Filología Inglesa

Literatura Nordamericana


Native literature before the 19thc

Before the 19thc, there were American writers, but we are going to study the 19thc in American Literature.

Before the 19thc, we have the colonial literature, in the 17thc and 18thc, under British Rule. People had their own reason to write. There are different Forms in colonial literature, but all them have in common there is not fiction.

There were two important zones in America:

-north: Virginia: they were noble people, from the Anglican Church, called gentlemen. They were looking for treasures and adventures.

-south: Massachusetts: puritans who want to expend their religion. They were non-

conformists from Britain

There were four groups:

a)Literature about exploration and development

The most important force that emerges in America. The explorers wrote the impressions and they described everything they saw in the new continent and the danger from the unknown territory. They also described the dangers, the mountains, geography and material things and the native population. They also had a very important reason for writing: to get more money to make more explorations, they needed sponsors. They said that everything was rich, beautiful, good...

They had biblical and mystical proposes, a good landscape, a kind of land of promises.

It was the American dream: they showed the possibilities to enjoy a better life.

Captain John Smith developed some of the meetings with the natives, the dangers with the natives, adventures...

The audience was English people. Colonisers usually were in love with their superiors (Pocahontas). Emphasis in love to people. The audience was English people. The crucial influence was Puritanism: it arrived and organised population in the 17thc. These colonies are going to be crucial also in the development of USA and of the literature. The puritans did not want to go back to the UK, so, America was a fresh start. They wanted people to convert and then, get stronger colonies. Writing had a purpose. Puritan writing had a imp. Characteristics. Nature was very important: it meant wildness; it is away of the city. Woods were scarily, dangerous. In the forest, you can fall, lost and it is a place that is not ruled by religion, so it has a psychological effect. It is also related to sex and pleasure. It represents moral danger, negative view, but also a positive view. It is a place of doubt.

b)sermons and religious readings

The minister is the one who had a higher education, with a high position. Non-fictional writers: Cotton Matter, Jonathan Edwards... district readings.

c)biographies and journals

John Winthrop was a puritan writer, famous for his journals. Puritan tradition as self-examination (text 2). Presence of God in all our daily life. Some of the journals are very interesting because we see people from the beginning of the adventure when they left the motherland to explore. It was the novel of self-knowledge “bildungsroman”. We want to understand ourselves with a self-examination. There is the physical trip and the trip of growth in spiritual and psychological. Terms spiritual concerns.

All those kinds of writings, there is not prose imaginative fiction, not theatre because they are condemned by the puritans. The puritans had a huge importance because they produced the connections between the most spiritual and the most materialistic terms. There is not drama, but there is poetry.


It is allowed in the puritans life. The most famous is Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) who wrote the first volume of American Poetry. Further, Edward Taylor wrote about domestic things, as Before the death of one of my children. Anne wrote and it was very strange because women did not write. Nature poetry -> special purposes. British traditions and canons.

Other kind of literature was the one which wrote the native people, with a clear purpose: the rain, a lover, it was used as a formula. It was oral. It was writing to performance. Example: Paula Gunn Allen.

Writing about America was not important: people had only knowledge about London and UK (metropolitan role in colonial writing)

The Civil War meant a big change (1860-1965). The country had been independent for a short time. It was a new country, free. We will have positive feelings, promises of the new country... it was the Romanticism and the Transcendentalism, because it was taken into its limits. “I celebrate myself” because I am a reflection of the celebration of my country.

It will be broken with the Civil War. The country is marked in the first half by the growing of geography, people, there was the gold rush. The feeling of growing, but in the other hand, there is a text not really easy to see and understand. Behind this euphoria, some people realised of the exploitation of the human beings. There is a growth of the evangelic movement. At the beginning of the 19thc, there was the second re-awaking movement. It inspired other movements:

a)the abolitionist movement, against slavery

b)women's rights

hand to hand c)temperance movement, against drinkers

There were sides of oppression, and they had a coalition to protest, and a consequence was domestic violence, because men were drunk. The evangelism introduced the idea that America was chosen by God to carry on a mission. We have to trust in God because he trusts in US.

Immigration emerged. We have some movements of xenophobia with new people and Irish people and Chinese because they were afraid of becoming poor or ill. There were narrow streets and ghettos. There were social differences. Woman and black people were worst, not treated as equal. With the Industrial Revolution, cities were full of people (strums)

There were social levels: social classes are a reality. They worked very long hours, and children also worked. In this context of euphoria there was also deception.

-politically/intellectual independent

-many writers wrote for money

There were also some difficulties to the writers:

-cultural inferiority:: they did not write about America because they thought it was

not serious.

-it has to be productive

-economic problem: no cultural support for the production of Literature. There are

also other priorities.

-in the USA we do not have the concept of the writer as a professional

Washington Irving was the first known writer that worked as a writer and as a profession.

American publishers published British authors because it was cheaper than American authors.

American society connected with religion. They must follow an structure. Moral guideline. Morally constructive. There was not trust, it was fiction.

Not many people bought books, because: -illiterate -> North

-no money

The slaves were not allowed to read. There is not access to education as other people.

Black writer are not as preferred as white because the reader is a white one. Some examples were: Our Nigh Harriet E. Wilson and Clotel William Wells Brown.

There was a transformation in the mean of producing books. It is cheaper to make them thanks to the machines. Rich people realised that it was a good way to earn money -> more books produced -> more journals. The market expanded more. It was easier to distribute books.

1820 -> publishers (new job and vocabulary -> author) we can get books cheaper. People read more -> the American population is growing fast -> increase of money. More income that can be inverted in entertainment. There was a social higher class that buy books and read a lot, and those were women. She was the ideal reader, from middle and high class, because they did not do many things and they could afford servants. They had free time for reading. They liked books written by other women.

The writers who sold more were women writers, but the canon left them out. The most popular book was Uncle Tom's cabin, in the 19thc.

People had a new idea of the concept of a house. Before, they worked there but with factories people worked outside. The house was a place to rest and enjoy the free time. Doing something comfortable. Place for individuality with a room filled with books and they had a library: they bought books although they did not read them.

Newspapers began to be delivered. The first one is from Boston and it was called Public Occurrences (!690) and The Boston News-letter (1704) and The Weekly Mercury. Newspapers included a chapter of a novel. Most of the novels we know today were never a book. They could be weekly or daily. They first talked about England as the most important thing, but then, it changed: America was the most important.

There was a more liberal philosophy, interested in individuality. There is a general interest in the hands of popularity. Literature got this mentality because it is an individual activity.

Fiction writing for fun / imagination


poetry no drama until 20thc

we have theatre, but it is British. There is the beginning in American Literature.

-Washington Irving The sketch book 1819-1820

-William Cullen Bryant in poetry

-James Fenimore Cooper the last of the Mohicans 18thc in novel


It starts to develop in Europe at the end of 18thc. A new cultural movement in opposition of something that existed (reason, progress, empiricism) There are some reacts against this, in the art in general, even in history.

It has a role in the revolution against the order of king, father... against the establishment. Reacts against the progress: they did not like future interested in the past Middle Ages. Catholicism but idealism. There is mystery, thunderstorm, cemeteries... It is reflected in the interest for the nationalism. Further, iconography, symbols, folklore: explained the origin and made understanding about ourselves. It was a cultural solution.

There is a interest in individuality (solitude). They did not like the beginning of the city, so they searched a perfect landscape. Looking for the ideal life to be alone + countryside, outdoors.

They wanted to produce as natural inspiration as possible. Thinks that we do not control in our minds (dreams). After drink or smoke for not follow reason.

It connected well with a philosophy interested in individuality. It helped people to become more active:

-abolishment movement

-women's rights


Paradoxically, it was giving a force to participate in movements, so there was a concern for individuality(this is going to be a theme that is emerging) and society.

Your own potential also make you to be public. Turn back to society. They wrote several romances exploration of the mind (.dream, journeys). Case of Irving, Hawthorne, Poe.

There were three stages:

-period of development of Romanticism (1770-1830)

-dominants 30s-40s-50s

-decline of Romanticism. Starts Realism.

There is a focus on feeling, emotion, passions. Interested in going farewell in time or in geographical distance. Looking for mystery and exoticism (Islands in Pacific, Ocean, Haiti...)

There is a celebration of the individual “trust on yourself” and a need to act: need to protect the individuality and movements for women's rights.

Then, it became a Romanticism into the limits, called Transcendentalism. It came from a group of people from New England, esp. From the area of Boston. The main idea is that “we need to cross the limits of the intellect”: we need to cross reason and Puritanism and take emotions, feelings, to the soul above the mind (mystical perception)

This movement was strong in the 30s, especially. It is very difficult to define transcendentalism, but the idea is that each one of us is divine by Nature celebration of the individual. It is going to be very important because, then, we can understand God, the soul, immortality, the questions of thinking and so on. Important intuitions.


  • Belief in the individual and in trust in oneself: there is a secret voice of God in each one. We do not need then the authority of church because we answer and guide ourselves. It means autonomy.

  • emphasis in human environment: work outside, the land. It is not dirty, physical work

  • makes people better. Celebration in work.

    3) democracy: consequence of the 1st characteristic. Everyone

    is important and it must be fully democratic.

  • we are not corrupt by Nature, we are divine by nature.

  • Emerson was very important there. There was a club called the Transcendental Club where people could shape feelings. Many of the leaders were there. There was a Newspaper called “The Dial”, by Sarah Margaret Fuller. In this newspaper, they published their essays. There were some members who moved away and they created societies truly democratic who lived as in an utopian society: they worked together, without heads... Those societies were called Brook Farms, but they only lasted six years. These utopian systems had consequences in the society.

    There were written different essays, but an important essay was The American Scholar. It talked about exploring a New World with an American mind. It means the intellectual independence in 1837.

    It inspired the Great American Naissance. They were writers who wrote about American people, an American native things Nationalism movement American thinking. Self reliance. It was the “need of come up with your own Bible” There were some regulations: you must stop and think about the matter. There were two discussions: what we do, what we have to do from our heart (justice) or follow the law. It was a question in which we have to think, for ourselves (justice) or for the community.

    -The 40´s in American Literature

    -historical novelists historical novels from Britain, in an American context, male adventure (male character leaves the house and breaks free and search a New World which is closely connected to a work place (City). There are two kind of buldingsroman: one for women (in house, young woman surrounded by other women) and for men (trip far away)

    -magazines and journals: more specific, for a specific audience, as doctors, women, white writers, as William Gilmore Simms.-, in the south (emphasis in the oral elements, different Ways of perceiving life...)

    -women writers in the 50´s

    Women writers in the 50s, but they also write and sell well. There were also different Kind of writings, and they present other alternatives. In the 50´s: women wrote best sellers. Men and women made different things: men present men alone, who had to survive, and the writing was philosophical. Some of them were: Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Thorium, Whitman... women were also writing: some examples were: Susan B. Warner The Wide Wide World and Harriet Beeches Stowe with Uncle Tom's cabin. It was a less individualistic literature, concerning more about social matters and it was simple. Women's writings were more successful because it was simple. Melville, with Movidick was starving because of the complexity...

    It was harder to become women writers because education was restricted to them. Those women realised that they did not had chances. Everything was for men. Women wrote without signing or with a pseudonym. In general, writing was considered as a pleasure not as a job, because they did not have independence in money.

    There were also some women writers: Catherine Sedgreick, Emma Edbung, Susan B. Warner, Louisa May Alcott... They wrote sentimental novels:

    -happy ending: young woman who had to decide id she had to marry or not, and she


    -sexual voice

    -notion of female people mothers

    -respect of women.

    Most of those long novels made by women made them think about the meaning of marriage.

    Those novels were very democratic: in these novels, we have normally a voice, the voice of women. They monopolised the kind of readers. There are also voices of different kind of societies.

    - Washington Irving and The Legend of Rip Van Winkle

    He was the first successful writer. He introduced that story as a true American genre. There is a strong link between the story and the beginning of the country. It is not a moral or sentimental tale, it's just for fun. It had a good commercial success.

    He became famous in Britain. He was born in USA, but his father was from Scotland and his mother, from Britain, but he considered himself very American. He was born in 1783 and he died in 1859. The sketches in New York were the base of his first novel: Diedrich Knickerbockers History of New York It was a parody. Reading was a pleasure. He started using his persona. We have the beginning of the passion in USA and European Culture. He used the two cultures to make fun. He critics both cultures and laugh of the aristocracy. Many people accused him of being too European. In 1845, he went to Britain.

    Washington Irving was known as the “first American man of letters” whose greatest literary success was the Sketch Book.

    Some of his stories could be adapted. The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Grayon, Gent was a collection of stories and essays that mix satire and whimsicality with fact and fiction. Most of the book's 30-old pieces concern Irving´s impressions Of England, but six chapters deal with American subjects: they took place in London, but two of those stories were written about America, as the Legend of Rip Van Wrinkle and The Legend of sleepy Hollow .

    In those stories, there were created good links between the writer and the readers. That book marks the transformation to a Romantic way. Nature became very important, also the landscape, the past, the folk...

    In 1826, he went to Madrid and he stayed there for 3 years. He wrote about the Conquest of Granada, about Columbus, about the Alhambra...

    In 1832, He went back to USA. He was too European. He also back to Madrid for four years as an ambassador. Some opinions of the writers were that he was just a imitator, other thought he was a literature grandfather. He made important things: he made American writers to write about America. He thought everybody could write. He was a figure.

    He introduced the short stories for fun and pleasure. He tried to talk about folk but he talks about American landscape. He was the first writer interested in local areas. Women writers made the same. He wrote the first legend which took place in the American land. It defined the American archetypes.

    -Binaries in The Legend of Rip Van Wrinkle

    -contrast between fiction and reality

    -dependence versus independence. Independence from Britain (colonialism against


    -present (after war independence) and past

    -wife (female) and man (male)

    -outdoors (nature) vs. The town, community (civilisation)

    -collective vs. Self (individuality)

    the main binaries are:

    -male against female: she is shouting him because he is very lazy. She asks him for responsibility, duties and obligations and he was opposed to this. He was given to alcohol, games, rest time, he had not expectations in life. He wants to be independence.

    -nature versus civilisation: nature was a place for escape of society. It was a way of leaving the social responsibilities. His personal revolution is assaulted. He was not social, against to the European social literature. He works away from society. There are symbolic journeys of the mind. Character goes to dreams, illusion. There is an exploration of the mind. It is the beginning of individualism in the literature, solipsism (“we can only know about oneself”)

    -past versus present: we leave our present and we go to a idealised past, he goes to the 4th July (independence Day). There is a crucial day: people have to decide to be or not to be politically colonies. He avoids all the responsibilities. He leaves and goes away. He decides to go away, to go into wilderness. The escape is going to be an important topic. Female's rejection because she remembers him all the responsibilities. He wants to abolish it. She offers men to get into the society. This wish of man to be free from his wife will be important. Marriage and commitment are too freighting and thy prefer to go in their fantasies. These binaries can only work together, there is not a binary without the other. These terms depend each other in meaning. We need a strong meaning if women to define men.

    Male nature independence fiction past self positive

    Female civilisation dependence reality present collective negative

    After, it is going to be the opposite side.

    There is a truly representation of all the social classes. Irving with the male character wants to work not for get money and not for becoming richer. He is not lazy, he only does not want to work for money, the opposite of women.

    It was one of the most important story about America, the typical American story which was defined as a legend between the national story and a fancy or dream (sobre la insatisfacción con respecto el desarrollo americano)

    The author wants to show the past is best than the present. Rip finalises being single again at the end, find an identity in the new nation taking the town as a link the past with the imagination.

    The Legend of Rip Van Winkle is the typical American story. Rip Van Winkle is a henpecked husband who sleeps for twenty years and awakes as an old man to find his wife dead, his daughter happily married, and American now as an independent country.

    -Mathmatical Gothic

    It developed in England, at the end 18thc. It was a branch of romanticism in Europe. The first pattern is The castle of Otrento (1795) by Wal Pole. Other were: Rodclifle with Mysteries of Udolpho, Shelley with Frankenstein (1818) and Jane Eyre.

    Those places (castle, Udolpho) are perfect landscape, because they looked for places with mystery, terror... with Goths, secret doors... things which represent terror. Frankenstein is about the human creation and the science. The typical plot is terror. The house is always tearful.

    The gothic novels were more popular in women in Britain. Some characteristics were:

    -dark female form: she represents the dark side. They represent terror. Poe has an obsession

    with it.

    -fair with technologic. Some secrets in knowledge. Frankenstein is one example: he is created and

    he kills his friends, so there is a terrible problem.

    -criminal mind: for Poe, the analysis of the mind is important, essential.

    In the end of the 19thc, some books were published: Wieland, Ormind, Arthur Meny and Edgar Hunity which were written by Brockden Brown. They showed the darkness of America. Those books showed psychological dimension of mind.

    In Poe, we find the obsession in psychological portraits. There are those topics in America in the 19thc: nature, corrupt cities, nightscapes, forest.

    They are fascinated with Nature and Forest, The development of the dark side of life in American gothic was found with the jacksonian democracy (1829-1837). It was when Jackson was elected president in 1828, he was the candidate of a faction rather that of a party. When he retired from the presidency he left a vigorous and well-organised Democratic Party as a legacy. The main topic which is the manifest destiny. The idea of the expansion, and expend democracy and teach people. In the 19thc, the times were dark, and it arrived with a positive message. It grew the idea of the positive things. Franklin and Emerson expended the idea of the independence and freedom of everyone but at the same time, they are a part of community, it is the idea of the transcendentalism, further, it says nature is positive and men are good, too.

    Edgar Allan Poe:

    -born in Boston in 1809

    -no parents, move to other family

    -spent time in England, and then, in University of Virginia

    -1827: Tamertane, to get money and in 1831 he wrote Poems

    -he started writing for money, but he also write some stories

    -from 1835, he wrote a lot of works

    -died in 1849, drunk

    -he wrote gothic stories gothic drama, psychological stories

    there are positive and negative, like Emerson, opinions about him.

    -The philosophy of Composition

    It was published in 1845 in a newspaper. It is the explanation about writing, a critical essay which is presented as a clear document to be read. (See reading pack). The author tells the perfect way to create poems, but we do not know if we have to take it seriously at all. He says that the poem must be short in its length in order to read it once and be understood.

    Death of a beautiful woman is the most beautiful topic in poetry: effect beauty sadness melancholy FEMALE DEATH. We can see it in Ligeia and in The fall of the House of Usher.

    There is a rationalistic poetry, but it is important the beauty, not truth, or beauty over rationalism.


    -published in 1838

    -it's the most imaginative tale

    -everything in the tale has a clear purpose, nothing is an accident or intuition

    -everything in the tale is intentional

    -function of the will

    -relation between men and women

    -possible levels in the story

    -female corpses

    -simple story about a very emotional man from Germany. The man meets a woman and they

    married. She dies and he went to England. He married again to Rowena, and she dies.

    Something appears in the second wife, she becomes the first wife because Ligeia takes

    Rowena´s body.

    -we do not know really what happened at the end

    -Richard Wilbur thought it was not Germanic gothic, it was the will of the soul looking for

    the final peace

    Epigraph story: will is very important in the story.

    We do not know from who is the will. We speculated with two possibilities:

    -Ligeia´s will: Ligeia as a supernatural woman, with power. It is a gosh story. She wills

    herself from death to life.

    -man's will: Ligeia is a normal lady. It would be not a psychological story, with different

    kind of stories with two wives.

    -second wife never dies

    -first wife never died

    Critics think the first wife did not exist, she was a fancy. He kills the second wife and he thinks she is the first wife. Will is from somebody, we do not know whom.

    It is a number of stories, it is not only a story. It's a psychological story. He creates the first wife, as his ideal wife. It can be only a fancy if we reduce the symbols, it is a simple story, thanks to the opium.

    The man created the story for sexual disappointment. Rowena can be a real wife, and he is not like his ideal's wife. Too much fancy is death (Ligeia), destructive, and it destroys the man and Rowena. We find the transcendentalism (page 30) “ the so called poetry or the so called transcendentalism”

    Nature( page. 33) is also an important topic: “are we not part and parcel in the?” I am a part in parcel's God. He critics transcendentalism when the critics too much fancy. The modal with the aesthetic. If it is beautiful, it is not good, at all.

    He critics the stereotype of the transcendentalism. There is a paradox, because he is criticising: -transcendentalism

    -he wants more art

    In conclusion, he critics people for being analysts considering he is also analytic.

    There are two possible interpretations: it is supernatural

    It is psychological

    -women in Ligeia

    two big critics, Lavin and Fielder have an idea that in Poe, women are representing the dark side of men's minds.

    -symbolic position: although they are very important. They are representing something


    -women are very intelligent. Ligeia is a super intelligent women. She is a fancy, but with a

    supernatural intelligence

    -she is the most intelligent. He shows with his words how supernatural is.

    -powerful women are very important she backs to life in other life.

    -women are whom have the power. He is possessed by Ligeia.

    -this women seem to be sisters. They are powerful woman.

    -they can never get together, they never get a sexual relationship, except analyse their

    minds, that's the way to be closed.

    Ligeia, at the end, when second wife dies, is described with sexual terms, only there. When second wife is dying, he thinks he sees first wife, and when he realises, he accepts reality, but then, he is fancying again with the first wife

    E. Bronfen, a critic, wrote Over her Dead Body where he said that in Roman times, women killed themselves, in Hamlet by Shakespeare, too, beautiful woman kills herself or by some guys. She says that the western culture uses art to make up the death of a beautiful woman, with:


    -archetypal women

    -feminist arguments

    -biographical information about wife of the women

  • psychoanalytic women: death of a beautiful women is all a desire. Men have also desires about beautiful women, so:

  • desire = lack (loss of power dream)

    He wants something he does not have (lack): they kill women for something:

    -men are survivors of death.

    -lack of qualities (women are superior, men want power)

    Women die physically, also socially. Western societies critics no western societies. Nowadays

    Women represent other.

    2) archetypal women: they are traditionally: they have a Christian perspective: associates women

    with life and death. She gave birth and she dies Eve- Mary

    Women always dies and keeps coming back to life.

    There is a connection (page 29) which is related to the idea of the real or the fancied existence of Ligeia.

    When he sees a shadow of the first wife, in order to answer, he drinks and thinks about opium.

    We can sum the main points of Ligeia:

    -story is ambiguous

    -is Poe making a political criticism? She is happy because she understood


    Microcosm(me) & macrocosm(collective)

    People in Ligeia are not good people: they break laws coming to life from


    -opium's addiction: should we take the story seriously?

    -is Ligeia real? Is she just a shadow?

    -mental history or supernatural story?

    -The fall of the house of Usher

    It was the most important and famous story written by Poe. Is it a mental story of a supernatural one? Poe wanted beauty, not truth.

    It is a gothic, dark story and a pscocological story. Poe wants aesthetics not didacticism, its characters do not do anything, they are not rational, stereotyped artists. Those characters are artistic, not rationalist because beauty is the most important. All those characters destroy each other, so arts destroy people.

    He wrote an essay called Poetic principle (1550) where he asked if we look inside us, inside of our souls? It is a poem inside other poem. Poe wanted beauty in art, but not beauty in moral, no didactic... only artistic, art for art sake not didactic literature. He wants the Poem per se, not for politics or religion. Baudelaire said “I wanted a forest of symbols” which do not represent specific things, they can mean different things, not trying to get any clear conclusion,.

    He looks for general things, not specific things. He uses symbols that have different interpretations, not only one thing. He has “forest of symbols”, the surrealist things are developed from this mentality. He wants people to interpret the things so general, not a unique interpretation.

    The narrator is the one who is reporting the story using “I”, referring to the “voice”. The voice and Usher were friends in their childhood. He received a letter where Usher asked him to help him because he is very nervous. There are two worlds: Usher and the narrator's world.

    The narrator was so rationalist, Usher was artistic.

    The American way of thinking is that everybody have access to the common sense. There are evident truths “self-evident truth”. People do things if it is useful. The mind has to be logical, and rationalist, it has to know what is useful and what is not useful. Spending time in non-useful things is a waste of time.

    There are self-evident truths, there are not doubts on them.

    Usher is ill because there is incest between the brother and the sister. There is an artistic side trough deficiently. Sibling think the same, so he, the voice, started to think about their deficiency.

    A narrator appears to show us the supernatural matters that surround Roderick Usher.

    Page 51 the house represents the state of deficiency of the brother, there is a fissure. Narrator is very sensitive (=arts)

    House === Usher

    (fall) (deficiency)

    Usher would describe the house with rationality (bad, horrible house), but the narrator sees good things, because he is artistic. We have texts in the texts: Mad Trist (story) and The Haunted Palace (poem): from the readings of those, we see there is something wrong, but he doesn't know what because the house is not sure now, as in the childhood. It is mad because there was a great family and now, the big palace has disappeared.

    He is trying to find a perfect word to describe things but he does not find the best word to do that, hi is mad, because he thinks “power of words”: he cannot describe the things, it seems there are not words to describe it.

    He tries to get some secrets. How is then the dark secret (incest) represented in the story? we have a house and then, a lake where the water is black and very deep. The tans represent the secret. The lake is so deep and the water is dark.

    The house falls in the lake. The fissure breaks and the house is destroyed. At the end, as he cannot do anything because everybody is too crazy to think, he goes away. Human reason is not strong to think

    Symbolism of the house:

    The house can be seen as the head of men. Outside, the house is quite fine, but inside, there is a big fissure.

    The house is reason and the fissure is madness. There is not light of reason. When the house falls, he loses reason at all.

    It has a political criticism because people is transcendentalist. Poe says too much transcendentalism will represent disorder.

    Women represent the dark side of men. She comes back from death to destroy the man's life, although perhaps she didn't die.

    There were some critics about Poe´s work:

    -Barbour: Poe in Ligeia is talking about a psychological fancy. She may be the ideal woman, result of opium. She could be also supernatural.

    -Fielder: always use woman as the dark side of the male character. All the relationships between two characters created by Poe are trough incest.

    -Bonnparte: symbolic interpretation of Usher and the house. There is a struggle between man and woman. This house is the man (represent the sexual struggle of the brother and the sister) and the house finalises destroyed.

    -Bronfen: women represent the opposition to the man, they are the “other”. It is the feminist consideration. Women push each other out. They are pushed and they finally back to life to destroy men.

    Relation of Ligeia and The Fall of the House of Usher

    *female are dead. They come back from death. What happens after death is different in both cases:

    -Ligeia: we do not know the end.

    -Usher: she comes to destroy man, she takes the final role.

    *we find love as an ideology: love is taken into limits (transcendentalism)

    *we do not know who is the first person, we only know it is the “voice” or the narrator.

    *unnatural state: women break the natural rules. It involves perversion of society. Women

    break laws coming from death.

    *They are psychological and supernatural stories.

    *paradox: arts & rationality: he is creating a perverse beauty the most beautiful beauty

    is the death of a woman.

    Nathalien Hawthorne

    -He was born in 1804. He had well-known ancestors( his father and grandfather were judges). He had a great relationship with some future writers with different mentalities. He also had a good relationship with the future president of USA.

    -1825-27: He wrote all day, staying at home all day long. He learnt how to write. He started writing poetry.

    -1837: he published Twice Told Tales people started to know him

    -1842-46: he worked as a sailor costume agent.

    -1850-52: he published the most important books in America: the Scarlet letter, Move Dick... and so on.

    -1851: House of Gobbles

    -He was not transcendentalist. He was more individualistic than Poe. There is a negative take of world, something related to women. Transcendentalist do not think so. He goes along with Poe.

    -He went to England, to Liverpool. He wrote his last book, in 1860, Marble Faun

    -1864: he died

    -An important characteristic is the use of symbolism.

    The Scarlet Letter

    It is the exploration of Puritan past, in terms of religion and society in the 17thc and the 18thc. It was a collection about the family past (Puritan Cycle). There were early communities of Puritanism people where were positive and good church. Later, communities started to fail.

    The Scarlet Letter talks about a woman in Puritanism. A woman left and went to England where she met his husband. She had an affair with the minister of the town. She had a child. Book starts when she is in prison; there is a popular judgement to decide who is the truly father. People gave their opinion and condemn woman. The woman confess the affair and tells the truth. The minister who should say the truth for his political position, lied and he was not honest with the woman.

    It involves a new gothic: there are crimes and death. Child is characterised as an evil until the minister confessed the truth.

    The appearance of the minister. It seems that the things that seems good are bad and the things that are bad are good. The minister who should be good is bad and the opposite way. For Hawthorne, everybody is bad. If something seems good is to show us more from the prospective view that everybody is bad. Although we seem to be good, we are all bad people: sin penetrates to everybody.

    Dark > light


    -The minister's black veil & Young Goodman Brown

    The minister feels to be ashamed to show his face. He is isolated. There are sets of oppositions: having false faith versus having doubt. There is a doubt in the forest: civilised place, although civilisation seems good.

    There was a time of isolation in 1836-1837. In Young Goodman Brown, when he went back to life, everything had changed. Is he in a present or is he only the unique good man in life? He is young. His experience changes when he is old now. Some of the things he find in the forest made him realise that everything has changed.

    Goodman never knows the reason he goes to the forest to meet the devil. His experience can be a projection of the poison which is in his own nature, this is what he never allows himself to understand.

    Goodman is destroyed by his experience in the forest and the promises they interchange in the wood Hester and Arthur are only illusion.

    -Young Goodman Brown

    It shows a good Christian community. He changes and he is never the same person. In the first part, there is a young man. Then, in the second part, he is not that man because he learns: he loses his ideals as a young person.

    The age of the innocence changes to the age of reason. He becomes the faithless, solitary. His vision of society changes. There is black magic.

    The interpretation depends on ourselves. All understanding are different interpretations. He says that we cannot do anything good. Things are not clear and there is nothing that we can do about. The sides in the story are very complex, incompressible. There is a problem of interpretation, the problem of meaning. He sees the world as a horrible place. His wife's faith is an example of women's faith. Faith is associated with the good at the beginning, but also with the bad, because she is associated with the evil. At the end, we do not know what she is. Faith is seen as the evil that can become in the future signs are difficult to understand. The nature of his experience is seen in the forest. We can not trust in anything because world is a dark place.

    He thinks nature is associated with evil, dark purposes, with the devil; . In all his stories, forest is a bad place, but it is also a place of refuge (Scarlet Letter) where lovers can find.
    The sin is destructive. He is unhappy because of everybody else's sin. There is no redemption at all. There is not a happy ending. People is separated: people represent evil, except him. He becomes wide, independent person happy person, but there is not a happy ending.

    He judges everyone but himself, and he must judge himself first. the Minister's black veil judges everybody and himself. We do not know what happened was reality or product of his imagination. Maybe a complete dream but it changed him. The real nature is ambiguous. He does not do what he must do. He remained isolated and he had to relation with people. The basic problem is isolation. Can he be a good person and remain out of society being better than others? He finishes asolated: solipsism character. What really happened does not matter to us because we can see the consequences: we know enough.

    The walking stick is compared to a snake. It seems clear that he represents devil, but then eventually he thinks. He becomes one of them when he takes the “scuff” Puritan thought Hawthorne suspected: the disparity between the appearance of God on a neat, orderly New England village and the dark corrupt reality beneath the sunlit surface leads Brown to distrust light itself: “in the woods, we return to reason and faith”.

    The clear and orderly surface disguises a reality which Salem's earlier fathers had associated with the dark forest: the wayward human heart.

    The severe cleanliness surrounding Young Goodman Brown in the sunlit village, which bright condition he associates with Godliness, has missing from it nevertheless and exuberance of life.

    We find nature under the strict control of mind. The nature he praises is quite removed from the dark forest to the west of Eden which haunts Puritan consciousness long after Puritanism relinquishes political control, the dark forest of Young Goodman Brown.

    Young Goodman Brown seeks festival, not in the streets of Salem, but in the dark forest under the dark conduct of Satan.

    Goodman Brown is supposed to be a good person, he has contradictions in his behaviour. He is hypocritical. He judges everybody to have gone to the wood and he has done himself asks to be trusted but he does not rust his wife. He does not know what he wants. He knows why was he going to the forest and later on he seems that he does not know why he is there. He judges everything and everybody but himself.

    What does he learn when he enters in the forest?

    -his parents were also in friends of the devil

    -corruption of the world kept away

    -community is not a good art community

    -the wife is also associated with the devil

    Summary: Brown, un ingenio piadoso puritano de tercera generación, deja a su nueva esposa para asistir a un aquelarre en el bosque cercano a la aldea de Salem. En el bosque, quizá en un sueño, ve las formas de los líderes civiles y religiosos de la colonia, de su padre y finalmente, de su mujer Faith. Al decirle a Faith que resista al Maligno, toda la escena desaparece. Brown regresa a la aldea de Salem y vive el resto de su vida como un hombre serio, triste, sombríamente meditabundo, desconfiado si no desesperado, convencido de que todos aquellos en cuya virtud había creído se han vuelto para adorar al diablo. Como los jueces que condenaron a muerte a las brujas en Salem en 1692, Brown acepta lo que era conocido como una evidencia espectral; culpa a su esposa y a sus vecinos de lo que ha visto hacer a sus sombras. La ironía más profunda consiste en que él se aferra a su propia virtud culpando a los demás por hacer lo que, después de todo, él también estaba haciendo; el único hecha que ignora es el único que puede saber con certeza, que él decidió acudir al bosque. La piedad de Brown demostraba así ser simplemente una falsificación. Perdiendo a su esposa, Brown pierde la fe (faith) ya que cree ver a su esposa en el aquerrale y son los puritanos de Boston, no Hawthorne, los que han convertido a los personajes tan estrictos.

    El joven Brown es el que reconoce nunca o ni siquiera por qué se dirige al bosque para encontrarse con el diablo. Mientras que toda su experiencia puede ser una proyección del veneno que hay en su propia naturaleza, esto es precisamente lo que nunca se permite a sí mismo comprender. Brown queda destruido por su experiencia en el bosque y las promesas que se intercambian en el bosque Hester y Dimmesdale, resultan ser ilusorias.

    -the minister's black veil

    Everybody has to be judged, but judge yourself first. You can only get out by calling yourself the worst first. He maintains himself in the same level than others, the opposite of Brown.

    It was the first published a year after of Goodman Brown. There is a re-awaking of faith. The story of the Golden Age. They go back to the original purity. He refuses to take out his veil, and everyone treat him in a different way.

    It is called a parable (moral story) because it is about the human suffering. He wants that it seems a parable but it is reality. It makes us seem realistic in a state of a fictional story. It is based on a real story affects our reading. A parable is like a moral story. It looks like a parable but is really something else.

    There is a realistic sermon double understanding. Confusion about realistic or fiction.

    The veil is just a piece of cloth in front of his face. There are different levels of affection of the veil. For the people from the town, represents the veil:



    -effect on minister: -intent

    -response: how it affect on the town

    -effect on town: -general


    he loses his identity for other people: people is not sure who he really is. Also physically. They do not ask why he has done it because they are afraid. It is something more symbolic. People cannot stand in front of it. We do not know if he hides something symbolic or physical. It creates a certain mystery.

    It changes his identity physically. They are afraid of him. They see him as a symbol. The veil is associated with death.

    There is always something horrible in ourselves that we cannot tell. Is something superhuman? Because the meaning is never clear we cannot understand the world by ourselves.

    The veil involves something secret: why does he carry it? He tries to disguise something secret. When people ask for the veil, he answers that it is not a terrible thing, he asks why it is so bad for people. People associated this black veil with the secret, a terrible sin or something not able to be seen). Definitive, there is something secret under the veil, a secret sin that horrifies the town because it is something that nobody can explain. The veil always represent in American writers something depressed. People interpreted the veil in this way because it is their prospective. The things are the same but there are different interpretations, the last one is the opposition of the first interpretation. Our relationship with things make different human beings, there is a clear ambiguity in everything.

    There are things that represent the world's forces in life: to their imagination, it is a symbol of secret. The signs are ambiguous, never clear. Nothing we understand is clear, the world is a confusing place for Hawthorne. We can not rely and know if we are sure of something. Everything is plenty of symbolism. The veil is associated with mystery, but it seems to be something about death, a gosh or God, a very powerful perception about the differences between life and death this is the Christian point of view. Secret is darkness, not understanding or knowledge about something, it is like going to another level of the existence.

    The secrets he hides is something unspeakable to people who see the veil and they are confused, afraid something that affect people, it becomes a symbol of other world. When he gives the sermon, it is about a secret sin. So people connect the sign of the veil with the speech.

    Secret death human sorrow human being (general feeling of sin. Once that feeling is forgiven. A state of sin )

    There is a clear opposition between Puritanism and Christianity: life is death and death is life. When you enter in Paradise, you get to other life, not to death. It's a state of life. Moving to something better is the same as lifting the veil.

    Veil can also mean knowledge between the light, life and the death as the paradise worth of the Christian society. He judges himself in public so he can die in peace, that involves Salvation. His life and death is dark, as the veil.

    The levels of effects which the veil has: physical separation ( he and the town are separated by the dark veil ) spiritual (different thoughts and aspirations) and emotional (separates the minister's emotions of the public emotions). He separates emotionally and spiritually. Complete social solitude in death. In order not to be alone in death, you have to judge yourself first (Puritan tradition). All ends up in complete solipsism (you are alone in the world): you only have your own world to get out you have to judge yourself first. He did not like himself: we can see it when he says de did not has peace on mind. There is a criticism in Puritanism. He knows the effects he is giving to other people and when he says he did not know himself, the only thing he can do is wait for the paradise. She is presenting the possibility of the escapism of the solitude. The woman are representing hope, escape and men representing darkness (negative characteristics of human being). She is giving him positive salvation. Bayn (critic) wrote about Hawthorne and women: criticism of Puritan society. The minister puts the black veil because he insists in transgression. Women represent perversion of society, for Bayn. Borges critics the association of Hawthorne and Women: he thinks in images. Behaviour of matriarch on men: he criticises himself as a father. Puritan cycle was the moment when they went back the revive of religion in the USA, about the behaviour. There were three king of texts:

    Puritan founding:

    -Maypole of Merrymount

    -Grey champion

    Deceitful messages of nature:

    -Roger Malvin´s Burial

    -Rappiccini´s daughter

    Faustian pursuit of perfection:


    -Artist and the Beautiful

    All the stories can be grouped in those groups. All them are about the same topic: everybody is guilty. Other topics are: perception, religion, sins... he is obsessed with the ambiguity of symbols.

    Not wearing the black veil make people naked in front of other people. Both stories are negative and dark.

    Both stories have a female character who support it: they are the opposition to men, conventional antagonises: they represent moral people in domestic life, they do not maintain the distance with society, as men do.

    The happy relationships end, the sad way to finish. They do not talk about sex but it is present in both stories. Men do things different to women: they refuse to think about the effect they are giving to the people.

    When he puts the black veil, everything is realistic. It is more fantastic and supernatural the events in Young Goodman Brown. After life, things can be good, it is a possibility and that is why the minister refuses to take off the black veil. He judges himself, so he is innocent. The two men are judged:

    -Brown: too proud to interpretative the thoughts of the people

    -minister: no proud, he considers guilty himself of something.

    Elizabeth, minister's friend, makes an effort to explain the symbol of the veil. She forgives him (faith is over). Faith( YGB´s wife) is associated with the evil. Elizabeth is at all good constant use of women: Faith(devil) and Elizabeth(good) because she forgives him.

    Women represent temptation, so they are refused by men because they represent opportunities to men. Women also represent sacrability and confort.

    -sex: men refuse it because they refuse emotions. It is an under theme in the stories.


    -strength and constancy: men are weak

    sex and family are accepted by Puritanism, against the Hawthorn's ideals. Religious is faith. Before leaving, he and she seem each other too much. When he comes, with faithful, he is the opposition of her, religion means faith with something. Elizabeth accepts all kind of sins, as people do. He refuses it and he dies alone.

    The male characters refuse to accept women because they have sexual temptations, and they do not want to accept these emotions. The minister's death is a parable: everybody who refuses religion, sins and judgement at the end is refused from society. He is putting away from society. He does not accept the truly reality.

    -Differences between N. Hawthorne and E.A. Poe:

    -individuality: both criticises individuality, people are too much individualistic and they are destroyed at the end.

    Hawthorne: he critics the individuality. There is a political and a social implication

    Poe: all the characters are individual: they destroy themselves because they are too



    Hawthorne is excessive puritan.

    Poe: he does not talk about it and about people religion


    Hawthorne: he uses historical places. Specific places

    Poe: he does not uses historical places. Poe explores the internal descriptions describing

    the outside world as reference for the inside

    -interested in:

    Hawthorne: he is interested in symbols, in specific stories. He critics direct purposes:

    political criticism

    Poe: is interested in aesthetics.


    Hawthorne believes in pure imagination

    Poe: not pure imagination


    Hawthorne: women are strong, independence, powerful and friendly. Men subject women

    Poe: women are dark, gosh, idealised. Poe rejects women in public. They die and return to kill men. Poe accept them in death (incest love)

    -Walt Whitman

    He sees things in a negative way. Who we are? Who is he? Those questions are the main theme (human identity)

    There was not a developed literature, but there were not good poets, they did not have tradition. They are shadows of English Literature.

    Nothing was original in America until Whitman. He was now new and different. Almost everything is original.

    He gives some personal advises:

    Greatest poem: the person who does what he says (page 3). Sexual point of USA. They have to chose who you are and what you want, you do not have to be what people think.

    Individuality is important. He has to do the best for his own. USA is the greatest poem for him, because the American voice or identity is saying what it is. The best of USA (page 1) is the common people. People do not feel they are superior or inferior, everybody is important but in the same level. Respect to the common person: the president is taking off his hat to them not them to him. The USA is the greatest poem. The greatest poet: all the nations are complete in themselves.

    The greatest poet: everybody can be the greatest poet if they are common person looks and gives the full attention to things that become everything for them, the Universal things, Universe is

    Represented by the USA and the USA by common people. We see the identity of individuality there.

    Himself is the individual. He is representing people and people in his person. He thinks everybody has a part of everybody, and when one is individual, everybody is in that individuality. The universe is so complex and mysterious that the individual helps to understand world because he understand himself. Example: song of myself. He is always reducing the understanding of everything in individuality. It is completely radical. It is not a question of going to the perfect world, it is important to see the world more clear. Subject is new. He uses a new form, away from English forms and texts. He has created a free poetry, with free verse. There was a free poetry, a new language. There is not structure, not is the new epic.

    He creates a new hero who is himself as individuality. This hero is the common of the common. A hero is everybody who becomes a man. Himself is the hero now, he does not have a name as in Goodman Brown; absolutely informal: he uses a kind of nickname ( Walt instead of Walton) instead of the name, without any reference else. The old heroes were King Arthur and Robin Hood. Everything is represented in he self which is full of everything. He wants peace everywhere.

    -song of myself

    -“I” as individuality. I am not different of you and we can enjoy the same approach to the reader.

    -he tries to find himself: “I loaf and invite my soul”: you have to do nothing except paying attention to everything in the world, such a so common thing in USA as the best place. If you really pay attention, you will really live your life at all, forget the mysticism of before. Now, we take a different mystical way.

    -importance in equality in sex: political thought. Each woman and man has the equal opportunities, even slaves and excluded people in society. He makes his own catalogue: he creates an identity for all, in a radical way. It is difficult because minister had their own thoughts and opinions about people.

    -addressing to people directly, with some forms. He is telling his own, but it is the universal own. The person and the world has the same knowledge.

    -spring grass == common things

    -the real key of knowledge is going out by yourself and find it by yourself.

    -consider the body accepted, never is rejected. He considers body in a different way: he accepts it. Everything is accepted with its body. It has not to be a perfect.

    -Body is an exception of something that cannot be rejected. There was a new view of sexuality. He talks about homosexual love that can be equally representative. He wants to say that rejections in society only lead taboos. We do not know is somebody is a man or a woman but we know what he or she is doing. He says in poems what he sees and feels. It is great but it is not a conviction speech. He is not giving a new doctrine, he is only trying to confront us: “Are you who you think you are? do you spend life as you want?”

    -death is seen as something different and new. There is not an ending point, it is just a part of life. This is the logical paradox, because he can confront this saying that life is also a truth. So you can understand if you understand yourself complexity because we are part of world and world is complex by itself. L.1315: I am full of paradox and everything I say has not sense at all.

    -everyday one of the common working class is destroying the values of life. They do not speak well, no punctuation but they use roots.

    -Walt Whitman


    -poor family with democratic ideals.

    -he lived in Brooklyn.

    -he studied until the basic school: become a publisher in New Young. He had not a huge education.

    -he loved opera, but he went not there.

    -he was not interested in debates about politics. The politic system was corrupted. The American politic system was plenty of conflicts because there were more different politic parties. Slavery was an important conflict: in the south, there were people who defend slavery and in the north, there were anti-slaves groups of people.

    -USA expended and adopted new states and slavery was a problem: people was anti-expansionist( stop slavery) and pro-expansionist (developed slavery)

    In 1840´s, there were new political groups, as Free Soil Commission which was an anti-expansionist group: everybody was free.

    Things finalised so bad. Corruption become harder to finish slavery. Women were fed up with political systems.

    -He took part in some campaigns.

    -he wrote poetry: published in newspapers and they talked about politics. There is a negative language because he critics everybody.

    -Leaves of grass

    We can see it is a political document or a personal experience (more philosophical) ?

    Romanticism was coming up: the ideals arrived in different forms. In 1855, he published the whole poems, more than three hundred poems.

    He became a scandal and popular man. He wrote about the Independence Day, identity poem and talked about democracy, after Independence day.

    Is it romantic or politic? it is a lovely poem, but it has to be seen seriously and as a hard romanticism.

    Comments to the poem from Leaves of grass:

    -people is not worth. He is trying to create a complete picture of the universe “the weakest and shallowest is deathless with me”

    -“I know perfectly well my own egotism, and know my omnivorous words, and cannot say any less, would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself” I know what I am saying. He knows more than does really.

    -he is comparing himself with all people, with cannot people, with esp. Poor people (criminals, prostitutes...) all who show negative things. He talks about his experiences in the past and he is sharing them with all the people.

    -everything is in universe, everything that exits is important for us and it has its own function. It is not simple, whatever is, it is right. Not only with all the material things but also with all spiritual things. He says :”my soul is in everywhere”, all is for all, specific: relation between individuality and macrocosm.

    -Everything even the bad things is part of the world, and human are part of the world and we collect there the good and the bad things.

    -He talks about individual experience and all in the world: he is not saying he understands all the pain of all, he is saying that he is a luck man but he does not forget the others.

    -he is making his clan as a prophet (profeta) and he says something is wrong in the world. He tries to give a complete picture of good and bad things, not just about the good things.

    -hero: individual + common man. Attitudes in relation to man with other people, sexuality, new prospective on politics, on religion, on history, a new way of speaking, he is not speaking about his feelings, with new values. He is confronting the old history with the new way.

    -He gives large enumeration of collection of things. Listing things, collecting the world in a piece of paper. He talks like a barbarian. He tries to convince us with new methods, without excluding things complete vision of the world. He is making a catalogue of the world.


    -free picture of things

    -repeating questions in its form: repeat sentences where things are explained. Full feeling to show

    -complete universal assimilation: his picture does not have an answer paradoxical enumeration (recoge a los que lo apoyan y a los que no)



    -tone to convince people of his ideals

    -he is criticised because people think he is only taking one side. He is not forgetting all the negative society, but he is taking all attitudes from a good position

    -his tone is without any reservation, he includes people's opinion in his ideals.

    -his tone is always using open style speech

    -the topics:

    -careful attention in a certain moment “goodness of individuality”

    -absence of the law, there is not any dogma

    -complete picture without organisation.

    -taboos in this world are treated in with an open-mind

    -homosexuality is a topic he explores out of his experience

    -questions of race in USA: Indians, immigrants, black, slaves, free slaves. He was not against slavery at the beginning.

    -democracy and its effect in the world: original democratic voice. He wants nothing more than slavery

    -exploration of labour workers: they represent freedom (romantic ideal). It was very common in middle class people.

    -Common person is the most important topic.

    -the most important symbols:

    -grass: it represents the existence by itself. There is not death, although there is its presence.

    -common: it represents everything: the most important element people have. Universal symbol.

    -religious symbol of God


    -mystical understanding of the world. Interesting in everything. He is giving us a new mysticism with paradoxes.

    -Eastern philosophy: Buddhism, Chinese religion

    -not about mysticism, not a philosophy or a religion. It is about politic. He tries to find a new answer to the conflicts. Right answer to save USA.

    Mysticism is the best because he tries to give an answer about all the problems. He gives different opinions that can work together about different sides of life. He is giving attention to the individual thing. The pieces of grass are a symbol of the present things.

    “everybody has just to pay attention to the things that are around us” message: we must pay attention to the moment we live.

    He wants no laws, no things to understand things. Just pay attention to the things that are in front of us.

    -Emily Dickinson versus Walt Whitman

    -both of them are contemporaneous, from the 19thc. It is difficult to find the case of two poets who lived at the same time, in the same area with a totally different kind of literature.

    -both wrote poetry and they were considered the great American Poets.

    -Whitman had so many troubles to publish his works because he did not have a lot of money. Dickinson had also problems because of her sex: she was a woman and writing for money was not a female job.

    -Whitman: optimism, free poetry, interested in the oral and spontaneous poetry, celebration of life, plurality, the self as something without end, large, long poems where he added things.

    -Dickinson: she is interested in my world, myself, not as Whitman (he was projecting himself in the world), interested in the private world, private voice (not loud as Whitman), short poems, brief, concern about the same.

    -Dickinson was not interested in contemporaneous authors, she did not read Whitman and Whitman did not read Dickinson because she did not published books alive.

    -Whitman was interested in freedom; Dickinson's poems are very condensed and controlled, she wants poems which follow a musical pattern (most of them can follow the same structure)

    -Dickinson also broke away with many expectations and made something new: she rejects punctuation and she uses dashes -, instead of ; : . , and she uses it to complete sentences or phrases. That's why it is so ambiguous because it was difficult to understand because of the unfinished sentences and missed words.

    -she was against technology and she made different dashes, giving an open meaning: - -- / \, not as we use today. She was in that sense so difficult. Difficult poetry to be published.

    -innovations in the form and content.

    -sin, God, pain as punishment... she does not believe on them: she thinks that things are to enjoy in life not after death, pain caused by illness, not as a punishment from God. Happiness is not after death.

    -this positive mentality comes from Emerson's philosophy( too positive) and from the family, who were Calvinist. She was in the middle point. She defends carpe diem.

    -rejection of sentimentality.

    Emily Dickinson:

    -she was born in Amheist (1830-1886)

    -life within her family: father was very respectable in the town and well-know, he was a lawyer. The sister never married, as Emily. The brother got married and moved next door, so it was a close family.

    -she never went away. She only left her state once to go to Boston, she was always in her motherland.

    -She always stayed at home, in the house. Her intellectual, emotional and friendly cycle was only made by her family and her close friends.

    -she fall in love twice: a lawyer and a reverent, who was married. She created an image as a woman alone in the house, a spinster.

    -she only wore white dresses, and she moved as a child, she was very innocent.

    -it is said she receive very selected friends and she talked them though the door, respecting her privacy.

    -she was very unknown as a writer until her death.

    -Thomas Dickinson was who helped her to publish and ask her to use a more conventional grammar because nobody accepted her poetry.

    -She refuses to change poems to fill other people's wishes because Thomas always asked him to change the dashes into words. She was so independent and she did not want to please people.

    -she kept the poems because she accepted the poems would be published after death.

    -she wrote everyday, she spent a lot of time writing. She wrote, at least, a poem a day.

    -her life, for her, was a choice. She went to the college a year where she teach herself.

    -she was very selective with books, so she read not many books but many times all them.

    -familiarly with American and English writers as Shakespeare.

    -she was independent in religion and ideology: she was not religious as her family.

    -own moral ideas: she elaborates her ideas when she talks about a circumference where the centre is her. She talks about her own space.

    -she talked about life and death, the way between both.

    -she is not ironic, she only told the truth.

    -Whitman's voice use just one, but Dickinson used different voices: voice of a child (childish questions in poems), voice of a wife who has to get married, as a rejected woman, and a powerful male voice as authority.

    -she organised the poems, but after death they lost the order.

    -she did not put dates or titles.

    -resistance structures of religion, of belief, of languages, of manners, of institutions, and she presented her persona in a distance.

    -personal voice which refers to her world.

    -no references tot he civil world, not about the world beyond her.

    -most critics said that he was loneliness, with very negative terms.

    -people thought that if she had get married “it might be lonelier without loneliness”

    -she wanted people to be away from her.

    -she fell “in love” with her sister-in-law, her best friend and her neighbour, they had a sentimental relationship, we do not know if it was a sexual relationship. Her name was Susan.

    -Susan's daughter and husband destroyed everything when she died to stop the scandal. The things we know are because of sister-in-law's biography about Emily, it was the first biography.

    -she read magazines, newspapers but she was interested in the external world

    -poem 712

    -first interpretation: somebody(lady) who receives the visit of Death. This persona dies and she says, in a walk, come with me, she has to come. Everything she loved, she had to leave to get in this new life. She left childhood, the growing up, the setting sun to get to the darkness of death. Her clothes are very thin because she is wearing Gossamer (she is too cold). Finally, she stops in front of a new house where she has to wait to the eternity.

    -second interpretation: states of life, death comes to take off lady's life and the things she made to remain single. Death takes her in her wearing dress and takes her to a new life, a domestic life. She leaves the good things to get married. It is clear to see marriage as death. She has to leave the playground so she sacrifices her life for marriage, she dies.


    -death takes her a way. Death is a male character. He has power, authority that overpowers human's pain.

    -she is passive, without choice to take

    another possibility of interpretation is role of Dickinson in front of a man or God.

    Death is interested in her labour and leisure, further, he is interested in the normal cycle of life. The setting sun as the end of the cycle of the human beings.

    She is took away to death. She is bold because she is wearing Gossamer. She is condemned to stand the eternity in this swelling of the ground. The carriage represents a burial.

    -poem 732:

    A lady is visited by a persona who ask her to leave with him. She goes. She is leaving her good things from before to be a wife or a woman.

    It follows the same pattern that poem 712: husband would make her a woman or/and wife.

    The first poem is about death, in both cases, when she dies, she is leaving the best things behind.

    In the first poem, wedding is also seen as a death, as a wedding in terms of the lady of the 19thc.

    If you get married, you will become a wife or a woman. Is she does not get married, she would take the role of a little girl or a child, with playthings = toys. Before she married, she was just making playthings (everything interested for her) and when she married, she lost the chance to explore. This poem talks about marriage.

    Existence of the “persona”, in a male voice with authority.

    -poem 465:

    she is dying, and she knows death is the next act. When she is dying, she hears a noise “fly buzz”. She was between two moments of strong agony.

    She knows it is the last moments she will heard the noise. The king is the death (death is male). She is going to die in peace.

    There are two kind of readings because of the open ending:



    the boss can be:

    -death (male)


    she is going to die and she is going to see darkness because of:



    she is not a victim: she always managed to be the epicentre of the world. She finds some power or force to get a change in the merges. The persona is the epicentre of her self-conference.

    -poem 67:

    According to the poem, in a battle field, a person who is celebrating the party when he is dying. The person who is dying, although he is dying in the middle of the war, he is celebrating the victory because he is winning freedom.

    -poem 1:

    when she is dying, she only become alive literally after death. Socially, having functions, she would die as a writer or keep her poems in the death. She is questioning, what is a real life. Maybe, you can find it in the losers side.

    -poem 435:

    Madness is the most divine sense. The madness is really a good sense questioning the power. Her persona is weak and fragile and she always manages to question the voice of power and authority. She questions institutions and God. Sometimes, she talks, screams and insults God.

    -poem 49:

    she is addressing God and insulting him because he is unjust and cruel. She has lost twice two dearest people and this two times, she prayed and God did not listen to her and took them. Angels twice descending and with vanity, they took them. “I am poor once more”: saying that now, somebody is dying, too. She says he is a burglar because he is stealing souls.

    -poem 106:

    she talks about herself who is a flower, without movement, passive looking at a strong power which is the sun who has the power of the Earth. Male is powerful and her “persona” is weak and fragile in front of him, but only in appearance.

    She says she loves so much the sun but she asks why is she always looking at him. “he” can be God, religions, institutions, a man, the father...

    When the sun goes away to the west, she is free and peace. The party, then, begins. The sun goes to the west because it has to be on movement.

    Dickinson's reality, an interpretation is that the sun is her father and when he went to bed, she could write, so she was free. The exit of the sun provokes the freedom of the flower. The flower would fly to get the peace.

    Female writers from the second half of 19thc, have gone back to Emily Dickinson to find a literary grandmother as a pattern, somebody who responses the ideals. She is questioning the world outside her

    Dickinson was psychologically free: she was the mother of women's poetry. We have to consider that she had social freedom and she could make whenever and whatever she wanted, but her freedom consisted in staying alone at home writing and thinking.

    -poems about the interior of Dickinson:

    reverse cannot befall

    that fine prosperity

    whose sources are interior


    woman's female == whiteness

    and then - the size of this “small” life

    the sages - call it small -

    swelled - like horizons - in my breast

    and I sneered softy - “small”

    Her life is small and she compares the smallness and she says the authority cannot decide if it is small or not enough.

    -poem 1652:

    existence with a wall

    is better to consider

    that not exist at all

    she tries to explain her attitude in front of the society.

    * * * *

    Whitman was homosexual, and he was affected by his sexual life. She was not affected, bus she decided not to marry and maybe she was lesbian, but she was not affected by her sexual life.

    Sometimes, both wrote about the same topic, as example:


    the spider is alone and it is a metaphor of Whitman.

    Dickinson's spider that is observed. The persona just looks what it is doing. She is not projected on it. It is something that is so fragile because somebody can destroy the spider and the filament. She is just watching the making of the filament.


    both trains are powerful and fast.

    Dickinson's train: tracks to follow, a machine, not a mythological creation, turn on and turn off, punctual. She was ecologist. Denouncing damages in the city.

    Whitman's train: it is freely, not just stand in the tracks. It is mythology. American mentality, wherever it goes, it connects one to each other.

    -Billy Budd, sailor: QUESTIONS

  • Ham as a character from the Bible: figure of justification of slavery for different states. People said slavery was in the Bible and Ham was the example. It is the story of an not justify punishment, as Billy Budd (read the story) punishment: self brothers and descendants of Ham for eternity.

  • The story has also been used to justify slavery and blackness in south-Africa. They want to say black people is not in the Bible associated with slavery.

    The sailor is described in colonial Words: he is barbarian (not civilised), he is exotic, the beauty of his body, very instinctive, he is not very gifted with language at all.

    -Billy Budd is going to be unable to defend himself in language which would place him in an inferior position. Language of Budd´s speechless: laws are against Billy because of the language.

    -opposition of whiteness against darkness. Black people is presented as speechless.

    Whiteness speech privilege, power

    --------------- ---------- ------------------ ---------------- ------------- ------------

    darkness speechless illegal, sexuality other madness

    vulnerability self-footing expulsion

    Sometimes, the heart (two meanings) and femenity in men must be shown: in the meaning of emotions, of heart and in the meaning of femenity: Budd is angelically, beautiful...

    2) issue of colonisation: it was written when USA was just independent and it had finished being a colony. Melville wanted to remember it. Europe was colonising. People took the power, the afraid to the establishment in the book was just a mirror of the social classes and differentiation. They are afraid of hierarchies. Billy Budd was afraid of hierarchies because of his captain.

    Billy Budd was so vulnerable but captain needed to destroy somebody (Billy Budd) when he was inferior: possibly:

    1.because he was in love with him and the relation could not been possible for the social classes they belong to.

    2.because of the religious structure (clergy was too powerful and he was too powerful and he was very innocent.

    the two moments have sexual connotations. She decided to destroy him passion

    5) natural depravity: depravity in human and nature. Everybody has but it is not natural, it is a natural world. It is not natural but it was in nature. It can be the homosexual feelings.

    Homosexuality appears in 1880-90´s, when we have the figure of homosexual people. Before, it existed, but we did not have a term to descriptor it. We have discourses, medical homosexuality, psychological homosexuality. Then, later on, we have the term of heterosexual.

    Even though sexual and homosexual literature was a reality, it is not until 1880-90´s that we have this figure and Melville could have taken it as a background.

    Clargart wanted to destroy the desire which was in Budd. Claggart is not the one who wants to destroy him, also Captain Vere who was very interested on it, after Claggart´s death. Captain Vere started to take many characteristics of him he said “the angel must die”

    6) everything occurs in secret, close. Vere uses all of his manipulation, although it is not the first time. He manipulates the trial and choose people to get the elimination of Billy Budd.

    Somebody questioned Captain Vere´s mental heath because of the way he talked and moved.

    9) a very American story because it is about the American conflict ( between self-community) in the south expressed by the narrative of the trial, because the trial in USA means democracy.

    The trial is important because it means democracy and it marks if: justice or law should prevent.

    There is a critic of a society which scarifies the individual for the establishment of the community.

    Billy Budd represents innocence, an angel, mysterious origins (foreigner), he is crucified and divine.

    Antagonist between the divine and the satanic. Captain Vere can be read as the religious person.

    Lamb < -- > snake



    -unity of the opposities

    -everything surrounded by a cercle: black is in white and white in black.

    -representation of the power in death

    -Budd can come from Buddish

  • three sequels: careful sentences. Vere is pasionated, not rational. The final publication of the events: the story which is going to be published.

  • death is the officila version

  • Claggart as the victim

  • Folklore: Budd is heterosexual. When he is condemned to die, he is scared and hungry. Human beings.

  • -lesbian/gay vs. Queer

    a lesbian or a gay is somebody who defend the identity of himself: it comes from the civil war movement in the USA. “I am X and I will defend it”

    the queer is somebody who reject the identity of heterosexuality. It comes from the philosophy, from the post structuralism. It desconstructies everything and all kinds of identity.

    The gays and lesbian defend the idea they were men/women ; white/black ; heteros/ homos and people had to defend the second part of the binaries, not just the best one (men, white and heterosexual)

    These binaries are in our mind and we have to destroy them. Any defence of the lowest part is harder.

    To destroy the binaries, we have to deconstructive both ideas saying that each other is not as fix and stable as we believe. Women, for instance, are different for everybody: they do not mean the same in a country that in other or in other time.

    Not every culture shapes the same concept of the words from the binaries.. all those terms contains the other in the concept (black means not white)

    We have to make relative all these concepts. People force these binaries in order to make us think of something clearly (si no eres uno, eres el otro)

    There is a general agreement of what we are, but you can think you are include or not.

    -these terms in Billy Budd:

    The novel comes up saying it is very hard to expose a concrete idea, everything can be different.

    According to the novel, Clargart seems to be homosexual, but the author is also saying everybody loved him and liked his body, so homosexuality is too extensive.

    Essentialism vs. Constructivism

    *essentialism: somebody has a concrete quality

    *constructivism: this quality is extended to a very big mass of people

    it shows the instability of any clear level, it is not no easy to define people. Some contradictions in Billy Budd are:


    -male bonding


    -perpetuation of hierarchies (everybody has to keep his position)

    -homosexuality is:

    -sexual: related to the body of the characters

    -moral: in mind of the sailors

    -Glaggart is:


    -no natural

    -homosexuality is connected also with:

    been / known cognition / paranoia

    knowing / denying ignorance / paranoia

    we see it in two levels:

    -individual (Claggart)

    -system by itself

    Claggart is questioning the sailors and judging them because someone was a criminal but the system is also criminal because it is unjust and kills Billy Budd.

    Budd is presented as an innocent, as an angel but he is also paranoing because he is also tempted.

    Both are tempted to attack the other.

    Other questioned disciplines:

    *Discipline: impartial and public.

    *terrorism: partial and private.

    In Vere, this binary is clear. He must punish Budd and he makes it in private.

    Justice / injustice

    Vere represents justice because he punishes Budd, but he knows he makes an injustice.

    Health / illness

    Vere seems to represent rationalism, but what it seems the most rational decision, he acts from his heart: the legal discourse is submitted to the discourse of the regime.

    All the characteristics of Claggart moved on and went to Captain Vere. Melville is very careful with these binaries and he works on them.

    Chapter 21(first paragraph): there are different binaries that are just transations, as the rainbows (muchos colores distintos)

    There are two schools about Nelville and this work:

    -acceptance: Billy Budd must die sacrified, in order the social order keeps in the same way: individuality can be sacrified for the community.

    -resistance: Budd not sacrified.

    The last words of Captain Vere were “Billy budd, Billy Budd, Billy Budd...” that can mean and represent justice and love.

    -Slave narrative and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

    general characteristics:

    -voice of the people who were denied to write world. Some had masters who let them learn to write. They had a silent voice.

    - they did nt have access to the machinery of publication, so having a voice was a privilege.

    - narrative of slaves who esplained their lives as slaves.

    - genre of own biography

    - celebration of individuality and physical movility

    • Emerson´s concept of independence

    • Most of the writers were black who talked about:

    • -namenessless:not as our conception. It is a symbol of identity, of recognition. This symbol is not easy to understand because, for us, it is not important. They were given names, which were given without love. That name was also belonged tot he salve holder, who was the hated person because he separated them from mum.

    • -lack of visibility: because of their blackness, they were ignored in the American society nobody wanted to see them: they were invisible people, just a race, not a person.

    -Frederick Douglass

    • 1818-1895

    • slave

    • went away and went to the North where there was the ebolushement movement moved by white people. He got freedom there. People loved him because he was a great speaker.

    • He felt he was not safe for the information he gave about himself and he went to GB where the fame of good speaker make him a better life.

    • Friends helped him to scape from the slave holder.

    • He was so good in speech that people did not think he was not a Sourthern slave and they thought he lied.

    • Normally, the narratives are introduced by a white man with a chapter to prove it is true because people thought it was impossible he was a slave before a speaker.

    • The movement against slaves was lead by white people who never lied and wherever he talked to the southern people, holders did not believe him and asked him to shut up but slaves were happy of knowing him because he was a kind of hero and they could believe him.

    -structure of the slave narrative:

    • first chapter: protagonist is introduced by himself

    • next chapters: how is he subjected to the oppression and cruelty.

    • Next: slave becomes aware that slavery is a horrible condition because the holder / mistress is cruel that is morally wrong: needs to be cut. Awareness of reality in the North

    • Character that escapes because: - wins freedom

    -access to education

    - need to talk to prevent social reactions.

    -reactions to the narrative:

    In some newspapers, after the publication:

    -(Trivium): insists in the witness of it: genre feeling, true story. It shows prejudices are

    over the truth.

    -(trivium): assumes F. Douglass was a former slave, not a white person from the North.

    -(December, other newspaper): gives the witness of the writer, not white people from the


    Douglass answered some letters saying he said that people had to relieve on him and he used to invite them to the speeches to show he was a former man.

    This kind of literature was written and read because people was interested in what slaves had to say.

    It is the first time people moved from the silence to speech in the slavery society.

    The slaves try to write and/or read because: -they were free

    -the kindness of the master's family

    but they were normally illiterate.

    Women had the same prejudices as men. They had the same oppression, but further, they had oppression from the male slaves.

    In the slave literature, written by men, women are presented to be the victims of the sexual oppression. In the women literature, they talked about what they did when men hurt them and they had to decide: -going to bed with the master ( and them be punished by the mistress) access to

    Master's desires.

    -be punished by both men (slaves and master) once and once until death.

    In the literature written by men, they denounce the master and they go back to sources like Emerson, whereas women reproduced the sentimental domestic fiction, imitating the white women from the North.

    Slavery was the main cause of the Civil War because human reason could not accept people being slaves. Northern people were not very happy because southern people did not have to pay waves to workers because they had slaves and in the North, they had workers, not slaves to work. The Civil War meant a big change. The states were split up and they were fighting. We have to realise there is a new kind of fiction with the Civil War. Later on, the literature was called Postbellum literature (1865-1900/10)

    -postbellum literature:

    -industrial Revolution:

    • reality after Civil War was with an abolished slavery

    • it meant the end of slavery, but not of the racism

    • there is a different kind of slavery: now people has a master in the factory

    • immigrations from Europe, Chine and Japan: USA became had a bigger ambition to

    get new lands in other countries: there is a colony which started to colonise.

    - industrial revolution: in the Civil War, they needed weaves to fight and the factories developed. People moved from the town/rural to the city.

    - new cities and towns, as Boston or Chicago: the growth of the cities also meant a

    high number of criminals, poverty, narrow streets, sick children, prostitution...

    - growth of big corporations as Rockefeller: people realised money is concentrated in the

    hands of some people.

    - emerge of new characters as “con man” (confidence man) by Mark Twain.

    - native xenophobia: “I am a truly American man and you are not” : against foreigners and xenophobia from native people against immigrant people and also from immigrants in

    themselves (people who lived some time there and they thought they were also American and

    they rejected more immigrants. Some were Irish people who discriminated the second

    movements of immigration) they were afraid of becoming poor as them.

    • if we realise, it is the end of the dream land, not people had no place to escape to, the

    dream land was also conquered.

    -reality in books:

    For the first time, books became a business. The books could be spread over all the nation. Books were made by machines and they were cheaper.

    People were interested in those formats:

  • the story papers: newspapers started to incorporate in the pages some adventures,

  • romances, a way of getting people interested in reading.

  • “dime” novels: they are 10-cents novels: cheaper editions for a dime who could offer

  • stories to workers. The idea of freedom in individualism and the stereotype of the

    macho-man (rejecting children, wives, jobs, responsibilities, just living his life) were the

    c) daily newspapers addressed to a specific audience. Many small communities had their

    own newspapers: Irish, workers... and reading those newspapers make them not to feel

    alone because they spoke the same language and they were not alone.

  • literary magazines: buy fictionally literature. The stories, as from Henry James, were published there. Some writers were Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Mary Williams.

  • Some writers realised there was no way to go on writing as Poe or Hawthorne and they had to start writing real stories, with symbols and allegories. We left the Romantic Ideals.


    • new emphasis in the common place

    • pay attention to things ignored before

    • back at reality from ourselves and around us, the reality we know and where we live, a

    specific reality. It is an awareness of places, of original differences... the local colour: in “the fall of the house of Usher”, the place is unknown and now, the stories are placed: in the

    Mississippi, in New York...

    • writers became more sensitive to regions, to the way people talked, to know different

    dialects: class, races...

    • close attention to people's life who was affected by having or not having money

    (material conditions) and people realised American capitalism was not good at all: some people were poor and capitalism did not work for them.

    • the religious ideas needed to be questioned

    • they could analyse cities (new kind of work and people) and rural places (because they

    keep alive the spirit since it could disappear, nostalgia to the past) with different purposes.

    in 1885, some books were:

    -Henry James: The Bostonians (relationship between both sexes)

    -William Dean Howels: Rise of Silas Laphain (how we can be affected by the new life-


    -Mark Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ( relationship between the races)

    Writers started to talk about the work place. Some:

    -Rebecca Harding Davis

    -Upeton Sinclair

    -Paul Lawrence

    other topic was the examination of marriage and female sexuality:

    -Kate Chopin

    -Ch. Perkins Gilman

    In those topics, we can see the figure of a married woman and her life after marriage: needs, feelings...

    Then, the realism became dark and radical naturalism


    • characters are lead by the forces of the context

    • natural forces are stronger that individualism

    some writers were:

    -Stephen Crane

    -Theodore Dreiser

    we are ruled by the laws of nature: biologic determinism by Darwin

    -realism vs. Naturalism:

    The realism is the believe that, although all circumstances, the individual has a second choice to start a new life.

    The naturalism leads with novels which are against mercy, they do not have a second chance. They are weaker than circumstances.

    Women became more visible in literature. They had a little chance to have education in a high college. They now were qualified to get pay-jobs. It gave the chance to political and social independence.

    We had literature written by women which started to have a different literature. The characters were sensual ones, normally married women, anew thing in literature. Example: Kate Chopin. The exploration is in the conflict between what women were interested to do (pay-job, art...) and the role they supposed to have.

    They never questioned death: the new exploration of married women gives a new point of view.

    -Mark Twain and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    This is a novel which most people have already read. Something for children, but it is one of the most important novel because of its influence in the USA. It is important because the book has been imitated with the same topic but with different location.

    According to some critics, the character of Huckleberry Finn is “a good bad boy” that meant:

    • bad: different form his context, he criticises the society, different values, discontent with the society, tries to prove he is different, he shows his rejection of community and a close relation with the human beings shows his badness.

    • Good: he is morally a good character.

    • Boy: as a young character, a boy (he is not a child, not a man). Because of his age, he remains in childhood and he denies his growth. He wants to stay in innocence.

    He is running away from community. He is critical with society and he decides to be different. There is a physical escape to other land he is escaping to the eternal childhood, to the west of the USA because it is not civilised at all.

    It is interesting to see there is a change from the moment of the death of the American dream to the birth of a new American dream. Because of the early American Dream is over (the dream of freedom and possibilities) it is the moment of the American Dream from nowadays: money and possibilities” . The American dream is corrupted by money. Huckleberry Finn is escaping from his money because money involves responsibilities. He escapes to the possibilities of the land and freedom.

    We had romanticism (idea of freedom)

    We have realism (the game of language and it is real, not as fiction as Poe)

    We will have naturalism (life within the nature: in the river, wood...)

    And we see some elements from the same movements. We see, at the same moment, it is different Hawthorne, Poe or Whitman.

    We see the fame of the language: Twain explores the most oral aspects of language (he writes spoken language) whereas Hawthorne, Whitman... tried to show their origin and a good language.

    It is the language they try to show and keep the dialects, speeches, spoken languages... some thought Twain tried to keep the black spoken language. Many writers tried to imitate him as El Guardián del Centeno.

    There are some figures which seem to try to imitate the darkness of people: an example is his father.

    In terms of the function of literature, Twain is ambiguous: he wants to believe the story (realism in the introduction, he advises he is telling mainly the truth) but the role of fiction is funny.

    -Mark Twain

    • 1845-1910

    • born in Florida, from the area of the USA he explored most beautifully.

    • He grew in the town where he developed the novel, the fiction name's town Saint Petersburg, near the Mississippi.

    • He did not had father

    • Travelling, he went to Europe, to the West... but he went to New Orleans...

    • When he is talking about the river, he is talking about a known thing because he wanted to work in the river Nostalgia of the river

    • He wrote in 1876 The adventures of Tom Sawyer and later, the adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    • He wrote from the North: his works were exotic because he had nostalgia of his town although slavery was wrong.

    • Very famous his writing: the way to reproduce speeches and dialects, colloquial style.

    • He was recognised as an intellectual: he wrote about politics, society.... he was somebody who had a voice.

    • Very known in USA and England as a public figure, but he became bitter (sarcasm difficult to understand) and less funny because he had familiar troubles and money problems.

    -Huckleberry Finn:

    • we see the chapters where the characters escapes to another places: running away from civilisation and people who represent city and order, against impositions.

    • He went to the freedom: he wants to be a child, not to grow up in the city

    • His persona is so different of Tom Sawyer: Tom lived in society. Huckleberry had a different desire = freedom

    • Many people has emphasised this escapism because he is the good bad boy rejecting the good motherland because he rejects the values from the old world; he is orphan that starts from crash Puritanism (own moral coach). Most of the reasons of the trip is rejecting values, as religion (because religion is not good for him because it talks about a regard after life, in death). He wants practical things, not promises.

    • Radical individualism: “I, me and my trip”. He wants not to be concern about something else.

    • Superstition

    • Denying of the ethics he rejected, mainly the religious values.

    • Moral kindness of the novel

    • Letter page 282: Jim is stealing money and he did not know what to do: tell it or not and he felt he had to help Jim, and then, make a sin.

    In the USA, people has created a debate between teaching it or not. Some people read it as buldings roman novel.

    It is the story of a young character who moved from childhood to adolescence, a “bildungsroman” because of:

    • the trip of growth: it is more than going to somewhere

    • the age of the character

    he keeps his relation with Tom. He changes his opinion about racism with Jim.

    Huckleberry Finn still believes he is superior. How can the privilege person think good about somebody who does not fight for freedom? That is why he is continually doubting about Jim's possible freedom.

    Jim is a black person with s slave mentality because he believes a white person is superior to a black one. Huck needs to move away to avoid responsibilities.

    There are different visions about Jim:

    • Jim is somebody who can be believed. The final alliteration of Jim means the alliteration of all of us (end of slavery freedom). Jim is real, a complex character, not a flag convention. We know how slaves see themselves, thanks to the slave narrative, but there is a different view, it is how we see them, for instance, Jim who is an stereo-typed slave.

    - Jim is also seen as a subordination. We see Jim in opposition to the main character,

    Huckleberry Finn.

    - Jim is not real in story, and they speculated the idea that Jim took Huckleberry Finn to get freedom, he uses him. He knows, from the beginning, Huck was fatherless and he did not tell him it, that could meant Huck´s freedom (si no estaba el padre, Huck no tenia problemas para ser libre porque nadie lo perseguía)

    Many African readers in the USA had rejected the novel and to teach it because people thought it was offensive, of the term “nigger” and of the view of blackness.

    -can we really judge a book from a century before, from the 19thc?

    We have two options: teach it or do not teach it. It is different to mark a margin between both limits.

    -analysing the article called Playing in the dark:

    African studies: look at how African people lived in the 19thc. It was an excuse to analyse what kind of deficiencies the American Mind has and the things they have to get better. (lo que tienen que mejorar en oposición a los africanos)

    Jim thinks he is inferior for the blackness, not for the slavery.

    The people who influenced Twain the most were his uncle who was a slave holder and a black slave who he treated as an uncle.

    -literature in 1890´s:

    A moment in which the traditional ways of understanding ourselves are questioned. Life is changing. It was a period called the “machine age”.

    There are new theories about hoe we change ourselves. There were questions on the Bible: we analysed our origin and the evaluative theories. People became more active outside home, they worked in factories. Women had a new kind of life: they were more independent and they had access to college. For the first time, we had groups of people working outside and it is reflected in literature. We had white, black, immigrant women and it became a new kind of woman: as the woman we had in Chopin, from the south or New Orleans. They were white.

    Chopin presented a new woman with new needs. She was a white woman, married.


    • from New Orleans

    • she married and had five sons

    • when the husband died, she decided to keep a plantation, she worked.

    • She had an affair with a married man

    • Interested in personal freedom to do whatever she felt.

    • Economy in words: she was direct

    • The Awakening is the most famous novel.

    White low class women were the property of the husbands. They talked about money, books... women could divorce and take the custody of the children, but even divorce was legal, it was too hard to get.

    Women were a kind of angel in the house: they were good wives and mothers.

    She shows the needs are different to every women's needs.

    -The awakening: the most famous and important novel by Chopin

    it was about an abolitionist woman, a woman who loves her family and she feels lonely in her feelings. She wanted to full fill her needs with a career. She was catholic. She needs her own room, for herself.

    She discovers sexual fantasies about marriage, and she discovers love with yet other man.

    Once, she said “I will give my life for my children, but not myself” it was a feminist argument taken from this book.

    -Gilman and The Yellow Wall-paper

    • born in 1860

    • father left the family: difficult childhood

    • she painted, she wrote stories, talked about societies for women and societies with only women utopian societies

    • she got married and a week after it, she demanded for a salary for keeping the house

    • daughter: Kathy. Gilman had problems because she had depressions. She thought she would feel better if she left the family for a while and she went to CA. She left Kathy with her husband's family

    • when she went back, she had depressions again

    • she thought everybody told her what to do and her doctor sent her to rest and he ordered her not to work and not think no write

    • she got worst because she needed to write and be judged

    • those were the reasons to write this story

    • she separated her husband and moved to CA again with her best friend Grace, who later on, married to Gilman´s ex husband

    • the press was very hard because she left her baby. Women never forgave her for that, neither the daughter who was collapsed.

    • She realised she wanted to have a voice. She organised many women organisations. She talked about women's question and women's political situation.

    • She married again to a good friend. She was very supported. She had a happy relation ship until she died

    • Most lectors rejected her work and she created her own magazine which existed for many years, she was the editor and published articles for many years.

    If a woman made a professional work, she must win money, as men did. All the works had to be paid. She has her own opinions about cultures and women in those cultures.

    Women must enjoy the life entirely, in all the aspects.

    -The yellow Wall-paper

    she wrote it to show her opinions about people who does not want women to work or say them they have to stop thinking.

    It was rejected by the editor of the newspaper where she wanted to publish it because it would make readers too miserable.


    -room: a kind a prison, she does not want to go out, she feels it is her space. It was like a jail because it was for children, a nursery room originally, a gym. It was a place for insane people, mad people. She was in that room as:

    • a prisoner

    • a child

    • a mad woman

    it is like to be overprotected to prevent people to do bad things.

    The bed is connected to the floor, a double bed. She did not want to go out because she was sure there. The room was upstairs: silence, peace...

    She feels in prison, she has no sense of independence. She asks for freedom o her husband an it was 4th July, the independence day, but he does not want to give her freedom and independence.

    - wall-paper: the first reaction was a rejection to the wall paper. She was not comfortable there, she feel bad there. The first time, she tries to find an order or meaning to the wall, but she finds none. She tries to find coherence to the wall, but it is impossible. She finds an interest to the wall. She finds there is a woman, but first, it was something that moves, that is creeping behind the wall paper. She also feels she wants to go out something she did not understand. Finally, she realises it is a woman she is pretty much seemed to ourselves and she identifies to her. The other woman tries to do the same she does and she finds an identity. It was like a mirror, but the woman behind the wall paper is finally free.


    -husband: his name is John. He is a doctor and he has two things she does not have:

    • a job outside home which he enjoys. He ordered not to think. She works inside home

    • he has a name: “john” : it means identity. The identity is denied to her.

    She is his patient and he is giving medicament continually. She is using irony: she thinks the medicines does not work and help her with her depressions, but she thinks husband's job is good, she does not want to doubt about her husband's job.

    She has a deep depression: maybe, a post-partum depression. She questions if it is a rule to be depressed after the labour, so she does not want to believe the institutional customs and decisions.

    -Jenny: she is John's sister. She is like a typical woman and she also thinks not very good about the doctor's decision.


    It is not a natural madness, it is a kind of madness that comes from the labour, it is a genital depression. Madness, here, has negative connotations. It is a story of a woman who ends up crawling on the floor open-ended.

    Many writers have wanted to incorporate this text in feminist movements.

    -is it a woman victory or a defeat?

    - victory: because she has been silenced in front of the reasonable man (doctor's thoughts).

    She collapses in the floor and she keeps moving. She becomes just untouchable. She has


    She believes herself being liberated because she is free as the woman behind the wall-paper who is also free.

    She is crawling, like a baby: she is getting mobility. She can stand up when she was condemned to be dumped. She is like an animal, because she cannot talk or move. Optimist: trip to liberation.

    -defeat: it is not a victory at all.


    • a theme in femininity: women's madness

    • many women decided to psycho-analyse women's character in novels. Why are women interested in psycho-analyse if it first gave to the interior to women? (Freud)

    • a baby grow as a male or female but it is not till the baby is older. The baby realises of the world through the language and the position in the world (symbolic order) through the linguistics. (diferencia la mesa, el perro... por el artículo) and we recognises our sex and we take the elements from your sex. Before the symbolic order, we are in the pre-oedipal: you are in the imaginary where the baby acts without sexual preferences. Loosing speech is going back to the moment of pre-oedipal. Gilman woman's character faints and she is speechless. Madness can be a board to the rejection of the world and a way to go back to the first moment after birth. It is a rejection of the shadow in the mirror, as she made.

    • All the women who are in silence are having a trip to freedom in the pre-oedipal moment, it is like not having a name.

    • Women were tired of thinking when people talked about women talk in general, but they have different needs and they want to be independent Many people think we should talk about material conditions (Marx)



    Enviado por:Angeles Vilanova
    Idioma: inglés
    País: España

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