Free «American Literature» Essay Sample

Blanche Dubois got fired for having an affair with a 17 year old student. When she visits her sister, she is ashamed and lies that her supervisor had given her some time off work. However, the true reason behind her visit was to escape from the problems she was facing back home. She had an unpleasant past, and she lies often to cover up the reality of things. She even lies to her suitor about her age to hide the fact that she was growing old and her beauty would soon fade. She lives in a fantasy world where she blocks out the real life. Light, symbolically represents her slow disconnection with real life. For example, bright light represents her sexual innocence. Dim light, on the other hand, represents her sexual maturity and disappointment. (Hooper & Hern 2008)

Southern fiction focuses on the aspect of family, religion and the community that help to shape one’s life. In Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, the impact of family and the community on a person's life have been strongly emphasized. For instance, Blanche's sister sacrifices so much for her. She accommodates her in the family apartment at the expense of her marriage. This was despite the fact that the two sisters were not in good terms. Blanche also brings out the issue of death and loss of family where she explains how they lost their ancestral home, Belle Reve, following the death of their remaining relatives. The aspect of the community’s role in one’s life is also brought out clearly. For instance, people around her seem truly concerned about her well being to the extent the doctor plans to take her to an asylum because he believed she was going crazy. (Hooper & Hern 2008)

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In the prologue to Invisible Man, the narrator claims that he is invisible to the people around him, especially the whites. He claims that his invisibility is not due to the biochemical process or some supernatural cause; rather it happened because of the people's unwillingness to recognize him simply because he is black. As a result, of his invisibility, the narrator suffers from racist attitudes. For instance, when he met a tall man in the night, the man harassed him, the newspapers referred to the incident as mugging. All this clearly portrays the racism and metaphorical slavery he undergoes due to his race. This is what makes him invisible to the rest of the world. Furthermore, because he is invisible, readers refer to him based on their prejudices. (Ellison 1994)

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The narrator in this poem is dreaming. In his dream, he had gone to the circus with his grandfather who, unfortunately, was not particularly impressed by the clowns. In the dream, his grandfather gives him a briefcase containing several envelops; however, one catches his attention than the rest. The letter is in reference to a scholarship awarded by the white community. It symbolizes latent racism in the community. This foreshadows the influence of the college ideology lesson on the narrator. When the narrator joins the brotherhood, he assumes the position of organization’s spokesperson representing the black people. However, not all people like this move. For example, Brother Jack’s mistress feels that he is not a true representation for the black people and thus, does not deserve the position. This eventually results to the betrayal of the narrator by the group members. (Ellison 1994)

In the poem, “A Supermarket in California”, the narrator describes his walk down the side streets under the trees. He is gazing at the full moon thinking, his head aching. He enters a supermarket and finds Walt Whitman who represents a kindred spirit in his poem. The narrator portrays himself as someone who is keen in observing some other persons as he does with Walt Whitman. He follows Whitman around the supermarket wondering to himself where the journey would end. The poem seems to be a lament. The narrator mourns a lost America. He also portrays a unique aspect of poetry where poems can be used to describe events sequentially. In the end, he acknowledges that the world Whitman knew is long gone, but he urges him to look at how much the world he left behind has changed in terms of poetry. ( Ginsberg & William 2000)

The poem “The Truth the Dead Know” by Anne Sexton portrays various themes. The major theme in the poem is 'Death'. The narrator is mourning the loss of her parents and she seems to have considerable difficulty dealing with the parents' demise. She is worn out and feels she cannot put up a brave font any longer. She refuses to escort the hearse to the burial ground an indication that she did not want to suffer again by watching another parent buried. This poem is, therefore, an elegy. ( Sexton 1982)


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