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The American Dream

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Stephanie Ha

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of The American Dream

The American Dream
Colonial/Puritan Literature
Puritans ostracized and persecuted
fled England to achieve religious freedom
built communities
Important literary works were written in the forms of journal entries, poems, and personal accounts
Authors wrote during the Great Awakening
The American Renaissance Era
A shift in the lack of reliance on a god and his commands
More focus on the nature and its ability
Romanticism- importance of intuition and imagination, freedom, nature
Transcendentalism- beyond what we sense; importance of self-knowledge, opposition to conformity
Post-Civil War / Turn-of-Century Literature
Kate Chopin's
The Awakening
Describes Edna Pontellier's search for independence and liberation from social boundaries placed upon women, wives, and mothers of her time
Local color of Creole community
Realism and naturalism reflected in portrayal of Edna's vices and virtues, and her dismal fate as she realizes death is the only way for true liberation
Portrays American Dream as the desire to achieve freedom from the limitations placed upon her by society through Edna's triumphant and dignified death
Early 20th Century / Modern Literature
Harlem Renaissance Literature
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Describes a light-skinned black woman's journey finding her own idea of love when she refuses to comply with racial and societal standards of love and marriage
Janie's light skin and money put her into a higher social class than those of her black community
In order to find the love Janie dreams of she has to let go of the interpersonal and societal obligations holding her back.
Post-WWII / Post-Modern Literature
Writers use techniques such as fragmentation and deconstruction
Reality represented by language
Displacement of authority
The Crucible
by Arthur Miller
Partially fictionalized story of Salem Witch Trials
Allegory of McCarthyism
The desire of an individual to overcome the limitations placed upon him/her by society, in order to discover his/her full potential
Colonial/Puritan Era
The American Renaissance Literature
The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
Identifies the problem-ridden society that harms potential development of the individual
Individual, Hester Prynne, is able to overcome oppression with her will and strength
Prime example of someone who has achieved the American Dream
Post-Civil War / Turn-of-Century Era
Harlem Renaissance Era
Early 20th Century / Modern Era
Post-WWII / Post-Modern Era
Marked by Reconstruction and Industrial Eras
Characterized by many social issues
Local Color Movement - Depict cultures and traditions of distinct regions and neighborhoods
Realism - Depicted reality and everyday life truthfully
Naturalism - Used Realism to show heredity and social environment have undeniable affect on human character
Of Plymouth Plantation
by William Bradford
trusted God to aid their voyage and future in America
believed in God-given signs and an intended purpose for all events
hopeful tone explains their reliance on God
emotional, personal tone when describing the relationship between God and the Puritans
desire to overcome oppression in the Colonial era begins the foundation of the American Dream
the "Lost Generation" - a group of writers who felt alienated spiritually and emotionally from the country
writers opposed society's trends
rejected materialism
emphasized the sense of moral loss and aimlessness after WWI
criticized the idea of money as the foundation of society
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
stressed the consequences of indulging in material wealth and social status
the demise of Gatsby
Fitzgerald criticized society's values of the American people and their definition of happiness
criticized American culture in his fictional novel that centralized the theme of indulgence and the illusion of happiness because of material wealth
Economic growth
increased opportunities for Americans
rising living standards
Anti-Communism, Red Scare, McCarthy era
Americans started to challenge the government
African Americans challenged segregation in court
Rock 'n' Roll developed by new youth culture
Advances in science
Nuclear bomb
a deliberate effort to help recognize the artistic achievements of the black community.
praised the heritage of African Americans and redefined their literary expression
writings relied on rich folk tradition
used to instill pride of the black culture
Thank you for watching.
Cheers, old sport!
"Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs..."
Full transcript