• Well, as grammarian Bill
Walsh puts it in his book
Lapsing Into a Comma, “We
word nerds have known
since second grade that
alright is not all right” (4). He
was talking about “alright” as
one word. It's not OK.
Poetry is finer and more
history; for poetry
expresses the universal,
and history only the
•The American Dream
•Introduce Essay #2
The Road as a postmodern novel
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a postmodern work
because it has several characteristics such as loss,
alienation, and the fragmentation of language.
2. As a postmodern work, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
has a lot to offer and many layers of understanding to
work through. Like other postmodern pieces of
literature, “The Road” starts in medias res, and ends
with no clear conclusion.
3. The elements that are used almost in its entirety are
such as fragmentation of the text, post apocalyptic
scenario, and the lack of a conclusion.
1. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road exhibits several elements
of postmodernism. One of the major aspects of
postmodernism is its unconventional style. McCarthy
breaks from typical conventions in fiction by doing away
with quotation marks.
2. Another element of postmodernism in The Road is the
going in and out of the consciousness of the man from
and to the narrative.
3. Other postmodern parts of his style include the dropping
of apostrophes in contractions, the use of free indirect
discourse, and the use of sentence fragments.
4. One should also consider the use of names, or lack
thereof, to be a postmodern element of the work.
5. Furthermore, the protagonists are not focused on
affecting the greater narrative of the apocalypse.
The Road is necessarily post modern in its
subversion of theAmerican Dream. What is supposed to be
the “land of plenty” has become a stark, barren wasteland.
What is interesting are the ways in which, in this wasteland,
the American Dream remains; or rather, what aspects of the
American Dream remain because they are universally human,
stripped of their capitalist, consumerist aspects. The father and
son believe that they “carry the fire,” or, in other words, that
they are chosen by God. They also aim to reach the coast,
their Manifest Destiny. In this respect it would seem that the
American Dream stands constitutionally intact. Yet, the
materialist, consumerist side of The American Dream is
spoofed in that the father and son wheel their belongings in a
shopping cart through a waste land, where a shopping cart is
an obvious symbol for consumerism.
• The first part shows a glimpse of the old American Dream. The
Man and Woman have a house, they have a kid on the way,
from his dreams and memories, life was pretty good. If we
learned anything in this class though, it was bound to go to
ruins for him in some way. It just so happened that instead of
going crazy like Willy Loman, or being disappointed like Jim
Burden, or not even given a chance like the Invisible Man, a
catastrophe shakes up the world as The Man knows it, thus
destroying his dreams and everyone else's. Throughout the
novel, The Man is constantly hoping for a return to the old
ways, the old American Dream. It’s all he knows. Materialism,
capitalism, “what’s mine is mine,” etc.—all of these things drive
The Man because it’s what he knows, and it’s what the other
people know as well.
TheAmerican Dream and hope in The Road
1. The man sees his son as the only hope worth cherishing and
protecting in his life, and so the man’s dream is not a house with a
white picket fence and a dog, but to try and live as happily as he
can with his son, which is his pursuit of happiness.
2. The American dream in The Road is hope.
3. Hope plays a big part on his journey to the coast, just as it plays a
big part on the people who believe in the American Dream,
because even though they are hopeless in regards to their own
lives, they still have hope that their children will be better/have
more success than they did.
4. The road can be used to identify the American Dream because it
acts as an extension to carry on the hopes and dreams that the
father used as a motivation to continue the journey.
In this second half of our quarter, we have read and
discussed multiple texts, theories, and opinions on both
literature and literary analysis, and for this reason, I offer
you many choices for your first essay. In a thesis driven
essay of 500 to 750 words, respond to one of the prompts
I have offered or one of your own. You need only the
primary text for this essay, but you may incorporate other
stories, manifestos, or critical theory as additional support.
Remember, you can also draw on your own experiences
and knowledge to discuss, explain, and analyze your
Topics for Essay #2
There are many essay topics to choose from.
On the webpage, click on “Essay Prompts” and then “Essay
You will see another list of choices specific to our texts.
Click on any of them to explore topics
You may write an essay on any of these topics.
You may write an essay on a topic of your choice.
You may use fodder from one of your posts.
The essay is due Friday, June 27th before class begins.
Send it as a word document to
Using a close reading strategy and specific textual evidence argue
for how the world was most likely devastated. Consider climate
change, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, the explosion of nuclear
Examine both the concept and reality of cannibalism in The Road.
Consider motivations and outcomes of the behavior.
One does not need to look very deeply in Ralph
Ellison's short story "Battle Royal" to find different
elements and examples of racism. Use African
American literary criticism to make an argument about
Examine the theme of “American Dream” in “Battle
Royal.” Consider how the story defines the concept of
Death of a Salesman
Describe how Willy has taken Ben’s life and his philosophy of
the “jungle” as models for success. How has Willy shaped that
philosophy to encompass life as a salesman?
Linda says that “attention must be paid” to Willy despite his
faults. Write an essay in which you either support Linda’s claim
or argue against it. If Willy is a “fake,” as Biff calls him, then
does he deserve respect?
Should Willy be “happy right here, right now,” as Linda says?
Willy has a wife and two sons who love him, so why should he
be unhappy? Examine how Willy continually plans for his own
success and happiness but always seems unsatisfied, even
angry. Willy says “the sky’s the limit” when “it’s who you know
and the smile on your face,” but who does Willy know and what
has his smile earned him?
Discuss the work in terms of its postmodern
construction. Consider the postmodern
manifestos or the Mary Klages article on
Postmodernism to ground your argument.
Discuss two or more of the manifestos, working
to define the ever-elusive idea of postmodernism.
Consider using the Klages essay on
postmodernism to support your argument.
Discuss the American Dream with regard to the
End of Days
• Class 43:
• The quarter in review
• Discuss Exam #3
• Class 44: Optional Class: Make-up Exam #1 or #2
• Class 45
• Exam #3
• Due electronically before class:
• Essay #2
• Essay revision
See me if you are
•Begin Essay #2
•Work on your Revisions
•Study for make up exam #1 or #2
•Tomorrow is the last Chair Poet Day
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