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AUTHOR Bode, Carl TITLE Highlights of American . INSTITUTION Information Agency, Washington, DC. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. PUB DATE 1995-00-00 NOTE 291p.; "First published 1981; this reprinted 1995." PUB TYPE Guides - Classroom Learner (051) Guides Classroom Teacher (052) EDRS PRICE MF01/PC12 Plus Postage. DESCRIPTORS *; Discussion (Teaching Technique); English (Second Language); Literary History; Literary Styles; *; *; Questioning Techniques; *Reading Materials; Secondary Education; *United States Literature IDENTIFIERS Historical Background

ABSTRACT Intended for high-intermediate/advanced level students of English as a foreign language, this book contains selections from the wide range of , from its beginnings to the modern period. Each section begins with a general introduction to the literary period, and then presents about individual authors, selections from the 's writings, discussion questions at the end of each selection or group of poems, and discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The "National Beginnings" section discusses , , , , , , and Nathaniel . The " and Reason" section discusses , , , Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, , , , , and , "The American : Developments" section discusses , Stephen Crane, Edgar Allan Poe, and Frank R. Stockton. The " and Reaction" section discusses , , , , Henry L. Mencken, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and . The "Modern Voices in Prose and Poetry" section discusses Ernest , , , Archibald Macleish, , , Katherine Ann Porter, , , , , , and . The "Modern American Drama" section presents two short plays: "Return to Dust" (George Bamber) and "The Other Player" (Owen G. Arno). Suggestions to the teacher conclude the book. (RS)

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1

HIGHLIGHT

L1312 LFLii Dean Curry, General Series Editor

HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Based upon a core manuscript by Dr. Carl Bode, University of

English Language Programs Division Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs United States Information Agency Washington, D.C. 20547

3 Highlights of American Literature

Published by the Materials Branch Programs Division U.S. Information Agency Washington, D. C. 20547

First published 1981. This edition reprinted 1995.

Cover Photo: A view of skyscrapers from the 110th floor of the Sears Tower. Source: USIA 4 CONTENTS

Page

National Beginnings

Introduction 5 Chapter I Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) 10 Chapter II Washington Irving (1783-1859) 16 Chapter HI James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) 22 Chapter IV Philip Freneau (1752-1832) 29 Chapter V William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) 33 Chapter VI Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) 39 Chapter VII (1804-1864) 44

Romanticism and Reason

Introduction 52 Chapter VIII Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) 57 Chapter IX Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) 64 Chapter X Herman Melville (1819-1891) 71 Chapter XI Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) 77 Chapter XII Walt Whitman (1819-1892) 82 Chapter XIII Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) 90 Chapter XIV Mark Twain (1835-1910) 97 Chapter XV Stephen Crane (1871-1900) 104 Chapter XVI Henry James (1843-1916) 112

The American Short Story: 19th Century Developments

Introduction 119 Chapter XVII Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) 120 Chapter XVIII Stephen Crane (1871-1900) 127 Chapter XIX Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) 135 Chapter XX Frank R. Stockton (1834-1902) 140

Realism and Reaction

Introduction 145 Chapter XXI Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) 150 Chapter XXII Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) 156 Chapter XXIII Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) 163 Chapter XXIV Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) 169

J Chapter XXV Henry L. Mencken (1880-1956) 175 Chapter XXVI F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) 181 Chapter XXVII John Steinbeck (1902-1968) 185

Modern Voices in Prose and Poetry

Introduction 196 Chapter XXVIII 201 Chapter XXIX William Faulkner 207 Chapter XXX Robert Frost 214 Chapter XXXI Archibald MacLeish, William Carlos Williams and Langston Hughes 221 Chapter XXXII Katherine Ann Porter 231 Chapter XXXIII Saul Bellow 238 Chapter XXXIV Ralph Ellison 244 Chapter XXXV Robert Lowell, Theodore Roethke, Randall Jarrell and James Wright 249

Modern American Drama

Introduction 261 Chapter XXXVI Return to Dust 262 Chapter XXXVII The Other Player 270

Suggestions to the Teacher 282

Acknowledgments 287 NATIONAL BEGINNINGS

The first American literature was hope of perfect recovery shortly, even by the American nor really literature. It was very wholesomeness of the air. not American because it was the work mainly of immigrants from . It was not Poor Higginson did not fare as well as his literature as we know itin the form of poetry, son; he died the same year the essays, or fictionbut rather an interesting New-England's Plantation was published. mixture of travel accounts and religious Other echoed the descriptions and writings. exaggerations of Smith and Higginson. Their The earliest colonial travel accounts are purpose was to attract dissatisfied inhabitants records of the perils and frustrations that of the Old World across the ocean to the New. challenged the courage of America's first As a result, their travel accounts became a settlers. William Bradford's History of kind of literature to which many groups Plimmoth Plantation describes the cold responded by making the hazardous crossing greeting which the passengers on the ship to America. The earliest settlers included received when they landed on the Dutch, Swedes, Germans, French, Spaniards, coast of America in 1620: Italians, and Portuguese. Of the immigrants who came to America in the first three Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and quarters of the seventeenth century, however, brought safe to land, they fell upon their the overwhelming majority was English. knees and blessed the God of Heaven who The English immigrants who settled on had brought over the vast and furious America's northern seacoast, appropriately ocean, and delivered them from the perils and called , came in order to miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the practice their religion freely. They were either firm and stable earth, their proper element... But here I cannot stand half amazed at this Englishmen who wanted to reform the Church poor people's present condition; and so I of England or people who wanted to have an think will the reader, too, when he well entirely new church. These two groups considers the same. Being thus passed the combined, especially in what became vast ocean, ... they had no friends to , came to be known as welcome them nor Inns to entertain or refresh "," so named after those who wished their weatherbeaten bodies; nor houses or to "purify" the Church of England. much towns to repair to, to seek for The Puritans followed many of the ideas of succour. the Swiss reformer John Calvin. Through the Calvinist influence the Puritans emphasized If the American wilderness did not provide the then common belief that human beings a hearty welcome for the colonists, it were basically evil and could do nothing nevertheless offered a wealth of natural about it; and that many of them, though not resources. "He is a bad fisher [who] cannot all, would surely be condemned to hell, kill on day with his hooke and line, one, Over the years the Puritans built a way of two, or three hundred Cods" is a claim made life that was in harmony with their somber by Captain in A Description of religion, one that stressed hard work, thrift, New England (1616). "A sup of New piety, and sobriety. These were the Puritan England's air is better than a whole draft of values that dominated much of the earliest old England's ale" is a testimonial given by American writing, including the sermons, Francis Higginson in his New-England's books, and letters of such noted Puritan Plantation (1630). Higginson adds: clergymen as John and . Besides, I have one of my children that was During his life Cotton Mather wrote more than formerly most lamentably handled with sore 450 works, an impressive output of religious breaking out of both his hands and feet of the writings that demonstrates that he was an king's evil, but since he came hither he example, as well as an advocate, of the is very well over [what] he was, and there is Puritan ideal of hard work.

5 7 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

During the last half of the seventeenth the day when God will decide the fate of man. century coast was settled both Most people will be sent to Hell; a few lucky north and south. Coloniesstill largely ones will be chosen to go to Heaven. Englishwere established. Among the According to Wigglesworth, the start of this colonists could be found and essayists, final day will be signaled by a bright light at but no . The absence of novelists is midnight which will wake all the sinners: quite understandable: the novel form had not even developed fully in England; the Puritan They rush from beds with giddy heads, members of the colonies believed that and to their windows run, ought not to be read because it was, by Viewing this light which shone more bright definition, not true. than doth the noonday sun. The American poets who emerged in the Many people will try in vain to their seventeenth century adapted the style of final judgment: established European poets to the subject matter confronted in a strange, new Some themselves in caves and delves, environment. was one such in places underground: . Some rashly leap into the deep, Born and educated in England, Anne to escape by being drowned: Bradstreet both admired and imitated several Some to the rocks (0 senseless blocks!) English poets. The influence of these English and woody mountains run. poets did not diminish when Mrs. Bradstreet, at That there they might this fearful sight, age eighteen, came to America in 1630. The and dreaded presence shun. environment in which she wrote, however, did not remain constant; a developed nation was Wigglesworth concludes that escape will be exchanged for a relative wilderness. That impossible. Inevitably, man must and will this exchange brought its hardships is evident accept his fate on "The Day of Doom." in these lines from Bradstreet's Some Verses In the colonies south of Wigglesworth's New on the Burning of Our House": England, less gloomy poets and essayists wrote. But the southern colonies did not have When by the ruins oft I past the printing facilities found in New England, My sorrowing eyes aside did cast, and no poet elsewhere achieved the And here and there the places spy popularity of Michael Wigglesworth. Where oft I and long did lie: Twentieth century literary scholars have Here stood that trunk, and there that chest, discovered the manuscripts of a contemporary There lay that store I counted best. of Wigglesworth named who My pleasant things in ashes lie, And them behold no more shall I. produced what is perhaps the finest seventeenth century American verse. Writing Mrs. Bradstreet lessens this despair by much of his poetry as a mental exerciseor asserting that earthly possessions are no more "Meditation"to prepare him for his duties as than "dunghill mists" when compared to the a minister, Taylor filled his works with vivid "richly furnished" house of Heaven. In her imagery. Here, for example, are Taylor's rejection of wordly riches, Anne Bradstreet descriptions of the unworthy heart of man: shared a common outlook with her New A sty of filth, a trough of washing swill, England neighbors. Her ability to capture the A dunghill pit, a puddle of mere slime. colonial experience in poetry established her A nest of vipers, hive of hornet's stings, place as one of America's most notable early A bag of poison, civet box of sins. writers. Michael Wigglesworth, another important Taylor never published any of his poetry. In colonial poet, achieved wide popularity fact, the first of Edward Taylor's colonial among his contemporaries with his gloomy poetry did not reach print until the third poem entitled "The Day of Doom." First decade of the twentieth century. published in 1662, "The Day of Doom" is a Taylor, like many of the early colonial description of the day of judgment. It tells of writers, was an immigrant whose writing was

8 6 influenced by his early experiencies in area provides the background for Irving's best England. As the decades passed new known work, the short story "." generations of American-born writers became "Rip Van Winkle" is a humorous tale of a important. , Massachusetts, was the lazy villager in the mountains of upstate New birthplace of one such American-born . York. While , Rip meets some His name was Benjamin Franklin. mischievous Dutch gnomes. He drinks with Benjamin Franklin was a brilliant, them, and through the power of the drink falls industrious, and versatile man. Starting as a asleep for twenty years. On awakening he poor boy in a family of seventeen children, he makes his unsteady way back to his village. became famous on both sides of the Atlantic Rip finds the village greatly changed. When as a statesman, scientist, and author. Despite he went to sleep it was still under British rule. his fame, however, he always remained a man Now it is a part of the United States, the new of industry and simple tastes. nation formed as a result of the Revolutionary Franklin's writings range from informal War. Though he is confused by the changes sermons on thrift to urbane essays. He wrote that have come with democracy, he gets used gracefully as well as clearly, with a wit which to them. By the end of the story he is back at often gave an edge to his words. Though the the village tavern, drinking and ready to tell style he formed came from imitating two noted any stranger about his remarkable slumber. English essayists, Addison and Steele, he Through "Rip Van Winkle" and several other made it into his own. His most famous work is stories Irving helped to create what might be his Autobiography. called an American mythology. This Franklin's Autobiography is many things. mythology is made up of stories of the First of all it is an inspiring account of a poor American past so widely read and told that boy's rise to a high position. Franklin tells his nearly every American recognizes them. story modestly, omitting some of the honors Another writer, James Fenimore Cooper, he received and including mention of some of contributed two of the great stock figures of his misdeeds, his errors as he called them. American mythology: the daring frontiersman He is not afraid to show himself as being and the bold Indian. Cooper's exciting stories much less than perfect, and he is resigned to of the have won a large the fact that his misdeeds will often receive a audience for his books in many parts of the punishment of one sort or another. Viewing world. Some students of literature may find himself with objectivity, Franklin offers his life fault with the artificial speech and actions of story as a lesson to others. It is a positive Cooper's heroines. Yet the figures in his lesson that teaches the reader to live a useful novels helped create that part of American life. In fact, the Autobiography is a mythology most popular : the story of the how-to-do-it book, a book on the art of cowboy and the winning of the American self-improvement. West. The practical world of Benjamin Franklin While prose was contributing to the stands in sharp contrast to the world development of an American mythology, the created by Washington Irving. Named after first poetry in the United States was also , the first president of the being written. Philip Freneau, one of the first United States, Irving provided a young nation poets of the new nation, wrote in a style which with humorous, fictional accounts of the owed something to English models. This debt colonial past. Many of Irving's other writings can be seen in the elaborate language and take the reader to foreign lands, especially to the savoring of emotion which characterizes at the time of the Moors. But his tales ofmuch of Freneau's verse. His subject matter, colonial America remain his most enduring however, makes him a truly American poet. In contributions to American and .collaboration with Hugh Brackenridge, another The Dutch culture in colonial New York was early national writer, Freneau wrote a college of particular interest to Irving. He published a commencement poem in 1772 entitled "The mockserious history of the New York of Rising Glory of America." The future of his colonial times which shows his sly humor and country was always a subject of interest for general good nature. This same geographic poet and citizen Freneau.

7 9 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

During the Revolutionary War Freneau of nature was modified to include the belief in became an ardent supporter of the American a God who guides man's destiny both in life cause. While on sea duty he was captured by and in death. "To a Waterfowl," one of the British and placed aboard a prison ship, Bryant's best known poems, ends with the an experience which inspired a lines: entitled The British Prison Ship." He wrote a number of other long poems, but he was at He who, from zone to zone, his best in his short lyrics, such as The Wild Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, Honey Suckle." Many of these short works, In the long way that I must tread alone, including "On the Emigration to America," Will lead my aright. The Indian Burying Ground," and "To the Memory of the Brave ," deal with Many of Bryant's poems have themes which American subjects, and it is for these poems are typical of nineteenth century American that Freneau is best remembered today. verse. He writes about the spiritual If Freneau can be considered one of sustenance to be found in nature and of the America's first great nationalist poets, William beauty of brooks, trees, and flowers. He Cullen Bryant merits a claim to being one of idealizes the advantages of life in the country America's first naturalist poets. Born after the over life in the city. He composes love lyrics. Revolutionary War, Bryant turned to nature as He looks around him for his subjects, and as a source for poetic inspiration. "Thanatopsis," a result both they and their settings are the name of his most famous nature poem, is American. Moreover, he has a number of a Greek word meaning "view of death." The poems based on famous events in American opening lines assert: history. One, for example, is the "Song of Marion's Men," which celebrates the daring To him who in the love of nature holds exploits of a Revolutionary War cavalryman Communion with her visible forms, she named Francis Marion. speaks The next notable American poet, Edgar a various language... Allan Poe, was also a master of the prose tale. From this idea of nature Bryant develops a A gifted, tormented man, Poe thought about view of death which represents a sharp break the proper function of literature far more than from the Puritan attitude toward man's final any of his predecessors, with the result that destiny. To the Puritans, death was seen as a he became the first great American literary preliminary to an afterlife, Bryant, however, critic. He developed a theory of poetry which treats death as part of nature, the destiny of was in disagreement with what most poets of us all, and the great equalizer. He takes the mid-nineteenth century believed. Unlike comfort, not from the expectation of an many poets, Poe was not an advocate of long after-life, but from the large and important poems. According to him, only a short poem of human beings who have gone could sustain the level of emotion in the before and who will follow to "the great reader that was generated by all good poetry. of man." Bryant adds that man should live in In literature and there are certain such a way that he will not be afraid to die: great trends and movements that appear and reappear. One is called Romanticism, and So live, that when thy summons comes... Poe was a major Romantic writer. The Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, individual instead of the group, the wild Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and instead of the tame, the irregular instead of soothed the regular are features stressed by Romantic By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave writers. Poe was particularly interested in the Like one who wraps the of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. decadent aspects of these features of Romanticism. Both in his poetry and in his After "Thanatopsis" Bryant wrote many short stories he wrote about dying ladies, lyrics which were lighter in tone. Through about sickness, about abnormal rather than these poems, too, he tried to teach a lesson to normal love. Besides the Romantic writing that the reader. In some of Bryant's poems his love he did so effectively, Poe also pioneered in 10 8 the development of the detective story. He Even when Hawthorne's touch is light, his prided himself on his ability to reason, and observation is somber. For example, in the several of his best short stories are justly story "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," noted for their deductive skill. The strange Hawthorne provides a whimsical variation on world depicted in many of Poe's writings was the " of Youth" idea. The doctor the product of his fertile mind and was never himself seems more of a magician than a intended to reflect the real world, in America, physician. One afternoon he offers four or elsewhere. wrinkled, venerable friends a mysterious drink The next great American Romanticist, that will renew their youth. They accept it, however, drew on America for both characters certain that they will avoid the mistakes they and settings, and his work, though made the first time they were young. But theoretical and philosophical, does mirror the during the brief afternoon when their youth attitudes and mores of the time. He was a shy returns, they show that they have learned New Englander named Nathaniel Hawthorne. nothing through experience. Hawthorne Although he wrote no poetry, his short stories pictures them as they re-enact their youthful and novels still rank among the best that mistakes. At the end of the story the reader America has produced. realizes that a "Fountain of Youth" does not Though Hawthorne wrote about various exist. But the doctor's four old friends, subjects and various times, his favorite theme unconvinced, resolve to go out to find it. was Puritan New England. The Puritan "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" illustrates punishment of sexual sin becomes the vehicle another side of Hawthorne's art: his concern for his best novel, The Letter, a for the supernatural. He never quite says, treatment of the effects of sin on the human anywhere in his fiction, that something is spirit. The Letter is an "A" and stands for supernatural, but often suggests it. The reader adultery. After her sin is discovered, the is not certain that the drink in "Dr. heroine of the novel is required to wear the Heidegger's Experiment" is a magical one; it letter on the bosom of her dress the rest of her may be that the old friends simply delude life. This public penance eventually brings themselves into thinking so. Here as about the expiation of her sin. Her partner in elsewhere, Hawthorne presents material on sin, whose involvement is not discovered, the borderline between fact and fancy. lives secretly with his and is eventually With Hawthorne we have come full circle. destroyed. In much of his fiction, Hawthorne We have returned to the Puritans of early New examines the development and results of evil. England with whom we began. We have seen The dark side of the human character an American literature gradually develop. We attracted him profoundly. have seen the emergence of several gifted One of the most skillful ways in which writers, and by the middle of the nineteenth Hawthorne developed his type of Romanticismcentury, we have encountered two writers of was through the use of symbols, through world stature: Poe and Hawthorne. With them making one thing stand for another. A black American literature is well on its way. It will veil represents the wickedness of mankind; a take new directions, and it will vary in quality, marble heart represents an individual's but from now on it will have a contribution to unpardonable sin; a garden of poisonous make not only to English-speaking peoples flowers represents hell. but to the world at large. CHAPTER I

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Franklin (1706-1790) was a universal who did not realize that his Autobiography would eventually become a classic of its kind. The part of it given here shows the beginnings of his personal, civic, and political success, yet the account is un- colored by vanity. Franklin shows us that he is a human being as well as a successful man. Though his style of writing was clear and even plain in his time, we now find it a bit hard to read. It has many long words, often from the Latin language, and long sentences. But we must remember that he was writing two centuries ago. It is true that Franklin's style is formal. The organization of much of what he says if not how he says itis informal, how- BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1706-1790) ever. In his famous Autobiography, in par- In reality, there is perhaps, no one of our ticular, he talks first about one thing and natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. then another with little attempt at connect- Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifleing them. In the part of the Autobiography it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still reprinted below he talks first of all about alive, and will every now and then peep out how he studied languagesomething you and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often are doing nowthen about family matters, in this history; for, even ifI could conceive and finally about the club he founded call- thatI had completely overcome it.I should ed the Junto. Even in these few pages we probably be proud of my humility. can see a man of versatile energy and new ideas. from his Autobiography Of course, not all of his ideas were new. In some cases he simply became the most prominent advocate of old ones, especially the beliefs that we should work hard and that we should save our money. These principles had been current since Puritan times but Franklin spread them widely by putting them into a popular almanac, or calendar, called Poor Richard's Almanac, which he himself printed. It contained many popular sayings such as "God helps them that help themselves," "Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon over-

1210 takes him," and "Beware of little expenses;with ease. I then undertook the Italian. An a small leak will sink a great ship." acquaintance, who was also learning it, used often to tempt me to chess with SELECTION I him. Finding this took up too much of the time I had to spare for study, I at length Franklin began writing his autobiography whenrefused to play any more, unless on this he was 65 years old. Vacationing with hiscondition, that the victor in every game friend, Jonathan Shipley, in Hampshire, he de- termined to use his unwanted leisure to give anshould have a right to impose a task, either account of his ancestry and early life to his son,in parts of the grammar to be got by heart, William, then of New . Afteror in , etc., which tasks the van- setting down a list of events and topics to bequished was to perform upon honor, be- discussed, he composed 68 pages of manu-fore our next meeting. As we played pretty script,. carrying the story of his life down toequally, we thus beat one another into that 1730. He may have sent this manuscript to his son, although there is no real proof that he didlanguage. I afterwards with a little pains- so. At any rate, busy with political affairs, hetaking, acquired as much of the Spanish as forgot about his memoirs for eleven years. Into read their books also. 1782, living at Passy, a suburb of , he re- I have already mentioned that I had ceived a letter from an American friend inonly one year's instruction in a Latin which was enclosed a copy of the first portion of the autobiography (how obtained, no oneschool, and that when very young, after knows), with the urgent suggestion that it bewhich I neglected that language entirely. continued. After consultation with his FrenchBut, when I had attained an acquaintance friends, who agreed that the project should bewith the French, Italian, and Spanish, I completed, Franklin wrote fourteen morewas surprised to find, on looking over a pages in 1784. In this portion he described hisLatin Testament, that I understood so effort to learn virtue by a chart system; he was over 78 years old when he composed it. Fourmuch more of that language than I had years later, back in , he added aimagined, which encouraged me to apply third section of 117 pages, and in 1790, a fewmyself again to the study of it, and I met weeks before his death, he wrote still a fourthwith more success, as those preceding lan- part of seven and one-half pages. Although hisguages had greatly smoothed my way. memoirs were eagerly awaited, it was, through I have circumstances too complicated to describe here, From these circumstances, many years before there was an edition basedthought that there is some inconsistency in on the original manuscript. 'sour common mode of teaching languages. transcription, first published in 1868, is nowWe are told that it is proper to begin first known to be far from accurate, so far aswith the Latin, and, having acquired that, Franklin's capitalization, punctuation, and sen-it will be more easy to attain those modern tence structure are concerned. A definitive edi- tion based upon the original manuscript in thelanguages which are derived from it; and Henry E. Huntington Library and prepared byyet we do not begin with the Greek, in the late Max Farrand, embodies careful studyorder more easily to acquire the Latin. It is of the innumerable interlinear changes. true that, if you can clamber and get to the top of a staircase without using the steps, From The Autobiography you will more easily gain them in descend- ing; but certainly, if you begin with the I had begun in 1733 to study languages;lowest you will with more ease ascend to I soon made myself so much a master ofthe top; and I would therefore offer it the French as to be able to read the booksto the consideration of those who superin-

11 13 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE tend the education of our youth, whether,and still regret that I had not given it to since many of those who begin with thehim by inoculation. This I mention for the Latin quit the same after spending somesake of parents who omit that operation, years without having made any great pro-on the supposition that they should never ficiency, and what they have learned be-forgive themselves if a child died under it; comes almost useless, so that their time hasmy example showing that the regret may been lost, it would not have been better tobe the same either way, and that, there- have begun with the French, proceedingfore, the safer should be chosen. to the Italian, etc.; for, though after Our club, the Junto, was found so use- spending the same time they should quitful, and afforded such satisfaction to the the study of languages and never arrivemembers, that several were desirous of in- at the Latin, they would, however, have ac-troducing their friends, which could not quired another tongue or two that, beingwell be done without exceeding what we in modern use, might be serviceable tohad settled as a convenient number, viz., them in common life. twelve. We had from the beginning made After ten years' absence from Boston,it a rule to keep our institution a secret, and having become easy in my circum-which was pretty well observed; the inten- stances, I made a journey thither to visittion was to avoid applications of improper my relations, which I could not sooner wellpersons for admittance, some of whom, afford. In returning, I called at Newportperhaps, we might find it difficult to re- to see my brother, then settled there withfuse. I was one of those who were against his printinghouse. Our former differencesany addition to our number, but, instead were forgotten, and our meeting was veryof it, made in writing a proposal, that every cordial and affectionate. He was fast de-member separately should endeavor to clining in his health, and requested of meform a subordinate club, with the same that, in case of his death which he ap-rules respecting queries, etc., and without prehended not far distant, I would takeinforming them of the connection with the home his. son, then but ten years of age,Junto. The advantages proposed were, and bring him up to the printing business.the improvement of so many more young This I accordingly performed, sendingcitizens by the use of our institutions; our him a few years to school before I took himbetter acquaintance with the general senti- into the office. His mother carried on thements of the inhabitants, on any occasion, business till he was grown up, when I as-as the Junto member might propose what sisted him with an assortment of newqueries we should desire, and was to re- types, those of his father being in a man-port to the Junto what passed in his sepa- ner worn out. Thus it was that I made myrate club; the promotion of our particular brother ample amends for the service Iinterests by more extensive had deprived him of by leaving him sorecommendation, and the increase of our early. influence in public affairs, and our power In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boyof doing good by spreading through the of four years old, by the smallpox, taken inseveral clubs the sentiments of the the common way. I long regretted bitterly,Junto...

14

12 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 3.In what way did Franklin repay his brother for the problem he caused him in earlier years? 1. (a) What role did the game of chess play in 4.(a) What was Franklin's reaction to inocula- Franklin's study of foreign languages? (b) Whattion against smallpox? (b) Why did he feel the languages did Franklin learn? (c) How didway he did? learning these languages help him? 5. According to Franklin, what were the advan- 2. What is Franklin's idea regarding how lan- tages of forming additional clubs subordinate guages should be taught? to the Junto?

SELECTION II such ragamuffins about him as a watch that respectable housekeepers did not Franklin was a leading American citizen ofchoose to mix with. Walking the rounds, his clay. He was civic-minded, believing that he should do what he could to make his city thetoo, was often neglected, and most of the best possible place to live in. In the second selec- nights spent in tippling. I thereupon wrote tion from theAutobiographyhe explains to usa paper to be read in Junto, representing how his interest in public affairs began. Hethese irregularities, but insisting more started by trying hard to be a good citizen inparticularly on the inequality of this six- Philadelphia. He went on to be a good citizen ofshilling tax of the constables, respecting the new United States. And he ended by becom- ing, because of his wisdom and enterprise, athe circumstances of those who paid it, citizen of the world. In this excerpt from hissince a poor widow housekeeper, all whose Autobiography he describes the way he wentproperty to be guarded by the watch did about improving Philadelphia's police and firenot perhaps exceed the value of fifty protection. pounds, paid as much as the wealthiest merchant, who had thousands of pounds' From The Autobiography (Continued) worth of goods in his stores. On the whole, I proposed as a more ef- I began now to turn my thoughts a littlefectual watch, the hiring of proper men to to public affairs, beginning, however, withserve constantly in that business; and as a small matters. The city watch was one ofmore equitablewayof supporting the the first things that I conceived to wantcharge, the levying a tax that should be regulation. It was managed by the consta-proportioned to the property. This idea, bles of the respective wards in turn; thebeing approved by the Junto,wascom- constable warned a number of house-municated to the other clubs, but as arising keepers to attend him for the night. Thosein each of them; and though the plan was who chose never to attend, paid himnot immediately carried into execution, yet six shillings a year to be excused whichby preparing the minds of people for the was supposed to be for hiring substitutes,change, it paved the way for the law ob- but was, in reality, much more than wastained a few years after, when the mem- necessary for that purpose, and made thebers of our clubs were grown into more constableship a place of profit; andinfluence. the constable, for a little drink, often got About this time I wrote a paper (first to

13 15 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE be read in Junto, but it was afterward pub-company, they were advised to form lished) on the different accidents andanother, which was accordingly done; and carelessness by which houses were set onthis went on, one new company being fire, with cautions against them, andformed after another, till they became so means proposed of avoiding them. Thisnumerous as to include most of the in- was much spoken of as a useful piece, andhabitants who were men of property; and gave rise to a project, which soon followednow, at the time of my writing this, though it, of forming a company for the moreupward of fifty years since its establish- ready extinguishing of fires, and mutualment, that which I first formed, called the assistance in removing and securing ofUnion Fire Company, still subsists and goods when in danger. Associates in thisflourishes, though the first members are scheme were presently found, amountingall deceased but myself and one, who is to thirty. Our articles of agreement obligedolder by a year than I am. The small fines every member to keep always in goodthat have been paid by members for ab- order, and fit for use, a certain number ofsence at the monthly meetings have been buckets, with strong bags and bas-applied to the purchase of fire-engines, kets (for packing and transporting ofladders, fire-hooks, and other useful im- goods), which were to be brought to everyplements for each company, so that I ques- fire; and we agreed to meet once a monthtion whether there is a city in the world to spend a social evening together, in dis-better provided with the means of putting coursing and communicating such ideas asa stop to beginning conflagrations; and, occurred to us upon the subject of fires,in fact, since these institutions, the city as might be useful in our conduct on suchhas never lost by fire more than one or occasions. two houses at a time, and the flames The utility of this institution soon ap-have often been extinguished before the peared, and many more desiring to be ad-house in which they began has been half mired than we thought convenient for oneconsumed...

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS tions about learning a language? Why or why not? A. 1. What method did Franklin offer to im- 3. Do you think the formation of the Junto prove the police system of the city? was a good idea? Explain your reasons. 2. (a) How did Franklin propose to control 4.Ifyou could spend an evening with fires? (b) What was the result? Franklin, what would you talk about? 5. What kind of person do you think Franklin B. 1.In the history of your country, what person do you think manifested the same degree of was? Do you admire him? Why or why not? interest in public affairs that Franklin did? How did fire insurance originate in your True or False ExercisesPlace a T before the country? the police system? statement if it is true and an F if it is false. Cor- 2. Do you agree with Franklin's observa- rect the statement if it is false. 16. 14 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

1. The six shilling tax was a fair tax, regardless 4. The fines paid by members of the Union Fire of a person's income. Company who were absent from meetings were 2. Franklin's plans for improving the work of the used to buy books for the library. constable were put to use immediately. 5. During Franklin's lifetime, the Union Fire 3. The members of the Union Fire Company Company wastheonlyfirecompany in held meetings once a month. Philadelphia.

OPTIONAL PROJECTS

FOR INTERPRETATION merely guides for Franklin's time and, therefore, not applicable to present-day life. You may like 1. Over 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin to organize the discussion in the form of a round wrote: "The rapid progress true science now table debate. Other examples of sayings of makes occasions my regretting sometimes that Poor Richard can be found in Franklin's The I was born too soon. It is impossible to imagine Way to Wealth. the heights to which may be carried,in a thousand years, the power of man over matter. Oh, that moral science were in as fair a way of FOR INVESTIGATION improvement, that men would cease to be wolves to one another, and that human beings In England the 18th century was the age of would at length learn what they now improperly , and in America Franklin shared, to some call humanity!" In your own words explain whatextent, the satirical view of life popular in Eng- Franklin meant by this statement and then in a land. As has been pointed out, his early literary short written essay, agree or disagree wih his tastes were partially formed by his reading the point of view as it applies to your life. essays of Addison and Steele, two leading En- 2. Choose any of the sayings of Poor Richard glish satirists of the times. By making use of and develop the thought of the saying in a short available library resources, prepare a short re- essay or in a short poem or verse. search paper in which you demonstrate the in- fluence of Addison and Steele's writings on Sayings From Poor Richard: Franklin's thought and literary style. As a be- ginning, you should examine Franklin's Dogood "Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not Papers which were modeled upon the Addison away an hour." and Steele essays found in the Spectator. "Constant dropping wears away stones." In the selection from his writings included in this chapter, you have seen something of Frank- "If a man empties his purse into his head, no lin as a public-spirited citizen. Yet, civic affairs man can take it away from him. An investment was only one of his many interests. He was also in knowledge always pays the best interest." a scientist,patriot, businessman, statesman, "There will be sleeping enough in the grave." and man of the world. Choose one of these "Laziness travels so slowly, that Poverty soon facets of Franklin's life which interests you, and overtakes him." write areport, based on your readingof "He that lives upon hope will die fasting." Franklin's own works or books written about him, illustrating Franklin, the Scientist, Franklin, 3. Discuss the epigrams of Poor Richard from the Patriot, Franklin, the Businessman, Fran- the points of view that (1) they are universal klin, the Statesman or Franklin, the Man of the truths, or (2) that with few exceptions, they are World.

1517 CHAPTER II

WASHINGTON IRVING

Irving (1783-1859) was America's first man of letters, devoting much of his career to literature. In his short stories, he usually starts with standard charactersthe lazy husbands, for instance, and the termagant wife. He is able, however, in his better stories to place them in a home-like situa- tion and in surroundings that give the stories a kind of vitality. Irving's choice of incidents and descriptive details adds a note of to the basic themes, creating an almost Gothic atmosphere. Irving got the idea for his most famous story, "Rip Van Winkle," from a German legend about a sleeping emperor, which he points out in a mock-scholarly note added at the end of the story. According to the note, the tale originated with Diedrich WASHINGTON IRVING (1783-1859) Knickerbocker, an old Dutch gentleman of I was always fond of visiting new scenes, and New York, who is really a fictional charac- observing strange characters and manners. ter created by Irving. (The old gentleman's Even when a mere childI began my travels, name was later adopted by a group of New and made many hours of discovery into York writers of the period, among whom foreign parts and unknown regions of my Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and Wil- native city, to the frequent alarm of my parents, and the emolument of -crier. liam Cullen Bryant were the foremost As I grew into boyhood, I extended the range Knickerbockers.) "Rip Van Winkle" is of my observations. My holiday afternoons found in Irving's longer work, The Sketch were spent in rambles about the surrounding Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., published country. I made myself familiar with all its serially in the United States from 1819 to places in history or fable.I knew every spot where a murder or robbery had been 1820. committed, or a ghost seen. Ivisited the The Dutch of New York were just as neighboring villages, and added greatly to mythrifty as the Puritans from whom Benja- stock of knowledge, by noting their habits and min Franklin got many of his ideas. The customs, and conversing with sages and Dutch, too, believed in working hard and great men. I even journeyed one long in saving every cent possible. However, summer's day to the summit of the most distant hill, whence I stretched my eye over Washington Irving makes the hero of his many a mile of terra incognita, and was famous story the complete opposite of the astonished to find how vast a globe I ideal. Even Rip's nagging wife cannot inhabited. make him change. Rip Van Winkle, at one point in the From "The Author's Account of story, gets lost in an enchanted forest, but Himself" in The Sketch Book. the ghosts he meets prove to be merely si-

1816 lent and indifferent. Beneath the apparentRip had but one way of replying to all lec- comic qualities of the tale, signstures of the kind, and that, by frequent of decay, sterility, and impotence indicateuse, had grown into a habit. He shrugged that it deals with the loss or surrender ofhis shoulders, shook his head, cast up his manhood. In effect, while Rip falls into aeyes, but said nothing. This, however, al- 20-year sleep, he exchanges the best yearsways provoked a fresh volley from his of his life for a peaceful old age. Mean-wife; so that he was fain to draw off while, his compatriots fight a war and es-his forces, and take to the outside of the tablish a new nation. housethe only side which, in truth, be- But Rip is flexible enough to turn hislongs to a hen-pecked husband. misfortune into an advantage. First, he es- Rip's sole domestic adherent was his clog capes 20 years of nagging by his insistentWolf, who was as much hen-pecked as his wife. Second, he makes great success as amaster; for Dame Van Winkle regarded man who neither minds his own businessthem as companions in idleness, and even nor maintains his reputation as a hardlooked upon Wolf with an evil eye, as the worker. Rather, he is a loafer, a gossip, acause of his master's going so often astray. dreamer, and someone who helps hisTrue it is, in all points of spirit befitting an neighbors and who is liked by children.honorable dog, he was as courageous Rip would rather starve on a penny thanan animal as ever scoured the woodsbut work for a pound... what courage can withstand the ever- during and all-besetting terrors of a SELECTION I woman's tongue? The moment Wolf en- From Rip Van Winkle tered the house his crest fell, his tail drooped to the ground, or curled between In the first excerpt, reprinted below, Rip ishis legs, he sneaked about with a gallows described for us. So are his difficulties at home,air, casting many a sidelong glance at which he often escapes by going to the local innDame Van Winkle, and at the least flourish to spend his time with his friends. But even the inn is not safe from his wife and so sometimesof a broomstick or ladle, he would to Rip takes his dog and goes hunting in the woods.the door with yelping precipitation. Times grew worse and worse with Rip Rip Van Winkle, however, was one ofVan Winkle as years of matrimony rolled those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiledon; a tart temper never mellows with age, dispositions, who take the world easy, eatand a sharp tongue is the only edged tool white bread or brown, whichever can bethat grows keener with constant use. For a got with least thought or trouble, andlong while he used to console himself, would rather starve on a penny than workwhen driven from home, by frequenting a for a pound. If left to himself, he wouldkind of perpetual club of the sages, have whistled life away in perfect con-philosophers, and other idle personages tentment; but his wife kept continuallyof the village; which held its sessions on dinning in his ears about his idleness, hisa bench before a small inn, designated by a carelessness, and the ruin he was bringingrubicund portrait of His Majesty George on . Morning. noon, and nightthe Third.' Here they used to sit in the her tongue was incessantly going, and ev- erything he said or did was sure to pro- 1. His Majesty George the Third King of England duce a torrent of household eloquence. at the time of the American Revolutionary War.

17 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE shade through a long lazy summer's day,and angry puffs; but when pleased, he talking listlessly over village gossip, or tel-would inhale the smoke slowly and tran- ling endless sleepy stories about nothing.quilly, and emit it in light and placid But it would have been worth anyclouds; and sometimes, taking the pipe statesman's money to have heard the pro-from his mouth, and letting the fragrant va- found discussions that sometimes tookpor curl about his nose, would gravely nod place, when by chance an old newspaperhis head in token of perfect approbation. fell into their hands from some passing From even this strong-hold the unlucky traveler. How solemnly they would listenRip was at length routed by his termagant to the contents, as drawled out by Derrickwife, who would suddenly break in upon Van Bummel, the schoolmaster, a dapperthe tranquillity of the assemblage and learned little man, who was not to becall the members all to naught; nor was daunted by the most gigantic word in thethat august personage, Nicholas Vedder dictionary; and how sagely they would de-himself, sacred from the daring tongue of liberate upon public events some monthsthis terrible virago, who charged him out- after they had taken place. right with encouraging her husband in The opinions of this junto were com-habits of idleness. pletely controlled by Nicholas Vedder, a Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to patriarch of the village, and landlord ofdespair; and his only alternative, to escape the inn, at the door of whiCh he took hisfrom the labor of and clamor of seat from morning till night, just movinghis wife,wasto take gun in hand and stroll sufficiently to avoid the sun and keep inaway into the woods. Here he would some- the shade of a large tree; so that the neigh-times seat himself at the foot of a tree, and bors could tell the hour by his movementsshare the contents of his wallet with Wolf, as accurately as by a sundial. It is true hewith whom he sympathized as a fellow- was rarely heard to speak, but smoked hissufferer in persecution. "Poor Wolf," he pipe incessantly. His adherents, howeverwould say, "thy mistress leads thee a dog's (for every great man has his adherents),life of it; but never mind, my lad, whilst I perfectly understood him, and knew howlive thou shalt never want a friend to stand to gather his opinions. When any thingby thee!" Wolf would wag his tail, look that was read or related displeased him, hewistfully in his master's face, and if dogs was observed to smoke his pipe vehe-can feel pity, I verily believe he recipro-

mently, and to send forth short, frequent,cated the sentiment with all his heart...

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. Who was Derrick Van Bummel and why was he important to the meetings of the junto? 1. Who was Rip's sole domestic adherent? 5. How does Nicholas Vedder express his 2. Why does Rip frequently leave his house? opinions on public matters? 3. Where did Rip meet with other idle people of 6. How did Rip escape his wife when she came the village? to the inn?

20 18 WASHINGTON I RVI NG

SELECTION II it were, into his very soul, demanded in an austere tone, "what brought him to the While in the woods, Rip meets several Dutch gnomes, drinks their magic liquor, and fallselection with a gun on his shoulder, and a asleep for twenty years. He awakensnotmob at his heels, and whether he meant to realizing the length of his slumberand re-breed a riot in the village?""Alas! gen- turns to his village. The second excerpt fromtleman," cried Rip, somewhat dismayed, "I Rip's story begins at this point. am a poor quiet man, a native of the place, The village has changed greatly. When Ripand a loyal subject of the king, God bless left for the woods his home was still part of an English colony; now the country is an inde-him!" pendent republic. The political discussions in Here a general shout burst from the this new republic confuse Rip. Moreover, heby- standers - "A tory! a tory! a spy! a cannot find his old friends, most of whomrefugee! hustle him! away with him!" It have died during his twenty-year absence. Hewas with great difficulty that the self- sees his idle son and namesake and speaks to his daughter. At the end of this second excerpt,important man in the cocked hat restored and old woman identifies Rip. order; and, having assumed a tenfold aus- The rest of the story, not reprinted here, de-terity of brow, demanded again of the un- scribes how Rip Van Winkle becomes a villageknown culprit, what he came there for, celebrity, ready to tell his strange story to any-and whom he was seeking? The poor man one who will listen. humbly assured him that he meant no harm, but merely came there in search of The appearance of Rip, with his long some of his neighbors, who used to keep grizzled beard, his rusty fowling-piece, hisabout the tavern. uncouth dress, and an army of women and "Wellwho are they?name them." children at his heels, soon attracted the at- tention of the tavern politicians. They Rip bethought himself a moment, and crowded round him, eyeing him frominquired, "Where's Nicholas Vedder?" head to foot with great curiosity. The There was a silence for a little while, orator bustled up to him, and, drawingwhen an old man replied, in a thin, piping voice, "Nicholas Vedder! why, he is dead him partly aside, inquired "on which side and gone these eighteen years! There was he voted?" Rip stared in vacant stupidity. a wooden tombstone in the church-yard Another short but busy little fellow pulled that used to tell all about him, but that's him by the arm, and, rising on tiptoe, in- rotten and gone too." quired in his ear, "Whether he was Federal "Where's Brom Dutcher?" or Democrat?"' Rip was equally at a loss to "Oh, he went off to the army in the be- comprehend the question; when a know- ing, self-important old gentleman, in aginning of the war; some say he was killed at the storming of Stony Poineothers say sharp cocked hat, made his way through he was drowned-in a squall at the foot of the crowd, putting them to the right and Antony's Nose.3 I don't knowhe never left with his elbows as he passed, and plant- came back again." ing himself before Van Winkle, with one "Where's Van Bummel, the school arm akimbo, the other resting on his , master?" his keen eyes and sharp hat penetrating as

2. Stony Point name of a famous battle of the 1. Federal or Democrat political parties in the Revolutionary War. American colonies. 3. Antony's Nose name of a mountain.

1 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

"He went off to the wars too, was a greatcomely woman pressed through the throng militia general, and is now in congress." to get a peep at the gray-bearded man. She Rip's heart died away at hearing of thesehad a chubby child in her arms, which, sad changes in his home and friends, andfrightened at his looks, began to cry. finding himself thus alone in the world."Hush, Rip," cried she, "hush, you little Every answer puzzled him too, by treatingfool; the old man won't hurt you." The of such enormous lapses of time, and ofname of the child, the air of the mother, -matters which he could not understand:the tone of her voice, all awakened a warcongressStony Point;he had notrain of recollections in his mind. "What courage to ask after any more friends, butis your name, my good woman?" asked he. cried out in despair, "Does nobody here "Judith Gardenier." know Rip Van Winkle?" "And your father's name?" "Oh, Rip. Van Winkle!" exclaimed two or "Ah, poor man, Rip Van Winkle was his three, "Oh, to be sure that's Rip Vanname, but it's twenty years since he went Winkle yonder, leaning against the tree." away from home with his gun, and never Rip looked, and beheld a precise coun-has been heard of sincehis dog came terpart of himself, as he went up thehome without him; but whether he shot mountain: apparently as lazy, and cer-himself, or was carried away by the In- tainly as ragged. The poor fellow was now dians, nobody can tell.I was then but a completely confounded. He doubted his little girl." own identity, and whether he was himself or another man. In the midst of his bewil- Rip had but one question more to ask; derment, the man in the cocked hat de-but he put it with a faltering voice: manded who he was, and what was his "Where's your mother?" name? "Oh, she too had died but a short time "God knows," exclaimed he, at his wit'ssince; she broke a blood-vessel in a fit of end; "I'm not myself--I'm somebodypassion at a New-England peddler." elsethat's me yondernothat's some- There was a drop of comfort, at least, in body else got into my shoesI was myselfthis intelligence. The honest man could last night, but I fell asleep on the moun-contain himself no longer. He caught his tain, and they've changed my gun, anddaughter and her child in his arms. "I am every thing's changed, and I'm changed,your father!" cried he"Young Rip Van and I can't tell what's my name, or who IWinkle once--old Rip Van Winkle am!" now!Does nobody know poor Rip Van The by-standers began now to look atWinkle?" each other, nod, wink significantly, and All stood amazed, until an old woman, tap their fingers against their foreheads.tottering out from among the crowd, put There was a whisper, also, about securingher hand to her brow, and peering under the gun, and keeping the old fellow fromit in his face for a moment, exclaimed, doing mischief, at the very suggestion"Sure enough! it is Rip Van Winkleit is of which the self-important man in thehimself! Welcome home again, old cocked hat retired with some precipita-neighborWhy, where have you been tion. At this critical moment a freshthese twenty long years ? ".. .

22 20 WASHINGTON IRVING

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS B. 1. What is your opinion of Rip Van Winkle? Is he a tragic or a comic figure? A. 1. On his return, why is Rip suspected of 2.Is there a character in your national litera- being disloyal? ture similar to Rip? If so, compare the two 2. Who was the first person to recognize figures. Rip? 3. Do you think Rip symbolizes man's de- 3. Who was Judith Gardenier? sire to flee from responsibility? Support your 4. What has happened to Nicholas Vedder? answer. to Brom Dutcher? to Van Bummel? 4. Would you like to sleep for twenty years? 5. How is young Rip Van Winkle like his Why or why not? What changes would you father? expect to see in your society if you were to 6. What two explanations are offered by awaken from a twenty year sleep? Judith Gardenier for the disappearance of 5. Are women more "nagging" by nature Rip Van Winkle? than men?

OPTIONAL PROJECTS

FOR INTERPRETATION what he means; he uses dignified words to pro- duce a half-mocking effect. He also is fond of 1. Washington Irving's effect upon American exaggerating the seriousness of situations. He letters was irrevocable. In his Sketchbook and pretends, for example, that the cleaning of a 's History of New York, Dutch parlor is a serious ritual. Select a few he drew upon the enchanting wilderness of his sentences from the account of "Rip Van Winkle" native New York for his artistic material. His which illustrate Irving's special type of humor writings also made wide use of its legends and and in each example point out the words and folk tales. This influence can easily be traced in phrases which help to create the effect. later American writers. What writers in the liter- ary history of your country have made use ofFOR INVESTIGATION natural beauty and regional legends and folk tales in a manner similar to that of Irving? Have ** "The and Tom Walker," "The Spectre they also influenced later writers? If so, in what Bridegroom," and "The Legend of Sleepy Hol- way? Write a composition in which you com- low" are other romantic tales by Washington Ir- pare Irving with one of your national writers who ving. Read one of these stories (or all of them if also makes use of natural beauty. you wish) and be prepared to discuss in class 2. Irving creates humor by the way he says the story and the romantic and humorous ele- things. He delights in making ironic, tongue- ments it contains. You will find the stories in in-cheek remarks which say just the opposite of THE SKETCH BOOK.

2? CHAPTER III

JAMES FENIMORE COOPER

Cooper (1789-1851) wrote both novels and social criticism. It is his fiction which has become famous, but it is worth re- membering that he also wrote books criti- cizing the shortcomings of democracy in his own country. He is the first important writer to be critical of the United States but he will by no means be the last. His fiction is much more memorable, however, and here below is part of his most noted novel. The Last of the , written in 1826, JAMES FENIMORE COOPER '(1789-1851) is the second novel in Cooper's - tocking Series. Consisting of five novels, In a democracy, men are just as free to aim at the series gets it title from one of the names the highest attainable places in society as to applied to its frontiersman hero, Natty obtain the largest fortunes; and it would be clearly unworthy of all noble sentiment to say Bumppo, who is also called Deers layer, that the grovelling competition for money shall Hawkeye, Pathfinder, and Leathers- alone be free, while that which enlists all the tocking. The five novels tell the story of liberal acquirements and elevated sentiments Bumppo from youth to old age. The other of the race, is denied the democrat. Such an books in the series are: (1823); avowal would be at once a declaration of the The (1827); The Pathfinder (1840); inferiority of the system, since nothing but and The Deers layer (1841). ignorance and vulgarity could be its fruits. The democratic gentleman must differ in many The creation of the character of Natty essential particulars from the aristocratical Bumppo is probably the most sgnificant gentleman, though in their ordinary habits and thing that happened in American litera- tastes they are virtually identical. Their ture during the first 50 years of its history. principles vary; and, to a slight degree, their Like Sir and other romantic deportment accordingly. The democrat, recognizing the right of all to participate in writers who dealt with historical or leg- power, will be more liberal in his general endary characters, Cooper, in his tales sentiments, a quality of superiority in itself; about Bumppo, unfolded an epic account. but, in conceding this much to his fellow man, Bumppo, a frontiersman whose actions he will proudly maintain his own were shaped by the forest in which he independence of vulgar domination, as indispensable to his personal habits. The lived, seems to be related in some way to same principles and manliness that would the deepest meaning of the American ex- induce him to depose a royal despot perience itself. would induce him to resist a vulgar tyrant. All but one of the Tales, The Pioneers, is concerned with From "" - bloody conflict. Yet the fighting is always in Harry R. Warfel, Ralph Gabriel, Stanley T. Williams, The American Mind, intermingled with passages describing the New York: American Book quiet beauty of nature. Perhaps Cooper's Company 1947. interest in painting developed in him his

24 22 excellent pictorial imagination which hehowl. The cry was answered by a loud applies effectively, counterpointing de-shout from a little thicket, where the in- scriptions of conflict and violence withcautious party had piled their arms; and at scenes of forest beauty. the next moment Hawkeye, too eager to A further word about Bumppo. Hisload the rifle he had regained, was seen greatest gift is a reverence for life, a deepadvancing upon them, brandishing the understanding of the genius of man. Hisclubbed weapon, and cutting the air with friendship with is symbolicwide and powerful sweeps. Bold and rapid of Hawkeye's understanding of the differ-as the progress of the scout, it was ex- ences that exist between peoples. (Ching-ceeded by that of a light and vigorous form achgook symbolizes the aboriginal life andwhich, bounding past him, leaped, with in- culture of America.) The friendship be-credible activity and daring, into the very tween the two men, which runs through allcentre of the Hurons, where it stood, five Leatherstocking Tales, is one of thewhirling a tomahawk, and flourishing a great friendships of literature, and it existsglittering knife, with fearful menaces, in because of, not in spite of, their contrast-front of Cora. Quicker than the thoughts ing differences. could follow these unexpected and au- dacious movements, an , armed in SELECTION I the emblematic panoply of death, glided before their eyes, and assumed a threaten- The passage that follows opens when Bumppo (here called Hawkeye) has just saveding attitude at the other's side. The savage an English officer from death at the hands oftormentors recoiled before these warlike hostile Indians, the Hurons. Their leader isintruders, and uttered as they appeared in wicked . The good Indians are thesuch quick succession, the often repeated Mohicans, led by Chingachgook and his sonand peculiar exclamation of surprise, fol- . The English officer, named Heyward, is escorting two white girls, Cora and Alice,lowed by the well known and dreaded ap- through the wilderness of upstate New Yorkpellations of before the Revolutionary War, when Hawkeye "Le Cerf Agile!"2 Le Gros Serpent!3 comes to their aid. But the wary and vigilant leader of the Hurons was not so easily disconcerted. From Casting his keen eyes around the little plain, he comprehended the nature of the Chapter 12 assault at a glance, and encouraging his followers by his voice as well as by his ex- The Hurons stood aghast at this suddenample, he unsheathed his long and visitation of death on one of their band.dangerous knife, and rushed with a loud But, as they regarded the fatal accuracy ofwhoop upon expecting Chingachgook. It an aim which had dared to immolate anwas the signal for a general combat. enemy at so much hazard to a friend, theNeither party had fire-arms, and the con- name of "La Longue Carabine"1 burst simultaneously from every lip, and was succeeded by a wild and a sort of plaintive2. "Le Cerf Agile"the quick deer, French name given to Uncas because of his agility. 3. "Le Gros Serpent"the large snake, French 1. "La Longue Carabine"French term for "the name given to Chingachgook. He was so called ." because of his wisdom, cunning, and prudence.

23 25' HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE test was to be decided in the deadliestHawkeye's rifle fell on the naked head manner; hand to hand, with weapons ofof his adversary, whose muscles appeared offence, and none of defence. to wither under the shock, as he sank from Uncas answered the whoop, and leapingthe arms of Duncan, flexible and motion- on an enemy, with a single, well-directed less. blow of his tomahawk, cleft him to the When Uncas had brained his first an- brain. Heyward tore the weapon of Maguatagonist, he turned, like a hungry lion, to from the sapling, and rushed eagerly to-seek another. The fifth and only Huron wards the fray. As the combatants weredisengaged at the first onset had paused a now equal in number, each singled an op-moment, and then seeing that all around ponent from the adverse band. The rushhim were employed in the deadly strife, he and blows passed with the fury of a whirl-sought, with hellish , to com- wind, and the swiftness of lightning. Haw-plete the baffled work of revenge. Raising keye soon got another enemy within reacha shout of triumph, he sprang towards the of his arm, and with one sweep of his for-defenceless Cora, sending his keen axe, midable weapon he beat down the slightas the dreadful precursor of his approach. and inartificial defences of his antagonist,The tomahawk grazed her shoulder, and crushing him to the earth with the blow.cutting the withes which bound her to the Heyward ventured to hurl the tomahawktree, left the maiden at liberty to fly. She he had seized, too ardent to await the mo-eluded the grasp of the savage, and reck- ment of closing. It struck the Indian heless of her OW11safety, threw herself on the had selected on the forehead, and checkedbosom of Alice, striving with convulsed for an instant his onward rush. Encour-and ill-directed fingers, to tear asunder the aged by this slight advantage, the impetu-twigs which confined the person of her sis- ous young man continued his onset, andter. Any other than a monster would have sprang upon his enemy with naked hands.relented at such an act of generous devo- A single instant was enough to assure himtion to the best and purest affection; but of the rashness of the measure, for he im-the breast of the Huron was a stranger to mediately found himself fully engaged,sympathy. Seizing Cora by the rich tresses with his activity and courage, in endeavor-which fell in confusion about her form, he ing to ward the desperate thrusts madetore her from her frantic hold, and bowed with the knife of the Huron. Unableher down with brutal violence to her longer to foil an enemy so alert and vigil-knees. The savage drew the flowing curls ant, hethrew hisarmsaboutthrough his hand, and raising them on him, and succeeded in pinning the limbs ofhigh with an outstretched arm, he passed the other to his side, with an iron grasp,the knife around the exquisitely moulded but one that was far too exhausting to him-head of his victim, with a taunting and ex- self to continue long. In this extremity heulting laugh. But he purchased this mo- heard a voice near him, shouting ment of fierce gratification with the loss of "Exterminate the varlets! no quarter tothe fatal opportunity. It was just then the an accursed Mingo!"4 sight caught the eye of Uncas. Bounding At the next moment, the breech offrom his footsteps he appeared for an in- stant darting through the air, and descend- 4. Mingo--a name scornfully applied by the Mohi- ing in a ball he fell on the chest of his cans to their enemies, the Hurons. enemy, driving him many yards from the

26 24 JAMES FENIMORE COOPER spot, headlong and prostrate. The violencesoon decided; the tomahawk of Heyward of the exertion cast the young Mohican atand the rifle of Hawkeye descended to the his side. They arose together, fought, andskull of the Huron, at the same moment bled, each in his turn. But the conflict wasthat the knife of Uncas reached his heart.

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 3. How was Hawkeye's weapon different from those used by the other combatants? 1. How does Uncas demonstrate his courage? 4. How many Hurons were there? 2. Do you think that the Hurons were afraid of5. Describe how Cora was saved from being Uncas and Chingachgook? Explain your an- scalped. swer. 6.In your own words, describe the fight.

SELECTION II pliant and subtle folds. At the moment when the victors found themselves unoc- In this second excerpt from The Last of thecupied, the spot where these experienced Mohicans a general hand-to-hand combat has taken place, now ended except for one duel.and desperate combatants lay, could only The Hurons have been bested byHawkeye andbe distinguished by a cloud of dust and his allies; Cora and Alice have been saved. Theleaves which moved from the centre of the duel in question is between Uncas, the last oflittle plain towards its boundary, as if the Mohican , and his Huron opponent,raised by the passage of a whirlwind. Magua. Magua is beaten but escapes. The sceneUrged by the different motives of filial af- ends in thanksgiving by the good people who have been able to triumph over the bad. Thefection, friendship, and gratitude, Hey- struggle and victory are described in Cooper'sward and his companions rushed with one stately, old-fashioned prose. accord to the place, encircling the little canopy of dust which hung above the war- From TheLast Of The Mohicans riors. In vain did Uncas around the cloud, with a wish to strike his knife The battle was now entirely terminated,into the heart of his father's foe; the with the exception of the protracted strug-threatening rifle of Hawkeye was raised gle between Le Renard Subtils and Le Grosand suspended in vain, while Duncan en- Serpent. Well did these barbarous warriorsdeavored to seize the limbs of the Huron prove that they deserved those significantwith hands that appeared to have lost their names which had been bestowed for deedspower. Covered, as they were, with dust in former wars. When they engaged, someand blood, the swift evolutions of the com- little time was lost in eluding the quick andbatants seemed to incorporate their bodies vigorous thrusts which had been aimed atinto one. The death-like looking figure of their lives. Suddenly darting on eachthe Mohican, and the dark form of the other, they closed, and came to the earth,Huron, gleamed before their eyes in such twisted together like twinning serpents, inquick and confused succession, that the friends of the former knew not where nor 5. Le Renard Subtilthe clever fox, French namewhen to plant the succoring blow. It is true for Magua because of his sly craftiness. there were short and fleeting moments,

2527' HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

when the fiery eyes of Magua were seenso largely to veil his natural sense of justice glittering, like the fabled organs of thein all matters which concerned the Mingos; basilisk, through the dusty wreath by"a lying and deceitful varlet as he is. An which he was enveloped, and he read byhonest Delaware now, being fairly van- those short and deadly glances the fate ofquished, would have lain still, and been the combat in the presence of his enemies;knocked on the head, but these knavish ere, however, any hostile hand could de-Maquas7 cling tolifelike so many scend on his devoted head, its place wascat-o'-the-mountain. Let him golet him filled by the scowling visage of Chingach-go; 'tis but one man, and he without rifle gook. In this manner the scene of theor bow, many a long mile from his French combat was removed from the centre ofcommerades; and like a rattler that has lost the little plain to its verge. The Mohicanhis fangs, he can do no further mischief, now found an opportimity to make a pow-until such time as he, and we too, may erful thrust with his knife; Magua sud-leave the prints of our moccasins over a denly relinquished his grasp, and felllong reach of sandy plain." "See, Uncas," he backward without motion, and seeminglyadded, in Delaware, "your father is flaying without life. His adversary leaped on histhe scalps already. It may be well to go feet, making the arches of the forest ringround and feel the vagabonds that are left, with the sounds of triumph. or we may have another of them loping "Well done for the Delawares!6 victory tothrough the woods, and screeching like a the Mohican!" cried Hawkeye, once morejay that has been winged." elevating the butt of the long and fatal So saying, the honest, but implacable rifle; "a blow from a man withoutscout, made the circuit of the dead, into a cross will never tell against his honor, norwhose senseless bosoms he thrust his long rob him of his right to the scalp." knife, with as much coolness as though But, at the very moment when thethey had been so many brute carcasses. He dangerous weapon was in the act of de-had, however, been anticipated by the scending, the subtle Huron rolled swiftlyelder Mohican, who had already torn from beneath the danger, over the edge ofthe emblems of victory from the unresist- the precipice, and falling on his feet, wasing heads of the slain. seen leaping, with a single bound, into the But Uncas, denying his habits, we had centre of a thicket of low bushes, whichalmost said his nature, flew with instinctive clung along its sides. The Delawares, whodelicacy, accompanied by Heyward, to the had believed their enemy dead, utteredassistance of the females, and quickly re- their exclamation of surprise, and wereleasing Alice, placed her in the arms of following with speed and clamor, likeCora. We shall not attempt to describe the hounds in open view of the deer, when agratitude to the Almighty Disposer8 of shrill and peculiar cry from the scout in-events which glowed in the bosoms of the stantly changed their purpose, and recal-sisters, who were thus unexpectedly re- led them to the summit of the hill. stored to life and to each other. Their " 'Twas like himself," cried the inveter-thanksgivings were deep and silent; the of- ate forester, whose prejudices contributedferings of their gentle spirits, burning

7. Maquas: Hurons 6. Delawares: Mohicans. 8. Almighty Disposer: God

28 26 JAMES FENIMORE COOPER brightest and purest on the secret altars ofmore master of your own limbs, though their hearts; and their renovated and moreyou seem not to use them with greater earthly feelings exhibiting themselves injudgment than that in which they were long and fervent, though speechless cares-first fashioned. If advice from one who is ses. As Alice rose from her kness, wherenot older than yourself, but who having she had sunk by the side of Cora, shelived most of his time in the wilderness, threw herself on the bosom of the latter,may be said to have experience beyond his and sobbed aloud the name of their agedyears, will give no offence, you are wel- father, while her soft, dove-like eyes spark-come to my thoughts; and these are, to led with the rays of hope. part with the little tooting instrument in "We are saved! we are saved!" she mur-your jacket to the first fool you meet with, mured; "to return to the arms of our dearand buy some useful we'pon with the father, and his heart will not be brokenmoney, if it be only the barrel of a with grief. And you too, Cora, my sister;horseman's pistol. By industry and care, my more than sister, my mother; you tooyou might thus come to some preferment; are spared. And Duncan," she added,for by this time, I should think, your eyes looking round upon the youth with a smilewould plainly tell you that a carrion crow is of ineffable innocence, "even our owna better bird than a mocking thresher. The brave and noble Duncan has escaped with-one will, at least, remove foul sights from out a hurt." before the face of man, while the other is To these ardent and nearly incoherentonly good to brew disturbances in the words Cora made no other answer than bywoods, by cheating the ears of all that hear straining the youthful speaker to herthem." heart, as she bent over her, in melting "Arms and the clarion for the battle, but tenderness. The manhood of Heywardthe song of thanksgiving to the victory!" no shame in dropping tears over thisanswered the liberated David. "Friend," he spectacle of affectionate rapture; andadded, thrusting forth his lean, delicate Uncas stood, fresh and blood-stained fromhand towards Hawkeye, in kindness, while the combat, a calm, and, apparently, anhis eyes twinkled and grew moist, "I thank unmoved looker-on, it is true, but with athee the hairs of my head still grow where sympathy that elevated him far above thethey were first rooted by Providence9 for, intelligence, and advanced him probablythough those of other men may be more centuries before the practices of his nation.glossy and curling, I have ever found mine During this display of emotions soown well suited to the brain they shelter. natural in their situation. Hawkeye, whoseThat I did not join myself to the battle, was vigilant distrust had satisfied itself that theless owing to disinclination, than to the Hurons, who disfigured the heavenlybonds of the heathen. Valiant and skilful scene, no longer possessed the power tohast thou proved thyself in the conflict, interrupt its harmony, approached David,and I hereby thank thee, before proceed- and liberated him from the bonds he had,ing to discharge other and more important until that moment, endured with the mostduties, because thou hast proved thyself exemplary patience. well worthy of a Christian's praise." "There," exclaimed the scout, casting the last withe behind him, "you are once 9. Providence: God

27 25 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

A. 1. HowdoesMagua escapefrom B. 1. What do you think of Cooper's style of Ch ingachgook? writing? 2. What observation does Hawkeye make 2.In your opinion, are the events of the on the difference in defeat in battle between rescue believable? Explain your answer. a Huron and a Mohican? 3.Is Hawkeye your idea of a hero? Explain. 3. What advice does Hawkeye giveto 4.Inyour opinion, who was the most David? courageous person during the rescue? Why 4. How do you know that the Hurons did not do you think so? use rope to tie their captives? 5. What novels from your national literature 5. Do you think that it was unmanly for Hey- are similar in theme to the Leatherstocking ward to cry? Explain your answer. Tales?

OPTIONAL PROJECTS

FOR INTERPRETATION country is similar to Cooper in theme? Write a short essay in which you compare the two au- 1. The Romantic Movement in the United Statesthors in this respect. You may also want to com- emphasized emotion in literature and interest inpare them with regard to writing style, story- the past and in the national scene. Cooper'stelling ability, characterization, ability to create romanticism is quite pronounced and in manysuspense, and so forth. ways is equivalent to that of the English writer, Sir Walter Scott. Can Chingachgook, Hawkeye, FOR INVESTIGATION Uncas,Magua, Heyward beregardedas romantic figures? Explain your answers. '*** Read two or three novels of the Deer- 2. Compare the Romantic Movement in litera-slayer series. (You will find them listed in the ture in your country with that of the United introduction to the chapter.) Based on this read- States. How were they similar? How different? ing,prepare acompositioninwhich you 3.In narrating adventure, Cooper uses several characterize Deerslayer, keeping in mind that techniques to develop suspense and.to hold the Cooper has stated that in Deerslayer he wished reader's interest. What are these techniques? to portray the highest principles of civilization Give examples from the selection taken from as they are exhibited in the uneducated" and The Last Of The Mohicans.In your opinion allof savage lifethatisnot incompatible which plays the largest part in Cooper's plots: with... great rules of conduct." (You might like mystery, romance, or adventure? Explain. to expand the scope of your paper by compar- 4. Cooper's major theme is that of the American ing Deerslayer with a similar literary character frontier and his stories are based on history, are in your own national literature.) Present your fullof danger, narrow escapes, and bravecomposition orally in class and then discuss deeds. What author in the literature of your your findings with your classmates.

30 28 CHAPTER IV

PHILIP FRENEAU

PHILIP FRENEAU (1752-1832) Philip Freneau was an ardent patriot who is still remembered as the "Poet of the It is not easy to conceive what will be the ." While in college, greatness and importance of North America in a century or two to come, if the present fabric he had already determined to become a of nature is upheld, and the people retain poet. After his experience as a sailor in the those bold and manly sentiments of , Revolutionary War, he turned to news- which actuate them at this day. Agriculture, paper and pamphlet writing. Today, how- the basis of a nation's greatness, will here, ever, Freneau is remembered more for most probably, be advanced to its summit or perfection; and its attendant commerce, will his poetry than his prose. Two of his poems so agreeably and usefully employ mankind, are reprinted below. that wars will be forgotten; nations, by a free The first, "The Wild Honey Suckle" was intercourse with this vast and fertile continent, virtually unread in the poet's lifetime, yet it and this continent with the whole world, will deserves a place among major English and again become brothers after so many centuries of hatred and jealousy, and no American works of poetry of . longer treat each other as savages and Much of the beauty of the poem lies in the monsters. sounds of the words and the effects created through changes in rhythm. From The Prose Of Philip Freneau, selected The idea for the second poem, "The In- and edited by Philip M. Marsh. The Scarecrow Press, New Brunswick, N.J., dian Burying Ground," was suggested by 1955. the fact that some Indian tribes buried their dead in a sitting, instead of a lying, position. This poem, too, is marked by a regularity of rhythm and meter and by the use of "Reason" as an abstraction which is personified.

Selection I

THE WILD HONEY SUCKLE

Fair flower, that does so comely grow, Hid in this silent, dull retreat, Untouched thy honied blossoms blow, Unseen thy little branches greet; No roving foot shall crush thee here, No busy hand provoke a tear.

29 31 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

By Nature's self in white arrayed, She bade thee shun the vulgar eye, And planted here shade, And sent soft waters murmuring by; Thus quietly thy summer goes, Thy days declining to repose.

Smit with those charms, that must decay, I grieve to see your future doom; They diednor were those flowers more gay, The flowers that did in Eden' bloom; Unpitying frosts, and Autumns' power Shall leave no vestige of this flower.

From morning suns and evening dews At first thy little being came: If nothing once, you nothing lose, For when you die you are the same; The space between, is but an hour, The frail duration of a flower.

1. Eden: garden that was the home of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, as told in the Book of Genesis of the English .

Selection II

THE INDIAN BURYING GROUND

Published in 1788, this poem is the earliest to romanticize the Indian as a child of nature.

In spite of all the learned have said, I still my old opinion keep; The posture, that we give the dead, Points out the soul's eternal sleep.

Not so the ancients of these lands The Indian, when from life released, Again is seated with his friends, And shares again the joyous feast.

3 2 3° PHILIP FRENEAU

His imaged birds, and painted bowl, And venison, for a journey dressed, Bespeak the nature of the soul, Activity, that knows no rest.

His bow, for action ready bent, And arrows, with a head of stone, Can only mean that life is spent, And not the old ideas gone.

Thou, stranger, that shalt come this way, No fraud upon the dead commit Observe the swelling turf, and say They do not lie, but here they sit.

Here still a lofty rock remains, On which the curious eye may trace (Now wasted, half, by wearing rains) The fancies of a ruder race.

Here still an aged elm aspires, Beneath whose far-projecting shade (And which the shepherd still admires) The children of the forest played!

There oft a restless Indian queen (Pale Shebah,2 with her braided hair) And many a barbarous form is seen To chide the man that lingers there.

By midnight moons, o'er moistening dews; In habit for the chase arrayed, The hunter still the deer pursues, The hunter and the deer, a shade!

And long shall timorous fancy see The painted chief, and pointed spear, And Reason's self shall bow the knee To shadows and delusions here.

1.feast "The North American Indians bury their dead in a sitting posture dec- orating the corpse with wampum, the images of birds, quadrapeds, etc., and (if that of a warrior) with bows, arrows, tomahawks, and other military weapons," (Freneau's note) 2. Shebah queen of an ancient country in southern Arabia.

31 33 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

SELECTIONS I and II

DUSCUSSION QUESTIONS reasoning. What meaning is suggested by the phrase "but an hour"? The Wild Honey Suckle The Indian Burying Ground 1. Freneau was extremely sensitiveto the beauties of nature. In this poem he expresses a 1. Do you agree with Freneau that the position keen awareness of the loveliness and tran- in which the dead are placed "points out the sience of nature. What impression of the flower is given in the first two stanzas, particularly soul's eternal sleep"? through the personification of nature? 2. Some aspects of Indian culture are treated in 2. Why does the poet feelgrief about the the poem. What are they? flower's doom? To what does he compare its3. What do you think the "fancies of a ruder charms? race" are as mentioned in the sixth stanza? 3. What conclusion does the poet draw in the 4. According to Freneau,in what way does last stanza? fancy conquer reason? 4. Do you think Freneau is comparing the life of 5.In your own words, summarize what you a flower with the life of man? Explain yourthink the poet is saying in this poem.

34

32 CHAPTER V

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

Bryant (1794-1878) was the- first Ameri- can lyric poet of distinction. He could make his poems sing melodies that might be stately, as they are in "Thanatopsis;" gen- tle, as in "To a Waterfowl;" or stirring, as in "Song of Marion's Men;" but always graceful and never cloying.

SELECTION I

"Thanatopsis," Bryant's best-known poem, was in large part written in 1811 when the poet was only sixteen years old. Six years later, without Bryant's knowledge, his father sent the poem and other pieces to the famous maga- zine, . The story goes that Richard Henry Dana, later one of Bryant's closets friends, remarked on seeing the manuscript that no one in America was ca- WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT (1794-1878) pable of writing such verses. Thinking that an- other poem on death, consisting of four stanzas in iambic tetrameter a-b-a-b, was part of "Tha- I infer, then that all the materials of poetry exist in our own country, with all the ordinary natopsis," the editors of the North American encouragements and opportunities for making Review published both under one title in the a successful use of them. The elements of issue of September 1817. When Bryant pre- beauty and grandeur, greatness pared his volume, Poems (1821), he added and moral truth, the stormy and the gentle lines 1-17 as an introduction and sixteen lines passions, the casualities and the changes of at the end beginning with "As the long .. ." life, and the light shed upon man's nature by the story of past times and the knowledge of The poem, the title of which means "view of foreign manners, have not made their sole death," should be read in the light of both liter- abode in the old world beyond the waters. If ary tradition and Bryant's own religious back- under these circumstances our poetry should ground. From the English poets (notably Henry finally fail of rivalling that of Europe, it will be Kirke White, Robert Blair, , and because Genius sits idle in the midst of William Cowper) he learned of the possibilities treasures. of blank verse and the themes of the "graveyard school" of writers. Even if he had not read these From "On Poetry in its Relation to-Our Age poets, however, Bryant could not have had, and Country," cited in Albert D. Van from his Puritan background, a liking for the Nostrand and CharlesH.Watts II, eds., The funeral. Note that this concept of Man's long Conscious Voice: An Anthology of American sleep is more Stoic than Christian with no hint Poetry from the Seventeenth Century to the of the resurrection or immortality of the soul. Present. TheLi beral Arts Press: New York, 1959.

33 3 5 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

THANATOPSIS

To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow coffin house,

Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart; Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature's teachings, while from all around Earth and her waters, and the depths of air Comes a still voiceYet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go To mix for ever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant worldwith kings, The powerful of the earththe wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills

34 36 WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods,rivers that move In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,

Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste, Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom.Take the wings Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound, Save his own dashingsyet the dead are there: And millions in those solitudes, since first The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleepthe dead reign there alone. So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw In silence from the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure? All that breathe Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come And make their bed with thee. As the long train Of ages glide away, the sons of men, The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron, and maid, And speechless babe, and the gray-headed man Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, By those, who in their turn shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave

35 3 7 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Notes: 29. share plowshare. 51. Barcan-Barca refers to the desert region of North Africa, and is so used by the Latin poets; Bryant is here transferring its meaning and has in mind the "Great American Desert" which formerly occupied a large space on maps of the U.S. 53. Oregon-the . Lewis and Clark reached the mouth of the Co- lumbia Nov. 7, 1805. 55. millions-the notion of America as having been peopled by a vanished race, a favorite concept of Bryant's, was part of the romantic anthropology of the day and found support in the theory that the Mound Builders were a people of high culture. See "The " of Bryant. 68. green-"fresh" in some editions.

SELECTION II

This poem, called by Matthew Arnold "The most perfect brief poem in the language," was composed by Bryant after a walk from Cummington to Plainfield, Massachusetts, in December 1815. Arranged in alternating rhymed quatrains, it expressed both the poet's grateful view, at the close of a day of self-doubt and despair, of a solitary bird on the horizon, and his sense of a divine power guiding and protecting everything in nature. The clarity of the central image and the aptness and simplicity of the moral analogy have always been admired, even by those who dislike "preaching" in poetry. The effect of the stanza form has been described as "gliding," appropriate to the visual image of the second stanza. The poem was first published in the NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW for 1818 and col- lected in the POEMS OF 1821.

TO A WATERFOWL

Whither, midst falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's' eye Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, As darkly seen against the crimson sky, Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy2 brink Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide, Or where the rocking billows rise and sink On the chafed ocean-side?

38 36 WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

There is a Power whose care Teaches thy way along that pathless coast The desert and illimitable air Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned, At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere, Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land, Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end; Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend, Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart Deeply has sunk the lesson thou hast given, And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone, Will lead my steps aright.

1. fowler's hunter's 2. plashy marshy, swampy

SELECTIONS I and II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS What are its "decorations"? Why should ac- ceptance of death be a natural thing? Thanatopsis 5. According to the poet,in what spirit should one approach death? A. 1. Does this poem in any way reveal that it is the work of a teenage youth? Explain your answer. To A Waterfowl 2. According to the opening lines, what dif- ferent messages does nature give us? 1. Cite those stanzas that make up each of 3. Contrast the two views of death in lines the three parts of the poem: the picture seen 17-30 and 31-72. What consolation is there by the poet, his meditation about the bird, in the two facts presented in lines 31-33? and his application of these thoughts to his 4. Explain what Bryant means when he says own life. that the earth is the "great tomb of man"? 2. What faith does the last stanza express?

37 39 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

B. 1. What poems about death do you know FOR INTERPRETATION (Optional) in your own language? How do they com- pare with Bryant's treatment of the subject? 1.In a composition of about 250-300 words, 2. Do you agree with Bryant's attitude to- compare Bryant's concept of a mystical union wards death? Explain your answer. between man and nature with the mystical 3. Do you find inspiration in the message of movements among the youth of your country the waterfowlinthe same manner that today. Bryant did? Explain. 4.In your opinion, do young people in your 2. The emphasis in Bryant's poetry was upon country think a lot about death? Do you think nature as a source of solace, joy, and escape. this is a characteristic common to youth in Do you think that modern man regards nature in most parts of the world? Give your reasons. this fashion? Explain your answer.

40 38 CHAPTER VI

EDGAR ALLAN POE

The brilliance of Poe (1809-1849) can be seen in the selections given here. The poems are as melodious as Bryant's but more dramatic in their effects. "Israfel" is Poe's poetic apology for himself, while "" mourns the death of a beautiful girl, a recurring subject in Poe's writing. One of the most remarkable things about the pair of poems reprinted below is their melody. The are singable, not as a popular or concert song is, but with a wild kind of word music. As you read these lines, aloud or to yourself, you will proba- bly be able to understand why Poe was EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849) considered so skillful a poet. The rhythms of "Israfel" are rapid; the lines move There is a radical error,I think, in the usual mode of constructing a story. Either history fast. The beat is strong and skillfully affords a thesisor one is suggested by an varied. The vowel sounds are higher than incident of the dayor, at best, the author in ordinary writing, helping to make the sets himself to work in the combination of voice that reads them sound like a musical striking events to form merely the basis of his instrument such as the harp. narrativedesigning, generally, to fill in with It is worth noting that the selections of description, dialogue, or authorial comment, whatever crevices of fact, or action, may, from Poe's work which follow have nothing to page to page, render themselves apparent. I do with America. Unlike those of some of prefer commencing with the consideration of his contemporaries, Poe's subjects and an effect. Keeping originality always in themes were either universal or exotic. He viewfor he is false to himself who ventures had little interest in the topical or everyday to dispense with so obvious and so readily attainable a source of interest I say to occurrences, seeking instead to avoid fac- myself, in the first place, "Of the innumerable tuality or logical clarity that would make a effects, or impressions, of which the heart, the poem understandable to the common in- intellect, or (more generally) the soul is tellect. For the most part, Poe's poems do susceptible, what one shall, I, on the present not truly illuminate; they are not expected occasion, select?" Having chosen a novel, to have plot. He continually emphasized first, and secondly, a vivid effect,I consider whether by ordinary incidents and peculiar estrangement, disappearance, silence, ob- tone, or the converse, or by peculiarity both of livion, and all ideas which suggest non- incident and toneafterward looking about being. It was the idea of approximating me (or rather within) for such combinations of nothingness that most excited him in his event, or tone, as shall best aid me in the own poetry and that of other poets. construction of the effect. SELECTION I From "The Philosophy of Composition," In the motto, taken from the Koran, Poe took Poetry And Prose, Houghton Mifflin a few liberties with the description of Israfel by

39 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE adding the words, "whose heart strings are aof earth, more approaching the divine. The lute." The words were probably suggested by a final stanzas voice the poet's despair at the re- passage in a poem, "Le Refus" by the French strictions of his environment. The poem first poet, Beranger (1780-1857). The song em-appeared in Poe's Poems (1831) and was carried bodies Poe's wish for a beauty superior to that several times in later editions.

ISRAFEL "And the angel Israfel, whose heart- strings are a lute, and who has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures,"Koran'

In Heaven a spirit doth dwell "Whose heart-strings are a lute"; None sing so wildly well As the angel Israfel, And the giddy stars (so legends tell), Ceasing their hymns,2 attend the spell Of his voice, all mute.

Tottering above In her highest noon,3 The enamored moon Blushes with love,

While, to listen, the red levin4 (With the rapid Pleiads,5 even, Which were seven,) Pauses in Heaven.

And they say (the starry choir And the other listening things) That Israfeli's fire Is owing to that lyre By which he sits and sings The trembling living wire Of those unusual strings.

But the skies that angel trod, Where deep thoughts are a duty, Where Love's a grown-up God, Where the Houri6 glances are Imbued with all the beauty Which we worship in a star.

40 4 2 EDGAR ALLAN POE

Therefore, thou art not wrong, Israfel, who despisest An unimpassioned song; To thee the laurels belong, Best bard, because the wisest! Merrily live, and long!

The ecstasies above With thy burning measures suit Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love, With the fervor of thy lute Well may the stars be mute!

Yes, Heaven is thine; but this Is a world of sweets and sours; Our flowers are merelyflowers, And the shadow of thy perfect bliss Is the sunshine of ours.

If I could dwell Where Israfel Hath dwelt, and he where I, He might not sing so wildly well A mortal melody, While a bolder note than this might swell From my lyre within the sky.

1. Koranthe sacred book of Mohammedans. 2. "And the giddy stars...ceasing their hymns."It was an ancient belief that the stars gave forth heavenly music as they moved in their courses. 3. "her highest noon"position in which the moon is highest in the sky. 4. levinlightning. 5. Pleiads...sevenAccording to these stars were once the seven daughters of Atlas, the giant who supported the world on his shoulders. 6. Houri, a beautiful spirit of the Mohammedan paradise.

SELECTION II

This poem, which was the last one Poe wrote, is believed by many critics to be an idealization of his wife, Virginia Clemm, who died in 1847. It was published posthumously in the New York Tribune of October 9, 1849. In six stanzas of alternating four and three stress lines, the poem has been called "the culmination of Poe's lyric style in his recurrent theme of the loss of a beautiful and loved woman." Note especially the incantatory use of repetition not only in words and lines but also in sustained recapitulation as in lines 21-26.

41 4' HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

ANNABEL LEE

It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me.

She was a child and I was a child, In this kingdom by the sea, But we loved with a love than was more than love I and my Annabel Lee With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud by night Chilling my Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsmen came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, Went envying her and me: Yes! that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling And killing my Annabel Lee. But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we Of many far wiser than we

And neither the angels in Heaven above Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams withot bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

44 42 EDGAR ALLAN POE

And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride, In her sepulchre there by the sea In her tomb by the side of the sea.

SELECTIONS I and II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS of a ballad? Select words and phrases that give the poem its unreal atmosphere. Israfel FOR INTERPRETATION (OPTIONAL) 1. From his description of Israfel's song, what poetic techniques do you think Poe most ad-1. What is the mood of "Israfel?" of "Annabel mires? Find passages showing these tech-Lee?". niques. 2. Do youthinkthatPoe'spoetryistoo 2. Explain the last stanza of "Israfel." emotional? Explain your answer. Annabel Lee 3. What is your opinion of Poe as a poet? 4. Has the poetry of Poe had much influence on 1. Cite lines which support the idea that thethis genre in your country? If so, in what way? poem is an idealized account of Poe's dead5. Poe made good use of a number of poetic wife, Virginia Clemm. devices to create a mood appropriate to the 2. How does the poem illustrate the timeless- theme of his poems. The result is often a poem ness of love? How do you interpret the last four of almost haunting melody done with extreme lines of the last stanza? artistry. Make a list of examples of the following 3. Who do you think her "highborn kinsmen" poetic devices in the two poems, "Annabel are? (line 17). Lee" "Israfel": (end and internal), al- 4. What qualities of "Annabel Lee" remind you literarion, assonance, and repetition.

43 45 CHAPTER VII

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

Hawthorne was imbued with an inquir- ing imagination, an intensely meditative mind, and an unceasing interest in the ambiguity of man's being. He was an anatomist of "the interior of the heart," conscious of the loneliness of man in the universe, of the darkness that enshrouds all joy, and of the need of man to look into his own soul. In both his novels and his short stories, Hawthorne wrote essentially as a moralist. He was interested in what happened in the minds and hearts of men and women when they knew they had done wrong. He focused his examination on the moral and psychological consequences that man- ifested themselves in human beings as a result of their vanity, their hatred, their NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804-1864) egotism, their ambition, and their pride. What is Guilt? A stain upon the soul. And it is He was intrigued by the way they felt and a point of vast interest whether the soul may thewaythey acted when they knew they contract such stains, in all their depth and had done wrong. flagrancy, from deeds which may have been In "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," plotted and resolved upon, but which, physically, have never had existence. Must Hawthorne illustrates several sides of his the fleshy hand and visible frame of man set writing: his disenchanted view of human its seal to the evil designs of the soul, in order nature, his use of symbolism, and his in- to give them their entire validity against the terest in the supernatural. In addition, the sinner? Or, while none but crimes perpetrated story treats one of the new nineteenth cen- are cognizable before an earthly tribunal, will tury ideas that concerned Hawthorne: sci- guilty thoughtsof which guilty deeds are no more than shadowswill these draw down theentific experiment. The story itself is a full weight of a condemning sentence, in the stimulating and rewarding study of right supreme court of eternity? In the solitude of a and wrong in human conduct. midnight chamber or in a desert, afar from men or in a church, while the body is kneeling, the soul may pollute itself even with SELECTION I those crimes which we are accustomed to deem altogether carnal. If this be true, it is a fearful truth. "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," which first appeared in the author's Twice-Told Tales in From "Fancy's Show Box" in Hyatt H. 1837, asks the question so many of us ask our- Wassoner, Nathaniel Hawthorne: Selected selves: "If I had my life to live over, what Tales And Sketches, New York, : changes would I make?". In "Dr. Heidegger's Rinehart & Co., Inc., 1954 (Copyright 1950). Experiment," Hawthorne builds a fantasy around the idea of the Fountain of Youth and

44 46 provides the reader with logical but surprisingponderous folio, bound in black leather, answers. which common report affirmed to be a In that part of the story which precedes the book of magic. Undoing the silver clasps, excerpt reprinted below, Hawthorne has de- scribed the doctor, his four elderly guests, andhe opened the volume, and took from his weird-looking study. among its black-letter pages a rose, or what was once a rose, though now the green leaves and crimson petals had assumed From Dr. Heidegger's Experiment one brownish hue, and the ancient flower seemed ready to crumble to dust in the Such was Dr. Heidegger's study. On thedoctor's hands. summer afternoon of our tale a small "This rose," said Dr. Heidegger, with a round table, as black as ebony, stood in thesigh, "this same withered and crumbling centre of the room, sustaining a cut-glassflower, blossomed five and fifty years ago. vase of beautiful form and elaborateIt was given me by Sylvia Ward, whose workmanship. The sunshine cameportrait hangs yonder; and I meant to through the window, between the heavywear it in my bosom at our wedding. Five festoons of two faded curtains,and fifty years it has been treasured be- and fell directly across this vase; so that atween the leaves of this old volume. Now, mild splendor was reflected from it on thewould you deem it possible that this rose of ashen visages of the five old people who sathalf a century could ever bloom again?" around. Four champagne glasses were also "Nonsense!" said the Widow Wycherly, on the table. with a peevish toss of her head. "You "My dear old friends," repeated Dr.might as well ask whether an old woman's Heidegger, "may I reckon on your aid inwrinkled face could ever bloom again." performing an exceedingly curious "See!" answered Dr. Heidegger. experiment?" He uncovered the vase, and threw the Now Dr. Heidegger was a very strangefaded rose into the water which it con- old gentleman, whose eccentricity had be-tained. At first, it lay lightly on the surface come the nucleus for a thousand fantasticof the fluid, appearing to imbibe none of stories. Some of these fables, to my shameits moisture. Soon, however, a singular be it spoken, might possibly be traced backchange began to be visible. The crushed to my own veracious self; and if any pas-and dried petals stirred, and assumed a sages of the present tale should startle thedeepening tinge of crimson, as if the reader's faith, I must be content to bearflower were reviving from a death-like the stigma of a fiction monger. slumber; the slender stalk and twigs of When the doctor's four guests heardfoliage became green; and there was the him talk of his proposed experiment, theyrose of half a century, looking as fresh as anticipated nothing more wonderful thanwhen Sylvia Ward had first given it to her the murder of a mouse in an air pump,lover. It was scarcely full blown; for some or the examination of a cobweb by the mi-of its delicate red leaves curled modestly croscope, or some similar nonsense, witharound its moist bosom, within which two which he was constantly in the habit of pes-or three dewdrops were sparkling. tering his intimates. But without "That is certainly a very pretty decep- for a reply Dr. Heidegger hobbled acrosstion," said the doctor's friends; carelessly, the chamber, and returned with the samehowever, for they had witnessed greater

"4 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE miracles at a conjurer's show; "pray howit possessed cordial and comfortable pro- was it effected?" perties; and though utter sceptics as to its "Did you never hear of the Tounain ofrejuvenescent power, they were inclined to Youth'?" asked Dr. Heidegger, "whichswallow it at once. But Dr. Heidegger be- Ponce De Leon, the Spanish adventurer,sought them to stay a moment. went in search of two or three centuries "Before you drink, my respectable old ago?" friends," said he, "it would be well that, "But did Ponce De Leon ever find it?"with the experience of a lifetime to direct said the. Widow Wycherly. you, you should draw up a few general "No," answered Dr. Heidegger, "for herules for your guidance, in passing a sec- never sought it in the right place. Theond time through the perils of youth. famous Fountain of Youth, if I am rightlyThink what a sin and shame it would be, if, informed, is situated in the southern partwith your peculiar advantages, you should of the Floridian peninsula, not far fromnot become patterns of virtue and wisdom Lake Macaco. Its source is overshadowedto all the young people of the age!" by several gigantic magnolias, which, The doctor's four venerable friends though numberless centuries old, havemade him no answer, except by a feeble been kept as fresh as violets by the virtuesand tremulous laugh; so very ridiculous of this wonderful water. An acquaint-was the idea that, knowing how closely re- ance of mine, knowing my curiosity in suchpentance treads behind the steps of error, matters, has sent me what you see in thethey should ever go astray again. vase." "Drink, then," said the doctor, bowing: "Ahem!" said Colonel Killigrew, who be- lieved not a word of the doctor's story;"I rejoice that I have so well selected the "and what may be the effect of this fluid onsubjects of my experiment." the human frame?" With palsied hands, they raised the glas- "You shall judge for yourself, my dearses to their lips. The liquor, if it really pos- colonel," replied Dr. Heidegger; "and allsessed such virtues as Dr. Heidegger im- of you, my respected friends, are welcomeputed to it, could not have been bestowed to so much of this admirable fluid as mayon four human beings who needed it more restore to you the bloom of youth. For mywoefully. They looked as if they had never own part, having had much trouble inknown what youth or pleasure was, but growing old, I am in no hurry to growhad been the offspring of nature's dotage, young again. With your permission, there-and always the gray, decrepit, sapless, mis- fore, I will merely watch the progress oferable creatures, who now sat stooping the experiment." round the doctor's table, without life While he spoke, Dr. Heidegger hadenough in their souls or bodies to be ani- been filling the four champagne glassesmated even by the prospect of growing with the water of the Fountain of Youth. Ityoung again. They drank off the water, was apparently impregnated with an ef-and replaced their glasses on the table. fervescent gas, for little bubbles were con- Assuredly there was an almost im- tinually ascending from the depths of themediate improvement in the aspect of the glasses, and bursting in silvery spray at theparty, not unlike what might have been surface. As the liquor diffused a pleasantproduced by a glass of generous wine, to- perfume, the old people doubted not thatgether with a sudden glow of cheerful sun- 48 46 NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE shine brightening over all their visages atshadows of age were flitting from it like once. There was a healthful suffusion ondarkness from the crimson daybreak. their cheeks, instead of the ashen hue that Their fair widow knew, of old, that Co- had made them look so corpselike. Theylonel Killigrew's compliments were not gazed at one another, and fancied thatalways measured by sober truth; so she some magic power had really begun tostarted up and ran to the mirror, still smooth away the deep and sad inscriptionsdreading that the ugly visage of an old which Father Time had been so longwoman would meet her gaze. Meanwhile, engraving on their brows. The Widowthe three gentlemen behaved in such a Wycherly adjusted her cap, for she felt al-manner as proved that the water of the most like a woman again. Fountain of Youth possessed some in- "Give us more of this wondrous water!"toxicating qualities; unless, indeed, their cried they, eagerly. "We are youngerbutexhilaration of spirits were merely a light- we are still too old! Quickgive us more!"some dizziness caused by the sudden re- "Patience, patience!" quoth Dr. Heideg-moval of the weight of years. Mr. ger, who sat watching the experiment withGascoigne's mind seemed to run on politi- philosophic coolness. "You have been acal topics, but whether relating to the past, long time growing old. Surely, you mightpresent, or future, could not easily be de- be content to grow young in half an hour!termined, since the same ideas and phrases But the water is at your service." have been in vogue these fifty years. Now Again he filled their glasses with the liq-he rattled forth full-throated sentences uor of youth, enough of which still re-about patriotism, national glory, and the mained in the vase to turn half the oldpeople's right; now he muttered some people in the city to the age of their ownperilous or other, in a sly and doubt- grandchildren. While the bubbles were yetful whisper, so cautiously that even his own sparkling on the brim, the doctor's fourconscience could scarcely catch the secret; guests snatched their glasses from theand now, again, he spoke in measured ac- table, and swallowed the contents at acents, and a deeply deferential tone, as if a single gulp. Was it delusion? Even whileroyal ear were listening to his well-turned the draught was passing down theirperiods. Colonel Killigrew all this time had throats, it seemed to have wrought abeen trolling forth a jolly battle song, and change on their whole systems. Their eyesringing his glass in symphony with the grew clear and bright; a dark shadechorus, while his eyes wandered toward deepened among their silvery locks, theythe buxom figure of the Widow Wycherly. sat around the table, three gentlemen ofOn the other side of the table, Mr. Med- middle age, and a woman, hardly beyondbourne was involved in a calculation of dol- her buxom prime. lars and cents, with which was strangely "My dear widow, you are charming!"intermingled a project for supplying the cried Colonel Killigrew, whose eyes hadEast Indies with ice, by harnessing a team been fixed upon her face, while theof whales to the polar icebergs.

47 45 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

SELECTION I

Dr. Heidegger's Experiment 3. Where did Dr. Heidegger get the water in the vase? DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. Describe the "magic" water. 5. Why doesn't Dr. Heidegger want to be young again? 1. What importance does a rose play in the 6. How did the guests react to Dr. Heidegger's story? suggestion that they draw up a few general 2. Who was Sylvia Ward? rules for their guidance?

SELECTION II than ever; but a mild and moonlike splen- dor gleamed from within the vase, and The remainder of Hawthorne's story is re-rested alike on the four guests and on the printed here. doctor's venerable figure. He sat in a high-backed, elaborately-carved, oaken From Dr. Heidegger's Experiment arm-chair, with a gray dignity of aspect that might have well befitted that very concluded Father Time, whose power had never been disputed, save by this fortunate company. As for the Widow Wycherly, she stoodEven while quaffing the third draught of before the mirror courtesying and sim-the Fountain of Youth, they were almost pering to her own image, and greetingawed by the expression of his mysterious it as the friend whom she loved bettervisage. than all the world beside. She thrust her But, the next moment, the exhilarating face close to the glass, to see whethergush of young life shot through their some long-remembered wrinkle or crow'sveins. They were now in a happy prime foot had indeed vanished. She examinedof youth. Age, with its miserable train of whether the snow had so entirely meltedcares and sorrows and diseases, was re- from her hair that the venerable cap couldmembered only as the trouble of a dream, be safely thrown aside. At last, turningfrom which they had joyously awoke. The briskly away, she came with a sort of danc-fresh gloss of the soul, so early lost, and ing step to the table. without which the world's successive scenes "My dear old doctor," cried she, "prayhad been but a gallery of faded pictures, favor me with another glass!" again threw its enchantment over all their "Certainly, my dear madam, certainly!"prospects. They felt like new-created be- replied the complaisant doctor; "see! Iings in a new-created universe. have already filled the glasses." "We are young! We are young!" they There, in fact, stood the four glasses,cried exultingly. brimful of this wonderful water, the deli- Youth, like the extremity of age, had ef- cate spray of which, as it effervesced fromfaced the strongly-marked characteristics the surface, resembled the tremulous glit-of middle life, and mutually assimilated ter of diamonds. It was now so nearly sun-them all. They were a group of merry set that the chamber had grown duskieryoungsters, almost maddened with the ex-

J0 48 NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE uberant frolicsomeness of their years. Themained in their triple embrace. Never was most singular effect of their gayety was anthere a livelier picture of youthful rival- impulse to mock the infirmity and de-ship, with bewitching beauty for the prize. crepitude of which they had so lately beenYet, by a strange deception, owing to the the victims. They laughed loudly at theirduskiness of the chamber, and the antique old-fashioned attire, the wide-skirted coatsdresses which they still wore, the tall mir- and flapped waistcoats of the youngror is said to have reflected the figures of men, and the ancient cap and gown of thethe three old, gray, withered grandsires, blooming girl. One limped across the floorridiculously contending for the skinny ug- like a gouty grandfather; one set a pair ofliness of a shrivelled grandam. spectacles astride of his nose, and pretend- But they were young: their burning pas- ed to pore over the black-letter pages ofsions proved them so. Inflamed to mad- the book of magic; a third seated himselfness by the coquetry of the girl-widow, in an arm-chair, and strove to imitate thewho neither granted nor quite withheld venerable dignity of Dr. Heidegger. Thenher favors, the three rivals began to inter- all shouted mirthfully, and leaped aboutchange threatening glances. Still keeping the room. The Widow Wycherlyif sohold of the fair prize, they grappled fresh a damsel could be called a widowfiercely at one another's throats. As they tripped up to the doctor's chair, with astruggled to and fro, the table was over- mischievous merriment in her rosy face.turned, and the vase dashed into a "Doctor, you dear old soul," cried she,thousand fragments. The precious Water "get up and with me!" And then theof Youth flowed in a bright stream across four young people laughed louder thanthe floor, moistening the wings of a but- ever, to think what a queer figure the poorterfly, which, grown old in the decline of old doctor would cut. summer, had alighted there to die. The "Pray excuse me," answered the doctorinsect fluttered lightly through the quietly. "I am old and rheumatic, and mychamber, and settled on the snowy head of dancing days were over long ago. ButDr. Heidegger: either of these gay young gentlemen will "Come, come, gentlemen!--come, be glad of so pretty a partner." Madam Wycherly," exclaimed the doctor, "Dance with me, Clara!" cried Colonel"I really must protest against this riot." Killigrew. They stood still and shivered; for it "No, no, I will be her partner!" shoutedseemed as if gray Time were calling them Mr. Gascoigne. back from their sunny youth, far down "She promised me her hand, fifty yearsinto the chill and darksome vale of years. ago!" exclaimed Mr. Medbourne. They looked at old Dr. Heidegger, who sat They all gathered round her. Onein his carved arm-chair, holding the rose caught both her hands in his passionateof half a century, which he had rescued graspanother threw his arm about herfrom among the fragments of the shat- waistthe third buried his hand amongtered vase. At the motion of his hand, the the glossy curls that clustered beneath thefour rioters resumed their seats; the more widow's cap. Blushing, panting, strug- readily, because their violent exertions had gling, chiding, laughing, her warm breathwearied them, youthful though they were. fanning each of their faces by turns, she "My poor Sylvia's rose!" ejaculated Dr. strove to disengage herself, yet still re-Heidegger, holding it in the light of the

3EST PY AVAILABLE 49 51 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE sunset clouds; "it appears to be fading "Are we grown old again, so soon?" again." cried they, dolefully. And so it was. Even while the party were In truth they had. The Water of Youth looking at it, the flower continued topossessed merely a virtue more transient shrivel up, till it became as dry and fragilethan that of wine. The delirium which it as when the doctor had first thrown it intocreated had effervesced away. Yes! they the vase. He shook off the few drops ofwere old again. With a shuddering im- moisture which clung to its petals. pulse, that showed her a woman still, the "I love it as well thus as in its dewywidow clasped her skinny hands before freshness," observed he, pressing the with-her face, and wished that the coffin lid ered rose to his withered lips. While hewere over it, since it could be no longer spoke, the butterfly fluttered down frombeautiful. the doctor's snowy head, and fell upon the "Yes, friends, ye are old again," said Dr. floor. Heidegger, "and lo! the Water of Youth is His guests shivered again. A strangeall lavished on the ground. WellI be- chillness, whether of the body or spiritmoan it not; for if the fountain gushed at they could not tell, was creeping graduallymy very doorstep, I would not stoop to over them all. They gazed at one another,bathe my lips in itno, though its delirium and fancied that each fleeting momentwere for years instead of moments. Such is snatched away a charm, and left a deepen-the lesson ye have taught me!" ing furrow where none had been before. But the doctor's four friends had taught Was it an illusion? Had the changes of ano such lesson to themselves. They re- lifetime been crowded into so brief a space,solved forthwith to make a pilgrimage to and were they now four aged people, sit-, and quaff at morning, noon, and ting with their old friend, Dr. Heidegger? night, from the Fountain of Youth.

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS story? Do you feel that this manipulation adds to or detracts from the effectiveness of Dr. Heidegger's Experiment the story as a whole? 5. Whichelements in thestory are A. 1. Why did the characters have to be the romantic? Which are realistic? kind one could not admire? 6. Was it good to have a ratio of three men 2. Did their actions after drinking the magic to one woman? Why not two men and two liquid impress you as funny or sad? Explain women? Why do you think Hawthorne chose the reason for your answer. a woman who in her youth had been courted 3. What is Hawthorne's answer to the ques- by the men? tion on which the story hinges: Would we live our lives differentlyif we could live them B.1. Did you think the story had to end as it over? Do you agree with his conclusion? does? Could another outcome have been What value is there in speculating on a situ- possible? Explain your answer. ation that could not happen in actual life? 2. Canyoufindanyhumor in"Dr. 4. What is the function of the mirror in the Heidegger's Experiment"?

50 52 NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

3.Is the story an ? If so, in what 5. What do you think of Hawthome's skill as way? What symbols, if any, are used? a writer? How does he achieve it? Does he compare favorably with any writer of your 4. Does Hawthorne give the reader any nationalliteratureinstyleand subject foreshadowing of the ending? How? matter? Give examples.

OPTIONAL PROJECTS

FOR INTERPRETATION the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one preestablished design. And by such means, 1. In a critical review ofHawthorne's with such care and skill, a picture is at length TWICE-TOLD TALES, Edgar Allan Poe statedpainted which leaves in the mind of him who his own philosophy of short story writing. Usingcontemplates it with a kindred art, a sense of the following excerpt taken from that review as athe fullest satisfaction. The idea of the tale has guide, write a short composition in which youbeen presented unblemished, because undis- apply the principles set forth by Poe to "Dr. turbed; and this is an end unattainable by the Heidegger's Experiment." Try to show the ex- novel. Undue brevity is just as exceptionable tent to which Hawthorne's story does or does here as in the poem, but undue length is yet not fulfill Poe's philosophy. more to be avoided." "A skillfulliterary artist has constructed a2. The problem raised by "Dr. Heidegger's Ex- tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughtsperiment" is essentially: Is experience the best to accommodate his incidents; but having con- teacher? Prepare a speebh of three to five mi- ceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or nutes in length in which you consider this ques- single effect to be wrought out, he then inventstion. Keep in mind that Poor Richard (Benjamin such incidentshe then combines such eventsFranklin)said:"Experience keeps a dear as may best aid him in establishing this pre-school but a fool will learn in no other." Was he conceived effect.Ifhis very initial sentence right? Will a fool learn only from experience? tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he Hawthorne seems to question whether people has failed in his first step. In the whole composi- do learn from experience at all. With whom do tion, there should be no word written, of which you agree?

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51 ROMANTICISM AND REASON

During the half century when the literature values held dear by the majority of their discussed in this section was written, the countrymen. The thinkers in a society, writers United States went through some of the among them, are the persons most likely to greatest changes in its history. In the middle examine prevailing values and to discern of the 19th century it was still mainly a flaws in the social structure before these flaws country of farmers. Trade and manufacturing have been recognized by society as a whole. were growing more important with each This examination of values was as prevalent decade but it was not until the 1870s that a in the 19th century as it is in the 20th. majority of Americans were making a living in Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David non-farming occupations. Meanwhile, the Thoreau, for example, both denied that population soared from 23 million in 1850 to making money was as important as many 76 million in 1900. In the middle of the Americans believed. On the other hand, both century Negro was still a fact of authors strongly affirmed the rights of the American life. was being split in individualand the dignity of the individual two by it. The South defended slavery more was then and is now a vital part of the and more vigorously; the North criticized it American creed. Or take the case of Walt more and more earnestly. The bitter war Whitman. His attitude toward sex was far more waged between the North and South from tolerant than that of the rest of his 1861 to 1865 permanently altered the countrymenbut in his affirmation of character of American life. For many democracy throughout his poems, he peoplethe great poet Walt Whitman for expressed values shared by most Americans. oneit was the central fact of their lives. For Mark Twain seemed either to conform to the South it meant the lingering flavor of typical American values or to amuse his defeat; for the Negroes it meant freedom from audience by adroitly making fun of them. Yet slavery, if not all the freedom enjoyed by the underneath he felt a brooding pessimism not whites. only about American values but about life After the Civil War the nation entered a itself. The writings that he suppressed. and period of vast commercial expansion. which few knew about, show his gloom. By Railroads stretched from one end of the the time he died he considered life, at best, country to the other. Factories were built. an evil dream. Cities grew bigger. Fortunes were made. As we have seen, writers of the first half of Americans, whether native-born or the 19th century, such as Poe and Hawthorne, immigrants, earned more than ever before. were part of an international romantic trend in They had more opportunities, more freedom. literature and art. Among the many Often, as a result, they felt a patriotism, a trust characteristics of this romantic trend was a in their country, that made them sure that the stress on the individual instead of the group, United States was the greatest nation on on the wild instead of the tame, on the earth. Only a few of their fellow countrymen irregular instead of the regular. In addition, felt otherwise. However, these few included the Romanticism of Poe and Hawthorne was some of the most notable thinkers of the time, dark and brooding. But all American and, most significant for us, some of the best Romanticism was not. writers. The American Romanticists of the mid-19th Throughout history men have expressed century, who termed themselves [email protected] dissatisfaction with their present Transcendentalists and who were led by condition through the written and spoken Ralph Waldo Emerson, preached the positive word. Thus, it should not be surprising that in life. Their group included two of the most the United States, as in other countries, the significant writers America has produced so greatest writers have often questioned the far, Emerson and his young friend, Henry

54 52 David Thoreau. They became movers and cabin he built for himself. There he lived with shakers whose writing has had more and almost complete independence. more impact as time has gone on. Thoreau in his writing made two notable has been defined contributions to American ideas. One, just philosophically as the recognition in man of mentioned, was that people should live the capacity of knowing truth intuitively, or instead of working for a living. The other was of attaining knowledge transcending the that if people thought a law was unjust they reach of the senses." Emerson drew a sharp could resist it by civil disobedience. Gandhi distinction between the "Understanding," by was only one of many attracted by this idea which he meant the rational faculty, and the and he used it with enormous success in "Reason," by which he meant the India. The core of Gandhi's philosophy suprarational or intuitive faculty; and he appears in his Autobiography (1924). regarded the "Reason" as much more The doctrine of civil disobedience is at the authoritative in spiritual matters than the heart of the present-day struggle for civil "Understanding." "Nothing is at last sacred rights in the United States. The late Dr. Martin but the integrity of your own mind," he Luther King, who was greatly influenced by prodlaimed in a speech at Thoreau's ideas of non-violent resistance to in 1838 in which he glorified intuition and injustices, also espoused the non-violent repudiated all external religious authority. The teaching of Gandhi. Thoreau's best expression core ideas of transcendental thought in the of the idea of non-violence appears in his abstract can best be studied in Emerson. essay, "Civil Disobedience," the philosophy of There were also several other concepts that which took root in the thinking of both Gandhi accompanied Transcendentalism and which and King. have had even more influence. One was the Thoreau's best expression of the idea of idea that nature was ennobling, that men were independent living comes in his book, somehow better for being out in the woods or , which has become a literary classic. meadows; and that on the other hand About the time that Emerson and Thoreau commerce was degrading, that a life spent in were writing, two other great authors were business was a wasted life. Another was the developing their talents. They were Herman idea that the individual soul could reach God, Melville and Walt Whitman. Melville was a or as Emerson called him, the Over-Soul, storyteller whose fiction grew deeper and without the help of churches and clergy. deeper as he wrote. He started with travel and All these doctrines may sound more or less sea stories, based in part on his own abstract to us today. Yet there was intellectual adventures, and went on to tales as modern in dynamite in them. For 30 years in the middle their subtlety as anything written today. In of the 19th century, Emerson preached to between, he composed one of the most America through his lectures and essays. He significant novels of the 19th century, preached Transcendentalism and more than Moby-Dick. Moby-Dick is a whale pursued by Transcendentalism. He told us that we should the demonic captain of a whaling ship. To the be self-reliant and at the same time unselfish. captain the whale represents the evil of the He asserted that there was a greatness in us world. When he tries to destroy it, he himself all that needed only to be set free. And he is destroyed. The account is given in gave his message in prose poetry of splendid, sometimes old-fashioned prose. It is remarkable, individual beauty. Henry Thoreau interlarded with information on whales and stood ready to urge an even more powerful whaling and peopled with a brilliantly doctrine, but few listened.to him during assorted cast of characters, of whom the his short life.It was only later that the world captain remains the most memorable. paid attention. Then Thoreau became the Walt Whitman was determined to be the fiercest enemy American commercial life has poet of democracy. Though America has ever had. He insisted that getting a living never cared as much for poetry as for prose, stood in the way of life. To keep from having Whitman thought that he could reach the to work at jobs in which he had no interest, he American people by throwing aside the went to live for two years in the woods, in a traditional ornaments and prettiness of verse

53 55 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

and creating his own form. He worked at his Not that his optimism was automatic. He had great poem, or book of poems, Leaves of his somber or sad poems, too. But by and Grass, throughout his life. He developed a large he was the poet of the affirmative, and kind of , without rhyme or a fixed that helped to make him the one Americans rhythm but distinguished by Biblical loved best. Today his verse may sound trite, cadences and impressive repetition. Through and its optimistic tone may grate on us. Yet his new medium he tried constantly to reach Longfellow, though not a major poet, was a those people no other poet had reached. His notable minor one. poetry was for the lowest as well as the If Longfellow was the prototype of the highest on the American economic ladder. He public bard throughout the middle of put everybody in his poetry and tried to the century, Emily Dickinson was the reach everybody. opposite. Abnormally shy and retiring, she Yet, ironically enough, Whitman failed to lived her life in complete shadow. The poetry reach the common man, who would doubtless she wroteirregular in its rhyme and rhythm, have approved of being represented in poetry whimsical in its imagery, wry in its view of the but who was put off by Whitman's new poetic worldwas the reverse of Longfellow's. While form. If the common man liked any poetry, it she wrote, no one paid attention to her nor did was poetry of a traditional form. He was given she seem to wish anyone to. After her death poetry in this form by the man who her lyrics began to be circulated. They established himself as the most popular, aroused more and more enthusiasm. Today though by no means the best, American poet she is hailed as one of the outstanding of the 19th century. The poet was Henry American poets, eagerly studied by scholars Wadsworth Longfellow, once a college and critics who dismiss the popular classmate of Hawthorne. Longfellow. In an era when America was trying so hard Captivated by the effervescence of her to be new that it overlooked the riches of the poetry and its remarkable blend of wit, Old World, Longfellow pioneered in pathos, and love, the reader can easily studying.and then teachingEuropean become what Miss Dickinson was when she literature. In 1836 he became Harvard announced: College's professor of modern languages and stayed at Harvard for nearly 20 years. During Inebriate of air am I, And debauch6e of dew, that time he produced several volumes of Reeling, through endless summer days, poetry, of which The Belfry of Bruges and From inns of molten blue. Other Poems, according to some critics, was his best. In his lyrics he drew on the She wrote of death as much as of life, of techniques of European poetry, as well as on defeat more than of victory. Nevertheless, her his own native , and acquired a creative imagination turned the one into the mastery of rhyme and rhythm. The ideas he other. Death became life through a kind of expressed were generally simple ones and inner sight that is evident in many of her his technique displayed them to advantage. poems. For example, she says: He expressed them musically and powerfully, with the result that more people read him than I never saw a moor, any other American poet. I never saw the sea; Though his life was scarred by the tragic Yet know I how the heather looks, death of both his first and his second wife, his And what a wave must be. poetry struck a manly, affirmative note. He exhorted the reader in "A Psalm of Life": I never spoke with God Nor visited in heaven Yet certain am I of the spot Let us, then, be up and doing, As if the chart were given. With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait. Some versions give checks here. 6" Our next great writer was the man who Courage, about what it meant to be in battle. called himself Mark Twain. Born Samuel Set in the Civil War, it was marked by a Clemens, he grew up next to the convincing sense of reality in spite of the fact River, became a pilot on it, went to Nevada that Crane himself had never experienced and then to , and made his way into combat. He also wrote somber short stories literature via journalism. A thoroughly and bitter free verse. He provides an American writer, he traveled over a good deal introduction for us to the 20th century, when of the world and then reported his much writing, though certainly not all, is as travels in a jocular, often scoffing way. He bleak as his. The somber views of Mark Twain was not impressed by either Europe or and Stephen Crane were largely ignored by antiquity and showed it in his books. His Americans of that time. The country was full of independence and individualism delighted optimism. the American public. On the other hand, as he Lastly, we corrie to Henry James, who not grew older, he found he was not impressed byonly bridged the 19th and 20th centuries but many things in America, either. The nation he connected America and Europe. In his saw after the Civil War seemed a greedy one. slow-moving, magnificent fiction he shows He criticized it but was careful to do so in a what happens when characters from different humorous way. Because Mark Twain cultures meet. He himself was international. developed into a superb comic in both his Born in America of a distinguished American writing and in his many public appearances family, he died in England, a British subject. as a lecturer, the country refused to take his He knew the true meaning of changing criticism seriously. By the time he became an environments. old man, his view both of America and the His novels, and to a smaller extent his world was, we know, deeply pessimistic. short stories, have had much influence on Although both the Europe of the past and modern American writers. The intensity with the America of the present repelled him, one which he studied human beings and the depth great source of material remained for him to of his understanding of them have made him write about: his own boyhood. Turning to it one of the fathers of the psychological novel. in his prime, he drew from it the inspiration for In the major scenes in his fiction he slows up his two greatest works, The Adventures of time so that we can sense every nuance in a Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of conversation or a character's action. Huckleberry Finn. In Tom and Huck he Critics argue about what his best books are created characters so appealing that they but a good case can be made for two of his have become part of American mythology. novels in particular. One, The American, is an Both books are sagas of boyhood but the early novel. Its hero is a wealthy American second one in particular has a depth that the named Christopher Newman who goes to reader may not see at first glance. It is a book Paris and meets a beautiful widow from an for the discerning adult. Underneath the aristocratic French family. The widow falls in golden haze of boyhood there lies the sense love with him but her family, with one of evil and disaster that would haunt Twain as exception, detests him. They thwart the an aging man. proposed marriage; the widow enters a As the 19th century neared its end, a few convent and Newman is defeated. The other other writers saw life basically in the same novel, one of his middle period, is The hard terms as Mark Twain. One of them was Ambassadors. It is more nearly comic than another newspaper man, Stephen Crane, who tragic, and it is more urbane than The died just as the 20th century was beginning. American. In this case the European values He wrote novels about characters America are shown through sympathetic characters, wanted to disregard and he described while some of the American values are shown themand the bleak world in which they through the eyes of Massachusetts Puritans. livedso graphically that after his death his The ambassadors of the book's title are a works became . He composed his first mixed lot. But the leading one, Lambert novel, for example, about a prostitute. He Strether, is one of he most sympathetic wrote another, entitled The Red Badge of characters in Henry James's fiction.

55 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

As we end this section, the 20th century has 19th-century authors we have been reading, just begun, with some of the most exciting but there is no doubt that they would be literature that America has ever known. Its astounded, and we hope impressed, by the foundations have been firmly laid by the writing produced by their successors.

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56 CHAPTER VIII

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Emerson (1803-1882) developed into the leading author of the mid-19th cen- tury. As head of the Transcedental move- ment, he captained a group of revolution- ary Romanticists. Even if their numbers were few, their lasting importance was great. Among them was his closest friend, Henry Thoreau, and there is little doubt that he helped to form some of Thoreau's ideas. Emerson also influenced and en- couraged Walt Whitman. Emerson was born in Boston, where his father was a Unitarian clergyman, as six RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882) generations of Emersons had been be- A man's power to connect his thought with its fore him. While a student at Harvard proper symbol, and so to utter it, depends on he began keeping journalsrecords of the simplicity of his character, that is, upon his thoughts -a practice he continued his love of truth and his desire to throughout his life. He later drew on the communicate it without loss. The corruption of journals for material for his essays and man is followed by the corruption of poetry. After graduating, he ran a school language. When simplicity of character and for young ladies for a time, but eventually the sovereignty of ideas is broken up by the he returned to Harvard to study for the prevalence of secondary desires,the desire ministry. Following his second graduation of riches, of pleasure, of power, and of he served as pastor of a church for a few praiseand duplicity and falsehood take years, but finally resigned his position be- place of simplicity and truth, the power over nature as an interpreter of the will is in a cause he had doubts about the beliefs of degree lost; new imagery ceases to be the church. created, and old words are perverted to stand In 1832 Emerson toured Europe, meet- for things which are not; a paper currency is ingsuchmajorEnglishpoetsas employed, when there is no bullion in the Wordsworth, Carlyle, and Coleridge. vaults. In due time the fraud is manifest, and Through his acquaintance with these men words lose all power to stimulate the he became closely involved with German understanding or the affebtions. Hundreds of idealism and Transcendentalism. Return- writers may be found in every long-civilized ing to Boston, he devoted most of his time nation who for a short time believe and make to lecturing. An address that he delivered others believe that they see and utter truths, at the Harvard Divinity School in 1838 in who do not of themselves clothe one thought which he attacked formal religion and de- in its natural garment, but who feed unconsciously on the language created by the fended intuitive spiritual experience primary writers of the country, those, namely, aroused such an adverse reaction that he who hold primarily on nature. was not invited back to Harvard for 30 years. From his essay, "Nature" Emerson was concerned with many re-

57 59 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE form movements, among them the aboli- came from his ability as a speaker. Journals tion of slavery. In 1840 he joined withand speeches were the forms of communi- other Transcendentalists in an attempt tocation most natural to him, and his essays spread ideas through publication of awere usually derived from lectures he had small magazine named . already given. As a result even his written At this point in his career, Emerson'swork has a casual style. ideas seemed radical and dangerous. The Emerson's influence on American litera- ex-president of the United States, Johnture resulted not so much from the quality Quincy Adams, spoke of Emerson's "wildof his own writing, but from the guidance and visionary phantasies," which seemedand intellectual climate he provided for heretical. However, to the men andother writers such as Thoreau, Whitman, women of his generation, and to youngerand Emily Dickinson. In the American people, he seemed a liberator from oldScholar, in an article written in 1837, he conventions, a leader in experimentationcalled for a distinctive American style, and self-reliance. Emerson rejected whatdealing with American subjects. Emerson he considered to be the philosophy ofurged the American people to trust them- materialism and moral relativism preva-selves and give full rein to nature, which lent in both Europe and America. He re-he believed to be basically good. He jected both the formal religion of thewanted them to declare their independ- churches and the Deistic philosophy whichence both as individuals and as a na- portrayed the world as a watch-liketion. He said so most stirringly in "Self- mechanism set in motion by a deity whoReliance." His progress in this essay follows was no longer present. Emerson felt thisa spiral rather than a straight line, but that religion or philosophy was cold and emo- was the Transcendental way. He uses many tionles. His religion was based on an intui-comparisons, especially , and tive belief in an ultimate unity, which healthough he is not always easy to under- called the "Over-Soul." Because he be-stand in detail, the general idea of his work lieved in this unity, Emerson saw the world stands out clearly enough. Furthermore, as harmonious, with seeming inequalitieshe draws on his vast reading in the clas- balanced in the long run. sics of Western European literature, from Emerson envisioned religion as an emo-the days of Greece and down to the tional communication between an indi-mid-19th century. However, his basic mes- vidual soul and the universal "Over-Soul"sage does not depend on the influence of of which it was a part. He held that intui-these sources. Rather his references are tion was a more certain way of knowingsuggestive, used to enrich his theme. than reason and that the mind could intui- tively perceive the existence of the Over- SELECTION I Soul and of certain absolutes. Having this In this excerpt from "Self-Reliance" Emerson certain knowledge, a man should trusturges us to trust ourselves, rather than be ruled himself to decide what was right and to act by others' advice. accordingly. Later in his life, as his ideas gained From Self-Reliance popular acceptance, Emerson was hon- ored as a leading American philosopher There is a time in every man's educa- and writer. His greatest fame, however,tion when he arrives at the conviction that

6 RALPH WALDO EMERSON envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide;effort, and advancing on Chaos and the that he must take himself for better, forDark. worse, as his portion; that though the wide What pretty oracles nature yields us on universe is full of good, no kernel of nour-this text, in the face and behavior of chil- ishing corn can come to him but throughdren, babes, and even brutes! That divided his toil bestowed on that plot of groundand rebel mind, that distrust of a senti- which is given to him to till. The pow-ment because our arithmetic has com- er which resides in him is new in nature,puted the strength and means opposed to and none but he knows what that is whichour purpose, these have not. Their mind he can do nor does he know until he hasbeing whole, their eye is as yet uncon- tried. Not for nothing one face, one char-quered, and when we look in their faces we acter, one fact, makes much impression onare disconcerted. Infancy conforms to no- him, and another none. This sculpture inbody: all conform to it, so that one babe the memory is not without pre-establishedcommonly makes four or five out of the harmony. The eye was placed where oneadults who prattle and play to it. So God ray should fall, that it might testify of thathas armed youth and puberty and man- particular ray. We but half express our-hood no less with its own piquancy and selves, and are ashamed of that divine ideacharm, and made it enviable and gracious which each of us represents. It may beand its claims not to be put by, if it will safely trusted as proportionate and ofstand by itself. Do not think the youth has good issues, so it be faithfully imparted,no force, because he cannot speak to you but God will not have his work made mani-and me. Hark! in the next room his voice is fest by cowards. A man is relieved and gaysufficiently clear and emphatic. It seems when he has put his heart into his workhe knows how to speak to his contem- and done his best; but what he has said orporaries. Bashful or bold, then, he will done otherwise, shall give him no peace.know how to make us seniors very un- It is a deliverance which does not deliver.necessary. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no The nonchalance of boys who are sure muse befriends; no invention, no hope. of a dinner, and would disdain as much as Trust thyself: every heart vibrates toa lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, that iron string. Accept the place the di-is the healthy attitude of human nature. A vine providence has found for you, theboy is in the parlor what the pit is in the society of your contemporaries, the con-playhouse;' independent, irresponsible, nection of events. Great men have alwayslooking out from his corner on such peo- done so, and confided themselves childlikeple and facts as pass by, he tries and sen- to the genius of their age, betraying theirtences them on their merits, in the swift, perception that the absolutely trustworthysummary way of boys, as good, bad, in: was seated at their heart, working throughteresting, silly, eloquent, troublesome. He their hands, predominating in all theircumbers himself never about consequ- being. And we are now men, and must ac- cept in the highest mind the same transcen- 1. What the pit is in the playhouseIn English dent destiny; and not minors and invalids theaters of the 16th century, the pit, or ground in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing floor, was the cheapest location because it had no seats. The members of the audience who stood in before a revolution, but guides, redeem- the pit heckled the actors and made loud out- ers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty spoken criticisms of the performance.

59 61 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE ences, about interests: he gives an inde-necessary, would sink like darts into the pendent, genuine verdict. You must courtear of men, and put them in fear. him: he does not court you. But the man is, These are the voices which we hear in as it were, clapped into jail by his con-solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible sciousness. As soon as he has once acted oras we enter into the world. Society every- spoken with eclat, he is a committed per-where is in conspiracy against the man- son, watched by the sympathy or thehood of every one of its members. Society hatred of hundreds, whose affections mustis a joint-stock company, in which the now enter into his account. There is nomembers agree, for the better securing of Lethe2 for this. Ah, that he could passhis bread to each shareholder, to surren- again into his neutrality! Who can thusder the liberty and culture of the eater. avoid all pledges, and having observed, ob-The virtue in most request is conformity. serve again from the same unaffected, un-Self-reliance isits aversion. It loves not biassed, unbribable, unaffrighted inno-realities and creators, but names and cus- cence, must always be formidable. Hetoms. would utter opinions on all passing affairs, Whoso would be a man must be a non- which being seen to be not private, butconformist. He who would gather immor- tal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be 2. LetheIn Greek mythology, the river of forget-goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the ful ness. integrity of your own mind...

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (c) Whoso would be a man, must be a non- conformist. 1. "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that (d) Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity iron string" is one of Emerson's most quoted of your own mind. lines. Cite examples from the first two para- 3. What do you think Emerson means when he graphs of the excerpt which give Emerson's says that the adult is "clapped into jail by his reasons for his belief in self-reliance and ex- consciousness ?" plain each example. 4.In what way, according to Emerson, does youth exhibit force? 2. Explain why Emerson believes that 5. For Emerson conformity was not a desirable conformity is an enemy of self-reliance, basing characteristic for one to have. Do you think your explanation on the following quotations. there are times when conformity is desirable or (a) Infancy conforms to nobody; all conform even necessary? Explain your answer. to it. 6. To what extent are you self-reliant? Is it more (b) Society everywhereisinconspiracy difficult to be self-reliant in a modern, tech- against the manhood of every one of its nological society than in one which is more members. rural? RALPH WALDO EMERSON

SELECTION II But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this In this second excerpt from his noted essaycorpse of your memory, lest you contradict "Self-Reliance" Emerson does two things. First he admits frankly that the world condemns us ifsomewhat you have stated in this or that we are either independent or inconsistent.public place? Suppose you should con- Then he urges us to trust our own nature andtradict yourself; what then? It seems to be be independent and inconsistent anyway. He a rule of wisdom never to rely on your preaches to us as brilliantly as he ever preached memory alone, scarcely even in acts of from a pulpit in the clays when he was a minis- ter or from a lecture platform when he read to pure memory, but to bring the past for audiences throughout the country. judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day. In your From Self-Reliance, continued metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity; yet when the devout motions For non-conformity the world whips youof the soul come, yield to them heart and with its displeasure. And therefore a manlife, though they should clothe God with must know how to estimate a sour face.shape and color. Leave your theory, as The bystanders look askance on him in theJoseph his coat in the hand of the harlot,' public street or in the friend's parlor. Ifand flee. this aversation had its origin in contempt A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of and resistance like his own, he might welllittle minds, adored by little statesmen and go home with a sad countenance; but thephilosophers and divines. With consistency sour faces of the multitude, like their sweeta great soul has simply nothing to do. He faces, have no deep cause, but are put onmay as well concern himself with his and off as the wind blows and a newspapershadow on the wall. Speak what you think directs. Yet is the discontent of the mul-now in hard words and to-morrow speak titude more formidable than that of thewhat to-morrow thinks in hard words senate and the college. It is easy enoughagain, though it contradicts everything for a firm man who knows the world toyou said to-day.Ah, so you shall be sure brook the rage of the cultivated classes.to be misunderstood?'Is it so bad, then, Their rage is decorous and prudent, forto be misunderstood? Pythagoras was mis- they are timid as being very vulnerableunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and themselves. But when to their feminineLuther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and rage the indignation of the people isNewton, and every pure and wise spirit added, when the ignorant and the poorthat ever took flesh. To be great is to be are aroused, when the unintelligent brutemisunderstood. force that lies at the bottom of society is I suppose no man can violate his nature. made to growl and mow, it needs the habitAll the sallies of his will are rounded in by of magnanimity and religion to treat itthe law of his being, as the inequalities of godlike as a trifle of no concernment. Andes and Himmaleh2 are insignificant in The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence 1. Joseph...of the harlotThis is a reference to an for our past act or word, because the eyes episode in the Bible (Genesis 39:12) which relates of others have no other data for comput- the difficulties Joseph experienced while a slave in the house of an Egyptian master. ing our orbit than our past acts, and we are 2. HimmalehHimalayas, a mountain range in Asia; loath to disappoint them. Andes, a mountain range in South America.

61 63 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE the curve of the sphere. Nor does it matterof the whole creation. The man must be so how you gauge and try him. A charac- much, that he must make all circumstances ter is like an acrostic or Alexandrianindifferent. Every true man is a cause, stanza;read it forward, backward, or ac-a country, and an age; requires infinite ross, it still spells the same thing. In thisspaces and numbers and time fully to ac- pleasing, contrite wood-life which God al-complish his design;and posterity seems lows me, let me record day by day my hon-to follow his steps as a train of clients. A est thought without prospect or retrospect,man Caesar is born, and for ages after we and, I cannot doubt, it will be found sym-have a Roman Empire. Christ is born, and metrical, though I mean it not and see itmillions of minds so grow and cleave to not. My book should smell of pines andhis genius, that he is confounded with resound with the hum of insects. The swal-virtue and the possible of man. An insti- low over my window should interweavetution is the lengthened shadow of one that thread or straw he carries in his billman; as Monachism, of the Hermit An- into my web also. We pass for what we are. tony,3 the Reformation, of Luther,4 Character teaches above our wills. MenQuakerism, of Fox,' Methodism, of Wes- imagine that they communicate their vir-ley,6 Abolition, of Clarkson,' Scipio, Mil- tue or vice only by overt actions, and doton called "the height of Rome," and all not see that virtue or vice emit a breathhistory resolves itself very easily into the every moment.. . of a few stout and earnest I hope in these days we have heard the persons. last of conformity and consistency. Let Let a man then know his worth, and the words be gazetted and ridiculouskeep things under his feet. Let him not henceforward. Instead of the gong forpeep or steal, or skulk up and down with dinner, let us hear a whistle from thethe air of a charity-boy, a bastard, or an Spartan fife. Let us never bow and apo-interloper, in the world which exists for logize more. A great man is coming to eat at my house. I do not wish to please him; 3. Monachism, of the Hermit AntonyMonachism, a system of living according to fixed rules in I wish that he should wish to please me. I groups isolated from society and devoted to reli- will stand here for humanity, and though gion, was founded by the Egyptian hermit monk I would make it kind, I would make it St. Antony (251-356? A. D.). 4. The Reformation, of LutherMartin Luther true. Let us affront and reprimand the (1483-1546), a German theological writer and smooth mediocrity and squalid content- Biblical scholar and translator, was a leader of the Reformation, a 16th century religious movement ment of the times, and hurl in the face to reform the European which of custom, and trade, and office, the fact led to the establishment of the Protestant which is the upshot of all history, that there churches. 5. Quakerism, of FoxGeorge Fox (1624-1691), an is a great responsible Thinker and Actor English religious leader, founded the Society of working wherever a man works; that a true Friends, or Quakers, about 1650. 6. Methodism, of WesleyJohn Wesley (1703-1791), man belongs to no other time or place, but an English clergyman, founded the Methodist is the centre of things. Where he is, there church. is nature. He measures you, and all men,7. Abolition, of ClarksonThomas Clarkson (1760-1846) was the leader of an English move- and all events. Ordinarily, everybody in ment to abolish slavery. society reminds us of somewhat else, or of8. Scipio..."the height of Rome"Scipio was the Roman general who destroyed the city of Car- some other person. Character, reality, re- thage in 146 B.C.; John Milton, a British poet minds you of nothing else; it takes place (1608-1674).

62 64 RALPH WALDO EMERSON

him. But the man in the street, finding no to settleits claims to praise. That popular worth in himself which corresponds to thefable of the sot who was picked up dead force which built a tower or sculptured adrunk in the street, carried to the duke's marble god, feels poor when he looks onhouse, washed and dressed and laid in the these. To him a palace, a statue, or a costlyduke's bed, and, on his waking, treated book have an alien and forbidding air,with all obsequious ceremony like the much like a gay equipage, and seems to sayduke, and assured that he had been in- like that, "Who are you, sir?" Yet they allsane, owes its popularity to the fact, that it are his suitors for his notice, petitioners tosymbolizes so well the state of man, who is this faculties that they will come out andin the world a sort of sot, but now and then take possession. The picture waits for mywakes up, exercises his reason and finds verdict; it is not to command me, but I amhimself a true prince...

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS misunderstood, giving your reasons for this misunderstanding on the part of society? 1. Emerson states that besides conformity, the 6. How does Emerson feel that men should act other great enemy of self-relianceiscon- in the face of custom and tradition? In the face sistency. Explain how he develops each of the of smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment? following statements to advance his argument: Do you agree with him? Give your reasons. (a) A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of 7. Does Emerson consider Hermit Antony, little minds.. . Luther, Fox, Wesley, and Clarkson "true" men? (b) To be great is to be misunderstood. Explain. (c) An institution is the lengthened shadow 8. What is Emerson's concept of history: That of one man;. events make men or that outstanding men 2. How does the world punish nonconformists? 3. What does Emerson feel contrOls the at- shape events? Discuss. titudes of most bystanders of the cultivated 9. Write a short paragraph in which you explain classes? the meaning of the following quotations from 4. How is the rage of the cultivated classes dif- Emerson. ferent from that of the mass of society? (a) Every true man is a cause, a country, and 5. Emerson cites examples of men who have an age.. . been misunderstood in history. Do you agree (b)I suppose no man can violate his nature. withhischoices? Why or why not? Can (c) Let a man then know his worth, and keep you name others whom you feel have been things under his feet.

6 5 63 CHAPTER IX

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

Thoreau (1817-1862) was born in Con- cord, a village near Boston where many of the literary figures of the 19th century, in- cluding Emerson, lived. After graduating from Harvard and teaching school for a few years, Thoreau went to live with Emerson both to study with him and to work as a handyman. Later in his life he traveled a little, but in general Thoreau stayed near his home. He had a strong at- tachment to his family, and he preferred to travel vicariously through books. The trips he did take were often camping trips, for he enjoyed the outdoors and was a skillful woodsman. Both Thoreau's Transcendental phi- losophy and his scientific knowledge con- tributed to his love of nature. In A Week HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817-1862) on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, he wrote about a canoeing trip he made with I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of his brother. Later he built himself a cabin life, and see ifI could not learn what it had to in the woods by Walden Pond, and lived teach, and not, when I came to die, discover there for two years, reporting on his ex- that I had not lived.I did not wish to live what periences in Walden. He wanted to live was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to alone and to depend on his own mental practice resignation, unless it was quite and physical resources. He raised his own necessary.I wanted to live deep and suck out food and spent very little money, devoting all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and most of his time to study and reflection. Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not Thoreau's style is often conversational in life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to tone, similar to that found in Emerson's drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its journals, so on the surface his books seem lowest terms, and, ifit proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine to be nothing more than casual accounts of meanness of it, and publish its meanness to his trips. In reality, however, they are care- the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by fully arranged, their design helping to experience, and be able to give a true convey Thoreau's meaning. A Week on the account of it in my next excursion. Concord and Merrimack Rivers, for example, compresses a longer period of time into from Waldenseven days; different subjects are discussed each day. The progression of these sub- jects, and the daily cycle of sunrise and sunset provide the book's structure. Thoreau worked on the book for 10 years

6664 before finally publishing it at his own ex-ciple" as in any of his essays. He condemned all pense. kinds of compromise, as Emerson had done, Walden is also deceptively casual. Againand advised his fellow citizens to enjoy life for its own sake. They should spend their time, he Thoreau condensed his two and a halftold them, living rather. than getting a living. years in the woods into one year, stressingThoreau considered most activities of the aver- the unifying theme of seasonal changesage American to be a waste of time. In the first as he progressed from the summer growthof two excerpts from the essay he describes the of his bean crop to its harvest, and toirony of life in a village in which a man is praised for cutting clown the woods but con- the death of the plants and replantingdemned for walking in them to appreciate their in the spring. Thoreau uses the littlebeauty. world around Walden Pond to illustrate his philosophy and observations about life. Through his writing Thoreau wanted to From Life Without Principle illustrate that the pursuit of material things had no value. He desired a life of contem- Let us consider the way in which we plation, of being in harmony with nature,spend our lives. and of acting on his own principles. His This world is a place of business. What study of Eastern religions contributed toan infinite bustle!I am awaked almost his desire for a simple life, while his reac-every night by the panting of the locomo- tion against such pragmatists astive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no Benjamin Franklin is also apparent. Bothsabbath. It would be glorious to see man- Franklin and Thoreau advocated thriftkind at leisure for once. It is nothing but and hard work, but while Franklin ex-work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a pected the frugal to get richer and richer,blankbook to write thoughts in; they are Thoreau thought physical labor and acommonly ruled for dollars and cents. An minimum of material goods made menIrishman, seeing me making a minute in more sensitive and kept them closer to na-the fields, took it for granted that I was ture. calculating my wages. If a man was tossed In 1847 Thoreau was imprisoned brieflyout of a window when an infant, and so for refusing to pay a tax while the govern-made a cripple for life, or scared out of his ment supported a war he consideredwits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly unjust. His refusal to pay was consistentbecausehewasthusincapacited with his belief in using civil disobedienceforbusiness! I think that there is noth- to protest government actions, a philoso-ing, not even crime, more opposed to phy he explains in his essay, "Civil Dis-poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than obedience." He was also strongly opposedthis incessant business. to slavery. Thoreau was very much an in- There is a coarse and boisterous money- dividualist, distrusting group action andmaking fellow in the outskirts of our town, preferring to depend on individual reformwho is going to build a bankwall under the for the improvement of society. hill along the edge of his meadow. The powers have put this into his head to keep him out of mischief, and he wishes me to SELECTION I spend three weeks digging there with him. Thoreau stated his prickly doctrine of inde-The result will be that he will perhaps get pendence as powerfully in "Life Without Prin- some more money to hoard, and leave for

65 67 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE his heirs to spend foolishly. If I do this,and keeps society sweet,which all men most will commend me as an industriousrespect and have consecrated; one of the and hard-working man; but it I choose tosacred band, doing the needful but irk- devote myself to certain labors which yieldsome drudgery. Indeed, I felt a slight re- more real profit, though but little money,proach, because I observed this from a they may be inclined to look on me as anwindow, and was not abroad and stirring idler. Nevertheless, as I do not need theabout a similar business. The day went by, police of meaningless labor to regulate me,and at evening I passed the yard of and do not see anything absolutely praise-another neighbor, who keeps many ser- worthy in this fellow's undertaking anyvants, and spends much money foolishly, more than in many an enterprise of ourwhile he adds nothing to the common own or foreign governments, howeverstock, and there I saw the stone of the amusing it may be to him or them, Imorning lying beside a whimsical structure prefer to finish my education at a dif-intended to adorn this Lord Timothy ferent school. Dexter's' premises, and the dignity forth- If a man walks in the woods for lovewith departed from the teamster's labor, in of them half of each day, he is in danger ofmy eyes. In my opinion, the sun was made being regarded as a loafer; but if heto light worthier toil than this. I may add spends his whole day as a speculator,that his employer has since run off, in debt shearing off those woods and makingto a good part of the town, and, after pass- earth bald before her time, he is esteemeding through Chancery,2 has settled some- an industrious and enterprising citizen. Aswhere else, there to becomeonce more a if a town had no interest in its forests but topatron of the arts. cut them down! The ways by which you may get money Most men would feel insulted if it werealmost without exception lead downward. proposed to employ them in throwingTo have done anything by which you stones over a wall, and then in throw-earned money merely is to have been truly ing them back, merely that they mightidle or worse. If the laborer gets no more earn their wages. But many are no morethan the wages which his employer pays worthily employed now. For instance: justhim, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If after sunrise, one summer morning, Iyou would get money as a writer or lec- noticed one of my neighbors walking be-turer, you must be popular, which is to go side his team, which was slowly drawingdown perpendicularly. Those services a heavy hewn stone swung under the axle,which the community will most readily pay surrounded by an atmosphere of indus-for, it is most disagreeable to render. You try,--his day's work begun,his broware paid for being something less than a commenced to sweata reproach to allman. The State does not commonly re- sluggards and idlerspausing abreast theward a genius any more wisely. Even the shoulders of his oxen, and half turning round with a flourish of his merciful whip,I. Timothy DexterAmerican Merchant (1747- while they gained their length on him. 1806) who gained a fortune from the American Revolution and by shrewd mercantile transactions. And I thought, such is the labor which He was called "Lord Timothy Dexter" by his fel- the American Congress exists to protect, lows. He also wrote a book in which he spelled words as he pleased and left outall punctuation. honest, manly toil,honest as the day 2. Chancerya court having jurisdiction in cases not is long,that makes his bread taste sweet, fully covered by common law.

68 66 HENRY DAVID THOREAU poet-laureate would rather not have tothere told me that the sellers did not wish celebrate the accidents of royalty. He mustto have their wood measured correct- be bribed with a pipe of wine; and perhapsly,that he was already too accurate for another poet is called away from his musethem, and therefore they commonly got to gauge that very pipe. As for my owntheir wood measured in Charlestown be- business, even that kind of surveyingfore crossing . which I could do with most satisfaction my The aim of the laborer should be, not employers do not want. They would preferto get his living, to get "a good job," but to that I should do my work coarsely and notperform well a certain work; and, even in a too well, ay, not well enough. Whenpecuniary sense, it would be economy for I observe that there are different waysa town to pay its laborers so well that they of surveying, my employer commonlywould not feel that they were working for asks which will give him the most land, not low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but which is most correct. I once invented afor scientific, or even moral ends. Do not rule for measuring cord-wood, and tried tohire a man who does your work for money, introduce it in Boston; but the measurerbut him who does it for love of it...

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS man's labor was lost. Why was this so? Do you agree with Thoreau's opinion? Why or why not? 1. Like Emerson, Thoreau was a Transcenden- 6. Thoreau says "to have done anything by talist. What similarities do you see in their which you earn money merely is to have been attitudes? truly idle or worse." What does he mean by this 2. According to Thoreau, in what way does bu- statement? siness control the life and thought of people? 7. What kind of services is Thoreau referring to 3. Why did Thoreau turn down a job he was when he observes thatthe services which offered? Where does heprefer to get his the community will most readily pay for are the education? most disagreeable to render?" Do you feel 4. What was the attitude toward work com- the same way? Explain. monly held in Thoreau's day? 8. What should the aim of a laborer be? 5.In his account of the labor of the man hauling 9. What does Thoreau think about making a stone, Thoreau implies that the dignity of the money?

SELECTION II as on the West Coast. Thoreau says that the so-called wise men he hears of really have no In his second excerpt Thoreau presses hiswisdom about life to give him. He learns little point further. As one of the crudest, and odd- from what they preach in the pulpit or on the est, ways of making a living, he cites the digging lecture platform. for gold in California, which had begun not long before he wrote the essay. But he says in a From Life Without Principle, continued part of the essay not included here that New England is just as bad as California. Life with Perhaps I am more than usually jealous principle is just as hard to live on the East Coastwith respect to my freedom. I feel that my

67 6S HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE connection with and obligation to societyfall of man, and never make an effort to are still very slight and transient. Thoseget up. slight labors which afford me a livelihood, As for the comparative demand which and by which it is allowed that I am to somemen make on life, it is an important differ- extent serviceable to my contemporaries, ence between two, that the one is satisfied are as yet commonly a pleasure to me, andwith a level success, that his marks can all I am not often reminded that they are abe hit by point-blank shots, but the other, necessity. So far I am successful. But Ihowever low and unsuccessful his life may foresee that if my wants should be muchbe, constantly elevates his aim, though at a increased, the labor required to supplyvery slight angle to the horizon. I should them would become a drudgery. If Imuch rather be the last man,though, as should sell both my forenoons and after-the Orientals say, "Greatness cloth not ap- noons to society, as most appear to do, Iproach him who is forever looking down; am sure that for me there would be no-and all those who are looking high are thing left worth living for. I trust that Igrowing poor." shall never thus sell my birthright for a It is remarkable that there is little or mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that anothing to be remembered written on man may be very industrious, and yet notthe subject of getting a living; how to spend his time well. There is no more fatalmake getting a living not merely honest blunderer than he who consumes the grea-and honorable, but altogether inviting and ter part of his life getting his living. Allglorious; for if getting a living is not so, great enterprises are self-supporting. Thethen living is not. One would think, from poet, for instance, must sustain his body bylooking at literature, that this question had his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds itsnever disturbed a solitary individual's boilers with the shavings it makes. Youmusings. Is it that men are too much dis- must get your living by loving. But as it isgusted with their experience to speak of it? said of the merchants that ninety-seven inThe lesson of value which money teaches, a hundred fail, so the life of men gener-which the Author of the Universe' has ally, tried by this standard, is a failure, andtaken so much pains to teach us, we are bankruptcy may be surely prophesied. inclined to skip altogether. As for the Merely to come into the world the heir ofmeans of living, it is wonderful how indif- a fortune is not to be born, but to be still-ferent men of all classes are about it, even born, rather. To be supported by the chari-reformers, so called,whether they in- ty of friends, or a government-pension,herit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Soci- provided you continue to breathe,byety has done nothing for us in this respect, whatever fine synonyms you describeor at least has undone what she has done. these relations, is to go into the almshouse.Cold and hunger seem more friendly to On Sundays the poor debtor goes tomy nature than those methods which men church to take an account of stock, andhave adopted and advise to ward them off. finds, of course, that his outgoes have The title wise is, for the most part, been greater than his income. In thefalsely applied. How can one be a wise Catholic Church, especially, they go intoman, if he does not know any better how to chancery, make a clean confession, givelive than other men?if he is only more up all, and think to start again. Thus men will lie on their backs, talking about the 1. Author of the UniverseGod.

68 7 0 HENRY DAVID THOREAU cunning and intellectually subtle? Doesinstitutions! The conclusion will be, that Wisdom work in a treadmill? or does shemankind will hang itself upon a tree. And teach how to succeed by her example? Is have all the precepts in all the there any such thing as wisdom not ap-taught men only this? and is the last and plied to life? Is she merely the miller whomost admirable invention of the human grinds the finest logic? It is pertinent to ask race only an improved muck-rake? Is this if Plato got his living in a better way orthe ground on which Orientals and Occi- more successfully than his contempo-dentals meet? Did God direct us so to get raries,or did he succumb to the diffi-our living, digging where we never culties of life like other men? Did he seemplanted,and He would, perchance, re- to prevail over some of them merely byward us with lumps of gold? indifference, or by assuming grand airs? God gave the righteous man a certificate or find it easier to live, because his auntentitling him to food and raiment, but remembered him in her will? The ways inthe unrighteous man found a facsimile which most men, get their living, that is,of the same in God's coffers, and ap- live, are mere make-shifts, and a shirkingpropiated it, and obtained food and rai- of the real business of life,chiefly be-ment like the former. It is one of the most cause they do not know, but partly becauseextensive systems of counterfeiting that they do not mean, any better. the world has seen. I did not know that The rush to California, for instance, andmankind was suffering for want of gold. I the attitude, not merely of merchants, buthave seen a little of it. I know that it is very of philosophers and prophets, so called, inmalleable, but not so malleable as wit. A relation to it, reflect the greatest disgracegrain of gold will gild a great surface, but on mankind. That so many are ready tonot so much as a grain of wisdom. live by luck, and so get the means of com- The gold-digger in the ravines of the manding the labor of others less lucky,mountains is as much a gambler as his fel- without contributing any value to society!low in the saloons of San Francisco. What And that is called enterprise! I know of nodifference does it make whether you shake more startling development of the immo-dirt or shake dice? If you win, society is the rality of trade, and all the common modesloser. The gold-digger is the enemy of of getting a living. The philosophy andthe honest laborer, whatever checks and poetry and religion of such a mankind arecompensations there may be. It is not not worth the dust of a puff-ball. The hogenough to tell me that you worked hard to that gets his living by rooting, stirring upget your gold. So does the Devil work the soil so, would be ashamed of such com-hard. The way of transgressors may be pany. If I could command the wealth ofhard in many respects. The humblest ob- all the worlds by lifting my finger, I wouldserver who goes to the mines sees and says not pay such a price for it. Even Mahometthat gold-digging is of the character of a knew that God did not make this world inlottery; the gold thus obtained is not the jest. It makes God to be a moneyed gen-same thing with the wages of honest toil. tleman who scatters a handful of penniesBut, practically, he forgets what he has in order to see mankind scramble forseen, for he has seen only the act, not the them. The world's raffle! A subsistence inprinciple, and goes into trade there, that is, the domains of Nature a thing to be raffledbuys a ticket in what proves another lottery, for! What a comment, what a satire, on ourwhere the fact is not so obvious...

69 71 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 9. What do you think makes the writings of Thoreau popular today? 1. Thoreau denied that he was a reformer. What 10. Write a short paragraph in which you ex- is the difference between a reformer and a plain what the following quotes from Thoreau philosopher? What is the basis for Thoreau's mean to you: contention that working merely for money is undignified? (a) "The title wise is,for the most part, 2. Do you agree with Thoreau that work should falsely applied. How can one be a wise be pleasurable and not drudgery? Explain your man, if he does not know any better answer. how to live than other men?if he is 3. How can a very industrious man be a "fatal only more cunning and intellectually blunderer?" subtle?". 4. Can you give a definition of Wisdom which (b) "'Greatness doth not approach him would probably satisfy Thoreau? who is forever looking down; and all 5. What kind of labor would Thoreau feel con- those who are looking high are growing tributes to society? poor.' 6. What is Thoreau's opinion of people who live (c)"I wish to suggest that a man may be on inherited wealth or on money from charity or very industrious, and yet not spend his a pension? Is his opinion justified? Explain your time well. There is no more fatal blun- answer. dererthanhe who consumes the 7. Why does the author finditstrange that greater partofhislifegetting his nothing has been written on the subject of get- living." ting a living? (d) "Do not hire a man who does your work 8. How, according to Thoreau, is the hunting of for money, but him who does it for love gold like gambling? What is his attitude toward of it." gambling? (e) "You must get your living by loving."

7270 CHAPTER X

HERMAN MELVILLE

Melville (1819-1891) was born in . Though both his parents came ;.,4?.,;..1/3;.- from well-to-do families, a family business failure and, soon after, the death of his father made it necessary for him to leave school at the age of 15. He worked as a clerk, a farmer and a teacher, before be- Coming a cabin boy on a ship. His shipboard experience served as the basis for a semiautobiographical novel, Redburn, concerning the sufferings of a genteel youth among brutal sailors. This ,- theme of a youth confronted by realities ., .. and evils for which he is unprepared is a prominent one inMelville's works. Though based on Melville's experiences, the hero of the novel was more callow and unhappy than Melville himself was, for the HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-1891) sailing experience also gave him a love of "It is with fiction as with religion. It should the sea, and aroused his desire for adven- present another world, and yet one to which ture. we feel the tie." In 1841 Melville went to the South Seas on a whaling ship, where he gained the information about whaling that he later used in Moby-Dick. After jumping ship in "There is no faith, and no stoicism, and no the Marquesa Islands, he and a friend philosophy, that a mortal man can possibly were captured by some of the islanders. evoke, which will stand the final test in a real They lived with these people for a month, impassioned onset of Life and Passion. Faith then escaped on an Australian ship, desert- and philosophy are air; but events are brass." ing the latter in Tahiti, where they worked from his Pierrefor a time as field laborers. Melville finally returned to the United States as a seaman on an American ship. These experiences provided material for his first and most popular books, which are primarily adven- ture stories. In 1850 Melville moved to a farm in Massachusetts where Nathaniel Haw- thorne was his neighbor. The latter soon became a confidant with whom Melville often discussed his work. As he changed from writing adventure stories to philo-

71 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE sophical and symbolic works, Melville'sroot out evilis the captain of the Pequod, popularity began to wane. From the writ-Ahab. A man with an overwhelming obses- ing of complex novels such as Moby-Dick,sion to kill the whale which had crippled Pierre, and The Confidence Man, Melvillehim, he is Melville's greatest creation. He turned to writing poetry. But unable toburns with a baleful fire, becoming evil support himself by his writing, he securedhimself in his thirst to destroy evil. a political appointment as a customs in- spector in New York. When he retired SELECTIONI from that job, after 20 years, he wrote the In the two excerpts given here, the great novelette, , completing it justchase is ending and we are close to the conclu- before his death. It was not until the 1920ssion of the book. The Pequod has finally that his work again came to the attentionsighted Moby-Dick. The boats have been low- of literary scholars and the public. Hisered in pursuit of the whale, which has already reputation now rests not only on his rich, smashed two of them. poetic prose, but also on his philosophy and his effective use of symbolism. From Moby-Dick Melville composed the first American prose epic, Moby-Dick. (An epic is generally Chapter 84 a long poem on an important theme.) Al- though Moby-Dick is presented in the form Whether fagged by the three days' run- of a novel, at times it seems like a prosening chase, and the resistance to his poem. It is difficult to read for twoswimming in the knotted hamper he bore; reasons. Much of the talk in the novelor whether it was some latent deceitfulness is sailor talk, and much of the language isand malice in him: whichever was true, the purposely old-fashioned, for effect. ThisWhite Whale's way now began to abate, as technique of Melville's style was inspiredit seemed, from the boat so rapidly nearing by the great authors of Elizabethan Eng-him once more; though indeed the whale's land. last start had not been so long a one as The plot of Moby-Dick deals with thebefore. And still as Ahab glided over the ceaseless conflicts between good and evil,waves the unpitying sharks accompanied of nature's indifference to man "visiblyhim; and so pertinaciously stuck to the personified and made practically assail-boat; and so continually bit at the plying able." Melville makes this conflict live foroars, that the blades became jagged and us not by putting it into simple statementscrunched, and left small splinters in the but by using symbolsthat is, objects orsea, at almost every dip. persons who represent something else. "Heed them not! those teeth but give The white whale, Moby-Dick, symbolizesnew rowlocks to your oars. Pull on! 'tis the nature for MelVille, for it is complex, un-better rest, the sharks' jaw than the yield- knowable and dangerous. For the charac-ing water." ter Ahab, however, the whale represents "But at every bite, sir, the thin blades only evil. The prime symbol of good is thegrow smaller and smaller!" first mate of the ship Pequod, a man named "They will last long enough! pull on! Starbuck. And the prime symbol of the--But who can tell"--he muttered- good that is destroyed by eviland in this"whether these sharks swim to feast on the case is destroyed by a consuming desire towhale or on Ahab?But pull on! Aye, all

7 4 72 HERMAN MELVILLE alive, nowwe near him. The helm! takeseats, and tow the boat up to the mark; the the helm! let me pass,"and so saying,moment the treacherous line felt that dou- two of the oarsmen helped him forwardble strain and tug, it snapped in the empty to the bows, of the still flying boat. air! At length as the craft was cast to one "What breaks in me? Some sinew side, and ran ranging along with the Whitecracks!'tis whole again; oars! oars! Burst Whale's flank, he seemed strangely oblivi-in upon him!" ous of its advanceas the whale sometimes Hearing the tremendous rush of the willand Ahab was fairly within thesea-crashing boat, the whale wheeled smoky mountain mist, which, thrown offround to present his blank forehead at from the whale's spout, curled round hisbay; but in that evolution, catching sight of great Monadnock' hump; he was eventhe nearing black hull of the ship; seem- thus close to him; when, with body archedingly seeing in it the source of all his perse- back both arms lengthwise high-lifted tocutions; bethinking itit may bea larger the poise, he darted his fierce iron, and hisand nobler foe; of a sudden, he bore down far fiercer curse into the hated whale. Asupon its advancing prow, smiting his jaws both steel and curse sank to the socket, as ifamid fiery showers of foam. sucked into a morass, Moby Dick sidewise Ahab staggered; his hand smote his writhed; spasmodically rolled his nighforehead. "I grow blind; hands! stretch out flank against the bow, and, without stavingbefore me that I may yet grope my way. a hole in it, so suddenly canted the boatIs't night?" over, that had it not been for the elevated "The whale! The ship!" cried the cring- part of the gunwale to which he thening oarsmen. clung, Ahab would once more have been "Oars! oars! Slope downwards to thy tossed into the sea. As it was, three of thedepths, 0 sea that ere it be for ever too oarsmenwho foreknew not the preciselate, Ahab may slide this last, last time instant of the dart, and were therefore un-upon his mark! I see: the ship! the ship! prepared for its effectsthese were flungDash on, my men! will ye not save my out; but so fell, that, in an instant two ofship?" them clutched the gunwale again, and ris- But as the oarsmen violently forced their ing to its level in a combing wave, hurledboat through the sledge-hammering seas, themselves bodily inboard again; the thirdthe before whale-smitten bowends of two man helplessly dropping astern, but stillplanks burst through, and in an instant afloat and swimming. almost, the temporarily disabled boat lay Almost simultaneously, with a mightynearly level with the waves; its half- volition of ungraduated, instantaneouswading, splashing crew, trying hard to stop swiftness, the White Whale darted throughthe gap and bale out the pouring water. .. the weltering sea. But when Ahab cried out to the steersman to take new turns1. Monadnocka mountain or rocky mass that has resisted erosion and stands isolated in a plain; with the line, and hold it so; and com- taken from the name Mount Monadnock, an iso- manded the crew to turn round on their lated peak in the state of .

'75

73 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. What happened after Ahab sent his harpoon into Moby Dick's body? 1. The men in Ahab's boat were in constant5. What does Ahab mean by "I grow blind. Is't danger of death from three sources. What werenight?" they? 6. How did the men try to escape the charging 2.If men had to die, which death would Ahabwhale? prefer? 7. How good is Melville at describing action? 3. Ahab's boat approached Moby Dick's side 8.Is there any notable literature in your country and Ahab was soon standing "in a smoky moun- about the sea? If so, what are the most com- tain mist." What was this mist? monly used themes?

SELECTION 11 my life-long fidelities? Ah, Ahab, Ahab, lo, thy work. Steady! helmsman, steady. Nay, In this second excerpt the characters notNay! Up helm again! He turns to meet us! named before are from the Pequod:Stubb,the second mate and Tashtego, the Indian har-Oh, his unappeasable brow drives on to- pooner with his symbolic hammer. Ahab killswards one, whose duty tells him he cannot the white whale but all the human beings in-depart. My God, stand by me now!" volved, except the narrator, die in the process. "Stand not by me, but stand under me, At the end only nature, symbolized by the sea,whoever you are that will now help Stubb; remains, moving but unmoved. for Stubb, too, sticks here. I grin at thee, thou grinning whale! Who ever helped From Moby-Dick Stubb, or kept Stubb awake, but Stubb's own unwinking eye? And now poor Stubb Chapter 84,concluded goes to bed upon a mattress that is all too soft; would it were stuffed with Meantime, for that one beholdingin- brushwood! I grin at thee, thou grinning stant, Tashtego's mast-head hammerre-whale! Look ye, sun, moon, and stars! I call mained suspended in his hand; andtheye assassins of as good a fellow as ever red flag, half-wrapping him as with aspouted up his ghost. For all that, I would plaid, then streamed itself straight outyet ring glasses with thee, would ye but from him, as his own forward-flowinghand the cup! Oh, oh, oh, oh! thou grin- heart; while Starbuck and Stubb, standingning whale, but there'll be plenty of gulp- upon the bowsprit beneath, caught sight ofing soon! Why fly ye not, 0 Ahab! For me, the down-coming monster just as soon asoff shoes and jacket to it; let Stubb die in he. his drawers! A most mouldy and over "The whale, the whale! Up helm, upsalted death, though;cherries! cherries! helm! Oh, all ye sweet powers of air, nowcherries! Oh, Flask, for one red cherry ere hug me close! Let not Starbuck die, if diewe die!" he must, in a woman's fainting fit. Up "Cherries? I only wish that we were helm, I sayye fools, the jaw! the jaw! Iswhere they grow. Oh, Stubb, I hope my this the end of all my bursting prayers? allpoor mother's drawn my part-pay ere this;

74 76 HERMAN MELVILLE

if not, few coppers will now come to her,whole foregone life, and top this one piled for the voyage is up." comber of my death! Towards thee I roll, From the ship's bows, nearly all the sea-thou all-destroying but unconquering men now hung inactive; hammers, bits ofwhale; to the last I grapple with thee; plank, lances, and harpoons, mechanically from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's retained in their hands, just as they hadsake I spit my last at thee. Sink all darted from their various employments;coffins and all hearses to one common all their enchanted eyes intent upon thepool! and since neither can be mine, let me whale, which from side to side strangelythen tow to pieces, while still chasing thee vibrating his predestinating head, sent athough tied to thee, thou damned whale! broad band of over spreading semicircularThus, I give up the spear!" foam before him as he rushed. Retribu- The harpoon was darted; the stricken tion, swift vengeance, eternal malice werewhale flew forward; with igniting velocity in his whole aspects, and spite of all thatthe line ran through the groove;ran mortal man could do, the solid white but-foul. Ahab stooped to clear it; he did clear tress of his forehead smote the ship's star-it; but the flying turn caught him round board bow, till men and timbers reeled.the neck, and voicelessly as Turkish mutes Some fell flat upon their faces. Like dis-bowstring their victim, he was shot out of lodged trucks, the heads of the harpoonersthe boat, ere the crew knew he was gone. aloft shook on their bull-like necks.Next instant, the heavy eye-splice in the Through the breach, they heard the wa-rope's final end flew out of the stark- ters pour, as mountain torrents down aempty tub, knocked down an' oarsman, flume. and smiting the sea, disappeared in its "The ship! The hearse!the seconddepths. hearse!" cried Ahab from the boat; "its For an instant, the tranced boat's crew wood could only be American!" stood still; then turned. "The ship? Great Diving beneath the settling ship, theGod, where is the ship?" Soon they whale ran quivering along its keel; butthrough dim, bewildering mediums saw turning under water, swiftly shot to theher sidelong fading phantom, as in the surface again, far off the other bow, butgaseous Fata Morgana, only the upper- within a few yards of Ahab's boat, where,most masts out of water; while fixed by for a time, he lay quiescent. infatuation, or fidelity, or fate, to their "I turn my body from the sun. What ho,once lofty perches, the pagan harpooners Tashtego! let me hear thy hammer. Oh! yestill maintained their sinking look-outs on three unsurrendered spires of mine; thouthe sea. And now, concentric circles seized untracked keel; and only god-bullied hull;the lone boat itself, and all its crew, and thou firm deck, and haughty helm, andeach floating oar, and every lance-pole, Pole-pointed prow,death-glorious ship!and spinning, animate and inanimate, all must ye then perish, and without me? Amround and round in one vortex, carried I cut off from the last fond pride ofthe smallest chip of the Pequod out of meanest ship-wrecked captains? Oh, lonely sight. death on lonely life! Oh, now I feel my But as the last whelmings intermixingly topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief. poured themselves over the sunken head Ho, ho! from all your furthest bounds,of the Indian at the mainmast, leaving a pour ye now in, ye bold billows of myfew inches of the erect spar yet visible, to-

75 7 7 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE gether with long streaming yards of thethe submerged savage beneath, in his flag, which calmly undulated, with ironical death-gasp, kept his hammer frozen there; coincidings, over the destroying billowsand so the bird of heaven, with archangelic they almost touched;at that instant, ashrieks, and his imperial beak thrust up- red arm and a hammer hovered back-wards, and his whole captive form folded wardly uplifted in the open air, in the actin the flag of Ahab, went down with his of nailing the flag faster and yet faster toship, which, like Satan, would not sink to the subsiding spar. A skyhawk that taunt-hell till she had dragged a living part of ingly had followed the main-truck down-heaven along with her, and helmeted her- wards from its natural home among theself with it. stars, pecking at the flag, and incommod- Now small fowls flew screaming over the ing Tashtego there; this bird now chancedyet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat to intercept its broad fluttering wing be-against its steep sides; then all collapsed, tween the hammer and the wood; andand the great shroud of the sea rolled on simultaneously feeling that ethereal thrill,as it rolled 5,000 years ago.

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 6. What is the symbolism of the bird caught between Tashtego's hammer and the sinking 1. What is the meaning of Ahab's cry, "Am I cutflag? off from the last fond pride of meanest ship-7. What is the effect of the ending on the wrecked captains? Oh, lonely death on lonely reader? life! "? 8.In some ways Melville wrote his novel not 2. What acts of courage do you find in thisonly like an epic but like a play. Can you find excerpt? any similarities to a play in this excerpt? 9. To make Ahab a titanic character, Melville 3.How does Ahab die? has him talk differently from the other charac- 4. Melville's ability to describe action is excel-ters. His language style is almost Elizabethan in lent. He presents frozen moments of action and character. Does this add to the effectiveness of stark realism. Cite some examples. the story? Give your reasons. 5. What happened to the larger ship? 10. Was Ahab an evil man? Explain.

78 76 CHAPTER XI

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

Longfellow (1807-1882) was born in , but lived most of his adult life in Cambridge, the village outside Boston where many writerslived. One of Longfellow's grandfathers was a state Senator and the other grandfather had been a Revolutionary War general and a Congressman. Longfellow's family also expected him to choose a career of public service, as well as to support himself in some profession. Following his graduation in 1826 from , where he was a classmate of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Longfellow went to Europe to study. When he returned to the United States three years later, he taught European lan- guages, first at Bowdoin and then at Har- vard. For a number of years, though his HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (1807-1882) poetry was quite popular, Longfellow con- tinued to earn his living by teaching, but "True poets embody and give form to the after 18 years of teaching at Harvard, he fine thoughts which are passing through their resigned his position because he felt it in- own minds; but these men, like mere painters, terfered with his writing. only animate those forms, which have long During the last years of his life, Longfel- existed in every one's fancy." low received many honors, including hon- from his "Poets and Common Sense Men"orary degrees from Cambridge and Ox- ford Universities in England. After his True greatness is the greatness of the death, a bust of Longfellow was placed in mind:the true glory of a nation is a moral the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey and intellectual preeminence." the first American to be so honored. from hisWorks Henry Wadsworth Longfellow brought European culture to the attention of Americans, and in turn spread American folklore in Europe, where his work was popular. American readers liked Long- fellow's lyrical style, which was influenced by the German Romantic poets, and they were pleased by his emphasis on such sub- jects as home, family, nature, and religion. His style and subjects were conventional, especially in comparison with Whitman or more modern writers, and over the years

77 '79 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Longfellow's position as a major AmericanNight" has a dignity proper for its mood and poet has declined. Nevertheless, in the latemessage. "The Secret of the Sea" uses flowing 19th century, Longfellow was without arhythm to express a longing many have felt. "Oft Have I Seen at Some Cathedral Door" is a doubt the most popular American poet. which introduced a section of his trans- lation of Dante's . This sonnet is Of the three poems given here, "Hymn to theamong Longfellow's most enduring works.

Selection I

HYMN TO THE NIGHT

I heard the trailing garments of the Night Sweep through her marble halls! I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light From the celestial walls!

I felt her presence, by its spell of might, Stoop o'er men from above; The calm, majestic presence of the Night, As of the one I love. I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight, The manifold, soft chimes, That fill the chambers of the Night, Like some old poet's . From the cool cisterns of the midnight air My spirit drank repose; The fountain of perpetual peace flows there, From those deep cisterns flows. 0 holy Night! from thee I learn to bear What man has borne before! Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care, And they complain no more. Peace! Peace! Orestes'-like I breathe this prayer! Descend with broad-winged flight, The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair, The best- Night!

I. OrestesIn Greek mythology, the only son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, who killed his mother and her lover because they had killed his father. He prayed to the goddess Athena for peace from the pursuit of the Furies after his crime.

ao 78 HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

Selection II

THE SECRET OF THE SEA

Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me As I gaze upon the sea! All the old romantic legends, All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of and ropes of sendal, Such as gleam in ancient lore; And the singing of the sailors, And the answer from the shore!

Most of all, the Spanish ballad Haunts me oft, and tarries long, Of the noble Count Arnaldos And the sailor's mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach, Where the sand as silver shines, With a soft, monotonous cadence, Flow its unrhymed lyric lines;

Telling how the Count Arnaldos, With his hawk upon his hand, Saw a fair and stately galley, Steering onward to the land;

How he heard the ancient helmsman Chant a song so wild and clear, That the sailing sea-bird slowly Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing, And he cried, with impulse strong, "Helmsman! for the love of heaven, Teach me, too, that wondrous song!"

"Wouldst thou,"so the helmsman answered, "Learn the secret of the sea? Only those who brave its dangers Comprehend its mystery!"

79 81 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

In each sail that skims the horizon, In each landward-blowing breeze, I behold that stately galley, Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing For the secret of the sea, And the heart of the great ocean Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

Selection III

FROM DIVINA COMMEDIA

I

Oft have I seen at some cathedral door A laborer, pausing in the dust and , Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor Kneel to repeat his paternoster' o'er; Far off the noises of the world retreat; The loud vociferations of the street Become an undistinguishable roar. So, as I enter here from day to day, And leave my burden at this minster gate, Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed topray, The tumult of the time disconsolate To inarticulate murmurs dies away, While the eternal ages watch and wait.

1. paternosterThe Lord's Prayer, so called because the opening words in Latin are "Pater Noster."

80 82 HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

SELECTIONS I,II and III

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS learn the secret of the sea? Do you have any ideas what the secret might be? Hymn To The Night Divina Commedia 1. How does the poet personify the Night? Why does he welcome her? What does he learn from1. What ambience does the poet strive to con- her? vey in the first eight lines? 2.In the last six lines, the poet draws a com- The Secret Of The Sea parison between himself and the other wor- shiper. Why is he also a laborer? What burden 1. What kind of thoughts and associations does does the poet leave? the sea bring to the poet? 3. What is the meaning of the last line? What 2. According to the helmsman, how can one attitude toward life does it reveal?

83 81 CHAPTER XII

WALT WHITMAN

Whitman (1819-1892) was one of the great innovators in American literature. In the cluster of poems he called he gave America its first genuine epic poem. The poetic style he devised is now called free versethat is, poetry without a fixed beat or regular rhyme scheme. Whitman thought that the voice of democ- racy should not be haltered by traditional forms of verse. His influence on the poetic technique of other writers was small dur- ing the time he was writing Leaves of Grass but today elements of his style are appar- ent in the work of many poets. During the WALT WHITMAN (1819-1892) 20th century, poets as different as Carl Sandburg and the "Beat" bard, Allen Without yielding an inch the working-man and Ginsberg, have owed something to him. working-woman were to be in my pages from Whitman grew up in Brooklyn, New first to last. The ranges of heroism and York, and worked there as a school- loftiness with which Greek and feudal poets teacher, as an apprentice to a printer, and endow'd their godlike or lordly born as the editor of various newspapers. He charactersindeed prouder and better based had very little schooling but read a great and with fuller ranges than thoseI was to deal on his own. He was especially in- endow the democratic averages of America. I trigued by the works of Shakespeare and was to show that we, here and to-day, are eligible to the grandest and the Milton. Strangely enough, his only contact bestmore eligible now than any times of old with the Eastern religions or with German were. I will also want my utterances (I said to Transcendentalists, whose ideas he fre- myself before beginning) to be in spirit the quently used in his poetry, was what he poems of the morning. (They have been had read of them in the writings of Emer- founded and mainly written in the sunny son. forenoon and early midday of my life.) I will In the Whitman supported want them to be the poems of women entirely Jackson's Democratic party; he also fa- as much as men. I have wished to put the vored the exclusion of slavery from new complete Union of the States in my songs states in his newspaper writing and be- without any preference or partiality whatever. cause of this, in 1848, he was dismissed Henceforth, if they live and are read, it must from his job. He then worked sporadically be just as much South as Northjust as much along the Pacific as Atlanticin the valley of at carpentry and odd jobs, and had some the Mississippi, in Canada, up in Maine, downof his writingwhich was conventional in , and on the shores of Puget Sound. and undistinguishedprinted in news- papers. from the Preface to the 1855 edition In 1848 he visited New Orleans, of Leaves of Grass Chicago, and the Western frontier; the lat- 8 4 ter impressed him greatly. There is specu-brilliant turnabout: first he hymns the glories of lation that some of his experiences on thisnature and the rustic life and then rejects them trip marked a turning point in his career,in favor of the crowded life of the city. though it is more likely that he was gradu- ally developing as an artist. At any rate, soon after this period he began to write in a new stylethe "free verse" for which he became famous. He published the first edi- Selection I tion of Leaves of Grass in 1855, setting the type for the book himself, and writingTHERE WAS A CHILD WENT FORTH favorable reviews of it in the papers, anonymously. He continued to add newThere was a child went forth every day, poems to the collection, and to rearrangeAnd the first object he look'd upon, that and revise them, until his death in 1892. object he became, His best work is usually considered to haveAnd that object became part of him for the been done before 1871. day or a certain part of the day, Most of the poems in Leaves of Grass areOr for many or stretching cycles of years. about man and nature. However, a small number of very good poems deal with NewThe early lilacs became part of this child, York, the city that fascinated Whitman,And grass and white and red morning- and with the Civil War, in which he served glories, and white and red clover, and as a volunteer male nurse. In his poetry, the song of the phoebe-bird, Whitman combined the ideal of the demo-And the Third-month lambs and the sow's cratic common man and that of the rugged pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal and individual. He envisioned the poet as a the cow's calf, hero, a savior and a prophet, one whoAnd the noisy brood of the barnyard or by leads the community by his expressions of the mire of the pond-side, the truth. And the fish suspending themselves so With the publication of Leaves of Grass curiously below there, and the beautiful Whitman was praised by Ralph Waldo curious liquid, Emerson and a few other literati but wasAnd the water-plants with their graceful attacked by the majority of critics because flat heads, all became part of him. of his unconventional style. He wanted his poetry to be for the common people but,The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and ironically, it was ignored by the general Fifth-month became part of him. public. Winter-grain sprouts and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots PART A of the garden, And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms Three individual lyrics from Leaves of Grass and the fruit afterward, and wood- are given in the first of this chapter. In "There berries, and the commonest weeds by Was a Child Went Forth" we see Whitman in . the process of absorbing the world into himself. In "I Hear America Singing" we see him listen-And the old drunkard staggering home ing to the concert of his fellow Americans. In from the outhouse of the tavern whence "Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun" he makes a he had lately risen,

83 85 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

And the schoolsmistress that pass'd on herThe village on the highland seen from afar way to the school, at sunset, the river between, And the friendly boys that pass'd, and theShadows, aureola and mist, the light fal- quarrelsome boys, ling on roofs and gables of white or And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls, and brown two miles off, the barefoot Negro boy and girl. And all the changes of city and countryThe schooner near by sleepily dropping wherever he went. down the tide, the little boat slack-tow'd astern, His own parents, he that had father'd himThe hurrying tumbling waves, quick- and she that had conceiv'd him in her broken crests, slapping, womb and birth'd him, The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar They gave this child more of themselves of maroon-tint away solitary by itself, the than that, spread of purity it lies motionless in, They gave him afterward every day, theyThe horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, became part of him. the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud, The mother at home quietly placing theThese became part of that child who went dishes on the suppertable, forth every day, and who now goes, and The mother with mild words, clean her will always go forth every day. cap and gown, a wholesome odor falling off her person and clothes as she walks by, The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd unjust, Selection II The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure, I HEAR AMERICA SINGING The family usages, the language, the com- pany, the furniture, the yearning andI hear America singing, the varied carols I swelling heart, hear, Affection that will not be gainsay'd, theThose of mechanics, each one singing his sense of what is real, the thought if after as it should be blithe and strong, all it should prove unreal, The carpenter singing his as he measures The doubts of day-time and the doubts his plank or beam, of night-time, the curious whether andThe mason singing his as he makes ready how, for work, or leaves off work, Whether that which appears so is so, or is itThe boatman singing what belongs to him all flashes and specks? in his boat, the deck-hand singing on the Men and women crowding fast in the steamboat deck, streets, if they are not flashes and specks what are they? The shoemaker singing as he sits on his The streets themselves and the facades of bench, the hatter singing as he stands, houses, and goods in the windows. The wood-cutter's song, the plowboy's on Vehicles,teams,theheavy-plank'd his way in the morning, or at noon in- wharves, the huge crossing at the ferries, termission or at sundown,

8 6 84 WALT WHITMAN

The delicious singing of the mother, or ofThese demanding to have them, (tired the young wife at work, or of the girl with ceaseless excitement, and rack'd by sewing or washing, the war-strife,) Each singing what belongs to him or herThese to procure incessantly asking, rising and to none else, in cries from my heart, The day what belongs to the dayat nightWhile yet incessantly asking still I adhere the party of young fellows, robust, to my city, friendly, Day upon day and year upon year 0 city, Singing with open mouths their strong walking your streets, melodious songs. Where you hold me enchain'd a certain time refusing to give me up, Yet giving to make me glutted, enrich'd of soul, you give me forever faces; Selection III (0 I see what I sought to escape, confront- ing, reversing my cries, GIVE ME THE SPLENDID SILENT SUNI see my own soul trampling down what it ask'd for.) I

Give me the splendid silent sun with all his II beams full-dazzling, Give me juicy autumnal fruit ripe and redKeep your splendid silent sun, from the orchard, Keep your woods 0 Nature, and the quiet Give me a field where the unmow'd grass places by the woods, grows, Keep your fields of clover and timothy, Give me an arbor, give me the trellis'd anti your corn-fields, and orchards, grape, Keep the blossoming buckwheat fields Give me fresh corn and wheat, give me where the Ninth-month bees hum; serene-moving animals teaching con-Give me faces and streetsgive me these tent, phantoms incessant and endless along Give me nights perfectly quiet as on high the trottoirs! plateaus west of the Mississippi, and IGive me interminable eyes--give me looking up at the stars, womengive me comrades and lovers Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of by the thousand! beautiful flowers where I can walkLet me see new ones every day!let me undisturb'd, hold new ones by the hand everyday! Give me for marriage a sweet-breath'dGive me such showsgive me the streets woman of whom I should never tire, of Manhattan! Give me a perfect child, give me away asideGive me Broadway,' with the soldiers from the noise of the world a rural marchinggive me the sound of the domestic life, trumpets and drums! Give me to warble spontaneous songs re- cluse by myself, for my own ears only, Give me solitude, give me Nature, give me 1. Broadwaya street in New York City, famous for again 0 Nature your primal sanities! its theaters.

85 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

(The soldiers in companies or regiments crowded excursion for me! the torch- some starting away, flush'd and reck- light procession! less, The dense brigade bound for the war, with Some, their time up, returning with high piled military wagons following; thinn'd ranks, young, yet very old, worn,People, endless, streaming, with strong marching, noticing nothing;) voices, passions, pageants, Give me the shores and wharvesheavy-Manhattan streets with their powerful fringed with black ships! throbs, with beating drums as now, The endless and noisy chorus, the rustle 0 such for me! 0 an intenselife, full to and clank of muskets, (even the sight of repletion and varied! the wounded,) The life of the theatre, bar-room, hugeManhattan crowds, with their turbulent hotel, for me! musical chorus! The saloon of the the steamer! theManhattan faces and eyes forever for me.

SELECTIONS I,II, and III

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS, Part A 5. What other types of workers would you have to add to Whitman's picture to bring it up to date? There Was a Child Went Forth Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun 1. The poem describes the influences of envi- ronment on the child, and the poet divides these 1. Why does the poet name his poem as he influences into the animal and vegetable world does? What pleasures and rewards does the sun of nature and the human world of the home. represent? Which influences do you think were the most lasting? Why? 2. How do you interpret lines 18 and 19? 2. Does the poet seem to feel that nature has any 3. What does the poet mean by "Keep your bad influences? splendid silent sun?" 3. What are the good and bad influences of the4. What are the satisfactions the poet gets from home? Manhattan? Which does he mention more often, 4. Which do you think has greater influence on people or things? What would you select if you the life of a person, heredity or environment? had to choose between the two kinds of life pre- Give your reasons. sented in the poem? Why? 5. This poem was written in the last months of I Hear America Singing the . What reminders of the war does the speaker see in the streets of 1. How many different singers does Whitman Manhattan? How does he contrast soldiers on hear? the way to battle with those who are returning? 2. What do the songs represent? 6. The poet is torn between two different kinds 3. Does the poem have anything to say about of life. Unable to tear himself away from his pres- happiness? If so, what? ent life, he nevertheless yearns for a very differ- 4. How does this poem reflectthe poet's faith in ent one. Do you think this is a common human democracy and the people? experience? Explain.

86 88 WALT WHITMAN

PART B and in every city of these States in- land and seaboard, This second group of poems from Leaves ofAnd in the fields and woods, and above Grass tells us something further about Whitman and his genius. "I Hear It Was Charged Against every keel little or large that dents the Me" is especially interesting nowadays when in water, many parts of the world young rebels are tryingWithout edifices or rules or trustees or any to tear down some of the institutions of society. argument, He asserts that he himself is neither for norThe institution of the dear love of com- against social institutions. He is indifferent to rades. them. But he knows what he wants, a society based on love and affection that would not need rules or restrictions. He wants to start this soci- ety in every city. Two of his Civil War poems are reprinted here. "Cavalry Crossing a Ford" is famous be- cause it presents one striking, central imageas Selection V later many of Carl Sandburg's poems did. This short poem is like a realistic painting. The other CAVALRY CROSSING A FORD Civil War poem is far different. It tells us about death in war and the shattering effect the very thought of a soldier's death has on his family. A line in long array where they wind be- The final poem given here is one of the last twixt green islands, Whitman put into Leaves o f Grass. Standing in aThey take a serpentine course, their arms sublime canyon, he says that his flash in the sunhark to the musical poetry is like the stern scene he is watching. Critics have charged that his poetry is too rough clank, and uncivilized. But he knows that the poetryBehold the silvery river, in it the splashing he must write has the beauty, the natural un- horses loitering stop to drink, spoiled beauty, of the panorama before him. Behold the brown-faced men, each group, each person a picture, the negligent rest on the saddles, Some emerge on the opposite bank, others Selection IV are just entering the fordwhile, Scarlet and blue and snowy white, I HEAR IT WAS CHARGED AGAINSTThe guidon flags flutter gayly in the wind. ME

I hear it was charged against me that I sought to destroy institutions, But really I am neither for nor against in- Selection VI stitutions, (What indeed have I in common with COME UP FROM THE FIELDS them? or what with the destruction FATHER of them?) Only I will establish in the Mannahatta'Come up from the fields father, here's a letter from our Pete, 1. MannahattaManhattan, an island and a districtAnd come to the front door mother, here's within New York City, from the Indian name. a letter from thy dear son.

87 89 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Lo, 'tis autumn, breast, cavaby skirmish, taken to hospital, Lo, where the trees, deeper green, yel-At present low, but will soon be better. lower and redder, Cool and sweeten Ohio's villages withAh now the single figure to me, leaves fluttering in the moderate wind, Amid all teeming and wealthy Ohio with Where apples ripe in the orchards hang all its cities and farms, and grapes on the trellis'd vines, Sickly white in the face and dull in the (Smell you the smell of the grapes on the head, very faint, vines? By the jamb of a door leans. Smell you the buckwheat where the beesGrieve not so, dear mother, (the just-grown were lately buzzing?) daughter speaks through her sobs, Above all, lo, the sky so calm, so transpar-The little sisters huddle around speechless ent after the rain, and with wondrous and dismay'd,) clouds, See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon Below too, all calm, all vital and beautiful, be better. and the farm prospers well. Alas poor boy, he will never be better, (nor Down in the fields all prospers well, may be needs to be better, that brave But now from the fields come father, come and simple soul,) at the daughter's call, While they stand at home at the door he is And come to the entry mother, to the front dead already, door come right away. The only son is dead.

Fast as she can she hurries, somethingBut the mother needs to be better, ominous, her steps trembling, She with thin form presently drest in She does not tarry to smooth her hair nor black, adjust her cap. By day her meals untouch'd, then at night Open the envelope quickly, fitfully sleeping often waking, O this is not our son's writing, yet his nameIn the midnight waking, weeping, longing is sign'd, with one deep longing, O a strange hand writes for our dear son,O that she might withdraw unnoticed, sil- 0 stricken mother's soul! ent from life All swims before her eyes, flashes with escape and withdraw, black, she catches the main words only, To follow, to seek, to be with her dear Sentences broken, gunshot wound in the dead son.

Selection VII

SPIRIT THAT FORM'D THIS SCENE

Spirit that form'd this scene, These tumbled rock-piles grim and red,

986 WALT WHITMAN

These reckless heaven-ambitious peaks, These gorges, turbulent-clear streams, this naked freshness, These formless wild arrays, for reasons of their own, I know thee, savage spiritwe have communed together, Mine too such wild arrays, for reasons of their own; Was't charged against my chants they had forgotten art? To fuse within themselves its rules precise and delicatesse? The lyrist's measur'd beat, the wrought-out temple's grace column and polish'd arch forgot? But thou that revelest herespirit that form'd this scene, They have remember'd thee.

SELECTIONS IV, V, VI, and VII

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS, Part B 7. How does the daughter try to comfort her? I Hear It Was Charged Against Me 8. Discuss the meaning of the word better in lines 21 and 29 as compared toits use A. 1. What meaning does the poet give to the- in line 32. words institutions? 9. Do you think the last stanza weakens the 2. What charge is the poet answering? total effect of the poem? Give your reasons. 3.Is he guilty as charged? What is his at- titude toward institutions? Spirit That Form'd This Scene 4. What kind of institution does he want to establish? 1. The poet is viewing a canyon in Colo- 5.In what ways will it be different from other rado. How does he describe it? institutions? 2. Why does he think it must have been formed by a "savage spirit?" What kinship Cavalry Crossing A Ford does Whitman feel with this spirit? 3. What comparison does the poet draw be- 1. What is cavalry? tween the canyon and his work? 2. What are the adjectives the poet uses to 4. Who is "they" in the last line? paint this word picture? What atmosphere 5. What does this poem tell us about does the poem create? One of hurry, pur- Whitman's view of art? posefulness, or routine action? 6. Whitman's poetry was criticized in his day for being rather rough and uncivilized. Come Up From The Fields Father Do you think this poem is an example that justifies that criticism? Give your reasons. 1. Who receives the letter? B.1. Are there authors or poets in your country 2. Why is it such an important occasion? who are trying to find new ways of saying 3. Describe the farm scene. things much as Whitman did in his day? 4. Whitman builds a strong contrast be- 2.It is possible to have a poet who will be a tween the peacefulness of the prosperous poet both of the common people and of the farm and the peace-breaking news of the elite? letter. What is the effect on the reader? 3.In the history of your country's literature, 5. What is the mother's reaction when she is what poets have been known for their at- called to the front door? tacks on social institutions? for their em- 6. What first alarms her? phasis on brotherly love?

89 91 CHAPTER XIII

EMILY DICKINSON

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) wrote her whimsical, darting verse with sublime in- difference to any notion of being a demo- cratic or popular poet. Her work, far dif- ferent from that of either Whitman or Longfellow, illustrated the fact that one could take a single household and an inac- tive life, and make enchanting poetry out of it. Miss Dickinson was born in Amherst,

es. Massachusetts, where her father was a prominent lawyer and politician and where her grandfather had established an 7 Y1 academy and college. Emily's family was very closely knit and she and her sister re- mained at home and did not marry. Emily seldom left Amherst; she attended college in a nearby town for one year, and later EMILY DICKINSON (1830-1886) made one trip as far as Washington and "IfI read a book and it makes my body so two or three trips to Boston. After 1862 cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is she became a total recluse, not leaving her poetry. IfI feel physically as if the top of my house nor seeing even close friends. Her head were taken off,I know that is poetry." early letters and descriptions of herself in her youth reveal an attractive girl with a lively wit. Her later retirement from the world, though perhaps affected by an un- happy love affair, seems mainly to have re- sulted from her own personality, from a desire to separate herself from the world. The range of her poetry suggests not her limited experiences but the power of her creativity and imagination. When she began writing poetry Emily had relatively little formal education. She did. know Shakespeare and classical mythology and was especially interested in women authors such as Elizabeth Brown- ing and the Bronte sisters. She was also acquainted with the works of Emerson, Thoreau and Hawthorne. Though she did not believe in the conventional religion of her family, she had studied the Bible, and

90 92 many of her poems resemble hymns inDickinson, like Melville, was rediscovered form. by the literary world in the . There were several men who, at differ- Emily Dickinson's poetry comes out in ent times in her life, acted as teacher orbursts. The poems are short, many of master to Emily. The first was Benjaminthem being based on a single image or Newton, a young lawyer in her father's lawsymbol. But within her little lyrics Miss office who improved her literary and cul-Dickinson writes about some of the most tural tastes and influenced her ideas on re-important things in life. She writes about ligion. She refers to him as "a friend, who love and a lover, whom she either never taught me Immortality." really found or else gave up. She writes Emily's next teacher was Charles Wads-about nature. She writes about mortality worth, a married, middle-aged ministerand immortality. She writes about success, who provided her with intellectual chal-which she thought she never achieved, and lenge and contact with the outside world.about failure, which she considered her It appears that she felt an affection forconstant companion. She writes of these him that he could not return, and whenthings so brilliantly that she is now ranked he moved to San Francisco in 1862, she re-as one of America's great poets. moved herself from society even more Her poetry is read today throughout than she had before. Wadsworth may havemuch of the world and yet its exact word- been the model for the lover in her poems,ing has not been completely determined, though it is just as likely that the literarynor has its arrangement and punctuation. figure is purely imaginary. Since Emily never prepared her poems for Miss Dickinson's greatest outpouring ofpublication, one of the bitterest battles in poems occurred in the early 1860s, andAmerican literary history has been fought because she was so isolated, the Civil Warover who should publish and edit what she affected her thinking very little. At thiswrote. However, regardless of details or time she sent some of her work to Thomasconflicts, there is no doubt that the solitary Higginson, a prominent critic and author. Miss Dickinson of Amherst, Massachusetts, He was impressed by her poetry, but sug- is a writer of great power and beauty. gested that she use a more conventional grammar. Emily, however, refused to re- vise her poems to fit the standards of others and took no interest in having them Selection I published; in fact she had only seven poems published during her lifetime. In SUCCESS Higginson she did, nevertheless, gain an intelligent and sympathetic critic with Success is counted sweetest whom to discuss her work. By those who ne'er succeed. In the last years of her life Emily seldom To comprehend a nectar saw visitors, but kept with her Requires sorest need. friends through letters, short poems and small gifts. After her death in 1886, her Not one of all the purple host sister found nearly 1,800 poems that she Who took the flag today had written. Many of the poems were fi- Can tell the definition, nally published in the 1890s, and Emily So clear, of victory,

91 93 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

As he, defeated, dying, Heavenly hurt it gives us; On whose forbidden ear We can find no scar, The distant strains of triumph But internal difference Break, agonized and clear. Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything Selection II `Tis the seal, despair, An imperial affliction I TASTE A LIQUOR NEVER Sent us of the air. BREWED When it comes, the listens, I taste a liquor never brewed, Shadows hold their breath; From tankards scooped in pearl; When it goes, 'tis like the distance Not all the vats upon the Rhine' On the look of death. Yield such an alcohol!

Inebriate of air any I, And debauch& of dew, Selection IV Reeling, through endless summer days, From inns of molten blue. MUCH MADNESS IS DIVINEST SENSE When landlords turn the drunken bee Much madness is divinest sense Out of the foxglove's door, When butterflies renounce their drams, To a discerning eye; I shall but drink the more! Much sense the starkest madness. 'Tis the majority In this, as all, prevails. Till seraphs swing their snowy hats, And saints to windows run, Assent, and you are sane; To see the little tippler Demur,you're straightway dangerous, Leaning against the sun! And handled with a chain.

I. the Rhinea river flowing from Switzerland through Germany and the Netherlands into the Selection V North Sea. I'M NOBODY! WHO ARE YOU?

Selection III I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? THERE'S A CERTAIN SLANT Then there's a pair of usdon't tell! OF LIGHT They'd banish us, you know.

There's a certain slant of light, How dreary to be somebody! On winter afternoons, How public, like a That oppresses, like the weight To tell your name the livelong day Of cathedral tunes. To an admiring bog! 92 9 4 EMILY DICKINSON

Selection VII

TO FIGHT ALOUD IS VERY BRAVE Selection VI To fight aloud is very brave, AGAIN HIS VOICE IS AT But gallanter, I know, THE DOOR Who charge within the bosom, The cavalry of woe. Again his voice is at the door, I feel the old degree, Who win, and nations do not see, I hear him ask the servant Who fall, and none observe, For such an one as me; Whose dying eyes no country Regards with patriot love. I take a flower as I go My face to justify, We trust, in plumed procession, He never saw me in this life, For such the angels go, I might surprise his eye. Rank after rank, with even feet And uniforms of snow. I cross the hall with mingled steps, I silent pass the door, I look on all this world contains Just his facenothing more! Selection VIII

We talk in venture and in toss, THE BUSTLE IN A HOUSE A kind of plummet strain, Each sounding shyly just how deep The bustle in a house The other's foot had been. The morning after death Is solemnest of industries We walk. I leave my dog behind. Enacted upon earth, A tender thoughtful moon Goes with us just a little way The sweeping up the heart, And then we are alone. And putting love away We shall not want to use again Aloneif angels are alone Until eternity. First time they try the sky! Aloneif those veiled faces be We cannot count on high! Selection IX

I'd give to live that hour again HE ATE AND DRANK THE The purple in my vein; PRECIOUS WORDS But he must count the drops himself My price for every stain! He ate and drank the precious words, His spirit grew robust; He knew no more that he was poor, Nor that his frame was dust.

93 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

He danced along the dingy days, The tightening the soil around And this bequest of wings And setting it upright Was but a book. What liberty A loosened spirit brings! Deceives perhaps the universe But not retrieves the plant; Real memory, like cedar feet, Is shod with adamant. Selection X Nor can you cut remembrance down CRUMBLING IS NOT AN When it shall once have grown, INSTANT'S ACT Its iron buds will sprout anew However overthrown. Crumbling is not an instant's act, A fundamental pause; Dilapidation's processes Are organized decays.

'Tis first a cobweb on the soul, A cuticle of dust, A borer in the axis, Selection XII An elemental rust. THIS IS MY LETTER TO THE WORLD Ruin is formal, devil's work, Consecutive and slow This is my letter to the world, Fail in an instant no man did, That never wrote to me, Slipping is 's law. The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty.

Selection XI Her message is committed To hands I cannot see; YOU CANNOT MAKE For love of her, sweet countrymen, REMEMBRANCE GROW Judge tenderly of me!

You cannot make remembrance grow When it has lost its root.

SELECTIONS I through XII

DISCUSSIONQUESTIONS most to succed? Does the successful per- son value success? Does he recognize it for Success what it is? 2. Explain the meaning of the first stanza in A. 1. According to the poem, what best under- your own words. How does the poet develop stands success? In your opinion, who wants this idea further in the other two stanzas? 96 94 EMILY DICKINSON

3. Can you draw analogies from your own love is mutual? Support your answer with experience to illustrate the central idea of examples from the poem. the poem? 2. What do the last two lines of verse 2 mean? I Taste A Liquor Never Brewed 3. What lines show that the poet feels that the man is the center of her Universe? 1. What is the liquor the poet drinks? 4. Explain the meaning of stanza 4 in your 2. Few poets have handled images with own words. more artistry than Emily Dickinson. What 5.In what sense are the lovers not alone on image does she use to suggest drunk- their walk? enness? 6. What price is the poet willing to pay to 3. What are the "inns of molten blue?" relivethehour thelovershave spent 4. Explain the imagery of the last stanza. together? Does she ask anything in return from the man? There's A Certain Slant Of Light

1. Do you agree with the poet that certainTo Fight Aloud Is Very Brave conditions of winter weather influence our mood? Explain. 1. Do you agree with the poet that silent 2. What does the poet mean when she says: courage is the highest kind of bravery? Why "None may teach it anything /'Tis the seal, or why not? Can ypu think of examples from despair,"? your own experience in which people have 3. When the winter mood changes, what ef- borne theirsufferingsinuncomplaining fect does it leave? silence? 4. What word images does the poet use to 2. What is the meaning of the last stanza? help convey the oppressive mood that the weather creates? The Bustle In A House

Much Madness Is Divinest Sense 1. What is the saddest and most solemn ac- tivity "enacted upon earth"? 1. Does the poet trust the opinion of the 2. What hope does the poet offer in the last majority? Illustrate with lines from the poem. stanza? In which lines does she express her own opinion? Do you agree with her? Why or why not? He Ate And Drank The Precious Words 2. Give your interpretation of the paradox expressed in lines 1 and 3. 1. Has the reading of a book ever affected 3. How does Emily Dickinson's view of con- you in the way the poet describes it in the formity compare with that of Emerson and poem? If so, what books would you name as Thoreau? having had such an effect? 2.In your opinion, what kind of liberty does I'm Nobody! Who Are You? a "loosened spirit" bring? 3. How does the following Dickinson poem 1. Who are the "they" in line 4? the "admir- compare in thought with "He Ate And Drank ing bog" in line 8? The Precious Words"? 2. Do you prefer solitude to public life? Give your reasons. There is no frigate like a book 3. Write a poem similar to "I'm Nobody! To take us lands away, Who Are You?" in which you follow the same Nor any coursers like a page verse pattern but use different images. Of prancing poetry. This traverse may the poorest take Again His Voice Is At The Door Without oppress of toll; How frugal is the chariot 1.In this love poem, would you say that the That bears a human soul!

95 97 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Crumbling Is Not An Instant's Act 2. One could say that Emily Dickinson is expressing her vision of the poet's task and 1.In this poem. Miss Dickinson reflects that function in this poem. What is the role of the ruin or failure in the life of a person is a long, poet according to her? What is the poet's slow process of decay. Give examples from relationship to the world? How would you your own experience or from your reading. define the role of the poet? 2. Cobwebs, dust, and rust are rather insig- 3.If you have access to Edwin Arlington nificant in their beginnings, yet eventually Robinson's poem, "Oh for a Poet," compare they can take over or destroy things such as his vision of the role of the poet with that of houses or machines. Can you draw an anal- Emily Dickinson. ogy between these destroyers and our words or our small actions and apply them, B.1. What picture of Emily Dickinson do you say, to marriage or friendships? get from her poems? Do you think you would 3. What does the poet mean by saying that have liked her as a person? Why or why not? 2. What does Emily Dickinson gain in her "Ruinisformal,devil's work"? Do you poetry by being so compact in style and by agree? Why or why not? presenting only the kernel of a thought? Does she lose anything by avoiding conven- You Cannot Make Remembrance Grow tional poetic language and imagery? Give reasons for your answer. 1. Explain the meaning of this poem in your 3. Select your favorite poem from among own words. Can you illustrate this meaning those given here and write a short para- from some experience in your own life? graph explaining the reason for your choice. 4. What poet from your national literature This Is My Letter To The World compares in style and language with Emily Dickinson? Did he or she also live as a 1. What is the poet's letter to the world? recluse? What news does it contain? To whom isit 5. Do you think a life of solitude is more delivered? Why does she implore her coun- conducive to producing a superior poet than trymen to judge her tenderly? a life of much social activity? Explain.

98 96 CHAPTER XIV

MARK TWAIN

Mark Twain (1835-1910) is the pen name of Samuel L. Clemens, the writer H. L. Mencken called "the true father of our national literature." This title may be jus- tified, for Twain made a more extensive combination of American folk humor and serious literature than previous writers had done. Clemens was born in the backwoods of , but while he was yet a small boy the family moved to Hannibal on the mis- sissippi River. There Sam developed a pas- sion for the river and a desire to become the pilot on a riverboat. This was the dream of all the boys along the river, and Twainwasvery proud of himself when, later on, he actually became a pilot. MARK TWAIN (Samuel L. Clemens) Clemens' father had wanted to be a (1835-1910) lawyer, and did actually serve as a justice of the peace and judge, but had to make his When I was a boy, there was but one living as a farmer and storekeeper. He was permanent ambition among my comrades in a popular man in Hannibal, but remained my village on the west bank of the Mississippi poor, and when he died Sam was appren- River. That was, to be a steamboatman. We ticed to a printer. Thus at age 11 Sam's had transient ambitions of other sorts, but they formal schooling ended, though he con- were only transient. When a circus came and tinued to read extensively. As was the case went, it left us all burning to become clowns; with many 19th-century writers, the the first Negro that came to our printshop and journalism served as prep- section left us all suffering to try that kind of aration for his literarycareer. life; now and then we had a hope that if we After working on his brother's news- lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates. These ambitions faded out, each paper for awhile, in 1854 Sam set out on in its turn; but the ambition to be a his own, working as a printer in various steamboatman always remained. Eastern and midwestern towns. In 1856 he fulfilled his boyhood dream by becoming a from riverboat pilot. When the boats stopped operating during the Civil War, Clemens served for a time as a volunteer soldier and then, in 1862, he went West. Clemens first wrote for a newspaper in Nevada and then moved to San Francisco. During this period he wrote mainly humorous sketches, the most famous

97 95 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE being "The Celebrated Jumping Frog ofthe hypocrisy and cruelty of the adult Calaveras ." Between 1865 andworld. 1870, Clemens went on tours of , Europe, and the Middle East as a corre- SELECTION spondent; later his adventures served as the subject of several books. His news- Samuel Clemens viewed people with great paper accounts of his travels spread hispessimism, but his bitterness diminished when popularity, so that on his return he also he wrote about his early days and the Missis- became a successful humorous lecturer. sippi River. In the excerpt from Life on the Mis- sissippi we see how he achieved his boyhood am- In 1870, Clemens married a wealthy and bition to be a riverboat pilot. He tells us how he rather aristocratic girl and settled in thewas apprenticed to a peppery expert named East, first in Buffalo and then perma-Bixby. In the early part of the book the nar- nently in Hartford, . When herator, Mark Twain, explains the problems of moved to Hartford, Clemens gave up learning to pilot a steamboat on the Mississippi. The river was always changing; its channels al- journalism to make his ways shifting. And yet the pilot had to know the career. His writing was popular and soldriver like the back of his hand. He had to keep well, although he sometimes found lecture his steamboat safe from rocks and snags, from tours necessary to supplement his income. shallow water and a hundred other perils. And In Hartford, Clemens was surrounded he had to do all this not only in the light of day by a wealthy, genteel society including sev-but in the black of night. Just before this excerpt opens, Mr. Bixby is eral other popular authors of the time, and exasperated by his pupil's slowness in learning it has been assumed that this influencebut announces with comic fierceness that modified the boisterous writer of news-whenever he agrees to teach someone to be a paper days, curbing his wit and social criti- pilot, "I'll learn him or kill him." Bit by bit he cism. This is not entirely true,"learns" him and the time comes when he lets Mark Twain pilot the steamboat himself. Twain for the "Mark Twain" who appeared au-panics but Mr. Bixby comes to his rescue. tobiographically in the stories of the West,Gradually Twain gets to know the river. His and the Samuel Clemens of Hartford soci-knowledge becomes so ingrained that it is almost ety were both, to some degree, social poses.instinctive. He is now a very learned man in his Clemens' work does not suffer from beingspecialty. Finally, at the end of the excerpt Mark overly genteel, and his satirical writing is aTwain talks to us, both seriously and a bit senti- mentally, about the loss of innocence. He can sharp attack on society. In his last years,now read the river like a bookhe knows what Clemens became increasingly bitter; someeverything about it signifiesbut his simple of his writing of this period is so pessimisticjoy in its beauty is gone. He will never again that he withheld it from publication. relish the poetry of the river. Like Adam, he has The typical in Clemens' writingeaten the fruit that has brought him knowledge was the of a story by a young orand he has had to pay for it. naive person or a story in which the main character was an Easterner unaccustomed From Life on the Mississippi to frontier life. In Clemens' stories the over-refined Easterner was usually outwit- Chapter 9 ted by Westerners. When he wrote from a youth's perspective, the youth was usually There was no use in arguing with a per- wise beyond his years but retained anson like this. I promptly put such a strain idealism which Clemens contrasted withon my memory that by and by even the

98 ro MARK TWAIN shoal water and the countless crossing- "Now watch her; watch her like a cat, or marks began to stay with me. But the resultshe'll get away from you. When she fights was just the same. I never could more thanstrong and the tiller slips a little, in a jerky, get one knotty thing learned beforegreasy sort of way, let up on her a trifle; it another presented itself. Now I had oftenis the way she tells you at night that the seen pilots gazing at the water and pre-water is too shoal; but keep edging her up, tending to read it as if it were a book; but itlittle by little, toward the point. You are was a book that told me nothing. A timewell up on the bar now; there is a bar came at last, however, when Mr. Bixbyunder every point, because the water that seemed to think me far enough advancedcomes down around it forms an eddy and to bear a lesson on water-reading. So heallows the sediment to sink. Do you see began: those fine lines on the face of the water "Do you see that long, slanting line onthat branch out like the ribs of a fan? Well, the face of the water? Now, that's a reef.those are little reefs; you want to just miss Moreover, it's a bluff reef. There is a solidthe ends of them, but run them pretty sand-bar under it that is nearly as straightclose. Now look outlook out! Don't you up and down as the side of a house. Therecrowd that slick, greasy-looking place; is plenty of water close up to it, but mightythere ain't nine feet there; she won't stand little on top of it. If you were to hit it youit. She begins to smell it; look sharp, I tell would knock the boat's brains out. Doyou! Oh, blazes, there you go! Stop the you see where the line fringes out at thestarboard wheel! Quick! Ship up to back! upper end and begins to fade away?" Set her back!" "Yes, sir." The engine bells jingled and the engines "Well, that is a low place; that is the headanswered promptly, shooting white col- of the reef. You can climb over there, andumns of steam far aloft out of the 'scape- not hurt anything. Cross over, now,pipes, but it was too late. The boat had and follow along closeunder the"smelt" the bar in good earnest; the foamy reefeasy water therenot much cur-ridges that radiated from her bows sud- rent." denly disappeared, a great dead swell I followed the reef along tillI ap-came rolling forward, and swept ahead of proached the fringed end. Then Mr.her, she careened far over to larboard, and Bixby said: went tearing away toward the shore as if "Now get ready. Wait till I give the word.she were about scared to death. We were a She won't want to mount the reef; a boatgood mile from where we ought to have hates shoal water. Stand bywaitwaitbeen when we finally got the upper hand keep her well in hand. Now cramp herof her again. down! Snatch her! Snatch her!" During the afternoon watch the next He seized the other side of the wheelday, Mr. Bixby asked me if I knew how to and helped to spin it around until it wasrun the next few miles. I said: hard down, and then we held it so. The "Go inside the first snag above the point, boat resisted, and refused to answer for aoutside the next one, star out from the while, and next she came surging to star-lower end of Higgins's woodyard, make a board, mounted the reef, and sent a long,square crossing, and" angry ridge of water foaming away from "That's all right. I'll be back before you her bows. close up on the next point." x.01 99 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

But he wasn't. He was still below when Iwould have felt safe on the brink of rounded it and entered upon a piece of theNiagara' with Mr. Bixby on the hurri- river which I had some misgivings about. Icane-deck. He blandly and sweetly took did not know that he was hiding behind ahis toothpick out of his mouth between chimney to see how I would perform. Ihis fingers, as if it were a cigarwe were went gaily along, getting prouder andjust in the act of climbing an overhang- prouder, for he had never left the boat ining big tree, and the passengers were scud- my sole charge such a length of time be-ding astern like ratsand lifted up these fore. I even got to "setting" her and lettingcommands to me ever so gently: the wheel go entirely, while I vainglori- "Stop the starboard! Stop the larboard! ously turned my back and inspected theSet her back on both!" stern marks and hummed a tune, a sort of The boat hesitated, halted, pressed her easy indifference which I had prodigiouslynose among the boughs a critical instant, admired in Bixby and other great pilots.then reluctantly began to back away. Once I inspected rather long, and when I "Stop the larboard! Come ahead on faced to the front again my heart flew intoit! Stop the starboard! Come ahead on it! my mouth so suddenly that if I hadn'tPoint her for the bar!" clapped my teeth together I should have I sailed away as serenely as a summer's lost it. One of those frightful bluff reefsmorning. Mr. Bixby came in and said, with was stretching its deadly length right ac-mock simplicity: ross our bows! My head was gone in a mo- "When you have a hail,2 my boy, you ment; I did not know which end I stoodought to tap the big bell three times before on; I gasped and could not get my breath;you land, so that the engineers can get I spun the wheel down with such rapidityready." that it wove itself together like a spider's I blushed under the sarcasm, and said I web; the boat answered and turned squarehadn't had any hail. away from the reef, but the reef followed "Ah! Then it was for wood, I suppose. her!I fled, but stillit followed, stillitThe officer of the watch will tell you when kept - -right across my bows! I neverhe wants to wood up." looked to see where I was going, I only I went on consuming, and said I wasn't fled. The awful crash was imminent. Whyafter wood. didn't that villain come? If I committed the "Indeed! Why, what could you want crime of ringing a bell I might get thrownover here in the bend, then? Did you ever overboard. But better that than kill theknow of a boat following a bend upstream boat. So in blind desperation, I startedat this stage of the river?" such a rattling "shivaree" down below as "No, sirand / wasn't trying to follow it. never had astounded an engineer in thisI was getting away from a bluff reef." world before, I fancy. Amidst the frenzy of "No, it wasn't a bluff reef; there isn't one the engines began to back and fillwithin three miles of where you were." in a curious way, and my reason forsook its "But I saw it. It was as bluff as that one thronewe were about to crash into theyonder." woods on the other side of the river. Just then Mr. Bixby stepped calmly into view 1. NiagaraNiagara Falls, a waterfall on the Niagara River between New York state and Canada. on the hurricane-deck. My soul went out to2. "When you have a hail"when you are called by him in gratitude. My distress vanished; I someone on the river bank to stop for them.

100 102 MARK TWAIN

"Just about. Run over it!" that, it was a legend of the largest capitals, "Do you give it as an order?" with a string of shouting exclamation- "Yes. Run over it!" points at the end of it, for it meant that a wreck or a rock was buried there that "If I don't, I wish I may die." could tear the life out of the strongest "All right; I am taking the responsibil-vessels that ever floated. It is the faintest ity." and simplest expression the water ever I was just as anxious to kill the boat, now,makes, and the most hideous to a pilot's as I had been to save it before. I impressedeye. In truth, the passenger who could not my orders upon my memory, to be usedread this book saw nothing but all manner at the inquest, and made a straight breakof pretty pictures in it, painted by the sun for the reef. As it disappeared under ourand shaded by the clouds, whereas to the bows I held my breath; but we slid over ittrained eye these were not pictures at all, like oil. but the grimmest and most dead-earnest "Now, don't you see the difference? Itof reading matter. wasn't anything but a wind reef. The wind Now when I had mastered the language does that." of this water, and had come to know every "So I see. But it is exactly like a blufftrifling feature that bordered the great reef. How am I ever going to tell themriver as familiarly as I knew the letters of apart?" the alphabet, I had made a valuable acqui- It turned out to be true. The face of thesition. But I had lost something, too. I had water, in time, became a wonderful booklost something which could never be re- a book that was a dead language to thestored to me while I lived. All the grace, uneducated passenger, but which told itsthe beauty, the poetry, had gone out of the mind to me without reserve, deliveringmajestic river! I still kept in mind a certain its most cherished secrets as clearly as ifwonderful sunset which I witnessed when it uttered them with a voice. And it wassteamboating was new to me. A broad ex- not a book to be read once and thrownpanse of the river was turned to blood; in aside, for it had a new story to tell everythe middle distance the red hue bright- day. Throughout the long twelve hundredened into gold, through which a solitary miles there was never a page that was voidlog came floating, black and conspicuous; of interest, never one that you could leavein one place a long, slanting mark lay unread without loss, never one that yousparkling upon the water; in another the would want to skip, thinking you couldsurface was broken by boiling, tumbling find higher enjoyment in some otherrings, that were as many-tinted as an opal; thing. There never was so wonderful awhere the ruddy flush was faintest, was a book written by man; never one whose in-smooth spot that was covered with graceful terest was so absorbing, so unflagging, socircles and radiating lines, ever so deli- sparklingly renewed with every reperusal.cately traced; the shore on our left was The passenger who could not read it wasdensely wooded, and the somber shadow charmed with a peculiar sort of faintthat fell from this forest was broken in one dimple on its surface (on the rare occa-place by a long, ruffled trail that shone like sions when he did not overlook it alto-silver; and high above the forest wall a gether); but to the pilot that was an itali-clean-stemmed dead tree waved a single cized passage; indeed, it was more thanleafy bough that glowed like a flame in the

101 103 REST,tPY AVAILABLE HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE unobstructed splendor that was flowingslick water over yonder are a warning that from the sun. There were graceful curves,that troublesome place is shoaling up reflected images, woody heights, soft dis-dangerously; that silver streak in the tances; and over the whole scene, far andshadow of the forest is the `break' from a near, the dissolving lights drifted steadily,new snag, and he has located himself in the enriching it every passing moment withvery best place he could have found to fish new marvels of coloring. for steamboats; that tall dead tree, with a I stood like one bewitched. I drank it in,single living branch, is not going to last in a speechless rapture. The world waslong, and then how is a body ever going to new to me, and I had never seen anythingget through this blind place at night with- like this at home. But as I have said, a dayout the friendly old landmark?" came when I began to cease from noting No, the romance and beauty were all the glories and the charms which the moongone from the river. All the value any fea- and the sun and the twilight wrought uponture of it had for me now was the amount the river's face; another day came when Iof usefulness it could furnish toward com- ceased altogether to note them. Then, ifpassing the safe piloting of a steamboat. that sunset scene had been repeated, ISince those days, I have pitied doctors should have looked upon it without rap-from my heart. What does the lovely flush ture, and should have commented upon itin a beauty's cheek mean to a doctor but a inwardly after this fashion: "This sun"break" that ripples above some deadly dis- means that we are going to have wind to-ease? Are not all her visible charms sown morrow; that floating log means that thethick with what are to him the signs and river is rising, small thanks to it; that slant-symbols of hidden decay? Does he ever see ing mark on the water refers to a bluff reefher beauty at all, or doesn't he simply view which is going to kill somebody's steam-her professionally, and comment upon her boat one of these nights, if it keeps onunwholesome condition all to himself? stretching out like that; those tumblingAnd doesn't he sometimes wonder `boils' show a dissolving bar and a changingwhether he has gained most or lost most by channel there; the lines and circles in thelearning his trade?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (b) How did the pilot let the engineer know he was planning to pick up passengers? 1. What do you gather was needed to make a (c) How did the boat get fuel for its boiler good river pilot? What other jobs require similar furnaces? qualities, in your opinion? 2. Do you think Mr. Bixby was a good teacher? 4. What did Twain lose when he got to know the Why or why not? river as an experienced pilot should? 3. After Twain's mistake with the wind reef, Mr. 5. After he learned to be a pilot, Twain recounts Bixby asked him some questions which give us how former "scenes of beauty" communicated insights into the routine of steamboat piloting: in a new way to him. How were each of the following items "read" by the veteranriver (a) How did people on shore signal to the pilot? steamboat that they wanted to come aboard? (a) the sun at sunset

102 .5 4 MARK TWAIN

(b) a floating log (g) a clean-stemmed dead tree rising above (c) the sparkling, slanting line the forest (d) boily, tumbling rings in the water (e) a smooth spot with circles and radiating 6. Write a short composition in which you ex- lines press your own ideas concerning Twain's (f)a somber shadow broken by a long silvertheory that a man loses as well as gains by trail learning a trade.

105

103 CHAPTER XV

STEPHEN CRANE

Crane (1871-1900)saw life as hard, perhaps ruthless. Most of the writing he published during his short life was bleakly realistic, dealing with the poor and de- graded. His style has been called realistic, naturalistic, and impressionistic. Like the impressionist painters, he tried to give an accurate rendering of the scene as a whole rather than concentrating on detail. His style is also marked by the use of vivid color and imagery. In many ways Crane's life resembles his adventures stories, though his childhood was quite conventional. He was born in in 1871; when he was small his ill health was partly responsible for his family's move to . His father was a Methodist minister, and the STEPHEN CRANE (1871-1900) family was a large, happy one. When Rev. Once there came a man Crane died, Stephen's mother earned Who said, money by writing articles for religious "Range me all me of the world in rows." papers. And instantly As he grew up, however, Stephen found There was terrific clamor among the people his parent's religion irrelevant to the hard Against being ranged in rows, life he saw, and he indulged in many of the There was a loud quarrel, world-wide. things they had forbidden. One of the for- It endured for ages; bidden pleasures was baseball, a sport at And blood was shed which Crane excelled. He might have be- By those who would not stand in rows, come a professional player, but an older And by those who pined to stand in rows. Eventually, the man went to death, weeping. brother urged him to go to college instead. And those who stayed in bloody scuffle He spent a year at Lafayette College and a Knew not the great simplicity. year at Syracuse University, where he (1895) spent more time on baseball and social ac- tivities than he spent on his studies. Crane left school in 1891, preferring to study humanity, he said, and became a re- porter on the newspaper for which his brother worked. However, when he wrote too sympathetically about a workers' strike, both he and his brother lost their jobs. The next year Crane moved to the Bow- ery in New York, where he lived amidst 446 the poverty he liked to write about. DuringAt the beginning of the Spanish-American this period he met andWar in 1898, Crane tried to enlist in the , two other realistAmerican navy, but was rejected because writers who helped him in his work. At thishe had . Despite this, he went time he also met the painters whose im-to as a . pressionism influenced his work, and Crane's exertions in Cuba did further wrote a novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets.damage to his health. He returned to Eng- No one would publish the grimly realisticland and then went to Germany in the book, and when Crane printed it at hishope of improving his health. He died own expense, booksellers would notsoon after reaching Germany in June, handle it and no one bought it. 1900. Soon after, in 1895, Crane published ; it was serialized in newspapers and was an immediate suc- SELECTION I cess. Then the demand for Maggie and for The Red Badge of Courage, Crane's most fa- Crane's newspaper stories began to in- mous novel, describes the thoughts and deeds crease, Now a celebrity, Crane was sent byof a young soldier under fire. With astonishing newspapers to the West and to toinsight, considering that Crane had never gather ideas for stories. He also publishedknown war, it reveals the effect of battle on a a book of poems, The Black Riders. raw recruit. Henry Fleming, a private in the Civil War, is serving in a Union regiment fight: The next year, accompanying a grouping the Confederates. Before the excerpt of filibusterersmen going to aid Cuban printed here begins, he has had his first experi- revolutionariesCrane was shipwreckedence in battle, has fled in panic, and then has and spent 27 hours at sea in a small boatmanaged to rejoin his regiment. He has been with three other men. His newspaper re-hit on the head by another Union soldier but he port, and later his short story "The Open lets his comrades think he has been wounded by the enemy and that that is how he got his "red Boat" were dramatic accounts of the fear,badge of courage." When he goes into his sec- courage, and endurance of the men. ond battle he finds that he is ashamed enough Crane next reported on the Greco- to fight, not nobly, but like a threatened animal. Turkish war in 1897; this was the firstHe fights so .hard that he wins the respect of experience in war for the man who had both his comrades and officers. He continues to fight and to learn about himself till the end of written The Red Badge of Courage two years the book. The selection that follows is the con- earlier. For that book, Crane had imagined clusion of the book, a kind of catharsis. his feelings in combat, drawing on the emotions he observed while playing foot- ball. After experiencing war in Greece, he From The Red Badge of Courage felt more certain that his book had been accurate and wrote: The Red Badge is all Chapter 17 right." Despite this, he referred to the book and its success as "a mere incident"; This advance of the enemy had seemed he preferred poetry, which he felt gave ato the youth like a ruthless hunting. He fuller picture of his philosophy. began to fume with rage and exasperation. After the war, Crane settled in England,He beat his foot upon the ground, and where he became friends with such au-scowled with hate at the swirling smoke thors as and Henry James.that was approaching like a phantom

105 107 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

flood. There was a maddening quality intoward his forehead. His jacket and shirt this seeming resolution of the foe to givewere open at the throat, and exposed his him no rest, to give him no time to sit downyoung bronzed neck. There could be seen and think. Yesterday he had fought andspasmodic gulpings at his throat. had fled rapidly. There had been many His fingers twined nervously about his adventures. For today he felt that he hadrifle. He wished that it was an engine of earned opportunities for contemplativeannihilating power. He felt that he and his repose. He could have enjoyed portrayingcompanions were being taunted and de- to uninitiated listeners various scenes atrided from sincere convictions that they which he had been a witness or ably discus-were poor and puny. His knowledge of his sing the processes of war with otherinability to take vengeance for it made proved men. Too it was important that hehis rage into a dark and stormy specter, should have time for physical recupera-that possessed him and made him dream tion. He was sore and stiff from his experi-of abominable cruelties. The tormentors ences. He had received his fill of all exer-were flies sucking insolently at his blood, tions, and he wished to rest. and he thought that he would have given But those other men seemed never tohis life for a revenge of seeing their faces grow weary; they were fighting with theirin pitiful plights. old speed. He had a wild hate for the re- The wind of battle had swept all about lentless foe. Yesterday, when he had im-the regiment, until the one rifle, instantly agined the universe to be against him, hefollowed by others, flashed in its front. A had hated it, little gods and big gods; to-moment later the regiment roared forth its day he hated the army of the foe with thesudden and valiant retort. A dense wall of same great hatred. He was not going to besmoke settled slowly down. It was furiously badgered of his life, like a kitten chased byslit and slashed by the knifelike fire from boys, he said. It was not well to drive menthe rifles. into final corners; at those moments they To the youth the fighters resembled could all develop teeth and claws. animals tossed for a death struggle into a He leaned and spoke into his friend'sdark pit. There was a sensation that he and ear. He menaced the woods with a gesture.his fellows, at bay, were pushing back, al- "If they keep on chasing us, by Gawd,ways pushing fierce onslaughts of crea- they'd better watch out. Can't stand tootures who were slippery. Their beams of much." crimson seemed to get no purchase upon The friend twisted his head and made athe bodies of their foes; the latter seemed calm reply. "If they keep on a-chasin' usto evade them with ease, and come they'll drive us all inteh th' river." through, between, around, and about with The youth cried out savagely at thisunopposed skill. statement. He crouched behind a little When, in a dream, it occurred to the tree, with his eyes burning hatefully andyouth that his rifle was an impotent stick, his teeth set in a curlike snarl. The awk-he lost sense of everything but his hate, his ward bandage was still about his head, anddesire to smash into pulp the glittering upon it, over his wound, there was a spotsmile of victory which he could feel upon of dry blood. His hair. was wondrouslythe faces of his enemies. tousled, and some straggling, moving locks The blue smoke-swallowed line curled hung over the cloth of the bandage dr and writhed like a snake stepped upon. It u 8 106 STEPHEN CRANE swung its ends to and fro in an agony offool, don't yeh know enough t' quit when fear and rage. there ain't anything t' shoot at? Good The youth was not conscious that he wasGawd!" erect upon his feet. He did not know the He turned then and, pausing with his direction of the ground. Indeed, once herifle thrown half into position, looked at even lost the habit of balance and fell heav-the blue line of his comrades. During this ily. He was up again immediately. Onemoment of leisure they seemed all to be thought went through the chaos of hisengaged in staring with astonishment at brain at the time. He wondered if he hadhim. They had become spectators. Turn- fallen because he had been shot. But theing to the front again he saw, under the suspicion flew away at once. He did notlifted smoke, a deserted ground. think more of it. He looked bewildered for a moment. He had taken up a first position behindThen there appeared upon the glazed va- the little tree, with a direct determinationcancy of his eyes a diamond point of intel- to hold it against the world. He had notligence. "Oh," he said, comprehending. deemed it possible that his army could that He returned to hi's comrades and threw day succeed, and from this he felt the abil-himself upon the ground. He sprawled ity to fight harder. But the throng hadlike a man who had been thrashed. His surged in all ways, until he lost directionsflesh seemed strangely on fire, and the and locations, save that he knew where laysounds of the battle continued in his ears. the enemy. He groped blindly for his canteen. The flames bit him, and the hot smoke The lieutenant was crowing. He seemed broiled his skin. His rifle barrel grew sodrunk with fighting. He called out to the hot that ordinarily he could not haveyouth: "By heavens, if I had ten thousand borne it upon his palms; but he kept onwild cats like you I could tear th' stomach stuffing cartridges into it, and poundingouta this war in less'n a week!" He puffed them with his clanking, bending ramrod.out his chest with large dignity as he said it. If he aimed at some changing form Some of the men muttered and looked through the smoke, he pulled his triggerat the youth in awe-struck ways. It was with a fierce grunt, as if he were dealing aplain that as he had gone on loading and blow of the fist with all his strength. firing and cursing without the proper in- When the enemy seemed falling backtermission, they had found time to regard before him and his fellows, he went in-him. And they now looked upon him as a stantly forward, like a dog who, seeing hiswar devil. foes lagging, turns and insists upon being The friend came staggering to him. pursued. And when he was compelled toThere was some fright and dismay in his retire again, he did it slowly, sullenly, tak-voice. "Are yeh all right, Fleming? Do yeh ing steps of wrathful despair. feel all right? There ain't nothin' th' matter Once he, in his intent hate, was almostwith yeh, Henry, is there?" alone, and was firing, when all those near "No," said the youth with difficulty. His him had ceased. He was so engrossed in histhroat seemed full of knobs and burrs. occupation that he was not aware of a lull. These incidents made the youth ponder. He was recalled by a -hoarse laugh and aIt was revealed to him that he had been a sentence that came to his ears in a voice ofbarbarian, a beast. He had fought like a contempt and amazement. "Yeh infernalpagan who defends his religion. Regard-

107 109 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE ing it, he saw that it was fine, wild, and,smoke, as from smoldering ruins, went up in some ways, easy. He had been a tre-toward the sun now bright and gay in the mendous figure, no doubt. By this struggleblue-enameled sky... he had overcome obstacles which he had admitted to be mountains. They had fallen Chapter 24 like paper peaks, and he was now what he called a hero. And he had not been aware The roarings that had stretched in a of the process. He had slept and, awakelong line of sound across the face of the ing, found himself a knight. forest began to grow intermittent and He lay and basked in the occasionalweaker. The stentorian speeches of the ar- stares of his comrades. Their faces weretillery continued in some distant en- varied in degrees of blackness from thecounter, but the crashes of the musketry burned powder. Some were utterlyhad almost ceased. The youth and his smudged. They were reeking with perspi-friend of a sudden looked up; feeling a ration, and their breaths came hard anddeadened form of distress at the waning of wheezing. And from these soiled expansesthese noises, which had become a part they peered at him. of life. They could see changes going on "Hot work! Hot work!" cried theamong the troops. There were marchings lieutenant deliriously. He walked up andthis way and that way. A battery wheeled down, restless and eager. Sometimes hisleisurely. On the crest of a small hill was voice could be heard in a wild, incom-the thick gleam of many departing mus- prehensible laugh. kets. When he had a particularly profound The youth arose. "Well, what now, I thought upon the science of war he alwayswonder?" he said. By his tone he seemed to unconsciously addressed himself to thebe preparing to resent some new mon- youth. strosity in the way of dins'and smashes. He There was some grim rejoicing by theshaded his eyes with his grimy hand and men. "By thunder, I bet this arrny'll nevergazed over the field. see another new reg'ment like us!" His friend also arose and stared. "I bet "You bet! we're goin' t' git along out of this an' back over th' river," said he. "A dog, a woman, an' a walnut tree, "Well, I swan!" said the youth. Th' more yeh beat 'em, th' better they be! They waited, watching. Within a little while the regiment received orders to re- That's like us." trace its way. The men got up grunting "Lost a piler men, they did. If an ol'from the grass, regretting the soft repose. woman swep' up th' woods she'd git aThey jerked their stiffened leg's, and dustpanful." stretched their arms over their heads. One "Yes, an' if she'll come around ag'in inman swore as he rubbed his eyes. They all 'bout an hour she'll git a more." groaned "0 Lord!" They had as many ob- The forest still bore its burden ofjections to this change as they would have clamor. From off under the trees came thehad to a proposal for a new battle. rolling clatter of the musketry. Each dis- They trampled slowly back over the field tant thicket seemed a strange porcupineacross which they had run in a mad with quills of flame. A cloud of darkscamper.

1[1008 STEPHEN CRANE

The regiment marched until it had Later he began to study his deeds, his joined its fellows. The reformed brigade,failures, and his achievements. Thus, fresh in column, aimed through a wood at thefrom scenes where many of his usual road. Directly they were in a mass of dust-machines of reflection had been idle, from covered troops, and were trudging alongwhere he had proceeded sheeplike, he in a way parallel to the enemy's lines asstruggled to marshal all his acts. these had been defined by the previous At last they marched before him clearly. turmoil. From this present viewpoint he was ena- They passed within view of a stolid whitebled to look upon them in spectator fash- house, and saw in front of it groups ofion and to criticize them with some cor- their comrades lying in wait behind a neatrectness, for his new condition had already breastwork. A row of guns were boomingdefeated certain sympathies. at a distant enemy. Shells thrown in reply Regarding his procession of memory he were raising clouds of dust and splinters.felt gleeful and unregretting, for in it his Horsemen dashed along the line of en-public deeds were paraded in great and trenchments. shining prominence. Those performances At this point of its march the divisionwhich had been witnessed .by his fellows curved away from the field and went wind-marched now in wide purple and gold, ing off in the direction of the river. Whenhaving various deflections. They went the significance of this movement had im-gayly with music. It was pleasure to watch pressed itself upon the youth he turned histhese things. He spent delightful minutes head and looked over his shoulder towardviewing the gilded images of memory. the trampled and debris-strewed ground. He saw that he was good. He recalled He breathed a breath of new satisfac-with a thrill of joy the respectful comments tion. He finally nudged his friend. "Well,of his fellows upon his conduct. it's all over," he said to him. Nevertheless, the ghost of his flight His friend gazed backward. "B'Gawd, itfrom the first engagement appeared to is," he assented. They mused. him and danced. There were small shout- For a time the youth was obliged to re-ings in his brain about these matters. For a flect in a puzzled and uncertain way. Hismoment he blushed, and the light of his mind was undergoing a subtle change. Itsoul flickered with shame. took moments for it to cast off its battleful A specter of reproach came to him. ways and resume its accustomed course ofThere loomed the dogging memory of the thought. Gradually his brain emergedtattered soldierhe who, gored by bullets from the clogged clouds, and at last he wasand faint for blood, had fretted concern- enabled to more closely comprehend him-ing an imagined wound in another; he self and circumstance. who had loaned his last of strength and He understood then that the existenceintellect for the tall soldier; he who, blind of shot and counter-shot was in the past.with weariness and pain, had been de- He had dwelt in a land of strange, squal-serted in the field. ling upheavals and had come forth. He For an instant a wretched chill of sweat had been where there was red of bloodwas upon him at the thought that he might and black of passion, and he was escaped.be detected in the thing. As he stood per- His first thoughts were given to rejoicingssistently before his vision, he gave vent to a at this fact. cry of sharp-irritation and agony.

109 111 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

His friend turned. "What's the matter,them or know them, save when he felt Henry?" he demanded. The youth's replysudden suspicion that they were seeing his was an outburst of crimson oaths. thoughts and scrutinizing each detail of As he marched along the little branch-the scene with the tattered soldier. hung roadway among his prattling com- Yet gradually he mustered force to put panions this vision of cruelty brooded overthe sin at a distance. And at last his eyes him. It clung near him always and dar-seemed to open to some new ways. He kened his view of these deeds in purplefound that he could look back upon the and gold. Whichever way his thoughtsbrass and bombast of his earlier gospels turned they were followed by the somberand see them truly. He was gleeful when phantom of the desertion in the fields. Hehe discovered that he now despised them. looked stealthily at his companions, feeling With the conviction came a store of as- sure that they must discern in his face evi-surance. He felt a quiet manhood, non- dences of this pursuit. But they were plod-assertive but of sturdy and strong blood. ding in ragged array, discussing with quickHe knew that he would no more quail be- tongues the accomplishments of the latefore his guides wherever they should battle. point. He had been to touch the great "Oh, if a man should come up an' askdeath, and found that, after all, it was but me, I'd say we got a dum good lickin'." the great death. He was a man. "Lickin'in yer eye! We ain't licked, So it came to pass that as he trudged sonny. We're going down here aways,from the place of blood and wrath his soul swing around', an' come in behint 'em." changed. He came from hot plowshares to prospects of clover tranquilly, and it was as "Oh, hush, with your comin' in behint if hot plowshares were not. Scars faded 'em. I've seen all 'a that I wanta. Don't tell me about comin' in behint" as flowers. It rained. The procession of weary sol- "Bill Smithers, he ses he'd rather been indiers became a bedraggled train, despond- ten hundred battles than been in thatent and muttering, marching with churn- heluva hospital. He ses they got shootin' ining effort in a trough of liquid brown mud th' nighttime, an' shells dropped plumunder a low, wretched sky. Yet the youth among 'em in th' hospital. He ses sech hol-smiled, for he saw that the world was a lerin' he never see." world for him, though many discovered it "Hasbrouck? He's th' best offcer in thisto be made of oaths and walking sticks. He here reg'ment. He's a whale." had rid himself of the red sickness of bat- "Didn't I tell yeh we'd come aroun' intle. The sultry nightmare was in the past. behint 'em? Didn't I tell yeh so? We" He had been an animal blistered and "Oh, shet yer mouth!" sweating in the heat and pain of war. He For a time this pursuing recollection ofturned now with a lover's thirst to images the tattered man took all elation from theof tranquil skies, fresh meadows, cool youth's veins. He saw his vivid error, andbrooksan existence of soft and eternal he was afraid that it would stand beforepeace. him all his life. He took no share in the Over the river a golden ray of sun came chatter of his comrades, nor did he look atthrough the hosts of leaden rain clouds.

112 110 STEPHEN CRANE

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS we account for the heroic actions which take place in battle? 5. What has Fleming learned about himself in 1. What makes The Red Badge of Courage a the course of the fighting?In your opinion, psychological novel? are the experience and self-knowledge ac- 2. How does the author succeed in giving thequired in war applicable to the overcoming of reader the feeling of war? obstacles one encounters in everyday living? Explain your answer. 3. In what ways does this excerpt illustrate the 6. How did the regiment react to orders to fall feeling of aloneness men often experience in back? Why did they react as they did? time of stress? 7.Is there any moral to what you have read in 4. From what we see in this excerpt, how can these pages?

1 1 1 113 CHAPTER XVI

HENRY JAMES

Henry James (1843-1916) helps in his subtle way to lead us from the 19th into the 20th century, just as he leads us from America to Europe. His principal interest, especially in his many fine novels, is the confrontation of American and European culture. He is also concerned with the clash between the old and the new, between the dying century and the one just beginning. James was born in New York City, the second child of wealthy, somewhat aristo- cratic parents. His father, Henry James, Sr., was a philosopher and a friend of Emerson's; his brother William became a prominent philosopher and psychologist. Henry James, Sr. disapproved of most schools and consequently, sent his sons to a variety of tutors and European schools in HENRY JAMES (1843-1916) search of the best education for them. The The only obligation to which in advance we children received the major part of their may hold a novel, without incurring the education at home, however, in lively con- accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be versations with their father and the other interesting. That general responsibility rests children. The James family's travels in upon it, but it is the only one I can think of. Europe were another source of education The ways in which it is at liberty to for Henry. accomplish this result (of interesting us) strike When he was growing up in New York, me as innumerable, and such as can only Henry was given a great deal of indepen- suffer from being marked out or fenced in by dence, so much in fact, that he felt isolated prescription. They are as various as the from other people. A quiet child among temperament of man, and they are successful exuberant brothers and cousins, Henry in proportion as they reveal a particular mind, different from others. A novel is in its broadest was more often an observer than a par- definition a personal, a direct impression of ticipant in their activities. When, as a life: that, to begin with, constitutes its value, young man, a back injury prevented his which is greater or less according to the fighting in the Civil War, he felt even more intensity of the impression. But there will be excluded from the events of his time. no intensity at all, and therefore no value, While the adult Henry James developed unless there is freedom to feel and say. The many close friendships, he retained his at- tracing of a line to be followed, of a tone to be titude of observer, and devoted much of taken, of a form to be filled out, is a limitation his life to solitary work on his writing. of that freedom and a suppression of the very Henry's family lived for a time in Bos- thing that we are most curious about. ton, where he became acquainted with from his "The Art of Fiction" (1884) New England authors and friends of his

112 114 father, began his friendship with Williamto Paris by the town's society leader, a Mrs. Dean Howells, and attended Harvard Law Newsome, to bring her restless son Chad back School. After 1866, James lived in Europefrom the decadence of Europe. The decadence is typified by a delightful French countess, much of the time and in 1875 decided toMadame de Vionnet. As Strether goes about his make it his permanent home. He lived inmission in Paris, he finds life there far more Paris for a year, where he met Turgenev, complicated than in Massachusetts. His percep- Flaubert, and Zola. The next year he set-tions are deepened by an attractive American tled in and lived there and in theexpatriate, Maria Gostrey, by another Ameri- English countryside for the rest of his life. can named Waymarsh, and by Chad Newsome himself. Strether soon sees that the countess has In 1915, a year before his death, to showbeen a civilizing influence on Chad and that his support of England in ,there is much to be said for European culture. James became a British citizen. When Mrs. Newsome realizes that Strether is Henry James first achieved recognitionbeing subverted, she sends over reinforce- as a writer of the "international novel"aments, principally her stiff daughter, Mrs. Pocock. The scene excerpted here is the meet- story which brings together persons of var-ing between Sarah Pocock and Madame de ious nationalities who represent certainVionnet, with Strether and Waymarsh playing characteristics of their country. The Euro-supporting roles. To get the most out of the peans in James' novels are more cultured,brilliant interplay of personalities which James more concerned with art, and more aware creates, we must read closely. The lines are not only subtle but systematically understated. of the subtleties of social situations thanWhat we see on the surface is a polite social call are James' Americans. The Americans, by the countess on Mrs. Pocock; underneath, it however, usually have a morality and in- is really a skirmish in a total war. The "him" in nocence which the Europeans lack. James the first sentence is Strether. seemed to value both the sophistication of Europe and the idealism of America. Of the prominent New England writers From The Ambassadors who had dominated American literature, Book 8, section 3 James preferred Hawthorne, with his rec- ognition of the evil present in the world, to As the door of Mrs. Pocock's was the Transcendentalists, whose optimismpushed open for him, the next day, well seemed unrealistic to him. James' laterbefore noon, he was reached by a voice books put less emphasis on the interna-with a charming sound that made him just tional theme and are more concerned withfalter before crossing the threshold. the psychology of his characters. His mostMadame de Vionnet was already on the mature, and perhaps his best, novels arefield, and this gave the a quicker considered to be his last three: The Goldenpace than he felt it as yetthough his sus- Bowl, The Ambassadors, and The Wings of the pense had increasedin the power of any Dove. James himself considered Theact of his own to do. He had spent the Ambassadors his best work. previous evening with all his old friends together; yet he would still have described himself as quite in the dark in respect to a SELECTION I forecast of their influence on his situation. Lambert Strether, the central character in It was strange now, none the less, that in The Ambassadors, is a throughly decent Ameri- the light of this unexpected note of her can from a Massachusetts milltown, who is sent presence he felt Madame de Vionnet a

113 1i5 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE part of that situation as she hadn't even yetalthough Sarah was vividly bright, she had been. She was alone, he found himselfgiven herself up for the moment to an am- assuming, with Sarah, and there was abiguous flushed formalism. She had had to bearing in thatsomehow beyond hisreckon more quickly than she expected; controlon his personal fate. Yet she wasbut it concerned her first of all to signify only saying something quite easy andthat she was not to be taken unawares. independentthe thing she had come, asStrether arrived precisely in time for her a good friend of Chad's, on purpose to say.showing it. "Oh you're too good; but I "There isn't anything at all? I should bedon't think I feel quite helpless. I have so delighted." my brotherand these American friends. It was clear enough, when they wereAnd then you know I've been to Paris. I there before him, how she had been re-know Paris," said Sally Pocock in a tone that ceived. He saw this, as Sarah got up tobreathed a certain chill on Strether's heart. greet him, from something fairly hectic in "Ah but a woman, in this tiresome place Sarah's face. He saw furthermore that theywhere everything's always changing, a weren't, as had first come to him, alonewoman of good will," Madame de Vionnet together; he was at no loss as to the identitythrew off, "can always help a woman. I'm of the broad high back presented to him insure you `know'but we know perhaps the embrasure of the window furthestdifferent things." She too, visibly, wished from the door. Waymarsh, whom he hadto make no mistake; but it was a fear of a to-day not yet seen, whom he only knew todifferent order and more kept out of sight. have left the hotel before him, and whoShe smiled in welcome at Strether; she had taken part, the night previous, on Mrs.greeted him more familiarly than Mrs. Pocock's kind invitation, conveyed byPocock; she put out her hand to him with- Chad, in the entertainment, informal butout moving from her place; and it came to cordial, promptly offered by that ladyhim in the course of a minute and in the Waymarsh had anticipated him even asoddest way thatyes, positivelyshe was Madame de Vionnet had done, and, withgiving him over to ruin. She was all kind- his hands in his and his attitudeness and ease, but she couldn't help so giv- unaffected by Strether's entrance, wasing him; she was exquisite, and her being looking out, in marked detachment, at thejust as she was poured for Sarah a sudden . The latter felt it in therush of meaning into his own equivoca- airit was immense how Waymarsh couldtions. How could she know how she was mark things--that he had remainedhurting him? She wanted to show as simple deeply dissociated from the overture toand humblein the degree compatible their hostess that we have recorded onwith operative charm; but it was just this Madame de Vionnet's side. He had, con-that seemed to put him on her side. She spicuously, tact, besides a stiff generalstruck him as dressed, as arranged, as pre- view; and this was why he had left Mrs.pared infinitely to conciliatewith the Pocock to struggle alone. He would outstayvery poetry of good taste in her view of the the visitor; he would unmistakeably wait;conditions of her early call. She was ready to what had he been doomed for monthsto advise about dressmakers and shops; past but waiting? Therefore she was to feelshe held herself wholly at the disposition .that she had him in reserve. What supportof Chad's family. Strether noticed her card she drew from this was still to be seen, for,on the table--her coronet and her

114 116 HENRY JAMES

"Comtesse"'and the imagination washer presenting herself so promptly to sharp in him of certain private adjust-sound that note, and yet asked himself ments in Sarah's mind. She had never, hewhat other note, after all, she could strike was sure, sat with a "Comtesse" before, andfrom the moment she presented herself at such was the specimen of that class he hadall. She could meet Mrs. Pocock only on been keeping to play on her. She had cros-the ground of the obvious, and what fea- sed the sea very particularly for a look atture of Chad's situation was more eminent her; but he read in Madame de Vionnet'sthan the fact that he had created for him- own eyes that this curiosity hadn't been soself a new set of circumstances? Unless she successfully met as that she herselfhid herself altogether she could show but wouldn't now have more than ever need ofas one of these, an illustration of his him. She looked much as she had lookeddomiciled and indeed of his confirmed to him that morning at Notre Dame;2 hecondition. And the consciousness of all this noted in fact the suggestive sameness ofin her charming eyes was so clear and fine her discreet and delicate dress. It seemedthat as she thus publicly drew him into her to speakperhaps a little prematurely orboat she produced in him such a silent agi- too finelyof the sense in which she wouldtation as he was not to fail afterwards to help Mrs. Pocock with the shops. The waydenounce as pusillanimous. "Ah don't be that lady took her in, moreover, addedso charming to me!for it makes us inti- depth to his impression of what Miss Gos-mate, and after all what is between us when trey, by their common wisdom, had es-I've been so tremendously on my guard caped. He winced as he saw himself but forand have seen you but half a dozen times?" that timely prudence ushering in Maria asHe recognised once more the perverse a guide and an example. There was how-law that so inveterately governed his poor ever a touch of relief for him in hispersonal aspects; it would be exactly like glimpse, so far as he had got it, of Sarah'sthe way things always turned out for him line. She "knew Paris." Madame de Vion-that he should affect Mrs. Pocock and had, for that matter, lightly taken thisWaymarsh as launched in a relation in up. "Ah then you've a turn for that, anwhich he had really never been launched affinity that belongs to your family. Yourat all. They were at this very moment brother, though his long experience makesthey could only beattributing to him 'a difference, I admit, has become one of usthe full licence of it, and all by the opera- in a marvellous way." And she appealed totion of her own tone with him; whereas his Strether in the manner of a woman whosole licence had been to cling with intensity could always glide off with smoothnessto the brink, not to dip so much as a toe into another subject. Wasn't he struck withinto the flood. But the flicker of his fear the way Mr. Newsome had made the placeon this occasion was not, as may be added, his own, and hadn't he been in a positionto repeat itself; it spiang up, for its mo- toprofit by hisfriend's wondrousment, only to die down and then go out expertness? for ever. To meet his fellow visitor's in- Strether felt the bravery, at the least, ofvocation and, with Sarah's brilliant eyes on him, answer, was quite sufficiently to step into her boat. During the rest of the 1. Comtessecountess (French) 2. Notre Damea famous early Gothic cathedral in time her visit lasted he felt himself proceed Pa ris to each of the proper offices, successively,

115 117 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE for helping to keep the adventurous skiffwindow. "Oh yes, Countesshe has re- afloat. It rocked beneath him, but he set-newed acquaintance with me, and he has, I tled himself in his place. He took up anguess, learnt something about me, though oar and, since he was to have the credit ofI don't know how much he has liked it. It's pulling, pulled. for Strether himself to say whether he has "That will make it all the pleasanter if itfelt it justifies his course." so happens that we do meet," Madame de "Oh but you," said the Countess gaily, Vionnet had further observed in reference"are not in the least what he came out to Mrs. Pocock's mention of her initiatedforis he really, Strether? and I hadn't state; and she had immediately added that,you at all in my mind. I was thinking of after all, her hostess couldn't be in needMr. Newsome, of whom we think so much with the good offices of Mr. Strether soand with whom, precisely, Mrs. Pocock has close at hand. "It's he, I gather, who hasgiven herself the opportunity to take up learnt to know his Paris, and to love it, bet-threads. What a pleasure for you both!" ter than any one ever before in so short aMadame de Vionnet, with her eyes on time; so that between him and yourSarah, bravely continued. brother, when it comes to the point, how Mrs. Pocock met her handsomely, but can you possibly want for good guidance?Strether quickly saw she meant to accept The great thing, Mr. Strether will showno version of her movements or plans you," she smiled, "is just to let one's selffrom any other lips. She required no go." patronage and no support, which were "Oh I've not let myself go very far,"but other names for a false position; she Strether answered, feeling quite as if hewould show in her own way what she chose had been called upon to hint to Mrs.to show, and this she expressed with a dry Pocock how Parisians could talk. "I'm only glitter that recalled to him a fine Woollett afraid of showing I haven't let myself gowinter morning. "I've never wanted for far enough. I've taken a good deal of time,opportunities to see my brother. We've but I must quite have had the air of notmany things to think of at home, and great budging from one spot." He looked atresponsibilities and occupations, and our Sarah in a manner that he thought shehome's not an impossible place. We've might take as engaging, and he made,plenty of reasons," Sarah continued a little under Madame de Vionnet's protection, aspiercingly, "for everything we do"and in it were, his first personal point. "What hasshort she wouldn't give herself the least lit- really happened has been that, all thetle scrap away. But she added as one who while, I've done what I came out for." was always bland and who could afford a Yet it only at first gave Madame deconcession: "I've come becausewell, be- Vionnet a chance immediately to take him cause we do come." up. "You've renewed acquaintance with "Ah then fortunately!"--Madame de your friendyou've learnt to know himVionnet breathed it to the air. Five min- again." She spoke with such cheerful help-utes later they were on their feet for her fulness that they might, in a commonto take leave, standing together in an cause, have been calling together andaffability that had succeeded in surviving pledged to mutual aid. a further exchange of remarks; only Waymarsh, at this, as if he had been inwith the emphasised appearance on Way- question, straightway turned from themarsh's part of a tendency to revert, in a HENRY JAMES

ruminating manner and as with an instinc-Sarah's cheeks had by this time settled to a tive or a precautionary lightening of hissmall definite crimson spot that was not tread, to an open window and his point ofwithout its own bravery; she held her head vantage. The glazed and gilded room, alla good deal up, and it came to Strether red damask, ormolu, mirrors, clocks, look-that of the two, at this moment, she was the ed south, and the shutters were bowedone who most carried out the idea of a upon the summer morning; but the Tui-Countess. He quite took in, however, that leries3 garden and what was beyond it,she would really return her visitor's civil- over which the whole place hung, were ity; she wouldn't report again at Woollett things visible through gaps; so that the without at least so much producible history far-spreading presence of Paris came upas that in her . in coolness, dimness and invitation, in the "I want extremely to be able to show you twinkle of gilt-tipped palings, the crunchmy little daughter." Madame de Vionnet of gravel, the click of hoofs, the crack ofwent on; "and I should have brought her whips, things that suggested some paradewith me if I hadn't wished first to ask your of the circus. "I think it probable," saidleave. I was in hopes I should perhaps find Mrs. Pocock, "that Ishall have the op-Miss Pocock, of whose being with you I've portunity of going to my brother's. I'veheard from Mr. Newsome and whose ac- no doubt it's very pleasant indeed." Shequaintance I should so much like my child spoke as to Strether, but her face wasto make. If I have the pleasure of seeing turned with an intensity of brightness toher and you do permit it I shall venture to Madame de Vionnet, and there was a mo-ask her to be kind to Jeanne. Mr. Strether ment during which, while she thus frontedwill tell you"she beautifully kept it her, our friend expected to hear her add:up--"that my poor girl is gentle and good "I'm much obliged to you, I'm sure, forand rather lonely. They've made friends, inviting me there." He guessed thathe and she, ever so happily, and he for five seconds these words were on thedoesn't, I believe, think ill of her. As for point of coming; he heard them as clearlyJeanne herself he has had the same success as if they had been spoken; but he pres-with her that I know he has had here ently knew they had just failedknew itwherever he has turned." She seemed to by a glance, quick and fine, from Madameask him for permission to say these things, de Vionnet, which told him that she tooor seemed rather to take it, softly and hap- had felt them in the air, but that thepily, with the ease of intimacy, for granted, point had luckily not been made in anyand he had quite the consciousness now manner requiring notice. This left herthat not to meet her at any point more free to reply only to what had been said.than halfway would be odiously, basely to "That the Boulevard Malesherbes mayabandon her. Yes, he was with her, and, be common ground for us offers me theopposed even in this covert, this semi-safe best prospect I see for the pleasure offashion to those who were not, he felt, meeting you again." strangely and confusedly; but excitedly, in- "Oh I shall come to see you, since you'vespiringly, how much and how far. It was as been so good": and Mrs. Pocock lookedif he had positively waited in suspense for her invader well in the eyes. The flush insomething from her that would let him in deeper, so that he might show her how he 3. Tuileriesa former royal residence in Paris could take it. And what did in fact come as

117 s HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE she drew out a little her farewell servedguish. You'll have rendered me the serv- sufficiently the purpose. "As his success isice, Mrs. Pocock, at least," she wound up, a matter that I'm sure he'll never mention"of giving me one of my much-too-rare for himself, I feel, you see, the less scruple;glimpses of this gentleman." which it's very good of me to say, you "I certainly should be sorry to deprive know, by the way," she added as she ad-you of anything that seems so much, as you dressed herself to him; "considering howdescribe it, your natural due. Mr. Strether little direct advantage I've gained fromand I are very old friends," Sarah allowed, your triumphs with me. When does one"but the privilege of his society isn't a thing ever see you? I wait at home and I lan-I shall quarrel about with any one. "...

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS himself: concerning Madame de Vionnet: "Ah don't be so charming to me!for it makes us 1. What are the signs that Strether sees which intimate..." Explain what he means by that ob- show him that the battle had already begun be- servation. fore he came in? 8. What is Strether's reaction to the Countess' 2. What is the stated purpose of the Countess' comment that he has let himself go? visit? Isit the real reason she has come? Ex- 9. How does Mrs. Pocock snub the Countess? plain. 3. How does Mrs. Pocock reveal her feelings? 10. Sarah explains her reason for coming to 4. What role does Waymarsh playinthisParis: "I've come becausewell, because we episode? do come." What does she mean? 5. What kind of person is the Countess? Mrs. 11. Does Madame deVionnet appealto Pocock? Strether for help? If so, how? 6. How do you explain Strether's being steadily 12. As the scene goes along, who gets more of won to the Countess' side? your sympathy, Mrs. Pocock or Madame de 7. At one point in the account, Strether thinks to Vionnet? Why?

120 118 : 19TH CENTURY DEVELOPMENTS

From the beginning of time, man has been Hawthorne, Washington Irving, and Edgar interested in stories. For many thousands of Allan Poe. It was the latter who defined the years stories were passed from generation to literary form in his review of Hawthorne's generation orally, either in words or in song. Twice-Told Tales. Usually the stories were religious or national In this review, Poe asserts that everything in in character. There were myths, epics, fables, a story or tale every incident, every and parables. Some famous examples of combination of events, every wordmust aid story-telling of the Middle Ages are A the author in achieving a preconceived Thousand and One nights, Chaucer's emotional effect. He states that since the Canterbury Tales, and Boccaccio's ordinary novel cannot be read at one sitting, it Decameron. is deprived of "the immense force derivable Perhaps it can be said that the short story isfrom totality." For Poe the advantage of the well-suited to American life style and short prose over the novel was that it character. It is brief. (It can be read usually in maintained unity of interest on the part of the a single sitting.) It is concentrated. (The reader, who was less subject to the characters are few in number and the action intervention of "wordly interests" caused by is limited.) pauses or cessation of reading as in the case Dr. J. Berg Esenwein in his book, Writing of a novel. the Short Story, defines the short story as "In the brief tale, however," Poe states, "the follows: "A short story is a brief, imaginative author is enabled to carry out the fullness of narrative, unfolding a single predominating his intentions, be it what may. During the hour incident and a single chief character; it of perusual the soul of the reader is at the contains a plot, the details of which are so writer's control. There are no external or compressed, and the whole treatment so extrinsic influencesresulting from weariness organized, as to produce a single or interruption." impression." Poe felt that the writer of short stories A good short story should (1) .narrate an should conceive his stories with deliberate account of events in a way that will hold the care in order to achieve "a certain unique or reader's interest by its basic truth; and (2) it single effect," beginning with the initial should present a struggle or conflict faced by sentence of the story. According to Poe, the a character or characters. The plot is the short story writer should not form his thoughts narrative development of the struggle as it . to accommodate his incidents, and thereby moves through a series of crises to the final destroy the possibility of establishing the outcome. The outcome must be the inevitable pre-conceived single effect, so much desired. result of the traits of the character involved in Four famous American short stories from the the struggle or conflict. 19th century are included in this section. The The short story is the literary form to which choice is not specifically representative of the the United States made early contributions. In many types of short stories nor do the stories fact, early in 19th century America, the short necessarily demonstrate the most outstanding story reached a significant point in its stories by each author. They are, however, development. Three American writers were among the most well-known and enjoyed by responsible for this development: Nathaniel the average American reader.

119 121 CHAPTER XVII

AMBROSE BIERCE

AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914?) bound with a cord. A rope loosely encir- cled his neck. It was attached to a stout Ambrose Bierce was born on a farm in Ohiocross-timber above his head, and the slack when it was still frontier. As a boy he had little opportunity for a formal education but was fell to the level of his knees. Some loose able to educate himself by reading books in boards laid upon the sleepers supporting his fathers personal library. With the outbreak the metals of the railway supplied a footing of the Civil War, he joined the Union Army for him and his executionerstwo private and was severely wounded twice during his soldiers of the Federal army, directed by a four years of service. He attained the rank of sergeant who in civil life may have been major and was commended for gallantry in action. a deputy sheriff. At a short remove upon After the war Bierce took a job on a the same temporary platform was an of- newspaper in San Francisco as editor of.the ficer in the uniform of his rank, armed. News Letter. In 1872 he went to London and He was a captain. A sentinel at each end while there wrote three small books, Nuggets of the bridge stood with his rifle in the and Dust (1872), The Fiend's Delight say, (1873), and Cobwebs and Dust (1874). The position known as "support," that is to sharp sarcasm and bitter humor of these vertical in front of the left shoulder, the volumes earned him the nickname "Bitter hammer resting on the forearm thrown Bierce." straight across the chesta formal and After four years in England, Bierce returned unnatural position, enforcing an erect to San Francisco where he worked as a carriage of the body. It did not appear to newspaper columnist for 25 years. Because of his often outspoken views and opinions, he be the duty of these two men to know what became a somewhat controversial figure in was occurring at the center of the bridge; the of the area. they merely blockaded the' two ends of the When past seventy years of age, Bierce foot plank which traversed it. went to Mexico on a mysterious mission in Beyond one of the sentinels, nobody was 1913 and disappeared. Some believe that he was killed by Mexican revolutionaries in sight; the railroad ran straight away into between 1914 and 1916. a forest for a hundred yards, then, curv- Ambrose Bierce was a master in telling ing, was lost to view. Doubtless there was stories dealing with the supernatural. Many of an outpost farther along. The other bank his best short stories are characterized by of the stream was open grounda gentle horror and terror. "An Occurrence at Owl Creekacclivity topped with a stockade of vertical Bridge" is a good example of Bierce's ability to create a mood of horror from which he tree trunks, loopholed for rifles, with a moves to a powerful climax and denouement. single embrasure through which pro- truded the muzzle of a brass cannon com- manding the bridge. Midway of the slope An Occurrence at Owl between bridge and fort were the Creek Bridge spectatorsa single company of infantry in line, at "parade rest," the butts of the A man stood upon a railroad bridge inrifles on the ground, the barrels inclining northern Alabama, looking down into theslightly backward against the right shoul- swift water twenty feet below. The man'sder, the hands crossed upon the stock. A hands were behind his back, the wristslieutenant stood at the right of the line, the

120 122 point of his sword upon the ground, hiscivilian stood almost, but not quite, left hand resting upon his right. Exceptingreached a fourth. This plank had been the group of four at the center of theheld in place by the weight of the captain; bridge, not a man moved. The companyit was now held by that of the sergeant. At faced the bridge, staring stonily, motion-a signal from the former, the latter would less. The sentinels, the banks of thestep aside, the plank would tilt, and the stream, might have been statues to adorncondemned man go down between two the bridge. The captain stood with foldedties. The arrangement commended itself arms, silent, observing the work of histo his judgment as simple and effective. subordinates, but making no sign. DeathHis face had not been covered nor his eyes is a dignitary who when he comes an-bandaged. He looked a moment at his "un- nounced is to be received with formalsteadfast footing," then let his gaze wander manifestations of respect, even by thoseto the swirling water of the stream racing most familiar with him. In the code ofmadly beneath his feet. A piece of dancing military etiquette silence and fixity aredriftwood caught his attention and his eyes forms of deference. followed it down the current. How slowly The man who was engaged in beingit appeared to move! What a sluggish hanged was apparently about thirty-fivestream! years of age. He was a civilian, if one He closed his eyes in order to fix his last might judge from his habit, which was thatthoughts upon his wife and children. The of a planter. His features were goodawater, touched to gold by the early sun, the straight nose, firm mouth, broad fore-brooding mists under the banks at some head, from which his long, dark hair wasdistance down the stream, the fort, the combed straight back, falling behind hissoldiers, the piece of driftall had dis- ears to the of his well-fitting frocktracted him. And now he became con- coat. He wore a mustache and pointedscious of a new disturbance. Striking beard, but no whiskers; his eyes were largethrough the thought of his dear ones was a and dark gray, and had a kindly expres-sound which he could neither ignore nor sion which one would hardly have expect-understand, a sharp, distinct, metallic per- ed in one whose neck was in the .cussion like the stroke of a blacksmith's Evidently this was no vulgar assassin. Thehammer upon the anvil; it had the same liberal military code makes provision forringing quality. He wondered what it was, hanging many kinds of persons, and gen-and whether immeasurably distant or near tlemen are not excluded. byit seemed both. Its recurrence was The preparations being complete, theregular, but as slow as the tolling of a death two private soldiers stepped aside and eachknell. He awaited each stroke with impa- drew away the plank upon which he hadtience andhe knew not whyappre- been standing. The sergeant turned to thehension. The intervals of silence grew captain, saluted, and placed himself im-progressively longer; the delays became mediately behind that officer, who in turnmaddening. With their greater infre- moved apart one pace. These movementsquency the sounds increased in strength left the condemned man and the sergeantand sharpness. They hurt his ear like the standing on the two ends of the samethrust of a knife; he feared he would plank, which spanned three of the crosstiesshriek. What he heard was the of of the bridge. The end upon which thehis watch.

121 123 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

He unclosed his eyes and saw again thewife were sitting on a rustic bench near the water below him. "If I could free myentrance to his grounds, a gray-clad sol- hands," he thought, "I might throw off thedier rode up to the gate and asked for a noose and spring into the stream. By div-drink of water. Mrs. Farquhar was only too ing I could evade the bullets and, swim-happy to serve him with her own white ming vigorously, reach the bank, take tohands. While she was fetching the water the woods, and get away home. My home,her husband approached the dusty thank God, is as yet outside their lines; myhorseman and inquired eagerly for news wife and little ones are still beyond thefrom the front. invader's farthest advance." "The Yanks are repairing the railroads," As these thoughts, which have here to besaid the man, "and are getting ready for set down in words, were flashed into theanother advance. They have reached the doomed man's brain rather than evolvedOwl Creek bridge, put it in order, and from it,the captain nodded to thebuilt a stockade on the north bank. The sergeant. The sergeant stepped aside commandant has issued an order, which is posted everywhere, declaring that any II civilian caught interfering with the rail- road, its bridges, tunnels, or trains will be Peyton Farquhar was a well-to-dosummarily hanged. I saw the order." planter of an old and highly respected "How far is it to the Owl Creek bridge?" Alabama family. Being a slave owner andFarquhar asked. like other slave owners a politician, he was "About thirty miles." naturally an original secessionist and ar- "Is there no force on this side the dently devoted to the Southern cause. Cir-creek?" cumstances of an imperious nature, which "Only a picket post half a mile out, on it is unnecessary to relate here, had pre-the railroad, and a single sentinel at this vented him from taking service with theend of the bridge." gallant army which had fought the disas- "Suppose a mana civilian and student trous campaigns ending with the fall ofof hangingshould elude the picket post Corinth, and he chafed under the inglori-and perhaps get the better of the sentinel," ous restraint, longing for the release of hissaid Farquhar, smiling, "what could he energies, the larger life of the soldier, theaccomplish?" opportunity for distinction. That oppor- The soldier reflected. "I was there a tunity, he felt, would come, as it comes tomonth ago," he replied. "I observed that all in war time. Meanwhile he did what hethe flood of last winter had lodged a great could. No service was too humble for himquantity of driftwood against the wooden to perform in aid of the South, no adven-pier at this end of the bridge. It is now dry ture too perilous for him to undertake ifand would burn like tow." consistent with the character of a civilian The lady had now brought the water, who was at heart a soldier, and who inwhich the soldier drank. He thanked her good faith and without too much qualifica-ceremoniously, bowed to her husband, tion assented to at least a part of theand rode away. An hour later, after night- frankly villainous dictum that all is fair infall, he repassed the plantation, going love and war. northward in the direction from Which he One evening while Farquhar and1h2 4 had come. He was a Federal scout.

122 AMBROSE BIERCE

III brighten, and he knew that he was rising toward the surfaceknew it with reluc- As Peyton Farquhar fell straight down-tance, for he was now very comfortable. ward through the bridge he lost con-"To be hanged and drowned," he thought, sciousness and was as one already dead."that is not so bad; but I do not wish to From this state he was awakenedagesbe shot. No; I will not be shot; that is not later, it seemed to himby the pain of afair." sharp pressure upon his throat, followed He was not conscious of an effort, but a by a sense of suffocation. Keen, poignantsharp pain in his wrist apprised him that agonies seemed to shoot from his neckhe was trying to free his hands. He gave downward through every of his bodythe struggle his attention, as an idler might and limbs. These pains appeared to flashobserve the feat of a juggler, without along well-defined lines of ramificationinterest in the outcome. What splendid and to beat with an inconceivably rapideffort!- -what magnificent, what super- periodicity. They seemed like streams ofhuman strength! Ah, that was a fine en- pulsating fire heating him to an intolerabledeavor! Bravo! The cord fell away; his temperature. As to his head, he was con-arms parted and floated upward, the hand scious of nothing but a feeling of fullnessdimly seen on each side in the growing of congestion. These sensations werelight. He watched them with a new interest unaccompanied by thought. The intellec-as first one and then the other pounced tual part of his nature was already effaced;upon the noose at his neck. They tore it he had power only to feel, and feeling wasaway and thrust it fiercely aside, its undu- torment. He was conscious of motion. En-lations resembling those of a water snake. compassed in a luminous cloud, of which"Put it back, put it back!" He thought he he was now merely the fiery heart, withoutshouted these words to his hands, for the material substance, he swung throughundoing of the noose had been succeeded unthinkable arcs of oscillation, like aby the direst pang that he had yet experi- vast pendulum. Then all at once, with ter-enced. His neck ached horribly; his brain rible suddenness, the light about himwas on fire; his heart, which had been flut- shot upward with the noise of a loud plash; tering faintly, gave a great leap, trying to a frightful roaring was in his ears, andforce itself out at his mouth. His whole all was cold and dark. The power ofbody was racked and wrenched with an thought was restored; he knew that theinsupportable anguish! But his disobe- rope had broken and he had fallen into thedient hands gave no heed to the command. stream. There was no additional stran-They beat the water vigorously with quick gulation; the noose about his neck wasdownward strokes, forcing him to the sur- already suffocating him and kept the waterface. He felt his head emerge; his eyes from his lungs. To die of hanging at thewere blinded by the sunlight; his chest ex- bottom of a river!the idea seemed topanded convulsively, and with a supreme him ludicrous. He opened his eyes in theand crowning agony his lungs engulfed a darkness and saw above him a gleam ofgreat draught of air, which instantly he light, but how distant, how inaccessi-expelled in a shriek! ble! He was still sinking, for the light be- He was now in full possession of his came fainter and fainter until it was aphysical senses. They were, indeed, pre- mere glimmer. Then it began to grow andternaturally keen and alert. Something in

123 BESTClPY AMIABLE 125 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE the awful disturbances of his organic sys-eyes were keenest, and that all famous tem had so exalted and refined them thatmarksmen had them. Nevertheless, this they made record of things never beforeone had missed. perceived. He felt the ripples upon his face A counterswirl had caught Farquhar and and heard their separate sounds as theyturned him half round; he was again look- struck. He looked at the forest on the banking into the forest on the bank opposite the of the stream, saw the individual trees, thefort. The sound of a clear, high voice in a leaves and the veining of each leafsawmonotonous singsong now rang out be- the very insects upon them: the locusts, thehind him and came across the water with a brilliant-bodied flies, the gray spidersdistinctness that pierced and subdued all stretching their webs from twig to twig. Heother sounds, even the beating of the rip- noted the prismatic colors in all the dew-ples in his ears. Although no soldier, he drops upon a million blades of grass. Thehad frequented camps enough to know the humming of the gnats that danced abovedread significance of that deliberate, the eddies of the stream, the beating of thedrawling, aspirated chant; the lieutenant dragonflies' wings, the strokes of the wateron shore was taking a part in the morning's spiders' legs, like oars which had liftedwork. How coldly and pitilesslywith what their boatall these made audible music.an even, calm intonation, presaging and A fish slid along beneath his eyes and heenforcing tranquillity in the menwith heard the rush of its body parting thewhat accurately measured intervals fell water. those cruel words: He had come to the surface facing down "Attention, company!... Shoulder the stream; in a moment the visible worldarms! ... Ready! ... Aim! ... Fire!" seemed to wheel slowly round, himself the Farquhar diveddived as deeply as he pivotal point, and he saw the bridge,could. The water roared in his ears like the the fort, the soldiers upon the bridge, thevoice of Niagara, yet he heard the dulled captain, the sergeant, the two privates, histhunder of the volley and, rising again to- executioners. They were in silhouetteward the surface, met shining bits of metal, against the blue sky. They shouted andsingularly flattened, oscillating slowly gesticulated, pointing at him. The captaindownward. Some of them touched him on had drawn his pistol, but did not fire; thethe face and hands, then fell away, con- others were unarmed. Their movementstinuing their descent. One lodged between were and horrible, their formshis collar and neck; it was uncomfortably gigantic. warm and he snatched it out. Suddenly he heard a sharp report and As he rose to the surface, gasping for something struck the water smartly withinbreath, he saw that he had been a long a few inches of his head, spattering his facetime under water; he was perceptibly with spray. He heard a second report, andfarther downstreamnearer to safety. saw one of the sentinels with his rifle at hisThe soldiers had almost finished reload- shoulder, a light cloud of blue smoke ris-ing; the metal ramrods flashed all at once ing from the muzzle. The man in the waterin the sunshine as they were drawn from saw the eye of the man on the bridge gaz-the barrels, turned in the air, and thrust ing into his own through the sights of theinto their sockets. The two sentinels fired rifle. He observed that it was a gray eyeagain, independently and ineffectually. and remembered having read that gray The hunted man saw all this over his

124 126 AMBROSE BIERCE shoulder; he was now swimming vigor-him from his enemies. The sudden arrest ously with the current. His brain was asof his motion, the abrasion of one of his energetic as his arms and legs; he thoughthands on the gravel, restored him, and with the rapidity of lightning. he wept with delight. He dug his fingers "The officer," he reasoned, "will notinto the sand, threw it over himself in make that martinet's error a second time.handfuls, and audibly blessed it. It looked It is as easy to dodge a volley as a singlelike diamond, rubies, emeralds; he could shot. He has probably already given thethink of nothing beautiful which it did not command to fire at will. God help me, Iresemble. The trees upon the bank were cannot dodge them all!" giant garden plants; he noted a definite An appalling plash within two yards oforder in their arrangement, inhaled the him was followed by a loud, rushingfragrance of their blooms. A strange, ro- sound, diminuendo, which seemed to travelseate light shone through the spaces among their trunks and the wind made in back through the air to the fort and died in their branches the music of aeolian harps. an explosion which stirred the very river to He had no wish to perfect his escapewas its deeps! A rising sheet of water, which curved over him, fell down upon him,content to remain in that enchanting spot until retaken. blinded him, strangled him! The cannon A whiz and rattle of grapeshot among had taken a hand in the game. As he shook his head free from the commotion of thethe branches high above his head roused smitten water, he heard the deflected shothim from his dream. The baffled can- humming through the air ahead, and in annoneer had fired him a random farewell. instant it was cracking and smashing theHe sprang to his feet, rushed up the slop- ing bank, and plunged into the forest. branches in the forest beyond. All that day he traveled, laying his "They will not do that again," hecourse by the rounding sun. The forest thought; "the next time they will use aseemed interminable; nowhere did he dis- charge of grape. I must keep my eye uponcover a break in it, not even a woodman's the gun; the smoke will apprise metheroad. He had not known that he lived in so report arrives too late;it lags behindwild a region. There was something un- the missile. That is a good gun." canny in the revelation. Suddenly he felt himself whirled round By nightfall he was fatigued, footsore, and roundspinning like a top. Thefamishing. The thought of his wife and water, the banks, the forests, the nowchildren urged him on. At last he found a distant bridge, fort, and menall wereroad which led him in what he knew to be commingled and blurred. Objects were re-the right direction. It was as wide and presented by their colors only; circularstraight as a city street, yet it seemed un- horizontal streaks of colorthat was all hetraveled. No fields bordered it, no dwell- saw. He had been caught in a vortex anding anywhere. Not so much as the barking was being whirled on with a velocity of ad-of a dog suggested human habitation. The vance and gyration which made him giddyblack bodies of the trees formed a straight and sick. In a few moments he was flungwall on both sides, terminating on the upon the gravel at the foot of the left bankhorizon in a point, like a diagram in a les- of the streamthe southern bankandson in perspective. Overhead, as he looked behind a projecting point which concealedup through this rift in the wood; shone

125 127 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE great golden stars looking unfamiliar andmerely recovered from a delirium. He grouped is strange constellations. He wasstands at the gate of his own home. All is as sure they were arranged in some orderhe left it, and all bright and beautiful in the which had a secret and malign signifi-morning sunshine. He must have traveled cance. The wood on either side was full ofthe entire night. As he pushes open the singular noises, among whichonce,gate and passes up the wide white walk, he twice, and again--he distinctly heardsees a flutter of female garments; his wife, whispers in an unknown tongue. looking fresh and cool and sweet, steps His neck was in pain and lifting his handdown from the veranda to meet him. At to it he found it horribly swollen. He knewthe bottom of the steps she stands waiting, that it had a circle of black where the ropewith a smile of ineffable joy, an attitude of had bruised it. His eyes felt congested; hematchless grace and dignity. Ah, how could no longer close them. His tonguebeautiful she is! He springs forward with was swollen with thirst; he relieved itsextended arms. As he is about to clasp her, fever by thrusting it forward from betweenhe feels a stunning blow upon the back of his teeth into the cold air. How softly thehis neck; a blinding white light blazes all turf has carpeted the untraveled avenueabout him with a sound like the shock of a he could no longer feel the roadwaycannonthen all is darkness and silence! beneath his feet! Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body, Doubtless, despite his suffering, he hadwith a broken neck, swung gently from fallen asleep while walking, for now heside to side beneath the timbers of the Owl sees another scene--perhaps he hasCreek bridge.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Givereasons for your answer. 11. What do you like most about Ambrose Bi- 1. How does the author succeed in drawing the erce as a storyteller? What do you dislike most? reader quickly into the event about to take 12. What part of the story did you find most place? vivid? 2. What do we learn about the man being hanged? WRITING PRACTICE 3. How does the author intensify the sense of Prepare awrittencompositionof about waiting? 150-200 words in which you discuss the follow- 4. What circumstances led to the capture of ing statement found in the story: Peyton Farquhar? 5. How much time passes in the story? Death is a dignitary who when he comes an- 6. How do you account for Farquhar's sensa- nounced is to be received with formal man- tion that he had fallen into the stream? ifestations of respect even by those most 7. Do you think that thoughts continue in one's familiar with him. brain after death? Discuss. 8. The third paragraph suggests the author'sOPTIONAL ACTIVITY attitude toward the hanging. What isit? Cite words or phrases in the paragraph to support Write a comparison of the writing styles of your answer. Ambrose Bierce and Frank R. Stockton (The 9. Does the author hint during the story that theLady or the Tiger) in which you apply some of escape is only the vision of a dying man? If so, the criteria set down by Edgar Allan Poe in his how? review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales. (See 10. Do you think the author has achieved Poe's essay on The American Short Story found at the "certain unique or single effect" in the story?beginning of this section.)

-128 126 CHAPTER XVIII

STEPHEN CRANE

STEPHEN CRANE abounding. She continually twisted her head to regard her puff ,verystiff, "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" is one of straight, and high. They embarrassed her. Crane's most celebrated and widely read Itwasquite apparent that she had cooked, tales. The story clearly demonstrates his and that she expected to cook, dutifully. power of imagination, his ability to make The blushes caused by the careless scrutiny characters come alive, and his "knack" for of some passengers as she had entered the creating the background details which are seeupon this plain, necessary to lend realism to the conditions car were strange to under which his characters live. under-class countenance, whichwasdrawn (See section entitled Romanticism and in placid, almost emotionless lines. Realism for more biographical information on They were evidentlyveryhappy. "Ever Crane.) been in a parlour-car before?" he asked, smiling with delight. The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky "No," she answered; "I never was. It's I fine, ain't it?" "Great! And then after a while we'll go The great Pullman was whirling onwardforward to the diner, and get a big lay-out. with such dignity of motion that a glanceFinest meal in the world. Charge a dol- from the window seemed simply to provelar." that the plains of Texas were pouring "Oh, do they?" cried the bride. "Charge eastward. Vast flats of green grass, dull-a dollar? Why, that's too muchfor hued spaces of mesquite and cactus, littleusain't it, Jack?" groups of frame houses, woods of light "Not this trip, anyhow," he answered and tender trees, all were sweeping intobravely. "We're going to go the whole the east, sweeping over the horizon, athing." precipice. Later he explained to her about the A newly married pair had boarded thistrains. "You see, its a thousand miles from coach at . The man's face wasone end of Texas to the other; and this reddened from many days in the wind andtrain runs right across it, and never stops sun, and a direct result of his new blackbut four times." He had the pride of an clothes was that his brick-coloured handsowner. He pointed out to her the dazzling were constantly performing in a most con-fittings of the coach; and in truth her eyes scious fashion. From time to time heopened wider as she contemplated the looked down respectfully at his attire. Hesea-green figured , brass, sat with a hand on each knee, like a mansilver, and glass, the wood that gleamed as waiting in a barber's shop. The glances hedarkly brilliant as the surface of a pool of devoted to other passengers were furtiveoil. At one end a bronze figure sturdily and shy. held a support for a separated chamber, The bride was not pretty, nor was sheand at convenient places on the ceiling very young. She wore a dress of bluewere frescoes in olive and silver. cashmere, with small reservations of velvet To the minds of the pair, their sur- here and there, and with steel buttonsroundings reflected the glory of their mar-

127 125 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE riage that morning in San Antonio; thistwined with the ordinary deference, was was the environment of their new estate;not plain to them. And yet, as they re- and the man's face in particular beamedturned to their coach, they showed in their with an elation that made him appearfaces a sense of escape. ridiculous to the Negro porter. This indi- To the left, miles down a long purple vidual at times surveyed them from afarslope, was a little ribbon of mist where with an amused and superior grin. Onmoved the keening . The train other occasions he bullied them with skillwas approaching it at an angle, and the in ways that did not make it exactly plain toapex was Yellow Sky. Presently it was ap- them that they were being bullied. He sub-parent that, as the distance from Yellow tly used all the manners of the most un-Sky grew shorter, the husband became conquerable kind of snobbery. He oppres-commensurately restless. His brick-red sed them; but of this oppression they hadhands were more insistent in their promi- small knowledge, and they speedily forgotnence. Occasionally he was even rather that infrequently a number of travellersabsent-minded and far-away when the covered them with stares of derisive en-bride leaned forward and addressed him. joyment. Historically there was supposed As a matter of truth, Jack Potter was be- to be something infinitely humorous inginning to find the shadow of a deed their situation. weigh upon him like a leaden slab. He, the "We are due in Yellow Sky at 3:42," hetown marshal of Yellow Sky, a man known, said, looking tenderly into her eyes. liked, and feared in his corner, a promi- "Oh, are we? she said, as if she had notnent person, had gone to San Antonio to been aware of it. To evince surprise at her meet a girl he believed he loved, and there, husband's statement was part of her wifelyafter the usual prayers, had actually in- amiability. She took from a pocket a littleduced her to marry him, without consult- silver watch; and as she held it before her,ing Yellow Sky for any part of the transac- and stared at it with a frown of attention,tion. He was now bringing his bride before the new husband's face shone. an innocent and unsuspecting community. "I bought it in San Anton' from a friend Of course people in Yellow Sky married of mine," he told her gleefully. as it pleased them, in accordance with a "It's 12:17," she said, looking up at himgeneral custom; but such was Potter's with a kind of shy and clumsy coquetry. Athought of his duty to his friends, or of passenger, noting this play, grew exces-their idea of his duty, or of an unspoken sively sardonic, and winked at himself inform which does not control men in their one of the numerous mirrors. matters, that he felt he was heinous. He At last they went to the dining-car. Twohad committed an extraordinary crime. rows of Negro waiters, in glowing whiteFace to face with this girl in San Antonio, suits, surveyed their entrance with the in-and spurred by his sharp impulse, he had terest, and also the equanimity, of mengone headlong over all the social hedges. who had been forewarned. The pair fell toAt San Antonio he was like a man hidden the lot of a waiter who happened to feelin the dark. A knife to sever any friendly pleasure in steering them through theirduty, any form, was easy to his hand in meal. He viewed them with the manner ofthat remote city. But the hour of Yellow a fatherly pilot, his countenance radiantSkythe hour of daylightwas approach- with benevolence. The patronage, en-ing.

130 128 STEPHEN CRANE

He knew full well that his marriage washis airy superiority gone, he brushed an important thing to his town. It couldPotter's new clothes as the latter slowly only be exceeded by the burning of theturned this way and that way. Potter fum- new hotel. His friends could not forgivebled out a coin and gave it to the porter, as him. Frequently he had reflected on thehe had seen others do. It was a heavy and advisability of telling them by telegraph,muscle-bound business, as that of a man but a new cowardice had been upon him.shoeing his first horse. He feared to do it. And now the train was The porter took their bag, and as the hurrying him toward a scene of amaze-train began to slow they moved forward ment, glee, and reproach. He glanced outto the hooded platform of the car. Pres- of the window at the line of haze swingingently the two engines and their long string slowly in toward the train. of coaches rushed into the station of Yel- Yellow Sky had a kind of brass band, low Sky. which played painfully, to the delight of "They have to take water here," said Pot- the populace. He laughed without heartter, from a constricted throat and in as he thought of it.If the citizens couldmournful cadence, as one announcing dream of his prospective arrival with hisdeath. Before the train stopped his eye bride, they would parade the band at thehad swept the length of the platform, and station and escort them, amid cheers andhe was glad and astonished to see there laughing congratulations, to his adobewas none upon it but the station-agent, home. who, with a slightly hurried and anxious He resolved that he would use all theair, was walking toward the water-tanks. devices of speed and plainscraft in makingWhen the train had halted, the porter the journey from the station to his house.alighted first, and placed in position a little Once within that safe citadel, he couldtemporary step. issue some sort of vocal bulletin, and then "Come on, girl," said Potter, hoarsely. not go among the citizens until they hadAs he helped her clown they each laughed time to wear off a little of their enthusiasm. on a false note. He took the bag from the The bride looked anxiously at him.Negro, and bade his wife cling to his arm. "What's worrying you, Jack?" As they slunk rapidly away, his hang-dog He laughed again. "I'm not worrying,glance perceived that they were unloading girl; I'm only thinking of Yellow Sky." the two trunks, and also that the station- She flushed in comprehension. agent, far ahead near the baggage car, had A sense of mutual guilt invaded theirturned and was running toward him, mak- minds and developed a finer tenderness.ing gestures. He laughed, and groaned as They looked at each other with eyes softly he laughed, when he noted the first effect aglow. But Potter often laughed the sameof his marital bliss upon Yellow Sky. He nervous laugh; the flush upon the bride'sgripped his wife's arm firmly to his side, face seemed quite permanent. and they fled. Behind them the porter The traitor to the feelings of Yellow Sky stood, chuckling fatuously. narrowly watched the speeding landscape. "We're nearly there," he said. II Presently the porter came and an- nounced the proximity of Potter's home. The California express on the Southern He held a brush in his hand, and, with allRailway was due at Yellow Sky in twenty-

129 131 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE one minutes. There were six men at the But the information had made such an bar of the Weary Gentleman saloon. Oneobvious cleft in every skull in the room that was a drummer who talked a great dealthe drummer was obliged to see its impor- and rapidly; there were Texans who didtance. All had become instantly solemn. not care to talk at that time; and two were"Say," said he, mystified, "what is this?" Mexican sheep-herders, who did not talkHis three companions made the introduc- as a general practice in the Weary Gentle-tory gesture of eloquent speech; but the man saloon. The barkeeper's dog lay onyoung man at the door forestalled them. the board walk that crossed in front of the "It means, my friend," he answered, as he door. His head was on his paws, and hecame into the saloon, "that for the next two glanced drowsily here and there with thehours this town won't be a health resort." constant vigilance of a dog that is kicked The barkeeper went to the door, and on occasion. Across the sandy street werelocked and barred it; reaching out of the some vivid green grass-plots, so wonderfulwindow, he pulled in heavy wooden shut- in appearance, amid the sands that burnedters, and barred them. Immediately a sol- near them in a blazing sun, that theyemn, chapel-like gloom was upon the caused a doubt in the mind. They exactlyplace. The drummer was looking from one resembled the grass mats used to representto another. lawns on the stage. At the cooler end of the "But say," he cried, "what is this, railway station, a man without a coat sat inanyhow? You don't mean there is going to a tilted chair and smoked his pipe. Thebe a gun-fight?" fresh-cut bank of the Rio Grande circled "Don't know whether there'll be a fight near the town, and there could be seenor not," answered one man, grimly; "but beyond it a great plum-colored plain ofthere'll be some shootin'--some good mesquite. shootin'." Save for the busy drummer and his The young man who had warned them companions in the saloon, Yellow Sky waswaved his hand. "Oh, there'll be a fight fast dozing. The new-corner leaned gracefullyenough, if any one wants it. Anybody can upon the bar, and recited many tales withget a fight out there in the street. There's a the confidence of a bard who has comefight just waiting." upon a new field. "and at the moment that the old man The drummer seemed to be swayed be- tween the interest of a foreigner and a fell downstairs with the bureau in his arms, the old woman was coming up with twoperception of personal danger. scuttles of coal, and of course" "What did you say his name was?" he The drummer's tale was interrupted byasked. a young man who suddenly appeared in "Scratchy Wilson," they answered in the open door. He cried: "Scratchychorus. Wilson's drunk, and has turned loose with "And will he kill anybody? What are you both hands." The two Mexicans at once setgoing to do? Does this happen often? Does down their glasses and faded out of the rearhe rampage around like this once a week entrance of the saloon. or so? Can he break in that door?" The drummer, innocent and jocular, "No; he can't break down that door," answered: "All right, old man. S'pose hereplied the barkeeper. "He's tried it three has? Come in and have a drink, anyhow."times. But when he comes you'd better lay

130 1132 STEPHEN CRANE down on the floor, stranger. He's deada Winchester from beneath the bar. Later sure to shoot at it, and a bullet may comehe saw this individual beckoning to him, so through." he tiptoed across the room. Thereafter the drummer kept a strict "You better come with me back of the eye upon the door. The time had not yetbar." been called for him to hug the floor, but, "No, thanks," said the drummer, per- as a minor , he sidled near tospiring; "I'd rather be where I can make a the wall. "Will he kill anybody?" he saidbreak for the back door." again. Whereupon the man of bottles made a The men laughed low and scornfully atkindly but peremptory gesture. The the question. drummer obeyed it, and, finding himself "He's out to shoot, and he's out for trou-seated on a box with his head below the ble. Don't see any good in experimentin'level of the bar, balm was laid upon his with him." soul at sight of various zinc and copper "But what do you do in a case like this?fittings that bore a resemblance to What do you do?" armour-plate. The barkeeper took a seat A man responded: "Why, he and Jackcomfortably upon an adjacent box. Potter" "You see," he whispered, "this here "But," in chorus the other men inter-Scratchy Wilson is a wonder with a guna rupted, "Jack Potter's in San Anton'." perfect wonder; and when he goes on the "Well, who is he? What's he got to dowar-trail, we hunt our holesnaturally. with it?" He's about the last one of the old gang that "Oh, he's the town marshal. He goes outused to hang out along the river here. He's and fights Scratchy when he gets on one ofa terror when he's drunk. When he's sober these tears." he's all rightkind of simplewouldn't "Wow!" said the drummer, mopping hishurt a flynicest fellow in town. But when brow. "Nice job he's got." he's drunk whoo!" The voices had toned away to mere There were periods of stillness. "I wish whisperings. The drummer wished to askJack Potter was back from San Anton'," further questions, which were born of ansaid the barkeeper. "He shot Wilson up increasing anxiety and bewilderment; butoncein the legand he would sail in and when he attempted them, the men merelypull out the kinks in this thing." looked at him in irritation and motioned Presently they heard from a distance the him to remain silent. A tense waiting hushsound of a shot, followed by three wild was upon them. In the deep shadows ofyowls. It instantly removed a bond from the room their eyes shone as they listenedthe men in the darkened saloon. There for sounds from the street. One man madewas a shuffling of feet. They looked at three gestures at the barkeeper; and theeach other. "Here he comes," they said. latter, moving like a ghost, handed him III a glass and a bottle. The man poured a full glass of whisky, and set down the bottle A man in a maroon-coloured noiselessly. He gulped the whisky in a swal-shirt, which had been purchased for pur- low, and turned again toward the door inposes of decoration, and made principally immovable silence. The drummer saw thatby some Jewish women on the East Side of the barkeeper, without a sound, had takenNew York, rounded a corner and walked

131 133 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE into the middle of the of Yel-away, with a sullen head, and growling. low Sky. In either hand the man held aThe man yelled, and the dog broke into a long, heavy, blue-black revolver. Often hegallop. As it was about to enter an alley, yelled, and these cries rang through athere was a loud noise, a whistling, and semblance of a deserted village, shrilly fly-something spat the ground directly before ing over the roofs in a volume that seemedit. The dog screamed, and, wheeling in to have no relation to the ordinary vocalterror, galloped headlong in a new direc- strength of a man. It was as if the sur- tion. Again there was a noise, a whistling, rounding stillness formed the arch of aand sand was kicked viciously before it. tomb over him. These cries of ferocious Fear-stricken, the dog turned and flurried challenge rang against walls of silence. like an animal in a pen. The man stood And his boots had red tops with gilded im- laughing, his weapons at his hips. prints, of the kind beloved in winter by Ultimately the man was attracted by the little sledding boys on the hillsides of New closed door of the Weary Gentleman England. saloon. He went to it and, hammering with The man's face flamed in a rage begota revolver, demanded drink. of whisky. His eyes, rolling, and yet The door remaining imperturbable, he keen for ambush, hunted the still door-picked a bit of paper from the walk, and ways and windows. He walked with thenailed it to the framework with a knife. He creeping movement of the midnight cat.then turned his back contemptuously As it occurred to him, he roared menacingupon this popular resort and, walking to information. The long revolvers in histhe opposite side of the street and spinning hands were as easy as straws; they werethere on his heel quickly and lithely, fired moved with an electric swiftness. The little at the bit of paper. He missed it by a half- fingers of each hand played sometimes ininch. He swore at himself, and went away. a musician's way. Plain from the low collarLater he comfortably fusilladed the win- of the shirt, the cords of his neck straight-dows of his most intimate friend. The man ened and sank, straightened and sank, aswas playing with this town; it was a toy for passion moved him. The only sounds were him. his terrible invitations. The calm adobes But still there was no offer of fight. The preserved their demeanour at the passingname of Jack Potter, his ancient an- of this small thing in the middle of thetagonist, entered his mind, and he con- street. cluded that it would be a glad thing if he There was no offer of fightno offer ofshould go to Potter's house, and by bom- fight. The man called to the sky. Therebardment induce him to come out and were no attractions. He bellowed and fight. He moved in the direction of his de- fumed and swayed his revolvers heresire, chanting Apache scalp-music. and everywhere. When he arrived at it, Potter's house The dog of the barkeeper of the Wearypresented the same still front as had the Gentleman saloon had not appreciated theother adobes. Taking up a strategic posi- advance of events. He yet lay dozing intion, the man howled a challenge. But this front of his master's door. At sight of thehouse regarded him as might a great stone dog, the man paused and raised his re-god. It gave no sign. After a decent wait, volver humorously. At sight of the man,the man howled further challenges, mingl- the dog sprang up and walked diagonallying with them wonderful epithets.

132 134 STEPHEN. CRANE

Presently there came the spectacle of aJack Potter. Don't you move a finger to- man churning himself into deepest rageward a gun just yet. Don't you move an over the immobility of a house. He fumedeyelash. The time has come for me to settle at it as the winter wind attacks a prairiewith you, and I'm goin' to do it my own cabin in the North. To the distance thereway, and loaf along with no interferin'. So should have gone the sound of a tumultif you don't want a gun bent on you, just like the fighting of two hundred Mexicans.mind what I tell you." As necessity bade him, he paused for Potter looked at his enemy. "I ain't got a breath or to reload his revolvers. gun on me, Scratchy," he said. "Honest, I ain't." He was stiffening and steadying, but yet somewhere at the back of his mind a IV vision of the Pullman floated: the sea- green figured velvet, the shining brass, Potter and his bride walked sheepishlysilver, and glass, the wood that gleamed 'as and with speed. Sometimes they laugheddarkly brilliant as the surface of a pool of together shamefacedly and low. oilall the glory of the marriage, the envi- "Next corner, dear," he said finally. ronment of the new estate. "You know I They put forth the efforts of a pair walk-fight when it comes to fighting, Scratchy ing bowed against a strong wind. PotterWilson; but I ain't got a gun on me. You'll was about to raise a finger to point the firsthave to do all the shootin' yourself." appearance of the new home when, as they His enemy's face went livid. He stepped circled the corner, they came face to face forward, and lashed his weapon to and fro with a man in a maroon-coloured shirt, before Potter's chest. "Don't you tell me who was feverishly pushing cartridges intoyou ain't got no gun on you, you whelp. a large revolver. Upon the instant the man Don't tell me no lie like that. There ain't a dropped his revolver to the ground and,man in Texas ever seen you without no like lightning, whipped another from his gun. Don't take me for no kid." His eyes holster. The second weapon was aimed atblazed with light, and his throat worked the bridegroom's chest. There was a silence. Potter's mouthlike a pump. seemed to be merely a grave for his "I ain't takin' you for no kid," answered tongue. He exhibited an instinct to at once Potter. His heels had not moved an inch loosen his arm from the woman's grip, andbackward. "I'm takin' you for a damn fool. he dropped the bag to the sand. As for the I tell you I ain't got a gun, and I ain't. If bride, her face had gone as yellow as old you're goin' to shoot me up, you better cloth. She was a slave to hideous rites, gaz-begin now; you'll never get a chance like ing at the apparitional snake. this again." The two men faced each other at a dis- So much enforced reasoning had told on tance of three paces. He of the revolverWilson's rage; he was calmer. "If you ain't smiled with a new and quiet ferocity. got a gun, why ain't you got a gun?" he "Tried to sneak up on me," he said.sneered. "Been to -school?" "Tried to sneak up on me!" His eyes grew "I ain't got a gun because I've just come more baleful. As Potter made a slightfrom San Anton' with my wife. I'm mar- movement, the man thrust his revolverried," said Potter. "And if I'd thought venomously forward. "No; don't you do it,there was going to be any galoots like you

133 13 5 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE prowling around when I brought my wife There was another period of silence. home, I'd had a gun, and don't you forget "Well," said Wilson at last, slowly. "I it." s'pose it's all off now." "Married!" said Scratchy, not at all corn- "It's all off if you say so, Scratchy. You prehencling. know I didn't make the trouble." Potter "Yes, married. I'm married," said Potter,lifted his valise. distinctly. "Well, I 'low it's off, Jack," said Wil- "Married?" said Scratchy. Seemingly forson. He was looking at the ground. the first time, he saw the drooping, drown- "Married!" He was not a student of ing woman at the other man's side. "No!"chivalry; itwasmerely that in the presence he said. He was like a creature allowedof this foreign condition he was a simple a glimpse of another world. He moved achild of the earlier plains. He picked up his pace backward, and his arm, with the re-starboard revolver, and, placing both volver, dropped to his side. "Is this theweapons in their holsters, he went away. lady?" he asked. His feet made funnel-shaped tracks in the "Yes; this is the lady," answered Potter. heavy sand.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS reader made aware of the danger of Scratchy Wilson in his drunken state? 9.IsthedescriptionofScratchyWilson 1. Describe how the author establishes the dis- convincing? comfort of the newlyweds. 10. Explainthemetaphor:"Potters mouth 2. Why had Potter not told his friends about his seemed to be merely a grave for his tongue." marriage? 11. How does the bride show her fear of 3.Isit significant that the bride is not pretty? Scratchy Wilson? 4. How does Potter show his delight in the ele- 12. How does Crane create and maintain sus- gance of the surroundings ? pense in the story? 13. What made Scratchy Wilson decide not to 5. What are Potters feelings about the way Yel- cause trouble and to leave without hurting low Sky will receive the news of his marriage? Potter? 6. Are there examples of humor in the story? 14. Do you think that "The Bride Comes to Yel- 7. What does the reader learn about Yellow low Sky" creates the single effect that Poe states Sky? is the mark of a good short story? Give your 8. How is the drummer (salesman) and the reasons.

134 . 136 CHAPTER XIX

EDGAR ALLAN POE

EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849) to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not Poe published over seventy short stories in perceive that my smile now was at the his short life. His best short stories deal with thought of his immolation. either logical reasoning, as in his detective He had a weak pointthis Fortunato stories, or terror, as is the case of ." Poe's are, although in other regards he was a man to perhaps, more widely known to the general be respected and even feared. He prided reader than his detective stories. himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Poe's short, narrative prose style as found inFew Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. the two categories characteristic of his fiction For the most part their enthusiasm is has widely influenced the form and purpose ofadopted to suit the time and opportunity the short story, not only in the United States, to practise imposture upon the British and but also around the world. Austrian 'millionaires. In painting and gem- The Cask of Amontillado" (together with mary Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a "The Tell-Tale Heart") best illustrates Poe's quack, but in the matter of old wines he was terror stories and the clarity with which he sincere. In this respect I did not differ from develops his own method. (See the section him materially;I was skillful in the Italian entitled The American Short Story for a brief treatment of Poe's definition of the short story.) vintages myself, and bought largely Every word in this short story contributes whenever I could. toward the single effect of terror which the It was about dusk, one evening during story conveys. the supreme madness of the carnival sea- son, that I encountered my friend. He ac- costed me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore The Cask of Amontillado motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti- striped dress, and his head was surmounted The thousand injuries of Fortunato I hadby the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased borne as I best could, but when he venturedto see him, that I thought I should never upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who sohave done wringing his hand. well know the nature of my soul, will said to him"My dear Fortunato, you suppose, however, that I gave utterance to aare luckily met. How remarkably well threat. At length I would be avenged; thisyou are looking to-day! But I have re- was a point definitely settledbut the veryceived a pipe of what passes for Amon- definitiveness with which it was resolvedtillado, and I have my doubts." precluded the idea of risk. I must not only "How?" said he, "Amontillado? A pipe? punish, but punish with impunity. A wrongImpossible! And in the middle of the is unredressed when retribution overtakescarnival?" its redresser. It is equally, unredressed "I have my doubts," I replied; "and I was when the avenger fails to make himself feltsilly enough to pay the full Amontillado as such to him who has done the wrong. price without consulting you in the matter. It must be understood that neither byYou were not to be found, and I was fearful word nor deed had I given Fortunato causeof losing a bargain." 137 135 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

"Amontillado!" archway that led into the vaults. I passed "I have my doubts." down a long and winding staircase, request- "Amontillado!" ing him to be cautious as he followed. We "And I must satisfy them." came at length to the foot of the descent, "Amontillado!" and stood together on the damp ground of "As you are engaged, I am on my way tothe catacombs of the Montresors. Luchesi, If any one has a critical turn, it is The gait of my friend was unsteady, and he. He will tell me" the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode. "Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from "The pipe," said he. Sherry." "It is farther on," said I; "but observe the "And yet some fools will have it that hiswhite web-work which gleams from these taste is a match for your own." cavern walls." "Come, let us go." He turned towards me, and looked into "Whither?" my eyes with two filmy orbs that distilled "To your vaults." the rheum of intoxication. "My friend, no; I will not impose upon "Nitre?" he asked, at length. your good nature. I perceive you have an "Nitre," I replied. "How long have you engagement. Luchesi" had that cough?" "I have no engagement; come." "Ugh! ugh! ugh!ugh! ugh! ugh! "My friend, no. It is not the engagement,ugh! ugh! ugh!ugh! ugh.! ugh!ugh! but the severe cold with which I perceiveugh! ugh!" you are afflicted. The vaults are insuffera- My poor friend found it impossible to bly damp. They are encrusted with nitre."reply for many minutes. "Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is "It is nothing," he said, at last. merely nothing. Amontillado! You have "Come," I said, with decision, "we will go been imposed upon; and as for Luchesi, heback; your health is precious. You are rich, cannot distinguish Sherry from Amonti-respected, admired, beloved; you are llado." happy, as once I was. You are a man to be Thus speaking Fortunato possessed him-missed. For me it is no matter. We will go self of my arm. Putting on a mask of blackback; you will be ill, and I cannot be respon- silk, and drawing a roquelaure closely aboutsible. Besides, there is Luchesi" my person, I suffered him to hurry me "Enough," he said; "the cough is a mere to my palazzo. nothing: it will not kill me. I shall not die of There were no attendants at home; they a cough." had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not "Truetrue," I replied; "and, indeed, return until the morning, and had givenI had no intention of alarming you them explicit orders not to stir from theunnecessarilybut you should use all house. These orders were sufficient, I wellproper caution. A draught of this Medoc knew, to insure their immediate disappear-will defend us from the damps." ance, one and all, as soon as my back was Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle turned. which I drew from a long row of its fellows I took from their sconces two flambeaux,that lay upon the mould. and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him "Drink," I said, presenting him the wine. through several suites of rooms to the He raised it to his lips with a leer. He

138 136 EDGAR ALLAN POE paused and nodded to me familiarly, while "You? Impossible! A mason?" his bells jingled. "A mason," I replied. "I drink," he said, "to the buried that "A sign," he said. repose around us." "It is this," I answered, producing a "And I to your long life." trowel from beneath the folds of my He again took my arm, and we pro- roquelaure. ceeded. "You jest," he explained, recoiling a few "These vaults," he said, "are extensive". paces. "But let us proceed to the Amonti- "The Montresors," I replied, "were a llado." great and numerous family." "Be it so," I said, replacing the tool be- "I forget your arms." neath the cloak, and again offering him my "A huge human foot d'or, in a fieldarm. He leaned upon it heavily. We con- azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampanttinued our route in search of the Amonti- whose fangs are imbedded in the heel." llado. We passed through a range of low "And the motto?" arches, descended, passed on, and descend- "Nemo me impune lucessit."1 ing again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which "Good!" he said. the foulness of the air caused our flam- The wine sparkled in his eyes and thebeaux rather to glow than flame. bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with At the most remote end of the crypt there the Medoc. We had passed through walls ofappeared another less spacious. Its walls piled bones, with casks and puncheons in-had been lined with human remains piled termingling, into the inmost recesses of theto the vault overhead, in the fashion of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time Igreat catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this made bold to seize Fortunato by an arminterior crypt were still ornamented in this above the elbow. manner. From the fourth the bones had "The nitre!" I said; "see, it increases. Itbeen thrown down, and lay promiscuously hangs like moss upon the vaults. We areupon the earth, forming at one point a below the river's bed. The drops of mois-mound of some size. Within the wall thus ture trickle among the bones. Come, we willexposed by the displacing of the bones, we go back ere it is too late. Your cough" perceived a still interior recess, in depth "It is nothing," he said; "let us go on. Butabout four feet, in width three, in height six first, another draught of the Medoc." Ior seven. It seemed to have been con- broke and reached him a flagon of Destructed for no especial use within itself, but Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyesformed merely the interval between two of flashed with a fierce light. He laughed andthe colossal supports of the roof of the threw the bottle upwards with a gesticula-catacombs, and was backed by one of their tion I did not understand. circumscribing walls of solid granite. I looked at him in surprise. He repeated It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting the movementa grotesque one. "You dohis dull torch, endeavoured to pry into the not comprehend?" he said. depths of the recess. Its termination "Not I," I replied. the feeble light did not enable us to see. "Then you are not of the brotherhood." "Proceed," I said; "herein is the Amonti- "How?" llado. As for Luchesi" "You are not of the masons." "Yes, yes," I said, "yes, yes." 1. No one attacks me without punishment.

137 1'3 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

"He is an ignoramus," interrupted mymore satisfaction, I ceased my labours and friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward,sat clown upon the bones. When at last the while I followed immediately at his heels. In clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, an instant he had reached the extremity ofand finished without interruption the fifth, the niche, and finding his progress arrestedthe sixth, and the seventh tier. The wall was by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. Anow nearly upon a level with my breast. I moment more and I had fettered him to theagain paused, and holding the flambeaux granite. In its surface were two iron staples,over the rnasonwork, threw a few feeble distant from each other about two feet,rays upon the figure within. horizontally. From one of these depended a A succession of loud and shrill screams, short chain, from the other a padlock.bursting suddenly from the throat of the Throwing the links about his waist, it waschained form, seemed to thrust me violent- but the work of a few seconds to secure it.ly back. For a brief moment I hesitatedI He was too much astounded to resist.trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began Withdrawing the key I stepped back fromto grope with it about the recess; but the the recess. thought of an instant reassured me. I plac- "Pass your hand," I said, "over the wall;ed my hand upon the solid fabric of the you cannot help feeling the nitre. Indeed itcatacombs, and felt satisfied. I reap- is very damp. Once more let me implore youproached the wall. I replied to the yells to return. No? Then I must positively leaveof him who clamoured. I re-echoedI you. But I must first render you all the littleaidedI surpassed them in volume and in attentions in my power." strength. I did this, and the clamourer grew "The Amontillado!" ejaculated my still. friend, not yet recovered from his as- It was now midnight, and my task was tonishment. drawing to a close. I had completed the "True," I replied; "the Amontillado." eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had As I said these words I busied myselffinished a portion of the last and the among the pile of bones of which I have eleventh; there remained but a single stone before spoken. Throwing them aside, Ito be fitted and plastered in. I struggled soon uncovered a quantity of building-with its weight; I placed it partially in its stone and mortar. With these materials anddestined position. But now there came with the aid of my trowel, I began vigor-from out the niche a low laugh that erected ously to wall up the entrance of the niche.the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded I had scarcely laid the first tier of theby a sad voice, which I had difficulty in masonery when I discovered that the in- recognizing as that of the noble Fortunato. toxication of Fortunato had in a greatThe voice said measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the "Ha! ha! ha!he! he! he!a very good depth of the recess. It was not the cry of ajoke indeedan excellent jest. We will have drunken man. There was then a long andmany a rich laugh about it at the palazzo obstinate silence. I laid the second tier,he! he! he!over our winehe! he! he!" and the third, and the fourth; and then I "The Amontillado!" I said. heard furious vibrations of the chain. The "He! he! he! - -he! he! he!- -yes, the noise lasted for several minutes, duringAmontillado. But is it not getting late? Will which, that I might hearken to it with thenot they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the

140 138 EDGAR ALLAN POE

Lady. Fortunato and the rest? Let us bethe remaining aperture and let itfall gone." within. There came forth in return only a "Yes," I said, "let us be gone." jingling of the bells. My heart grew sickon "For the love of God, Montresor!" account of the dampness of the catacombs. "Yes," I said, "for the love of God!" I hastened to make an end of my labor. I But to these words I hearkened in vainforced the last stone into its position; I plas- for a reply. I grew impatient. I called aloud; tered it up. Against the new masonry I re- "Fortunato!" erected the old rampart of bones. For half a No answer. I called again; "Fortunato!"century no mortal has disturbed them. In No answer still. I thrust a torch throughpace requiescat!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS arousedbythesupernatural?Giveyour reasons. 1. The Cask of Amontillado" is told in the first8. What details contribute to the single effect of person. How does this help to heighten the ef- the story? fect of horror that Poe wishes to produce? 2. Montresor states the theme of the story in the OPTIONAL ACTIVITY first paragraph. Restate the theme in your own words. Is Montresor successful in following this Read another of Poe's short stories such as theme? The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the 3. Do you find any clues that might suggest that House of Usher, The Murders in the Rue Mor- the narrator is insane? gue, The Gold-Bug, The Black Cat, The Mystery 4. How does Montresor explain the sensation of Marie Raget or The Tell-Tale Heart, or The Pit he experiences when he hears the bells jingleand the Pendulum. Prepare a written composi- on the fool's cap? tion in which you analyze the story with regard 5. Does Montresor seem to be sorry for the re- to its fulfilling Poe's standards for short prose venge he has taken? narrative. (See the introductory essay on The 6. Do you think Montresor's motive is justified? American Short Story at the beginning of this Explain. Does Poe give the reader clues which section.) Or, you may prefer to compare the point to the ending of the story? story with The Cask of Amontillado and the 7.In your opinion is the story based on the manner in which each story attains the "unique process of logical reasoning or on emotion single effect" that Poe feels is essential.

141

139 CHAPTER XX

FRANK R. STOCKTO

FRANK R. STOCKTON (1834-1902) nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight, and crush down un- Frank R. Stockton was born in Philadelphia, even places. , and early in his career became Among the borrowed notions by which a wood engraver. Later in his career he turned his barbarism had become semified was to the writing of humorous stories, often that of the public arena, in which, by exhibi- combining his stories with his engravings. In tions of manly and beastly valor, the minds 1873 Stockton became the assistant editor of St. Nicholas magazine, a popular publication of his subjects were refined and cultured. of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He But even here the exuberant and bar- served on the staff of St. Nicholas until 1881.baric fancy asserted itself. The arena of the Stockton first attained writing success in king was built, not to give the people an 1879 with the publication of his novel, Rudder opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of Grange. Although he published a number of dying gladiators, nor to enable them to view noteworthy novels, among them The Rudder the inevitable conclusion of a conflict be- Grangers Abroad (1884), The Casting Away of tween religious opinions and hungry jaws, Mrs. Lecks and Mrs. Aleshine (1886), The but for purposes far better adapted to Squirrel Inn (1891), The Adventures of Captainwiden and develop the mental energies of (1895), and Mrs. Cliff's Yacht (1896), he is the people. This vast amphitheater, with its probably best known for his short story, The encircling galleries, its mysterious vaults, Lady or the Tiger (1882). and its unseen passages, was an agent of poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded, by the decrees of an The Lady, or the Tiger? impartial and incorruptible chance. When a subject was accused of a crime of In the very olden time, there lived asufficient importance to interest the king, semi-barbaric king, whose ideas, thoughpublic notice was given that on an ap- somewhat polished and sharpened by thepointed day the fate of the accused person progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors,would be decided in the king's arena,a were still large, florid, and untrammelled,'structure which well deserved its name; for, as became the half of him which was bar-although its form and plan were borrowed baric. Hewas aman of exuberant fancy,'from afar, its purpose emanated solely and, withal, of an authority so irresistiblefrom the brain of this man, who, every bar- that, at his will, he turned his varied fanciesleycorn a king, knew no tradition to which into facts. He was greatly given to self-he owed more allegiance than pleased his communing; and, when he and himselffancy, and who ingrafted on every adopted agreed upon anything, the thing was done.form of human thought and action the rich When every member of his domestic andgrowth of his barbaric idealism. political systems moved smoothly in its ap- When all the people had assembled in the pointed course, his nature was bland andgalleries, and the king, surrounded by his genial; but whenever there was a little hitch,court, sat high up on his throne of royal and some of his orbs got out of their orbits,state on one side of the arena, he gave a he was blander and more genial still, forsignal, a door beneath him opened, and the

140 142 accused subjects stepped out into the am-ding was promptly and cheerily solem- phitheater. Directly opposite him, on thenized. Then the gay brass bells rang forth other side of the enclosed space, were twotheir merry peals, the people shouted glad doors, exactly alike and side by side. It washurrahs, and the innocent man, preceded the duty and the privilege of the person onby children strewing flowers on his path, trial, to walk directly to these doors andled his bride to his home. open one of them. He could open either This was the king's semi-barbaric method door he pleased: he was subject to noof administering justice. Its perfect fairness guidance or influence but that of theis obvious. The criminal could not know out aforementioned impartial and incorrupti-of which door would come the lady: he ble chance. If he opened the one, thereopened either he pleased, without having came out of it a hungry tiger, the fiercestthe slightest idea whether, in the next in- and most cruel that could be procured,stant, he was to be devoured or married. On which immediately sprang upon him, andsome occasions the tiger came out of one tore him to pieces, as a punishment for hisdoor, and on some out of the other. The guilt. The moment that the case of the crim-decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, inal was thus decided, doleful iron bellsthey were positively determinate: the ac- were clanged, great wails went up from thecused person was instantly punished if he hired mourners posted on the outer rim offound himself guilty; and, if innocent, the arena, and the vast audience, withhe was rewarded on the spot, whether he bowed heads and downcast hearts, wendedliked it or not. There was no escape from slowly their homeward way, mourningthe judgment of the king's arena. greatly that one so young and fair, or so old The institution was a very popular one. and respected, should have merited so direWhen the people gathered together on one a fate. of the great trial days, they never knew But, if the accused person opened thewhether they were to witness a bloody other door, there came forth from it a lady,slaughter or a hilarious wedding. This ele- the most suitable to his years and stationment of uncertainty lent an interest to the that his majesty could select among his fairoccasion which it could not otherwise have subjects; and to this lady he was immedi-attained. Thus, the masses were enter- ately married, as a reward of his innocence.tained and pleased, and the thinking part It mattered not that he might alreadyof the community could bring no charge of possess a wife and family, or that his affec-unfairness against this plan; for did not tions might be engaged upon an object ofthe accused person have the whole matter his own selection: the king allowed no suchin his own hands? subordinate arrangements to interfere with This semi-barbaric king had a daughter his great scheme of retribution and reward.as blooming as his most florid fancies, and The exercises, as in the other instance,with a soul as fervent and imperious as his took place immediately, and in the arena.own. As is usual in such cases, she was the Another door opened beneath the king,apple of his eye, and was loved by him and a priest, followed by a band of choris-above all humanity. Among his courtiers ters, and dancing maidens blowing joyouswas a young man of that fineness of blood airs on golden horns and treading anand lowness of station common to the con- epithalamic measure, advanced to whereventional heroes of romance who love royal the pair stood, side by side; and the wed-maidens. This royal maiden was well satis-

141 1 4 3 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE fled with her lover, for he was handsome The appointed day arrived. From far and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all thisand near the people gathered and kingdom; and she loved him with an ardorthronged the great galleries of the arena; that had enough of barbarism in it to makeand crowds unable to gain admittance, it exceeding warm and strong. This lovemassed themselves against its outside walls. affair moved on happily for many months,The king and his court were in their places, until one day the king happened to discoveropposite the twin doors,those fateful its existence. He did not hesitate nor waverportals, so terrible in their similarity. in regard to his duty in the premises. The All was ready. The signal was given. A youth was immediately cast into prison, anddoor beneath the royal party opened, and a day was appointed for his trial in thethe lover of the princess walked into the king's arena. This, of course, was an espe-arena. Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance cially important occasion; and his majesty,was greeted with a low hum of admiration as well as all the people, was greatly in-and anxiety. Half the audience had not terested in the workings and developmentknown so grand a youth had lived among of this trial. Never before had such a casethem. No wonder the princess loved him! occurred; never before had a subject daredWhat a terrible thing for him to be there! to love the daughter of a king. In after- As the youth advanced into the arena, he years such things became commonplaceturned, as the custom was, to bow to the enough; but then they were, in no slight king: but he did not think at all of that royal degree, novel and startling. personage; his eyes were fixed upon the The tiger-cages of the kingdom wereprincess, who sat to the right of her father. searched for the most savage and relentlessHad it not been for the moiety of barbarism beasts, from which the fiercest monsterin her nature, it is probable that lady would might be selected for the arena; and thenot have been there; but her intense and ranks of maiden youth and beautyfervid soul would not allow her to be absent throughout the land were carefully sur-on an occasion in which she was so terribly veyed by competent judges, in order thatinterested. From the moment that the de- the young man might have a fitting bride incree had gone forth, that her lover should case fate did not determine for him a dif-decide his fate in the king's arena, she had ferent destiny. Of course, everybody knewthought of nothing, night or day, but this that the deed with which the accused wasgreat event and the various subjects con- charged had been done. He had loved thenected with it. Possessed of more power, princess, and neither he, she, nor any oneinfluence, and force of character than any else thought of denying the fact; but theone who had ever before been interested in king would not think of allowing any fact ofsuch a case, she had done what no other this kind to interfere with the workings ofperson had done,she had possessed her- the tribunal, in which he took such greatself of the secret of the doors. She knew in delight and satisfaction. No matter how the which of the two rooms, that lay behind affair turned out, the youth would be dis-those doors, stood the cage of the tiger, with posed of; and the king would take an its open front, and in which waited the lady. 2esthetic pleasure in watching the course ofThrough these thick doors, heavily cur- events, which would determine whether ortained with skins on the inside, it was im- not the young man had done wrong in al- possible that any noise or suggestion should lowing himself to love the princess. come from within to the person who

142 144 FRANK R. STOCKTON should approach to raise the latch of one ofthis mystery; and the moment he looked them; but gold, and the power of a woman'supon her, he saw she had succeeded, as in will, had brought the secret to the princess. his soul he knew she would succeed. And not only did she know in which Then it was that his quick and anxious room stood the lady ready to emerge, allglance asked the question: "Which?" It was blushing and radiant, should her door beas plain to her as if he shouted it from opened, but she knew who the lady was. It where he stood. There was not an instant to was one of the fairest and loveliest of the be lost. The question was asked in a flash; it damsels of the court who had been selectedmust be answered in another. as the reward of the accused youth, should Her right arm lay on the cushioned he be proved innocent of the crime of aspi-parapet before her. She raised her hand, ring to one so far above him; and the prin- and made a slight, quick movement toward cess hated her. Often had she seen, or im- the right. No one but her lover saw her. agined that she had seen, this fair creature Every eye but his was fixed on the man in throwing glances of admiration upon the the arena. person of her lover, and sometimes she He turned, and with a firm and rapid thought these glances were perceived and step he walked across the empty space. even returned. Now and then she had seenEvery heart stopped beating, every breath them talking together; it was but for a mo-was held, every eye was fixed immovably ment or two, but much can be said in a briefupon that man. Without the slightest hesi- space; it may have been on most unimpor-tation, he went to the door on the right, and tant topics, but how could she know that? opened it. The girl was lovely, but she had dared to Now, the point of the story is this: Did the raise her eyes to the loved one of the prin- tiger come out of that door, or did the lady? cess; and, with all the intensity of the savage The more we reflect upon this question, blood transmitted to her through long lines the harder it is to answer. It involves a study of wholly barbaric ancestors, she hated the of the human heart which leads us through woman who blushed and trembled behind devious mazes of passion, out of which it is that silent door. difficult to find our way. Think of it, fair When her lover turned and looked atreader, not as if the decision of the question her, and his eye met hers as she sat theredepended upon yourself, but upon that paler and whiter than any one in the vasthot-blooded, semi-barbaric princess, her ocean of anxious faces about her, he saw, bysoul at a white heat beneath the combined that power of quick perception which isfires of despair and jealousy. She had lost given to those whose souls are one, that shehim, but who should have him? knew behind which door crouched the How often, in her waking hours and in tiger, and behind which stood the lady. Heher dreams, had she started in wild horror, had expected her to know it. He under-and covered her face with her hands as she stood her nature, and his soul was assuredthought of her lover opening the door on that she would never rest until she hadthe other side of which waited the cruel made plain to herself this thing, hidden tofangs of the tiger! all other lookers-on, even to the king. The But how much oftener had she seen him only hope for the youth in which there wasat the other door! How in her grievous re- any element of certainty was based upon veries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn the success of the princess in discoveringher hair, when she saw his start of raptur-

143 145 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

ous delight as he opened the door Would it not be better for him to die at of the lady! How her soul had burnedonce, and go to wait for her in the blessed in agony when she had seen him rush toregions of semi-barbaric futurity? meet that woman, with her flushing cheek And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, and sparkling eye of triumph; when shethat blood! had seen him lead her forth, his whole Her decision had been indicated in an frame kindled with the joy of recoveredinstant, but it had been made after days and life; when she had heard the glad shoutsnights of anguished deliberation. She had from the multitude, and the wild ringingknown she would be asked, she had decided of the happy bells; when she had seen thewhat she would answer, and, without the priest, with his joyous followers, advance toslightest hesitation, she had moved her the couple, and make them man and wifehand to the right. before her very eyes; and when she had The question of her decision is one not to seen them walk away together upon theirbe lightly considered, and it is not for me path of flowers, followed by the tremen-to presume to set myself up as the one per- dous shouts of the hilarious multitude, inson able to answer it. And so I leave it with which her one despairing shriek was lostall of you: Which came out of the opened and drowned! door,the lady, or the tiger?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4.In paragraph 2 appears the word "semified," yet you won't find it in any dictionary. From the 1. Many readers think this story is incomplete.context, determine a possible meaning for this What is your opinion? word. 2. Write your own conclusion to the story. 3. Describe the way in which the storyteller5. Of the four main elements of the short writeshis choice of words, how he uses them, storycharacter,plot,setting, and theme his sentence structureand your reaction to his which do you think is most important here? way of writing. Why?

146

144 REALISM AND REACTION

Throughout the world many people think of environment. Though the surface details which Americans as being outgoing, materialistic abound in his works are, of course, out of and optimistic: outgoing, because they join datepeople's clothes, their speech, their clubs, take part in movements, talk with their jobshis treatment of the social forces which neighbors across the hall or over the back produce the murderers and prostitutes, as fence; materialistic, because they are eager well as the business successes, is as modern for new automobiles and bigger television as ghetto literature. Dreiser was one of the sets; optimistic, because they believe that first important writers to come from the lower they have the power to do good things in a levels of society, rather than from a long good world, because they seem to say "yes" middle-class tradition, and in this he was the to life instead of "no." precursor of much that is good in contemporary There is some truth in this general American writing. impression, though less with the passing of In his novels, Dreiser tried to treat human each year. But American literature at its best beings scientifically, rather than intuitively has rarely been the product of such with the poetic insight so much prized by Americans. Even in the 18th century, with its writers of the 19th century. He saw that life is prevalent belief in the perfectibility of man hard and found, in social Darwinism and in through the perfecting of his institutions, there the theory of Zola and the naturalists, the were skeptics; and the 19th century contained explanation that man is the product of social its great and pessimistic sayers of "No! in processes and forces and of an inevitable thunder" (as Melville described himself), as kind of social evolution. However inadequate well as the great affirmers, like Emerson and such an answer to life may be, his books Whitman. By the end of the 19th century the struck a chord of response in many puzzled complacent, optimistic tone of the popular Americans who recognized that a gulf existed poets and novelists had been challenged by between the dream that America promised on Mark Twain, Crane and James, to name only the one hand, and the reality of graft, the best known; and the enduring writing of hypocrisy and callousness that was apparent, the first quarter of the 20th century is, more on the other. Dreiser's tone is always serious, often than not, critical of the quality of never satirical or comic. It is fitting, then, that American society. Its tone is satirical; the his best works are based on his own stereotyped American is made a figure of fun experiences or those of his immediate fafnily, or an object of pathos; the is like , or are fictional re-creations shown to be illusory. The occasional of actual , like his well-known yea-sayer like Sandburg stands out almost as novel, An American Tragedy. In retrospect, an . Dreiser's work is significant, in spite of some Of the writers in this section, Theodore obvious faults, for its stubborn honesty and Dreiser was perhaps the first important new realismtraits which were to appear again in American voice of the 20th century. His the American writers who succeeded him and his choice of subject often on the literary scene. echo his predecessor, Stephen Crane, but his In their opposing ways, the two most style and methods are very different. There is important poets of the first decades of the none of the poetic symbolism, none of the 20th century, Edward Arlington Robinson and probing of psychological depths and Carl Sandburg, also sought to explore the neuroses. Perhaps because of his childhood quality of American life and to report on it with of bitter poverty in an immigranf family which Dreiser's kind of truthfulness, Now, as from the suffered all the deprivations brought about by beginning, American poets tended to divide lack of education, skill and status, Dreiser sharply into two groups: traditionalists and was more concerned with society's effect on a innovators. Robinson and Sandburg in the person than with man apart from his 20th century represent these two poles as

14514 3EST COPY AVA BLE 7 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

strikingly as did Poe and Whitman in the 19th Whitman's word, a hymn to America and its century. Though less read now than Robert peoplenot to the stereotype, but to the ideal. Frost, who first published during this period Sandburg's form is the free verse that but whose major influence belongs to a later Whitman employed, with its lines of irregular time, Robinson has the same New England length, its looser speech rhythms, and the background and equals some of Frost's best absence of end rhyme. At its best it has the qualities as a poet and reporter on the world. same grand cadences and front rhymes' in Robinson's tone is, however, characteristically his shorter poems. Sandburg even tends to ironic and somewhat aloof and detached, use Whitman's movement from short to even when he evinces an undercurrent of gradually swelling long lines followed by a compassion. In his best-known poems, such return to shorter lines to produce poems like as "Richard Cory" and "Miniver Cheevy," the lip of a wave. He also uses Whitman's Robinson uses conventional meter and rhyme scheme of lists and catalogues, as well as to paint wry, condensed, often startling Whitman's praise of the low and seemingly vignettes, which illustrate men's trivial. Thus, in the first quarter of the 20th individualized responses to a life that he, like century, Sandburg, like Whitman before him, Dreiser, saw as hard. Elsewhere, as in "Mr. stood for innovation and rejection of Flood's Party," Robinson comes closer to the conventional forms. During this period, he dramatic narrative form that Frost perfected, wrote some of his greatest poems, paeans of for example, in "The Death of the Hired Man." praise to Chicago which match, in style and Robinson also made use of traditional themes, fervor, those of Whitman about Manhattan. such as the Arthurian legends, but all of his More than Robinson's, Sandburg's poetry poems are conventional and traditional, contains themes common to the period; but as whether in the tradition of Wordsworth's The one would expect in a time of disillusionment Leech Gatherer," or of Tennyson's "Idylls of with its pricking of the bubbles of comfortable the King." What is typical of the 20th century complacency, the prose of the period far in Robinson is the tone of pessimism, the outweighed the poetry in influence. undercurrent of disillusionment with his Muck-raking and debunking more easily fall heritage and his present. into prose; they are more prosaic. Interestingly At the opposite pole of poetic vision and enough, however, the most enduring writing technique is Carl Sandburg, a breaker of published betWeen 1900 and 1920 was conventions akin to Whitman. His background poetry, not only Sandburg's and Robinson's was, in important ways, like Dreiser's: he, too, (and Frost's), but poems such as T. S. Eliot's came of immigrant stock; he, too, grew up in "The Waste-Land" and "Prufrock," and to a difficult circumstances, though in a much lesser degree 's, which influenced happier and more productive home. Instead of a whole age's way of looking at itself. Eliot finding in social Darwinism an explanation of was proof positive that people and society what was wrong with society, he saw it in the were in a sad, bad way, and in his tone of defects of political institutions, and his own satire and exaggeration, as in his expatriation, made him hopeful. It also led him to he anticipated those who created the great see greatness in the ordinary man and in that literature we associate with the post-World man's capacity to create a society in which War I era. inequalities would be erased, in which each The important fact of the second decade of man's potential would be realized, and in the century was, of course, World War I, which the chasm between American dream which, as we look back, seems to have been and reality would be bridged. In Sandburg's a kind of watershedinnocence on one side, poems one hears echoes of 19th-century attention to grim reality on the other. Actually, idealismechoes of Emerson as well as as earlier literature clearly demonstrates, the Whitman. One also hears, in 20th-century best American writers had crossed from one dress, the 18th century's faith in political and social change as roads to an improved quality

of life. 1.front rhyme: rhyme at the beginning of In his poetry Sandburg "chants," to use successive lines of verse.

146 148 side to the other decades earlier. Like the Experiment" which made alcohol illegal), stereotype of the optimistic, materialistic, leading to notorious public graft, corruption hail-fellow-well-mert2 American, the innocent, and lawbreaking; there was more widespread romantic dreamer was never found in the affluence and conspicuous consumption than ranks of our great writers. Nevertheless, the ever before in American society; and more war, which eventually engaged 4.000.000 emphasis on fun and less on duty became a Americans, changed the outlook of all part of the daily scene. It was a time of Americans in very significant ways. It took exaggeration, experiment and changea time away some of their provincialism; it intensified which invited satirical treatment and was the pessimism amd disenchantment with what permissive enough to accept it, even to was peculiarly American; and it led to embrace it. widespread expatriation. Most of what are The two most influential satirists of the 20's considered the masterpieces of American were Sinclair Lewis, the , and H. L. writing in the 20th century were written in Mencken, the journalist and essayist. Together Europe, or out of a writer's experience as an they completely altered the ordinary literate . What the Lost Generation3 of American's view of himself. The great (herself an expatriate) had lost,interlocking series of Lewis' novels, with their to a degree true only of Henry James in an recurring character-types and settings, and earlier time, was its sense of being a part of their panoramic view of the American Middle American society. Sinclair Lewis, John Dos Westem heartland, ignores the war as ifit had Passos, Ernest Hemingway, e. e. Cummings, never taken place. Lewis uses Europe, where William Carlos Williams, and Scott he lived for long periods, as no more than a Fitzgeraldlike Eliot and Poundall spent casual tourist spot in one of his novels. Like long periods of their lives in Europe. Since Dreiser and Sandburg, Lewis was a Middle none of the best writers was closer to combat Westerner from a small town in , than a training camp or the ambulance corps, which is the setting for his most famous novel it was not the war itself, but long exposure to and first great success, Main Street; but unlike European culture, which intensified the old those poor sons of immigrants, "Red" Lewis current of criticism of American life. Of the was thoroughly middle-class. The son of a writers we are considering as typical of the doctor, he went to , served as end of the first quarter of the 20th century, secretary to (a writer famous for only Steinbeck and Mencken did not share , an exposé of the meatpacking this experience of expatriation, a fact industry in Chicago, and other Mencken even felt obliged to defend. socialist-inspired novels), spent years as a The millions of Americans who had fought journalist in Europe, and was married to a in "the war to make the world safe for famous foreign correspondent and democracy" (as President Wilson called it andcommentator, . His work as many Americans justified it), together with soon became successful; the names of some the millions more whose lives had been much of his characters, such as , entered affected by it at home, helped to produce a the language as type-names, like those society in the 20s which was new in many of Dickens. Americans took their view of ways. Called the "," it was a themselves from the often exaggerated time in which women were finally portraits he drew. enfranchised and "emancipated," and Despite their heightening of satirical effect, revolutions in dress, manners, and morals Lewis' novels were realistic in highly original took place. Prohibition came (the "Noble ways. He had a keen comic sense and a true ear for everyday speech; he was a great mimic and actor, a great story teller and 2.hail-fellow-well-met: on familiar terms with conversationalist; and these qualities are everyone. everywhere evidenced in his novels, 3. : collectively, the post-World War I generation; more specifically, the group of especially his earliest (and best). What he American writers who emigrated to Europe in the had to say in Main Street and Babbitt and early 1920s. about the pretensions of

147 149 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

small-town society, the thinness of its culture, vigor and vitality of Mencken's mind are as the pathos and pettiness of the lives lived by evident in all he wrote as his bias toward its businessmen and their wives, Americans excellence and his hatred of cant and sham. saw, with a shock of recognition, to be true. At The last two novelists to be considered here the same time, none of this way of life was a are F. Scott Fitzgerald, who epitomized the tragic matter. In a vein of exuberant comedy, "Roaring Twenties," and John Steinbeck, the Lewis invited his readers to laugh, not at best of the social-protest novelists of the 30s, themselves, but at his characters, whose the decade of the Great Depressions. Neither unawareness of their own absurdities he felt detached from his society, as Lewis and exposed. Novels like these are not necessarily Mencken had; each took "his" decade far too among the greatest in literature, but they may seriously for satire, and felt too much a part of be enormously influential on their times. They it to take a detached view. Fitzgerald, like render palatable the unpleasant truths which Lewis a product of Minnesota, went to lie just beneath the surface of life. This Princeton, where he was surrounded by underlying seriousness was what won Lewis people richer, more sophisticated and the , and made him the first superficially cleverer than he was. A feeling of American novelist to be so honored. inferiority always plagued him, though at 23 The influence of H. L. Mencken was, during he was already a great popular success and this early period of the 20th century, even money-maker with his first novel, This Side of greater than that of Lewis. For twenty years hisParadise. He was the handsome young magazine, The American , was read husband of Zelda, the girl of his dreams, and by everyone with intellectual pretensions. he was famous and rich when the other Writers imitated and envied the wit of expatriate were still, like Mencken's pungent, biting editorials and Hemingway, hungry and unknown. essays on the latest antics of what he called Even very early, Fitzgerald recognized the the "booboisie." Never a literary man in the sad and frightening side of his merry, academic sense, Mencken (like Dreiser, dancing, gambling, liberated life, as such a the son of immigrant Germans) spent all his title as The Beatiful and Damned shows. His long and productive life in as a novels grew significantly deeper and more newspaperman and editor. He was not a part tragic as his money troubles increased, as his of the literary circles of Chicago or New York, wife's madness became more destructive, and or a member of the expatriate literary colony as he felt himself heading toward the crack-up in Paris. He was a close friend of no major which ended his life in Hollywood before he writer except Dreiser, yet he influenced not was 45. One of his best novels is The Great only the ordinary educated man who read his Gatsby, the story of a man who wants to be magazine, newspaper articles and collected rich, well-liked and happy, but who fails for essaysquite properly called Prejudicesbutreasons which Fitzgerald's art and also the serious writers. Like all satirists, he compassionate understanding succeed in cared deeply about what he made fun of in making his readers accept as tragic. A later his exaggerated, trenchant, often abusive Fitzgerald novel is Tender is the Night, the language. He cared about his city, his fellow story of marital complications among the rich "boobs," his German beer, and his intellectual and "fortunate" in , which is life. His completely personal style, his gift for even sadder and more obviously invective, his linguistic inventiveness, all autobiographical. Fitzgerald, the lucky young reflect in stimulating ways the deep and writer who symbolized the gay 20s, declined scholarly preoccupation with language which in spirit like his country when the stock market is demonstrated in his monumental The crashed in 1929, when the grim 30s began to American Language, a study which is still an move into the , and when intriguing source of data and insights. The 5. Great Depression: years of economic crisis following the stock marker crash in 1929. Prices 4. booboisie: made up of "boobs a fell, businesses tailed, and many people were term of invective coined by Mencken. without work.

148 150 Hitler's rise to power signalled the approach Flats and ). He wrote scientific of World War II. Fitzgerald's novels are full of works like The Sea of Cortez, which treats the pathos, played by bright individuals against marine biology of a bay in Lower California; bright backdrops; when the scene changed anti-Nazi novels and plays like The Moon is and his world collapsed, his talent Down; and a final book on the United States flickered and went out. called . But his most John Steinbeck, on the other hand, reflected important work is , which the 30s as perfectly as Fitzgerald had the 20s. helped win him the Nobel Prize with its Born in Salinas, California, he loved the dramatic re-creating of the terrible westward West, and the countryside. He wrote of the trek of thousands of Midwestern farmers and the bum, the ordinary working dispossessed from their Dust Bowl farms by man and the biological scientist, all of whose fearful drought and the Great Depression. The lives he had shared. He loved all these as endurance and fortitude of the migrants, Fitzgerald had loved the East, Europe, the whose only resources were their will to live city, the rich and the parasites who were later and their interdependence, are movingly to be calledthe beautiful people." Steinbeck shown; Ma Joad and her brood are wrote touching tales of the love of a boy for a unforgettable. The Grapes of Wrath is proof pony (The Red Pony), of a migratory worker that a thesis-novel, born out of anger and a for his half-witted protege (), passion for justice, can transcend of outcasts Of all sorts for each other (Tortilla propaganda to become literature.

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149 CHAPTER XXI

THEODORE DREISER

Dreiser (1871-1945) isstill considered one of the great American realists, or naturalists. His novels deal with everyday life, often with its sordid side. The charac- ters who people his novels, unable to assert their will against natural and economic forces, are mixtures of good and bad, but he seldom passes judgment on them. He describes them and their actions in massive detail. As Dreiser sees them, human beings are not tragic but pathetic in their inability to escape their petty fates. In the end the sheer weight and power of the author's conviction compel the reader to share his compassionate vision. Born in small-town Indiana, Dreiser re- belled as a youth against the poverty and narrowness of the lite around him. One of THEODORE DREISER (1871-1945) his high school teachers recognized his tal- Of one's ideals, struggles, deprivations, ent and paid his tuition at Indiana Univer- sorrows and joys, it could only be said that sity. But Dreiser left college after a year they were chemic compulsions, something because he felt it "did not concern ordi- which for some inexplicable but unimportant nary life at all." He had various jobs in reason responded to and resulted from the Chicago: washing dishes, shoveling coal, hope of pleasure and the fear of pain. Man working in a factory, and collecting was a mechanism, undevised and uncreated, billsexperiences which he later used in and a badly and carelessly driven one at that. his writing. He taught himself to be a newspaper reporter and supported him- from his A Book about Myselfself as a journalist and editor for many years while he was struggling to become recognized as a novelist. In what was almost a convention of naturalism, Dreiser's first novel was about a prostitute, but unlike Stephen Crane's Maggie, Dreiser's heroine prospers and flourishes. The end furnished a worse shock to Dreiser's readers than his choice of subject: Carrie is not only a rather im- probable success on the musical comedy stage but one of her prosperous lovers, whom she has found useful in advancing her career, has suffered a reversal of for-

150 152 tune as startling as Carrie's. Readers inso lightly to girlhood and home were it 1900 found the "punishment of the loverretrievably broken. peculiarly distasteful to their notions of To be sure there was always the next sta- justice; according to the prevailing doubletion, where one might descend and return. standard of sexual morality, the woman wasThere was the great city, bound more supposed to be punished, not the man. closely by these very trains which came up daily. Columbia City was not so very far SELECTION I away, even once she was in Chicago. What, pray, is a few hoursa few hundred miles? Chicago is the scene of Sister Carrie, in which Carrie is a pretty young girl whom Dreiser usesShe looked at the little slip bearing her to express his own longings for wealth and af-sister's address and wondered. She gazed fection, for the glitter and sexual excitement ofat the green landscape, now passing in the city. The opening chapter, divided into twoswift review, until her swifter thoughts re- parts, is largely reprinted here. It shows Carrieplaced its impression with vague conjec- leaving home and taking the train to the city.tures of what Chicago might be. The passage is typical of Dreiser; he gives us his thoughts about Carrie and the salesman she When a girl leaves her home at eight- meets and describes them minutely. When Car-een, she does one of two things. Either she rie arrives, her sister greets her in a noncom-falls into saving hands and becomes better, mittal fashion. She promises nothing of the ex-or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan citement and warmth that the salesman holdsstandard of virtue and becomes worse. Of out to Carrie at the end of the chapter. an intermediate balance, under the cir- From Sister Carrie cumstances, there is no possibility. The city has its cunning wiles, no less than the infi- Chapter 1 nitely smaller and more human tempter. There are large forces which allure with When Caroline Meeber boarded the af-all the soulfulness of expression possible in ternoon train for Chicago, her total outfitthe most cultured human. The gleam of a consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imita-thousand lights is often as effective as the tion alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch inpersuasive light in a wooing and fascinat- a paper box, and a yellow leather snaping eye. Half the undoing of the unsophis- purse, containing her ticket, a scrap ofticated and natural mind is accomplished paper with her sister's address on Vanby forces wholly superhuman. A blare of Buren Street, and four dollars in money.sound, a roar of life, a vast array of human It was in August, 1889. She was eighteenhives, appeal to the astonished senses in years of age, bright, timid, and full of theequivocal terms. Without a counsellor at illusions of ignorance and youth. Whateverhand to whisper cautious interpretations, touch of regret at parting characterisedwhat falsehoods may not these things her thoughts, it was certainly not for ad-breathe into the unguarded ear! Unrecog- vantages now being given up. A gush ofnised for what they are, their beauty, like tears at her mother's farewell kiss, a touchmusic, too often relaxes, then weakens, in her throat when the cars clacked by thethen perverts the simpler human percep- flour mill where her father worked bytions. the day, a pathetic sigh as the familiar Caroline, or Sister Carrie, as she had green environs of the village passed inbeen half affectionately termed by the review, and the threads which bound herfamily, was possessed of a mind rudimen-

151 153 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE tary in its power of observation and "Yes, that is a great resort for Chicago analysis. Self-interest with her was high,people. The hotels are swell. You are not but not strong. It was, nevertheless, herfamiliar with this part of the country, are guiding characteristic. Warm with the fan-you?" cies of youth, pretty with the insipid pret- "Oh, yes, I am," answered Carrie. "That tiness of the formative period, possessed of is,I live at Columbia City. I have never a figure promising eventual shapelinessbeen through here, though." and an eye alight with certain native intel- "And so thisis your first visit to ligence, she was a fair example of the mid-Chicago," he observed. dle American classtwo generations re- All the time she was conscious of certain moved from the emigrant. Books werefeatures out of the side of her eye. Flush, beyond her interestknowledge a sealedcolourful cheeks, a light moustache, a grey book. In the intuitive graces she was stillfedora' hat. She now turned and looked crude. She could scarcely toss her headupon him in full, the instincts of self- gracefully. Her hands were almost ineffec-protection and coquetry mingling con- tual. The feet, though small, were setfusedly in her brain. flatly. And yet she was interested in her "I didn't say that," she said. charms, quick to understand the keener "Oh," he answered, in a very pleasing pleasures of life, ambitious to gain in mat-way and with an assumed air of mistake, "I erial things. A half-equipped little knightthought you did." she was, venturing to reconnoitre the mys- Here was a type of the travelling terious city and dreaming wild dreams ofcanvasser2 for a manufacturing housea some vague, far-off supremacy, whichclass which at that time was first being should make it prey and subjectthedubbed by the slang of the day "drum- proper penitent, grovelling at a woman'smers." He came within the meaning of a slipper. still newer term, which had sprung into "That," said a voice in her ear, "is one ofgeneral use among Americans in 1880, the prettiest little resorts in Wisconsin." and which concisely expressed the thought "It is?" she answered nervously. of one whose dress or manners are calcu- The train was just pulling out oflated to elicit the admiration of susceptible Waukesha. For some time she had beenyoung womena "masher." His suit was of conscious of a man behind. She felt hima striped and crossed pattern of brown observing her mass of hair. He had beenwool, new at that time, but since become fidgeting, and with natural intuition shefamiliar as a business suit. The low crotch felt a certain interest growing in that quar-of the vest revealed a stiff shirt bosom of ter. Her maidenly reserve, and a certainwhite and pink stripes. From his coat sense of what was conventional under thesleeves protruded a pair of cuffs of circumstances, called her to forestall andthe same pattern, fastened with large, gold deny this familiarity, but the daringplate , set with the common yellow and magnetism of the individual, born ofagates known as "cat's-eyes." His fingers past experiences and triumphs, prevailed.boreseveralrings--one, the ever- She answered. enduring heavy sealand from his vest He leaned forward to put his elbows upon the back of her seat and proceeded 1. fedora: a soft felt hat with a curled brim. to make himself volubly agreeable. 2. canvasser: salesman.

152 154 THEODORE DREISER

dangled a neat gold watch chain, fromrather tight-fitting, and was-finished off which was suspended the secret insigniawith heavy-soledtanshoes,highly of the Order of Elks.' The whole suit waspolished, and the grey fedora hat. He was, for the order of intellpct represented, at- tractive, and whatever he had to recom- 3. Order of Elks: a men's social organization devoted mend him, you may be sure was not lost to benevolent works in the community. upon Carrie, in this, her first glance.

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS emotion do you feel toward her? 3.Describe the "masher." Did your country 1.In what way is Caroline Meeber representa- have his equivalent in the late 19th century or at tive of thousands of young people who leave a some otherperiod? Ifso,describetheir small town for life in the big city? Does thissimilarities or dissimilarities. tendency exist in your country? 4.In one paragraph Dreiser gives us a very 2. Does Caroline appear to be the type of per- clear idea of Carrie. What does this paragraph son you could like or admire? Explain. Whattell us about her?

SELECTION II sex.Let him meet with a young woman once and he would approach her with an From Sister Carrie air of kindly familiarity, not unmixed with pleading, which would result in most cases in a tolerant acceptance. If she showed any Chapter I (continued) tendency to coquetry he would be apt to straighten her tie, or if she "took up" with Lest this order of individual shouldhim at all, to call her by her first name. If permanently pass, let me put down somehe visited a department store it was to of the most striking characteristics of hislounge familiarly over the counter and ask most successful manner and method.some leading questions. In more exclusive Good clothes, of course, were the first es-circles, on the train or in waiting stations, sential, the things without which he washe went slower. If some seemingly vulner- nothing. A strong physical nature, ac-ableobjectappearedhewasall tuated by a keen desire for the feminine,attentionto pass the compliments of the was the next. A mind free of any consider-day, to lead the way to the parlor car, car- ation of the problems or forces of therying her grip, or, failing that, to take a seat world and actuated not by greed, but annext to her with the hope of being able to insatiable love of variable pleasure. Hiscourt her to her destination. Pillows, method was always simple. Its principalbooks, a footstool, the shade lowered; all element was daring, backed, of course, bythese figured in the things which he could an intense desire and admiration for thedo. If, when she reached her destination

153 155 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE he did not alight and attend her baggagepresence of so much magnificence faintly for her, it was because, in his own esti-affected her. She realised that hers was not mation, he had signally failed. to be a round of pleasure, and yet there A woman should some day write thewas something promising in all the mate- complete philosophy of clothes. No matterrial prospect he set forth. There was some- how young, itis one of the things shething satisfactory in the attention of this wholly comprehends. There is an inde-individual with his good clothes. She could scribably faint line in the matter of man'snot help smiling as he told her of some apparel which somehow divides for herpopular actress of whom she reminded those who are worth glancing at and thosehim. She was not silly, and yet attention of who are not. Once an individual hasthis sort had its weight. passed this faint line on the way downward "You will be in Chicago some little time, he will get no glance from her. There iswon't you?" he observed at one turn of the another line at which the dress of a mannow easy conversation. will cause her to study her own. This line "I don't know," said Carrie vaguelya the individual at her elbow now markedflash vision of the possibility of her not for Carrie. She became conscious of an in-securing employment rising in her mind. equality. Her own plain blue dress; with its "Several weeks, anyhow," he said, look- black cotton tape trimmings, now seemeding steadily into her eyes. to her shabby. She felt the worn state of There was much more passing now her shoes. than the mere words indicated. He recog- "Let's see," he went on, "I know quite a nised the indescribable thing that made up number of people in your town. Morgen-for fascination and beauty in her. She roth the clothier and Gibson the dry goodsrealised that she was of interest to him man." from the one standpoint which a woman "Oh, do you?" she interrupted, arousedboth delights in and fears. Her manner by memories of longings their show win-was simple, though for the very reason dows had cost her. that she had not yet learned the many At last he had a clew to her interest, and little affectations with which women con- followed it deftly. In a few minutes he had ceal their true feelings. Some things she come about into her seat. He talked ofdid appeared bold. A clever com- sales of clothing, his travels, Chicago, andpanionhad she ever had onewould have the amusements of that city. warned her never to look a man in the "If you are going there, you will enjoy iteyes so steadily. immensely. Have you relatives?" "I am going to visit my sister," she ex- "Why do you ask?" she said. plained. "Well, I'm going to be there several "You want to see Lincoln Park," he said,weeks. I'm going to study stock at our "and Boulevard. They are put-place and get new samples. I might show ting up great buildings there. It's a sec-you 'round." ond New Yorkgreat. So much to see "I don't know whether you can or not. I theatres, crowds, fine housesoh, you'llmean I don't know whether I can. I shall like that." be living with my sister, and" There was a little ache in her fancy of all "Well, if she minds, we'll fix that." He he described. Her insignificance in thetook out his pencil and a little pocket 156154 THEODORE DREISER

note-book as if it were all settled. "What is "That's me," he said, putting the card in your address there?" her hand and touching his name. "It's She fumbled in her purse which con-pronounced Drew-eh. Our family was tained the address slip. French, on my father's side." He reached down in his hip pocket and She looked at it while he put up his took out a fat purse. It was filled with slipspurse. Then he got out a letter from a of paper, some mileage books, a roll ofbunch in his coat pocket. "This is the house greenbacks. It impressed her deeply. SuchI travel for," he went on, pointing to a pic- a purse had never been carried by any oneture on it, "corner of State and Lake." attentive to her. Indeed, an experiencedThere was pride on his voice. He felt that it traveller, a brisk man of the world, hadwas something to be connected with such a never come within such close range before.place, and he made her feel that way. The purse, the shiny tan shoes, the smart "What is your address?" he began again, new suit, and theairwith which he didfixing his pencil to write. things, built up for her a dim world of for- She looked at his hand. tune, of which he was the centre. It dis- "Carrie Meeber," she said slowly. "Three posed her pleasantly toward all he mighthundred and fifty-four West Van Buren do. Street, care S. C. Hanson." He took out a neat business card, on He wrote it carefully down and got out which was engraved Bartlett, Caryoe &the purse again. "You'll be at home if I Company, and down in the left-handcome around Monday night?" he said.

corner, Chas. H. Drouet. "I think so," she answered...

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS or with Carrie? Give reasons for your answer. With whom do your sympathies lie? Why? 1. Describe the manner and methods of the "masher." Have these characteristics changedWRITING PRACTICE in contemporary society? If so, how? 2. "Clothes make the man" is an epigram often 1. Write a comparison of Dreiser and a writer of used in English. How does the author express your own country who uses similar subject mat- this idea? In what way is it important to the de-ter and writing style. velopment of the final part of the chapter? 2.In Sister Carrie, as well as in three other novels, Jennie Gerhardt, The 'Genius,' and An 3.In this first chapter, does the author capture your interest so that you want to read the rest ofAmerican Tragedy, Dreiser develops the view that the chaotic nature of life precludes spiritual the novel? Explain ybur answer. satisfaction; consequently, it is normal and right 4. Do you like Dreiser's style of writing? Citefor one to get the most he can from a society's reasons to support your answer. economic system. Read two of the three other 5. Do you admire the "drummer?" Why or whynovels cited above and write a composition in not? which you demonstrate the way Dreiser pres- 6. Are Dreiser's sympathies with the drummerents this theme in each novel.

155 157 CHAPTER XXII

EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) was a poet of transition. He lived at the time following the Civil War when America was rebuilding and changing rapidly and when the dominant values of the country seemed to be growing increas- ingly materialistic. Robinson's poetry was transitional, evaluating the present by using traditional forms and by including elements of transcendentalism and ,ao Puritanism. Robinson spent his childhood in a small town in Maine, a town which furnished him a setting for many of his poems as well as models for his characters. His father was a prosperous merchant; his mother had been a schoolteacher. The parents were primarily interested in their two older sons EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON (1869-1935) and tended to ignore Edwin, though they Solitude tends to magnify one's ideas about recognized his exceptional intelligence. individuality; it directs attention to neglect and While fond of his family, Edwin felt him- sharpens one's sympathy with failure...It self an outsider among them, as he also felt renders a man suspicious of the whole natural alienated from the society of his town. plan and leads him to wonder whether the Robinson studied at Harvard from invisible powers are a fortuitous issue of 1891 to 1893 and afterwards returned to misguided cosmos, or the cosmos itself, Maine to stay for three years. Miserable everything, is a kind of accident. and lonely most of the time, he moved to New York in 1895. His first volume of Quoted in Louis Untermeyer's Edwin poems had been published while he was at Arlington Robinson: A Reappraisal. home in Maine; in 1897 a second volume appeared. But he prospered neither as a poet nor as a businessman and ended by working as a checker of loads of shale during the building of the New York sub- way. In earning his living as a writer Ro- binson experienced the same difficulties as Hawthorne had fifty years before and was forced to the same humiliating expe- dients. Hawthorne checked sacks of coal as they were loaded in Boston Harbor; Robinson checked shale. , a grateful President, had rewarded his

156 friend and campaign biographer, Haw-one night he fires a bullet through his thorne, with a post in the Sales Customshead. We are left asking why, and Robin- House and then with a more lucrative postson does not give an answer. We can only as consul in . Just so anothersuppose that what other people think and President of the United States, Theodorefeel is not as important as what a person Roosevelt, found Robinson's poetry im-himself believes. Since Cory knows his life pressive and helped him get a clerkship inis worthless in spite of his "success," he the New York Customs House, where heputs an end to it. worked until 1910. He sometimes may In the other poerris included here we see have encountered the ghost of Melville,Robinson's compassion and humor. They who had spent the last lonely years of hisare differently blended in each poem. life there, haunted by the feeling that he"Miniver Cheevy" is marked by a broad, had failed as a writer. hyperbolic humor. The character whom Suddenly, with the poetic revival whichthe poem displays is a figure of fun. How- preceded World War I, Robinson began toever, the humor is wry; we can laugh at the play a major role as a poet. After going hisdrunkard who drinks to escape, only as own way quietly for so many years, he be-long as we ignore his plight.. There is more came widely read and exerted a strongthan a hint of self-portraiture in Miniver's influence on other poets, notably Frost. Hedeluded enchantment with a past which was awarded the for poetrynever was. The poem suggests, in a comic three times in the 1920's, a record ex-way, what Eugene O'Neill portrays in The ceeded only by Frost, who received theIceman Cometh: the survival value for the prize four times in all. unsuccessful of delusion plus drink; for those who, like Cory, face up to the truth The core of Robinson's philosophy is theof things, a bullet may be inevitable. belief that man's highest duty is to develop We feel an even greater sympathy when his best attributes as fully as possible. Suc-we read "Mr. Flood's Party." For here is an cess is measured by the intensity and integ-old man, now completely friendless, his rity of his struggle; failure consists only inonly company a jug of liquor. He is so a lack of effort. Robinson was most in-lonely he talks to himself; so friendless that terested in people who had either failedhe has nothing left in life. Nevertheless, spiritually, or who seemed failures to thethe situation Robinson describes to us is world but had really succeeded in gainingnever mawkish. We sympathize, but we spiritual wisdom. Despite his apparentsmile at the same time. Robinson uses pessimism he refused to subscribe to amock-heroic comparisons and mock so- naturalistic view of life. Being by naturelemnity here with a delicate effect absent introspective and conscious of psychologi-in "Miniver Cheetry." He invites our sym- cal depths, he was acutely aware of thepathy; he does not command it. When he spiritual side of man and relatively unin-compares Mr. Flood with the great terested in the surface aspects of man's lifemedieval warrior Roland, blowing his horn as a social creature. to summon his comrades in an epic battle, Robinson's best known statement onhe expects us to remember that splendid as the hollowness of conventional successRoland was in that battle, he died without is the lyric poem, "Richard Cory." Al-his companions ever answering the call of though everyone respects and envies Cory,his horn. Not the least of Robinson's skill

157 15S HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE lies in another technique: his ability toemphasis; he chooses instead to soften the manage rhythms and sounds to convey therhythms and to diminish the ending with meaning and mood of the poem. A goodtwo dependent clauses. Our voice drops example is the perfectly modulated con-naturally and then levels off as we finish cluding lines of "Mr. Flood's Party."reading the poemthe old man's horn Robinson could have ended the poem withechoes and dies, unanswered.

Selection I

RICHARD CORY

Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed, And he was always human when he talked; But still he fluttered pulses when he said, "Good morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was richyes, richer than a king And admirably schooled in every grace: In fine, we thought that he was everything To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went without the meat, and cursed the bread; And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Selection II

MINIVER CHEEVY

Miniver Cheevy,' child of scorn, Grew lean while he assailed the seasons; He wept that he was ever born, And he had reasons.

158 160 EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON

Miniver loved the days of old When swords were bright and steeds were prancing; The vision of a warrior bold Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not, And dreamed, and rested from his labors; He dreamed of Thebes' and Camelot,3 And Priam's neighbors.4

Miniver mourned the ripe renown That made so many a name so fragrant; He mourned Romance, now on the town,' And Art, a vagrant.

Miniver loved the Medici,6 Albeit he had never seen one; He would have sinned incessantly Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace And eyed a khaki suit with loathing; He missed the medieval grace Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought, But sore annoyed was he without it; Miniver thought, and thought, and thought, And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late, Scratched his head and kept on thinking; Miniver coughed, and called it fate, And kept on drinking.

1. Miniver Cheevy: The name of the character gives a hint as to his personality. "Miniver" was a kind of fur popular during the Middle Ages; "Cheevy" echoes such adjectives as childish and peevish. 2. Thebes: name of two ancient cities, one in Egypt, the other in Greece. 3. Camelot: the legendary site of King Arthur's palace and court in southwestern England. 4. Priam's neighbors: Priam, the last king of Troy, an ancient city in Asia Minor. He perished in a war with his neighbors, the Greeks, who conquered Troy. 5. on the town: living on charity. 6. Medici: the ruling family of Florence, Italy, during the 15th and 16th centuries, noted both for their generous patronage of art and for lavish living and wicked- ness.

159 161 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Selection III

MR. FLOOD'S PARTY

Old Eben Flood, climbing alone one night Over the hill between the town below And the forsaken upland hermitage That held as much as he should ever know On earth again of home, paused warily. The road was his with not a native near; And Eben, having leisure, said aloud, For no man else in Tilbury Town to hear:

"Well, Mr. Flood, we have the harvest moon' Again, and we may not have many more; The bird is on the wing, the poet says, And you and I have said it here before. Drink to the bird." He raised up to the light

The jug that he had gone so far to fill, And answered huskily: "Well, Mr. Flood, Since you propose it, I believe I will."

Alone, as if enduring to the end A valiant armor of scarred hopes outworn, He stood there in the middle of the road Like Roland's ghost winding a silent horn.' Below him, in the town among the trees, Where friends of other days had honored him, A phantom salutation of the dead Rang thinly till old Eben's eyes were dim.

Then, as a mother lays her sleeping child Down tenderly, fearing it may awake, He set the jug down slowly at his feet With trembling care, knowing that most things break; And only when assured that on firm earth It stood, as the uncertain lives of men Assuredly did not, he paced away, And with his hand extended paused again:

"Well, Mr. Flood, we have not met like this In a long time; and many a change has come

160 162 EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON

To both of us, I fear, since last it was We had a drop together. Welcome home!" Convivially returning with himself, Again he raised the jug up to the light; And with an acquiescent quaver said: "Well, Mr. Flood, if you insist, I might. "Only a very little, Mr. Flood For auld lang syne.3 No more, sir; that will do." So, for the time, apparently it did, And Eben evidently thought so too; For soon amid the silver loneliness Of night he lifted up his voice and sang, Secure, with only two moons listening, Until the whole harmonious landscape rang

"For auld lang syne." The weary throat gave out, The wavered; and the song being done, He raised again the jug regretfully And shook his head, and was again alone. There was not much that was ahead of him, And there was nothing in the town below Where strangers would have shut the many doors That many friends had opened long ago.

1. harvest moon: the full moon occurring nearest to the autumnal equinox (Sep- tember 23). At that time there is full moonlight on cloudless nights almost from sunset to sunrise, which provides extra hours of light for farmers harvesting crops in the fields. 2. Roland: legendary hero of medieval France who, left to protect Charlemagne's retreat from invading Moslem armies, refused to blow his horn to call for help. 3. auld lang syne: literally, "old long ago," a Scottish phrase now used to mean "the good old times" or "old time's sake."

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. Compare the problem faced by Richard Cory with that of Miniver Cheevy. In what sense are RICHARD CORY their solutions to the problem similar? 5. What poetic character in your national litera- 1. What details of the poem help to make theture is similar to Richard Cory? How? ending a surprise? Why do you think Cory killed himself? MINIVER CHEEVY 2. What do you think the "light" is in the first line of the fourth stanza? 1. Do you think Miniver really would have been 3. Does the poem say anything about human happy in ancient Troy, Camelot, or in the Flor- insight? Explain. ence of the Medicis? Explain your answer.

3EST(,IIPV AVAILABLE 161 163 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

2. What emotion do you feel for Miniver? Explain 3. Cite examples of the poet's (1) pessimism your answer. and (2) wry humor found in the poem. 3. Compare Miniver with Eben Flood. Which do 4. Explain in your own words the meaning of the you admire most? Why? following lines from stanza four. "He set the jug down slowly at his feet/ With trembling care, 4. Do you find humor in this poem? Cite exam- knowing that most things break;/ And only when ples. assured that on firm earth/ It stood, as the uncer- tain lives of men/ Assuredly did not.. ./ MR. FLOOD'S PARTY WRITING PRACTICE 1. What do you think has brought Eben Flood to his present condition? Write a short composition based on each of 2. Describe the tone of "Mr. Flood's Party" and these poems in which you conjecture as to what explain how the verse form and diction help caused each of the men to withdraw from hard create it. reality. Use your imagination!

164 162 CHAPTER XXIII

CARL SANDBURG

The polar opposite of Robinson, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) played the part of the simple workman, down to the cloth cap which he often wore. Nevertheless, he was an artist with words. His language was more colloquial and his rhythms looser than Robinson's; yet he too knew the value of form and poetic technique. As critic Louis Untermeyer puts it, there are "two Sandburgs: the muscular, heavy-fisted, hard-hitting son of the streets, and his al- most unrecognizable twin, the shadow- painter, the haunter of mists, the lover of implications and overtones." Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Il- linois, of Swedish immigrant parents. He did odd jobs, served in the Spanish- American War, and worked his way CARL SANDBURG (1878-1967) through nearly four years of college after- I believe that free men the world over cherish ward. From 1910 to 1912 he acted as sec- the earth as cradle and tomb, the handiwork retary for the first Socialist mayor of Mil- of their Maker, the possession of the family waukee, Wisconsin. Not long afterward he man. attracted public notice with his increas- I believe freedom comes the hard wayby ingly powerful poetry, especially the ceaseless groping, toil, struggleeven by poem, "Chicago," and he gradually be- fiery trial and agony. came able to give most of his time to his writing. He did some literary journalism; Quoted in Gallery of Americans, p. 42. he wrote ballads and books for children, I glory in this world of men and women, and he continued with his serious poetry. torn with troubles and lost in And all the while, his interest in Abraham sorrow, yet living on to love and Lincoln deepened. He had grown up laugh and play through it all.From in Lincoln country and perhaps he In Reckless Ecstasy (his first book thought of himself as a Lincolnesque fig- of poems, published in 1904) ure. At any rate, he worked on the biog- raphy for years and by 1939 had com- pleted the six-volume life of Lincoln which he considered his masterwork. Imposing though the Lincoln is, how- ever, his poetry promises to be more im- portant. Of the poems reprinted below, "The Harbor" embodies both the lyrical poet and the muscular "son of the streets."

163 165 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

It is the kind of poem that made Sandburguntil the end. Sandburg finishes the poem famous: short, powerful, organic in form.with a short, staccato poetic statement. The The few lines are brief; when Sandburgcentral idea of the poem is realistically but comes to the end of a phrase he ends hisoptimistically democratic. Though the line, and each line ends on an importantpeople suffer, they will triumph. word. The power of "The Harbor" comes Such is the central idea also of the third from two vivid contrasts. One is betweenpoem by Sandburg. "The People Will Live the imprisoning ugliness of the slums andOn." It shows Sandburg's continued in- the grace and freedom of the lake and theterest in poetic experimentation as well as birds flying above it. The other is the con-his usual hearty optimism about the peo- trast between the grim message and theple. Composed in 1936, it reflects the then graceful vocabulary employed. current aspirations of the . Not This kind of poetry is called free verse,the least interesting thing about this poem in distinction from poems such as the son-is that, though a memorable piece of verse, net, the form of which is fixed by conven-it is by no means flawless. Some awkward- tion. Walt Whitman was the first Americanness results fron the opposition of two poet to write free verse, and Sandburg'skinds of language, one plain, the other or- poem "I Am the People, the Mob" resem-nate. An example of the first is "The learn- bles Whitman's work, not only in form buting and blundering people will live on." in feelingthe same high vision of Ameri-"The people is a polychrome, a spectrum can promise, formed not of abstractionsand a prism, held in a moving monolith" but of the common stuff of life. It has theis an instance of the second. This line is long lines and repetitious sentence struc-made awkward by Sandburg's use of "is" ture that marked Whitman's great "Leavesinstead of "are," which more naturally fol- of Grass."Sandburg's poem,likelows "people". Whitman's, gains power from this repeti- Flaws and all, Carl Sandburg has been tion and accumulation. The openingcalled the unofficial American poet laure- words are several times repeated for em-ate of the 30s and 40s, and rightly so. The phasis and the linesor rather, the versetitle is a tribute to the rhythmic strength paragraphsbuild up and grow longerof his poetry and his prophetic faith:

I speak of new cities and new people. I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes. I tell you yesterday is a wind gone down, A sun dropped in the west.

I tell you there is nothing in the world only an ocean of to-morrows, a sky of to-morrows.

I am a brother of the cornhuskers who say at sundown: To-morrow is a day. (from "Prairie," 1918)

166 164 CARL SANDBURG

Selection I

THE HARBOR

Passing through huddled and ugly walls By doorways where women Looked from their hunger-deep eyes, Haunted with shadows of hunger-hands, Out from the huddled and ugly walls, I came sudden, at the city's edge, On a blue burst of lake, Long lake waves breaking under the sun On a spray-flung curve of shore; And a fluttering storm of gulls, Masses of great gray wings And flying white bellies Veering and wheeling free in the open.

Selection II

I AM THE PEOPLE, THE MOB I am the peoplethe mobthe crowdthe mass. Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me? I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world's food and clothes. I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns. I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget. Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then I forget.

165 167 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yersterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool,then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: "The People," with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision. The mobthe crowdthe masswill arrive then.

Selection III

THE PEOPLE WILL LIVE ON

The people will live on. The learning and blundering people will live on. They will be tricked and sold and again sold And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds, The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback, You can't laugh off their capacity to take it. The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.

The people so often sleepy, weary, enigmatic, is a vast huddle with many units saying: "I earn my living. I make enough to get by and it takes all my time. If I had more time I could do more for myself and maybe for others. I could read and study and talk things over and find out about things. It takes time. I wish I had the time."

The people is a tragic and comic two-face: hero and hoodlum: phantom and gorilla twisting to moan with a gargoyle mouth: "They buy me and sell me ...it's a game... sometime I'll break loose..."

Once having marched Over the margins of animal necessity,

166 CARL SANDBURG

Over the grim line of sheer subsistence Then man came To the deeper rituals of his bones, To the lights lighter than any bones, To the time for thinking things over, To the dance, the song, the story, Or given over to dreaming, Once having so marched.

Between the finite limitations of the five senses and the endless yearnings of man for the beyond the people hold to the humdrum bidding of work and food while reaching out when it comes their way for lights beyond the prison of the five senses, for keepsakes lasting beyond any hunger or death. This reaching is alive. The panderers and liars have violated and smutted it. Yet this reaching is alive yet for lights and keepsakes.

The people know the salt of the sea and the strength of the winds lashing the corners of the earth. The people take the earth as a tomb of rest and a cradle of hope. Who else speaks for the Family of Man? They are in tune and step with constellations of universal law.

The people is a polychrome, a spectrum and a prism held in a moving monolith, a console organ of changing themes, a clavilux' of color poems wherein the sea offers fog and the fog moves off in rain and the Labrador sunset shortens to a nocturne of clear stars serene over the shot spray of northern lights.

The steel mill sky is alive. The fire breaks white and zigzag shot on a gun-metal gloaming. 169 167 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Man is a long time coming. Man will yet win. Brother may yet line up with brother:

This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers. There are men who can't be bought. The fireborn are at home in fire. The stars make no noise. You can't hinder the wind from blowing. Time is a great teacher. Who can live without hope?

In the darkness with a great bundle of grief the people march. In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps,' the people march: "Where to? what next?"

I.clavilux: organ-like console keyed to colored lights instead of music. 2. for keeps: to keep, for their own.

SELECTIONS I-III

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS poem? Do you agree? What does the line, "This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers," 1. What is the main idea expressed in "The mean? Harbor"? How does the poet achieve the con- 4. Do you think Sandburg's faith in the People trast he wants to emphasize? isrealistic? Give reasons to support your 2.Is "I am the People, the Mob" an optimistic answer. or a pessimistic poem? Explain. Do you think5. How does Sandburg's poetry differ in tech- the People eventually do learn to remember?nique from that of Robinson? Which poet do you How? Explain the meaning of the last line of the like better? Why? poem. 6. "The People Will Live On" contains many 3. What does the poet gain by repeating him-pungent words. Which seem to you most strik- self at times in "The People Will Live On"? In ing or allusive, and what do they suggest? How your opinion, what is the hope expressed in the do they contribute to the meaning of the poem?

170168 CHAPTER XXIV

SINCLAIR LEWIS

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) was born in the town of Sauk Center, Minnesota. He was graduated from Yale after several un- happy years there, and then became an editor and writer. His early writing was commercial and undistinguished. But when he published Main Street in 1920, he proved that he had become a very effective novelist. Main Street immediately cap- tured America's attention, as did Scott Fitzgerald's very different This Side of Paradise, published in the same year. In his first important novel, Lewis estab- lished the methods and subject matter that would bring him world fame and eventu- ally a Nobel Prize in Literaturethe first American author to be so honored. That is, he described daily life in America with SINCLAIR LEWIS (1885-1951) such a sharp eye and ear that readers (After praising Ernest Hemingway, Thomas could easily recognize it as part of their Wolfe and other contemporary American own experience. But he did it with such an writers:) emphasis on the comic and ridiculous that I salute them, with a joy in being not yet too he made his readers laugh, in spite of far removed from their determination to give tothemselves, at some of the silliness of their the America that has mountains and endless country. Like the noted satirists of the prairies, enormous cities and lost farm cabins, past, he wanted to do more than amuse. billions of money and tons of faith, to an He wanted to reform the America he pic- America that is as strange as Russia and as tured by skillfully arousing his readers' complex as China, a literature worthy of her sympathies for the non-conformist in a vastness. conformist society. The heroine of Main from his Nobel Prize Address, December Street is a rebellious young woman who 12, 1930 struggles hard to bring culture to her dead little town, and we feel a wry regret when in the end she decides to conform. How- ever, Lewis' comic energy is so compelling that we cannot take her failure entirely seriously, though Sauk Center's inhabit- ants recognized themselves all too clearly at the time and took Lewis' lampooning so much to heart that it was years before the town could advertise itself to tourists as the model for Main Street.

169 171 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

The hero of Babbitt, Lewis' second highly believable portraits of a woman. No one successful novel, is as standard a middle-captured the farce of American life as class businessman as if he had been puttruly as he did. Sometimes he conveyed together on an assembly line. He appears the pathos of it also. We can see the com- to be a stereotype of millions of Americanbination best, perhaps, in the opening men. He sells real estate and lives in a typi- of Babbitt, which shows us the average cal middle-class house. He has a typicalbusinessman waking up to start an aver- family, a wife and three children. He ex-age day. It begins at home, where he is presses typical American prejudices. And with his wife. yet Lewis shows us from the start that he has yearnings, of youth and love and escape, that we would not expect SELECTION I the stereotype to feel. The novel shows the slow rise and all too rapid failure of his from Babbitt, Chapter 1 efforts to be himself instead of falling into the typical mold. He is grumpily dissatis- fied with the existence he leads. He tries a mild sexual adventure. He consorts briefly The towers of Zenith aspired above the with radical thinkers. He expresses unor-morning mist; austere towers of steel and thodox ideas. But the people around himcement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and above him are soon able to repressand delicate as silver rods. They were him, and like the heroine of Main Streetneither citadels nor churches, but frankly he returns to conformity, to being likeand beautifully office-buildings. everyone else. "They've licked me," he The mist took pity on the fretted struc- admits. At the end of the novel all he cantures of earlier generations: the Post Of- hope is that his children will do better, willfice with its shingle-tortured mansard, the find more in life, than he has, but it seemsred brick minarets of hulking old houses, a spurious dream. factories with stingy and sooted windows, And yet Babbitt is never heavythe herowooden tenements colored like mud. The is never allowed to be tragic. The book hascity was full of such grotesqueries, but the all the gusto of Main Street but is moreclean towers were thrusting them from condensed, tighter in focus. Its caricaturesthe business center, and on the farther are often comic, and many of the minorhills were shining new houses, homes figures in the novel are pure caricature,they seemedfor laughter and tran- as wildly improbable as those of Charlesquility. Dickens. Over a concrete bridge fled a limousine Sinclair Lewis went on to write manyof long sleek hood and noiseless engine. novels about other aspects of AmericanThese people in evening clothes were re- life. He grew to be perhaps the most popu-turning from an all-night rehearsal of a lar novelist of his time. He often picturedLittle Theater' play, an artistic adventure America as if it were an advertising poster,considerably illuminated by champagne. with flashy colors and sharp lines; inBelow the bridge curved a railroad, a maze , the story of a young doctor, heof green and crimson lights. The New achieved something more seriously novelistic, and also drew one of his rare I.Little Theater: theater especially for amateurs.

170 172 SINCLAIR LEWIS

York Flyer' boomed past, and twenty linesroughened hand which lay helpless upon of polished steel leaped into the glare. the khaki-colored blanket was slightly In one of the skycrapers the wires of thepuffy. He seemed prosperous, extremely Associated Press' were closing down. Themarried and unromantic; and altogether telegraph operators wearily raised theirunromantic appeared this sleeping-porch, celluloid eye-shades after a night of talkingwhich looked on one sizable elm, two re- with Paris and Peking. Through the build-spectable grass-plots, a cement drive-way, ing crawled the scrubwomen, yawning,and a corrugated iron garage. Yet Babbitt their old shoes slapping. The dawn mistwas again dreaming of the fairy child, a spun away. Cues of men with lunch-boxesdream more romantic than scarlet pagodas clumped toward the immensity of new fac-by a silver sea. tories, sheets of glass and hollow tile, glit- For years the fairy child had come to tering shops where five thousand menhim. Where others saw but Georgie Bab- worked beneath one roof, pouring out thebitt, she discerned gallant youth. She honest wares that would be sold up thewaited for him, in the darkness beyond Euphrates and across the veldt. The whis-mysterious groves. When at last he could tles rolled out in greeting a chorus cheer-slip away from the crowded house he ful as the April dawn; the song of labor indarted to her. His wife, his clamoring a city builtit seemedfor giants. friends, sought to follow, but he escaped, the girlfleet beside him, and they crouched together on a shadowy hillside. II She was so slim, so white, so eager! She cried that he was gay and valiant, that she There was nothing of the giant in thewould wait for him, that they would sail aspect of the man who was beginning to Rumble and bang of the milk-truck. awaken on the sleeping-porch of a Dutch Babbitt moaned, turned over, struggled Colonial house in that residential districtback toward his dream. He could see only of Zenith known as Floral Heights. her face now, beyond misty waters. The His name was George F. Babbitt. He wasfurnace-man slammed the basement door. forty-six years old now, in April, 1920, andA dog barked in the next yard. As Babbitt he made nothing in particular, neithersank blissfully into a dim warm tide, the butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he waspaper-carrier went by whistling, and nimble in the calling of selling houses forthe rolled-up Advocate thumped the front more than people could afford to pay. door. Babbitt roused, his stomach con- His large head was pink, his brown hairstricted with alarm. As he relaxed, he was thin and dry. His face was babyish inpierced by the familiar and irritating rattle slumber, despite his wrinkles and the redof some one cranking a Ford: snap-ah-ah, spectacle-dents on the slopes of his nose.snap-ah-ah, snap-ah-ah. Himself a pious He was not fat but he was exceedingly wellmotorist, Babbitt cranked with the unseen fed; his cheeks were pads, and the un-driver, with him waited through taut hours for the roar of the starting engine, with him agonized as the roar ceased and again 2. New York Flyer: name of a famous express train. began the infernal patient snap-ah-ah 3. Associated Press: American news agency which gathers and distributes news for newspapers and a round, flat sound, a shivering cold- radio and television stations. morning sound, a sound infuriating and

171 173 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE inescapable. Not till the rising voice of thehad been a boy very credulous of life was motor told him that the Ford was movingno longer greatly interested in the possible was he released from the panting tension.and improbable adventures of each new He glanced once at his favorite tree, elm clay. twigs against the gold patina of sky, and He escaped from reality till the alarm- fumbled for sleep as for a drug. He whoclock rang, at seven-twenty.

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS feel that you will like him? Why or why not? 3. What is the significance of his dream? 1. How does the author create the feeling of the 4. What descriptive passages place the time of first stirrings of a city in the early morning? the setting in 1920? 2. From this first contact with Babbitt, what kind 5. Does this first selection hold your interest of person do you imagine him to be? Do you and make you want to read on? Explain.

SELECTION II of the prohibition-era' and the cigars to which that beer enticed him; it may have from Babbitt, Chapter 1 (continued) been resentment of return from this fine, bold man-world to a restricted region of III wives and stenographers, and of sugges- tions not to smoke so much. It was the best of nationally advertised From the bedroom beside the sleeping- and quantitatively produced alarm-clocks,porch, his wife's detestably cheerful "Time with all modern attachments, includingto get up, Georgie boy," and the itchy cathedral chime, intermittent alarm, and asound, the brisk and scratchy sound, of phosphorescent dial. Babbitt was proud ofcombing hairs out of a stiff brush. being awakened by such a rich device. So- He grunted; he dragged his thick legs cially it was almost as creditable as buyingin faded baby-blue pajamas, from under expensive cord tires. the khaki blanket; he sat on the edge of the He sulkily admitted now that therewas cot, running his fingers through his wild no moreescape, but he lay and detestedhair, while his plump feet mechanically felt the grind of the real-estate business, andfor his slippers. He looked regretfully at disliked his family, and disliked himself for disliking them. The evening before, he 1. prohibition-era: the years from 1920 to 1933, when the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitu- had played poker at Vergil Gunch's till tion forbade the manufacture, sale, import and midnight, and after such holidays he was export of alcoholic drinks. During this time many people made beer, wine, and stronger drinks ille- irritable before breakfasts. It may have gally in their homes. The 21st Amendment ended been the tremendous home-brewed beer the Prohibition period.

174172 SINCLAIR LEWIS

the blanketforever a suggestion to himagain! 'Stead of sticking to Lilido1,2 like of freedom and heroism. He had bought itI've re-peat-ed-ly asked her, she's gone for a camping trip which had never comeand gotten some confounded stinkum3 off.It symbolized gorgeous loafing,stuff that makes you sick!" gorgeous cursing, virile flannel shirts. The bath-mat was wrinkled and the He creaked to his feet, groaning at thefloor was wet. (His daughter Verona ec- waves of pain which passed behind hiscentrically took baths in the morning, now eyeballs. Though he waited for theirand then.) He slipped on the mat, and slid scorching recurrence, he looked blurrilyagainst the tub. he said "Damn!" Furiously out at the.yarcl. It delighted him, as always; he snatched up his tube of shaving-cream, it was the neat yard of a successful businessfuriously he lathered, with a belligerent man of Zenith, that is,it was perfection,slapping of the unctuous brush, furiously and made him also perfect. He regardedhe raked his plump cheeks with a safety- the corrugated iron garage. For therazor. It pulled. The blade was dull. He three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth time in asaid, "Damnohohdamn it!" year he reflected, "No class to that tin He hunted through the medicine- shack. Have to build me a frame garage.cabinet for a packet of new razor-blades But by golly it's the only thing on the place(reflecting, as invariably, "Be cheaper to that isn't up-to-date!" While he stared hebuy one of these dinguses4 and strop your thought of a community garage for hisown blades,") and when he discovered the acreage development, Glen Oriole. Hepacket, behind the round box of bicarbon- stopped puffing and jiggling. His armsate of soda, he thought ill of his wife for were akimbo. His petulant, sleep-swollenputting it there and very well of himself face was set in harder lines. He suddenlyfor not saying, "Damn." But he did say it, seemed capable, an official, a man to con-immediately afterward, when with wet and trive, to direct, to get things done. soap-slippery fingers he tried to remove On the vigor of his idea he was carriedthe horrible little envelope and crisp cling- down the hard, clean, unused-looking halling oiled paper from the new blade. into the bathroom. Then there was the problem, oft- Though the house was not large it had,pondered, never solved, of what to do with like all houses on Floral Heights, an al-the old blade, which might imperil the together royal bathroom of porcelain andfingers of his young. As usual, he tossed glazed tile and metal sleek as silver. Theit on top of the medicine-cabinet, with a towel-rack was a rod of clear glass set inmental note that some day he must remove nickel. The tub was long enough for athe fifty or sixty other blades that were Prussian Guard, and above the set bowlalso temporarily, piled up there. He fin- was a sensational exhibit of tooth-brushished his shaving in a growing testiness holder, shaving-brush holder, soap-dish,increased by his spinning headache and sponge-dish, and medicine-cabinet, so glit- tering and so ingenious that they resem- bled an electrical instrument-board. But 2. Lilidol: brand name, invented by Lewis, for a vari- ety of toothpaste. the Babbitt whose god was Modern Ap- 3. stinkum: slang word formed from "stink" (to emit pliances was not pleased. The air of the a strong, offensive odor) and the suffix "-urn" (used here in place of "-ing"). bathroom was thick with the smell of a 4. dingus: a thing whose proper name is unknown or heathen toothpaste. "Verona been at it momentarily forgotten.

173 175 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE by the in his stomach. When heone of 'em, and they use 'em and get 'em was clone, his round face smooth andall wet and sopping, and never put out a streamy and his eyes stinging from soapydry one for meof course, I'm the goat! water, he reached for a towel. The familyand then I want one and I'm the only towels were wet, wet and clammy and vile,person in the doggone house that's got the all of them wet, he found, as he blindlyslightest doggone bit of consideration for snatched themhis own face-towel, hisother people and thoughtfulness and con- wife's, Verona's, Ted's, Tinka's and thesider there may be others that may want lone bath-towel with the huge welt of ini-to use the doggone bathroom after me and tial. Then George F. Babbitt did a dismay-consider" ing thing. He wiped his face on the guest- He was pitching the chill abominations towel! It was a pansy-embroidered trifle into the bath-tub, pleased by the vindic- which always hung there to indicate thattiveness of that desolate flapping sound; the Babbitts were in the best Floral Heightsand in the midst his wife serenely trotted society. No one had ever used it. No guestin, observed serenely, "Why Georgie dear, had ever dared to. Guests secretively tookwhat are you doing? Are you going to wash a corner of the nearest regular towel. out the towels? Why, you needn't wash out He was raging, "By golly, here they gothe towels. Oh, Georgie, you didn't go and and use up all the towels, every doggone5 use the guest towel, did you?" It is not recorded that he was able to answer. 5. doggone: slang word expressing mild frustration For the first time in weeks he was suffi- or irritation; euphemism for damned. ciently roused by his wife to look at her.

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS wife? What is the implication of the last line of the selection? 1. Why do you think the author describes 5. Have you known any "Babbitts" in your life? Babbitt's morning ritual in such detail? If so, compare them to Lewis' fictional creation. 2. What opinion did you form of Babbitt after6. Why is Babbitt a successful businessman? observing him in this ritual? 7. How do Lewis and Dreiser differ most as 3. From what you have seen thus far, what do writers? you conclude are the important things in life for 8.Is there a writer in your national literature George Babbitt? whom you would compare with Sinclair Lewis? 4. What impression do you get of Babbitt's In what specific ways?

174i CHAPTER XXV

HENRY L. MENCKEN

H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956) enceof immigrant languages on the American idiom. Every third American devotes himself to In the 20's Mencken emerged as the improving and uplifting his fellow-citizens, busiest opponent of the forces which Sin- usually by force. clair Lewis satirized. With a caustic pen he from his Prejudices: First Series derided the smugness of the middle-class businessman, the narrowness of American Bachelors know more about women than married men. If they didn't they'd be married, cultural life, and the harshness of Ameri- too. can Puritanism. He made war on all these, from his Chrestomathy 621 though unlike Lewis's, his attack was devas- tatingly direct, with invective as a substitute A celebrity is one who is known to many for caricature and with no trace of oblique- persons he is glad he doesn't know. ness or subtlety. from his Chrestomathy 617 , which he edited, wasthe most influential magazine of its Consciencethe accumulate sediment of time. What he wanted to do in its pageswas, ancestral faint-heartedness. as he once put it, "to stir up the animals." quoted in Smart Set Dec. 1921 He wanted to arouse his antagonists, and he The most costly of all follies is to believe usually succeeded. Hewasone of the most passionately in the palpably not true. It is the detested, as well as one of the most re- chief occupation of mankind. spected, men in America. In his own writ- from his Chrestomathy 616 ing, even more than in his editing, he showed that nothingwassacred to him. No advocate of democracy, he called the American people a "timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs." A central figure in American intellectualAnd with him "mob" had none of the affec- life during the 1920s was Henry L. Men-tion with which Sandburg invested the cken (1880-1956). His monumental butterm. He was just as much of an iconoclast highly entertaining study, The Americanin his attack on the churches, on business, Language, which appeared in 1919 (fourthand on government. edition, 1936, with supplementary volumes What made him read widely by Ameri- in 1945 and 1948), is still an outstandingcanswasnot that he attacked them but that work of philological scholarship, althoughhe did so with such verve and gusto. He had Mencken always insisted that he was not aa rollicking, rambunctious style of writing scholar but "one who pointed out theand his piling on of languagewas so ex- quarry for scholars to bag." The book con-travagantthat even his sarcasms became trasted with Britishpalatable. He meant what he said, but he English, explained the origin of many col-said it with wit. orful American slang expressions, ex- As an old-fashioned liberal, he believed amined uniquely American geographicalin as much freedom for the individual as and personal names, and traced the influ-possible and in correspondingly limited

175 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

government. He believed that the worstsentence. Although his style may be dif- threat to freedom in the 20s was from theficult occasionally, he was perhaps the best, country's religious zealots. He fought theircertainly the liveliest, essayist of his era. attempts to censor literature and drama, and denied their right to tell him or anyone SELECTION I else what to read or see. He also resisted their efforts to tell him how to behave In Memorian: W.J.B. especially what to drink. When liquor was prohibited in America for thirteen years by Has it been duly marked by historians the efforts of teetotalers, largely membersthat William Jennings Bryan's last secular of fundamentalist religious sects, Menckenact on this globe of sin was to catch flies? A bitterly opposed the law for every one ofcurious detail, and not without its sardonic those years until Prohibition was repealed.overtones. He was the most sedulous fly- The leading champion of the forces hecatcher in American history, and in many fought against was a prairie orator and re-ways the most successful. His quarry, of ligious fundamentalist named Williamcourse, was not Musca doinestica' but Honto Jennings Bryan. We can see how influentialneandertabnsis2. For forty years he tracked it Bryan was from the fact that the Democr-with coo and bellow,' up and down the rus- atic Party three times nominated him fortic backways of the Republic. Wherever the the Presidency of the United States. In theflambeaux of Chautauqua' smoked and 1920s he was an old but still powerful man,guttered, and the bilge of idealism ran in a symbol of conservatism in religion andthe veins, and Baptist pastors damned the thought. brooks with the sanctified,5 and men In 1925 the state of Tennessee passed agathered who were weary and heavy laden, law that prohibited the teaching of theand their wives who were full of Peruna6 Darwinian theory of evolution in itsand as fecund as the shad (Alosa sapidissima), schools. A young teacher named Scopes de- there the indefatigable Jennings set up his fied the law, was arrested and tried. Thetraps and spread his bait. He knew every trial in Dayton, Tennessee, in some wayscountry town in the South and West, and he resembled a circus. But it was serious, too,could crowd the most remote of them to for here the forces led by Mencken met thesuffocation by simply winding his horn. forces of Bryanism. Mencken reported onThe city proletariat, transiently flustered the trial for his newspapers, with his mostby him in 1896, quickly penetrated his memorable article coming at the end.

When the trial was doneand Scopes 1.Musca domestica:the common fly. convictedBryan suddenly died. Mencken 2.Homo neandertalensis:Neanderthal man, predeces- wrote his epitaph in a brilliant, biting news- sor of modern man, who first appeared about 75,000 years ago. paper report which he soon turned into an 3. with coo and bellow: softly and loudly. essay. It is reprinted here, both for what it 4. Chautauqua: an adult education movement or- ganized in 1874 in Chautauqua. New York. It says and how it says it. This essay is combined religious instruction with entertain- Mencken's criticism not only of the dead ment and lectures in the arts and humanities. 5. damned the brooks with the sanctified: literally, Bryan but ofall he stood for. It is sometimes filled the streams with people being baptized, hard to follow because of Mencken's trick from the practice of baptizing new converts to the faith by immersing them completely in water. of using odd or unexpected words for sur- 6. Peruna: a patent medicine popular in the late 19th prise or comic effect in an otherwise normal and early 20th centuries. 178176 HENRY L. MENCKEN buncombe' and would have no more ofvictuals of the farmhouse kitchen. He liked him; the cockney gallery8 jeered him atcountry lawyers, country pastors, all coun- every Democratic national convention fortry people. He liked country sounds and twenty-five years. But out where the grasscountry smells. grows high, and the horned cattle dream I believe that this liking was sincere away the lazy afternoons, and men still fearperhaps the only sincere thing in the the powers and principalities of theman. His nose.showed no uneasiness when airout there between the corn-rows hea hillman in faded overalls and hickory held his old puissance to the end. There wasshirt accosted him on the street, and be- no need of beaters to drive in his game. Thesought him for light upon some mystery of news that he was coming was enough. ForHoly Writ.'3 The simian gabble of the miles the flivver9 dust would choke thecrossroads was not gabble to him, but wis- roads. And when he rose at the end of thedom of an occult and superior sort. In the day to discharge his Message there wouldpresence of city folks he was palpably un- be such breathless attention, such a rapteasy. Their clothes, I suspect, annoyed him, and enchanted ecstasy, such a sweet rustleand he was suspicious of their too delicate of amens as the world had not known sincemanners. He knew all the while that they Johann fell to Herod's ax.'° were laughing at himif not at his baroque There was something peculiarly fitting intheology, then at least at his alpaca panta- the fact that his last days were spent in aloons. But the yokels never laughed at him. one-horse" Tennessee village, beating offTo them he was not the huntsman but the the flies and gnats, and that death foundprophet, and toward the end, as he grad- him there. The man felt at home in suchually forsook mundane politics for more simple and Christian scenes. He liked peo-ghostly concerns, they began to elevate him ple who sweated freely, and were not de-in their hierarchy. When he died he was the bauched by the refinements of the toilet.peer of Abraham. His old enemy, Wilson,'4 Making his progress up and down the Mainaspiring to the same white and shining street of little Dayton, surrounded byrobe, came down with a thump. But Bryan gaping primates from the upland valleys ofmade the grade. His place in Tennessee the Cumberland Range,'2 his coat laid aside,hagiography is secure. If the village barber his bare arms and hairy chest shining dam-saved any of his hair, then it is curing gall- ply, his bald head sprawled with dustsostones down there today. accoutred and on display, he was obviously But what label will he bear in more ur- happy. He liked getting up early in thebane regions? One, I fear, of a far less flat- morning, to the tune of cocks crowing ontering kind. Bryan lived too long, and de- the dunghill. He liked the heavy, greasyscended too deeply into the mud, to be taken seriously hereafter by fully literate men, even of the kind who write school- 7. buncombe: nonsense; insincere talk. books. There was a scattering of sweet 8. cockney gallery: city people. 9. flivver: a small, cheap car, especially the early words in his funeral notices, but it was no model Fords. more than a response to conventional sen- 10. Johann fell to Herod's ax: John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee. 11. one-horse: insignificant, because unable to sup- port or use more than one horse. 13. Holy Writ: the Bible. 12. Cumberland Range: a branch of the Appalachian 14. Wilson: , 28th President of the Mountains in Tennessee and Kentucky. U.S., from 1913 to 1921.

177 179 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE timentality. The best verdict the mostor when he seized their banner and began romantic editorial writer could dredge up,to lead them with loud whoops? Was he save in the humorless South, was to thesincere when he bellowed against war, or general effect that his imbecilities were ex-when he dreamed of himself as a tin-soldier cused by his earnestnessthat under hisin uniform, with a grave reserved at clowning, as under that of the juggler ofArlington'8 among the generals? Was he Notre Dame,ls there was the zeal of a stead-sincere when he fawned over Champ fast soul. But this was apology, not praise;Clark)9 or when he betrayed Clark? Was he precisely the same thing might be said ofsincere .when he pleaded for tolerance in Mary Baker G. Eddy." The truth is thatNew York, or when he bawled for the fag- even Bryan's sincerity will probably yield togot and the stake in Tennessee? what is called, in other fields, definitive criticism. Was he sincere when he opposed imperialism in the Philippines, or when he fed it with deserving Democrats in Santo the prohibition of the manufacture, sale, import and export of alcoholic drinks in the U.S. Domingo? Was he sincere when he tried to 18. Arlington: Arlington National in Vir- shove the Prohibitionists" under the table, ginia across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., where many famous American military leaders are buried. 15. juggler of Notre Dame: Quasimodo, the hunch- 19. Champ Clark: American legislator and leader of back bell ringer of the Cathedral of Notre Dame the Democratic party in the House of Representa- in 's novel, Noire DameofParis. tives who was the leading candidate for the Demo- 16. Mary Baker G. Eddy: formulator of the principles cratic nomination for President in 1912; however, of Christian Science and founder of the church William Jennings Bryan shifted his support to based on those principles. Woodrow Wilson, who won the nomination and 17. Prohibitionists: those who favored and supported the election.

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS does Mencken feel about them? 3.What can be said in Bryan's defense? 1. What was the last thing, according to4. What does Mencken mean when he says: Mencken. that Bryan did before he died? When he died he was the peer of Abraham"? What sort of flies was he catching? 5. Howwould you describe Bryan as pictured 2. What sort of people did Bryan like? Howby Mencken?

SELECTION II degraded by such uses. He was, in fact a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany without In Memoriam: W.J.B. (Concluded) sense or dignity. His career brought him This talk of sincerity, I confess, fatiguesinto contact with the first men of his time; me. If the fellow was sincere, then so was P.he preferred the company of rustic ig- T. Barnum) The word is disgraced andnoramuses. It was hard to believe, watching him at Dayton, that he had traveled, that he had been received in civilized societies, that I.P.T. Barnum: American showman and promoter (1810-1891) who was known for' extravagant and he had been a high offiCer of state. He exaggerated advertising. seemed only a poor clod like those around

178 180 HENRY L. MENCKEN

him, deluded by a childish theology, full ofhook, he writhed and tossed in a very fury an almost pathological hatred of all learn-of malignancy, bawling against the veriest ing, all human dignity, all beauty, all fineelements of sense and decency like a man and noble things. He was a peasant comefranticwhen he came to that tragic climax home to the barnyard. Imagine a gentle-of his striving there were snickers among man, and you have imagined everythingthe hinds as well as hosannas. that he was not. What animated him from Upon that hook, in truth, Bryan commit- end to end of his grotesque career was sim-ted suicide, as a legend as well as in the ply ambitionthe ambition of a commonbody. He staggered from the rustic court man to get his hand upon the collar of hisready to die, and he staggered fi-om it ready superiors, or, failing that, to get his thumbto be forgotten, save as a character in a into their eyes. He was born with a roaringthird-rate farce, witless and in poor taste. It voice, and it had the trick of inflamingwas plain to everyone who knew him, when half-wits. His whole career was devoted tohe came to Dayton, that his great clays were raising those half-wits against their betters,behind himthat, for all the fury of his that he himself might shine. hatred, he was now definitely an old man, His last battle will be grossly misunder-and headed at last for silence. There was a stood if it is thought of as a mere excercisevague, unpleasant manginess about his ap- in fanaticismthat is, if Bryan the Fun-pearance; he somehow seemed dirty, damentalist' Pope is mistaken for onethough a close glance showed him as care- of the bucolic Fundamentalists. There wasfully shaven as an actor, and clad in im- much more in it than that, as everyonemaculate linen. All the hair was gone from knows who saw him on the field. Whatthe dome of his head, and it had begun to moved him, at bottom, was simply hatred offall out, too, behind his ears, in the obscene the city men who had laughed at him somanner of Samuel Gompers.4 The reso- long, and brought him at last to so tatter-nance had departed from his voice; what demalion an estate. He lusted for revengewas once a bugle blast had become reedy upon them. He yearned to lead the an-and quavering. Who knows that, like thropoid rabble against them, to punishDemosthenes,' he had a lisp? In the old them for their execution upon him by at-clays, under the magic of his eloquence, no tacking the very vitals of their civilization.one noticed it. But when he spoke at Dayton He went far beyond the bounds of anyit was always audible. merely religious frenzy, however inordi- When Ifirst encountered him, on the nate. When he began denouncing the no-sidewalk in front of the office of the rustic tion that man is a mammal even some of thelawyers who were his associates in the hinds at Dayton were agape. And when, Scopes case, the trial was yet to begin, and brought upon .Clarence Darrow's' cruelso he was still expansive and amiable. I had printed in the Nation, a week or so before, an article arguing that the Tennessee anti- 2. Fundamentalist: a believer in or member of a re- ligious movement arising among conservative members of various Protestant denominations early in the 20th century. Fundamentalists believe in the infallibility and literal correctness of the 4. Samuel Gompers: American labor leader Bible. (1850-1924) and a founder and first president of 3. Clarence Darrow: American lawyer (1857-1938) the American Federation of Labor. who defended Scopes in the 1925 Tennessee evolu- 5. Demosthenes: Greek lawyer and orator (384?-322 tion trial and who opposed the beliefs of Bryan. B.C.) who supposedly had a speech defect.

179 181 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

evolution law, whatever its wisdom, was atcome backto Dayton, and he had read least constitutionalthat the yahoos6 of thethem. It was like coming under fire. State had a clear right to have their progeny Thus he fought his last fight, thirsting taught whatever they chose, and kept se- savagely for blood. All sense departed from cure from whatever knowledge violatedhim. He bit right and left, like a dog with their superstitions. The old boy professedrabies. He descended to demagogy so to be delighted with the argument, anddreadful that his very associates at the trial gave the gaping bystanders to understand table blushed. His one yearning was to keep that I was a publicist of parts. Not to behis yokels heated upto lead his forlorn outdone, I admired the preposterous coun-mob of imbeciles against the foe. That foe, try shirt that he woresleeveless and withalas, refused to be alarmed. It insisted upon the neck cut very low. We parted in theseeing the whole battle as a comedy. Even manner of two ambassadors. Darrow, who knew better, occasionally But that Ivas the last touch of amiabilityyielded to the prevailing spirit. One day he that I was destined to see in Bryan. Thelured poor Bryan into the folly I have men- next day the battle joined and his face be-tioned: his astounding argument against came hard. By the end of the week he wasthe notion that man is a mammal. I am simply a walking fever. Hour by hour heglad I heard it, for otherwise I'd never be- grew more bitter. What the Christian Scien-lieve it. There stood the man who had been tists call malicious animal magnetismthrice a candidate for the Presidency of the seemed to radiate from him like heat from aRepublicthere he stood in the glare of stove. From my place in the courtroom,the world, uttering stuff that a boy of eight standing upon a table, I looked directlywould laugh at. The artful Darrow led him down upon him, sweating horribly andon: he repeated it, ranted for it, bellowed it pumping his palm-leaf fan. His eyes fasci-in his cracked voice. So he was prepared for nated me; I watched them all day long.the final slaughter. He came into life a hero, They were blazing points of hatred. Theya Galahad' in bright and shining armor. He glittered like occult and sinister gems. Nowwas passing out a poor mountebank. and then they wandered to me, and I got my share, for my reports of the trial had7. Galahad: a hero of the King Arthur legend of medieval , the noblest and purest of the knights of Christendom according to the 6. yahoo: in the U.S., an uncouth country fellow. legend.

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS his sincerity? Does Mencken in fact give Bryan credit for being sincere? 4. Summarizewhat you believe to be 1. According to Mencken, what was the driving Mencken's major criticism of Bryan. force in Bryan? 5. How does Mencken's vocabulary differ from 2. How does Mencken's description of Bryanthat of Sinclair Lewis? make us dislike him? Do you think this form of6. How would you describe Mencken's style of criticism is the most effective? writing? Does it appeal to you? Explain why or 3. Can faults in a public figure be excused by why not.

180 182 CHAPTER XXVI

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, but the Middle West was not the setting for any of his major works. After he entered New Jersey's socially prestigious Princeton Uni- versity he tried to eradicate his origins, though he was unhappy at college in many ways and felt keenly his inferiority to such classmates as the brilliant literary critic, , and to all those others who were born rich and born Easterners. When the United States entered World War I, he enlisted in the Army, and in a training camp in Alabama met Zelda, the Southern belle who became his wife and who was the model for most of the beauti- ful, gay heroines of his fiction. He became F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1896-1940) a writer in order to earn enough money to marry her, and his life with her furnished ..This is what I think now: that the natural his greatest happiness as well as his state of the sentient adult is a qualified greatest misery and pain. unhappiness. I think also that in an adult the His first novel, This Side of Paradise, was desire to be finer in grain than you are, 'a published in 1920, the same year as Sin- constant striving' (as those people say who clair Lewis's Main Street, but the two novels gain their bread by saying it) only adds to this reflect two completely different worlds. unhappiness in the endthat end that comes Fitzgerald's concerns the world of youth, to our youth and hope. My own happiness in excited though somewhat cynical, and the the past often approached such ecstasy that I parties and love affairs of the rich and could not share it even with the person the would-be rich; Lewis' deals with solid dearest to me but had to walk it away in quiet streets and lanes with only fragments of it to middle-class citizens of Minnesota, where distill into little lines in booksand I think that both writers were born not too many miles my happiness, or talent for self-delusion or apart. Fitzgerald was the spokesman for what you will, was an exception. It was not the youth; he sensed the romantic yearnings natural thing but the unnatural... of the time, and the yearnings of the Age, and he put them into his fiction. By from an autobiographical sketch written in comparison, Lewis' young heroine seems April 1936 for Esquire magazine. The old-fashioned, stodgy and idealistic, not at sketches appeared in more permanent form all the "new" woman. in Edmund Wilson's posthumous collection Fitzgerald's best novel, The Great Gats- of Fitzgerald prose, called The Crack-Up by, was published in 1925. By then Fitz- (1945). gerald was himself rich, though his ear- nings could never keep pace with his and

181 183 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Zelda's extravagance. He had attained un-blue gardens men and girls came and went deniable sucess as a writer, a serious nov-like moths among the whisperings and the elist, and prolific producer of pot-boilerschampagne and the stars. At high tide in short stories for slick magazines. He alsothe afternoon I watched his guests diving knew that between the peaks of joy werefrom the tower of his raft, or taking the periods of sorrow; and as the decade wentsun on the hot sand of his beach while his on, the high points became fewer, the sor-two motor-boats slit the waters of the row truly terrible. reflectsSound,' drawing aquaplanes over cataracts Fitzgerald's deeper knowledge, his recog-of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce2 nition that wanting to be happy does notbecame an omnibus, bearing parties to and insure one's being so and that pursuit offrom the city between nine in the morning entertainment may only cover a lot of pain.and long past midnight, while his station The parts of Chapter 3 reprinted belowwagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to describe one of Gatsby's fabulous parties atmeet all trains. And on Mondays eight ser- his expensive, rented estate outside of Newvants, including an extra gardener, toiled York. The person telling the story, Nick allday with mops and scrubbing- Carraway, is Fitzgerald's spokesman forbrushes and hammers and garden-shears, decent, rational men. Gatsby, with his vastrepairing the ravages of the night before. new wealth acquired by breaking the Pro- Every Friday five crates of oranges and hibition laws, represents extravagance andlemons arrived from a fruiterer in New optimism and the desperate need of theYorkevery Monday these same oranges outsider to "belong." The chapter begins and lemons left his back door in a pyramid with Carraway's description of the elabo- of pulpless halves. There was a machine in rate preparations for Gatsby's parties,the kitchen which could extract the juice of which he could watch because he lived intwo hundred oranges in half an hour if a the house next door to Gatsby. The booklittle was pressed two hundred then tells what happened at the first of thetimes by a butler's thumb. parties he attended. At least once a fortnight a corps of What distinguishes these pages is theircaterers came down with several hundred remarkable evocation of an atmospherefeet of and enough colored lights to of conflict and paradox. The partymake a Christmas tree of Gatsby's enor- is crowded and yet empty. The night ismous garden. On buffet tables, garnished beautiful but garish, the scene made of tin-with glistening hors-d'oeuvre, spiced sel. Fitzgerald's skill lies in his making abaked hams crowded against salads of har- reader experience both emotions at once, lequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys and keenly. The scene epitomizes the Jazzbewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall Age, its superficiality and tawdriness anda bar with a real brass rail was set up, and its equally powerful sweetness and charm. stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his SELECTION I From The Great Gatsby I. the Sound: Long Island Sound, a narrow finger of Chapter III the Atlantic Ocean between Long Island and the state of Connecticut on the mainland, just east of New York City. There was music from my neighbor's 2. Rolls-Royce: a very expensive and luxurious house through the summer nights. In his British automobile. 184182 F. SCOTT FITZGERALD female guests were too young to know oneher hands like Frisco,' dances out alone on from another. the canvas platform. A momentary hush; By seven o'clock the orchestra has ar-the orchestra leader varies his rhythm rived, no thin five-piece affair, but a wholeobligingly for her, and there is a burst of pitful of oboes and trombones and sax-chatter as the erroneous news goes around ophones and viols and cornets and pic-that she is Gilda Gray's understudy from colos, and low and high drums. The lastthe Follies.5 The party has begun. swimmers have come in from the beach I believe that on the first night I went to now and are dressing up-stairs; the carsGatsby's house I was one of the few guests from New York are parked five deep inwho had actually been invited. People were the drive, and already the halls and salonsnot invitedthey went there. They got and verandas are gaudy with primary col-into automobiles which bore them out to ors, and hair shorn in strange new ways,Long Island, and somehow they ended up and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile.3at Gatsby's door. Once there they were in- The bar is in full swing, and floatingtroduced by somebody who knew Gatsby, rounds of cocktails permeate the gardenand after that they conducted themselves outside, until the air is alive with chatteraccording to the rules of behavior as- and laughter, and casual innuendo and in-sociated with an amusement park. Some- troductions forgotten on the spot, and en-times they came and went without having thusiastic meetings between women whomet Gatsby at all, came for the party with a never knew each other's names. simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of The lights grow brighter as the earthadmission. lurches away from the sun, and now the I had been actually invited. A chauffeur orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music,in a uniform of robin's-egg blue cross- and the opera of voices pitches a keyed my lawn early that Saturday morning higher. Laughter is easier minute by min-with a surprisingly formal note from his ute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at aemployer: the honor would be entirely cheerful word. The groups change moreGatsby's, it said, if I would attend his "little swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolveparty" that night. He had seen me several and form in the same breath; already theretimes, and had intended to call on me long are wanderers, confident girls who weavebefore, but a peculiar combination of cir- here and there among the stouter andcumstances had prevented itsigned Jay more stable, become for a sharp, joyousGatsby, in a majestic hand. moment the center of a group, and then, Dressed up in white flannels6 I went excited with triumph, glide on through theover to his lawn a little after seven, and sea-change of faces and voices and colorwandered around rather ill at ease among Under the constantly changing light. swirls and eddies of people I didn't Suddenly one of the gypsies, in trembl-knowthough here and there was a face I ing opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and, moving 4. Frisco: short for San Francisco; here, a slang term meaning rapidly, vigorously. 5. the Follies: the Ziegfeld Follies, a musical theatri- cal revue produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, very popular in the 1920s. Gilda Gray was one of its 3. Castile: a region of Spain, once an independent famous stars. kingdom, renowned for its and embroidered 6. white : casual men's trousers of the 1920s shawls. made of flannel.

183 185 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE had noticed on the commuting train. I was "You don't know who we are," said one immediately struck by the number ofof the girls in yellow, "but we met you here young Englishmen dotted about; all wellabout a month ago." dressed, all looking a little hungry, and all "You've dyed your hair since then," re- talking in low, earnest voices to solid andmarked Jordan, and I started, but the girls prosperous Americans. I was sure thathad moved casually on and her remark they were selling something: bonds or in-was addressed to the premature moon, surance or automobiles. They were at leastproduced like the supper, no doubt, out of agonizingly aware of the easy money in thea caterer's basket. With Jordan's slender vicinity and convinced that it was theirs forgolden arm resting in mine, we descended a few words in the right key. the steps and sauntered about the garden. As soon as I arrived I made an attemptA tray of cocktails floated at us through to find my host, but the two or three peo-the twilight, and we sat down at a table ple of whom I asked his where-aboutswith the two girls in yellow and three men, stared at me in such an amazed way, andeach one introduced to us as Mr. Mumble. denied so vehemently any knowledge of "Do you come to these parties often?" his movements, that I slunk off in the di-inquired Jordan of the girl beside her. rection of the cocktail tablethe only place "The last one was the one I met you at," in the garden where a single man couldanswered the girl, in an alert confident linger without looking purposeless andvoice. She turned to her companion: alone. "Wasn't it for you, Lucille?" I was on my way to get roaring drunk It was for Lucille, too. from sheer embarrassment when Jordan "I like to come," Lucille said. "I never Baker came out of the house and stood atcare what I do, so I always have a good the head of the marble steps, leaning a lit-time. When I was here last I tore my gown tle backward and looking with contemptu-on a chair, and he asked me my name and ous interest down into the garden. addressinside of a week I got a package Welcome or not, I found it necessary tofrom Croirier's with a new evening gown attach myself to someone before I shouldin it." begin to address cordial remarks to the "Did you keep it?" asked Jordan. passers-by. "Sure I did. I was going to wear it to- "Hello!" I roared, advancing towardnight, but it was too big in the bust and had her. My voice seemed unnaturally loud ac-to be altered. It was gas blue with lavender ross the garden. beads. Two hundred and sixty-five dol- "I thought you might be here," she re-lars. sponded absently as I came up. "I remem- "There's something funny about a fel- bered you lived next door to" low that'll do a thing like that," said the She held my hand impersonally, as aother girl eagerly. "He doesn't want any promise that she'd take care of me introuble with any body ." a minute, and gave ear to two girls in twin "Who doesn't?" I inquired. yellow dresses, who stopped at the foot of "Gatsby. Somebody told me" the steps. The two girls and Jordan leaned to- "Hello!" they cried together. "Sorry yougether confidentially. didn't win." "Somebody told me they thought he kil- That was for the golf tournament. Sheled a man once." had lost in the finals the week before. 18 6 184 F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 5. The host, Gatsby, is not immediately in evi- dence. Does this fact contribute to the effect the 1. Whatisthenarrator'sattitudetoward author is trying to create? Explain your answer. Gatsby's summer parties? 6. What attitudes do the guests seem to have toward their host? 2. What are the signs of wealth at the party? 7. Fitzgerald alludes to yellow cocktail music 3. What mood is the author trying to establish? and the two anonymous girls he mentions are in 4. What kind of person do you imagine Gatsby yellow. Does this suggest to you any purpose to be? the narrator? on Fitzgerald's part?

SELECTION II who had found little that it was necessary to whisper about in this world. From The Great Gatsby The first supperthere would be another one after midnight - -was now Chapter III (continued) being served, and Jordan invited me to join her own party, who were spread A thrill passed over all of us. The threearound a table on the other side of the Mr. Mumbles bent forward and listenedgarden. There were three married couples eagerly. and Jordan's escort, a persistent under- "I don't think it's so much that," arguedgraduate given to violent innuendo, and Lucille sceptically; "it's more that he was aobviously under the impression that German spy during the war." sooner or later Jordan was going to yield him up her person to a greater or lesser One of the men nodded in confirma- degree. Instead of rambling, this party had tion. preserved a dignified homogeneity, and "I heard that from a man who knew allassumed to itself the function of represent- about him, grew up with him in Germany,"ing the staid nobility of the country-side. he assured us positively. East Egg condescending to West Egg, "Oh, no," said the first girl, "it couldn'tand carefully on guard against its spectro- be that, because he was in the Americanscopic gayety. army during the war." As our credulity "Let's get out," whispered Jordan, after switched back to her she leaned forwarda somehow wasteful and inappropriate with enthusiasm. "You look at him some- half-hour; "this is much too polite for me." times when he thinks nobody's looking at We got up, and she explained that we him. I'll bet he killed a man." were going to find the host: I had never She narrowed her eyes and shivered.met him, she said, and it was making me Lucille shivered. We all turned and looked uneasy. The undergraduate nodded in a around for Gatsby. It was testimony to thecynical, melancholy way. romantic speculation he inspired that The bar, where we glanced first, was there were whispers about him from thosecrowded, but Gatsby was not there. She

185 187 EST COPYAVM BLE HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE couldn't find him from the top of therealism! Knew when to stop, toodidn't steps, and he wasn't on the veranda. On acut the pages. But what do you want? What chance we tried an important-lookingdo you expect?" door, and walked into a high Gothic' He snatched the book from me and re- library, panelled with carved English oak,placed it hastily on its shelf, muttering that and probably transported complete from if one brick was removed the whole library some ruin overseas. was liable to collapse. A stout, middle-aged man, with enor- "Who brought you?" he demanded. "Or mous owl-eyed spectacles, was sittingdid you just come? I was brought. Most somewhat drunk on the edge of a greatpeople were brought." table, staring with unsteady concentration Jordan looked at him alertly, cheerfully, at the shelves of books. As we entered hewithout answering. wheeled excitedly around and examined "I was brought by a woman named Jordan from head to foot. Roosevelt," he continued. "Mrs. Claude "What do you think?" he demanded im-Roosevelt. Do you know her? I met her petuously. somewhere last night. I've been drunk for "About what?" about a week now, and I thought it might He waved his hand toward the book-sober me up to sit in a library." shelves. "Has it?" "About that. As a matter of fact you "A little bit, I think. I can't tell yet. I've needn't bother to ascertain. I ascertained.only been here an hour. Did Itell you They're real." about the books? They're real. They're" "The books?" "You told us." He nodded. We shook hands with him gravely and "Absolutely realhave pages and every-went back outdoors. thing. I thought they'd be a nice durable There was dancing now on the canvas in cardboard. Matter of fact, they're abso-the garden; old men pushing young girls lutely real. Pages andHere! Lemmebackward in eternal graceless circles, show you." superior couples holding each other tortu- Taking our scepticism for granted, heously, fashionably, and keeping in the rushed to the book-cases and returnedcorners--and a great number of single with Volume One of the "Stoddard Lec-girls dancing individualistically or reliev- tures." ing the orchestra for a moment of the bur- "See!" he cried triumphantly. "It's aden of the banjo or the traps.' By midnight bona-fide piece of printed matter. Itthe hilarity had increased. A celebrated fooled me. This fella's a regular Belasco.2tenor had sung in Italian, and a notorious It's a triumph. What thoroughness! Whatcontralto had sung in jazz, and between the numbers people were doing "stunts" all over the garden, while happy, vacuous I. Gothica style of architecture which originated in bursts of laughter rose toward the summer France in the 12th century, characterized by great height in the buildings, pointed arches, rib vault- sky. A pair of stage twins, who turned out ing and large window spaces. 2. BelascoDavid Belasco, 1853-1931, American theatrical producer, manager and writer, known for his minutely detailed and spectacular stage set- tings. 3. traps: percussion instruments.

186 188 F. SCOTT FITZGERALD to be the girls in yellow, did a baby actthere" I waved my hand at the invisible in costume, and champagne was served inhedge in the distance, "and this man glasses bigger than finger-bowls. TheGatsby sent over his chauffeur with an in- moon had risen higher, and floating in thevitation." Sound was a triangle of silver scales, For a moment he looked at me as if he trembling a little to the stiff, tinny drip offailed to understand. the banjoes on the lawn. "I'm Gatsby," he said suddenly. I was still with Jordan Baker. We were "What!" I exclaimed. "Oh, I beg your sitting at a table with a man of about my pardon." age and a rowdy little girl, who gave way upon the slightest provocation to uncon- "I thought you knew, old sport. I'm trollable laughter. I was enjoying myselfafraid I'm not a very good host." now. I had taken two finger-bowls of He smiled understandingly--much champagne, and the scene had changedmore than understandingly. It was one of before my eyes into something significant,those rare smiles with a quality of eternal elemental, and profound. reassurance in it, that you may come across At a lull in the entertainment the manfour or five times in life. It facedor looked at me and smiled. seemed to facethe whole external world "Your face is familiar," he said, politely.for an instant, and then concentrated on "Weren't you in the Third Division duringyou with an irresistible prejudice in your the war?" favor. It understood you just as far as you "Why, yes. I was in the ninth machine-wanted to be understood, believed in gun battalion." you as you would like to believe in your- "I was in the Seventh Infantry until Juneself, and assured you that it had precisely nineteen-eighteen. I knew I'd seen youthe impression of you that, at your best, somewhere before." you hoped to convey. Precisely at that We talked for a moment about somepoint it vanishedand I was looking at an wet, gray little villages in France. Evidently elegant young roughneck, a year or two he lived in this vicinity, for he told meover thirty, whose elaborate formality of that he had just bought a hydroplane, andspeech just missed being absurd. Some was going to try it out in the morning. time before he introduced himself I'd got a "Want to go with me, old sport? Juststrong impression that he was picking his near the shore along the Sound." words with care. "What time?" Almost at the moment when Mr. Gatsby "Any time that suits you best." identified himself, a butler hurried toward It was on the tip of my tongue to ask his him with the information that Chicago was name when Jordan looked around andcalling him on the wire. He excused him- smiled. self with a small bow that included each of "Having a gay time now?" she inquired. us in turn. "Much better." I turned again to my new "If you want anything just ask for it, old acquaintance. "This is an unusual party forsport," he urged me. "Excuse me. I will me. I haven't even seen the host. I live overrejoin you later."...

187 .18S HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. What is the role of Jordan Baker in this excerpt? 1. Why does the narrator look for Gatsby? 5. What is the significance of the scene in the I i brary? 2. What are some of the signs that the author 6. Write a short essay comparing Fitzgerald's views the party ironically? theme and style with those of a writer of your 3. What impression does Gatsby make on the national literature from the era of the 1920s or narrator? Was Gatsby what you expected him to some other particularly interesting period in be? Why or why not? your history.

190

188 CHAPTER XXVII

JOHN STEINBECK

Steinbeck (1902-1968) did not start his literary career until Lewis and Fitzgerald had reached their peak. He seemed to be from a different worldthe world of the Great Depression, the world of mass pov- erty. It was a world as far removed from that of Lewis as from that of Fitzgerald. A Californian, Steinbeck was an athlete and president of his high school class, who went to in between various jobs. He learned to know the poor, in particular the migrant farm workers, American and Mexican, and he wrote from their point of view. By the middle , when Lewis and Fitzgerald were past their writing prime, Steinbeck had authored some very popular novels. Tor- JOHN STEINBECK (1902-1968) tilla Flat was a humorous story about a Mexican-American colony in Monterey, A writer must declare and praise man's while In Dubious Battle was a serious work proven capacity for greatness of heart and about a strike by migrant farmworkers. Of spiritfor bravery in defeat, for courage, Mice and Men is a touching and perennially forgiveness, and love.I believe that a writer popular tale of two migrants and their who does not passionately believe in man's mutual dependence and shared dreams. ability to improve himself has no devotion for, Steinbeck portrayed their odd friendship nor any membership in, literature. with great sympathy and understanding, and the work has been made into an from his Grapes of Wrath equally successful play and movie. His greatest success came in 1939 with The Grapes of Wrath. This is the saga of a Man, unlike any other thing organic or family of Oklahoma farmers named Joad, inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his who are driven by drought to migrate to work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, California. There they are scornfully cal- emerges ahead of his accomplishments. led "Okies" and suffer mistreatment and exploitation. Yet somehow Ma Joad always from his Grapes of Wrath manages to hold the family together. The book leaves the reader with the feeling which Steinbeck wanted to instillthat the poor can endure by helping one another, and perhaps also that they can expect no help from anyone else. The Grapes of Wrath makes a potent ap-

189 191 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE peal to the emotions. Highly charged emo- How's the schedule? tional scenes, dramatic or pathetic, follow Oh, we're ahead! one another in rapid succession. Rarely Pull up, then. They's a ol' war horse3 in does the drama turn to melodrama or thehere that's a kick!' Good Java, too. pathos to sentimentality, though the sub- The truck pulls up. Two men in khaki ject matter invites both kinds of treatment.riding trousers, boots, short jackets, and One such scene is reprinted below. Theshiny-visoredmilitarycaps.Screen central incident is simple. A migrantdoorslam. worker, desperately poor, stops with his H'ya, Mae! two boys at a roadside lunch wagon to Well, if it ain't Big Bill the ! When'd buy a loaf of bread. The waitress doesyou get back on this run? not want to be bothered; she is waiting Week ago. on a pair of truck drivers who are bound The other man puts a nickel in the to be better customers. But she gives in,phonograph, watches the disk slip free and ends by letting each boy have a bit ofand the turntable rise up under it. Bing nickel candy for a penny. The scene isCrosby's' voicegolden. "Thanks for the understated. Each person in it is realizedmemory, of sunburn at the shoreYou as an individual human beingproudmight have been a headache, but you or humble, mean or generous, outgoing ornever were a bore" And the truck driver introvertedthough the scene is so brief.sings for Mae's ears, you might have been a Because of Steinbeck's great talent andhaddock but you never was a whore real admiration for dignity and human Mae laughs. Who's ya frien', Bill? New pride in adversity, we share his emotionson this run, ain't he? for his characters. The other puts a nickel in the slot Steinbeck arranges his effects around amachine,6 wins four slugs,' and puts them central incident. He tells us that the actionback. Walks to the counter. takes place beside a transcontinental high- Well, what's it gonna be? way, and fills out the scene with groups of Oh, cup a Java. Kinda pie ya got? staccato phrases which paint a picture for Banana cream, pineapple cream, choco- us like the brush strokes on an impres-late creaman' apple. sionistic canvas. Make it apple. Wait Kind is that big thick one? SELECTION I Mae liftsit out and sniffs it. Banana cream. The Grapes of Wrath Cut off a hunk; make it a big hunk. Man at the slot machine says, Two all Chapter 15 around.

. . .The transport truck, a driver and relief. 3. ol' war horse: slang, a rough, argumentative or How 'bout stoppin' for a cup a Java?'I coarse person. know this dump.' 4. kick: fun, exciting, stimulating (slang) 5. Bing Crosby: American singer, movie actor and comedian. 6. slot machines: a coin-operated, automatic device 1. a cup a Java: slang for a cup of coffee. for gambling, competitive games, or selling 2. dump: slang for a place that is unattractive or goods. ill-kept. 7. slugs: metal disks used as coins.

190 JOHN STEINBECK

Two it is. Seen any new etchin's8 lately,the room with a warm breeze. On the Bill? highway, on 66'2, the cars whiz by. Well, here's one. "They was a Massachusetts car stopped Now, you be careful front of a lady. a while ago," said Mae. Oh, this ain't had. Little kid comes in late Big Bill grasped his cup around the top to school. Teacher says, "Why ya late?" Kidso that the spoon stuck up between his first says,"FIL1 da take a heifer downget 'erand second fingers. He drew in a snort of bred." 'Teacher says, "Couldn't your ol' air with the coffee, to cool it. "You ought to man9 do it?" Kid says, "Sure he could, butbe out on 66. Cars from all over the coun- not as good as the bull." try. All headin' west. Never seen so many Mae squeaks with laughter, harshbefore. Sure some honeys's ." screeching laughter. Al, slicing onions "We seen a wreck this mornin'," his carefully on a board, looks up and smiles,companion said. "Big car. Big Cad'4, and then looks down again. Truck drivers,a special job and a honey, low, cream color, that's the stuff.'° Gonna leave a quarterspecial job. Hit a truck. Folded the radiator each for Mae. Fifteen cents for pie an' cof-right back into the driver. Must a been fee an' a dime for Mae. An' they ain't tryin'doin' ninety. Steerin' wheel went right on to make her," neither. through the guy an' lef him a-wigglin' like Sitting together on the stools, spoonsa frog on a hook, Peach's of a car. A sticking up out of the coffee mugs. Passinghoney. You can have her for peanuts now. the time of day. And Al, rubbing down hisDrivin' alone, the guy was." griddle, listening but making no comment. Al looked up from his work. "Hurt the Bing Crosby's voice stops. The turntabletruck?" drops down and the record swings into its "Oh, Jesus Christ! Wasn't a truck. One place in the pile. The purple light goesof them cut-down cars full a stoves an' off. The nickel, which has caused all thispans an' mattresses an' kids an' chickens. mechanism to work, has caused Crosby toGoin' west, you know. This guy come by us sing and an orchestra to playthis nickeldoin' ninetyr'ared up'6 on two wheels drops from between the contact points intojust to pass us, an' a car's comin' so he cuts the box where the profits go. This nickel,in an whangs'7 this here truck. Drove like unlike most money, has actually done a jobhe's blin' drunk.'8 Jesus, the air was full a of work, has been physically responsiblebed clothes an' chickens an' kids. Killed for a reaction. one kid. Never seen such a mess. We pul- Steam spurts from the valve of the cof-led up. 01' man that's drivin' the truck, he fee urn. The compressor of the ice machine chugs softly for a time and then stops. The electric fan in the corner waves 12. on 66: highway 66 a major east-west route across its head slowly back and forth, sweeping the U.S. 13. honey: something pleasing, attractive, delightful. 14. Cad: a Cadillac, a large, expensive American au- tomobile; symbol of wealth. 15. peach: something very attractive; similar to 8. etchin's: etchings, pictures engraved with wood "honey." or metal plates; used here as slang for pictures or 16. r'ared up: slang, reared up; to rise up on the jokes. hind legs, as a horse. 9. ol' man: old man, slang for father. 17. whang: slang, to hit, strike violently.' 10. that's the stuff: slang expression of approval. 18. blin' drunk: blind drunk, intoxicated to the point 11. to make her: to seduce her. of not being able to see clearly.

191 193 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE jus' stan's there lookin' at that dead kid.Mae. "Come here for gas sometimes, but Can't get a word out of 'im. Jus'they don't hardly never buy nothin' else. rum-dumb.'9 God Almighty; the road isPeople says they steal. We ain't got nothin' full a them families goin' west. Never seenlayin' around. They never stole nothin' so many. Gets worse all a time. Wonderfrom us." where the hell they all come from?" Big Bill, munching his pie, looked up "Wonder where they all go to," saidthe road through the screened window. "Better tie your stuff down. I think you got 19. rum-dumb: slang, not saying a word some of 'em comin' now."

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 5. What feeling does Stein beck want the reader to have toward the truck drivers? 1. Why does Steinbeck leave out some ex-6. How does the author create an atmosphere planatory material? Why does he make use ofof camaraderie in the restaurant scene? incomplete sentences? 2. What kind of person is Mae? Al? What device7. What is the attitude of the truck drivers and does Steinbeck use to portray these characters? Mae toward the families traveling west? 3.Is this wayside restaurant (diner) similar to8. There are a number of examples of sub- any place where you have eaten? standard English in the speech of the different 4. What is the author's purpose in describingcharacters. Make a list of 8-10 samples and the automobile wreck? then give the correct grammatical form.

SELECTION II The car pulled up to the gas pumps. A dark-haired, hatchet-faced man got slowly The Grapes of Wrath out. And the two boys slid down from the load and hit the ground. Chapter 15 (continued) Mae walked around the counter and stood in the door. The man was dressed in A 1926 Nash' sedan pulled wearily offgray wool trousers and a blue shirt, dark the highway. The back seat was piledblue with sweat on the back and under the nearly to the ceiling with sacks, with potsarms. The boys in overalls and nothing and pans, and on the very top, right upelse, ragged patched overalls. Their hair against the ceiling, two boys rode. On thewas light, and it stood up evenly all over top of the car, a mattress and a folded tent;their heads, for it had been roached.2 tent poles tied along the running board.Their faces were streaked with dust. They

1. Nash: an American-made automobile. 2. roached: trimmed and brushed upward.

194 192 JOHN STEINBECK

went directly to the mud puddle under theAnd he looked sullenly down at the potato hose and dug their toes into the mud. salad he was mixing. The man asked, "Can we git some water, Mae shrugged her plump shoulders and ma'am?" looked to the truck drivers to show them A look of annoyance crossed Mae's face.what she was up against. "Sure, go ahead." She said softly over her She held the screen door open and the shoulder, "I'll keep my eye on the hose."man came in, bringing a smell of sweat She watched while the man slowly un-with him. The boys edged in behind him screwed the radiator cap and ran the hoseand they went immediately to the candy in. case and stared innot with craving or A woman in the car, a flaxen-hairedwith hope or even with desire, but with a woman, said, "See if you can't git it here." kind of wonder that such things could be. The man turned off the hose andThey were alike in size and their faces screwed on the cap again. The little boyswere alike. One scratched his dusty ankle took the hose from him and they upendedwith the toe nails of his other foot. The it and drank thirstily. The man took off hisother whispered some soft message and dark, stained hat and stood with a curiousthen they straightened their arms so that humility in front of the screen. "Could youtheir clenched fists in the overall pockets see your way to sell us a loaf of bread,showed through the thin blue cloth. ma'am?" Mae opened a drawer and took out a Mae said, "This ain't a grocery store. Welong waxpaperwrappered loaf. "This here got bread to make san'widges." is a fifteen-cent loaf." "I know, ma'am." His humility was in- The man put his hat back on his head. He sistent. "We need bread and there ain'tanswered with inflexible humility, "Won't nothin' for quite a piece,3 they say." youcan't you see your way to cut off ten " 'F we sell bread we gonna run out."cents' worth?" Mae's tone was faltering. Al said snarlingly, "Goddamn it, Mae. "We're hungry," the man said. Give 'em the loaf." "Whyn't you buy a san'widge? We got The man turned toward Al. "No, we nice san'widges, hamburgs." want to buy ten cents' worth of it. We got it "We'd sure admire to do that, ma'am.figgereds awful close, mister, to get to But we can't. We got to make a dime do allCalifornia." of us." And he said embarrassedly, "We Mae said resignedly, "You can have this ain't got but a little." for ten cents." Mae said, "You can't get no loaf a bread "That's be robbin' you, ma'am." for a dime. We only got fifteen-cent loafs." "Go aheadAl says to take it." She From behind her Al growled, "God Al-pushed the waxpapered loaf across the mighty, Mae, give 'em bread." counter. The man took a deep leather "We'll run out 'fore the bread truckpouch from his rear pocket, untied the comes." strings, and spread it open. It was heavy "Run out, then, goddamn it," said Al.with silver and with greasy bills. "May soun' funny to be so tight," he

3. for quite a piece: for some distance, for a long way. 4. we'd sure admire: colloquial for we'd like. 5. figgered: figured; calculated.

193 195 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE apologized. "We got a thousan' miles to go, The man got in and started his car, and an' we don' know if we'll make it." He dugwith a roaring motor and a cloud of blue in the pouch with a forefinger, located aoily smoke the ancient Nash climbed up on dime, and pinched in for it. When he put itthe highway and went on its way to the down on the counter he had a penny withwest. it. He was about to drop the penny back From inside the restaurant the truck into the pouch when his eye fell on thedrivers and Mae and Al stared after them. boys frozen before the candy counter. He Big Bill wheeled back. "Them wasn't moved slowly down to them. He pointed intwo-for-a-cent candy," he said. the case at big long sticks of striped pep- "What's that to you?" Mae said fiercely. permint. "Is them penny candy, ma'am?" Mae moved down and looked in. "Which "Them was nickel apiece candy," said ones?" Bill. "There, them stripy ones." "We got to get goin'," said the other The little boys raised their eyes to herman. "We're dropping time." They face and they stopped breathing; theirreached in their pockets. Bill put a coin on mouths were partly opened, their half-the counter and the other man looked at it naked bodies were rigid. and reached again and put down a coin. "Ohthem. Well, nothem's two for aThey swung around and walked to the penny." door. "Well, gimme two then, ma'am." He "So long," said Bill. placed the copper cent carefully on the Mae called, "Hey! Wait a minute. You counter. The boys expelled their heldgot change." breath softly. Mae held the big sticks out. "You go to hell," said Bill, and the screen "Take 'em," said the man. door slammed. They reached timidly, each took a stick, and they held them down at their sides and Mae watched them get into the great did not look at them. But they looked attruck, watched it lumber off in low gear, each other, and their mouth cornersand heard the shift up the whining gears smiled rigidly with embarrassment. to cruising ratio. "Al" she said softly. "Thank you, ma'am." The man picked He looked up from the hamburger he up the bread and went out the door, andwas patting thin and stacking between the little boys marched stiffly behindwaxed papers. "What ya want?" him, the red-striped sticks held tightly "Look there." She pointed at the coins against their legs. They leaped like chip-beside the cups - -two half-dollars. Al munks over the front seat and onto the topwalked near and looked, and then he went of the load, and they burrowed back out ofback to his work. sight like chipmunks. "Truck drivers," Mae said reverently...

196

194 JOHN STEINBECK

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS for each? How would Sandburg have looked at this family? 1. Describe the man who wants to buy bread. 6. Can you relate instances of stereotyped at- 2. How would you characterize the two boys?titudes being changed by actual contact bet- What is the significance of the, candy scene? ween individuals? 3. What is Mae's attitude toward the man? In7. How does Steinbeck's style add to the what way does it change? Why? drama of the restaurant scene? 4. With what feelings does the end of this 8. Does this story remind you of other migra- episode leave you? Do you think better or worse tions in historyof episodes in your own na- of human nature? Explain your answer. tional history, for example? How would yob 5.Is your reaction to the family predominantly compare them to the situation described in one of pity or of admiration? What is the cause Grapes of Wrath?

195 19'7 MODERN VOICES IN PROSE AND POETRY

Although important events often reflect influence was indirect. It did not come in the themselves quickly in the literature of a form of an attack on poverty or joblessness country, the effect of World War I on American but in a new interest in collective political writing was delayed. The war promptly action. He believed in a great alliance of produced some mediocre prose and poetry, liberals to fight the battles of both peace and but distinguished workmainly in the form of war. When the began in novelsappeared only some years later. The 1936, he traveled to Spain to report on it and best came from Ernest Hemingway. He had write about it. When it was over, he published already written some very good short stories a notable novel, .It is and one first-class novel, , a containing the message that all but he did not publish a novel fully involved liberals must help one another, must act with the war till 1929. It proved worth waiting collectively, if good is to endure, but it is also for. a love story of great appeal. , the moving story of the In spite of the significance of war for him, love affair of a wounded American lieutenant Hemingway never projected a mindless and an English nurse, is outstanding among combativeness. He knew the suffering that war literary works related to World War I. could bring, a suffering invariably Hemingway had served with an ambulance compounded by the tragedies it inflicted on group in France and then transferred to the civilian life. Nowhere does he show this better Italian infantry, where he stayed till the close than in the short story, "", of the war. In this novel his two characters included inithis book. pass an idyllic Italian summer together. She William Faulkner, too, knew the dislocations becomes pregnant, and they go to as well as the injuries that war could cause. Switzerland where she has her baby. But both During World War I, he trained with the British she and the baby die, and the American is left Royal Air Force in Canada but the war ended desolate. The war plays a principal part in the before he could go overseas. Nevertheless, on book. The American has taken part in combat returning to Mississippi, where his family had and in the disastrous withdrawal of the Italian long lived, he recognized that the wounds of army after an overwhelming defeat. Because war were not only physical. He felt a sense of of his aversion to the cruelties of World War I, alienation from his Southern surroundings, Hemingway made a cult of the courage which he showed in a novel called Soldier's necessary to survive such an ordeal. Pay, published in 1926, and in a far better The onset of the Great Depression, on the one, Sartoris, published three years later. In other hand, was rapidly mirrored in American the latter work, the hero comes back home literature, especially in novels, and during the after the war but cannot settle down. He is ten years after the Depression started, much tied to his Mississippi town, yet he is now cut writing dealt with it. One of the best of these off from it. Death is the only solution for his novels was John Steinbeck's The Grapes of problem. It comes when he recklessly flies an Wrath. But the arrival of the Depression little airplane of unusual design, which crashes. affected Hemingway's attitudes. During the Still, Faulkner himself gradually felt a closer 1930s, he continued to publish novels and identification with his sorroundings. He short stories. They dealt with a variety of realized he was part of them, and could not subjects but customarily revealed his high escape them. So he wrote more and more view of courage. The brave did not always about his home, creating a Mississippi survive in his fiction but they lived their lives community modeled on his own county. In it to the fullest.It was not till the late 1930s that he put the characters he observed, using reference to the Depression crept into brilliant and complicated literary techniques Hemingway's writing and, even then, its to tell their stories. Though his characters

196 198 lived in a single Southern county, he made dealt with the incongruities of existence and this county represent a world. His appeal resorted to such devices as humor, , and became universal, as well as particular. wit to point up the multiple aspects of life. Faulkner wrote of conflicts: the conflict of Taking their cue from the Imagists1 of the generations, old and young; of economic early 20th century, American poets between classes, rich, would-be rich, and poor; of the two World Wars believed that poetry races, white and black; of men, good and should treat its subject directly, without much bad; and of the good and evil in man 'himself. moralizing or added commentary; that only His philosophy was that in the long run the words which strengthened the poem should brotherhood of man would triumph. His books be/used; and that rhythm should arise from made him world-famous and won him the longer phrases which approximated speech. Nobel Prize in 1950. They also avoided sentimentality and used a During the first part of the 20th century, the kind of understated or indirect approach, novel continued to reign as the nation's chief expecting the reader to discover the meaning literary form. Nevertheless, serious poetry for himself. continued to be written. The most widely In contrast to the poetry of the 19th century, accepted date for marking a poetic the new was both more renaissance in the United States and the intellectual and more related to real life beginning of modern American poetry is 1912, situations. Another characteristic was its the year Poetry, A Magazine of Verse was attempt to employ the most concentrated founded by Harriet Monroe and a group of expression possible by eliminating all but the subscribers. The first issue of the magazine essential images. stated its purpose: "to give to poetry her own During the early years of the 20th-century place, her own voice." From its founding poetic rebellion, an important battle was down to the present, the magazine has served fought for the recognition of free verse. For its function admirably well and has been many years, the casual reader believed that instrumental in introducing many new the new poetry" and "free verse" were American poets to the poetry-reading public. synonymous. Among the writers of such verse, A common attitude among the new poets of in the tradition of Walt Whitman, were William the interwar years was one of rebellion Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and Wallace against Victorian poetry, a rebellion which Stevens. was often manifested in their reactions against Gradually free verse won acceptance, but

Victorian philosophy. More often, however, after a period during which it was used . rather than rebelling against what the increasingly, it began to decline in popularity. Victorian poets had said, the typical new poet By 1941 many leading poets considered it reacted against how they had expressed rather old-fashioned. Nevertheless, free verse themselves. He was against the conventional had important effects, for it offered new poetic techniques of the times. insights about possible variations in verse Experimentation was common. Robert Frost forms. Even so "classical" a poet as Robert observed that "Poetry...was tried without Frost was not immune to such influences punctuation. It was tried without capital toward freedom of versification. letters. It was tried without any image but Since the start of World War Iin Europe, those to the eye.. it was tried without content Frost had been publishing small collections of under the name of poesie pure. It was tried his verse. Though the first important without phrase, epigram, coherence, logic, recognition he received came from Britain, he and consistency. It was tried without was always essentially a New England poet. ability...It was tried without feeling or He was also a farmer, writing his poetry with sentiment..." the deceptive, rustic simplicity we associate The new poets felt that life was more with country life. He wrote about building complicated than most Romantic poets had admitted, and they set about to expose its 1.Imagists: adherents of a school of poetry in conflicts and contrasting value systems. England and the U.S., which flourished from Consequently, most of these interwar poets 1909 to 1917.

197 199 fences, picking apples, gathering flowers, concessions to the critics and to the public, sowing and harvesting. He wrote about the began to attract the attention of serious universal matters of life and death, good and students of literature. She was a Southerner, evil, just as Faulkner did in his novels. The . two World Wars and the Great Depression Miss Porter grew up in Texas and lived for a between them had little effect on his verse. time in Mexico. She used both places as the National and international events left it settings for some of her rich, involved stories. unruffled. In both emotion and language, FrostShe gathered her early tales in a book called was restrained, conveying his message by Flowering Judas. Later collections of her implication. The rhythms of his poetry were works also proved to be distinguished. The regular. They were not glibly smooth, but they best of them was Pale Horse, Pale Rider. The fell easily on the ear. Though his language title story tells about a girl's love for a soldier started out by being conventionally poetic, he who dies of influenza in camp during World soon found his individual voice. His poetry War I.It is a remarkably appealing tale told in then gained a colloquial directness that a style that is elegant but with a cutting edge. allowed him to avoid the extremes of Much of the critical acclaim for this work high-sounding phrases on the one hand and resulted from Miss Porter's skillful use of banality on the other. symbols in it. For all his seeming serenity, Frost knew Some of her stories show Miss Porter's what sorrow and wickedness meant. As he interest in the tensions between two cultures, said in one lyric, he was acquainted with the in particular between the Mexican and the night. More than a handful of his poems American, and between the Negro and reflect the tragedies that darkened his the White. The short story, "Theft,"unusually personal life. As he went , he short for heris a brilliant combination of increased in wisdom. His poetic gifts never clashes. It encompasses the encounters of failed him, although he lived to be nearly races, nations, and sexes. The same talent for ninety. His final book was issued in 1962. simultaneously treating several conflicts Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Edward appears in her one long work, the novel Arlington Robinson, along with other entitled Ship of Fools. She pictures a German distinctively modern poets, had succeeded in ship going from Mexico to Europe shortly accustoming readers to verse forms that before the beginning of the Nazi regime. The embraced all types, from rhymed stanzas in individual passengers represent various regular meter to free verse. They had caught groups. Hostility and tension fill the sea air. the authentic rhythms and accents of Nearly everyone on board suffers from it. The 20th-century America. Poetry. magazine also voyage is a long one, and revealing because was furnishing a market for experimental of Miss Porter's insight into human nature. It is verse. Within this atmosphere, the poetry of a happy one for only a scattered few among such new voices as those of William Carlos the many passengers. Williams, Langston Hughes, and Archibald There is a sharp contrast between the MacLeish, was gradually accepted. This new steely, if feminine, strength of Miss Porter's group, many of whom were only a few years writing in Ship of Fools and the fluid writing of younger than the poets who had received Saul Bellow in The Adventures of Augie recognition before World War I, grew in fame March. Bellow was a Canadian boy who as the years passed. By the outbreak of World migrated with his family to the United States War II, they formed the nucleus of a goodly in 1924. He grew up in Chicago and went to number of truly excellent modern poets. college there. He gradually displayed his gift In many ways, however, the first half of the for writing prose fiction and gained critical 20th century was still an age of prose. The praise. His first two novels were conventional most notable writing continued to be fiction, and tight in structure. Dangling Man (1944) is as novelists competed for public attention. the diary of a draftee of Bellow's own age, Writers like , , waiting to be inducted into the army and and were widely acclaimed. meanwhile living in indecisive uncertainty. At And one author, writing with a minimum of times he tries to arouse himself but he always

198 200 slips back into a state of inertia. At the end he movement and the drive for a separateand welcomes being drafted because it means blackidentity, he has come to the forefront. that he will have no decisions to make. The There has been a spate of Negro novels. Their next novel, The Victim, is set in New York in general subject has been the oppression by the heat of summer. It deals with a worried the whites of a Negro minority. Their usual businessman and an acquaintance who vehicle has been the story, generally set in a fastens onto him like a leech. The black ghetto, of a Negro youth and the cruel acquaintance lives off the businessman and things that happen to him. The first notable harries him. As the novel goes along, we example, by , become less sure which man is being appeared in 1940. After World War II more victimized, and which is the victim. such novels appeared, especially in the late These first two Bellow novels showed good 1950s and 1960s. Since 1965 a significant organization, but his Augie March sprawls. number of new black poets and essayists The main connection between the many have appeared. episodes of this long book, published in 1953, is The most gifted of black novelists, James simply the central character. He is talkative, Baldwin, has not written exclusively about his goodhearted, sometimes a bit of a rascal. Thisrace, however. His alienated heroes have kind of novel is called "picaresque," after a been white, as well as black. His first novel Spanish word for "rogue." The setting is was Go Tell It on the Mountain, published in Chicago, which is pictured as a city full of 1953. It is about the members of a Harlem3 vitality. Aug ie knocks on many doors, there church and, through flash-backs, about their and elsewhere, and they usually open for him. ancestors. His second novel, Giovanni's Bellow has gone on to publish several moreRoom, is about Whites. His later fiction and novels. Taken together, they establish his rank his essays explain pungently what it means to among today's leading American novelists. be a Negro. The essays also describe the Among his more recent novels it is hard to dangers of ignoring the Negro's plight in pick out the best; each is good. However, the American culture. most noteworthy is probably , the story Talented though Baldwin is, his writing has of a neurotic, alienated college professor. In a been overshadowed by a single novel, sense, the alienated man is still Bellow's , written by Ralph Ellison and favorite hero. After all, for many years Bellow published in 1952. This is considered by saw himself as an outsider. He was a many critics to be the outstanding book of the Canadian who came to the United States. He past twenty years. The "invisible man" is the was a Midwesterner in a culture dominated by Negro. The white man simply does not see the eastern part of the country. He was a Jew him as a human being: that is Ellison's central in a gentile civilization. Like most authors, he idea. He dramatizes this idea through the usually put himself into his books. experience of a young manbasically Ellison Bellow is the best, but not the only, Jewish himselfwho attends a Negro college, is novelist who has turned his feeling of expelled through no fault of his own, and alienation into first-class fiction. In today's finally drifts to . There he assumes the culture one of the most appealing symbols of leadership, by chance, in a struggle against a alienation has been the Jew. Only one symbol family's eviction. He attracts the attention of has been more effective. Itis that of the the local Communist party, joins it, but at Negro. length rebels against its discipline, which is The Negro writer provides the most striking as unacceptable to him as the Black example of alienation in American literature. Nationalism4 he also encounters. At the end of With the emergence of the Black Power2 3. Harlem: section of New York City occupied principally by Negroes. 2. Black Power: a movement among American 4. Black Nationalism: a movement, supported by Negroes aimed at gaining social equality with some American Negroes, which proposes the whites by uniting Negro institutions politically separation and segregation of Negroes from and culturally, instead of working for integration whites with a view to establishing a new black into the white community. nation.

199 201 the story he withdraws completely from which the poet explores the depths of his own society, living in a sealed cellar. feelings with regard to what appear to him to The novel is written in a vivid, flexible style. be the injustices of the society that forms his Its characters are types, and yet they seem to environment. move and have a life of their own. The gallery Sincerity and a fascination with opposition of whites and Negroes in Ellison's book are among the most representative themes of includes a number of characters we are apt to the contemporary writer. These can be remember, especially the main character reflected in the poet's treatment, as well as in himself and the Black Nationalist who calls his choice, of subject matter. An intense himself Ras the Exhorter. The message of the awareness of the differences between novel is despair, but Ellison's energy is so appearance and fact, seeming and being, the brilliant that he makes us hopeful in spite of superficial and the essential, is accompanied his own pessimism. In a way, Ellison's notableby a bold, sometimes daring use of novel sums up American literature of today. It oppositions and unexpected juxtapositions in is energized by dissent and alienation. form. After World War II, American poetry began In his striving to cut through appearances, to turn away from the orthodoxybased on to strip away all but the bare truth, to avoid all symmetry, intellect, irony, and witthat had that is not "absolutely true," the contemporary been established by T.S. Eliot and the new poet has established a sense of honesty and critics. The later poets discovered that they protest against hypocrisy as one of his needed something more than the guiding principles. These principles are standardized intellectual, ironic, impersonal expressed in different ways according to each approaches of the previous thirty years. poet's temperament and manner of Seeking to communicate their experience, expression: from the raucous invective, the these poets (of whom Randall Jarrell is one blunt, prosaic, strident manner commonly example) expressed themselves with the associated with literature of protest, to the emotional and the personal, in poetry of most subtle, sensitive, oblique poetic feeling and insight; they insisted on looking at . Indirectness is, in fact, an important World War II with their own eyes and telling characteristic differentiating contemporary its meaning with their own voices. poetry from the poetry that preceded it. While At the same time, new poetic elements the words and images themselves are began to emerge. Other poets added their generally blunt, abrupt, and realisticin contributions to the rather quiet and keeping with contemporary attitudes and unassuming character that American poetry idiomthe total structure tends toward the seemed to have adopted. William Carlos implicit, compressed, and provocative, in Williams made effective use of colloquial contrast with the more literal and logical speech; Robert Lowell examined the structure of traditional poetry. Sarcasm, irony, alienation of self; Theodore Roethke (as well and paradox are the common tools of the as Lowell) focused on the suburbs as a modern poet. possible place of quiet despair. In constrast Interesting and important as the themes and to the negativism of alienation of self, Roethke directions of contemporary American poetry gave poetic expression to an inward joy and a are, they should, as with all new trends in the kind of poetic defiance to the terrors of creative arts, be viewed more as evolutionary modern life, and many poets found stirrings than as permanent achievements. inspiration in ordinary, everyday experience Tomorrow might see poetry take a new rather than in some unusual or direction; or new modes of poetic expression, encounter. existing as a deep undercurrent, might not Two characteristic strains that run through rise to the surface until some time in the much of contemporary American poetry are future. Only time can determine the instrospection and social criticism. These two importance and lasting quality that these themes are frequently combined into what we contemporary contributions will make to the may call introspective social criticism, in development of 20th-century American poetry.

202 200 CHAPTER XXVIII

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Hemingway (1898-1961) was born in Il- linois. His family took him, as a boy, on frequent hunting and fishing trips and so acquainted him early with the kinds of vir- tues, such as courage and endurance, which were later reflected in his fiction. After high school, he worked as a news- paper reporter and then went overseas to take part in World War 1. After the war he lived for several years in Paris, where he became part of a group of Americans who felt alienated from their country. They considered themselves a lost genera- tion. It was not long before he began pub- lishing remarkable and completely indi- vidual short stories. The year he left Paris he published the powerful novel, The Sun Also Rises. His subjects were often wzr and ERNEST HEMINGWAY (1898-1961) its effects on people, or contests, such as "A writer's, problem does not change. He hunting or , which demand himself changes and the world he lives in stamina and courage. changes but his problem remains the same. It Hemingway's style of writing is striking. is always how to write truly and, having found His sentences are short, his words simple, what is true, to project it in such a way that it yet they are often filled with emotion. A becomes a part of the experience of the careful reading can show us, furthermore, person who reads it." that he is a master of the pause. That is, if we look closely, we see how the action of From his Problems of Writerhis stories continues during the silences, in War Time during the times his characters say no- thing. This action is often full of meaning. There are times when the most powerful effect comes from restraint. Such times occur often in Hemingway's fiction. He perfected the art of conveying emotion with few words. In contrast to the Romantic writer, who often emphasizes abundance and even ex- cess, Hemingway is a Classicist in his re- straint and understatement. He believes, with many other Classicists, that the strongest effect comes with an economy of means.

201 203 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

This is not to say that his work is eitherthrough a gate and walked across a cour- emotionless or dull. "In Another Coun-tyard and out a gate on the other side. try," the short story reprinted in the nextThere were usually funerals starting from pages, is filled with emotional overtones.the courtyard. Beyond the old hospital Its dominant feeling is one of pity for mis-were the new brick pavilions, and there we fortunes that can never be remedied. Amet every afternoon and were all very po- hand crippled is, and will always be, a handlite and interested in what was the matter, crippled. A beloved wife lost throughand sat in the machines that were to make death is lost indeed. Perhaps we shouldso much difference. be resigned to such misfortunes, but the The doctor came up to the machine Italian major in this story laments thatwhere I was sitting and said: "What did he cannot be resigned. The tragedies ofyou like best to do before the war? Did you life cannot really be remedied. practice a sport?" I said: "Yes, football." "Good," he said. "You will be able to play SELECTION I football again better than ever." My knee did not bend and the leg drop- In Another Country ped straight from the knee to the ankle without a calf, and the machine was to In the fall the war was always there, butbend the knee and make it move as in rid- we did not go to it any more. It was cold ining a tricycle. But it did not bend yet, and the fall in and the dark came veryinstead the machine lurched when it came early. Then the electric lights came on, andto the bending part. The doctor said: it was pleasant along the streets looking in"That will all pass. You are a fortunate the windows. There was much game hang-young man. You will play football again ing outside the shops, and the snow pow-like a champion." dered in the fur of the foxes and the wind In the next machine was a major who blew their tails. The deer hung stiff andhad a little hand like a baby's. He winked at heavy and empty, and small birds blew inme when the doctor examined his hand, the wind and the wind turned their feath-which was between two leather straps that ers. It was a cold fall and the wind camebounced up and down and flapped the down from the mountains. stiff fingers, and said: "And will I too play We were all at the hospital every after-football, captain-doctor?" He had been a noon, and there were different ways ofvery great fencer, and before the war the walking across the town through the duskgreatest fencer in Italy. to the hospital. Two of the ways were The doctor went to his office in the back alongside canals but they were long. Al-room and brought a photograph which ways, though, you crossed a bridge acrossshowed a hand that had been withered al- a canal to enter the hospital. There was amost as small as the major's, before it had choice of three bridges. On one of themtaken a machine course, and after was a a woman sold roasted chestnuts. It waslittle larger. The major held the photo- warm, standing in front of her charcoalgraph with his good hand and looked at it Fire, and the chestnuts were warm after -.very carefully. "A wound?" he asked. ward in your pocket. The hospital was very "An industrial accident," the doctor said. old and very beautiful, and you entered "Very interesting, very interesting," the 2 0 4 202 ERNEST HEMINGWAY

major said, and handed it back to the doc-.went to South America and worked in a tor. bank. But this was a long time ago, and "You have confidence?" then we did not any of us know how it was "No," said the major. going to be afterward. We only knew then There were three boys who came eachthat there was always the war, but that we day who were about the same age I was.were not going to it any more. They were all three from Milan, and one We all had the same medals, except the of them was to be a lawyer, and one was toboy with the black silk bandage across his be a painter, and one had intended to be aface, and he had not been at the front long soldier, and after we were finished withenough to get any medals. The tall boy the machines, sometimes we walked backwith a very pale face who was to be a together to the Café Cova, which was nextlawyer had been a lieutenant of Arditi3 door to the Scala.' We walked the shortand had three medals of the sort we each way through the communist quarter be-had only one of. He had lived a very long cause we were four together. The peopletime with death and was a little detached. hated us because we were officers, andWe were all a little detached, and there was from a wine-shop some one called out, "Anothing that held us together except that basso gli ufficiali!"2 as we passed. Anotherwe met every afternoon at the hospital. Al- boy who walked with us sometimes andthough, as we walked to the Cova through made us five wore a black silk handker-the tough part of town, walking in the chief across his face because he had nodark, with light and singing coming out of nose then and his face was to be rebuilt. Hethe wine-shops, and sometimes having to had gone out to the front from the militarywalk into the street when the men and academy and been wounded within anwomen would crowd together on the hour after he had gone into the front linesidewalk so that we would have had to jos- for the first time. They rebuilt his face, buttle them to get by, we felt held together by he came from a very old family and theythere being something that had happened could never get the nose exactly right. Hethat they, the people who disliked us, did not understand.

1.Scala: La Scala is the name of the opera house in Milan, Italy. 3. Arditi: assault troops of the Italian Army, 2. "A basso gli ufficiali": "Down with officers" 1915-1918.

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 2. Not only are the soldiers shut off from the war, but they are also shut off from other groups and 1. The wounded soldiers in the story are "infrom each other. Cite examples from the story another country" in the sense of being out ofwhich illustrate this alienation. combat. From what "other country," besides the 3. Do you think the dead animals hanging out- war, are they separated? How is the exclusion of side of the shops have any symbolic meaning? these soldiers from these "other countries" im- Explain your answer. portant to the theme of the story? 4.Isit important to know the identity of the

203 205 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

young American soldier who is narrating the 7.Why do the people in the communist quarter story? Why or why not? of Milan dislike the four young men? 5.How is the major different from the other 8.How does the doctor try to maintain the young wounded men? American's morale? 6.Referring to the young man whose face was to be rebuilt, Hemingway says: "He had lived a 9.Isit significant to know that the major had very long time with death and was a little de-been Italy's greatest fencer? Explain your an- tached." What does this sentence mean to you? swer,

SELECTION II cocktail hour, I would imagine myself hav- ing done all the things they had done to In Another Country, concluded get their medals; but walking home at night through the empty streets with the Weourselves all understood the Cova,cold wind and all the shops closed, trying where it was rich and warm and not tooto keep near the street lights, I knew that I brightly lighted, and noisy and smoky atwould never have done such things, and certain hours, and there were always girlsI was very much afraid to die, and often at the tables and the illustrated papers on alay in bed at night by myself, afraid to die rack on the wall. The girls at the Cova wereand wondering how I would be when I very patriotic, and I found that the mostwent back to the front again. patriotic people in Italy were the café The three with the medals were like girlsand I believe they are still patriotic. hunting-hawks; and I was not a hawk, al- The boys at first were very polite aboutthough I might seem a hawk to those who my medals and asked me what I had donehave never hunted; they, the three, knew to get them. I showed them the papers,better and so we drifted apart. But I stayed which were written in a very beautiful lan-good friends with the boy who had been guage andfullof fratellanza'andwounded his first day at the front, because abnegazione2, but which really said, with thehe would never know now how he would adjectives removed, that I had been givenhave turned out; so he could never be ac- the medals because I was an American.cepted either, and I liked him because I After that their manner changed a littlethought perhaps he would not have toward me, although I was their friendturned out to be a hawk either. against outsiders. I was a friend, but I was The major, who had been the great never really one of them after they hadfencer, did not believe in bravery, and read the citations, because it had been dif-spent much time while we sat in the ferent with them and they had done verymachines correcting my grammar. He had different things to get their medals. I hadcomplimented me on how I spoke Italian, been wounded, it was true; but we all knewand we talked together very easily. One that being wounded, after all, was really anday I had said that Italian seemed such an accident. I was never ashamed of the rib-easy language to me that I could not take bons, though, and sometimes, after thea great interest in it; everything was so easy to say. "Ah, yes," the major said. 1. freuellan za: brotherhood. "Why, then, do you not take up the use 2. abnegazione: renunciation, self-denial. of grammar?" So we took up the use of

2 o 6204 ERNEST HEMINGWAY grammar, and soon Italian was such a dif- "He'll lose it," the major said. He was ferent language that I was afraid to talk tolooking at the wall. Then he looked down him until I had the grammar straight inat the machine and jerked his little hand my mind. out from between the straps and slapped it The major came very regularly to thehard against his thigh. "He'll lose it," he hospital. I do not think he ever missed aalmost shouted. "Don't argue with me!" day, although I am sure he did not believeThen he called to the attendant who ran in the machines. There was a time whenthe machines. "Come and turn this none of us believed in the machines, anddamned thing off." one day the major said it was all nonsense. He went back into the other room for The machines were new then and it was we the light treatment and the massage. Then who were to prove them. It was an idioticI heard him ask the doctor if he might use idea, he said, "a theory, like another." I his telephone and he shut the door. When had not learned my grammar, and he saidhe came back into the room, I was sitting in I was a stupid impossible disgrace, andanother machine. He was wearing his cape he was a fool to have bothered with me. Heand had his cap on, and he came directly was a small man and he sat straight uptoward my machine and put his arm on my in his chair with his right hand thrust intoshoulder. the machine and looked straight ahead "I am so sorry," he said, and patted me at the wall while the straps thumped upon the shoulder with his good hand. "I and down with his fingers in them. would not be rude. My wife has just died. "What will you do when the war is overYou must forgive me." if itis over?" he asked me. "Speak "Oh" I said, feeling sick for him. "I am grammatically!" so sorry." "I will go to the States." He stood there biting his lower lip. "It is "Are you married?" very difficult," he said. "I cannot resign "No, but I hope to be." myself." "The more of a fool you are," he said. He looked straight past me and out He seemed very angry. "A man must notthrough the window. Then he began to marry." cry. "I am utterly unable to resign myself," "Why, Signor Maggiore?"3 he said and choked. And then crying, his "Don't call me 'Signor Maggiore.' " head up looking at nothing, carrying him- "Why must not a man marry?" self straight and soldierly, with tears on "He cannot marry. He cannot marry,"both his cheeks and biting his lips, he he said angrily. "If he is to lose every-walked past the machines and out the thing, he should not place himself in a pos-door. ition to lose that. He should not place him- The doctor told me that the major's self in a position to lose. He should findwife, who was very young and whom he things he cannot lose." had not married until he was definitely He spoke very angrily and bitterly, andinvalided out of the war, had died of looked straight ahead while he talked. pneumonia. She had been sick only a few "But why should he necessarily lose it?"days. No one expected her to die. The major did not come to the hospital for three days. Then he came at the usual 3.Signor Maggiore:Major (military title). hour, wearing a black band on the

205 207 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE of his uniform. When he came back, therethat were completely restored. I do not were large framed photographs aroundknow where the doctor got them. I always the wall, of all sorts of wounds before andunderstood we were the first to use the after they had been cured by the machines.machines. The photographs did not make In front of the machine the major usedmuch difference to the major because he were three photographs of hands like hisonly looked out of the window.

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 7. How does the major's announcement of the death of his wife confirm your opinion of A. 1. Why are the narrator and the young boy his strength of character? who had lost his face considered outsiders by the others? B.1. What writers in your national literature 2. Do you think the narrator possesses the have treated the theme of war and the isola- characteristics which Hemingway admires tion and loneliness it brings? How do they in a man? Explain your reasons. compare with Hemingway in the "lean style" 3. What impressions have you formed of the for which he is famous? young American? 4. The narrator states that the major did not 2. Write a short esay in which you illustrate believe in the machines. If this is true, why do the sense of isolation or loneliness which life you think he kept returning to the hospital? in modern urban society can bring. 5. Do you agree that the principal drama of 3. Choose a situation which lends itself to- the story is found in what is going on within high emotional effect, such as the cruel the characters, especially the major? Exp- death of a young person or grief over unre- lain your answer. quited love, and compose a short story using 6. What does the major mean when he says Hemingway's stylepreponderant use of the that a man must not marry because ". ..he active voice, short, economical sentences, should not place himself in a position to simple sentence structure, sparing use of lose.. .He should find things he cannot modifiersto give an overall effect of under- lose."? statement and restraint.

206 206 CHAPTER XXIX

WILLIAM FAULKNER

Though Faulkner (1897-1962) never became an expatriate as Hemingway did, he nevertheless returned home as an out- sider. He tells his own story most directly in Sartoris. When young Bayard Sartoris comes back to the Mississippi town he had left when he went to war, he is desperate to know what to do. He knows that some- thing inside him is wrong, but he is not really sure either of the disease or its cure. He wanders around the town and the sur- rounding countryside, talking with people, sometimes quarreling with them. He drinks liquor the more eagerly because the nation has passed the Prohibition law and alcohol is now illegal. The liquor, however, gives him only temporary forgetfulness. The desperation is still there. WILLIAM FAULKNER (1897-1962) In a key section of this novel by Faulkner I believe that man will not merely endure; he we follow Bayard Sartoris through a reck- will prevail. He is immortal, not because he less, futile day. He gets drunk in the back alone among creatures has an inexhaustible room of the local store. Then he goes with voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit a friend to look at some horses and sees capable of compassion and sacrifice and a very spirited stallion. He jumps on it; endurance. The poet's, the writer's duty is to the horse runs off wildly and Bayard is write about these things. It is his privilege knocked unconscious by a tree limb. As to help man endure by lifting his heart, by our first excerpt opens, it is nighttime and, reminding him of the courage and honor and head bandaged, Bayard must while away hope and pride and compassion and pity the night. With him is a salesman named and sacrifice which have been the glory Hub, a freight agent named Mitch, and of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of three Negroes. The Negroes are a musical the props, the pillars to help him endure and trio, brought along to, serenade with their prevail. instruments. They all ride in Bayard's au- tomobile. from his speech They are a varied group. Hub and Mitch delivered on are both white but much lower on the so- December 10, 1950, cial scale than Bayard, and they know it. in , The Negroes are at the bottom of the scale. Sweden, when he As Faulkner treats them, they are received the Nobel anonymous but are sympathetically de- Prize for Literature. scribed. In later works Faulkner put into his

207 205 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE novels some of the most memorable Neg-scene to another, the novel has nothing like the roes to appear in American literature. Al-complex style of his later years. though they are usually shown from a Southern point of view, Faulkner is per- From Sartoris, Section II fectly aware that Negroes are human be- ings like himself, but ones who have suf- Later they returned for the jug in fered much because of the color of theirBayard's car, Bayard and Hub and a third skin. He treats them more sympatheticallyyoung man, freight agent at the railway in his hooks than he treats the poor whites,station, with three negroes and a bull whom he sometimes shows in a very un-fiddle' in the rear seat. But they drove no favorable light. The worst whites in hisfarther than the edge of the field above the work, created as the members of a familyhouse and stopped there while Hub went named Snopes, are almost inhuman inon afoot down the sandy road toward the their evil energy. He had not yet createdbarn. The moon stood pale and cold over- them when he wrote Sartoris. They appearhead, and on all sides insects shrilled in in some of his later novels, where theythe dusty undergrowth. In the rear seat the crowd out people like the Sartorises, thenegroes murmured amog themselves. futile aristocrats. Hub and Mitch in "Fine night," Mitch, the freight agent, Sartoris, however, are decent men; nothingsuggested. Bayard made no reply. He like the clan of Snopes. smoked moodily, his head closely hel- meted in its white bandage. Moon and in- SELECTION I sects were one, audible and visible, dim- mensionless and without source. In the first excerpt fromSartoris,the six men drink and drive through the moonlit country. After a while Hub materialized against At a neighboring town they stop and tell thethe dissolving vagueness of the road, Negroes to serenade the girls who live at a col-crowned by the silver slant of his hat, and lege there. In the second excerpt they havehe came up and swung the jug on to the finished the serenading and are back in theirdoor and removed the stopper. Mitch pas- own town. The local marshal stops them when they reach the town square. With kindly firm- sed it to Bayard. ness he sees to it that the Negroes start on their "Drink," Bayard said, and Mitch did so. way home, and suggests that Mitch and Hub doThe others drank. the same. That leaves Bayard, still dazed with "We ain't got nothin' for the niggers to drink, still restless, still desperate. But he knows that the marshal is right in wanting him off thedrink out of," Hub said. streets. When the marshal takes him to the little "That's so," Mitch agreed. He turned in local jail, he gives Bayard his own bed to sleephis seat. "Ain't one of you boys got a cup or on. As the scene ends, the moonlit night issomething?" The negroes murmured completely calm except for Bayard. The conflict in this novel is not, as it will be inagain, questioning one another in mellow Faulkner's later novels, between generations,consternation. classes, or races, but between man and his sur- "Wait," Bayard said. He got out and roundings, and between man and himself. lifted the hood and removed the cap from In his later novels Faulkner used many liter-the breather-pipe. "It'll taste a little like oil ary devices to enrich his fiction, and employed a complicated, involved style. But here he writes clearly, sometimes in a simple, poetic manner. Although he shifts frequently from one small 1. bull fiddle: slang for bass viol.

208 210 WILLIAM FAULKNER for a drink or two. But you boys won'tand rose shaling3 into the woods again notice it after that." where the dappled moonlight was inter- "Naw, suh," the negroes agreed inmittent, treacherous with dissolving vistas. chorus. One took the cup and wiped it outInvisible and sourceless among the shifting with the corner of his coat, and they toopatterns of light and shade, whippoorwills drank in turn, with smacking expulsions ofwere like flutes tongued liquidly. The road breath. Bayard replaced the cap and got inpassed out of the woods and descended, the car. with sand in shifting and silent lurches, "Anybody want another right now?"and they turned on to the valley road and Hub asked, poising the corn cob.2 away from town. "Give Mitch another," Bayard directed. The car went on, on the dry hissing of "He'll have to catch up." the closed muffler. The negroes mur- Mitch drank again. Then Bayard tookmured among themselves with mellow the jug and tilted it. The others watchedsnatches of laughter whipped like scraps of him respectfully. torn paper away behind. They passed the "Dam'f he don't drink it," Mitch mur-iron gates and Bayard's home serenely in mured. "I'd be afraid to hit it so often, if Ithe moonlight among its trees, and the sil- was you." ent, box-like flag station and the metal- "It's my damned head." Bayard loweredroofed cotton gin on the railroad siding. the jug and passed it to Hub. "I keep think- The road rose at last into hills. It was ing another drink will ease it off some." smooth and empty and winding, and the "Doc put that bandage on too tight,"negroes fell silent as Bayard increased Hub said. "Want it loosened some?" speed. But stillit was not anything like "I don't know." Bayard lit anotherwhat they had anticipated of him. Twice cigarette and threw the match away. "I be-more they stopped and drank, and then lieve I'll take it off. It's been on there longfrom an ultimate hilltop they looked down enough." He raised his hands and fumbledupon another cluster of lights like a clot- at the bandage. ting of beads upon the pale gash where the "You better let it alone," Mitch warnedrailroad ran. Hub produced the breather- him. But he continued to fumble at thecap and they drank again. fastening; then he slid his fingers beneath Through streets identical with those at a turn of the cloth and tugged at it sav-home they moved slowly, toward an iden- agely. One of the negroes leaned forwardtical square. People on the square turned with a pocket knife and severed it, andand looked curiously after them. They they watched him as he stripped itcrossed the square and followed another off and flung it away. street and went on between broad lawns "You ought not to done that," Mitch toldand shaded windows, and presently him. beyond an iron fence and well back among "Ah, let him take it off if he wants." Hubblack-and-silver trees, lighted windows said. "He's all right." He got in and stowedhung in ordered tiers like rectangular lan- the jug away between his knees, andterns strung among the branches. Bayard turned the car about. The sandy They stopped here, in shadow. The road hissed beneath the broad tires of itnegroes descended and lifted the bass viol

2. corn cob: here, the stopper of a jug. 3. shaling: unevenly.

209 211 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE out, and a guitar. The third one held athe fence and leaned his arms upon it, a slender tube frosted over with keys uponlumped listening shadow among other which the intermittent moon glinted inshadows. Across the street, in the shadows pale points, and they stood with theirthere, other listeners stood. A car ap- heads together, murmuring among them-proached and slowed to the curb and shut selves and touching plaintive mutedoff engine and lights, and in the tiered chords from the strings. Then the onewindows heads leaned, aureoled against with the clarinet raised it to his lips. the lighted rooms behind, without indi- The tunes were old tunes. Some of themviduality, feminine, distant, delicately and were sophisticated tunes and formally in-divinely young. tricate, but in the rendition this was lost, They played "Home, Sweet Home," and and all of them were imbued instead with awhen the rich minor died away, across to plaintive similarity, a slurred and rhythmicthem came a soft clapping of slender simplicity; and they drifted in rich, plain-palms. Then Mitch sang "Good Night, tive chords upon the silver air, fading,Ladies" in his true, over-sweet tenor, and dying in minor reiterations along thethe young hands were more importunate, treacherous vistas of the moon. Theyand as they drove away the slender heads played again, an old waltz. The collegeleaned aureoled with bright hair in the Cerberus4 came across the dappled lawn tolighted windows and the soft clapping drifted after them for a long while, fainter 4. Cerberus: in Greek mythology, the three-headed dog guarding the gate of Hades; here, a watch-and fainter in the silver silence and the man. moon's infinitude...

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 3. Does the serenade serve any particular pur- pose in the story? 1. How does Faulkner create mood and atmos-4. What hints do you have, if any, of Bayard's phere in this excerpt? inner tensions? 2. What is the attitude of the white men toward5. What are your impressions of Bayard as a the Negroes? person? Do you like him or dislike him? Why?

SELECTION II street lifeless and fixed in black and silver as any street in the moon itself. Beneath SARTORIS stippled intermittent shadows they went, From Section II (continued) passed quiet intersections dissolving away, occasionally a car motionless at the curb The moon stood well down the sky. Itsbefore a house. A dog crossed the street light was now a cold silver on things, spentahead of them trotting, and went on across and a little wearied, and the world wasa lawn and so from sight, but saving this empty as they rolled without lights along athere was no movement anywhere.

210 212 WILLIAM FAULKNER

The square opened spaciously about the "Yes, suh," the negroes answered, and -cloudy mass of elms that sur-they got out and lifted the viol out. Bayard rounded the courthouse. Among them thegave Reno a bill and they thanked him and round spaced globes were more like huge,said good night and picked up the viol and pallid grapes than ever. Above the ex-departed quietly down a side street. The posed vault in each bank burned a singlemarshal turned his head again. bulb; inside the hotel lobby, before which a "Ain't that yo' car in front of Rogers' row of cars was aligned, another burned.café, Mitch?" he asked. Other lights there were none. "Reckon so. That's where I left it." They circled the courthouse, and a "Well, suppose you run Hub out home, shadow moved near the hotel door and de-lessen3 he's goin' to stay in town tonight. tached itself from shadow and came to theBayard better come with me." curb, a white shirt glinting within a spread "Aw, hell, Buck," Mitch protested. coat; and as the car swung slowly toward "What for? Bayard demanded. another street, the man hailed them. "His folks are worried about him," the Bayard stopped and the man cameother answered. "They ain't seen hide nor through the blanched dust and laid hishair of him since that stallion throwed him. hand on the door. Where's yo' bandage, Bayard?" "Hi, Buck," Mitch said. "You're up "Took it off," he answered shortly. "See pretty late, ain't you?" here, Buck, we're going to put Mitch out The man had a sober, good-naturedand then Hub and me are going straight horse's face. He wore a metal star on hishome." unbuttoned waistcoat. His coat humped "You been on yo' way home ever since slightly over his hip. "What you boysfo' o'clock, Bayard," the marshal replied doin'?" he asked. "Been to a dance?" soberly, "but you don't seem to git no "Serenading," Bayard answered. "Wantnearer there. I reckon you better come a drink, Buck?" with me tonight, like yo' aunt said." "No, much obliged." He stood with his "Did Aunt Jenny tell you to arrest me?" hand on the door, gravely and good- "They was worried about you, son. Miss naturedly serious. "Ain't you fellers outJenny just phoned and asked me to kind of kind of late, yo'selves?" see if you was all right until mawnin'4. So I "It is gettin' on', Mitch agreed. Thereckon we better. You ought to went on marshal lifted his foot to the running-home this evening'." board. Beneath his hat his eyes were in "Aw, have a heart,5 Buck," Mitch pro- shadow. "We're going home now," Mitchtested. said. The other pondered quietly, and ruther make Bayard mad than Miss Bayard added: Jenny," the other answered patiently. "Sure; we're on our way home now." "You boys go on, and Bayard better come The marshal moved his head slightlywith me." and spoke to the negroes. "I reckon you Mitch and Hub got out and Hub lifted boys are about ready to turn in2, ain't you?" 3. lessen: (dialect) unless. 4. mawnin': (dialect) morning. 1.gettin' on: (colloq.) getting on, becoming late. 5. have a heart: take pity 2. turn in: go to bed. 6. ruther: (dialect) would rather.

211 213 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE out his jug and they said good night andously: "Good night, Buck. And much ob- went on to where Mitch's car stood beforeliged." the restaurant. The marshal got in beside "Good night," the marshal answered. Bayard. The jail was not far. It loomed He closed the door behind him and presently above its walled court, squareBayard removed his coat and shoes and and implacable, its slitted upper windowshis tie and snapped the light off and lay brutal as saber-blows. They turned into anon the bed. Moonlight seeped into the alley, and the marshal descended androom impalpably, refracted and source- ,opened a gate, and Bayard drove into theless; the night was without any sound. grassless and littered compound and stop-Beyond the window a cornice rose in a suc- ped while the other went on ahead to acession of shallow steps against the opaline small garage in which stood a Ford. Heand dimensionless sky. His headwasclear backed this out and motioned Bayard for-and cold; the whisky he had drunk was ward. The garage was built to the Ford'scompletely dead. Or rather, it was as dimensions and about a third of Bayard'sthough his head were one Bayard who lay' car stuck out the door of it. on a strange bed and whose alcohol-dulled "Better'n nothin', though," the marshalnerves radiated like threads of ice through said. "Come on." They entered throughthat body which he must drag forever the kitchen, into the jailkeeper's living-about a bleak and barren world with him. quarters, and Bayard waited in a dark pas-"Hell," he said, lying on his back, staring sage until the other found a light. Then heout the window where nothing was to be entered a bleak, neat room, containingseen, waiting for sleep, not knowing if it spare conglomerate furnishings and a fewwould come or not, not caring a particular scattered articles of masculine apparel. damn either way. Nothing to be seen, and "Say," Bayard objected, "aren't you giv-the long, long span of a man's natural life. ing me your bed?" Three score and ten years to drag stub- born body about the world and cozen its "Won't need it befo' mawnin'," the otherinsistent demands. Three score and ten, answered. "You'll be gone, then. Want methe Bible said. Seventy years. And he was to he'p you off with yo' clothes?" only twenty-six. Not much more than a "No. I'm all right." Then, more graci-third through it. Hell. ..

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. Do you feel any kinship with Bayard in his clashwithhissurroundingsandwith A. 1.Is the marshal more interested in Bayard's himself? Explain. welfare or in getting the group off the street? 5. Do you think that our urban and tech- Give your reasons. nological way of life tends to create in us 2. What kind of person is the marshal? more tensions and a greater disenchantment 3. Has Bayard succeeded in dissipating withlifethanthatfoundin a rural, some of his inner conflict? agriculture-based existence.?

212 214 WILLIAM FAULKNER

B. 1. Write a short composition in which you 3.In his acceptance speech for the Nobel compare Faulkner's style of writing with that Prize, Faulkner said: "I believe that man will of Hemingway. not merely endure; he will prevail. He is im- 2. What writer in your nationalliterature mortal, not because he alone among crea- would you compare with Faulkner? Prepare a tures has an inexhaustible voice, but be- short speech in which you support your cause he has a soul, a spirit capable of com- choice with examples from his (or her) writ- passion and sacrifice and endurance." De- ings. bate this observation with your classmates.

215

213 CHAPTER XXX

ROBERT FROST

As poets go, Frost (1874-1963) was no longer young when he published his first book of poems, A Boy's Will, in 1913. Though born in San Francisco, he came of a New England family which returned to New England when he was ten. Like many other writers, he had a brief brush with college and then supported himself by var- ious means, ranging from shoe-making to editing a country newspaper. However, he had been brought up on a farm and he liked farming. Most of all, he liked to write but he could not support himself by writ- ing. Hewasin his late 30s when he moved to England, where he issued his first book and found an appreciation for his work he had not found in America. ROBERT FROST (1874-1963) At the outbreak of World War I, Frost went back to farming in New Hampshire. A poem is never a put-up job so to speak. It Thereafter, although he made many jour- begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of neys and frequent visits elsewhere, he con- wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is sidered the farm his home and its activities never a thought to begin with. It is at its best remained the focus of his poetry. when it is a tantalizing vagueness. It finds its Frost's verses became part of a great thought and succeeds, or doesn't find it and tradition, shaped by the Roman poet Ver- comes to nothing. It finds its thought or makes gil, of what is called bucolic poetrypoetry its thought. I suppose it finds it lying around about farming. However, though he used with others not so much to its purpose in a farm situations in much of his poetry, he more or less full mind. That's why it oftener gave them a wide application. He might comes to nothing in youth before experience has filled the mind with thoughts. It may be a write about stepping on a rake and de- big emotion then and yet finds nothing it can scribe the feeling when it hit him, but he embody in.If finds the thought and the used the incident to show how life gives us thought finds the words. Let's say again: A bruises. poem particularly must not begin thought first. Some talents in poetry are used up early, but not Frost's. He continued to publish from his letter to fine poetry for fifty years. He reached the Louis Untermeyer height of his popularity after World War written on January II. If America of the 20th century had a 1, 1916 national poet, it was Frost. He was chosen to read one of his poems at the inaugura- tion of the late President John F. Kennedy, the first poet ever so honored.

214 216 Because Frost wrote so well for so long,must make a decision. We must decide it is hard to select poems to reprint. Here,which-way to go. This universal dilemma however, are two favorites among readers,Frost turns into poetry of gentle yet strong "Mending Wall" and "The Road Notunderstanding. Here there is nothing local Taken," plus three short, lesser knownor folksy in the words he uses. His message poems. is worldwide. He also has fewer of his per- "Mending Wall' shows Frost at worksonal, colloquial rhythms in these lines with a neighbor, helping to repair a stonethan in "Mending Wall," and the form of wall that separates their two farms. Frostthe poem is one of stanzas, each regular in dislikes walls; his neighbor likes them. Weits arrangement of rhymes. soon see that the walls Frost is talking "Fire and Ice," "Acquainted with the about are all the things that separate oneNight," and "Design" seem at first reading human being from another, all the thingsto be lucidly simple, yet after better ac- in life that keeps us from loving our fellowquaintance they turn out to be rich in hid- man. Yet Frost never makes a sermon ofden meanings. There is a certain reticence, his poem. He teaches the brotherhooda teasing indirectness, in Frost's way of tel- of man, but not tediously. What keeps theling his thought, evident in these three poem from being pious is,first, Frost'sshort poems. He often leaves the reader to whimsical humor and, second, the easy in-search for any implied significance and formality of his lines. The poem is writtenfrequently implies a more general mean- in what is termed blank verse. It has fiveing to his moral than he seems to state. He beats to a line, and the beat comes on everyappears not to commit himself to any solu- second syllable. Also, the lines do nottion which runs the danger of being too rhyme. But Frost takes the blank-versesimple. On one occasion he said: ".. .I pre- form, shakes it up, loosens it, and makes itfer the synecdoche in poetrythat figure sound almost like everyday conversation.of speech in which we use a part for the The point is, however, that it turns out towhole." Life, as Frost saw it, is full of ap- be a wise and beautiful conversation. parent paradoxes. It is tragic and hilari- "The Road Not Taken" is set in someously comic, beautiful and ugly, chaotic woods but the place where it occurs is re-and unified, and he refused to take an ally anywhere and any time. It is, so toeither/or position, as we will see in such speak, the land of "Might Have Been." Wepoems as "Fire and Ice" and "Design."

Selection I

MENDING WALL

Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That sends the frozen ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

215 217 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

The work of hunters is another thing: I have come after them and made repair Where they have left not one stone on a stone, But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made, But at spring mending-time we find them there. I let my neighbor know beyond the hill; And on a day we meet to walk the line And set the wall between us once again. We keep the wall between us as we go. To each the boulders that have fallen to each. And some are loaves and some so nearly balls We have to use a spell to make them balance: "Stay where you are until our backs are turned!" We wear our fingers rough with handling them. Oh, just another kind of outdoor game, One on a side. It comes to little more: There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am apple-orchard. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors." Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: "Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to' give offense. Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down!" I could say "elves" to him, But it's not elves exactly,. and I'd rather He said it for himself. I see him there, Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top In each hand, like and old-stone savage' armed. He moves in darkness, as it seems to me, Not of woods only and the shade of trees. He will not go behind his father's saying, And he likes having thought of it so well He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

1. was like to: might; was likely to. 2. old-stone savage: man of the Old Stone Age.

216 218 ROBERT FROST

Selection II

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way. I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

SELECTION I & II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. In lines 40-45, what kind of darkness sur- rounds the neighbor? Mending Wall 5. "Something there is that doesn't love a wall." What do you think it is? A. 1. What do you think the theme of the poem 6.In your opinion, does Frost think that fol- i s? lowing traditionis always a good thing? 2. Why do you think the poet refers to the Quote lines from the poem to support your mending of the wall as "just another kind of answer.Do 'youthink following tradition is a outdoor game"? good thing? 3. How does the speaker's attitude toward 7. How can the barrier between individuals mending the wall compare with that of his be broken down? the barrier between peo- neighbor? pies of different nations?

217 219 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

8. What gives the poem a conversational 2. What is the theme of the poem? tone? 3.In what way does the poem suggest that Frost was a non-conformist? B. 1. Write a short essay in which you discuss the symbolic meaning of the wall in this 4. Do you think the line, "Yet knowing how way leads on to way" is fatalistic in tone? poem. Explain your answer. 2. Conduct a debate or round-table discus- sion on the ideas of the two men in "Mending Wall" as they apply to the international situa-B. 1. What choices in your own life have made tion or to the situation in your own country. a difference in the course it has taken? The Road Not Taken 2. Do you think that the choices we make in life ultimately turn out to be the right ones? A. 1. What human traits are suggested by the Explain your reasons in a short speech of one first stanza of the poem? to two minutes in length.

Selection III

FIRE AND ICE

Somesay the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.

Selection IV

ACQUAINTED WITH THE NIGHT

I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rainand back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

218 220 ROBERT FROST

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye; And further still at an unearthly height One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time as neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night.

Selection V

DESIGN

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all,' holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid cloth Assorted characters of death and blight Mixed ready to begin the morning right, Like the ingredients of a witches' broth A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth, And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white, blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that height, Then steered the white moth thither in the night? What but design of darkness to appall? If design govern in a thing so small.

1. heal-all: a kind of wild flower.

219 221 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

SELECTIONS III, IV and V

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. What is the luminary clock referred to in line 12? Why was the time neither wrong nor right? Fire and Ice Design 1. What is the complex idea which is expressed in a few words in this poem? 1. The heal-all was once supposed to have heal- 2. Explain the associations that the poet uses for ing qualities, hence its name. Of what signifi- fire and ice. cance is the fact that the spider, the heal-all, and 3. What are your own thoughts on the end of the the moth are all white? world? 2.Isit significant that the spider is "dimpled" and "fat" and like a "snow-drop," and that the Acquainted With the Night flower is "innocent" and named "heal-all"? Give your reasons. 3. What question does the poem pose about the 1. What does the poet mean when he says heexistence of God? What twist does Frost give in has been one acquainted with the night"? answer to this question? 2. What images does the poet use to project the4. Contrast the content of "Design" with Bryant's idea of loneliness or rejection? poem, To a Waterfowl." Which point of view 3. What picture is conveyed by lines 7-10? do you most admire? Explain your answer.

222

220 CHAPTER XXXI

ARCHIBALD MacLEISH WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS LANGSTON HUGHES

THREE OTHER MODERN POETS Archibald MacLeish (1892- Archibald MacLeish was born in Glen- One reason why some people resent modern coe, Illinois and educated at Yale, Har- poetry is that they prefer poetry which helps vard, and Tufts Universities. After World them forget the dreariness and the menace of War I, in which he served as a captain in daily experience. But this is not the only use the artillery, MacLeish returned to teach of poetry; some is written not to take you away from life, but to return you to it, only with a in the Harvard Law School. Subsequently, more intense insight into its nature. Wallace he left teaching to practice law in Boston, Stevens wrote that "the wonder and mystery of but gave up a successful practice because art...is the revelation of something 'wholly "he never could believe in it." He wanted other' by which the inexpressible loneliness of to write poetry. thinking is broken and enriched." The poem In 1923 he left for Paris with his wife refreshes life, Stevens once said. It does so and children in order to submerge himself by making you see in the world around you in the literary atmosphere of that city and things you had never seen before. to write his own poetry in his own way. "I speak to my own time /To no time after," Paul Engle in The he wrote and dated the beginning of his United States in life from the year 1923. While in France, Literature, 1968,P. MacLeish produced three volumes of 542 poetryStreets In The Moon (1926), The Hamlet Of A. MacLeish (1928), and New Found Land (1930)the success of which was assurance that his decision to turn from law to poetry had indeed been a wise one. After he returned to the United States in 1928, MacLeish went to Mexico where he retraced Cortes' route from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to the valley of Tenochtitlan.' The result was a narrative poem, Conquistador, based on Bernal Diaz's True History Of The Conquest Of New Spain, published in 1932. The following year it received the Pulitzer Prize.2 Shortly after publication of Conquistador, MacLeish became a member of the staff of

1. Tenochtitlan: ancient name of Mexico City, Aztec capital. 2. Pulitzer Prize: award for outstanding literary or journalistic achievement.

221 223 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Time and Fortune magazines, writing arti-rests largely upon his such as cles for the latter magazine which set stan-Poems, 1924-1933, and Collected Poems dardsof journalistic excellencein 1917-1952, for which he won a second "documentary" literature. Displaying thePulitzer Prize in 1953. In his poetic writing same skill that distinguished his articles in MacLeish reflects a certain indebtedness to Fortune, MacLeish also wrote experimentalEzra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and Carl Sand- plays for radio production, The Fall Of Theburg. Yet the lasting value of his poetry City (1937) and Air Raid (1938). In 1939rests upon a lyrical gift and a phrasing of MacLeish was appointed Librarian ofrhetoric which is his alone. Instead of in- Congress and received an honorary de- habiting a poet's ivory tower, MacLeish has gree from Yale. These honors soonshown interest in political movements, brought to him other advancements in hisworked at different occupations, and career, and in 1944 he was appointed pub-investigated different professions. This in- lic relations counsel in the office of thevolvement with the currents of everyday Secretary of State. life is reflected in the sensibility of his Although MacLeish won a Pulitzer Prize poetry, much of which is a satiric commen- for a narrative poem, his poetic reputationtary on 20th-century life.

Selection I

DR. SIGMUND FREUD DISCOVERS THE SEA SHELL

Science, that simple saint, cannot be bothered Figuring what anything is for: Enough for her devotions that things are And can be contemplated soon as gathered.

She knows how every living thing was fathered, She calculates the climate of each star, She counts the fish at sea, but cannot care Why any one of them exists, fish, fire or feathered.

Why should she? Her religion is to tell By rote her rosary of perfect answers. Metaphysics she can leave to man: She never wakes at night in heaven or hell

Staring at darkness. In' her holy cell There is no darkness ever: the pure candle Burns, the beads drop briskly from her hand.

222 224 ARCHIBALD MacLEISH, WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS and LANGSTON HUGHES

Who dares to offer Her the curled sea shell! She will not touch idknows the world she sees Is all the world there is! Her faith is perfect!

And still she offers the sea shell... What surf Of what far sea upon what unknown ground Troubles forever with that asking sound? What surge is this whose question never ceases?

Selection II

ARS POETICA

A poem should be palpable and mute As a globed fruit,

Dumb As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone Of casement ledges where the moss has grown

A poem should be wordless As the flight of birds.

A poem should be motionless in time As, the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves, Memory by memory the mind

A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs.

A poem should be equal to: Not true. 225 223 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea

A poem should not mean But be.

SELECTIONS I and II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 6. Do you agree with the viewpoint of the poem? Give your reasons. Dr. Sigmund Freud Discovers The Sea Shell Ars Poetica

1. This poem employs an extended personifica-1. How can a poem be "wordless"? "motionless tion. Cite the ways in which science is ap- in time"? propiately compared to a saint. 2. The title of the poem is Latin, meaning "The 2.In what way is science's faith perfect? Art of Poetry." It is traditionally used as the title 3. Who is the "she" in line 19? What does thefor works on the philosophy of poetry. What is the sea shell represent? poet's philosophy of poetry? Do you agree? Give 4. Who was Sigmund Freud, and what dis- your reasons. coveries did he make about human nature? 3. Write your own definition of poetry, either in 5. What is the meaning of the last stanza? prose or poetry.

William Carlos Williams (1884-1963) Born in Rutherford, New Jersey, Wil- liam Carlos Williams studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and spent a year of graduate study in pediatrics at Leipzig. Although as a doctor he spent much of his time seeing patients and deliv- ering babies around his home-town of Rutherford, he still found time to write more than 37 volumes of prose and poetry. Williams began his literary career in 1909 with the publication of Poems, a vol- ume which consisted mainly of verse writ- ten in an imitative style. It reflects the in- fluence of his days at the University of Pennsylvania where Williams had become

22 6224 ARCHIBALD MacLEISH, WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS and LANGSTON HUGHES friends with the poet, Ezra Pound. As aprojected books in 1951. But he could not result of this unique friendship, he becamebring himself to end the poem and con- temporarily attached to the Imagist group,tinued writing until he finished Book V in and though this association was brief, it left1958. He was at work on Book VI at the an enduring imprint on his poetic work. time of his death in 1963. is Williams' poetry is characterized by histhe epic of a man-city, together interest in everyday events. His verse mayhistory, the contemporary scene, indi- deal with such ordinary things as spring, avidual joy and personal anguish. In its tone red wheelbarrow, flowers, plums, or yachtsand mood it displays a certain similarity to in a seascape. His writing reflects theWhitman's Leaves of Grass. physician's fondness for scrutinizing mat- Probably more than any other modern erial things from an interior point of view,poet, Williams searched for an American as well as people under all conditions ofidiom, and in this search he developed his life. He views people from the momentsingular, personal style. His poetry re- of their birth until the moment of theirmained affirmative and committed at a death. Although the tone of his poetry istime when much of modern American casual, his fondness for close observationpoetry seemed to be negative and alien- imparts insight and substance to the finalated, and his style maintained a simplicity product. and lucidity while other contemporary In 1946, Williams began his long mas-poetry progressed to intellectualism and terpiece, Paters On, and finished the fourdeliberate ambiguity.

Selection I

TRACT

I will teach you my townspeople how to perform a funeral for you have it over a troop of artists unless one should scour the world you have the ground sense necessary.

See! the hearse leads. I begin with a design for a hearse. For Christ's sake no black nor white eitherand not polished! Let it be weatheredlike a farm wagon with gilt wheels (this could be applied fresh at small expense) or no wheels at all: a rough dray to drag over the ground.

225 227 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Knock the glass out! My Godglass, my townspeople! For what purpose? Is it for the dead to look out or for us to see how well he is housed or to see the flowers or the lack of them

or what? To keep the rain and snow from him? He will have a heavier rain soon: pebbles and dirt and what not. Let there be no glass and no upholstery! phew! and no little brass rollers and small easy wheels on the bottom my townspeople what are you thinking of!

A rough plain hearse then with gilt wheels and no top at all. On this the coffin lies by its own weight.

No wreaths please especially no hot-house flowers. Some common memento is better, something he prized and is known by: his old clothesa few books perhaps God knows what! You realize how we are about these things, my townspeople something will be foundanything even flowers if he had come to that.

For heaven's sake though see to the driver! Take off that silk hat! In fact that's no place at all for him up there unceremoniously dragging our friend out to his own dignity! Bring him downbring him down! Low and inconspicuous! I'd not have him ride on the wagon at alldamn him the undertaker's understrapper! Let him hold the reins and walk at the side and inconspicuously too!

226 228 ARCHIBALD MacLEISH, WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS and LANGSTON HUGHES

Then briefly as to yourselves: Walk behindas they do in France, seventh class, or if you ride Hell take curtains! Go with some show of inconvenience; sit openly to the weather as to grief. Or do you think you can shut grief in? Whatfrom us? We who have perhaps nothing to lose? Share with us share with usit will be money in your pockets.

Go now I think you are ready.

Selection II

THE RED WHEELBARROW

So much depends upon

a red wheel barrow

glazed with rain water

beside the white chickens

SELECTIONS I & II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS poet prefer? What does he prefer instead of flowers? Tract 2. Why do you think the poet wants the driver to play an inconspicuous role? 1. What kind of design for a hearse does the 3. Who is the "we" in the last stanza?

ST COPY AVAILABLE 227 2 2 S HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

4.Is it true that people often feel that a funeral 7. Does the conversational tone of the poem entails inconveniences, as the poet suggests? add to its effectiveness? Give your reasons. Explain your answer. 8. Do you agree with the poet's ideas on how to 5. Explain the meaning of the following lines perform a funeral? Discuss. from the last stanza. What is to be shared? ...We who have perhaps The Red Wheelbarrow nothing to lose? Share with us share with usit will be money 1. Give your own interpretration of the meaning in your pockets. of this poem. 2. Can you suggest objects other than a red 6. Should grief at the death of a loved one be wheelbarrow which would also serve as a poetic kept shut in? Explain your answer. image? Explain your choices.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) Negro writers, had formed a group in the Harlem section of New York City for Besides being a poet, playwright,the purpose of exchanging ideas, en- novelist, songwriter, biographer, editor,couraging one another, and, eventually, newspaper columnist, translator and lec-sharing in the triumph created by the sud- turer, Langston Hughes also included inden popularity of their work. As spokes- his prolific career earlier stints as a mer-man for the group, Hughes published an chant seaman, a chef (in Paris), and aarticle, "The Negro Artist and The Racial beachcomber (in Italy and Spain). Born inMountain," which amounted to a public Joplin, Missouri, on February 1, 1902, hedeclaration of the intent of Hughes and his lived the first twelve years of his life incontemporaries to break from their liter- Kansas, Colorado, Indiana, and New Yorkary heritage and to initiate a new trend in State. He graduated from high school inNegro literature. For new black writers, , Ohio, where in his senior yearHarlem and its people were to provide the he was elected class poet and editor of theinspiration for much of their artistic work. yearbook. Hughes' other travels included In later years, Hughes became known as trips to Europe and Africa, and the charac-the "0. Henry of Harlem" and wrote ter of his adventurous, wandering life wascountless short stories, a number of vol- reflected in such works as his novel, Notumes of poetry, seven novels, and six Without Laughter (1930), his short stories,plays. In his early volumes of poetry, he and his autobiography. successfully caught and projected scenes of Hughes received recognition as a poeturban Negro life, and his sketches in verse when, as a young man working as a waiterwith their undertones of bitterness, in a Washington, D.C. hotel, he showedhumor, and pathos became also a form of some of his poems to a guest, the eminentsocial protest. poet, Vachel Lindsay. Linday enthusiasti- In constant demand as a lecturer, cally introduced the poems to a literaryHughes traveled on speaking tours gathering at the hotel and Hughes' firstthroughout the United States, to the West book, The Weary Blues, was published as aIndies, and to parts of Europe and Africa. result of the encouragement he receivedHe received many awards and honors for from Lindsay. his writings, which have been translated By 1925, Hughes, together with otherinto more than 25 languages.

230 228 ARCHIBALD MacLEISH, WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS and LANGSTON HUGHES

Selection I

DREAMS

Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.

Selection II

THE NEGRO SPEAKS OF RIVERS

I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my but near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Selection III

MOTHER TO SON

"Well, son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

229 231 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

It's had tacks in it; And splinters, And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor Bare. But all the time I'se' been a' climbin' on, And turnin' corners,

And sometimes goin' in the dark Where there ain't been no light.

So, boy, don't you turn back. Don't you set down on the steps 'Cause you find it's kinder hard. Don't you fall now For I'se still goin', honey, I'se still climbin' And life for me ain't been no crystal stair."

I.I'se: (dialect) I have.

SELECTIONS I,II & III

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 2. What is the purpose of the second stanza? 3. How do the repetitions heighten the effec- Dreams tiveness of the poem? 4.Is there any relationship between the thought 1. What is the symbolic meaning of "Life is a expressed in this poem and that of the other two broken-winged bird "? Hughes' poems included here? Discuss. 2. Does the theme of this poem have a universal significance? Give your reasons. Mother To Son 3. Could this be called a "protest" poem? Ex- plain. 4. How does the fact that the poem was written1. What is the central thought of this poem? by a Negro poet give it a special poignancy? 2. What symbolic meaningisattached to "crystal stair"? The Negro Speaks of Rivers 3. List the admirable human qualities which you think the mother possesses. 1. What does the poet mean when he says that 4. Does the mother's counsel have universal his soul has grown deep like the rivers? application? Explain.

230 CHAPTER XXXII

KATHERINE ANNE PORTER

Born in Indian Creek, Texas, in 1894, a great-great-great granddaughter of the famous American frontiersman, , Katherine Anne Porter spent her early life in Texas and . From her earliest childhood she was interested in writing stories. She was educated in con- vent schools of the South and, after gradu- ation, worked as a newspaper reporter in Dallas and . Illness forced her to give up her career as a journalist. She has traveled extensively and has lived in New York City, in Europe, and in Mexico. Drawing on her experience and travels, she has employed a variety of backgrounds in her fiction. Miss Porter's first published volume was Flowering Judas and Other Stories, which ap- KATHERINE ANNE PORTER (1894-1980) peared in 1930. In 1931 and again in 1938, As soon as I learned to form letters on paper, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellow- at about three years, I began to write stories, ship for . Before her novel, and this has been the basic and absorbing Ship of Fools, appeared in 1962, she had occupation, the intact line of my life which published only short stories and novel- directs my actions, determines my point of ettes, among them Pale Horse, Pale Rider view, and profoundly affects my character and in 1939 and The Leaning Tower and Other personality, my social beliefs and economic Stories in 1944. Through a Glass Darkly ap- status, and the kind of friendships I form. peared in 1958. Quoted in Walter Blair, et al, Miss Porter has one of the most subtle of The Literature of the writing talents. She makes no easy expla- United States, Vol. II nations to her reader, assuming that he al- ready knows something and that he will find the rest of what he needs to know in the story. As a writer, Miss Porter is de- voted to her craft, and throughout her career she has worked scrupulously and painstakingly, refusing to print anything until she is completely satisfied with it. In many of her stories, Miss Porter exp- lores the lives of characters who seem drawn into disillusionment and despair, sometimes by social, political, and natural forces beyond their control, often by their

23233 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE own selfishness and deceit. Like Heming-floor, holding her bathrobe around her way, she appears to penetrate the thoughtsand trailing a damp towel in one hand, she of people, in detail or fragmentarily, andsurveyed the immediate past and remem- thus enables the reader to experience thebered everything clearly. Yes, she had internal life of the character and his world.opened the flap and spread it out on the In "Theft" we find an underlying struc-bench after she had dried the purse with ture of contrast and tension, the paradoxi-her handkerchief. cal problems of definition, and a charac- She had intended to take the Elevated,' teristic refusal by the author to indulge inand naturally she looked in her purse to "formula" writing. make certain she had the fare, and was The setting for "Theft" is New Yorkpleased to find forty cents in the coin en- City. The heroine is a writer and reviewer,velope. She was going to pay her own fare, like Miss Porter. The time is the onset oftoo, even if Camilo did have the habit of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Theseeing her up the steps and dropping a stolen purse in the story symbolizes allnickel in the machine before he gave the property. Appropriately, it is made of goldturnstile a little push and sent her through cloth. Thus, the stealing of the purse -it with a bow. Camilo by a series of com- resents the conflict between the "haves"promises had managed to make effective a and the "have-nots." But the conflict isfairly complete set of smaller courtesies, never simple in Miss Porter's stories, norignoring the larger and more troublesome is it easy to arrive at a facile definition ofones. She had walked with him to the sta- the problem. The young woman whotion in a pouring rain, because she knew owns the purse has little else. She is in facthe was almost as poor as she was, and close to starving and may really be poorerwhen he insisted on a taxi, she was firm than the janitress. But, like the purse, sheand said, "You know it simply will not is a symbol of those who possess thingsdo." He was wearing a new hat of a pretty which other people do not have but want.biscuit shade, for it never occurred to him And at the end of the story, by a brilliantto buy anything of a practical color, he had reversal, the janitress has succeeded input it on for the first time and the rain was making the heroine feel that she hasspoiling it. She kept thinking. "But this is stolen, if not from the janitress herself,dreadful, where will he get another?" She then from the janitress' niece. compared it with Eddie's hats that always The emotions running through thisseemed to be precisely seven years old and story are mixed, as are the sympathiesas if they had been quite purposely left of the reader. We cannot sympathize at allout in the rain, and yet they set with a with Bill or Roger and perhaps only a lit-careless and incidental rightness on Eddie. tle with Camilo. Paradoxically, both MissBut Camilo was far different; if he wore Porter's nameless heroine and the janitressa shabby hat it would be merely shabby seem to arouse our deepest feelings ofon him, and he would lose his spirit over empathy. it.If she had not feared Camilo would take it badly, for he insisted on the prac- SELECTION I Theft 1. Elevated: the elevated railway in New York City She had the purse in her hand when she used as public transportation at the time the story came in. Standing in the middleab tke takes place. It has since been torn down.

232 KATHERINE ANNE PORTER

tice of his little ceremonies up to the pointfull of long amiable associations, then she he had fixed for them, she would have saidlooked through the window at the rain to him as they left Thora's house, "Do gochanging the shapes of everything, and the home. I can surely reach the station bycolors. The taxi dodged in and out bet- myself." ween the pillars of the Elevated, skidding "It is written that we must be rainedslightly on every curve, and she said: "The upon tonight," said Camilo, "so let it bemore it skids the calmer I feel, so I really together." must be drunk." At the foot of the platform stairway she "You must be," said Roger. "This bird is staggered slightlythey were both nicelya homicidal maniac, and I could do with a set up2 on Thora's cocktailsand said:cocktail myself this minute." "At least, Camilo, do me the favor not to They waited on the traffic at Fortieth climb these stairs in your present state,Street and Sixth Avenue, and three boys since for you it is only a matter of comingwalked before the nose of the taxi. Under down again at once, and you'll certainlythe globes of light they were cheerful break your neck." scarecrows, all very thin and all wearing He made three quick bows, he wasvery seedy snappycut suits and gay neck- Spanish, and leaped off through the rainyties. They were not very sober either, and darkness. She stood watching him, for hethey stood for a moment wobbling in front was a very graceful young man, thinkingof the car, and there was an argument that tomorrow morning he would gazegoing on among them. They leaned to- soberly at his spoiled hat and soggy shoesward each other as if they were getting and possibly associate her with his misery.ready to sing, and the first one said: As she watched, he stopped at the far"When I get married it won't be jus' for corner and took off his hat and hid itgetting married. I'm gonna marry for love, under his overcoat. She felt she had bet-see?" and the second one said, "Aw, gwan3 rayed him by seeing, because he wouldand tell that stuff to her, why n't yuh?" and have been humiliated if he thought shethe third one gave a kind of hoot, and said, even suspected him of trying to save his"Hell, dis guy? Wot the hell's he got?" and hat. the firSt one said: "Aaah, shurrup yuh Roger's voice sounded over her shoul-mush,4 Igot plenty." Then they all der above the clang of the rain falling onsquealed and scrambled across the street the stairway shed, wanting to know whatbeating the first one on the back and push- she was doing out in the rain at this time ofing him around. night, and did she take herself for a duck? "Nuts,"5 commented Roger, "pure His long, imperturbable face was stream-nuts." ing with water, and he tapped a bulging Two girls went skittering by in short spot at the breast of his buttoned-up over-transparent raincoats, one green, one red, coat: "Hat," he said. "Come on, let's take atheir heads tucked against the drive of the taxi." rain. One of them was saying to the other, She settled back against Roger's arm"Yes, I know all about that. But what about which he laid around her shoulders, and with the gesture they exchanged a glance 3. gwan: (colloq.) go on. 4. shurrup yuh mush: (slang) shut your mouth. 2. set up: intoxicated, exhilarated. 5. nuts: (slang) crazy.

233 235 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

me? You're always so sorry for him.. ." andopened her purse andgavehim a dime, they ran on with their little pelican legsand he said, "That's beautiful, that purse." flashing back and forth. "It's a birthday present," she told him, The taxi backed up suddenly and leaped"and I like it. How's your show coming?" forward again, and after a while Roger "Oh, still hanging on, I guess. I don't go said: "I had a letter from Stella today, andnear the place. Nothing sold yet. I mean to she'll be home on the twenty-sixth, so Ikeep right on thewayI'm going and they suppose she's made up her mind and it'scan take take it or leave it. I'm through all settled." with the argument." "It's absolutely a matter of holding out, "I had a sort of letter today too," sheisn't it?" said, "making up my mind for me. I think "Holding out's the tough part." it is time for you and Stella to do some- "Good night, Roger." thing definite." "Good night, you should take aspirin When the taxi stopped on the corner ofand push yourself into a tub of hot water, West Fifty-third Street, Roger said, "I'veyou look as though you're catching cold." just enough if you'll add ten cents," so she "I will."

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 3. Are the heroine and Roger in love? Explain your answer. 1. What sort of person is Camilo? What do you 4. Who do you think Stella is? think his relationship to the heroine has been? 2. How can we tell that the heroine and her5. Does the rain add anything to the mood of the friends are poor? story? Explain.

SELECTION II two drinks, while Bill told how the director had thrown his play out after the cast had Theft(concluded) been picked over twice, and had gone through three rehearsals. "I said to him, 'I With the purse under her arm she wentdidn't say it was a masterpiece, I said it upstairs, and on the first landing Billwould make a good show.' And he said, 'It heard her step and poked his head outjust doesn't play, do you see? It needs a with his hair tumbled and his eyes 'red,doctor.' So I'm stuck, absolutely stuck," and he said: "For Christ's sake, comesaid Bill, on the edge of weeping alain. in and have a drink with me. I've. had"I've been crying," he told her, "in my some bad news." "You're perfectly sopping," said Bill, looking at her drenched feet. They had 1.in one's cups: while drunk.

234 236 KATHERINE ANNE PORTER cups."' And he went on to ask her if sheyou know I can't, I would if I could, realized his wife was ruining him with herbut you know the fix I'm in." extravagance. "I send her ten dollars every "Let it go, then," she found herself say- week of my unhappy life, and I don't reallying almost in spite of herself. She had have to. She threatens to jail me if I don't,meant to be quite firm about it. They but she can't do it. God, let her try it afterdrank again without speaking, and she the way she treated me! She's no right towent to her apartment on the floor above. alimony and she knows it. She keeps on There, she now remembered distinctly, saying she's got to have it for the baby andshe had taken the letter out of the purse I keep on sending it because I can't bear tobefore she spread the purse out to dry. see anybody suffer. So I'm way behind on She had sat down and read the letter the piano and the victrola,2 both" over again: but there were phrases that in- "Well, this is a pretty rug, anyhow," shesisted on being read many times, they had said. a lift of their own separate from the others, Bill stared at it and blew his nose. "I gotand when she tried to read past and it at Ricci's for ninety-five dollars," he said.around them, they moved with the move- "Ricci told me it once belonged to Mariement of her eyes, and she could not escape Dressler,3 and cost fifteen hundred dol-them . "thinking about you more than I lars, but there's a burnt place on it, undermean to. ..yes I even talk about you... the divan. Can you beat that?" why were you so anxious to destroy. .. "No," she said. She was thinking abouteven if I could see you now I would not... her empty purse and that she could notnot worth all this abominable... the possibly expect a for her latest re-end. .." view for another three days, and her ar- Carefully she tore the letter into narrow rangement with the basement restaurantstrips and touched a lighted match to them could not last much longer if she did notin the coal grate. pay something on account. "It's no time to Early the next morning she was in the speak of it," she said, "but I've been hopingbathtub when the janitress knocked and you would have by now that fifty dol-then came in, calling out that she wished to lars you promised for my scene in the third examine the radiators before she started act. Even if it doesn't play. You were to pay the furnace going for the winter. After me for the work anyhow out of your ad- moving about the room for a few minutes, vance." the janitress went out, closing the door "Weeping Jesus," said Bill, "you, too?" very sharply. He gave a loud sob, or hiccough, in his She came out of the bathroom to get .a moist handkerchief. "Your stuff was nocigarette from the package in the purse. better than mine, after all. Think of that." The purse was gone. She dressed and "But you got something for it," she said. made coffee, and sat by the window while "Seven hundred dollars." she drank it. Certainly the janitress had Bill said, "Do me a favor, will you? Havetaken the purse, and certainly it would be another drink and forget about it. I can't,impossible to get it back without a great deal of ridiculous excitement. Then let it go. With this decision of her mind, there 2. victrola: phonograph. rose coincidentally in her blood a deep 3. Marie Dressler: one-time movie star (1869-1934). almost murderous anger. She set the cup

235 237 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE carefully in the center of the table,from her and not returned, journeys she and walked steadily downstairs, threehad planned and had not made, words long flights and a short hall and a steepshe waited to hear spoken to her and had short flight into the basement, where thenot heard, and the words she had meant to janitress, her face streaked with coal dust,answer with; bitter alternatives and into- was shaking up the furnace'. "Will you lerable substitutes worse than nothing, and please give me back my purse? There isn'tyet inescapable: the long patient suffering any money in it.It was a present, and Iof dying friendships and the dark inexp- don't want to lose it." licable death of loveall that she had had, The janitress turned without straight-and all that she had missed, were lost to- ening up and peered at her with hot flick-gether, and were twice lost in this landslide ering eyes, a red light from the furnaceof remembered losses. reflected in them. "What do you mean, The janitress was following her upstairs your purse?" with the purse in her hand and the same "The gold cloth purse you took from thedeep red fire flickering in her eyes. The wooden bench in my room," she said. "Ijanitress thrust the purse towards her must have it back." while they were still a half dozen steps "Before God I never laid eyes on yourapart, and said: "Don't never tell on me. I purse, and that's the holy truth," said themusta been crazy. I get crazy in the head janitress. sometimes, I swear I do. My son can tell "Oh, well then, keep, it," she said, but inyou." a very bitter voice; "keep it if you want it so She took the purse after a moment, and much." And she walked away. the janitress went on: "I got a niece who is She remembered how she had nevergoing on seventeen, and she's a nice girl locked a door in her life, on some principleand I thought I'd give it to her. She needs of 'rejection in her that made her uncom-a pretty purse. I musta been crazy; I fortable in the ownership of things, andthought maybe you wouldn't mind, you her paradoxical boast before the warningsleave things around and don't seem to of friends, that she had never lost a pennynotice much." by theft; and she had been pleased with She said: "I missed this because it was a the bleak humility of this concrete example present to me from someone. .." designed to illustrate and justify a certain The janitress said: "He'd get you fixed, otherwise baseless and general faithanother if you lost this one. My niece is which ordered the movements of her lifeyoung and needs pretty things, we oughta without regard to her will in the matter. give the young ones a chance. She's got In this moment she felt that she hadyoung men after her maybe will want to been robbed of an enormous number ofmarry her. She oughta have nice things. valuable things, whether material or in-She needs them bad right now. You're a tangible: things lost or broken by her owngrown woman, you've had your chance, fault, things she had forgotten and left inyou ought to know !" houses when she moved: books borrowed She held the purse out to the janitress saying: "You don't know what you're talk- ing about. Here, take it, I've changed my 4. shaking up the furnace: agitating the fire bymind. I really don't want it." means of a mechanical device. The janitress looked up at her with

238 236 KATHERINE ANNE PORTER hatred and said: "I don't want it either "It'snot from me, it's from her you're now. My niece is young and pretty, shestealing it," said the janitress, and went don't need fixin' up to be pretty, she'sback downstairs. young and pretty anyhow! I guess you She laid the purse on the table and sat need it worse than she does!" down with the cup of chilled coffee, and "It wasn't really yours in the first place,"thought: I was right not to be afraid of any she said, turning away. "You mustn't talkthief but myself, who will end by leaving as if I had stolen it from you." me nothing.

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 8. Does the fact that the heroine is nameless contribute to the effectiveness of the story? A. 1. What sort of person is Bi II? Do you admire Why or why not? him? Why or why not? What seems to be his 9. Cite examples from the story which illus- profession? trate that Miss Porter has a low opinion of 2. Why did thejanitress come tothe men. apartment? 3.Is the letter which the heroine tears up important to the plot of the story? Explain. B.1. Write a description of the heroine, as you 4. Why do you think Miss Porter begins her conceive of her, giving both her physical at- story in the middle? tributes as well as those of her personality. 5. When the purse was taken, did the 2. The last sentence of the story states: "I heroine feel that she was being robbed of was right not to be afraid of any thief but more than money? Why? myself, who will end by leaving me nothing." 6. What does the janitress mean by the Do you think that the author is expressing a statement, "You're a grown woman, you've personal philosophy or a general had your chance, you ought to know how it philosophic truth? Discuss this idea in a is!"? Do agree with this point of view? short written essay of 150-200 words, or use it 7. How does the janitress's attitude change as the theme for a round-table debate with near the end of the story? your classmates.

239 237 CHAPTER XXXIII

SAUL BELLOW

Bellow (1915- ) grew up in Chicago after his parents moved from Canada to the United States. Unlike most leading American writers, he not only went to col- lege but did graduate work. In that way he represents the new, more formally edu- cated generation of American writers. He is an intellectual, unusually thoughtful and widely read. He is now a professor at the but his post allows him, out of respect for his reputation as an author, to do whatever teaching he likes. Correspondingly, his most recent novel, Herzog, is about a professor, though a less fortunate one than Bellow. In The Adventures of Augie March, the professor-hero has not yet emerged. Augie is a Chicago boy, brought up poor and Since an early moment in the nineteenth fatherless, educated chiefly on the streets century the writer has felt the obligation not to but also at home, which is a place both of repeat what has been done before, and to love and discipline. The novel, episode by strike some peculiar note of . episode, incident by incident, shows Augie * * * during the Depression, breaking away from his home and making his own way. Modern fiction has taken it upon itself to show He does many different jobs and gets experience as ever-new and ever-valuable. something of an education from the text- The very form of fiction is that of experience books that he steals to sell. He encounters itself. Everything is to be viewed as though for many kinds of mencrooked, honest, the first time. The representation of things is rich, and poor. He meets several girls who imperative, for the things of a modem man's fall in love with him as he travels through life are important. They are important because the United States, into Mexico, and on to man's career on this earth is held to be Europe. important. Literature has been committed to the importance of this assertion for a long But whatever he does, wherever he goes, time. he remains his own person. People like him, and want to help him and form last- Quoted in English Teaching Forum, ing relationships with him. A rich couple, July-August 1966, p. 21 for instance, wishes to adopt him even though he is already a young man. A rich girl wants to keep him as a lover. They do not succeed, nor does anyone else. He re- fuses to be bound.

24 0 238 SELECTION I thought he was sorry about the fight we had had over Lucy and Mimi. I wasn't In the excerpt from Angie reprinted below,angry any more but was looking ahead. we see a meeting between him and his older,Simon was heftier than before. The light highly successful brother Simon. Augie has broken up with his rich mistress of severalraglan with its chestnut buttons came open months and has just come back from Mexico,on his hard bare belly. Also his face was where he and his mistress have been living.larger, and rude, autocratic. The fat of it Simon, married into a wealthy family, is arrog-was not clear, as it is in some faces. Mrs. ant with success. He buys and sells, bullies andKlein, Jimmy's mother, had had a fat face, pushes. Yet Augie makes him uneasy. Augie has nothing, but he is free. The two brothersalmost oriental, but there the fat illumi- have not met for a long time, and the scenenated something. However, I found out shows how they respond to seeing one anotherthat I couldn't be critical of Simon when I again. saw him after a long interval. No matter The account of the meeting is given in thewhat he had done or what he was up toe direct, personal, and vital style which Bellownow, the instant I saw him Iloved him perfected in Angie. It seems almost a speaking style, pungent and vital. Though crammed with again. I couldn't help it. It came over me. I particulars, with details of description, the story wanted to be brothers again. And why did moves briskly. he come running for me if he didn't want the same? Well, now he wanted to know how rug- The Adventures of Augie March ged things had been for me, and I didn't Chapter 21 have any intention of telling him. What was I up to in Mexico? Simon did want to see me. As soon as he "I was in love with a girl." heard my voice over the phone he said, "You were, uh? And what else?" "Augie! Where are you? Stay put.'I'll I didn't say anything about the bird3 or come and pick you up right away." my failures and lessons. Maybe I should I was calling from a booth near my newhave. He criticized me anyway in his mind place, which wasn't far from the old, onfor my randomness and sentiment. So the South Side. He lived in the vicinity andwhat did I stand to lose by telling him the was there within a few minutes in his blackfacts? However, something haughty kept Cadillac, this beautiful enamel shell com-me. That was how brief the first warmth of ing so softly to the curb, inside like jewelry.love turned out to be. So he was judging He beckoned and I got in. "I have to gomewhat of it? Let him. Wasn't I busted right back," he said. "I left without a shirt;down'', creased, head-damaged, missing I just put on this coat and hat. Well, let'steeth, disappointed, and so forth? And look at you." couldn't I have said, "Well, all right, He said this, but actually didn't muchSimon, here I am." No, what I told him look, despite his rush to get down. Ofwas that I had gone down to Mexico to course he was driving, but just the touch ofwork out something important. manicured hands on the valuable stones Then he started to talk about himself. on the wheelsomething like jadedid the trick. The thing pretty well ran itself. I 2. was up to: was doing, was occupied with. 3. bird: here, slang for "girl." I. stay put: remain in one place. 4. busted down: slang for "failure."

239 241 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

He had built up his business and sold it at a "I know it." whopping profit. Since he didn't want to "You ought to quit stalling. You're not have to do with the Magnuses he had gonea boy. Even George is something, he's a into other kinds of business and he wasshoemaker." very lucky. He said, "I certainly do have You know, I did admire Georgie for the the gold touch. After all, I did start in theway he took his fate. I wished I had one Depression when everything was supposedthat was more evident, and that I could to be over and done with." Then he de-quit this pilgrimage of mine. I didn't feel I scribed how he had bought an old hospitalwas better than Simon, not at all. If there building at auction and turned it into ahad been real ease in me, he might have tenement. Inside of six months he hadenvied me. As it was, what was there to cleared fifty thousand bucks on this, andenvy? then had organized a management com- Bodily overbearing, his fashionable pany and run the place for the new own-pointed shoe on the rubber pad of the ac- ers. He had a large interest in a Spanishcelerator, he drove over the streets. This cobalt mine now. They sold the stuff inproud car, it had heraldry, it was royal, Turkey, or some place in the Middle East. and wasn't my brother like a prince of De- He also had a potato-chip concession introit, full of force and darkness? Why, several railroad stations. In fact, Einhornwhat was the matter with that, to be a himself couldn't have dreamed up suchpower of the world of machinery? Wasn't deals, much less have made them pay off.it good enough? And to what should you "How much do you think I'm worthgo rather? I wasn't proud of myself, be- now?" lieve me, and my stubbornness about a "A hundred grand?" "higher," independent fate.I was no He smiled. "Let yourself go a little," he wizard, for sure, nor gazetted as anything said. "If I'm not a millionaire soon there's aillustrious, nor billed to stand up to hitch in my arithmetic." Apollyons with his horrible scales and It impressed me; who wouldn't bebear's feet, nor slated to find the answer to impressed? He couldn't help seeing this.all my shames like Jean-Jacques6 on the Nevertheless, with his autocratic blues eyes way to Vincennes sinking down with emo- darkening, he looked at me and asked,tion of the conception that evil society is to "Augie, you don't think you're superior toblame for all that happened to warm, im- rue because you have no money, do you?" pulsive, loving me. There was no such The question made me laugh, andfirst-rate thing that I could boast, and who maybe I laughed more than I should have.was I, not to make up my mind and be so I said, "That's a strange thing to be asking.obstinate? The one thing I could say was How can I? And if I can, why should youthat though I wanted this independent care?" Then 1 said, "I guess it's true thatfate it wasn't merely for my own sake I people fix it to come out better than thosewanted it. near to them. Why, sure I'd like to have Oh, but why get too earnest? Seriousness money too." is only for a few, a gift or grace, and I didn't say that I had to have a fate good enough, and that this came first. 5. Apollyon: king of hell and angel of the bottomless pit, i.e., the devil. My answer satisfied him. "You're wast- 6. Jean-Jacques: Rousseau (1712-1778), Swiss-born ing a lot of time," he said. philosopher and writer.

242 240 SAUL BELLOW though all have it rough only the favoritesyou're going to do?" can speak of it plain and sober. "I wish I knew. But it seems to be one of "So when are you going to start whatthose things you can't rush."

SELECTION I

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Stateyour reasons.

A. 1.Is Simon really glad to see Augie? Explain B. 1. Augie is obviously a rather independent your answer. spirit. Do you feel that society generally pre- 2. What does Simon's question: "Augie, you fers conformity in a person and views the don't think you're superior to me because strongly individualistic citizen with a distrust you have no money, do you?" reveal about bordering on fear?In a short essay or Simon? speech, give the reasons for your belief. 3. Augie remarks that Simon is "like a prince 2. At the end of this excerpt, Augie observes: of , full of force and darkness." Do you "Seriousness is only for a few, a gift or grace, think he feels that Simon is somewhat satanic and though all have it rough only the favorites in nature? Explain your answer. can speak of it plain and sober." What does 4. Do the two March brothers have what you this observation mean to you? Do you agree would call a typical brotherly relationship? or disagree? Why?

SELECTION II back from the hunt; he swelled, hollered, turned things round, not so much showing The Adventures of Augie March me the great rooms as dominating them Chapter 21 (continued) typically. Well, there were vast rugs and table lamps as tall as lifesized dolls or "Well, people don't trust you if theyfemale idols, walls that were all mahogany, don't know what you do, and you can'tdrawers full of underwear and shirts, slid- blame them." ing doors that opened on racks of shoes, He pulled up before his apartment, andon rows of coats, cases of gloves, of socks, he left the Cadillac triple-parked' in thebottles of eau de cologne, little caskets, street for the doorman to worry about. Ris-lights the corners, water hissing ing up swift and soundless in the elevator,criss-cross in the showerstall. He took a we came to the ivory white door of his flat.shower. I went alone into the parlor; a As he opened it he was already yelling forhuge China vase was there, and in secret the maid to cook some ham and eggs rightI got up on a chair to lift the lid and away. He took on like a king, a Francis2look down, where I saw the reverse white bulge of the dragons and birds. The candy 1. triple-parked: of an automobile, parked (usually dishes were full of candyI had some unlawfully) alongside two other automobiles, one coconut balls and apricot marshmallows of which is properly parked parallel to the curb. 2. Francis: King Francis I of France (reigned walking around while Simon took his 1515-1547). shower. Then we went to eat, on a hand-

241 -243 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

some marble-topped round table. Thefor me. Anyway, just feel the material. chairs were red leather. The metal circleThere's nothing wrong with this suit." that held up the marble was worked all But this face was impatient, and he pul- around with peacocks and children's faces.led the jacket from me and said, "Strip!" The maid came from the blazing white ofHe dressed me in a double-breasted flan- the kitchen with the ham and eggs and cof-nel, very elegant soft gray. It certainly was fee. Simon's hand with its rings went out tomy fortune to be poor in style. From the test the heat of the cup. He behaved likeskin out he reclothed me in swell linen and some Italian Lord Moltocurante,3 jealoussilk socks, new shoes, and called the maid over the quality and exacting all he hadto have my old suit cleaned and sent to coming. meit was sort of shiny on the elbows. I knew we had gone way up in theThe other stuff he ordered her to throw elevator but hadn't noticed to what floor.down the incinerator. So it plunged down Now, after breakfast, when I strayed intointo the fire.I wiped my face with the one of the enormous carpeted rooms, darkmonogrammed handkerchief, now mine, as a Pullman when it sits with drawn blindsand felt around with my toes in the narrow in the station, I drew a drape aside and sawshoes, trying to accustom myself to them. we were on the twentieth story at least. ITo top it off he gave me fifty bucks. I hadn't had a look at Chicago yet since mymade efforts to refuse this, but my tongue return. Well, here it was again, westwardgot in its own way. "Go! Stop mumbling," from this window, the gray snarled cityhe said. "You have to have a little some- with the hard black straps of rails, enorm-thing in your pocket to live up to this out- ous industry cooking and its vapor shud-fit." He had a big gold money-clip dering to the air, the climb and fall of itsand all the bills were new. "Now let's go. I stages in construction or demolition likehave things to do at my office and Char- mesas, and on these the different powerslotte wants to be picked up at five. She's and sub-powers crouched and watchedat the accountant's, going over some of the like sphinxes. Terrible dumbness coveredbooks." He called down for the Cadillac, it, like a judgment that would never find itsand we drove away, stopping for scarcely word. anything in this lustrous hard shell with Simon came looking for me. He cried,radio playing. "Hey, what the hell are you doing in a dark In his office Simon wore his hat like a room, for Chrissake? Come on, you'reMember of Parliament, and while he going around with me today." phoned his alligator-skin shoes knocked He wanted me to know what his life wasthings off the desk. He was in on a deal4 to like. And maybe he thought I'd run intobuy some macaroni in Brazil and sell it in something that would appeal to me, for myHelsinki. Then he was interested in some future's sake. "Wait a minute though," hemining machinery from Sudbury, Ontario, said. "What kind of clown's suit are youthat was wanted by an Indo-Chinese com- wearing there? You can't go among peoplepany. The nephew of a Cabinet member dressed like that." came in with a proposition about water- "Listen, a friend of mine picked this outproof material. And after him some sharp

3. Lord Moltocurante: the author's fanciful term for 4. in on a deal: involved in a transaction, usually fi- one who affects aristocratic attitudes and manners. nancial.

2 4 4 242 SAUL BELLOW

character interested Simon in distressedsroast ona platter he broke off a piece of yard-goods6 from Muncie, Indiana. Hebread and sopped the gravy, covering the bought it. Then he sold it as lining to ameat with crumbs. The waiter hollered manufacturer of leather jackets. All thisand Simon yelled back, furiously laughing while he carried on over the phone andin his face too, "Why don't you wait on cursed and bullied, but that was just style,people then, you jerk!" not anger, for he laughed often. Finally they fed us, and then Simon Then we drove to his club for lunch, ar-seemed to find the afternoon dragging. riving late. There was no service in the din- We went into the cardroom where he ing room. Simon went into the kitchen toforced his way into a poker game. I could bawl out' the headwaiter. Seeing some pottell he was hated, but no one could stand up to him. He said to some bald-headed guy, "Push over, Curly!" and sat in. "This is my brother," he said as if bidding them 5. distressed: here, seized and held as security or in- to look at me in the opulent gray flannel demnity for a debt. and button-down collar. I lounged just be- 6. yard-goods: cloth which is sold by the yard (3 feet). 7. bawl out: scold or reprimand loudly. hind him in a leather chair...

SELECTION II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. How does Bellow want us to feel about Simon and Augie? A. 1. How does Simon act when he gets to his apartment? Do you expect this of him? B.1.In a composition of about 200-250 words, compare Bellow's style with that of Faulkner 2. Why did he make Augie put on other .or Hemingway. about clothes? What doesthisreveal 2. What writer in your national literature uses Simon's character? themes similar to those of Bellow? Prepare a 3. What does Simon do for a living? Do you short speech in which you make this com- think he likes his job? Explain. parison.

245 243 CHAPTER XXXIV

RALPH ELLISON

Ralph Ellison (1914) was born in Ok- lahoma. He has seen many sides of Negro life and has put the essence of them into his outstanding novel, Invisible Man. Though it was published in 1952, it is still timely. The characters are strongly if simply drawn. They are often types, often exagg- erations, but they stay in the reader's mind. There is the Negro president of the college the young hero attends, a shrewd, classic "Uncle Tom'," using both white and black men for his own benefit. There is the bigoted Southern businessman and his opposite number' in the North. There is the young Negro idealist who is killed be- cause of his idealism. There is the Black I am a novelist, not an activist. But I think that Nationalist leader, Ras the Exhorter, a no one who reads what I write or who listens kind of leader later to become much more to my lectures can doubt thatI am enlisted in important on the American scene. There the freedom movement. As to the individual, I is the Communist official in Harlem, using am primarily responsible for the health of the Negro to help the aims of the Party,

American literature and culture. When I write, I and a gallery of others, black and white. am trying to make some sense out of chaos. The nameless hero, the Invisible Man, To think that a writer must think about his meets all these characters in the course of Negroness is to fall into a trap. the book. A few treat him well. Most treat him badly. Many ignore him. They never Quoted in see him as a person. That is why at the end Magazine, November 20, 1966. of the book he retreats to complete invisi- America belongs to everyone who loves it. bility. No one can see him in his cellar ex- Each must live his life and understand it, and cept himself. be responsible for his own conscience. The Ellison tells his story with an intensity way home we each seek is that condition of that hits the reader hard. In the first chap- man's being at home in the world which is ter of the book, from which an excerpt is called love, and which we term democracy. reprinted below, the Invisible Man tells us what it means to be invisible and what he Quoted in Mirror, February 20, 1953.

1. Uncle Tom: term applied to Negroes whose be- havior towards whites is regarded as fawning or servile. 2.. opposite number: a person having a rank, posi- tion, or function comparable with that of another 246 in a different situation or organization. 244 has done in his desperate effort to copeman myself, wavering about on weakened with the problem. legs. Then I was amused. Something in this man's thick head had sprung out and SELECTION I beaten him within an inch of his life.I began to laugh at this crazy discovery. from Invisible Man Would he have awakened at the point of death? Would Death himself have freed Chapter 1 him for wakeful living? But I didn't linger. I ran away into the dark, laughing so One night I accidentally bumped into ahard I feared I might rupture myself. The man, and perhaps because of the nearnext day I saw his picture in the Daily News, darkness he saw me and called me an in-beneath a caption stating that he had been sulting name. I sprang at him, seized his"mugged'." Poor fool, poor blind fool, I coat and demanded that hethought with sincere compassion, mugged apologize. He was a tall blond man, and asby an invisible man! my face came close to his he looked insol- Most of the time (although I do not ently out of his blue eyes and cursed me,choose as I once did to deny the violence of his breath hot in my face as he struggled. Imy days by ignoring it) I am not so overtly pulled his chin down sharp upon theviolent. I remember that I am invisible and crown of my head, butting him as I hadwalk softly so as not to awaken the sleeping seen the West Indians do, and Ifelt hisones. Sometimes it is best not to awaken flesh tear and the blood gush out, and Ithem; there are few things in the world as yelled, "Apologize! Apologize!" But hedangerous as sleepwalkers. I learned in continued to curse and struggle, and I but-time though that it is possible to carry on a ted him again and again until he wentfight against them without their realizing down heavily, on his knees, profuselyit. For instance, I have been carrying on a bleeding. I kicked him repeatedly, in afight with Monopolated Light & Power for frenzy because he still uttered insultssome time now. I use their service and pay though his lips were frothy with blood. Ohthem nothing at all, and they don't know it. yes, I kicked him! And in my outrage I gotOh, they suspect that power is being out my knife and prepared to slit hisdrained off, but they don't know where. throat, right there beneath the lamplightAll they know is that according to the mas- in the deserted street, holding him byter meter back there in their power station the collar with one hand, and opening thea hell of a lot of free current is disappear- knife with my teethwhen it occurred toing somewhere into the jungle of Harlem. me that the man had not seen me, actually;The joke, of course, is that I don't live in that he, as far as he knew, was in the midstHarlem but in a border area. Several years of a walking nightmare! And I stopped theago (before I discovered the advantage of blade, slicing the air as I pushed him away,being invisible) I went through the routine letting him fall back to the street. I staredprocess of buying service and paying their at him hard as the lights of a car stabbedoutrageous rates. But no more. I gave up through the darkness. He lay there, moan-all that, along with my apartment, and my ing on the asphalt; a man almost killed by aold way of life: That way based upon the phantom. It unnerved me. I was both dis- gusted and ashamed. I was like a drunken 1. mugged: (slang) assaulted and robbed.

245 247 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE fallacious assumptiOri that I, like otherness. And I love light. Perhaps you'll think men, was visible. Now, aware of my invisi-it strange that an invisible man should bility, I live rent-free in a building rentedneed light, desire light, love light. But strictly to whites, in a section of the base-maybe it is exactly because I am invisible. ment that was shut off and forgotten dur-Light confirms my reality, gives birth to ing the nineteenth century, which I disco-my form. A beautiful girl once told me of a vered when I was trying to escape in therecurring nightmare in which she lay in night from Ras the Destroyer. But that'sthe center of a large dark room and felt getting too far ahead of the story, almost toher face expand until it filled the whole the end, although the end is in the begin-room, becoming a formless mass while her ning and lies far ahead. eyes ran in bilious jelly up the chimney. The point now is that I found a homeAnd so it is with me. Without light I am not or a hole in the ground, as you will. Nowonly invisible, but formless as well; and to don't jump to the conclusion that becausebe unaware of one's form is to live a death. I call my home a "hole" itis damp andI myself, after existing some twenty years, cold like a grave; there are cold holesdid not become alive until I discovered my and warm holes. Mine is a warm hole. Andinvisibility. remember, a bear retires to his hole for the That is why I fight my battle with winter and lives until spring; then heMonopolated Light & Power. The deeper comes strolling out like the Easter chickreason, I mean: It allows me to feel my breaking from its shell. I say all this to as-vital aliveness. I also fight them for taking sure you that it is incorrect to assume that,so much of my money before I learned to because I'm invisible and live in a hole, Iprotect myself. In my hole in the basement am dead. I am neither dead nor in a statethere are exactly 1,369 lights. I've wired of suspended animation. Call me Jack- the entire ceiling, every inch of it. And not the-Bear, for I am in a state of hibernation.with fluorescent bulbs, but with the older, My hole is warm and full of light. Yes,more-expensive-to-operate kind, the fila- full of light. I doubt if there is a brighterment type. An act of sabotage, you know. spot in all New York than this hole ofI've already begun to wire the wall. A junk mine, and I do not exclude Broadway.man I know, a man of vision, has supplied Or the Empire State Building on ame with wire and sockets. Nothing, storm photographer's dream night. But that isor flood, must get in the way of our need taking advantage of you. Those two spotsfor light and ever more and brighter light. are among the darkest of our wholeThe truth is the light and light is the truth. civilizationpardon me, our whole cultureWhen I finish all four walls, then I'll start (an important distinction, I've heard) on the floor. Just how that will go, I don't which might sound like a hoax, or a con-know. Yet when you have lived invisible as tradiction, but that (by contradiction, Ilong as I have you develop a certain in- mean) is how the world moves: Not likegenuity. I'll solve the problem. And maybe an arrow, but a boomerang. (Beware ofI'll invent a gadget to place my coffeepot those who speak of the spiral of history;on the fire while I lie in bed, and even they are preparing a boomerang. Keep ainvent a gadget to warm my bedlike steel helmet handy.) I know; I have beenthe fellow I saw in one of the picture boomeranged across my head so muchmagazines who made himself a gadget to that I now can see the darkness of light-warm his shoes! Though invisible, I am in

246 248 RALPH ELLISON the great American tradition of .red liquid over the white mound, watching That makes me kin to Ford2, Edison3 andit glisten and the vapor rising as Louis Franklin4. Call me, since I have a theorybends that military instrument into a beam and a concept, a "thinker-tinker." Yes, I'llof lyrical sound. Perhaps I like Louis Arm- warm my shoes; they need it, they're usu-strong because he's made poetry out of ally full of holes. I'll do that and more. being invisible. I think it must be because Now I have one radio-phonograph; Ihe's unaware that he is invisible. And my plan to have five. There is a certain acous-own grasp of invisibility aids me to under- tical deadness in my hole, and when I havestand his music. Once when I asked for a music I want to feel its vibration, not onlycigarette, some jokers gave me a reefer6, with my ear but with my whole body. I'dwhich I lighted when I got home and sat like to hear five recordings of Louislistening to my phonograph. It was a Armstrong5 playing and singing "Whatstrange evening. Invisibility, let me exp- Did I Do to Be so Black and Blue"all atlain, gives one a slightly different sense the same time. Sometimes now I listen toof time, you're never quite on the beat. Louis while I have my favorite dessert ofSometimes you're ahead and sometimes vanilla ice cream and sloe gin. I pour thebehind. Instead of the swift and impercep- tible flowing of time, you are aware of its 2.Ford: Henry Ford (1863-1947), American au-nodes, those points where time stands still tomobile manufacturer. or from which it leaps ahead. And you slip 3. Edison: Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931), American inventor. into the breaks and look around. That's 4. Franklin: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Ameri- what you hear vaguely in Louis' music... can statesman, writer, and inventor. 5. Louis Armstrong: famous American jazz musician (1900-1971). 6. reefer: (slang) marijuana cigarette.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 6. Are bursts of violence usual with the narrator? A. 1. Why does the narrator in this excerpt at- 7. How does he customarily handle his tack the other man? "invisibility"? Why. 2. Why does he stop short of slitting the other 8. Why is it appropriate philosophically that man's throat with his knife? the narrator live rent-free? 3. What does the narrator mean when he 9. Why isit so necessary to him that his says he suddenly realized that the white man cellar home be full of light? did not see him? 10. What does he mean when he says he can 4. What was hisfirstreactiontothis see the darkness of lightness? What out- realization? His second reaction? wardly light places does he say are the 5. Explain the meaning of these words: darkest parts of American culture? What "Something in this man's thick head had does he mean by this? sprung out and beaten him within an inch of 11. Why does the narrator refer to the junk his life." man who is supplying him with wire and

247 24S. HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

sockets as "a man of vision"? Do you think 15. How does his sense of time help the this reference has meaning on more than one narrator to understand Armstrong's music? level of interpretation? 12.In what way does the narrator say he is B. 1.Is race the only criterion that society uses like his invisible compatriots? to make a person invisible? Explain. 13. Why does he say Louis Armstrong was 2. The narrative in this excerpt is given as a able to make poetry out of being invisible? soliloquy. Is there an advantage to this type 14. How is an invisible person's sense of of presentation considering the nature of the time different from that of a visible person? novel?

248 24)r CHAPTER XXXV

ROBERT LOWELL THEODORE ROETHKE RANDALL JARRELL JAMES WRIGHT

SOME CONTEMPORARY POETIC VOICES Robert Lowell (1917-1977) Of the many poets writing in the United Sincerity and a fascination with oppositions States in recent years one of the most are among the most representative themes of outstanding was Robert Lowell. Related the contemporary writer. These can be as he was to such earlier American poets as reflected in the poet's temperament as well as and , in his choice of subject matter. An intense awareness of the difference between Robert Lowell came by his interest in appearance and fact, seeming and being, the poetry naturally. His first book of poems, superficial and the essential, in idea, is Land of Unlikeness, was published in 1944. matched by a bold sometimes daring use of From this volume he selected the best oppositions, of unexpected juxtapositions, in poems, which he reworked and published form. as Lord Weary's Castle. This collection won the Pulitzer Prize in 1946. Other volumes English Teaching Forum, of. his poetry are: The Mills of the Kava- January-February 1971, p. 12naughs (1951), (1959), and For the Union Dead (1964). Lowell taught at a number of schools, including Kenyon Col- lege, Boston University, and Harvard. Lowell's earlier poems, especially those that appeared in Lord Weary's Castle, rep- resented an involvement with the tradi- tions of the poets of the generation of T. S. Eliot and . However, in both subject matter and language, his later poems seem a departure from these tradi- tions and assume a more contemporary posture. Because of his early traditional approach and later divergence, Lowell was one of the most transitional of contempor- ary American poets. Perhaps the chief characteristic of Lowell's poetry is its vitality. He never overelaborates about a feeling or thought just so that it will fill a poem, but instead packs the lines he writes with exuberant energy. Sometimes he may prove difficult to understand, yet he is not one who loves obscurity for its own sake. His rhyme and

249 251 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE rhythm are regular, and the beat of hisrelief from her feeling of guilt, Katherine can- verses is strong; we can feel the pulse in not bring herself to enter the church to make them. When one of his rhymes is off or aher confession. She cries and asks God's for- giveness for her sin, but never succeeds in en- rhythm is wrenched, it is for a poetic pur-tering the confessional as other penitents are pose. doing. Without her lover's presence to bolster her courage and without him to share in the SELECTION I church's ritual of asking for and receiving God's pardon, she finds herself even more "Katherine's Dream," reprinted here, is onealone and abandoned. In her dream she seems of a group of four poems called "Between theto be locked into her adultery. And though it is Porch and the Altar," found in the larger work,all a dream, the poet makes us realize that it is a Lord Weeny's Castle. Katherine is the mistress of a symbol of reality, too. man who, despite his love for her, cannot put Although Lowell was converted to Catholi- his wife and two children out of his thoughts.cism in 1940, in his writings he has often been To complicate the affair further, Katherine'sbent on probing his Puritan past and exploring father is being driven to drink because of herthe burden of guilt that has always haunted the illicit love affair. The two lovers sin but notNew England mind (much in the manner of without grief, tension, and regret. Hawthorne before him). In many ways his Three of the four poems are written from thesympathies have been engaged by the ancestral viewpoint of the man, but in "Katherine'sCalvinistic views of man and the world. In Dream" the woman is the speaker. We find her"Katherine's Dream" Lowell expresses the an- alone, full of remorse and penitence in the yardcient idea that the wages of sin are to be paid in of St. Patrick's Church. Though she wants somethis world as well as in the next.

from LORD WEARY'S CASTLE

KATHERINE'S DREAM

It must have been a Friday. I could hear The top-floor typist's thunder and the beer That you had brought in cases hurt my head; I'd sent the pillows flying from my bed, I hugged my knees together and I gasped. The dangling telephone receiver rasped Like someone in a dream who cannot stop For breath or logic till his victim drop To darkness and the sheets. I must have slept, But still could hear my father who had kept Your guilty presents but cut off my hair. He whispers that he really doesn't care If I am your kept woman all my life, Or ruin your two children and your wife; But my dishonor makes him drink. Of course I'll tell the court the truth for his divorce.

250 252 ROBERT LOWELL, THEODORE ROETHKE, RANDALL JARRELL and JAMES WRIGHT

I walk through snow into. St. Patrick's yard. Black nuns with glasses smile and stand on guard Before a bulkhead in a bank of snow, Whose charred doors open, as good people go Inside by twos to the confessor. One Must have a friend to enter there, but none Is friendless in this crowd, and the nuns smile. I stand aside and marvel; for a while The winter sun is pleasant and it warms My heart with love for others, but the swarms Of penitents have dwindled. I begin To cry and ask God's pardon for our sin. Where are you? You were with me and are gone. All the forgiven couples hurry on To dinner and their nights, and none will stop. I run about in circles till I drop Against a padlocked bulkhead in a yard Where faces redden and the snow is hard.

SELECTION II commonly witnessed in contemporary society. Like the empty whiskey bottle which he has "I want the reader of my poems to say, thisthrown into the river, and which, cork and all, is true," Lowell observed in a recent magazine has been sucked under, the subject of the interview. In "The Drinker" he succeeds inpoem has been pulled under by the harsh cur- arousing unanimous agreement in his readers rent of life. And like Katherine in the pre- as to the truth of the sordid scene which heceding poem, he, too, is paying the wages of has so vividly portrayed. It is a tragedy toosin in this world.

THE DRINKER

The man is killing timethere's nothing else. No help now from the fifth of Bourbon' chucked helter-skelter into the river, even its cork sucked under.

Stubbed before-breakfast cigarettes burn bull's-eyes on the bedside table; a plastic tumbler of alka seltzer' champagnes3 in the bathroom.

No help from his body, the whale's warm-hearted blubber, foundering down leagues of ocean, gasping whiteness. The barbed hooks fester. The lines snap tight.

251 253 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

When he looks for neighbors, their names blur in the window, his distracted eyes see only glass sky. His despair has the galvanized color of the mop and water in the galvanized bucket.

Once she was close to him as water to the dead metal. He looks at her engagements inked on her calendar. A list of indictments. At the numbers in her thumbed black telephone book. A quiver full of arrows.

Her absence hisses like steam, the pipes sing... even corroded metal somehow functions. He snores in his iron lung, and hears the voice of Eve, beseeching freedom from the Garden's perfect and ponderous bubble. No voice outsings the serpent's flawed, euphoric hiss.

The cheese wilts in the rat-trap, the milk turns to junket in the cornflakes bowl, car keys and razor blades shine in an ashtray.

Is he killing time? Out on the street, two cops on horseback clop through the April rain to check the parking meter violations their yellow as forsythia.

1. Bourbon: whiskey made from corn (maize), originally produced in Bourbon County, Kentucky. 2. Alka Seltzer: effervescent commercial preparation for the relief of gastric dis- comfort. 3 champagnes: forms bubbles (like champagne).

SELECTIONS I and II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS fective contrast with the mood of the remain- der of the poem? Katherine's Dream 2. What kindof man do you imagine A. 1. How do the first nine lines provide an ef- Katherine's father to be?

25 4 252 ROBERT LOWELL, THEODORE ROETHKE, RANDALL JARRELL and JAMES WRIGHT

3. Do youfeelsympathyorpityfor The Drinker Katherine? Explain your answer. 4. Explain the meaning of theline,"Of 1. What word-pictures does the poet use to course/I'll tell the court the truth for his di- intensify the morbidness of the scene? vorce." 2. To what does the poet compare the physi- 5. What kind of relationship exists between cal manifestations of the hangover which the the father and the daughter? drinker is suffering through? Why is this a 6. Would you say that this is a religious particularly effective comparison? poem? Explain. 3. What does the fourth stanza tell us about 7. Do you think Katherine would have gone the drinker's personal life? into the confessional if her lover had been 4. The last stanza begins with a question: "Is with her? Discuss. he killing time?" How would you answer this question? B. 1. Do you agree with Lowell's implication 5. What is the principal tragedy depicted in that our sins are paid for in this world as well the poem? as the next? Debate this question with your 6. What is the purpose of the last three and classmates. one-half lines? 2. What modern poets in your national litera- 7. What feelingtowardthedrinkeris ture compare with Lowell in style and subject aroused in yousympathy, pity, disdain, matter? anger, indifference? Explain your answer.

wasreflected in his first book of poems, Open House, published in 1941. After grad- uating from the and Harvard, Roethke taught in a number of universities and, like many contem- porary poets, he continued to write poetry while teaching. His volume of poetry, The Waking: Poems 1933-1953 won the Pulit- zer Prize in 1953, and his collected poems, Words For The Wind, won the in 1959. His last volume, The Far Field, was awarded the same prize in 1964 posthumously. Roethke's work has been called "person- al, lyrical, and spontaneous." He has been highly praised by contemporary critics, some of whom consider him to have been one of the three or four best poets writing Theodore Roethke (1908-1963) in the United States at mid-century. Of himself Roethke has said: "I have a gen- Theodore Roethke grew up in Saginaw,uine love of nature... A perception of Michigan, where inhis spare time henatureno matter how delicate, how sub- helped his father in the family's floristtle,how evanescentremains with me business. By working with plants and flow-forever." His poems about natural subjects ers he developed a love of nature whichare, however, not simply "nature poems"

253 255 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE in the objective sense. Rather, they mirrorabandonment and who search for deeper the poet's own inner strugglesthe alter-sources of feeling and knowledge, Roethke nate heights and depths of his emotion.succeeded in facing up to the terrors of An extremely skillful technician, Roethkemodern life by expressing a kind of joyful manipulated rhyme and rhythm with suchdefiance: competence that the reader often senses We think by feeling. What is there to the meaning of a poem emotionally before know? he has grasped it intellectually. I hear my being dance from ear to ear. Contrary to many contemporary poets I wake to sleep, and take my waking who display feelings of alienation and slow.

Selection I

NIGHT JOURNEY

Now as the train bears west, Its rhythm rocks the earth, And from my Pullman berth I stare into the night While others take their rest. Bridges or iron lace, A suddenness of trees, A lap of mountain mist All cross my line of sight, Then a bleak wasted place, And a lake below my knees. Full on my neck I feel The straining at a curve; My muscles move with steel, I wake in every nerve. I watch a beacon swing From dark to blazing bright; We thunder through ravines And gullies washed with light. Beyond the mountain pass Mist deepens on the pane; We rush into a rain. That rattles double glass. Wheels shake the roadbed stone, The pistons jerk and shove, I stay up half the night To see the land I love.

254 256 ROBERT LOWELL, THEODORE ROETHKE, RANDALL JARRELL and JAMES WRIGHT

Selection II

THE WAKING

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know? I hear my being dance from ear to ear. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you? God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there, And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how? The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair; I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do To you and me; so take the lively air, And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go.

SELECTIONS I & II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS convey the idea of the speed of the train? The sense of the movement of the train? Night Journey 2. What poeticdevicescontributetothe melodic quality of the poem?Howdoes the poet 1. This poem describes the United States as achieve the sense of the kaleidoscopic view one seen from a Pullman berth on a train. What lines has from the windows of a moving train?

255 257 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

3. Compare Roethke's poetic style with Robert nected rather than logically consecutive. Is this Lowell's. characteristic related to the thought content? Do you think the poem is coherent or incoherent? The Waking Give your reasons. 4. What are the paradoxes stated in the poem? 1. What images of life and death does the poet Are they appropriate? Explain. convey? Of time and eternity? 5. Do you think the poet's counsel of learning 2. What is the meaning of the second line of the where to go is a good one? Give your reasons. first stanza? 6.Is the general tone of the poem positive or 3. The statements in the poem seem discon- negative? Explain your answer.

Randall Jarrell (1914-1965) stories, and a novel. In his poems, especial- ly those written after World War II, one Randall Jarrell was reared in Nashville,encounters an air of fantasy, a certain Tennessee, and graduated from Vander-dreamlikequality,apparentin"The biltUniversity there. After graduation,Breath of Night," which is printed below. he taught atcolleges and universities Called "one of the most gifted poets and scattered from Texas to New York andcritics of his generation," Jarrell was the also at the Salzburg (Austria) Seminar inrecipient of a number of literary prizes for American Civilization. During World Warhis poetry and was widely known for his II he helped to train airplane crews forwritings as editor and critic of contem- the Air Force at a baseporary poetry. Of him, writer Philip Booth in Arizona. He served one year as literaryhas said that Jarrell "constantly stretched editor of the magazine, The Nation. Fromhimself to find a language commensurate 1956 to 1958 he was Consultant in Poetry withhisaffectionatesadnessforthe to the . human condition." Another poet, Stanley Jarrell was one of a number of younger Kunitz, has pointed out that "all the voices poets who first gained attention for hisin all of Jarrell's poems are crying 'Change war poems. A prolific writer, he publishedme!' The young yearn to be old in order several volumes of poetry, including Theto escape from their nocturnal fears; the WomanattheWashingtonZoo,which old long for the time of their youth, no won the National Book Award in 1961,matter how poor and miserable it was, for and he also wrote critical essays, short `in those days everything was better.' "

Selection I

THE BREATH OF NIGHT

The moon rises., The red cubs rolling In the ferns by the rotten oak Stare over a marsh and a meadow To the farm's white wisp of smoke.

256 258 ROBERT LOWELL, THEODORE ROETHKE, RANDALL JARRELL and JAMES WRIGHT

A spark burns, high in heaven. Deer thread the blossoming rows Of the old orchard, rabbits Hop by the well-curb. The cock crows

From the tree by the widow's walk'; Two stars, in the trees to the west, Are snared, and an owl's soft cry Runs like a breath through the forest.

Here too, though death is hushed, though joy Obscures, like night, their wars, The beings of this world are swept By the Strife that moves the stars.

1. widow's walk: in New England, the name of an elevated vantage point on a dwelling, from which one could have a clear view of the sea.

Selection II

IN THOSE DAYS

In those daysthey were long ago The snow was cold, the night was black. I licked from my cracked lips A snowflake, as I looked back

Through branches, the last uneasy snow. Your shadow, there in the light, was still. In a little the light went out. I went on, stumblingtill at last the hill

Hid the house. And, yawning, In bed in my room, alone, I would look out: over the quilted Rooftops, the clear stars shone.

How poor and miserable we were, How seldom together! And yet after so long one thinks: In those days everything was better.

'EST COPY AVAILABLE 257 2 5.a HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

SELECTIONS I & II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 2. Who is the "you," do you think, referred to in line 2 of the second stanza? Give your reasons. The Breath of Night 3. This poem is an example of the way poetry can be made out of the way people speak, yet it 1. What time of year is described in the firstretains a poetic unity. How does the poet suc- three stanzas? What mood or feeling do these ceed in keeping these lines from being a piece stanzas evoke in the reader? Give examples ofof prose? poetic images used to create this mood or feel- 4.Is it generally true that the sharing of suffering ing. or hardships brings people closer together? 2. Explain the meaning of the last stanza. What Discuss. purpose do the words, "Here too," serve? 5. Who is the "we" of the last stanza? Why do 3. What relationship does the poet establish you think the poet reaches the conclusion that between the idea developed in the last stanza everything was better 'in those days'? Does the and the atmosphere he creates in the first three? past look better in retrospect only to older peo- ple or do the young also share this feeling? Ex- In Those Days plain your answer. 6. Does man, by nature, tend not to appreciate 1. What atmosphere does the poet create in the thepresent moment tothefullestextent first three stanzas? possible? Give reasons to support your answer.

James Wright (1927-1980) Institute of Arts and Letters. His first book of poetry, The Green Wall, was published The youngest poet represented in thisby Yale University as the first of its series chapter, James Wright was born in Martinsof volumes by promising new poets. Ferry, Ohio. After graduating from Ken- Critics have compared Wright's poetry yon College, he spent a year in Vienna asto that of Edwin Arlington Robinson and a Fulbright scholar. He received his M. A.Robert Frost. Like these older poets, he and Ph. D. degrees from the University ofmost often uses both rhyme and conven- Washington and taught English at Huntertional meter and the simple language in College in New York. which he states his ideas. He views hu- Among the many honors Wright wonmanity with compassion and understand- for his poems are the Robert Frost Poetrying, one example of which we may see in Prize,the memorial prize from Poetryhis poem, "Mutterings Over The Crib Of A magazine, the Kenyon Review poetry fel-Deaf Child." In "A Blessing," Wright ar- lowship, and a grant from the Nationalticulates a lyricism of pure joy.

260. 258 ROBERT LOWELL, THEODORE ROETHKE, RANDALL JARRELL and JAMES WRIGHT

Selection I

MUTTERINGS OVER THE CRIB OF A DEAF CHILD

"How will he hear the bell at school, Arrange the broken afternoon, And know how to run across the cool Grasses where the starlings cry, Or understand the day is gone?"

Well, someone lifting curious brows Will take the measure of the clock. And he will see the birchen boughs Outside sagging dark from the sky, And the shade crawling upon the rock.

"And how will he know to rise at morning? His mother has other sons to waken, She has the stove she must build to burning Before the coals of the nighttime die; And he never stirs when he is shaken."

I take it the air affects the skin, And you remember, when you were young, Sometimes you could feel the dawn begin, And the fire would call you, by and by, Out of the bed and bring you along.

"Well, good enough. To serve his needs All kinds of arrangements can be made. But what will you do if his finger bleeds? Or a bobwhite whistles invisibly And flutes like an angel off in the shade?"

He will learn pain. And, as for the bird, It is always darkening when that comes out. I will putter as though I had not heard, And lift him into my arms and sing Whether he hears my song or not.

259 261 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Selection II

A BLESSING

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass. And the eyes of those two Indian ponies Darken with kindness. They have come gladly out of the willows To welcome my friend and me. We step over the barbed wire into the pasture Where they have been grazing all day, alone. They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness That we have come. They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other. There is no loneliness like theirs. At home once more, They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness. I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms, For she has walked over to me And nuzzled my left hand. She is black and white, Her mane falls wild on her forehead, And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist. Suddenly I realize That if I stepped out of my body I would break Into blossom.

SELECTIONS I & II

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 6. Does the poet's use of the language of ordi- Mutterings Over The Crib of a Deaf Child nary speech and natural word order add to the 1. How many persons are speaking in the effectiveness of the poem? Give reasons for your poem? Give reasons for your answer. answer. 2. What particular problem for the deaf child isA Blessing raised in stanza 1? in stanza 3? How are the problems solved? 1. What does the poet mean by saying that 3.In what way are the problems posed in stanza "There is no loneliness like theirs"? 5 different from those mentioned in stanzas 1 2. This poem uses none of the traditional de- and 3? Is there a solution to these problems? vices of lyric poetry, i.e., rhyme, metronomic Explain your answer. meter, yet it has a distinctly lyric quality. How do 4. How does the poet show his compassion in you explain this? this poem? 3. What do you think the poet means by the last 5.Is the poem overly sentimental? Explain. two lines of the poem?

262 260 MODERN AMERICAN DRAMA

Drama was the last of the literary types to literally thousands have been written and which American writers have made a produced in schools, colleges, civic and significant contribution, and this only in the community theaters, and professional theaters, last fifty or sixty years with appearance of the radio and television drama helped to form a works of such playwrights as Edward Al bee, new breed of one-act play dramatists. , Eugene O'Neill, Robert E. Historically, in 1915, the Washington Square Sherwood, Neil Simon, , and Players (who eventually became the . world-famous Theatre Guild) chose three Colonial Americans enjoyed plays and even one-act plays for their first public performance the Puritans attended dramas called "moral at the Bandbox Theater in New York City. In dialogues." In the American South both the first three years of their history, the Charleston, and Williamsburg, Washington Square Players performed 62 Virginia had active theaters many years before one-act plays, many of which were written by the Revolutionary War. New York and famous playwrights of the time. Philadelphia had theatrical centers in the 18th Perhaps the greatest positive influence on century. During the period of westward the development of the one-act play in expansion, traveling companies of actors went American drama was that of Eugene O'Neill. by stagecoach and canal or river boats to In 1916 his first play to be produced was carry plays to the pioneering settlers. Some presented by the Provincetown Players. acting companies built theaters on river boats, Probably no other dramatist in American called "showboats," which moved up and theater history has written so many excellent down such rivers as the Ohio and the one-act plays, many of which are still being Mississippi, giving theatrical presentations at acted today. Since 1916 most of America's larger towns and cities along the way. The outstanding playwrights have first succeeded advent of the railroads brought even closer with plays in a one-act form. And today the ties between the geographical regions and short play is enjoying great success both on soon nearly every town had its "opera house" Broadway and in a number of cities outside of where shows played during the "season." New York. As years passed, the "opera houses" were The first short play included in Highlights is converted into motion picture theaters as a radio play by George Bamber, entitled Hollywood began to produce film dramas Return to Dust. The play was first presented which nearly everyone could afford to see, on a popular radio series of the 1950s called and which were easily accessible to the Suspense, a type of weekly anthology of general public. The radio soon brought radio thrilling and chilling tales of , plays directly into the home, and, within a few fantasy, and horror. Return to Dust is an more years, television brought the magic of excellent example of the kind of tense and live drama before the eyes of millions of avid imaginative stories featured weekly on viewers. Today, not only are movies and Suspense. television adaptations of famous Broadway The Other Player, a one-act play by Owen plays being presented on the television G. Arno, is an excellent example of the type of screen, but also a new and growing field of short drama in which the central action drama has sprung up thetelevisionplay, concerns a person who is dead, but who, at one written especially fortelevision production. the same time, provides the nucleus of the Both radio and television, because of the dramatic impact of the play. Jeffrey Corlin is time and space limits of each medium, were central to the action of the play, yet the fertile ground for the development of the short audience never sees him. At the time the drama, the one-act play. Although the one-act play opens, he is already dead, and play has been a popular form of entertainment the audience sees him through the eyes of in America for more than 60 years, and different people and in different ways.

261 263 CHAPTER XXXVI RETURN TO DUST

by George Bamber

Bamber's excellent play develops a theme familiar to anyone who has read Gulliver's Travels: By changing a mares size, you change his perception of reality, a theme frequently treated by writers of fantasy and science fiction. In Return to Dust a laboratory accident has disastrous results. The "hero" is turned "victim" of his own invention by shrinking him to such small dimensions that ordinary objects take on monstrous proportions that threaten his very life! In this dramatically modified environment, the central character, growing tinier by the minute, desperately struggles to getan antidote before he disappears.

CHARACTERS

James Howard, a research scientist Miss Pritchart, a secretary Dr. Bader, Director of Research

ACT ONE

[Music: up and out] JAMES: [Gaining presence with the breathy quality of an amateur] Testing... one two three. Testing-testing. Attention, Dr. Warren Bader, Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, State University. Dear Dr. Bader: This is James Howard, Research Fellow in Pathology speaking. Ahhh, I don't know quite how to begin. At the moment I am seated on the tape recorder that is recording this message to you. As a point of fact, by the yard stick on my desk, I stand exactly one foot, one inch tall and I am steadily decreasing in size. Ahhh-. I am on top of my desk; I climbed up here before I should shrink to a point where I would be physically unable to get from the floor to the chair and thus to the desk top, and the telephone. Ahh, it is a very strange experience to find one's desk an insurmountable object, like a mountain, to climb. However, the phone is by my side now and since it is my last contact with the outside world, it is imperative that I do not become separated from it. I have been trying to reach you by phone since eight this morning. As you are not at home, and have not yet arrived at your office, it occurred to me there exists a distinct possibility that I might not be able to contact you before it becomes too late. I calculate that if I continue to shrink at my present rate of speed, it is possible that I will become invisible to the human eye sometime before midnight.

262 264 RETURN TO DUST

Since you are the only person with an adequate scientific background and technical knowledge to save me, it is imperative that my last whereab- outs is known to you in the event that I cannot contact you by phone. [Quickly] I'm confident that it will just be a matter of moments before I do; this recording is merely a precaution. As you will have discovered by now, I have gone against your orders and pursued my theory of cancer cell growth by working at night after my regular duties. This is the same theory I proposed in publication December 1, 1957, and which you publicly ridiculed in the Scientific American Journal, September 3, 1958. Unfortunately, you were wrong, Dr. Bader. The bio- chemical agent not only stops abnormal cell division, but reduces the exist- ing cells in physical size until the neutralizer is induced. [Groping for proof] The fact that I have shrunk from five and one half feet to one foot should be proof beyond refutation, though my condition is the result of an acci- dent. While trying to introduce a more powerful catalyst in last night, I inadvertently created an uncontrolled reaction which manifested itself as a white mist which filled the entire lab. The mist lasted no more than a few seconds and as I could observe no effects other than this, I continued working. When I got home, I descended into one of the deepest and blackest sleeps I have ever experienced. I awoke this morning to dis- cover myself literally lost in a sea of blankets. I had shrunk five feet during the night. Naturally, my first reaction was one of panic, but I soon realized that my only salvation was to remain calm until I contacted you. You'll find a more complete report of my theory, and the experiments which I've' conducted to prove it, in the uncompleted thesis here on my desk. [Thing to conceal his pride] My thesis, Dr. Bader, will open the door to a cure for man's worst disease: Cancer. Ahhh-hem. As for myself, you'll find detailed instructions on how to reverse the action which I've accidentally initiated upon myself. You'll find this on pages [grunting] 79. [Sound: Exaggerated sound, as if the first page of a manuscript were being turned close to a microphone]

JAMES: ...through 82, yes, that's right: 79 through 82. No matter how small I may become, even microscopic, you will be able to reverse the process if you follow the instructions on those pages. [He grunts, as if dropping the leaf of a heavy book] [Sound: The swish and thud of page and book cover closing] JAMES: [Introspectively] To think that the cover of my thesis, the manuscript I used to carry easily in one hand, has become as difficult for me to move as the cover to my grave. [Shaking himself out of his reverie] Here now, no time for morbidity. I had better place another telephone call to your office, Dr. Bader, while I'm still big enough to dial the phone. [Sound: Under his speech, James' footsteps across the papers on his desk to the phone]

263 265 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

JAMES:It is just possible your efficient secretary forgot to tell you that I called. [Amused] The phone has grown almost half as tall as I am. [He lifts the phone] A strange sensation. [Sound: We hear the phone being bumped from its cradle and then clatter as he lets it fall to the desk. The dialing of the phone is exaggerated in amplitude; while the release spin is normal, the wind up is tortured] JAMES: [Dialing, with effort] Who would think [Grunt] the tensor springs on

these... dials would be so... strong. [He laughs] And who would think... I would have to use both hands...to dial a telephone. [He chuckles mirthlessly] Steady, James Howard; now is no time to misdial. [Sound: The last digit of the number spins into place and we settle down to wait as the phone rings at the other end of the line, once, twice, three times before it is finally picked up] MISS PRITCHART: [She is a woman who has retained her maidenhood for fifty-three years, not only physically, but mentally as well] [Filtered] Pathology, Dr. Bader's office. Miss Pritchart speaking. JAMES: [Unable to hide the urgency of his situation from his voice] Miss Pritchart, has Dr. Bader come in yet? MISS P:[Filtered] Who shall I say is calling? JAMES:This is James Howard, Miss Pritchart. It's urgent. MISS P:[Filtered] It doesn't sound like you, Mr. Howard. JAMES:It's meIall right. MISS P:[Silence as the line goes dead] I'm sorry, Dr. Bader isn't in. I have your number... JAMES: Are you sure? MISS P:[Filtered] Yes, I am sure. Dr. Bader is not, at this moment, in his office. JAMES: Now look, Miss Pritchart, don't pull that Dr. Bader-isn't-in stuff to me. You tell Dr. Bader I have to talk to him. MISS P:[Filtered] I'm sorry, Mr. Howard, Dr. Bader is not in. JAMES: Look, this is a matter of life and death. MISS P:[Filtered] Mr. Howard... JAMES: Tell him to answer his damn telephone. MISS P:[Filtered] Mr. Howard, I assure you Dr. Bader is not in his office. I will have him call you as soon as he comes in. In the meantime, is there any- thing I can do? JAMES: There's nothing anyone can do but Dr. Bader. He's the only man in the world that can help me. Do you understand that? MISS P:[Filtered] Well, I'll tell him as soon as he comes in. JAMES: Yes, you do that, Miss Pritchart. [Sound: The filtered click of the receiver being hung up at her end of the line, the thump and clatter of the phone at his end as he replaces it on the cradle] JAMES: [Silence, after a moment] Why Dr. Bader, why of all days did you have to pick today to change your routine? For the last twenty years you've been in 266 264 RETURN TO DUST

your office from nine until twelve. Why in hell did you have topick this morning to change? [Music: Up and outend of Act fl

ACT TWO

[Music: Up and out, indicates passage of time] JAMES: Yes, self preservation is the most powerful instinct. It is now three-thirty in the afternoon, and I have shrunk to the incredible height of six inches, and I am continuing to shrink, yet I am taking every precaution to guaran- tee that I stay alive. But what have I got to live for? What am I? A thirty-two-year old, old man that's losing his hair in front and walks with a stoop from yearsof hunching over microscopes to watch little cells divide. And what have I got to show for it? A cheap furnished room, a meager position as a research fellow, which doesn't pay enough to live like other people. Not enough to have a wife or children. And no dignity certainly: Yes, Dr. Bader, no, Dr. Bader, most assuredly, Dr. Bader. The old hypocrite! [Sound: In the background, we hear the tentative chirp of a parakeet] JAMES: All that I can call mine is in : one suit, some socks with holes in them, piles of heavy books, the microscope on my desk, and a tape recorder to record my notes on. That's all that will be left of Mr. James Howard, research fellow. [Sound: The chattering of the parakeet attracts our attention. He is in a cage overhead] JAMES: [Slightly cheered] Excuse me, Dr. Pasteur. [Sound: Bird again] JAMES: And one green and gold parakeet with the name of Pasteur. [Sound: Bird] JAMES: [Shouting up to cage] To pose a hypothetical problem, Dr. Pasteur, who's going to change the water in your cage if I shrink away to infinity? Cer- tainly not Dr. Bader; he might steal what little water you had, but he wouldn't change it. [Sound: Bird chattering] JAMES: [To himself ] Who will? If I don't contact the good doctor, it may be a week before the landlady comes up here to clean. He'd starve to death. I've got to open that cage and let him loose. But how? The yard stick. [Sound: His walking to the yard stick] JAMES:I can push the latch open with that... yes.. . [Sound: The distant sound of the stick knocking against the metal cage] JAMES: Yes... I can just reach it... [The effort of swinging the stick] There. Ah, come on out, the door's open, Dr. Pasteur. You're free. The window is open across the room. There's a whole world ahead of you. Fly away and make a name for yourself. [To himself] The whole world. What am I talking about? I've got the whole world at my feet if I live. After I publish my

265 267 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

thesis, I'll be famous. I'll have everything I ever dreamed of. But not unless Dr. Bader has all the instructions. So, we resume taping. But I can't reach the start button on the recorder. These books, like a grand staircase to the top of the recorder. [Sound: Clambering footsteps. Feet on metal] JAMES: And now to start the machine. [Effort] But I can't push it. Kick itow, that hurt. I've got it. Jump on it. [Sound Jumps. Big click. Big whirr of machine] JAMES: There we go. Dr. Bader? Dr. Bader, this is James Howard recording again. I have still not received your phone call, but I have not given up hope. The call will come. [The strain is evident in his voice] I am convinced of that. It is just a matter of time. In the meanwhile, I have made the neces- sary precautions for isolating myself in the event that you do not call before tomorrow morning. I have taped a ramp, from a ruler, to the stage of the microscope. Glued to the microscope is a transparent glass petri dish. As soon as it becomes apparent that I'm in danger of being lost from view on the desk, I will make my way to the petri dish. But what if you haven't called by that time? I could be lost in the petri dish. I could prepare a slide for myself. [Thinking] If I diminished to the size of a one-celled organism. I would have no .difficulty in crawling under the cover glass and taking up a position directly under the lens. Perhaps I should prepare a slide now. [Sound: With piercing suddenness the phone begins to ring] JAMES: [With unconcealed joy and relief in his voice] You've called, Dr. Bader. You've called at last. [Sound: The footsteps o f a six-inch man running across the desk to the telephone and then the silence that follows as we hear him tugging and grunting. Phone ring. The noise of a phone being pushed this way and that in its cradle] JAMES: [Horrified] No. [Sound: Again the struggle and the phone rings again] JAMES:I can't lift. it. I'm too small. I can't lift it off the cradle. [Sound: Phone ring]

JAMES: Don't stop ringing, please! I'll lift it...but how? A lever! Give me a lever and I can move the world. [Sound: Phone ring] JAMES: But what? A pencil!I can do it with a pencil. Don't hang up, Dr. Bader... I'mlooking... I'mlooking. [Sound: His scuffling through the papers on his desk] JAMES: A pencil... a pencil, a pen... Here we are. [Sound: Phone ring, and JAMES running to the phone] JAMES: Please don't hang up, Dr. Bader, I'm coming, I'm coming. [Sound: The sound of the pencil being jammed between the receiver and its base and the ensuing struggle to lever it off its base] JAMES: Just don't stop ringing... please don't stop ringing... please... [Sound: Phone ring]

266 RETURN TO DUST

JAMES: [Almost hysterical] I'm trying... I'm trying... just don't hang up, Dr. Bader... I've almost got it... just a little more. [Sound: Suddenly the phone receiver clatters against the desk, followed by the run- ning whip of cord against the edge of the desk] JAMES: No. [Sound: A bump and the crash and ring characteristic of a phone base as it hits the floor after a fall from a table] MISS PRITCHART: [Filtered] Hello? JAMES: [Yelling] Miss Pritchart? MISS P.: Mr. Howard? JAMES: Can you hear me? Get Dr. Bader. MISS P.:[Impatient] Hello? JAMES: [Yelling] Miss Pritchart, I'm on top of the desk. The phone fell on the floor. MISS P.: Hello? JAMES: I'm only six inches tall. You've got to get me help. MISS P.:Hello, are you there, Mr. Howard? JAMES: Yes, I'm here. I'm here. [Sound: The electric buzz of an office intercom filtered over. The phone lying on the floor] DR. BADER: [Filteredcurtly] Howard! MISS P.:[Filtered] No, this is Miss Pritchart. I called Mr. Howard's room but he doesn't answer or something. JAMES: [Yelling] I'm here, Dr. Bader, I'm here. DR. BADER: What do you mean he doesn't answer? MISS P.: Well, I rang and rang and then the phone just went dead. You can hear for yourself. DR. BADER: Went dead? JAMES: [Yelling] The phone didn't go dead, it fell on the floor. DR. BADER: [Filtered] Well, call him back in about an hour. See if he answers then. JAMES: Don't hang up, Miss Pritchart. I can't put my phone back on the hook. MISS P.: What if he doesn't answer then? JAMES: [Yelling] All you'll get is a busy signal. DR. BADER: What do you mean, what if he doesn't answer? He will. MISS P.: When he called this morning, he sounded very strange. JAMES: Don't let him hang up, Miss Pritchart. DR. BADER.: Howard's been very strange since the day he joined the department. If you can't get him today, I'll talk to him when I see him tomorrow. JAMES: No... no... no... MISS P.: Yes, Dr. Bader. JAMES: No-o-o... please don't hang up.. . [Sound: The click of the receiver being hung up at the far end, followed by the unrelenting dial tone]

267 26S HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

JAMES: I'm still here. .. please don't hang up...Dr. Bader, please...

[Sound: In the background, again the dial tone continues. ..] [Music: Up and out. End of Act II]

ACT THREE

[Music: Up and out] JAMES:I almost gave up when you hung up, Dr. Bader, but then I remembered a simple law of mathematics. No matter how often you divide a thing, there's still something left. So I went ahead with the preparation for my survival. And a good thing too. It's not yet six o'clock, and I am now only an inch and a half tall. But everything is now arranged. In the exact center of the petri dish on the microscope stage is a prepared slide complete with slip cover and label. The only thing lacking is the specimen, and that is me. If I become so small that I am in danger of being lost in the petri dish, I will make my way to the exact center of the slide and take up a position there. You should be able to see me for some time to come because I focused the microscope. All you have to do, Dr. Bader, is look, just look to see me. My world is such a different place now: books are as huge as buildings and pencils seem like telephone poles. I wonder what my world will look like if no one ever finds me. Oh, yes, Dr. Bader, the slide under the microscope is labeled carefully. Of all the slides I've labeled in my life time, I hardly thought the last one might become my epitaph. Specimen: James Howard; Species: Homo Sa- piens; Condition: Excellent. [Sound: The flutter of wings passing close by] JAMES: Dr. Pasteur. [Sound: Another pass] JAMES: Haven't you flown the coop yet? [Sound: A flutter and a chirp] JAMES:Is your loyalty so great that you refuse to leave so long as the last particle of me remains? [Sound: Chirp] JAMES: What an ugly monster you are when viewed from this perspective. Your feathers are like scales of armor, infested with lice,I see... and that beak. [Sound: A chirp and a sharp thud on the desk ] JAMES: [Screams] [Sound: The scream frightens the bird, evidently, because we hear the flutter of wings lifting in the air and then settling back down] JAMES: No. Dr. Pasteur, NO. If only I had a weapOn.. [Sound: Chili JAMES: Stay away. [To himself] Back up slowly... don't run... slow... back between the books and the microphone... slowly: NOW! [Sound: Confusion of feet and wings and a screaming chirp followed by heavy

268 270 RETURN TO DUST

breathing close to microphone. .. then a chirp, and a tentative peck at the microphone] JAMES: I'm safe here... until he loses interest. I should have let him starve to death in his cage. [Suddenly afraid] I wonder if the tape's still recording? I can see the spools still turning, high above me, the clear plastic reflecting

the last rays of the sun setting outside my window. ..but I can't see if there's tape. [Yelling] Are you still there? Am I recording, Dr. Bader? This is James Howard. As soon as that bird loses interest, I'm going to make a break for it. I'll make the microscope, Bader, don't you worry. Treat that slide marked "James Howard" just like it was me. You understand? Even if you don't think I'm in it. If you can't bring me back, publish my thesis for me. [Yelling] You hear me, Dr. Bader? Publish my thesis. I can't die smaller than dust unknown. Publish...I have nothing left, Dr. Bader, not even my body. Give me my thesis. [A new idea] You wouldn't dare publish it in your name, Dr. Bader, would you? All you'll have to do is change the name on the title page. You wouldn't stoop that low, would you? [Screaming] No, no! Give me my thesis, Dr. Bader, give me that much. Do you hear me? Am I recording? Give me immortality, Dr. Bader. I want the world to know I lived. Publish the thesis in my name. Do you hear me, Dr. Bader? Give me immort [Sound: Under the approaching flutter of the birdthen a huge chirpand the

thud of the bird's... mandibles closing on mike... fade...fluttering wings and

chirp of bird to normal level.. .] [Music: Up and out]

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 6.Is the ending of the play in keeping with the title? Can you think of other possible titles? 1. What has caused James Howard's problem? 7. How does Howard's kindness ironically con- How does he prepare to solve it? tribute to his own fate? 2. How does Howard show that he is scientific in 8. Make a list of the different problems that his approach to a solution to his predicament? Howard encountered because of his shrinking Cite examples. size and the ways he overcame them. 9.If you were directing this play, how would 3. Does Howard have confidence in Dr. Boder? you indicate Howard's shrinking size through How do you know? his voice? How would you handle the sound 4. What is Howard's fear regarding his thesis? effects? 5. What finally hapbens to Howard? Has the 10. Do you think this play could be produced on author prepared the reader (or listener) for the stage, for television, or as a movie? Why or the ending? Explain your answer. why not?

269 271 CHAPTER XXXVI I THE OTHER PLAYER

by Owen G. Arno

The setting of this play, a boy's dormitory room in an American preparatory school, tells the reader something about the kind of people he will meet and what their backgrounds will be. A prep school is a private high school where boys live away from home and prepare for college. Many of these boys are wealthy, their fathers donating generously to the school. But no gifts can exempt the boys from the keen competition and academic pressure of a private school. There are traditions to uphold, especially for the boy whose father attended the school before him.

CHARACTERS

Dr. Becker, headmaster; in his late forties Corlin,father of a student; in his late forties Peter Cross, a student at the Grey-Matthews School

SETTING

A room in a dormitory of the Grey-Matthews School for Boys in New England. It is a morning in late June.

The curtain rises on one of the larger rooms in the dormitory of a New England preparato?y school known as the Grey-Matthews School for Boys. Though in more active periods the room has an air of cheerfulness about it, at the present time there is something disconcertingly quiet about the place, and the utter tidiness gives the room an atmosphere lacking warmth. At Stage Left is a large oak door which leads out to a hallway that we cannot see. At the Back Left corner of the room is an enormous chest of drawers, and near the bureau is a small bed. To the Right of this bed is a chair, and directly behind both the chair and the bed is a large window which exudes a food of sunlight. At the back, too (Stage Right), is a bookcase, on top of which rests an assortment of gold and silver trophy cups, together with sheets of wood which lean against the back wall. Tacked onto the sheets of wood are a number of medals. Near the bookcase, against the Right wall, are a desk and chair. There are two additional beds in the room, of the same size as the first: one of them is Down Right, the other is near the back, between the bookcase and the window. At the present moment, between the chest of drawers and the first bed, are two suitcases resting on the floor.

Copyright © 1964 Owen G. Arno. Reprinted by permission of the Dramatists Play Service and the Estate of Owen G. Arno. CAUTION. THE OTHER PLAYER, being duly copyrighted, is subject to a royalty. The amateur leasing rights are controlled exclusively by the Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 440 Park Avenue South, New York, N. Y. 10016. No amateur production of the play may be given without obtaining in advance the written permission of the Dramatists Play Service, Inc., and paying the requisite fee.

270 272 At curtain, there is no one on stage. Presently, however, the door to the room opens, and two men enter: Dr. Becker, followed by Corlin. The latter is a man in his late forties. His clothes are expensive but drab. One has the feeling immediately that this is a man who has never really had a fair share of pleasure in life. He appears, at this moment particularly, wan and tired. Dr. Becker is about the same age as Corlin and dressed in the traditional garb of a prep school headmaster, from the grey suit and vest to the pipe precariously balanced in his mouth. Dr. Becker appears articulate and self-assured, both traits having been carefully developed through the years.

DR. BECKER. (Smiling gently). This is his room. I suppose you've seen it before, Mr. Corlin. (Corlin stares about the room, attempting to take it all in. As he does this, his anguish is noticeable, but he tries to keep it under control). coRtm. Yes, of course. I was here only last spring. (Corlin moves over to the bed nearest the window. Absentmindedly, he smooths down the cover with the palm of his hand.) DR. BECKER. We tried to leave his thingsas he had left them. But I must say we took the liberty of tidying up the drawers a bit. Not that they were messy, you understand. CORLIN. (Vaguely)....0f course. DR. BECKER. .. .0nthe contrary, Jeffrey was a very tidy young man. CORLIN. Yes, he was, wasn't he? DR. BECKER.(Indicating the medals and trophies on the bookcase). These, of course, are all of his medals and trophiesthose that he won this past year, at the tennis matches and at the track. I suppose you've seen them, also. COWAN. (Crossing to the bookcase). I believe I've seen some of them. (Noticing one of the cups.) But this is new, isn't it? I see it was another award he received for his tennis playing. DR. BECKER. That's right. (In a low voice). He was quite an athlete, your young man. CORLIN. I know. (He picks up the cup to read the inscription.) DR. BECKER. The staff had that one especially engraved for Jeffrey. We asked him what he wanted to have inscribed on it(Chuckling,) which was, I suppose, a little irregular. But we wanted to make sure it would please him. CORLIN. That was very thoughtful of you. DR. BECKER. (Still smiling gently). I'm afraid he may have been a little embarrassed by our gesture. He was always such a modest boy. In fact, he told us, at first, that he didn't even want us to put his name on the cup. CORLIN. I notice you did, anyway. DR. BECKER. We certainly did. It was our way of letting him know how all of us felt about himand what a delight it was having him as a student here. Also, I must admit, a top athlete makes a school an especially exciting place. And it isn't often we come across one like Jeffrey at Grey-Matthews. CORLIN. (Smiling weakly). I've seen some of your other students play, and they're all really quite superior, too. DR. BECKER. Perhaps. But none of them was as outstanding as your son, Mr. Corlin. I want you to believe that, and I hope you don't think I'm merely

271? 7 3 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

saying it becauseof what happened. We may not have too frequent a chance to chat in the future, you and Iat least not like this. (With a smile). I hope this isn't impertinence masking as a school principal's prevenance, Mr. Corlin. CORLIN. (Confused, not really understanding what he means). What I value most is your wanting to speak to me about Jeffrey at all. As a matter of fact, I welcome anything you might have to tell meno matter how insignificant it may seem. In a sense, that's one of the reasons why I felt I had to come back hereto see his room to speak to his instructorsto touch the very things he himself touched. My family tried to discourage me from coming here. They told me it would be turning his death into a kind of obsession. But I'm glad I didn't listen to them. I believe that once this sojournis over, I'll have brought a certain end to everything. Am I making myself clear, Dr. Becker? DR. BECKER. Of course. And that was why I had to tell you how admired Jeffrey was. CORLIN. .. .You must feel free to tell me other things about himthe things he did, the things he thoughtbecause this is perhaps the last glimpse I'm being permitted to see of them. DR. BECKER. He was an intelligent young man. .. CORLIN. Yes, that I know. DR. BECKER. He created the appearance of a fine boy from a good background. CORLIN. But what about his interests? Or was being a star athlete the only thing that mattered to him? DR. BECKER. I thought perhaps Jeffrey may havewritten to youabout his in- terests, I mean. CORLIN. Oh, of course there were letters. And I read themthough I'm sorry to admit I never really paid enough attention to what they had to tell me. I suppose it was because they'd always reach me at some crucial point in my travels. I remember one particular letter that arrived when I was finishing up a little management consultant assignment in London. I never had a chance to read that one until nearly a month later, when I was in Tyrolon still another job. Traveling about like that can make you forgetpersonal contact. And that, I suppose, is a dreadful thing. DR. BECKER. I'm sure Jeffrey never felt a lack of personal contact with you, Mr. Corlin. I don't suppose I'm stepping out of bounds in saying that. CORLIN. Had he ever spoken to you about me? DR. BECKER. Often. But then he confided in me quite a bit. We got along rather well, your son and I. CORLIN. And he never mentioned that I may have been a little negligent about himthat he felt, perhaps, I was possibly rejecting him? DR. BECKER. Not once did he ever mention anything like that. The fact that you appreciated his having won so many awards thrilled him beyond belief. He may have gone out of his way to compete in all the games and tournaments because he knew that made you happy.

272 THE OTHER PLAYER coRLIN. (Numbly). Was that why he entered the swimming tournament? DR. BECKER. (Forgetting himself). Why, it may have been. He knew you'd always been a champion swimmer yourself, and his swimming was the one sport that was just a little -weak. So he tried and tried, and (Realizing what he is saying, he stops in horror). CORLIN. .. .He tried and tried until he drowned himself. DR. BECKER. (After a moment, quietly, regaining his composure). Now I didn't mean that, Mr. Corlin. I'm sorryI didn't mean that at all. CORLIN. (His voice breaking). Were youtherewhen it happened? DR. BECKER. I was in my office. But I heard about it only a few minutes afterward. My office, you see, is right next to the Gym Building. CORLIN. They told me it happened very quickly. DR. BECKER. (Quietly, somewhat unnerved by the track the conversation has taken). Yes, I believe that's true. CORLIN. They said there were no other swimmers near him. He was just out therein the center of the poolall alone. It was just a cramp, a tightening of the stomach muscles. And he went under. DR. BECKER. As soon as the guard saw what was happening, he dived into the poolbutJeffrey was alreadygone. I swear to you, we did everything we could to revive him. CORLIN. I. know, Dr. Becker. The others gave me a complete report. I don't want you to think I'm blaming this school. An accident like that could never have occurred out of neglect. It was just one of those strange, freak occurrences one reads about in books, but which one always doubts could possibly occur in real life. DR. BECKER. I should never have said what I did about why he insisted on entering the swimming tournament. It was stupid and callous of me. I didn't mean that he swam merely to impress you. Grey-Matthews isn't to blame for what happened to your son, but you're not to blame either. coRuN. (Managing a smile). When he won that tennis cup last spring, I wrote him a long letter, telling him how pleased he had made me. Perhaps I seemed

too pleased, and he wanted to please me even further. ..Well, perhaps we shouldn't dwell on that. (Pause). This may sound like a silly questiondid Jeffrey have many girl friends? DR. BECKER. (Laughing lightly). No more nor less than the average fifteen-year-old, I suppose. Most of our boys are friendly with girls from the Reardon School, which is only about a mile and a half away. We have dances with Reardon at least once a month. CORLIN. I suppose he would have enjoyed knowing more girls. He had never been around too many women. What about friends? Did he have many close buddies? DR. BECKER. It's a pity you haven't had a chance to meet some of them today. But most of the students, including Jeffrey's roommates, have left for the summer. Otherwise, you might have talked at great length with them.

273 2-7 5' HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

There's merely a handful lefta few whose families are more lenient or away on vacation. CORLIN. I probably would have allowed Jeffrey to stay on, tooat least until the beginning of August. When he was here last summer, he wrote me about what a marvelous time he had with all the facilities almost entirely to him- self. DR. BECKER. In a sense, they were his. Or, should I say, a generous gift from his father? CORLIN. I was very happy about giving whatever I could to this school. Re- member, Dr. Becker, that this was not only one of the most cherished places in Jeffrey's world, but at one timequite a number of years agoit was one of the most cherished places in mine. (Cor lin slumps down on the edge of the bed nearest the window, and he puts his hand to his forehead. He seems to be struggling to keep from weeping.) DR. BECKER. I have a feeling this talk may be making things worse for you. CORLIN. Nono, of course not. (There is a pause, as Dr. Becker watches Corlin closely. Then, suddenly, Corlin turns his head away and lets out a sob.) Oh, maybe it was wrong of me to have come back here after all. I was so confident I was going to be strong about this. On the train coming up here, I kept saying to myself that in one sense I'd been lucky. Having Jeffrey was the only solid and fine thing in my life. If nothing else, I could cling to what I'd had. But nowseeing his room againtalking with you. (Suddenly, he takes hold of himself again. He turns to face Dr. Becker and rises.) Forgive me. I realize this meeting must be painful for you, too. DR. BECKER. (Pause). Would you like me to help you pack his belongings? CORLIN. Thank you, no. That was something I had looked forward to doing myself. I want to make absolutely certain all of his things are intact. I'm putting them all back into his old room at home. What time is it now? DR. BECKER. (Glancing at his watch). It's nearly eleven-thirty. You'll be having lunch with us, won't you? CORLIN. No. I won't stay very much longer. 1 just want to pack his things and bring them home. I want to be back in Boston by two-thirty. DR. BECKER. You'd like to be left alone then. CORLIN. If you don't mind. That isn't against the rules, is it? DR. BECKER. Of course it isn't. Please stop by before you leave. The others. will want to say good-bye. CORLIN. Thank you for everything, Dr. Becker. DR. BECKER. If you need rne, I'll be in my office. CORLIN. Thank you, but I don't think I shall. (Dr. Becker, smiles and nods his head. Then, he turns and exits quickly. Corlin turns slowly, taking the room in once again. He crosses to the bookcase and begins examining the medals and cups once more. Then, he crosses to the bureau and opens the top drawer. He stares at the contents of the drawer for several moments before he begins removing some of the clothing and the other beloigings from it, placing them on the nearest bed. A moment later, he lifts up one of the suitcases, placing that, too, on the bed. He flips the switches open

276274 THE OTHER PLAYER

on each side of the suitcase and begins putting the belongings into the case when suddenly his hands fall to his side, helplessly, and he sits down at the edge of the bed, staring out of the window- aimlessly. There is a moment's pause. Then there is a gentle knock on the door.) Come in. (The door opens slowly, and Peter Cross enters the room. He is a slender, somewhat nervous boy of fifteen,. At the moment, he is noticeably quite shy. Corlin looks up at him and doesn't react to his presence one way or the other. Corlin and Peter stare at each other a moment rather uncomfortably, until finally Corlin manages a smile). Hello. PETER. How do you do, sir. Exexcuse me. I hope I'm not disturbing you. I can come back in a little while. CORLIN. That's all right. You're not disturbing me. PETER. II'm Peter Cross. You're Mr. Corlin, aren't you? CORLIN. That's right. How do you know me? PETER. I've seen you at Grey-Matthews before, sir. I didn't know you were here until a little while ago. I overheard Dr. Edwards and Dr. Becker talking about it. CORLIN. (He has grown a trifle uneasy at the boy's obvious tension). Why don't you sit down, Peter? PETER. Nono thanks, sir. I can't be staying too long. I'm going home today. My aunt's coming up for me in a little while. CORLIN. (Absently). I see. PETER. And I still haven't packed. My aunt hates being kept waiting. Last year this time I kept her waiting a whole hour, but she was wandering through the offices, making friends with everyone on the staff. She's very out- goingmy aunt. CORLIN. Well, perhaps I'll have a chance to meet her. PETER. When will you be leaving, sir? coRuN. Fairly soon, I supposeas soon as I finish packing these things. PETER. Areare you packing all of them, sir? comAN. (Puzzled). Why, yes, of course.. PETER. Allright now, sir? CORLIN. (Slightly annoyed). Of course right now. I'm bringing them back to Boston with me this afternoon. PETER. (A pause. He stares at Corlin). SirII don't know how to say it, sir? CORLIN. What's that? PETER. That I'm sorry, sir. I meanabout Jeffrey. I guess I don't know how to put these things. I feel so stupid right now. But please accept my sym- pathies. (Corlin looks at him, first puzzled and then, after a moment, understanding the boy's awkwardness.) CORLIN. (Smiling). You don't sound stupid at all, Peter. Naturally, I accept your sympathies. PETER. It must be very hard on you, sir. On you and Mrs. Corlin. CORLIN. (Without emotion). There is no Mrs. Corlin, Peter. PETER. (Growing embarrassed again). Oh. You see how stupid I get, sir. People are always telling me I say and do the wrong things all the time.

275 27 7 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

CORLIN. There's nothing wrong in what you just said, Peter. It's a natural as- sumption that there's a Mrs. Corlin. PETER. It's always a little .tough talking about people who aren't living. I guess I should know that more than anything else, considering my parents aren't living either. CORLIN. Oh, I'm terribly sorry. PETER. When did Mrs. Cor lin pass away? CORLIN. (Wryly). Mrs. Corlin is very much alive, I believe. She and I are just notliving together, you might say. And she has a different last name these clays. PETER. Oh, I understand. CORLIN. And you? You live with your aunt? PETER. For as long as I can remember. I guess it doesn't hurt too much when you can't recall the ones in your family who die. CORLIN. No, it doesn't hurt too much then. PETER. And Aunt Helena has been better than a mother and father to me, send- ing me to this school and all. CORLIN. Yes, that is a good thing, isn't it? PETER. ...I don't suppose there's any reason why I should take up your time, sirsince you say you're going away soon. Is it all right if I just take one of my things and leave, too? CORLIN. Yes? What is that, Peter? PETER. (There is a long pause as he stares at Corlin uncertainly). I mean my racket, sir. My tennis racket. .CORLIN. Your tennis racket, eh? Did you leave it in this room? PETER. (Suddenly frightened). Yes sir, I left it in this room. Now if I may have it and go, I promise I won't bother you any more. CORLIN. (Very puzzled). Of course. (Peter crosses quickly to the very drawer which Corlin has opened and, at first, pokes about in it gently. Still somewhat confused, Cor- linwatchestheboyalmosthypnotically.Then,quite suddenlyand with determinationPeter throws open the second drawer from the top and rummages furiously among its contents. The realization that these are Jeffrey's things strikes Corlin with a brutal impact, and as Peter begins upsetting the clothes in the drawer even further, Corlin advances on the boy. Almost against his will, Corlin finds himself seizing Peter's arm brusquely.) Here now, what's that you're doing? PETER. (Pulling away). Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I've upset his things, haven't I? CORLIN. (Regaining his composure). That's all right. I'm packing them anyway. But I'd like to know why you were looking through these particular drawers. PETER. Because my racket must be in one of them. CORLIN. I don't understand. PETER. Jeffrey borrowed my racketjust this past spring. (With a nervous chuckle). I guess he must have forgotten to give it back. And since I'm going home today, I thought I might as well take it. CORLIN. (Disturbed). Jeffrey borrowed your tennis racket? You must be mistaken. PETER. No, I'm not, sir. He borrowed it last springright before the tournament.

276 278 THE OTHER PLAYER

CORLIN. That can't be true. I sent Jeffrey a lot of money last spring. Part of that money was to be used to buy all the tennis equipment he needed. I told him to buy the best racket he could findto spare no expense. What in the world could he have possibly wanted with your racket? (Peter stares up at Corlin a moment, then quickly looks down at the third drawer from the top and flings it open. At the top of the drawer lies a tennis racket.) PETER. Oh, here it is, sir. Right here. (He reaches for the racket, but Corlin pushes him gently away from the bureau). CORLIN. (Pulling the racket out of the drawer). It this the racket you claim is yours, Peter? PETER. (Excitedly). Yes, yes, it is. Now let me have it, sir. I tell youI have to finish packing. My aunt will be here soon. CORLIN. I can't just let you have this without some proof that it's yours. You see, it's so important to me that I bring back all of Jeffrey's belongings intact. That was the main reason I made this trip myself and prevented anyone else from making it. PETER. You'll find all his other things inintact. But this racket is mine! CORLIN. I can't see why a young man who had everything he could want would insist on borrowing somebody else's athletic equipment. PETER. (After a moment, quietly). It was the only thing he ever borrowed, sirfrom anyone. comAN.(Springing the racket against his fingers). What, may I ask, is so extraordi- nary about this racket that he had to use it in the tournament? PETER. (After a long pause, staring straight into Corlin's eyes. Vely quietly). But that's just it. He didn't use it in the tournament. coRuN.(With an uncomfortable laugh). When did he use it, then? PETER. He never used it, sir. coRuN.(His voice rising almost uncontrollably). Then why did he borrow it from you? PETER. (Suddenly no longer able to restrain himself either). He didn't borrow it, sir. He took it. CORLIN. Took? Isn't that the same thing as borrowed? PETER. If I may have it and go. coRuN.(Angri/y). What do you mean he took your racket? PETER. Hehe stole it, sir. (Corlin's eyes open wide in disbelief. He remains utterly motionless, and so does the boy. There is a long pause.) I'm sorry, sir. Please forgive me. I forgot for the moment he was your son.. coRuN. (His voice wavering on the verge of hysteria). Get out of this room! I want you out of his room, do you hear me? PETER.(About to weep). Yes, sir. Yes, sir. I promise I'll leave. But I have to take my tennis racket with me. I have to have it, sir. You don't understand. Oh, you don't understand. CORLIN. I understand that you came in here and deliberately flaunted about the name of a deceased boy in front of his own father. How dare you make that sort of accusation!

277 27 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

PETER. I didn't mean to say it, sir. But it came out. I just couldn't help it. You wouldn't believe it when I told you he had borrowed it, so I had to tell you the truth. CORLIN. Then you insist my son was a thief. PETER. I didn't say that. I just said he stole this racket, sir. CORLIN. Damn it, stop calling me "sir." PETER. I'm sorry. coRuN. The only thing you need be sorry about is what you said about my son. Steal? I couldn't conceive of Jeffrey doing anything like thateven if he had been a poor boy. PETER. It had nothing to do with what the racket cost. He just had to have my racket. CORLIN. Why your racket? PETER. Because I was his opponent in one of the games, sir. He felt he'd have a better chance of winning if he knew I didn't have this particular racket to help me. CORLIN. Oh, I find this even more impossible to believe than that other terrible accusation. PETER. It's true, sir. You see, everyone was talking about me being his only real competitionin the tournament, I meanand Jeffrey knew how much I relied on this particular racket for my game. You see, it belonged to my father, and it's always been sort of a good-luck trophy to me. I can't really play without itand whenever I played, I won, sir. But Jeffrey took it, so I would have to go out and buy another one. And as it turned out, I lost the very first game. coRuN. Of course you lost. Because you lacked Jeffrey's skill. Why, Dr. Becker was in here only a moment ago, telling me what a wonderful athlete he was! PETER. He sure was, sir. The best in the school, in fact. CORLIN. Well? PETER. But I still think I had a chance to beat him in the tennis tournament. And a few of the other kids felt the same waythat is, until he took my racket. (Corlin stares at Peter a moment, then takes him by the arm gently, attempting to lead him out of the room.) CORLIN.(Quietly, trying to maintain his self-control). All right, no more of this. You and I are going to have a chat with Dr. Becker and a few of the instructors. I want to find out right now if what you say is true. PETER. (Pulling away. Almost hysterically). Oh, no. Please, sir, no. You can't tell them what I told you. They'll never forgive me. They'll never let me go another year to this school. And that would break Aunt Helena's heart. It would, I swear it. Besides, they'll only say I'm lying. They'll have to protect Jeffrey now. CORLIN. Don't try to back out of it, Peter. I'm sure if we sat down with Dr. Becker, discussing the entire story rationally, we'd find out if what you just told me is true.

278 280 THE OTHER PLAYER

PETER. (Beginning to weep). You've just got to let me have my racket and go. It's all that means anything to methe only thing in this whole world. coRuN. Don't the instructors know aboutthis incident? I'm certain you must have discussed it with them if this racket means so much to you. PETER. I couldn't do that. CORLIN. And why-not? PETER. It's too involved a story. CORLIN. You'd better tell me, Peter, or else I warn you, I shall take you to Dr. Becker and the others. PETER. (Continuing to weep). Please don't make me tell you. CORLIN. I'm listening, Peter. PETER. (Blurting it out). But he was your son! CORLIN. I'm listening. PETER. (As he speaks his voice grows more and more uncontrolled). I did threaten to tell a. couple of the instructors about it, but Jeffrey said if I did, he'd get me for it. CORLIN. Get you? PETER. The way he got some of the others. With me, he was the worst I'd ever seen him. He threatened to get me expelled. He said he'd go to you, and you'd take care of all the necessary arrangements by talking to Dr. Becker. He said you'd given a lot of money to the school and that everyone listened to you. And so I got scared, sir. I got scared that they would throw me out, and I knew how that would hurt Aunt Helena. She's a funny old lady. She's always trying to make people like her, but she's really always by herself. And she thinks a lot of me because I'm the only person who really pays attention to her. CORLIN. I don't give a damn about your Aunt Helena. I want to hear about Jeffrey. PETER. ..He scared the instructors, too, Mr. Corlin. One of them - -Mr. Hollowayhe quit his job over Jeffreybecause Jeffrey was doing all sorts of awful things to him, getting the other kids to hate him, and making fun of him right to his face just because he happened to be a little strange sometimes and wore the same suit to class every day with cigarette ashes all over it. But I liked Mr. Holloway, and he was a good teacher. We were friends. coRLIN. What happened to him? PETER. Well, when Mr. Holloway went to Dr. Becker and told him about how Jeffrey was tormenting him and everything, Dr. Becker didn't do anything about it. I happen to know that because Mr. Holloway told me before he left. He said that one day the whole school was going to fall apart because of thatbecause of what Jeffrey was doing. CORLIN. It's inconceivable that an entire school would listen to a fifteen-year-old boy because his father happened to have donated some money. I can't believe you were all afraid of me. (Corlin sits down at the edge of the bed nearest the window, his head lowered.) PETER. It wasn't you so much, sir. We had seen you, and you didn't look like the

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sort of fellow people should be scared of. It was Jeffrey who had us all scared. It was the way he looked at you, sometimesvery stern-like, and with his face up close against yours. It was pretty scary, believe me.

CORLIN. (His head still lowered. In a daze, the tension in him rising)... .You're lying, son.. . PETER. He had people on his side of course, but that was because he gave them money sometimes--so that they'd back him up. Anyway, if he gave you money or notand he wanted you on his sideyou couldn't very well say "no."

coRuN.(His voice rising)... .You'relying... PETER. (He is completely lost now in what he is saying). And sometimes he would say terrible things about usright to our faces, like he did with Mr. Holloway. He was physically stronger than most of us, too, and that made us even more afraid. One day, one of his roommates called Jeffrey a- -dirty nameand Jeffrey beat him up so bad he ended up in the hospitalI swear it. CORLIN. (Completely losing his control now, he rises suddenly and in a fury, he slaps the

boy several times across the face). . . .You' relying, you're lying, you're

lying.. . (Then, overcome,Corlin falls down on the edge of the bed, burying his face in his hands. Peter stands near him, completely motionless. Suddenly, Peter reaches out as if to comfort Corlin but pulls back instead, afraid. After a moment, Corlin looks up at him and holds out the tennis racket to the boy, his voice choked with sobs.) Heretake it--take the God-awful thing. I couldn't keep it now, anyway. (Peter hesitates a moment, and then he reaches out for the racket but withdraws his hands from it suddenly as if it were a burning piece of coal.) Didn't you hear what I said? I don't want it near me. It's yours. (Peter takes the racket with one swift gesture and leaves the room very quickly. Corlin sits, motionless, struggling desper- ately to calm himself Then, he brushes aways his tears with the palm of his hand. In a daze, he rises and returns to the bureau, looking at Jeffrey's belongings a moment, then falls against the cabinet, clinging to it for support. After a very long pause, the door opens again. It is Peter. The boy's eyes are fixed and expressionless. Corlin whirls about suddenly. Peter holds the racket out to Corlin at arm's length.) PETER. (His voice cold and completely devoid of emotion). I'm sorry. I made it all up, sir. I just wanted Jeffrey's tennis racket. (Corlin continues to stare at the boy, his eyes filled with bewilderment, as Peter continues holding the racket out to him, deathly still, and the curtain slowly falls.)

262 280 THE OTHER PLAYER

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS reveal much about Jeffrey's character? Explain your answer. 1. Corlin comes to the Grey-Matthews School8. In your opinion, what influences Peter to give with a specific purpose in mind. What does heup the tennis racket? plan to do? 9. What does Peter's subsequent denial of the 2.In what way does the conversation betweentruth about Jeffrey lead you to conclude about Dr. Becker and Corlin reveal Becker's attitudeJeffrey? about Peter? toward Corlin? What does the conversation re-10. Describe your feelings about Peter. veal about the relationship between Jeffrey Cor- lin and his father? OPTIONAL ACTIVITY 3. Do you think Corlin was a good father? Ex- plain your answer. The conclusion to "The Other Player" is left to the 4. Why is the truth about the tennis racket soimagination of the reader. The author has suc- important? What does the racket represent toceeded in revealing the character of the dead Peter? to Corlin? boy. However, in this type of play, more than one 5.In your opinion, why does Corlin have a dif-solution or ending is possible. ficult time accepting the truth about his son from Write your version of a five or ten minute scene of Peter? what you think would happen it the conversation 6. How does Peter's rough treatment of Jeffrey's between Corlin and Peter were to continue. You drawers reflect Peter's basic attitude toward might like to re-introduce Dr. Becker or even add Jeffrey? Do you think this same attitude ex- another character. Be prepared to present your tends to the father? Why or why not? scene to the class and defend your version of 7. Does Dr. Becker's conversation with Corlinanother ending.

283 281 SUGGESTIONS TO THE TEACHER

Highlights of American Literature contains will be as painless as possible and at the selections from the wide range of American same time will bear fruit. literature, from its beginnings to the modern You will probably discover that your period. No attempt has been made to simplifystudents have had little or no systematic the literary selections, since the reading training in reading literature. Your task in this material is intended for case then becomes one of training your high-intermediate/advanced level students of students in the basic study-reading skills: (1) English as a foreign language. Students at how to notice details, (2) how to get the main this level should be able to spend less class idea, (3) how to skim to locate pertinent time on actual development of reading skills passages, and (4) how to read orally when the and instead devote more time to the content occasion demands it. Essentially, you are of the readings themselves, thus moving in training your students to adapt their reading the direction of appreciation and enjoyment ofskills to different types of material and thus to American literature. And, of course, lively and achieve in the best way possible their stimulating discussion of the material purposes in reading. provides meaningful practice in speaking and the organization of ideas. In his book, Linguistics And Reading, Dr. Charles C. Fries states that the teaching of . Should Highlights be used with students who have just finished a basic course in reading is a developmental and continuous English, the teacher will need to realize that a process to bring about a progressive modification of teaching approach will be refinement of skills. He divides the learning of needed. reading into three stages: (1) the transfer Students who have just finished a basic stage which is the association of auditory course in English will encounter this material signals with visual representations, (2) the at that point in their language learning productive stage in which the reader's process where the relative emphasis on the responses to graphic representations become spoken and written language is undergoing automatic to the extent that comprehension of the most rapid change. In the early stage of meaning enables him to supply signals not modern language learning, the principal included in the visual signs; and (3) the emphasis is on the spoken language, with the vivid-imaginative stage in which the reading written language used only as a necessary ability becomes automatic to the extent that tool. Then, as facility with the spoken reading is widely used in acquiring and language develops, students are gradually developing experience. taught to write the forms they have learned The basic organization of Highlights Of orally. In the process they also learn to read American Literature is as follows: general these forms. But throughout the basic course, introduction to the literary period, chapter even though the student learns to read short essays about individual authors, selections and dialogues, the emphasis from the author's writings (usually divided into remains on the spoken language. After the two parts if it is a prose selection), discussion basic course, however, the student should be questions at the end of each prose selection ready to concentrate on learning to read, or group of poems, and discussion questions using his command of the spoken language at the end of each chapter. as a tool to that end. By limiting the length of most of the literary The transition which the student will be selections, an attempt has been made to asked to make from the rather effortless furnish material adequate to meet the reading of material based on oral drills may curriculum needs of an average class meeting not be an easy one. You will want to analyze three hours a week for one semester (45-48 carefully your students' reading ability so that hours). Study of some of the shorter chapters your presentation of this more difficult material may require only two hours of classwork, while

282 254 that of the longer selections may extend to as studied. However, this is not always an easy many as four class periods. task. Such teaching demands a lively imagination, ability to analyze and anticipate General Guidelines student needs, and a willingness to experiment. Some possible ways to motivate The objective of Highlights is to teach your students are (1) to show relevance of reading in a cultural context. As you teach the ideas found in their reading to their own lives, various units, you should keep in mind that (2) to create in them a desire to extract the students' often imperfect knowledge of and greater meaning from what they read, and (3) experience with American culture will tend to to guide them to discover major points by interfere with their understanding. You will which they can judge the relative importance want to aid their comprehension by building of the ideas they encounter. on knowledge acquired from previous reading and to help them manipulate or recall General Methodology concepts already established through the association of the author's ideas and their A basic approach to teaching Highlights own. should incorporate some or all of the following As you use this material, you should strive methods: to teach the whole of a reading selection before you teach its parts. One of the best (1) Make constant use of examples in ways to do this is by going over the material explaining complex sentence structures; with the students in class. In so doing you will (2) Explain the nuances, range of meaning, help the students surmount the major and special references of a new word obstacles that the foreign student encounters rather than a single lexical meaning; when learning English grammatical structure, (3)Draw parallels in the students' own culture to vocabulary, and content. clarify the meaning of idiomatic You should also keep in mind that in many expressions; cases the problems which students will have (4) Give ample background explanation of in leaming to read silently will be similar to new facts not within the students' those they have while listening and that the experience; problems which they will have in reading (5)Encourage the students to deduce the aloud will be similar to those they have in meaning of new words from their speaking. relationship to familiar words in the The teaching techniques that you decide to sentence or paragraph. employ will depend largely upon the ability of (6) Make frequent use of paraphrases to help your students. In some cases, your classes the students organize their ideas and may be so advanced that you will be able to relate them to those of the author. The move through the study unit very quickly, paraphrase is useful both for oral and almost as though you were teaching students writing practice. whose native language was English. If this is true, you will want to concentrate on Presentation Techniques increasing reading speed, improving the students' ability to read critically and The basic techniques for teaching reading independently, and suggesting collateral should include the following: reading to meet the students' expanding (1) In-class reading of the text, either orally interest. In other cases, however, you may findor silently, by the class as a whole, by the that your students are less advanced and that individual student, or by the teacher. To avoid you will have to emphasize a more tedium, it is better to use a combination of developmental approach by guiding them to these techniques. (Above all, the class period use English as a learning tool. should not be reduced to a series of Creative teaching is predicated upon the paragraphs read aloud by individual students ability of the teacher to motivate students by followed by corrections by the teacher.) One arousing their interest in the material to be good technique is for the teacher to read a

283285 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

selection aloud while the students listen with words. You may assign such an exercise books closed. This can be followed by a as homework or put key words on the re-reading of the selection with the students blackboard and have students write the following silently with their books open. This paraphrases in class. type of reading provides opportunity for you to(2) Topic sentence. You can provide one or answer questions about new words used in more topic sentences for the students to context and strange or difficult grammatical develop into a paragraph or a longer structures. Silent reading by the class, composition. Topic sentences should be paragraph by paragraph, followed by related to the reading material. For discussion of lexical and grammatical example: You may give topic sentences problems is also a good technique. which can be developed into paragraphs (2) Correction and on pronunciation describing persons, places, or events in problems after a student has read aloud. the students' own culture. To further guide Again, to avoid boredom, it is better to limit them, refer them to the specific paragraph oral reading by individual students, to two or in the text which will serve as the three sentences or one paragraph at the most. composition model they are to imitate. (Keep in mind that at this advanced stage in (3) Question outline. By writing answers to a the student's language development, oral number of questions arranged in a reading serves more to measure the student's "chronological" order, the students can, in comprehension than to test his ability to read effect, write a paragraph or short orally. Oral reading in itself is a special skill, composition. even for native speakers of English!) (4) Written summary. Students can be Generally, the fluency with which a student instructed to write a summary of a literary reads aloud will give some indication of his selection. language level and his comprehension of the subject matter. Oral reading gives the student Classroom Procedures: Lesson Plan a chance to read connected discourse without interruption. Corrected pronunciation and The following basic lesson plan is subject intonation errors committed by one student to modifications that you may find necessary should be drilled orally by the whole class. to meet the specific needs of your students. (3) Explanation of new grammatical As has been stated, the amount of class time structures. You should not attempt to explain you devote to each chapter will depend on every structure. Be selective and concentrate the ability of your students. In general you on those structures which illustrate should plan to spend five or six class periods characteristics of the author's style, which will on each chapter. have greater practical use for later written exercises, or which pose obstacles to the (1) Introduction to the study unit (the literary students' understanding of the material. background). Plan to spend a minimum of (4) Comprehension check through constant two class hours on the introduction to use of questions requiring short factual each study unit. This material sets the answers or by means of true-false statements. stage for the literary selections contained Comprehension questions attempt to discover in each unit by placing the author and his how well the student has understood what he work within the proper historical context. has read and constrast with discussion-type (2) Literature selections. In general the prose questions which seek to elicit answers based selections in each chapter are divided on interpretation or opinions. into two parts. You should plan to devote about two hours to each part or a total of Composition Techniques four hours to each chapter. The chapters on poetry will take less time, probably two Writing practice can be accomplished in a or three hours. variety of ways: (3)Summary. Chapter discussion questions (1) Paraphrase. Students can be asked to and review exercises plus any extra re-write selected paragraphs in their own review material you yourself prepare

286 284 constitute the summary of the chapter. (4) The discussion questions and exercises at Generally, this procedure should take no the end of each selection should be used more than one class period, although at as the culminating activity of each class times you may find it necessary to extend hour and as chapter reviews. The discussion for another class hour because discussion questions should afford the of high student interest, unresolved students an opportunity for a questions, or language difficulties. Allow communicative language experience by time at the end of each chapter to the exchanging of ideas gained from their introduce the material of the succeeding reading. Encourage students to react to chapter. each other's observations; supplement the questions in the text with some of your Classroom Procedures: General own, remembering that the how and why type of questions should prevail at this (1) Begin each study unit by reading as much stage of the lesson. of the Introduction as possible in class, using the techniques suggested above. Supplementary Techniques (Optional) The beginning of a new study unit is a good place to instruct students to form a Depending on the rate at which your habit of intelligent guessing at the students are able to master the material of meaning of new words with the clues each chapter, you may find time to use some provided by the context. This does not of the following techniques to enrich your mean, however, that you should not classroom presentation. answer questions. You might like to make it a rule of the course that the dictionary is (1) Dramatization. Certain selections or to be used only as a last resort. Since you passages may lend themselves to adaption for will not have enough time to finish dramatic presentation. You should choose a reading the Introduction on the first day of "cast" from among your best students to write class, plan to assign the remainder of the the script as a team effort. After you have material as a home reading exercise. reviewed the script and made any necessary (2) The second day of class you will want to corrections, assign roles either to the script spend most of the period checking writers or to other students and have them act students' comprehension of the homework out the playlet for the whole class. If you have assigned and clarifying any points of exceptionally talented students, it is also difficulty they have encountered. To help possible for you to assign parts in class for an the students synthesize and review the impromptu dramatization of a situation contents of the selection, a good device isocurring in one of the selections. Besides the for you to summarize the material through literary selections, the lives of the authors may the use of judicious questions. offer material for this type of activity. (3)From the Introduction you should plan to (2) Note-Taking. this activity can provide move to the literary selections themselves. good training both in aural comprehension Begin each chapter by assigning the and writing. Recordings, tapes, sound essay about the author as homework. Go filmstrips, and motion pictures are excellent over the essay quickly in class the aids for this kind of practice. You should following day to ascertain general acquaint your students with the techniques of comprehension, but do not dwell on this note-taking before launching the project. material at this point. Plan to incorporate it Show the students how this type of exercise later in your discussion of the entire makes language a learning tool by chapter. Try to devote the class period to developing in them an ability to cope the literary selection, assigning the portion independently with word recognition and not read in class as homework. Help your meaning difficulties, as well as improving students discover for themselves their ability to listen critically for main ideas. interesting aspects of the author's style, You should plan to give the students at least plot outline, or character development. two exposures to the audio or audio-visual

285 28 7 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

material, the first time for them to get the whole class. Written book reports are also a central idea and the second time for them to possibility. To aid the students in the pay attention to details. Instruct them to take preparation of the reports, provide them with general notes in outline form during the first some kind of outline to be followed in viewing or listening and then to add important preparing the report. details during the second exposure. You may (4) Newspaper-TV Interview. This follow up the note-taking by assigning either atechnique can be used in a variety of ways. short speech or composition (150-200 words) The objective is to simulate the interview of a based on the notes. Another possibility is a famous person by a newspaper reporter or a roundtable discussion of the audio-visual radio/television interlocutor. You may have material, using one of your better students as one student assume the role of one of the moderator. Keep in mind that you should authors or of a character from a literary check comprehension before making the final selection. Another student plays the role of the assignment. interlocutor. In a television interview members (3) Outside Reading. In very advanced of the class also could be invited to ask classes independent reading can be an questions of the interviewee. Another enriching and rewarding experience. Assign possibility is a guessing game similar to to individual students books related to the "Twenty Questions." In this variation, the class author or to a literary selection being studied. is not told who the interviewee is Brief oral reports of no more than 3-5 minutes impersonating, bur tries to distover the are probably the best way for the students to identity of the famous personality within the share their newly-gained knowledge with the limit of 20 questions.

285 286 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

For permission to reprint: domain. "Acquainted With the Night," "Mr. Flood's Party" by Edwin Arlington "Design," and "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost. Robinson. Reprinted with permission of From THE POETRY OF ROBERT FROST, Macmillan Publishing Company from the Estate of Robert Frost, edited. by Edward COLLECTED POEMS OF EDWIN Connery Lathem. Permission granted by ARLINGTON ROBINSON. Copyright 1921 , Publisher. by Edwin Arlington Robinson. Renewed "Dr. Sigmund Freud Discovers the Sea 1949 by Ruth Nivison. Shell" by Archibald MacLeish. From SONGS "The Harbor" and "I am the People, the FOR EVE by Archibald MacLeish. Copyright Mob" by Carl Sandburg are in the public © 1954 by Archibald MacLeish. Copyright @ domain. "The People Will Live On" from renewed 1982 by Mrs. Ada MacLeish. THE PEOPLE, YES by Carl Sandburg; Reprinted by permission of Houghton copyright 1936 by Brace Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. Jovanovich, Inc. and renewed 1964 by Carl "Ars Poetica" by Archibald MacLeish. Sandburg, reprinted by permission of the From COLLECTED POEMS 1917-1982 by publisher. Archibald MacLeish. Copyright © 1985 by Excerpt from BABBITT by Sinclair Lewis, the Estate of Archibald MacLeish. Reprinted copyright 1922 by Harcourt Brace by permission of Houghton Mifflin Jovanovich, Inc. and renewed 1950 by Company. All rights reserved. Sinclair Lewis, reprinted by permission of "Tract" and "The Red Wheelbarrow" by the publisher. William Carlos Williams. COLLECTED "In Memoriam: WJ.B." by H.L. Mencken. POEMS, 1909-1939, VOL. I. Copyright 1938 From PREJUDICES: FIFTH SERIES by H.L. by New Directions Publishing Corporation. Mencken. Copyright 1926 by Alfred A. Reprinted by permission of New Directions. Knopf and renewed 1954 by H.L. Mencken. "Dreams" by Langston Hughes. From Reprinted by permission of the publisher. THE DREAM KEEPER AND OTHER Excerpt from Chapter Three of THE POEMS by Langston Hughes. Copyright GREAT GATSBY; copyright 1925 by Charles 1932 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and renewed Scribner's Sons. Copyright renewed 1953 by 1960 by Langston Hughes. Reprinted by Frances Scott Fitzgerald Lanahan. permission of the publisher. Excerpt from Chapter Fifteen of THE "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" from THE GRAPES OF WRATH; copyright 1939 by LANGSTON HUGHES READER by John Steinbeck. Reprinted by permission of Langston Hughes. Copyright 1926 by Alfred William Heinemann Limited. A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright renewed 1953 by "In Another Country" by Ernest Langston Hughes. Hemingway. Copyright 1927. All rights "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes. outside U.S., Hemingway Foreign From SELECTED POEMS by Langston Rights Trust. Hughes. Copyright 1926 by Alfred A. Knopf,, Portions of Section II of SARTORIS by Inc. and renewed 1954 by Langston William Faulkner. Copyright 1929 and Hughes. Reprinted by permission of the renewed 1957 by William Faulkner. publisher. Reprinted by permission of Random "Theft" by Katherine Anne Porter. From House, Inc. FLOWERING JUDAS AND OTHER "The Road Not Taken" and The Mending STORIES copyright 1935 and renewed 1963 Wall" by Robert Frost are in the public by Katherine Anne Porter, reprinted by

287 289 HIGHLIGHTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, ROETHKE by Theodore Roethke. Used by Inc. permission of Doubleday, a division of Excerpt from Chapter 21 of THE Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH by Saul Group, Inc. Bellow. Copyright 1949, 1951, 1953 by Saul "The Breath of Night" by Randall Jarrell. Bellow. Reprinted by permission of Viking From THE BY Press, Inc. British area publication by RANDALL JARRELL. Copyright © 1947, permission of Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd. 1969 by Mrs. Randall Jarrell. Reprinted by Excerpt from Chapter 1 of INVISIBLE permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. MAN by Ralph Ellison. Copyright 1948 by "In Those Days" by Randall Jarrell. © Ralph Ellison. Reprinted by permission of 1960 by Randall Jarrell from THE WOMAN , Inc. AT THE WASHINGTON ZOO reprinted in "Katherine's Dream" by Robert Lowell. THE COMPLETE POEMS OF RANDALL From LORD WEARY'S CASTLE, copyright JARRELL. Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1989. 1946 and renewed 1974 by Robert Lowell, Permission granted by Rhoda Weyr Agency, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace New York. Jovanovich, Inc. "Mutterings Over the Crib of a Deaf "The Drinker" by Robert Lowell. From Child" by James Wright. From THE GREEN FOR THE UNION DEAD by Robert Lowell. WALL by James Wright. Copyright 1957 by Copyright © 1960, 1964 by Robert Lowell. the Yale University Press. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus & "A Blessing" by James Wright. From THE Giroux, Inc. BRANCH WILL NOT BREAK, copyright "Night Journey", Copyright 1940 by 1963 by James Wright. Wesleyan University Theodore Roethke. From THE Press by permission of University Press of COLLECTED POEMS OF THEODORE New England. ROETHKE by Theodore Roethke. Used by "The Other Player" © Copyright 1964 permission of Doubleday, a division of by Owen G. Arno. © Copyright renewed Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing 1992 by Jerome Blitt. The reprinting of Group, Inc. "The Other Player" in this volume is by "The Waking", Copyright 1953 by permission of the owners and Dramatists Theodore Roethke. From THE Play Service, Inc. COLLECTED POEMS OF THEODORE

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