Look At Specific Works In American Literature Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Subject: Literature Type: Term Paper Paper: #20032649 Related Topics: Daisy Miller, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Yellow Wallpaper, American Literature
Excerpt from Term Paper :

¶ … Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane details the life and experiences of Henry Fleming, who encounters great conflict between overcoming his fear of war and death and becoming a glorious fighter for his country in the battlefield. Published in the 19th century, Crane's novel evokes an idealist picture of nationalism, patriotism, and loyalty in America, especially in its war efforts. Fleming's character can be considered as the epitome of an individual who experiences internal conflict between following his heart or mind. Henry's mind tells him that he should give up fighting in the war because it only results to numerous deaths, wherein soldiers fighting for their country end up getting wounded, or worse, killed. However, eventually, as he was overcome with guilt over his cowardice and fear of death and war, Henry followed his mother's advice, following his heart. By being true to himself, he won and survived the war.

Henry Fleming's reaction and the conflict he experienced in the novel is just, in that he only acted based on what human instinct tells him to do. Indeed, under the Social Darwinist perspective, Henry's eventual 'conversion' and resolution to survive and prove himself the best warrior in the battlefield strengthened him to fight and emerge victorious and glorious in the war. Henry's initial fear of death and war is considered a natural reaction for humans to survive, since fear for death means Henry values survival and life. Thus, fear becomes a natural reaction for humans in the novel, and Henry's moment of fear and need for survival is best expressed in the following passage from Crane's novel: "A lad whose face had borne an expression of exalted courage, the majesty of he who dares give his life, was, at...


He blanched like one who has come to the edge of a cliff at midnight and is suddenly made aware. There was a revelation. He, too, threw down his gun and fled. There was no shame in his face. He ran like a rabbit."

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "Yellow Wallpaper" is, may, at first glance, be perceived as a story depicting women suppression, where the woman protagonist (left unnamed in the short story), had experienced insanity, feeling the yellow wallpaper of her room closing in on her as she slipped down to illness and eventual insanity. However, the woman's slide to insanity is not considered a manifestation of the woman's physical weakness, as biological theories posit that women do not have the capacity for abstract or complex thinking. In fact, the woman's depression is caused by lack of anything to do, and the confinement that she received from her husband in their new room triggered thoughts of suppression and isolation within her psyche. Indeed, it is evident that instead of rest and sleep, what the woman needs is 'work, excitement, and change,' which is not given to him by her husband her and brother. Thus, through this scene in the story, Gilman already gives us a glimpse of the woman's suppression of her will to move about, that is, to exercise her 'mobility' (in all aspects -physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.) in her society.

After reaching the end of her descent to insanity, the woman, at the end of the story, has finally succumbed to insanity, and in her being insane, she finally gains her power over her husband, society, and other elements that suppress her rights and womanhood. Thus, it becomes clear that "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a complex study of a woman trying to break free from the patterns, or norms of a hostile society against women.

Laden with symbolism, the poem "After Apple-Picking" by Robert Frost presents…

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