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Literature and Ourselves : A Thematic Introduction for Readers and Writers,9780321102164
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Literature and Ourselves : A Thematic Introduction for Readers and Writers

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Literature and Ourselves, 4/e, is a thematically organized anthology that treats literature as a continually expanding commentary on our infinitely varied lives, helping readers make the connection between literature and their own unique life stories. Each of the six themes - Family, Men and Women, Grief and Loss, Freedom and Responsibility, Imagination and Discovery, and Quest - progress outward from the self to larger issues. Within each theme, the book provides a unique combination of traditional and contemporary works organized by genre - essays, fiction, poetry, and drama - that reflect the diverse cultures and ethnicities that make up our world today. The fourth edition features new essays, poems, stories, and plays, three new casebooks (Amy Tan, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tim O'Brien), greater emphasis on writing about film, enhanced coverage of science fiction/fantasy, and new end-of-unit questions, "Writing About Literature and Film." For those interested in a personal approach to literature.

Table of Contents



Text-Oriented Approaches.
Author-Oriented Approaches.
Reader-Oriented Approaches.


A Guide to Reading and Analyzing Essays.


Point of View/Setting/Style/Character/Plot/Theme.
A Guide to Reading and Writing About Fiction.


Speaker and Situation/Theme/Tone/Diction/Syntax/Imagery/Sound.
A Guide to Reading and Writing About Poetry.


Performance versus Reading/Stage Directions/Setting/Style/Character/Plot/Theme.
A Guide to Reading and Writing About Drama.

The Writing Process.

Developing Ideas.
Revising and Editing.

Ways to Write About Literature.

The Literary Response Essay.
The Comparison/Contrast Essay.
The Critical Analysis Essay.
The Evaluative Essay.
The Research Essay.



Joan Didion, On Going Home.
Faye Moskowitz, Jewish Christmas.
Frances Mayes, Bramare.


Patricia Grace, It Used to Be Green Once.
Luke, The Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Carson McCullers, A Domestic Dilemma.
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues.
Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory.
Alice Walker, Everyday Use.
Michael Dorris, The Benchmark.
Svava Jakobsdottir, A Story for Children.


William Butler Yeats, A Prayer for My Daughter.
Theodore Roethke, My Papa's Waltz.
Mary TallMountain, There Is No Word for Goodbye.
Maxine Kumin, Nurture.
Sylvia Plath, Daddy.
Luis Omar Salinas, My Father Is a Simple Man.
Alicia Ostriker, First Love.
Raymond Carver, Photograph of My Father in His Twenty-Second Year.
Nikki Giovanni, Nikki-Rosa.
Rita Dove, Variation on Guilt.
Li-Young Lee, The Gift.
Virginia Cerenio, we who carry the endless seasons.
Affa M. Weaver, Improvisation for Piano: After Mood Indigo.
Marilyn Nelson, The House on Moscow Street.


Terrence McNally, Andre's Mother.

Casebook on August Wilson: Writing About Relationships.

August Wilson, Fences.
Sandra Shannon, from The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson.
Alan Nadel, Boundaries, Logistics, and Identity: The Property of Metaphor in “Fences” and Joe Turner's “Come and Gone.”
John Timpane, Filling the Time: Reading History in the Drama of August Wilson.
Harry Elam, Jr., August Wilson's Women.
A Student Essay: Jim Fowler, Baseball Metaphors in “Fences.”



Virginia Woolf, Professions for Women.
David Osborne, Beyond the Cult of Fatherhood.
Rosa del Castillo Guilbault, Americanization Is Tough on Macho.
Shalmali Pal, Looking for My Prince Charming.


Geoffrey Chaucer, The Wife of Bath's Tale.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Birthmark.
Kate Chopin, Desiree's Baby.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper.
Zora Neale Hurston, The Gilded Six-Bits.
Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants.
Jamaica Kincaid, Girl.
Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh.


William Shakespeare, Sonnets 116, 130, and 138.
John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning.
Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress.
Elizabeth Browning, Sonnet 43.
Edgar Allan Poe, To Helen.
Robert Browning, Porphyria's Lover.
Robert Browning, My Last Duchess.
Hilda Doolittle, Helen.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sonnet 42.
Muriel Rukeyser, Myth.
Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman.
Ted Hughes, Incompatibilities.
Octavio Paz, Two Bodies.
Adrienne Rich, Living in Sin.
Janice Mirikitani, Breaking Tradition.
Marge Piercy, Barbie Doll.
Judith Ortiz Cofer, Anniversary.
Rita Dove, Courtship.
Rita Dove, Courtship, Diligence.


Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House.

Casebook on Three Poets: Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Langston Hughes: Writing About Love and Gender.

Emily Dickinson, 106 The Daisy follows soft the Sun—.
Emily Dickinson, 199 I'm wife—I've finished that—.
Emily Dickinson, 284 The Drop, that wrestles in the Sea—.
Emily Dickinson, 339 I tend my flowers for thee—.
Emily Dickinson, 732 She rose to His Requirement—dropt.
Gertrude Reif Hughes, Subverting the Cult of Domesticity: Emily Dickinson's Critique of Women's Work.
Joanne Dobson, The Invisible Lady: Emily Dickinson and the Female Experience.
Suzanne Juhasz, Writing Doubly: Emily Dickinson and Female Experience.
Margaret Homans, Oh, Vision of Language: Dickinson's Poems of Love and Death.
Robert Frost, Home Burial.
Robert Frost, The Death of the Hired Man.
Robert Frost, The Silken Tent.
Robert Frost, Putting in the Seed.
Robert Frost, Mending Wall.
Edward Garnett, A New American Poet.
Judith Oster, from Robert Frost: The Reader and the Poet.
William G. O'Donnell, Talking About Poets with Robert Frost.
Langston Hughes, Mother to Son.
Langston Hughes, A Song to a Negro Wash-Woman.
Langston Hughes, Jazzonia.
Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues.
Langston Hughes, I, Too.
R. Baxter Miller, The 'Crystal Stair' Within: The Apocalyptic Imagination.
Steven C. Tracy, Langston Hughes: Poetry, Blues, and Gospel—Somewhere to Stand.
Arthur P. Davis, The Harlem of Langston Hughes' Poetry.
A Student Essay: Brittney Victor, Transcendent Women, Earthbound Men.



Elie Wiesel, Yom Kippur.
Annie Dillard, Heaven and Earth in Jest.
Mark Mathabane, The Road to Alexandra.
Lee Stringer, from Grand Central Winter: Stories from the Street.


F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winter Dreams.
Katherine Anne Porter, The Grave.
William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily.
Arna Bontemps, A Summer Tragedy.
Liliana Heker, The Stolen Party.
Madison Smartt Bell, Customs of the Country.
Eric Skipper, The Runt.


William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias.
Edwin Arlington Robinson, Richard Cory.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear the Mask.
Robert Frost, Design.
Robert Frost, Once by the Pacific.
e. e. cummings, Buffalo Bill's.
e. e. cummings, anyone lived in a pretty how town.
Claude McKay, If We Must Die.
Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est.
Countee Cullen, Incident.
Henry Reed, Naming of Parts.
Henry Reed, Judging Distances.
John McCrae, In Flanders Fields.
Langston Hughes, Drama for Winter Night (Fifth Avenue).
Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.
Wislawa Szymborska, Our Ancestors' Short Lives.
Derek Walcott, The Young Wife.
Mary Oliver, University Hospital, Boston.
Angela de Hoyos, How to Eat Crow on a Cold Sunday Morning.
Billy Collins, Forgetfulness.
Sharon Olds, On the Subway.
Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Pantoun for Chinese Women.
Victor Hernandez Cruz, Problems with Hurricanes.
Derek Walcott, The Young Wife.
Adam Zagajewski, Try to Praise the Mutilated World.


William Shakespeare, Othello.

Casebook on Amy Tan: Writing about Vulnerability.

Amy Tan, Young Girl's Wish.
Amy Tan, Immortal Heart.
E.D. Huntley, Amy Tan: A Hundred Secret Senses.
E.D. Huntley, Amy Tan and Asian-American Literature.
Victoria Chen, Chinese American Women, Language and Moving Subjectivity.

Student Essay.



Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal.
Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence.
Harriet Jacobs, The Slave Who Dared to Feel Like a Man.
Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail.
Vaclav Havel, The Trial.


Richard Wright, The Man Who Was Almost a Man.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Harrison Bergeron.
Zenna Henderson, As Simple as That.
John Updike, A & P.
Ursula K. LeGuin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.
Isacc Asimov, Frustration.


William Blake, London.
William Wordsworth, The World Is Too Much with Us.
Stephen Crane, A Man Said to the Universe.
Rudyard Kipling, If.
W. H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen.
Randall Jarrell, The Woman at the Washington Zoo.
Karl Shapiro, The Conscientious Objector.
Anne Sexton, Ringing the Bells.
Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool.
Adrienne Rich, Aunt Jennifer's Tigers.
Pat Mora, Immigrants.
Joy Harjo, The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window.
Dwight Okita, In Response to Executive Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers.


Sophocles, Antigone.

Casebook on Tim O'Brien: Writing About War.

Tim O'Brien, How to Tell a True War Story.
Tim O'Brien, On the Rainy River.
Tim O'Brien, The Man I Killed.
Tim O'Brien, Good Form.
Kaplan, Stephen. The Undying Uncertainty of the Narrator in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried..
Callaway, Catherine. 'How to Tell a True War Story:' Metafiction in The Things They Carried.
Robinson, Daniel. Getting It Right: The Short Fiction of Tim O'Brien.

Student Essay.



Frederick Douglass, from My Bondage and My Freedom.
Chinua Achebe, Africa and Her Writers.
Sandra Cisneros, Heritage: An Offering to the Power of Language.
Paul Theroux, Discovering Dingle.


Mark Twain, A Fable.
Woody Allen, The Kugelmass Episode.
Ray Bradbury, There Will Come Soft Rains.
Mark Bourne, What Dreams Are Made On.
Louise Erdrich, Naked Woman Playing Chopin.


John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn.
Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica.
W. H. Auden, Musée des Beaux Arts.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Constantly Risking Absurdity.
Countee Cullen, Yet Do I Marvel.
Audre Lorde, The Art of Response.
Ishmael Reed, beware: do not read this poem.
Seamus Heaney, Digging.
Victor Hernandez Cruz, Today Is a Day of Great Joy.
Alberto Rios, The Vietnam Wall.
Li-Young Lee, Persimmons.
Billy Collins, Introduction to Poetry.
Billy Collins, Poems.
Fred Chappell, The Garden.
Gregory Djanikian, How I Learned English.


William Shakespeare, The Tempest.

Casebook on Joyce Carol Oates: Writing About Darkness.

Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?.
Joyce Carol Oates, Valentine.
Joyce Wegs, 'Don't You Know Who I Am?' The Grotesque in Oates's 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'.
Nancy Bishop Dessommes, O'Connor's Mrs. Mary and Oates' Connie: An Unlikely Pair of Religious Initiates.

Student Essay.



Plato, Allegory of the Cave.
Stephen Hawking, Conclusion to a Brief History of Time.
Mike Rose, I Just Wanna Be Average.
V. S. Naipaul, from Lost.
Don Moser, The Pied Piper of Tuscan.


James Joyce, Araby.
Bernard Malamud, Angel Levine.
Arthur C. Clarke, The Star.
Philip Roth, The Conversion of the Jews.
Toni Cade Bambara, Raymond's Run.
Margaret Atwood, Homelanding.


Psalm 8.
John Donne, Batter My Heart.
John Milton, Sonnet 16.
William Blake, The Lamb.
William Blake, The Tyger.
William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses.
Walt Whitman, There Was a Child Went Forth.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, God's Grandeur.
William Butler Yeats, Sailing to Byzantium.
T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
Langston Hughes, Harlem.
Joseph Brodsky, December 24, 1971.
Judith Ortiz Cofer, Latin Women Pray.
Cathy Song, Heaven.
Cathy Song, Lost Sister.
Fred Chappell, Forever Mountain.
Fred Chappell, An Old Mountain Woman Reading the Book of Job.
James Wright, Small Frogs Killed on the Highway.
N. Scott Momaday, Carriers of the Dream Wheel.


Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding.

Casebook on Flannery O'Connor: Writing About Faith.

Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
Flannery O'Connor, Greenleaf.
Flannery O'Connor, The Fiction Writer and His Country.
Frederick J. Hoffman, The Search for Redemption: Flannery O'Connor's Fiction.
Gilbert H. Muller, Violence and the Grotesque.
Margaret Earley Whitt, from Understanding Flannery O'Connor.
Student Essay: Quimby Melton IV, Greenleaf's Destructive Bull and Paean to the Common Man.


Critical Approaches to Literature.

Writing About Film.

Documenting Sources: MLA Style Sheet.


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