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American Passages : A Literary Survey
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1.

Utopian Promise [electronic resource]

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Explores the utopian ideals of the Puritans and Quakers. Discusses John Winthrop's "Model of Christian Charity" and Mary Rowlandson's captivity narrative, which reveal the Puritan view of themselves as God's chosen people. Explains how troubles in the New World and the Salem Witch Trials affected this utopian view. Introduces the Quakers and their commitment to nonviolence, tolerance, and inclusiveness. Discusses William Penn's "Letter to the Lenni Lenape Indians", and investigates the legacy of Penn's ideas. Explores how Puritan and Quaker ideals have affected modern American culture.
Online
2003
2.

Spirit of Nationalism [electronic resource]

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Examines how the writings of Benjamin Franklin and Ralph Waldo Emerson helped shape American identity. Discusses Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, in which he presented himself as the role-model for the self-made man. Reveals how Franklin's ideas about individualism, work, and virtue influenced American culture and literature. Explores Ralph Waldo Emerson's transcendental ideas about nature, the individual soul, and God, and the profound affect his ideas had on subsequent generations of American writers and thinkers.
Online
2003
3.

Search for Identity [electronic resource]

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Introduces three writers who blurred literary genres to tell their stories and challenge views on ethnic identity, feminism, and transgendered identity. Discusses Maxine Hong Kingston's "Woman Warrior", which deals with the issues of feminine, ethnic, and American identity. Looks at how Sandra Cisneros addressed feminism and the roles of women in the Mexican American community through "House on Mango Street". Discusses Leslie Feinberg's treatment of transgendered identity in her novel, "Stone Butch Blues".
Online
2003
4.

Regional Realism [electronic resource]

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Discusses the regional realism literary style that emerged after the Civil War, which was characterized by the use of regional dialects and criticism of American society. Explores the issues of racial and social inequality in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". Discusses the complex African American characters of Charles W.Chesnutt's stories. Explores the issues of race, gender, and sexuality in Kate Chopin's writings.
Online
2003
5.

Native Voices [electronic resource]

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Explores the Native American oral tradition through the work of three contemporary authors: Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), Simon Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo), and Luci Tapahonso (Navajo). The authors read excerpts of their writings and discuss how their works are influenced by their culture, Native American storytelling traditions, and modern issues in the Native American community. Authors and scholars discuss the significance of words and land in Indian oral traditions, the bicultural world of Native Americans today, World War II in Native American literature, and the themes of tradition and change in Native American literature.
Online
2003
6.

Gothic Undercurrents [electronic resource]

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Examines the challenges and uncertainties of the 19th century that gave rise to the gothic literary movement in the United States. Looks at the themes of belief in religion and science in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" and "Rappuccini's Daughter". Describes Herman Melville's life and explores the themes, symbolism, and characters of "Moby Dick". Discusses the exploration of truth in Emily Dickinson's poetry and discusses her poem, "I Heard a Fly Buzz."
Online
2003
7.

Exploding Borderlands [electronic resource]

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Explores contemporary Chicano/a literature and culture, which arose from the literary history that began with the narratives of Spanish explorers, such as Bernal Díaz del Castillo and Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Tells the stories of Díaz del Castillo and Cabeza de Vaca and explains how these writers helped begin a uniquely Latino and American literary tradition. Discusses Americo Paredes's celebrations of mestizo culture and his novel, "George Washington Gómez", the coming of age story about a boy in the borderlands. Examines Gloria Anzaldúa's "Borderlands/La Frontera", which deals with geographical, racial, and gender borders and gives a voice to Mexican American women.
Online
2003
8.

Native Voices

Native Americans had established a rich and highly developed tradition of oral literature long before the writings of the European colonists. This program explores that richness by introducing Native American oral traditions through the work of three contemporary authors: Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), Simon Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo), and Luci Tapahonso (Navajo).
Online
2016; 2003
9.

Exploring Borderlands

Chicana writer Gloria Anzaldúa tells us that the border is "una herida abierta [an open wound] where... the lifeblood of two worlds is merging to form a third country, a border culture." This program explores the literature of the Chicano borderlands and its beginnings in the literature of Spanish colonization.
Online
2016; 2003
10.

Utopian Promise

When British colonists landed in the Americas, they created communities that they hoped would serve as a "light onto the nations." But what role would the native inhabitants play in this new model community? This program compares the answers of two important groups, the Puritans and Quakers, and exposes the lasting influence they had upon American identity.
Online
2016; 2003
11.

Spirit of Nationalism

The Enlightenment brought new ideals and a new notion of self-hood to the American colonies. This program begins with an examination of the importance of the trope of the self-made man in Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, and then turns to the development of this concept in the writings of Romanticist Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Online
2016; 2003
12.

Masculine Heroes

In 1898, Frederick Jackson Turner declared the frontier as the defining feature of American culture, but American authors had uncovered its significance much earlier. This program turns to three key writers of the early national period, James Fenimore Cooper, John Rollin Ridge, and Walt Whitman, and examines the influential visions of American manhood offered by each author.
Online
2016; 2003
13.

Gothic Undercurrents

What was haunting the American nation in the 1850s? The three writers treated in this program, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson, use poetry and prose to explore the dark side of nineteenth-century America.
Online
2016; 2003
14.

Slavery and Freedom

How has slavery shaped the American literary imagination and American identity? This program turns to the classic slave narratives of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass and the fiction of Harriet Beecher Stowe. What rhetorical strategies do their works use to construct an authentic and authoritative American self?
Online
2016; 2003
15.

Regional Realism

Set in the antebellum American South, but written after emancipation, Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remains a classic of American literature. This program compares Twain's depiction of Southern vernacular culture to that of Charles Chestnutt and Kate Chopin, and in doing so, introduces the hallmarks of American Realism.
Online
2016; 2003
16.

Social Realism

This program presents the authors of the American Gilded Age, such as Edith Wharton, and juxtaposes them with social realists like Anzia Yezierska. These writers expose the double world that made up turn-of-the-century New York: that of the elite and that of the poorest of the poor. Which of these realities is the more truly American?
Online
2016; 2003
17.

Rhythms in Poetry

Amidst the chaos following World War I, Ezra Pound urged poets to "Make it new!" This call was heeded by a large range of poets, ranging from T. S. Eliot to Jean Toomer. This program explores the modernist lyrics of two of these poets: William Carlos Williams and Langston Hughes. What is modernism? How did these poets start a revolution that continues until this day?
Online
2016; 2003
18.

Modernist Portraits

Jazz filled the air and wailed against the night. Caught in the sway, American prose writers sought out the forbidden, the slang, the dialects, and the rhythms of the folk and of everyday life. Writers such as Hemingway, Stein, and Fitzgerald forged a new style: one which silhouetted the geometry of language, crisp in its own cleanness.
Online
2016; 2003
19.

Migrant Struggle

Americans have often defined themselves through their relationship to the land. This program traces the social fiction of three key American voices: John Steinbeck, Carlos Bulosan, and Helena María Viramontes.
Online
2016; 2003
20.

Southern Renaissance

My subject in fiction, Flannery O'Connor tells us, "is the action of grace in the territory held largely by the devil." One might do well to ask what, if not the devil, haunts the American South in this era between the wars. This program uncovers the revisioning of Southern myths during the modernist era by writers William Faulkner and Zora Neale Hurston.
Online
2016; 2003