep other people out or to keep livestock in.

Part II:  

Gilman elaborates in “The Yellow Wallpaper” about gender inequality and stereotypes of the time period in which she lived.  Gilman describes how men know what is best and men shoulder all the important things in life such as work, art, critical thinking, and professional trades while women are relegated to the house.  Gilman also describes that men know what is best and women were just obedient followers.  I think American culture has evolved significantly in this regard but stereotypes and gender inequalities still exist.  Women are often excluded from certain professions or trades in which may seem to manly.  Take welding for example, I am sure that there are some women who are fantastic welders but I would argue the majority of welders are still men.  As far as salary is concerned, I think there is still a gap between men and women.  

In Robinson’s “Richard Cory” we learn of a man who has everything in life.  He is handsome, rich, liked by all and seems to have everything going for him in life.  When he commits suicide, everybody is shocked.  I believe the writer was making a point that nobody is immune from self-esteem or self-confidence issues. It also highlights the fact that just how well do we really know somebody?  I think this stereotype is still present in the current culture.  With the new awareness of suicide and its prevention, we all have probably thought that suicide was for the weak minded or how in the world would somebody want to end their own life.  But just how well do we know our friends, our neighbors, or even relatives?  I would argue that we know these people less well now than people did at the time of this writing.

Ken