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Flashcards in Connections- American Literature extracts Deck (13)
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Yellow Wallpaper

The narrator depicts her experience of mental illness. Her husband who is a doctor belittles her illness. Her treatment requires that she is completely inactive and is forbidden from working and writing.
Trapped in a former nursery by her husband- infantilised. She soon becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper trying to figure out its pattern. Becomes hopelessly insane.

Her husband is patronising and controlling. Psychological horror tale to provide insight to critique the position of women within their marriage.

Mental health and illness was trivialised- 'a slight hysterical tendency'


My Antonia
Willa Cather

Tells the story of a female pioneer who falls pregnant and is a single mother incurs disapproval by her family.
Antonia gains redemption and social approval by her great care of her baby and hard work on the farm. 'she did work of a man on the farm'
First wave of feminism- able to start from nothing and gain redemption through hard work. Embodies the new woman and achieves the American dream- work hard in pursuit of happiness and success.


The Story of an hour
Kate Chopin

Mrs Mallard has just been told of her husband's death
She cannot help but feel elation and a sense of freedom.
She reflects she will now live for herself.
Louise walks back downstairs and a her husband walks through the door. She dies of a heart attack- from the disappointment.


The Awakening
Kate Chopin

A wealthy white woman becomes dissatisfied with her smothering role as a wife and mother and decides to commit suicide.
'The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her'


Zora Neale Hurston
Their eyes were watching God

African- American experience finds out about love and life.
'us coloured folks is like branches without roots'
no support, no nutrients, no opportunities.


Harriet Jacobs
Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl- autobiography

Harriet Jacobs - African American writer who escaped slavery
Became an abolitionist and reformer.
Tells the story of enslavement, degradation and sexual exploitation.
Primary goal of slave narrative to arouse sympathy among whites.
Appeal to white audience especially mothers.


Margaret Mitchell
Gone with the Wind

Tells the story of the end of the civil war
through the life of a southern belle- where slavery culture was remembered and embraced
'her small white hands disappearing into their huge black paws'


Harriet Beecher Stowe
Uncle Tom's Cabin

Heightened the pre-existing tensions between the North and South. Tom a black slave suffers barbaric treatment. Legree, Tom's master questions Tom about the whereabouts of the other two slaves. he can either speak up to save himself or face harsh punishment by remaining silent. 'I'll count every drop of blood there is in you'


Thomas Dixon Jr
The Clansman

Propaganda of why black people should not have the same rights as whites. Romanticising violence of the KKK. Claimed that when free, blacks would turn savage and violent.


Dubose Heyward

Porgy a crippled street beggar
Depicted as emotionally and psychologically complex
Shows dignity
Harlem Renaissance- embrace identity


Zora Neale Hurston
How it feels to be coloured me

'But I am not tragically coloured'
Hurston writes about the pride she feels about being a black woman in American
Embrace identity and strength as a race
Exerts a positive attitude
Hurston says she does not consider herself “tragically colored” and begins weaving together extended metaphors that suggest her self-pride. She is too busy “sharpening her oyster knife” to stop to think about the pain that discrimination may cause,
belief that we are all more than our race


Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis satirizes the many flaws present in the system of the American Dream. The empty materialism and crushing pressures to conform.
George Babbitt has always done everything he's supposed to and finds himself extremely miserable.


Upton Sinclair
The Jungle

Story of Lithuanian Immigrants.
They decide to head to the states in search of a better life. Once they arrive they find the streets are not exactly paved with Gold. They face enormous difficulties: harsh and dangerous working conditions, poverty and starvation, corrupt politicians who create laws which allow this to happen.
They work in industrial stockyards where thousands of cattle are slaughtered and processed into canned and packaged meats everyday. Depicts the health violations and unsanitary practices.
Marija becomes a prostitute and a drug addict and all the children have been corrupted by their life in the city.