Exam 2 Questions


1. Washington Irving was the first American to earn a living solely by his writing. Based on your reading of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” discuss what it is about his writing that may have made it so popular and profitable.


2. Edgar Allan Poe believed that poetry should appeal only to the sense of beauty; poetry should not be informational or didactic. How does Poe appeal to the sense of beauty in “The Raven” or “Annabel Lee”?


3. Define Transcendentalism and discuss how Emerson’s essay, “Self-Reliance,” is a Transcendentalist work.

4. Discuss how Harriet Jacobs contributed her life story to the abolitionist cause and crafted it to appeal to Northern white women in particular.


5. In his preface to Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman writes that “The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.” Discuss how he demonstrates this sentiment.


6. Henry David Thoreau spent a day in jail because, as a symbol of his disapproval of the war against Mexico, he refused to pay a poll tax. In response to his day in jail, he wrote his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government.” Discuss how Thoreau understands the relationship of the individual to the state in that essay.


7. Discuss how Emily Dickenson irrevocably altered short, poetic forms thought to be simple, predictable, and safe by performing language experiments and compressing the lyric form.