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Literature: American Literature II (ENG-284)

Annotated Bibliography

Claxton, Mae Miller. “Migrations and Transformations: Human and Nonhuman Nature in Eudora Welty’s ‘A Worn Path.’” Southern Literary Journal, vol. 47, no. 2, 2015, pp. 73–88.,url,cookie&db=a9h&AN=110509857&site=ehost-live.

Claxton explores Welty's works, including "The Worn Path," and its characters. The article begins with Welty’s rejection of the ‘regionalism’ writing and her belief that many writers write from personal experience. Welty transcribes her worldly knowledge with developed characters, and Claxton explores Phoenix’s determination and connection to nature. Setting transforms the character and allows her success because its beauty overshadows her logical, time-relevant fears. The literal path illustrates the constant direction Phoenix embarks to save her grandson and creates a blend of setting and character elements. Students that undertake a Historicism critical theory approach may find value in the article because of Claxton’s appreciation of Welty’s knowledge on the Indian Removal Act that uprooted Native Americans and destroyed land. Additionally, descriptions of the harsh realities demonstrate Phoenix’s fears of racial segregations and abuse. The article is also suitable for students applying a Feminism critical theory lens; Claxton observes Welty’s connection to destruction of nature and women as equals. Phoenix faces a dominant, male hunter while traveling and Caxton suggests it is an illustration of the constant balance women faced for wellbeing. The article’s in-depth analysis of Welty’s thoughtfulness towards social relevance illustrates the short story’s ongoing significance.

Derrick, Scott. “What a Beating Feels like: Authorship, Dissolution, and Masculinity in Sinclair’s The Jungle.” Studies in American Fiction, vol. 23, no. 1, 1995, pp. 85–101.

Derrick’s analysis supports the layered, dynamic nature of Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle. The article discusses the reality of Sinclair’s life effecting his works, as his marriage was unhappy, and his son was physically unwell. His novel portrays his grief, and his negative feelings towards the human body, into something more understood with the abuse within factories. Derrick’s consideration of Sinclair’s experiences may compliment well with an autobiographical critical theory lens because his family hardships shaped his intolerance towards the reality of child labor and grotesque working conditions. Additionally, application of the Marxist critical theory lens may allow students to understand the negative effects of the industrial’s advances, and its ability to turn individuals into machines. Specifically, Derrick examines Sinclair’s obsession with the female body in combination with material greed as disregard for human life. Application of the historicism critical theory may allow better understanding of the realities of factories, and their true cost. Similarly, the article may be helpful to students that apply a new historicism lens because of the continued abuse within factories. Derrick’s article allows consideration of the factories that controlled Sinclair’s life to provide larger context for modern society.

Ford, Marilyn Claire. “Narrative Legerdemain: Evoking Sarty’s Future in ‘Barn Burning.’” Mississippi Quarterly, vol. 51, no. 3, 1998, pp. 527–541.,url,cookie&db=a9h&AN=1685518&site=ehost-live

The article’s author, Ford, explores the reliability of Faulkner’s narrator in “Barn Burning” with its combination of intentionally unclear language and manipulated time. Ford’s focus on the story’s narrator, and its dependability, may invite students to employ a deconstruction critical theory to Faulkner’s short story. The reader’s awareness that the story is shaped by another’s perspective dilutes present facts. As Ford observes, Faulkner manipulates and confuses a simple plot with multiple voices as the child ages. The article cites multiple, rationalized, interpretations of the text’s narrator and demonstrates Faulkner’s craft to create multiple truths within a single work. More specifically, Ford provides an example of the significant difference a minor adjustment on Faulkner’s part creates; the variety of options within the text exhibits the narrator’s development. Additionally, the source may be useful for students applying a reader response lens, as Ford explores the audience’s experience with the voice and order of events. As the article illustrates, individual interpretations influence the connection, or lack thereof, to the short story and readers may disagree with the narrator’s level of empathy. Ford shares Marxist-framed comments from critiques and shows “Barn Burning” as a story of oppression and social reform, as well as details of Faulkner’s life that support author’s application of an autobiographical critical theory lens. The range of details the article examines encourages a variety of critical theory application.

Hawkes, Joel. “City Rhythms: The Tempo of Story and City Space in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Babylon Revisited.’” Explicator, vol. 76, no. 2, 2018, pp. 96–99.,url,cookie&db=a9h&AN=129732244&site=ehost-live.

Hawkes examines the musical influence on Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited,” and its effect on his audience. The article highlights the structure, tone, and interplay between elements as a musical composition. The narrator’s inability to readjust to Paris is like the combination of different sounds that are initially unappealing to him. Students that apply a reader response lens may benefit from the article because of Hawkes’s emphasis on his own interpretation being its meaning. The details that are unnoticed by some readers can be magnified to support theories of meaning to better understand the works in relation to their own experience. Hawkes describes merging time periods within the story with comparisons to sound because of his strong response to the text. Additionally, students may examine the text with a historicism critical theory to develop understanding of the period’s music to help determine its impact on Fitzgerald’s writing. The emphasis on music and its development during the time, Hawkes observes, has been explored by other critics. He believes Fitzgerald’s environment inspired him to focus on his story’s tempo. The article may be helpful for students that hope to better understand music’s influence on “Babylon Revisited.”

Johnson, Greg. “Gilman’s Gothic Allegory: Rage and Redemption in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 26, no. 4, 1989, pp. 521–530.,url,cookie&db=a9h&AN=7135846&site=ehost-live.

Johnson’s article observes the history of unsettling wallpaper that has caused emotional destress and grounds the experience of Gilman’s narrator in "The Yellow Wallpaper." The short story includes, Johnson examines, an angry narrator that relies on writing as her tool for redemption. Students may explore the article to support their application of psychoanalytical critical theory because of the world’s insistence that the narrator is unwell, while she proves to her audience that she is lucid and well-articulated. Johnson shows her husband’s withdrawal in his initial agreement of the wallpaper and demonstrates the calculated steps of others to influence the narrator’s judgement and trust in self. Gilman’s story focuses on suffering with attempts to self-heal and demonstrates a relationship between internal and external discomfort. The article may also prove helpful to those applying a historicism critical theory lens because of Johnson’s attention to facts that shaped experiences. He provides details on Emily Dickinson’s mother’s distraught manner, and insistence to repaper her bedroom, prior to her daughter’s birth to reiterate the offensive and unsettling manner of previous home decoration. The article imparts readers with a better understanding of the real elements that caused emotional dysregulation and was intentionally belittled by others.

Lanier, Doris. “The Bittersweet Taste of Absinthe in Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants.’” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 26, no. 3, 1989, pp. 279–288.,url,cookie&db=a9h&AN=7133560&site=ehost-live.

The author, Lanier, describes the history of absinthe and its inevitable influence on Hemingway’s "Hills like While Elephants," and the social dynamic between his characters. Absinthe includes serious health concerns, especially with overconsumption, and is illegal when “real,” with wormwood. Hemingway hints to absinthe throughout his career, and “Hills like White Elephants” is no exception as the girl uses a simile to the drink during the couple’s serious conversation. Lanier provides context of the political, religious, and medical background of absinthe to develop the foundation of Hemingway’s short story. She compares the couple to absinthe to demonstrate the unhealthy manner of their relationship, and how even though it may seem appealing, it has long-lasting negative and generational effects. The couple discusses the abortion, but the time leaves the decision solely in the man’s hands, and she is consistently powerless. The article suggests the girl as unreasonable because of gender roles, but also because of the assumption the two are alcoholics, and she regularly consumes absinthe. There is additional urgency, from his perspective to have the fetus aborted, but she fears that it will ruin their relationship. She is silent in her worries, and submits in conversation, because she is socially expected to. Students may find the article helpful if applying historicism critical theory, because of the detailed facts, or a feminism lens, because of the gender dynamics and imbalance of power.

Mark, Rebecca. “As They Lay Dying: Or Why We Should Teach, Write, and Read Eudora Welty Instead Of, Alongside Of, Because Of, as Often as William Faulkner.” Faulkner Journal, vol. 19, no. 2, Spring 2004, pp. 107-19.,url,cookie&db=a9h&AN=15783184&site=ehost-live.

In her article, Mark examines critics’ fixation with Faulkner’s works, and the underdeveloped amount of attention given to a female writer of their time, Welty. Mark acknowledges Faulkner’s appreciation, and fixation, for language and observes his ability to breakdown character stereotypes. Students may find the article helpful if applying a deconstruction critical lens because of its understanding of story elements and the intentional damage of them. The article also examines Faulkner’s works as being enjoyable because of what is left unsaid and imagined by the audience. His female characters, often corpses, do not align with expectations, but Faulkner compresses their success as he fails to create new while critiquing the traditional. Welty, conversely, creates female characters with complete autonomy that do not have to fulfill any expectations aside from their own. Faulkner frequently creates the foundation and ideas for female characters, while Welty creates living women within her stories. The female characters present throughout Welty’s works support one another and depends largely on her perspective and writing abilities. Mark’s article may be a resource for students exploring the authors with reader response critical theory application because of the preferences in literary styles, as well as the amount of preferred effort required as the audience. Additionally, students that explore the works with a feminism critical lens may find aid in Mark’s comments on Welty’s craft with rounded female characters, and Faulkner’s ability to create females as mysterious and plot driving. The article provides students with an understanding of the writers’ approaches to work and critical responses.

Piwinski, David J. “Gone with the Wind in Flannery O’Connor’s ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’: An Anagogical Biblical Allusion.” English Language Notes, vol. 38, no. 4, 2001, pp. 73–76.,url,cookie&db=a9h&AN=4709527&site=ehost-live.

Piwinski discusses O’Connor’s character in "A Good Man is Hard to Find," and her religious comments throughout. The article examines O'Connor's religious background and her attention to detail. The article observes critics remarks on O’Connor’s “Gone with the wind,” line, and provides additional context for its initial appearance in Book of Psalms. O’Connor’s knowledge of the Old Testament creates a more believable, and likeable, grandmother character. The article may be helpful to students that apply a mytho-type critical theory because of the focus on religious elements and references throughout the short story. Piwinski magnifies a specific example and demonstrates the amount of thought, and layers, within each. Additionally, students that apply an autobiographical critical theory lens may find the article helpful because of the direct quote from her on the necessity of purpose while creating. O’Connor’s experiences and knowledge shaped her perspectives and are woven into her characters.

Thomas, Leroy. “Steinbeck’s ‘The Chrysanthemums.’” Explicator, vol. 45, no. 3, 1987, pp. 50-51.,url,cookie&db=a9h&AN=7207617&site=ehost-live.

Thomas’s article examines the development of Steinbeck's protagonist in "The Chrysanthemums" and the symbolism throughtout. The short story includes a touched-starved Elisa who resents fights and her metamorphose into a woman who craves boxing matches, after her potential engagement with the tinker and his disregard for her flower. Thomas focuses on the Steinbeck’s allusions towards sex throughout the short story, and the significance of the flowers, because of the seemingly intentional word choice and tone. Students that apply a psychoanalytical theory to the work may utilize the article because of its similar approach, and its focus on sexual meaning. The lack of sex and its possible occurrence both influence Elisa’s psyche and those around her. Additionally, students may find the article useful if applying a deconstruction critical theory lens. The emphasis that words within the text are not their true meaning blends well with the idea that language is ultimately unknowable and varies on interpretation. Thomas considers the effects of longing, and the subsequent attempts individuals engage in for larger pleasure and perceived change.