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Native American Literature


Native American Literature – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Native American Literature

Native American Literature
Native Americans and the Settlers (1490s and
on C.E.)
  • Dozens of unique American Indian tribes were
    scattered across North and Central America when
    the first colonists landed. The Aztec empire was
    by far the largest, with millions of natives
    within its borders.
  • The colonists and Indians had a relationship
    through trade that eventually lead to an
    interdependence between both groups. How was
    each group dependent on the other?
  • Native Americans soon had
  • to struggle to survive disease
  • epidemics, settlements
  • overtaken by settlers and
  • conquistadors, and mass
  • extermination were all great threats.

Belief Structure and Way of Life
  • There are differences between tribes, but all
  • of the tribes have a strong ties to nature
  • typically having a Creator God and numerous
  • spirits that often take on the form of
  • or control the elements. NATURE IS CYCLIC.
  • Stories existed in the oral tradition. They
  • strongly tied to American Indian spirituality
  • tradition. Stories went hand-in-hand with
  • ceremonial festivals, dance, costume,
  • Creation, mythical hero, and trickster stories
  • the dominant story-types. The latter two
  • taught morals and lessons. Most tribes had
  • own unique story of creation.

The Sky Tree
  • A creation myth of the Huron a Native American
    people around the Great Lakes region.
  • The Earth Diver Myth common among Northeast
    Native American cultures, this myth states that
    the earth was originally covered by water until
    some creature dives down to bring up a clump of
    earth which is placed upon the back of a great
    turtle, forming North America.
  • Review What aspects of the settings in this myth
    are creation-story archetypes? What other
    mythological/religious stories have used the same
  • What does the rooting of the tree represent?

Coyote Finishes His Work
  • A story from the Nez Perce, a Native American
    people of the Plateau culture (Oregon and
    Washington area).
  • Review What traits make Coyote a trickster
  • What aspects of life on earth are explained in
    this myth?
  • What metamorphoses (plural!) take place in this
  • OPTIONAL BONUS Read then illustrate and label a
    scene from Black Elk Speaks

The Sun Still Rises in the Same Sky Review
  • 1. Why did scholars have problems recognizing the
    traditions of Native American literature?
  • 2. What three generalizations does Bruchac make
    about American Indian oral tradition?
  • 3. Identify three comparisons Bruchac makes
    between American Indian and Western views of the
  • 4. What does Bruchacs title suggest?

Sitting Bulls Sun Dance and the Modern Sun Dance
Wounded Knee Creek
  • Reflect for a page on the importance of language
    to the Native Americans, Plenty Horses, and any
    man or woman of today.
  • Be sure to indicate that you understand Plenty
    Horses situation in your paper.

Puritan Literature
The Puritans (1420s 1690s C.E.)
  • Puritans left England to seek out religious
    freedom after years of persecution. Which king
    first caused their persecution and why?
  • Puritans felt a great deal of doubt over whether
    they, as individuals, were one of the saved or
    damned. They believed those who were saved would
    automatically live exemplary lives of temperance,
    virtue, and simplicity. Thus, the Puritans
    overall exhibited a lot of restraint and
  • Puritans focused on the importance of covenants,
    and they used contracts often in government.
    This laid the groundwork for Americas
    constitutional democracy, but also allowed the
    saintly elect in Puritan government to act
    rather undemocratically.

Characteristics of Puritan Writing
  • The Bible is the model for all writing. There
    was emphasis placed upon the individuals life
    and how it connected to biblical events.
  • Diaries and histories
  • were very common.
  • Puritans wrote very simply and plainly. They
    appreciated sincere clarity of expression over
    complicated figures of speech.

Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)
  • Born into a family of Puritans,
  • Bradstreet accepted her parents
  • religious teachings and put them
  • into her poetry and writing.
  • After having eight children with her husband, the
    governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony,
    Bradstreet started writing for her own enjoyment.
    When her poems were discovered she was called
    The Tenth Muse back in England. She was
    flustered by the attention, Puritan women
    believed that they lived to serve their husbands
    and families and nothing more.
  • Bradstreet is better remembered today not for her
    elaborate earlier poems but for her personal
    lyrics pertaining to her life in America.

John Edwards and Types of Persuasion
  • Edwards, the writer of Sinners in the Hands of
    an Angry God, was remarkably a member of both
    the Puritans AND the Rationalists. He was
    between both worlds, fiercely passionate about
    his religion but a man who also believed in
    personal intellect and the awesome power of the
    human will.
  • Logical speaking to pure reason, this is
    the best solution because of A, B, and C.
  • Emotional full of imagery to evoke an
    emotional response, fear was typically the
    emotion evoked in Puritan writing

Silly Speech Concept Examples
  • Why rabbits deserve American citizenship
  • Waffles vs. Pancakes
  • Why there should be dyslexic-friendly street
  • Why dogs should be required to wear doggy diapers
    in public.

The Rationalists
The Rationalists (1690 - 1800 C.E.)
  • A group of philosophers and scientists in Europe
    began calling themselves rationalists. This
    ushered in the Age of Reason (The Enlightenment).
  • Concepts and people of this era
  • I think, therefore I am. Rene Descartes
  • Leibnizs discovery of the laws of calculus
  • Which incredibly famous scientist was a
  • Most of our founding fathers were rationalists.
    They were thinkers and tinkerers.

Characteristics of Rationalism
  • Rationalism is the belief that human beings can
    arrive at truth by using reason, rather than by
    relying on the authority of the past, religion,
    or intuition.
  • Deism is the belief that the universe is orderly
    and good. God is compared to a clockmaker, he
    created the perfect mechanism of this universe
    then left his creation to run on its own, like a
  • Focus is placed upon human perfection.
    Rationalists believed that man is inherently good
    and each man has the potential to perfect himself
    through rationality, kindness towards his fellow
    man, and diligence.

Benjamin Franklin
  • Franklin was a
  • - publisher
  • - inventor
  • - scientist
  • - writer
  • - diplomat
  • - philosopher
  • - negotiator
  • He rose from poverty despite dropping out of
    school early in order to work. Ironically, he
    helped found a school later in life (the Academy
    of Pennsylvania) as well as the first public
    library in America.
  • Franklin was the head diplomat negotiating with
    France and England for decades, he sailed home
    when the Revolution became unavoidable.

Autobiography Review Questions
  • 1. Do you think Franklin is being completely
    serious in this excerpt? Is he using irony or
    self-mockery anywhere? Explain your answer.
  • 2. What does Franklin say must happen before
    people can depend on correct moral behavior?
  • 3. Why does Franklin place temperance first on
    his list?
  • 4. What inferences can you make about Franklins
    attitudes and beliefs based on his plan to
    achieve moral perfection?

Franklins Epitaph written when he was twenty-two
years old.
  • The body of B. Franklin, Printer (Like the Cover
    of an Old Book Its Contents torn Out And Stripped
    of its Lettering and Gilding) Lies Here, Food for
    Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost For it
    will (as he Believd) Appear once More In a New
    and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By
    the Author.

Patrick Henry
  • One of the most persuasive figures
  • in Virginia politics.
  • After the Boston Tea Party and
  • Englands imposed Intolerable Acts,
  • the colonists had to choose between
  • showing allegiance to England
  • (which promised to become more
  • lenient if the colonists pledged their
  • loyalty) or declaring their independence as a
    new nation.
  • Henry delivered his Speech to the Virginia
    Convention with great emotion and fervor and
    persuaded the delegation to declare the American

Virginia Conference Review Questions
  • 1. According to the first two paragraphs of this
    speech, why is Henry speaking out?
  • 2. Identify the rhetorical questions in the fifth
    paragraph of the speech. How does this technique
    make Henrys speech more persuasive?
  • 3. Summarize Henrys use of
  • appeal to reason in the fourth
  • paragraph.
  • 4. Summarize Henrys use of
  • appeal to emotion in the final
  • paragraph.

More Types of Persuasion
  • Loaded Words - words that are likely to
    incite a conflict because they are hurtful and
    usually cause a negative or defensive reaction
  • Rhetorical Question questions asked for
    effect with no answer anticipated. (It is
    assumed that the audience agrees with the speaker
    on the answers thus there is no reason to speak
  • Repetition a technique used to stress an
    idea over and over again

Time to write an Editorial!
  • Look over the handout.
  • Half of you will take the side of pro-British
    rule half of you will take the side of
    pro-independence. This will be an editorial in
    response to Patrick Henrys speech.
  • Follow directions on the handout.
  • Produce as a newsletter to print.

The Romanticists
The Romanticists (1800 1860 C.E.)
  • Education lyceum organizations
  • Reform for the mentally ill, womens rights,
    child labor, and abolition
  • Westward expansion after the Louisiana
    Purchase, pioneers moved west, the Gold Rush
  • A reaction to Rationalism real industrial life
    was grim, escape to imagination
  • Writers no longer infatuated with freedom from
    England, but in new possibility and past lessons.

Romanticist literature
  • Values feeling and intuition over reason
  • Inner experience and the imagination
  • Unspoiled nature over artificial civilization
  • Youthful innocence over sophistication
  • Individual freedom and rights
  • Natures beauty is the pathway to the spiritual
  • Wisdom, the supernatural, and myth/folklore

The American Romantic Hero
  • Is youthful, innocent, and pure
  • A personal sense of honor
  • Understands knows people from within
  • Loves nature, avoids towns
  • Quests for a higher truth in the natural world

Answer these questions in your notebooks.
  • 1. How do you know right from wrong?
  • 2. Do all people know right from wrong?
  • 3. Does everyone have the same idea about what is
    right and wrong? In other words, do all people
    share the same values about what is right and
    wrong? Explain.
  • 4. Is it right or wrong to obey an authority
    higher than yourself, such as God, your parents,
    or the government when you disagree? Explain your
  • 5. Can you count on yourself to always do what is
    right? Explain
  • 6. In Christianity, the devil is known as a great
    deceiver, someone who lies and deceives. With
    that in mind, how do you know that what you
    believe to be right is not actually wrong?
  • 7. Does truth ever change? In other words, can
    something be true for you but not for someone
    else? Explain
  • 8. How do you know that something is true?

Transcendentalism Emerson/Thoreau
  • Everything in the world is a part of the Divine
  • The physical is a doorway to the spiritual/ideal
  • Self-reliance and individualism over blind
    conformity and tradition
  • Spontaneous feelings and intuition are superior
    to deliberate intellectualism and rationality.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • A writer for intellectuals AND the general
    public. He wrote complicated philosophical
    essays but gave speeches that were easily
    accessible by the masses.
  • Emerson labeled himself as a poet. One who
    observed the world in prose.
  • Emerson attended Harvard and was indifferent to
    his path to become a minister (eight generations
    of his family had been ministers).
  • His wifes death and Emersons growing disbelief
    of central doctrines of his religion caused him
    to resign his ministry. He left for Europe and
    conversed with influential writers there for a
    year. After returning to America, he started
    giving lectures from a new pulpit.

Nature review
  • 1. According to the first paragraph, how would
    people respond if the stars came out only one
    night every thousand years? What theme from the
    essay does this image relate to?
  • 2. Review the essay and write a sentence
    simplifying the main idea of each paragraph.
    (You should have six main ideas for six
  • 3. Explain the image of the transparent eyeball.
  • 4. Cite an example of personification used in

Self-Reliance review
  • 1. Imitation is suicide. Explain what Emerson
    means by this
  • 2. Explain in detail the statement Trust
    thyself Every heart vibrates to that iron
    string. What theme does this relate to?
  • 3. Interpret in detail the meaning of the
    metaphor of society being a joint-stock company.
  • 4. How does Emerson define good and bad?

Henry David Thoreau
  • Thoreau had a similar message to Emerson, except
    his literary brilliance was overpowered by his
    lack of social skills and ambition.
  • He stood by his principles, for example, he lost
    his job as a teacher when he refused to whip a
    child. He also went against established rules
    purely because they were rules.
  • Thoreau moved to Walden Pond purely to discover
    the simple aspects of life that are overlooked by
    living a fast-paced life amongst other humans.
  • A political activist, his Civil Disobedience
    inspired other great passive resistance leaders
    such as Gandhi and MLK Jr.

  • What is an allusion?
  • 1. Identify the allusion and what it literally
    refers to.
  • 2. How does the allusion relate to the event or
    idea described in the text? (What is the common
    connection or theme?)
  • 3. How does the allusion add meaning to the event
    or idea? How does it affect your reading of the

Walden review
  • 1. How does Thoreau answer the questions implied
    in the title Where I Lived, and What I Lived
  • 2. What arguments does Thoreau present in
    Solitude to demonstrate that he is not lonely
    in his isolated cabin?
  • 3. Paraphrase this metaphor from page 220 I
    wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow
    of life.

Civil Disobedience review
  • Paradox a statement that expresses the
    complexity of life by showing how opposing ideas
    can be both contradictory and true at the same
  • 1. Explain what Thoreau finds wrong with majority
    rule. What does he say is the only obligation he
    has the right to assume?
  • 2. To what does Thoreau compare his night in
    jail? (page 239) How does he explain his unusual
  • 3. Explain the truth behind these paradoxes
  • a. I saw that, if there was a wall of stone
    between me and my townsmen, there was a still
    more difficult one to climb or break through,
    before they could get to be as free as I was.
    (pg. 238)
  • b. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had
    paid my tax. (pg. 238)

Romantic Poetry review
  • 1. How does Thanatopsis reveal the Romantic
    conviction that the universe, far from operating
    like a machine, is really a living organism that
    undergoes constant cyclic changes? How does the
    human speaker feel about this view of the
  • 2. At the end of The Tide Rises, the Tide
    Falls, the tide continues to rise and fall,
    although the human traveler does not return. How
    does this contrast reveal the poems theme?
  • 3. Discuss the images Longfellow uses to describe
    his wife in The Cross of Snow. What do these
    tell us about her? What is the importance of
    using the cross as a symbol of his grief.

Dark Romanticists
  • A raw, maddening view of humanity, opposite to
    the optimistic Transcendentalists
  • Explored the good vs evil conflict within the
  • Found horror and evil behind the artificial
    social exterior of man

Washington Irving
  • Irving wrote many satirical works in his youth,
    going by many different pseudonyms, such as
    Deidrich Knickerbocker and Gentleman Jonathan Old
  • He was sent to England in his twenties and became
    inspired by German folklore and legends. He took
    these influences and gave them a new voice, an
    American voice.
  • Irving gave the United States its first
    international literary celebrity at a time when
    England criticized America as incapable of
    producing good writers.

The Devil and Tom Walker Review
  • 1. How does the physical setting of the story
    reflect the moral decay of the characters, and,
    indeed, of the whole society presented in this
    story? Give examples.
  • 2. A satire is a story that mocks some human
    folly. If Irvings story is a satire, what human
    follies is he mocking? What details in the
    story reveal that Irving was specifically
    critical of the values held by the Puritans of
  • 3. What is the storys theme or main point based
    upon the narrators comment in the final

The Fall of the House of Usher Review
  • 1. What does Roderick believe is the source of
    his problems?
  • 2. Why wont Roderick leave the house when it
    seems to be having such a devastating effect upon
  • 3. Describe the symbolism of the following
  • a. The crumbling mortar
  • b. The vacant, eyelike windows of the house
  • c. The inverted reflection of the house in the
    dying pond
  • 4. How can Hawthorne relate to this story on a
    personal level? What issue often haunts his

Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Hawthorne was handsome, had a loving wife, and
    yet there was always a darkness and gloom that
    surrounded him.
  • When Nathaniel was a student, he tried to live an
    unassuming life by hanging out in taverns instead
    of following intellectual pursuits. But over
    time, his ambition and ideas burned through,
    catching the attention of writers such as Emerson
    and Thoreau as well as his friend President
    Franklin Pierce.
  • Hawthorne felt an overwhelming guilt for coming
    from a family that was involved in the Salem
    Witch Trials. He used themes of personal
    responsibility, guilt, and the overwhelming force
    of a familys dark history in a lot of his
  • After years of working in England, Hawthorne
    returned home to a pre-Civil War America that he
    felt even further estranged from. Never quite
    finding kinship with others, dwelling within the
    darkness in mans heart, Hawthorne died from his
    solitude. (as quoted by Emerson)

Group work
  • In groups of 2-3, you will read one of
  • Hawthornes short stories
  • The Ministers Black Veil
  • Dr. Heideggers Experiment
  • Young Goodman Brown
  • The Birthmark
  • Complete a handout
  • Rewrite the story to be read
  • and performed aloud for the class (three
  • minutes max.)