As a survey of American literature there are many influential and celebrated authors. Jack Kerouac has become a well known writer whose nontraditional style has led him to fame. In Jack Kerouac’s writings, he used a stream of consciousness, spoke chaotic and randomly, and used long run on sentences. In “Big Sur”, Kerouac uses run on sentences that reach around 9 lines long. In the conservative 1950s, his stream of consciousness approach to writing was unheard of. Kerouac’s style was revolutionary for his time. Kerouac is, “regarded as a liberator of prose and champion of idiomatic American expression” (Baym 2542).
Robert Frost was a well known, Pulitzer Prize winning author. Frost was known for his realistic style and portrayal of rural life. He used life in New England to analyze the complex social and philosophical themes present during the early twentieth century. Frost found beauty in nature and used it in his poetry. In the gist of Jack Kerouac, “The Road Not Taken” could be written as this:
I came across two roads that diverged in a yellow wood—I was sorry I could not travel both since I was only one traveler; I stood there looking down one path as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth and then I took a look down the other path which seemed just as fair, being all grassy and wanted wear, but really both paths had been worn about the same.
That morning both lay equally covered in leaves and I decided to keep the first for another day, and knowing how way lead on to way, I doubted if I should ever decide to come back.
As I am I telling this tale, I tell it with a sigh; somewhere a long long time ago while in the woods, two roads diverged in front of me, I decided to take the one less traveled and that really has made all the difference in the world.
In Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”, the use of imagery and nature is apparent throughout the poem. The theme of the poem is that life is full of decisions and that decisions have to be made. The choices made can limit and determine what we can do as we proceed to the next choice. The speaker contradicts himself when he states he’ll take the other road some other time, but confesses he probably won’t come this way again. The speaker has a tone of regret when discussing his choice, which has made all the difference in his life. This poem is often spoken at cumulative life events, such as graduations and weddings, speaking about the choices that have to be made in life.
Emily Dickinson is one of the more well known American poets. Dickinson lived quit an unusual life. Dickinson spent most of her time by herself. Because of her seclusion, there was much speculation about interest about Dickinson. Despite her somewhat unusual lifestyle, Dickinson is known for her powerful writing. One of the main topics Dickinson dealt with was death. Death can be a very difficult subject to discuss; however Dickinson calmly comes to terms with death, since it is inevitably. Ironically, Dickinson’s poems were not published until after her death.
One of Emily Dickinson’s most famous poems is, “(479): Because I could not stop for Death”. In this poem, Dickinson is greeted by Death, much like a male suitor. Even thought this suitor is Death, Dickinson is very calm with the encounter. The play begins with Death and Immortality arriving in a carriage. Dickinson joins the two for a ride, which starts out with a slow pace. The ride begins with Dickinson’s childhood and goes through all of the stages of her life, the setting sun. The trip ends with her going to the grave, which is actually a house. The overall message of this poem is that death is a part of life. It is not something can be avoided. We all must go at some point, so death is a part of life we must accept.
Abraham Cahan has been described as the single most influential person in the cultural life of over two million Jewish immigrants and their families during his lifetime. Cahan was born in Lithuania and moved to New York City in 1882. He focused on his writing and helping other immigrants become accustomed to American life.
“A Sweatshop Romance” addresses the need to stand up for one’s beliefs and values, the need to speak your mind when it comes to love, and the need to be motivated for success. The plot of this short story is one based on standing up for oneself and has a romantic overlay throughout the story. Hayman, Beile, and David are all workers at a tailor shop. Beile and Hayman have feelings for each other, which are well known. David secretly has feelings for Beile that he doesn’t make known. Hayman never told Beile his full feelings for her. A conflict arises when the owner of the shop’s wife asks Beile to fetch sodas for her friends who were touring the shop. If Beile were to refuse to get the sodas, she would lose her job, which would result in her living on the streets. During this incident, Hayman sat back and did not stand up for Beile. David stepped in and stood up for her. He told her to refuse and that he would find them new jobs. David stood up for Beile and let his feelings for her be known, while Hayman was stood idly by and didn’t stand up for Beile.
This short story captivated my attention. The themes and plot of this story are applicable to life today. The situations present in this story are important today, because they have important meaning that impact one’s life. Being able to stand up for one’s own beliefs, telling one’s feelings for someone, and finding a means for success. These are important lessons to be learned, which can be applied to in life.
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