American Romanticism Intro

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American Romanticism Intro

  1. 1. Do you ever get overwhelmed and wish that life was more simple?Where do you go to findpeace? Describe.
  2. 2. How does this make you feel? (look at the people)
  3. 3. Are there moments whenyou feel small orinsignificant in theworld? When? Comparedto what?Think about nature. Describeit and your feelings toward it.•Are there calming aspects ofnature?•Are there violent andthreatening ones?
  4. 4. • Is the price of progress ever too high? Name negative instances of progress? – expansion made people feel soulless
  5. 5. • Is it patriotic to protest ones government? What role do you think activism plays in democracy? When is it ok/not ok to protest? – Problems: slavery, womens rights, mistreatment of workers – Protests bring awareness and change
  6. 6. • Does everyone have a dark side? Describe a situation in which a person might struggle to keep his or her dark side under control (personal or film).
  7. 7. • Where/why do people look for truth? – escape from materialism and industrialism to nature and the idea of the self = simplicity, truth, beauty
  8. 8. • Page 296: List contradictory pairs of words in the text. – patriotic/individualistic, urban/untamed, wealthy/enslaved – Society is complex and inconsistent - causes people to search for the truth inside and to escape civilization.
  9. 9. • Romanticism: individual spirit, beauty of nature, possibilities of the imagination• response to the countrys growth and to the Industrial Revolution
  10. 10. Historical Context
  11. 11. I. The Spirit of Exploration -"manifest destiny" • Louisiana Purchase doubled the countrys size • Moved west for money and land • land taken from Native Americans – brutality • Mexican American war- immoral, expanded slavery
  12. 12. II. Growth of Industry• War of 1812 forces USA to produce many goods they previously imported• Industrial Revolution: from farm to industry• factory system: long hours, low wages, harsh conditions• people left their farms for the cities• hectic pace, lack of conscience - writers turn to nature, self, truth and beauty
  13. 13. III. The Tragedy of Slavery • Cotton gin - numbers of enslaved rise • Life was brutal for slaves • Romantics created awareness of the injustice of slavery with their poems and writing - supported human rights
  14. 14. IV. Call for Social Reform• Rise in opposition to social ills• Abolition movement - emancipation of slaves• Workers rights - unions, conditions improved• Womens rights
  15. 15. V. Nationalism vs. Sectionalism• Nationalism - interests of the country are placed above the interests of the individual states• American literature - no longer imitating Europeans• Sectionalism - placing of the interests of ones own region ahead of the nation
  16. 16. VI. Romantic Literature• Themes of nature and individualism (imitated nature, valued imagination and emotion)• Opposed to those that imitated Europe• Opposed to the rationality of the Age of Reason and the strict doctrines of Puritanism (fear of supernatural favored over the fear of God)• Man is small compared to the natural world
  17. 17. VII. The Fireside Poets• reading poetry aloud beside a fire• Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - individualism, appreciation of nature, Americas past• Poetry to bring about social reform• concern with the common man (farmers, lumbermen, migrants, poor)
  18. 18. VIII. Transcendentalists – meaning beyond reason and experience• living a simple life, found truth in nature/emotion/imagination• Ideas of optimism, freedom, self-reliance• Emerson - every individual has the intuition to discover their own truth• people are inherently good; should follow their own beliefs, no matter how strange
  19. 19. • Criticized the closed minded Puritans• Distaste for the materialistic side of American life• spiritual being instead - close relationship to nature• Valued intelligence over money• Movement faded when confronted with the reality of slavery
  20. 20. IX. American Gothic: The "Brooding" Romantics• Did not believe people were naturally good, explored the human capacity for evil• focus on inner life of characters and character motivations• elements of fantasy and supernatural• emphasized feelings, the individual and nature
  21. 21. Gothic elements• grotesque characters - exaggerated• bizarre situations• violent events• creepy - vampires, monsters, insanity, demons, shadows• psychology of the human soul - effect that sin and guilt have on the mind• mysterious and hidden aspects of humanity - haunted by threat of disaster

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