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Flashcards in Final Deck (54):

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost


Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent

TS Eliot


Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

Wallace Stevens


"It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig," the man said. "It's not
really an operation at all."
The girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on.
" I know you wouldn't mind it, Jig. It's really not anything. It's just to let
the air in."
The girl did not say anything.

Ernest Hemingway


Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before, but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
Thirty-five years
I lived with my husband.

William Carlos Williams


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Gwendolyn Brooks


"I heard that you lost a lot in the crash."
"I did," and he added grimly, "but I lost everything I wanted in the boom."
"Selling short."
"Something like that."

F Scott Fitzgerald


For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him. What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay that even coating of the patient and biding dust.
Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.

William Faulkner


"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."
"Some fun!" Bobby Lee said.
"Shut up, Bobby Lee" The Misfit said. "It's no real pleasure in life."

Flannery O'Connor


In the dark, the girl came by and I asked her to take drinks to the bandstand. There was a long pause, while they talked up there in the indigo light and after awhile I saw the girl put a Scotch and milk on top of the piano for Sonny. He didn't seem to notice it, but just before they started playing again, he sipped from it and looked toward me, and nodded. Then he put it back on top of the piano. For me, then, as they began to play again, it glowed and shook above my brother's head like the very cup of trembling.

James Baldwin


My mother danced all night and Roberta's was sick. That's why we were taken to St. Bonny's. People want to put their arms around you when you tell them you were in a shelter, but it really wasn't bad.

Toni Morrison


If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two——
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

Sylvia Plath


Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn...

John Berryman


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz...

Allen Ginsberg


He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county. He had made a discovery, a contribution to modern geography; he would name the stream Lucinda after his wife. He was not a practical joker nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure. The day was beautiful and it seemed to him that a long swim might enlarge and celebrate its beauty.

John Cheever


I wasn’t enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to.

Raymond Carver


It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like “Poo-tee-weet?”

Kurt Vonnegut



-most of what we read falls under modernism
-good example is TS Eliot
-between WWI and WWII (1914-1945)
-distrust of meta-narrative
-stream of consciousness
-experimental, leader was Ezra Pound
-extreme in politics and ideology
-take elements of these stories and traditions and mix them up
-influence of new ideas from Freud, Jung, Einstein
-rejection of Victorian world
-nature is depicted as a wasteland
-most intense in Europe bc America was not impacted as much
*ALLUSION - references to other works
-"make it new"
-unreliable narrators
-free verse


"Lost Generation"

-people too young to have been in WWI
-name from Gertrude Stein's mechanic
-poets, artists, etc in Europe
also referred to people who died in the war - a whole generation was lost
-Fitzgerald & Hemingway
-between WWI and WWII, esp 1920s


"Beat Generation"

-after WWII, late 40s and 50s
*New York and San Francisco
-Manhattan, esp around Columbia Univ
-eventually shifted to California (countercultural capital)
-areas in Mexico City and Tangier (Morroco)
-hippies came from this
-"Howl" by Ginsberg is main poem
-On the Road by Kerouac is main book


Southern Gothic

-how South is usually depicted
-falling down mansions, rape, murder, family secrets, etc
- "A Rose for Emily" by Faulkner, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor


Confessional Poetry

-not cerebral, unfeeling, classical reference-filled poems
-sharing their feelings, the truth - not about making up characters
-write about themselves, often about depression
-Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, (John Ashbery), Robert Lowell
-RL taught poetry class in Boston, AS & SP met in his class


unreliable narrator

What is it?
-often a character in the story
-can't rely on them to be telling the whole truth
-may not know, may be lying, may be mentally compromised
-not omniscient
-often, but not always, 1st person
-unreliable and biased
-other end of spectrum from omniscient (om -> lim 3rd person -> unreliable)
What is an example? Explain why.
-Yellow Wallpaper, Slaughterhouse Five, The Swimmer
*Recitatif by TM - Twyla is telling her story, everything you get is only from her side, so you have to piece it together by yourself
*"Emergency," "Car Crash While Hitchhiking" by DJ - narrator is high, cannot trust him



-bombing of Hiroshima - 9/11 attacks
-irony, playfulness, black humor
-temporal distortion


Willa Cather

"The Sculptor's Funeral"
-works focus on the plains (Nebraska and Kansas)
-focus on immigrants and women
-urban vs rural, art vs commerce, beauty vs practicality
-questions whether anyone is truly a "self-made man"


Sherwood Anderson

-based on town where he grew up
-stories all set in Winesburg, Ohio
-grotesques (Wing Biddlebaum)
-works show growing divide b/t art and commerce


Carl Sandburg

-grew up and raised around Chicago
-working class, immigrant roots, voice of the people
-like Whitman, he was fascinated with Lincoln
-wanted to be the voice of the people
-use of free verse
-influenced by Langston Hughes and others
-during this time, writers diverged in 2 groups --> elevated, educated language; voice of ordinary people


Robert Frost

"Mending Wall"
"Death of the Hired Man"
"The Road Not Taken"
"After Apple Picking"
"Nothing Gold Can Stay"
"Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"
-associated with rural New England
-1st poet to read poem for presidential inauguration (JFK)
-can be considered regionalist for use of dialect, but is more than that
-focus on individual
-diff from contemporaries and Modernists bc not political with his poetry
-most famously misinterpreted poem is The Road Not Taken
-"mono no aware" and "memento mori" in NGCS


TS Eliot

"Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock"
"The Hollow Men"
-born in Missouri but moved to England as an ex-pat


William Carlos Williams

"Young Housewife"
"Widow's Lament in Springtime"
"The Red Wheelbarrow"
"The Dead Baby"
"Landscape with the Fall of Icarus"
-Modernist, but very American
-wanted poetry for everyday people
-doctor and poet
-often wrote down poetry on sticky notes in between patients
-associated with poor immigrants in New Jersey


Wallace Stevens

"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"
"Sunday Morning"
"Anecdote of the Jar"
"Of Modern Poetry"
-Modernist, but very American
-lawyer, insurance exec
-traveled to Florida/South, inspired by Asian poetry
-born in Reading, Pennsylvania


Ernest Hemingway

"Hills Like White Elephants"
-part of "Lost Generation"
-Shakespeare & Co bookstore by Sylvia Beach
-ambulance corps in Italy in WWI
-married 4 times
-created a style that many others would copy, very extra-masculine
-mostly lived in Key West
-iceberg theory --> part is story, most is what is implied but still have to get it across


F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Babylon Revisited"
-part of "Lost Generation"
-he and wife Zelda were important couple of Jazz Age
-alcoholics with tragic lives
-born in Minnesota, but traveled through Europe


William Faulkner

"A Rose for Emily"
-from Mississippi
-most of what he wrote was set in fictional town in Miss based on his hometown
-Southern Gothic
-use of grotesques
-The Lost Cause (had to fight Civil War for honor of the South, elevates a mystical Old South image)
-Emily represents this in his story --> they know it is never coming back


Flannery O'Connor

"A Good Man is Hard to Find"
-from Savannah, GA, spent most of her life in Milledgeville
-Southern Gothic
-Catholic in the South, most of her writing contains religious ideas
-GRACE - getting something positive you have not earned; no one is good, everyone needs grace
-moment of grace


Gwendolyn Brooks

"kitchenette building"
"The White Troops Had Their Orders..."
"The Children of the Poor"
"We Real Cool"
"The Last Quatrain of the Ballad of Emmett Till"
-associated with southside Chicago
-family moved from Topeka in Great Migration
-major poet of 20th century


Toni Morrison

-mostly known for her novels
-examines Black experience, especially Black females
-unreliable narrator


Confessional Poets

Sylvia Plath
Anne Sexton
Robert Lowell
John Berryman (not associated with other 3)
-usually the speaker is themselves, and they write about their own lives


Sylvia Plath

"Lady Lazarus"
-Confessional poet
-from Massachusetts
-likely suffered from bipolar disorder
-husband was cheater and is often blamed for her death
-writes about Nazis and Holocaust
-killed herself with head in oven but made sure children would be safe


Anne Sexton

"The Starry Night"
"Sylvia's Death"
-Confessional poet
-from Massachusetts
-friends with Sylvia Plath
-killed herself with CO2 poisoning in garage in fur coat with glass of vodka


Robert Lowell

"Skunk Hour"
"For the Union Dead"
-Confessional poet
-taught poetry class in Boston where AS & SP became friends
-from Massachusetts
-died of heart attack


John Berryman

Dream Songs #14
-not associated with other Confessional poets
-from Oklahoma
-jumped off bridge in Minneapolis


Jack Kerouac

On the Road
-"Beat Generation"
-gave the name to this culture
-semi-autobiographical book, but changed names in published version
-written on continuous scroll
-tried to leave this movement, didn't want to be associated with later parts


Allen Ginsberg

"A Supermarket in California"
-"Beat Generation"
-cultural figure of hippie and LSD culture
-publisher but on trial for "Howl", landmark free speech case
-shows influences of Whitman (ASiC was about following him in supermarket)
-introduction by WCW "Hold back your skirts, ladies, we're going through hell"
-arrested as accessory to a crime but pled insanity and went to psychiatric facility


John Cheever

"The Swimmer"
-Iowa Writers Workshop
-affluent suburbs of Manhattan
-WASP culture
-line of influence JC -> RC -> DJ


Raymond Carver

-Iowa Writers Workshop
-Pacific NW
-working class
-minimalism, "dirty realism"
-edited by Gordon Lish
-line of influence JC -> RC -> DJ


Denis Johnson

"Car Crash While Hitchhiking"
"Emergency" (both from Jesus' Son book)
-Iowa Writers Workshop
-raised all over the world
-narrator never receives a name besides FH
-line of influence JC -> RC -> DJ
-unreliable narrators


James Baldwin

"Sonny's Blues"
-famous at young age, advocate for civil rights
-lived in Harlem and Paris
-left US bc of segregation and race issues, but blamed north and south equally
-believed Harlem had become a ghetto for the containment of African Americans
-one of his main themes was imprisonment
-"SB" has themes of imprisonment, grace, suffering


Ralph Ellison

"Battle Royal" (ch 1 of Invisible Man)
-contemporary of Baldwin
-born in Oklahoma, went to Tuskegee in AL, lived most of his life in Harlem


Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse Five (The Children's Crusade)
"Wailing Shall be in all Streets"
-born in Indiana
-wrote for his sister, an audience of 1
-mother killed herself, sister died, adopted sister's children
-associated with Dresden bombing --> "I was there"
-"Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt"
-book is about PTSD, but also about bearing witness ; important to remember what has happened
-time does not work the same way in his novel
-the narrator is not the same as Billy Pilgrim - he occasionally says "That was me. I was there.'' - that is the narrator



-repulsive, ugly, exaggerated, weird, monstrous, uncomfortable,
-sympathetic, identifiable, not meant to be bad
-used by Anderson in Wing Biddlebaum (but not invented by him)
-other examples are Quasimodo, the Beast, Frankenstein's monster, etc


timeline of Slaughterhouse Five

-starts in 1944 when he enters the war, and he is almost immediately captured
-enter Dresden as POW near end
-ends with bombing of Dresden and execution of Edgar Derby
-within there, other major events
-as the central plot goes on, he travels back in time to childhood, other memories and to the future as an old man
-as the story progresses, the alien stuff and time travel lines up with real events in his life


Slaughterhouse Five

know where it ends (after Dresden bombing, riding in back of cart), how time works (central timeline, and he travels back and forth), event it leads up to (Dresden bombing), plot points


essay questions

-discuss war in 2 works
-describe line of influence
-modernism or postmodernism