american literature 6

SECTION I. 20 pts. Choose ONE of the following poems, A or B and in at least three paragraphs, discuss: (1) the subject and situation of the poem, (2) its theme or central idea, and (3) the connection between its theme and details of the poem. Use full sentences. The Examining a Poem/Section One Tips handout is your preparation for this section). Copy and paste your response for this section from a word-processed document. Be sure to save to one or more drives.

A. “Some Keep the Sabbath going to Church” (Dickinson)

B.“I heard a Fly Buzz when I Died” (Dickinson)

SECTION II.15 POINTS. Highlight in yellow the appropriate answer.

1. “Circumference” was Dickinson’s term fora) baptism by graceb) exploring boundaries

c) original sin).

2. Whitman sought approval for his early work from a) Ralph Waldo Emersonb) Henry David Thoreau

c) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

3. Dickinson’s large themes and intense feeling, compacted into a few short lines, is known asa) slant rhymeb)closed formc) compression.

4. Dickinson attended this school for one year a) Harvard University b) Mount Holyoke Seminary

c ) Dickinson College

5. Dickinson continued to question a) man’s goodnessb) the afterlifec) God’s existence

6. Whitman uses the personal pronoun “I” in his work to demonstratea) his vanityb) his alter ego

c) his connection to all life

7. Whitman’s poetry treated only the ideal, elevated aspects of democratic life, rather than ordinary, unimportant daily life. True or False?

8. Dickinson’s handwritten poems, foundin her dresser, stacked andtied with string, are called

a) fasciclesb) claviclesc) bundlesd) musings

9. To mirror the nation’s boundless potential, Whitman chosea) free verseb) blank versec) rhymed meter

10. The setting of Twain’s “Jumping Frog” isa) the deep southb) California mining town

c)not enough information to tell

11. The flashback in Owl Creek Bridge reveals that Farquhar was set up by aa) Union scout

b) Confederate Spyc) retired assassin

12. The Story of an Hour is set in thea) springb) summerc) falld) Not revealed

13. It is inferred in “ . . .Owl Creek Bridge” that Farquhar did not serve in the Civil War because a) he was too old b) he was physically disabledc) he paid someone to take his place

14. Sylvia considers disclosing the White Heron’s location becausea) she had a crush on the hunter

b) they needed the money he had promisedc) she was afraid of the hunterd) both a and b

15. The real reason Louisa broke her engagement with Joe was because

a) he betrayed herb) she was happier alonec) he came back without money

SECTION III. 5 pts each 10 POINTS total. List three conclusive ways that we can tell that each of these poems or excerpts was written by its author. Consider both topic and technique; be sure that your points apply to this poem and are unique to this poet (see Tips for section III handout.) Three separate, numbered sentences per poem, as long as they are detailed and precise, are all that is required.


There’s a certain Slant of light,

Winter Afternoons –

That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –

We can find no scar,

But internal difference,

Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –

‘Tis the Seal Despair –

An imperial affliction

Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –

Shadows – hold their breath –

When it goes, ‘tis like the Distance

On the look of Death –

(Emily Dickinson)


I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand

singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or

at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of

the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,

robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Walt Whitman

SECTION IV. 30 pts In at least two paragraphs per each of the local color and regionalist fiction excerpts below, discuss the specific region and time period presented in the story; the situation or circumstance reflected in the excerpt; and the defining characteristics of local color/regionalism in each. Be sure to support your points with examples/quotes from the stories. Copy and paste your response for this section directly into this document.10 pts each -30 pts total


Alce flung himself into a rocker and Calixta nervously began to gather up from the floor the lengths of a cotton sheet which she had been sewing.

lf this keeps up, Dieu sait if the levees goin’ to stan it!” she exclaimed.

“What have you got to do with the levees?”

“I got enough to do! An’ there’s Bobint with Bibi out in that storm if he only didn’ left Friedheimer’s!”

“Let us hope, Calixta, that Bobint’s got sense enough to come in out of a cyclone.”

She went and stood at the window with a greatly disturbed look on her face. She wiped the frame that was clouded with moisture. It was stiflingly hot. Alce got up and joined her at the window, looking over her shoulder. The rain was coming down in sheets obscuring the view of far-off cabins and enveloping the distant wood in a gray mist. The playing of the lightning was incessant. A bolt struck a tall chinaberry tree at the edge of the field. It filled all visible space with a blinding glare and the crash seemed to invade the very boards they stood upon.


Soon it would be berry-time, and Sylvia was a great help at picking. The cow was a good milker, though a plaguy thing to keep track of, the hostess gossiped frankly, adding presently that she had buried four children, so Sylvia’s mother, and a son (who might be dead) in California were all the children she had left. “Dan, my boy, was a great hand to go gunning,” she explained sadly. “I never wanted for pa’tridges or gray squer’ls while he was to home. He’s been a great wand’rer, I expect, and he’s no hand to write letters. There, I don’t blame him, I’d ha’ seen the world myself if it had been so I could.

“Sylvy takes after him,” the grandmother continued affectionately, after a minute’s pause. “There ain’t a foot o’ ground she don’t know her way over, and the wild creaturs counts her one o’ themselves.


There was a feller here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of ’49 or may be it was the spring of ’50 I don’t recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume wasn’t finished when he first came to the camp; but any way, he was the curiosest man about always betting on any thing that turned up you ever see, if he could get any body to bet on the other side; and if he couldn’t, he’d change sides. Any way that suited the other man would suit him any way just so’s he got a bet, he was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance; there couldn’t be no solittry thing mentioned but that feller’d offer to bet on it, and -take any side you please, as I was just telling you . . ,

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