While I've assigned the play, I thought it might be interesting to add a link to the novel Belasco wrote. It describes in detail some of the scenes only mentioned in the play, and may help explain what is going on in some of the more chaotic scenes.
If a particular event in the play strikes you as confusing, you might take a look at how Belasco described it in the novel. For instance, here is how Belasco explains why a gentlemanly character like Johnson finds himself leading a band of thieves. The passage begins with the deathbed speech of Johnson's dying father, a Mexican:
"Little by little these cursed Americanos have taken all that I had from me. But as they have sown so shall they reap. I have taken my revenge, and you shall take more!" He paused to get his breath; then in a terrible voice he cried: "Yes, I have robbed—robbed! For the last three years, almost, your father has been a bandit!"
The son sprang to his feet.
"A bandit? You, father, a Ramerrez, a bandit?"
"Ay, a bandit, an outlaw, as you also will be when I am no more, and rob, rob, rob, these Americanos. It is my command and—you—have—sworn…"
The Girl of the Golden West (novel)
I just noticed that pages 242 and 243 are missing from the photocopy I made last year when I got this book through interlibrary loan.
Here is the text from the novel version, that explains the action that took place in the missing pages of the script:
"It is true," began the unfortunate road agent in an even, unemotional voice, "that I love the Girl."
At these words Rance's arms flew up threateningly, while a mocking smile sprang to his lips.
"Well, you won't in a minute," he reminded him grimly.
The taunt brought no change of expression to the prisoner's face or change of tone in his voice as he went on to say that he did not care what they did to him; that he was prepared for anything; and that every man who travelled the path that he did faced death every day for a drink of water or ten minutes' sleep, concluding calmly:
"You've got me and I wouldn't care but for the Girl."
"You've got just three minutes!" A shade almost of contempt was in Sonora's exclamation.
"Yes…!" blazed Trinidad.
There was an impressive silence; then in a voice that trembled strangely between pride and humility Johnson continued:
"I don't want her to know my end. Why, that would be an awful thought for her to go on with all her life—that I died out there—near at hand. Why, boys, she couldn't stay here after that—she couldn't…"
"That's understood," replied Rance, succinctly.
"I'd like her to think," went on the prisoner, with difficulty choking back the tears, "that I got away clear and went East and changed my way of living. So you just drag me a good ways from here before you—" He stopped abruptly and began to swallow nervously. When he spoke again it was with a perceptible change of manner. "And when I don't write and she never hears why she will say, 'he's forgotten me,' and that will be about enough for her to remember, because she loved me before she knew what I was—and you can't change love in a minute."
All the while Johnson had been speaking the Sheriff's jealousy had been growing steadily until, finally, turning upon the other with a succession of oaths he struck him a fierce blow in the face.
"I don't blame you," returned the prisoner without a trace of malice in his voice. "Strike me again—strike me—one death is not enough for me. Damn me—I wish you could… Oh, why couldn't I have let her pass! I'm sorry I came her way—but it's too late now, it's too late…"
Rance, not in the least affected by what the prisoner had been saying, asked if that was his last word.
Trinidad, simultaneously with his nod, snapped his finger, indicating that the prisoner's time was up.
"Dep!" called the Sheriff, sharply.
The Deputy came forward and took his prisoner in charge.
"Good-bye, sir!" said Nick, who was visibly affected.
"Good-bye!" returned the prisoner, briefly. "You tell the Girl—no, come to think of it, Nick, don't say anything…"
"Come on, you!" ordered Happy.
Whereupon with a shout and an imprecation the men removed en masse to the door.
"Boys," intervened Nick at this juncture, rushing into their midst, "when Alliger was hanged Rance let 'im see his sweetheart. I think, considerin' as how she ain't goin' to see no more o' Mr. Johnson here, an' knowin' the Girl's feelin's—well, I think she ought to have a chance to—"
Nick was not allowed to finish, for instantly the men were up in arms raising a most vigorous objection to his proposal; but, notwithstanding, Nick, evidently bent upon calling the Girl, started for the door.
"No," objected Rance, obstinately.
The road agent took a step forward and, turning upon the Sheriff with a desperately hopeless expression upon his face, he said:
"Jack Rance, there were two of us—I've had my chance. Inside of ten minutes I'll be dead and it will be all your way. Couldn't you let me—"
He paused, and ended almost piteously with:
"Oh, I thought I'd have the courage not to ask, but, Oh, couldn't you let me—couldn't you—"
Once more Nick intervened by shrewdly prevaricating:
"Here's the Girl, boys!"
But this ruse of Nick's met with no greater success than his previous efforts, for Rance, putting his foot down heavily upon the stove, voiced a vigorous protest.
"All right," said the prisoner, resignedly. Nevertheless, his face reflected his disappointment. Turning now to Nick he thanked him for his efforts in his behalf.
"You must excuse Rance," remarked the little barkeeper with a significant look at the Sheriff, "for bein' so small a man as to deny the usual courtesies, but he ain't quite himself."
Weary of their cavilling, for he believed that in the end the Sheriff would carry his point, and determined to go before his courage failed him, Johnson made a movement towards the door. Speaking bravely, though his voice trembled, he said:
But, odd as it may seem, Nick's words had taken root.
"Wait a minute," Rance temporised.
The prisoner halted.
"I don't know that I'm so small a man as to deny the usual courtesies, since you put it that way," continued Rance. "I always have extended them. But we'll hear what you have to say—that's our protection. And it might interest some of us to hear what the Girl will have to say to you, Mr. Johnson—after a week in her cabin there may be more to know than—"
Fire leapt to Johnson's eyes; he cried hoarsely—
"Rance, you don't know what you're sayin'," resented Nick, casting hard looks at him; while Sonora put a heavy hand upon the Sheriff and threatened him with:
"Now, Rance, you stop that!"
"We'll hear every word he has to say," insisted the Sheriff, doggedly.
"You bet!" affirmed Trinidad.
"Nick! Nick!" called the Girl once more, and while the little barkeeper went over to admit her the Wells Fargo Agent took his leave, calling back after him:
"Well, boys, you've got him safe—I can't wait—I'm off!"
"Dep, untie the prisoner! Boys, circle round the bar! Trin, put a man at that door! And Sonora, put a couple of men at those windows!" And so swift were the men in carrying out his instructions, that even as he spoke, everyone was at his post, the Sheriff himself and Sonora remaining unseen but on guard at the doors, while the prisoner, edging up close to the door, was not in evidence when the Girl entered.
"You can think of something to tell her—lie to her," had been the Sheriff's parting suggestion.
"I'll let her think I risked coming back to see her again," had replied the prisoner, his throat trembling.
"She won't know it's for the last time—we'll be there," had come warningly from the Sheriff as he pointed to the door that led to the bar-room.
* * * * * *
"Why, what have you got the door barred for?" asked the Girl as she came into the room; and then without waiting for an answer: "Why, where are the boys?"
"Well, you see, the boys—the boys has—has—" began Nick confusedly and stopped.
"The boys—" There was a question in the Girl's voice.
"Why, to the Palmetter," came out feebly from Nick; and then with a sudden change of manner, he added: "Oh, say, Girl, I likes you!" And here he laid his hand affectionately upon her shoulder. "You've been my religion—the bar an' you. Why, you don't never want to leave us—why, I'd drop dead for you."
"Nick, you're very nice to—" began the Girl, gratefully, and stopped, for at that instant a gentle tap came upon the door. Turning swiftly, she saw Johnson coming towards her.
Girl of the Golden West: an example of American melodrama.
Wikipedia's page on W.E.B. Du Bois
When sticks and stones and beasts form the sole environment of a people, their attitude is largely one of determined opposition to and conquest of natural forces. But when to earth and brute is added an environment of men and ideas, then the attitude of the imprisoned group may take three main forms,—a feeling of revolt and revenge; an attempt to adjust all thought and action to the will of the greater group; or, finally, a determined effort at self-realization and self-development despite environing opinion.Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others
To make here in human education that ever necessary combination of the permanent and the contingent—of the ideal and the practical in workable equilibrium—has been there, as it ever must be in every age and place, a matter of infinite experiment and frequent mistakes.Of the Training of Black Men
The literary essay shares some of the qualities of narrative prose, and some of the qualities of oral speech. Among the features worth noting: grand figures of speech, extended metaphors, parallel structure, echoes, repetition, and contrast.
Du Bois is known, among other things, for his articulation of "Double Consciousness" -- the internalized otherness that African Americans always feel when they look at themselves.
After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,--a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness,--an American, a Negro; two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,--this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. ("Of Our Spiritual Strivings," in The Souls of Black Folk.)
While Washington's advocacy of industrial education, giving practical jobs that the majority could use on a daily basis, Du Bois argued that the way to a better future was to identify the "talented tenth" -- that is, the top tier in terms of intellectual capacity and performance, in order to improve the quality of leadership that would carry the other nine-tenths. In the article I linked above, Du Bois notes that Washington relies heavily on the services of college-educated men and women, despite the fact that his emphasis on meeting the needs of the 90% leads to decreased public awareness of (or interest in) the education of the 10%.
From Up from Slavery
See Wikipedia's entry for Booker T. Washington
- Wikipedia on John Henry
NPR's coverage: Present at the Creation
On the above page, click on the audio icons to hear a news story and a recording of the ballad song, as well as the lyrics to one particular recording.
On the above site, choose two versions of the song, and come to class with a one-paragraph statement that characterizes the textual differences between your chosen texts.
In what ways is the John Henry story a tall-tale? How is it social commentary? Is it primarily a story about technology, or about race? Is it too simplistic to say "both"?
As you probably learned when you read Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the key to understanding the dialect is to read the story aloud. "Brer" is short for "brother," "bimeby" means "by and by," and the rest you'll just have to work out on your own.
Each of the above stories has a brief analysis that you might find useful. See the Uncle Reums page at the University of Virginia.
What do we make of this collection of stories, which preserves an African-American culture that might otherwise have been lost, but presents them out of context, as entertainment for white middle-class audiences?
You may have heard the song "Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah," which is from the 1946 Disney film, Song of the South, which was ground-breaking in its use of live actors and animated animals.
The actor who played Uncle Remus was the first live actor Disney hired for a full-length movie, but because he was black, he could not get a hotel anywhere the opening night gala, and was thus unable to attend. While the film was less racist than other films during the 1940s, it has not stood up to the passage of time.
Scott, Kevin Michael '''There's More Honor': Reinterpreting Tom and the Evasion in Huckleberry Finn''
You can find the full text of this article via a search in the library's "Academic Search Elite" database. Bring a printout to class.
Please write two agenda items for this collection, each one referring to one or two poems.
Time and Eternity
XVII I never saw a moor
The Railway Train
VI The way I read a letter 's this
XX Old Fashioned
Time and Eternity
VIII I have not told my garden yet
Everyone should read and blog about The Raven (1845) Everyone should also read and comment on peer agenda items on "The Raven."
Everyone should also read the other poems, and write a blog entry in which you refer to at least two. Everyone should also read and comment on peer agenda items about the other poems.
Silence (1950) [Oops -- I had listed this as "Science", which is a different poem -- one we have already discussed. The link went to the correct place, though. --DGJ]
Epigram for Wall Street (1845)
The Haunted Palace (1845)
Chapter 13, "House-Warming"
Chapter 18, "Conclusion"
Thoreau's Walden is not a novel or an autobiography, but rather a series of interconnected essays that describe his life apart from society, in the woods where he fled in order contemplate nature. In many ways, this book founded the tradition of nature writing. (Certainly authors and artists had examined nature before, but not in the context of nature being threatened by industrialism.)
Thoreau was one of the American Transcendentalists, who loved nature, but also loved intelligent society. They were frustrated idealists, who held out great hopes for the soul of humankind, but disgusted at the pettiness and materialsim they found in human society. They looked at nature with the eyes of a poet,
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan- like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."The above is from Chapter 2, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For." I am also asking you to read Chapter 4, "Sounds".
A note to help you get into the book:
Walden is a difficult book to read for three reasons: First, it was written by a gifted writer who uses surgically precise language, extended, allegorical metaphors, long and complex paragraphs and sentences, and vivid, detailed, and insightful descriptions. Thoreau does not hestitate to use metaphors, allusions, understatement, hyperbole, personification, irony, satire, metonymy, synecdoche, and oxymorons, and he can shift from a scientific to a transcendental point of view in mid-sentence. -- Ken KieferYou may also wish to pay a visit to the Walden section of the American Transcendentalism Web.
One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/wallpaper.html
It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.
The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.
It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.
No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this room long.
There comes John, and I must put this away,--he hates to have me write a word.
I AM a rather elderly man. The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. But I waive the biographies of all other scriveners for a few passages in the life of Bartleby, who was a scrivener the strangest I ever saw or heard of. While of other law-copyists I might write the complete life, of Bartleby nothing of that sort can be done. I believe that no materials exist for a full and satisfactory biography of this man. It is an irreparable loss to literature. Bartleby was one of those beings of whom nothing is ascertainable, except from the original sources, and in his case those are very small. What my own astonished eyes saw of Bartleby, that is all I know of him, except, indeed, one vague report which will appear in the sequel.http://www.bartleby.com/129/
Read "Writing about Character."
"Too far, too far!" exclaimed the goodman, unconsciously resuming his walk. "My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs. And shall I be the first of the name of Brown, that ever took this path and kept--"While I am assigning the version of the story in Writing about Literature, the full text is available in several places online, such as http://scarlet.nscc.mass.edu/hawthorne/ygb.html.
"Such company, thou wouldst say," observed the elder person, interrupting his pause. "Well said, Goodman Brown! I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the Puritans; and that's no trifle to say. I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem. And it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian village, in King Philip's War. They were my good friends, both; and many a pleasant walk have we had along this path, and returned merrily after midnight. I would fain be friends with you, for their sake."
The premise of the book is that no educational process is complete until you can apply what you study. That is, you have not learned something, that is, really learned it, until you talk or write about it.As you read, you may skim quickly through "The Necklace," the story appearing on pages 5-12. Pay more attention to the marginal notes on those pages than to the story itself.
In this class, I will say time and time again that a college student is expected to do more than write a concise summary of the plot of a literary work.
If you want to make sure you don't fill up your pages with plot summary, what other things should you be writing about? The book describes a process of keeping a notebook with informal m marginal responses to a literary work (you can use sticky notes if you're reading a library book), discovering ideas, drafting the paper, and "completing the essay". How have your other English teachers approached the activity of writing a paper?
Note especially the box on page 21, and the plus/minus columns on page 26.
Discussed in Class:
LO! 't is a gala night Within the lonesome latter years. An angel throng, bewinged, bedight In veils, and drowned in tears, Sit in a theatre to see A play of hopes and fears, While the orchestra breathes fitfully The music of the spheres. Mimes, in the form of God on high, Mutter and mumble low, And hither and thither fly; Mere puppets they, who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro, Flapping from out their condor wings Invisible Woe. That motley drama—oh, be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore By a crowd that seize it not, Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot; And much of Madness, and more of Sin, And Horror the soul of the plot. But see amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude: A blood-red thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It writhes—it writhes!—with mortal pangs The mimes become its food, And over each quivering form In human gore imbued. Out—out are the lights—out all! And over each quivering form The curtain, a funeral pall, Comes down with the rush of a storm, While the angels, all pallid and wan, Uprising, unveiling, affirm That the play is the tragedy, "Man," And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.
This entry contains three short Emily Dickinson poems. Many of her works were published long after her death, so a publication date is not immediately useful here. Dickinson's poems are typically known by their first lines, although she did not give them titles.
* * *
SUCCESS is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,
As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear.
* * *
Because I could not stop for Death --
He kindly stopped for me --
The Carriage held but just Ourselves --
We slowly drove -- He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility --
We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess -- in the Ring --
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain --
We passed the Setting Sun --
Or rather -- He passed Us --
The Dews drew quivering and chill --
For only Gossamer, my Gown --
My Tippet -- only Tulle --
We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground --
The Roof was scarcely visible --
The Cornice -- in the Ground --
Since then -- 'tis Centuries -- and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity --
* * *
THERE is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
SCIENCE! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
Edgar Allen Poe
- Interpretaion from the Medical Humanities database
- Some annotations from a student project at the U.S. Naval Academy
- Edgar Allan Poe, from The Literature Network
The tamarind is a huge tropical tree, suggesting an exotic location for a dream.
According to a horticulture website at Purde, "Few plants will survive beneath a tamarind tree and there is a superstition that it is harmful to sleep or to tie a horse beneath one, probably because of the corrosive effect that fallen leaves have on fabrics in damp weather. Some African tribes venerate the tamarind tree as sacred. To certain Burmese, the tree represents the dwelling-place of the rain god and some hold the belief that the tree raises the temperature in its immediate vicinity."
Role-playing gamers may recognize the Naiad (a water spirit). The shorter "Elf" is more common than "Elfin," (here represented as a grass sprit, which is not exactly how J.R.R. Tolkien or the Keebler cookie people represent them) and "Dryad" is more recognizable than "Hamadryad" (a woodland spirit).
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day--at night the party of young fellows,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
Francis Scott Key, (Background)
O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!
And the rockets's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the mornings' first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation
Then conquer we must when our cause it is just
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!