Backpack Literature : An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-10-02
  • Publisher: Longman
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The smallest and most economical member of the Kennedy/ Gioia family, Backpack Literatureis a brief paperback version of the discipline's most popular introduction to literature anthology. Like its bigger, bestselling predecessors, this textbook features the authors' collective poetic voice which brings personal warmth and a human perspective to the discussion of literature, adding to students' interest in the readings.

New features include: thirty-nine stories of well-loved classics as well as accessible contemporary works; more than 237 of the discipline's greatest, most teachable poems; and a wonderful collection of11 high-quality plays.

X J Kennedy has contributed to Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing as an author. X. J. Kennedy was born in Dover, New Jersey, in 1929. After teaching English at the University of Michigan, the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC-Greensboro), and Tufts University, he became a full-time writer in 1978. He has published six other collections of poetry, including Nude Descending a Staircase, which won the 1961 Academy of American Poets Lamont Prize; Cross Ties, awarded the 1985 Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Dark Horses, which was published by Johns Hopkins in 1992.

Author Biography

X. J. Kennedy , after graduation from Seton Hall and Columbia, became a journalist second class in the Navy (“Actually, I was pretty eighth class”). His poems, some published in the New Yorker, were first collected in Nude Descending a Staircase (1961). Since then he has written six more collections, several widely adopted literature and writing textbooks, and seventeen books for children, including two novels. He has taught at Michigan, North Carolina (Greensboro), California (Irvine), Wellesley, Tufts, and Leeds. Cited in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and reprinted in some 200 anthologies, his verse has brought him a Guggenheim fellowship, a Lamont Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, an Aiken-Taylor prize, the Robert Frost Medal of the Poetry Society of America, and the Award for Poetry for Children from the National Council of Teachers of English. He now lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he and his wife Dorothy have collaborated on four books and five children.


Dana Gioia is a poet, critic, and teacher. Born in Los Angeles of Italian and Mexican ancestry, he attended Stanford and Harvard before taking a detour into business. (“Not many poets have a Stanford M.B.A., thank goodness!”) After years of writing and reading late in the evenings after work, he quit a vice presidency to write and teach. He has published three collections of poetry, Daily Horoscope (1986), The Gods of Winter (1991), and Interrogations at Noon (2001), which won the American Book Award; an opera libretto, Nosferatu (2001); and three critical volumes, including Can Poetry Matter? (1992), an influential study of poetry’s place in contemporary America. Gioia has taught at Johns Hopkins, Sarah Lawrence, Wesleyan (Connecticut), Mercer, and Colorado College.


He is also the co-founder of the summer poetry conference at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. From 2003-2009 he served as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. At the NEA he created the largest literary programs in federal history, including Shakespeare in American Communities and Poetry Out Loud, the national high school poetry recitation contest. He also led the campaign to restore active and engaged literary reading by creating The Big Read, which has helped reverse a quarter century of decline in U.S. reading. He currently divides his time between Washington, D.C. and Santa Rosa, California, living with his wife Mary, their two sons, and two uncontrollable cats.


Table of Contents

** = new selection vs. Backpack 2e



**Talking with Amy Tan

1     Reading a Story  

The Art of Fiction

Types of Short Fiction

W. Somerset Maugham n The Appointment in Samarra  

A servant tries to gallop away from Death in this brief sardonic fable retold in memorable form by a popular storyteller.

Aesop n The North Wind and the Sun  

The North Wind and the Sun argue who is stronger and decide to try their powers on an unsuspecting traveler.

**Bidpai n The Tortoise and the Geese

A fable that gives another dimension to Andrew Lang's quip, "He missed an invaluable opportunity to hold his tongue."

Chuang Tzu n Independence  

The Prince of Ch’u asks the philosopher Chuang Tzu to become his advisor and gets a surprising reply in this classic Chinese fable.

Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm n Godfather Death  

Neither God nor the Devil came to the christening. In this stark folktale, a young man receives magical powers with a string attached.


The Short Story  

John Updike n A & P  

In walk three girls in nothing but bathing suits, and Sammy finds himself no longer an aproned checkout clerk but an armored knight.

Writing Effectively


Checklist: writing about plot

Writing Assignment on Plot  

More Topics for Writing


2     Point of View  

Identifying Point of View

Types of Narrators

Stream of Consciousness

William Faulkner n A Rose for Emily  

Proud, imperious Emily Grierson defied the town from the fortress of her mansion. Who could have guessed the secret that lay within?

Edgar Allan Poe n The Tell-Tale Heart

The smoldering eye at last extinguished, a murderer finds that, despite all his attempts at a cover-up, his victim will be heard.

**Eudora Welty n Why I Live at the P. O.

Since no one appreciates Sister, she decides to live at the Post Office. After meeting her family, you won’t blame her.

 Writing Effectively

THINKING about Point of View

CHECKLIST: Writing about Point of View

Writing Assignment on Point of View  

More Topics for Writing


3     Character  

Types of Characters

**Katherine Anne Porter n The Jilting of Granny Weatherall  

For sixty years Ellen Weatherall has fought back the memory of that terrible day, but now once more the priest waits in the house.

Katherine Mansfield n Miss Brill  

Sundays had long brought joy to solitary Miss Brill, until one fateful day when she happened to share a bench with two lovers in the park.

**Naguib Mahfouz n The Lawsuit  

He thought he'd seen the last of his late father's second wife, but now she's back to trouble his peaceful existence.

Raymond Carver n Cathedral  

He had never expected to find himself trying to describe a cathedral to a blind man. He hadn’t even wanted to meet this odd, old friend of his wife.

 Writing Effectively

thinking about character

checklist: Writing about character

Writing Assignment on character

More Topics for Writing


4     Setting  

Elements of Setting

Historical Fiction



Kate Chopin n The Storm  

Even with her husband away, Calixta feels happily, securely married. Why then should she not shelter an old admirer from the rain?

**Virginia Woolf  n A Haunted House

Whatever hour you woke a door was shutting. From room to room the ghostly couple walked, hand in hand.

**Jack London n To Build a Fire  

Seventy-five degrees below zero. Alone except for one mistrustful wolf dog,
a man finds himself battling a relentless force.\

Amy Tan n A Pair of Tickets  

A young woman flies with her father to China to meet two half sisters she never knew existed.

 Writing Effectively

THINKING about setting

CHECKLIST: Writing about setting

Writing Assignment on setting

More Topics for Writing


5     Tone and Style  




Ernest Hemingway n A Clean, Well-Lighted Place  

All by himself each night, the old man lingers in the bright café. What does he need more than brandy?

William Faulkner n Barn Burning  

This time when Ab Snopes wields his blazing torch, his son Sarty faces a dilemma: whether to obey or defy the vengeful old man.


O. Henry n The Gift of the Magi  

A young husband and wife find ingenious ways to buy each other Christmas presents, in the classic story that defines the word “irony.”

Writing Effectively

THINKING about tone and style

CHECKLIST: Writing about tone and  style

Writing Assignment on tone and style

More Topics for Writing


6     Theme  

Plot vs. Theme

Theme as Unifying Device

Finding the Theme

Chinua Achebe n Dead Men’s Path  

The new headmaster of the village school was determined to fight superstition, but the villagers did not agree.

**Stephen Crane n The Open Boat  

In a lifeboat circled by sharks, tantalized by glimpses of land, a reporter scrutinizes Fate and learns about comradeship.

Luke 15:11–32 n The Parable of the Prodigal Son  

A father has two sons. One demands his inheritance now and leaves to spend it with ruinous results.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. n Harrison Bergeron  

Are you handsome? Off with your eyebrows! Are you brainy? Let a transmitter sound thought-shattering beeps inside your ear.

 Writing Effectively

THINKING about theme

CHECKLIST: Writing about theme

Writing Assignment on theme

More Topics for Writing


7     Symbol  



Recognizing Symbols

John Steinbeck n The Chrysanthemums  

Fenced-in Elisa feels emotionally starved—then her life promises to blossom with the arrival of the scissors-grinding man.

**John Cheever  n The Swimmer

A man decides to swim home through his neighbors’ pools, but the water turns out to be much deeper than he realized.

**Ursula K. Le Guin n The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas  

Omelas is the perfect city. All of its inhabitants are happy. But everyone’s prosperity depends on a hidden evil.

Shirley Jackson n The Lottery  

Splintered and faded, the sinister black box had worked its annual terror for longer than anyone in town could remember.

 Writing Effectively

THINKING about symbols

CHECKLIST: Writing about symbols

Writing Assignment on Symbols  

More Topics for Writing


8     Stories for Further Reading  

**Sherman Alexie n This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

The only one who can help Victor when his father dies is a childhood friend he’s been avoiding for years.

Margaret Atwood n Happy Endings  

John and Mary meet. What happens next? This witty experimental story offers five different outcomes.

Kate Chopin n The Story of an Hour  

“There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name.”

Sandra Cisneros n The House on Mango Street  

Does where we live tell what we are? A little girl dreams of a new house, but things don’t always turn out the way we want them to.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman n The Yellow Wallpaper  

A doctor prescribes a “rest cure” for his wife after the birth of their child. The new mother tries to settle in to life in the isolated and mysterious country house they have rented for the summer. The cure proves worse than the disease in this Gothic classic.

Nathaniel Hawthorne Young Goodman Brown

Urged on through deepening woods, a young Puritan sees—or dreams he sees—good villagers hasten toward a diabolic rite.

Zora Neale Hurston n Sweat  

Delia’s hard work paid for her small house. Now her drunken husband Sykes has promised it to another woman.

James Joyce n Araby  

If only he can find her a token, she might love him in return. As night falls,
a Dublin boy hurries to make his dream come true.

Franz Kafka n Before the Law

A man from the country comes in search of the Law. He never guesses what will prevent him from finding it in this modern parable.

**Jhumpa Lahiri n Interpreter of Maladies  

Mr. Kapasi’s life had settled into a quiet pattern—and then Mrs. Das and her family came into it.

Joyce Carol Oates n Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?  

Alone in the house, Connie finds herself helpless before the advances of a spellbinding imitation teenager, Arnold Friend.

Tim O’Brien n The Things They Carried  

What each soldier carried into the combat zone was largely determined by necessity, but each man’s necessities differed.  

Flannery O’Connor n A Good Man Is Hard to Find  

Wanted: The Misfit, a cold-blooded killer. An ordinary family vacation leads to horror—and one moment of redeeming grace.

Alice Walker, Everyday Use  

When successful Dee visits from the city, she has changed her name to reflect her African roots. Her mother and sister notice other things have changed, too.



Talking with Kay Ryan

9 Reading a Poem  

Poetry or Verse

Reading a Poem


William Butler Yeats n The Lake Isle of Innisfree  

Lyric Poetry  

Robert Hayden n Those Winter Sundays  

Adrienne Rich n Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers  

Narrative Poetry  

Anonymous n Sir Patrick Spence  

Robert Frost n “Out, Out—”  

Dramatic Poetry  

Robert Browning n My Last Duchess  

Didactic Poetry

Writing Effectively

thinking about Paraphrase  

William Stafford n Ask Me  

William Stafford n A Paraphrase of “Ask Me”  

Checklist: Writing a Paraphrase

Writing Assignment on Paraphrasing  

More Topics for Writing


10   Listening to a Voice



Theodore Roethke n My Papa’s Waltz  

Countee Cullen n For a Lady I Know  

Anne Bradstreet n The Author to Her Book  

Walt Whitman n To a Locomotive in Winter  

Emily Dickinson n I like to see it lap the Miles  

**Kevin Young n Doo Wop

Weldon Kees n For My Daughter  

The Person in the Poem  

Natasha Trethewey n White Lies  

Edwin Arlington Robinson n Luke Havergal  

Ted Hughes n Hawk Roosting  

Langston Hughes n Theme for English B

Anne Sexton n Her Kind  

William Carlos Williams n The Red Wheelbarrow  


Robert Creeley n Oh No  

W. H. Auden n The Unknown Citizen  

**Sharon Olds n Rite of Passage  

Edna St. Vincent Millay n Second Fig  

Thomas Hardy n The Workbox  

For Review and Further Study  

**William Blake n The Chimney Sweeper  

Richard Lovelace n To Lucasta  

Wilfred Owen n Dulce et Decorum Est  

Writing Effectively

thinking About TONE  

Checklist: writing about Tone  

Writing Assignment on Tone  

More Topics for Writing


11 Words  

Literal Meaning: What a Poem Says First  

William Carlos Williams n This Is Just to Say  


Marianne Moore n Silence  

John Donne n Batter my heart, three-personed God, for You  

The Value of a Dictionary  

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow n Aftermath  

**Kay Ryan n Chemise

J. V. Cunningham n Friend, on this scaffold Thomas More lies dead  

Carl Sandburg n Grass

**Anonymous n Dog Haiku

Word Choice and Word Order

Robert Herrick n Upon Julia’s Clothes  

Thomas Hardy n The Ruined Maid  

For Review and Further Study  

E. E. Cummings n anyone lived in a pretty how town  

Wendy Cope n Lonely Hearts  

**Billy Collins n The Names  

Anonymous n Carnation Milk  

Gina Valdés n English con Salsa  

Lewis Carroll n Jabberwocky  

Writing Effectively

thinking About Diction  

Checklist: writing About diction

Writing Assignment on Word Choice  

More Topics for Writing


12 Saying and Suggesting  

Denotation and Connotation

William Blake n London  

Wallace Stevens n Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock 

Gwendolyn Brooks n Southeast Corner  

Robert Frost n Fire and Ice  

**Diane Thiel  n The Minefield  

Rhina Espaillat n Bilingual/Bilingüe

**Ron Rash n The Day the Gates Closed

Alfred, Lord Tennyson n Tears, Idle Tears  

**Richard Wilbur n Love Calls Us to the Things of This World  

Writing Effectively

thinking About Denotation and Connotation  

Checklist: writing about What a Poem SAYS AND Suggests  

Writing Assignment on Denotation and Connotation  

More Topics for Writing


13 Imagery  

Ezra Pound n In a Station of the Metro  

Taniguchi Buson n The piercing chill I feel  


T. S. Eliot n The winter evening settles down  

Theodore Roethke n Root Cellar  

Elizabeth Bishop n The Fish  

Emily Dickinson n A Route of Evanescence  

Gerard Manley Hopkins n Pied Beauty  

Jean Toomer n Reapers  

About Haiku  

Arakida Moritake n The falling flower  

Matsuo Basho n Heat-lightning streak  

Matsuo Basho n In the old stone pool  

Taniguchi Buson n On the one-ton temple bell  

**Taniguchi Buson n Moonrise on mudflats

Kobayashi Issa n only one guy  

Kobayashi Issa n Cricket  

Etheridge Knightn Making jazz swing in

Lee Gurga n Visitor’s Room

**Penny Harter n broken bowl

**Jennifer Brutschy n Born Again

For Review and Further Study  

John Keats n Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art  

Robert Bly n Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter  

**Paul Goodman   n Birthday Cake

**Billy Collins n Embrace  

Stevie Smith n Not Waving but Drowning  

Writing Effectively

thinking About Imagery  

Checklist: Writing about imagery  

Writing Assignment on Imagery  

More Topics for Writing


14 Figures of Speech  

Why Speak Figuratively?  

Alfred, Lord Tennyson n The Eagle  

William Shakespeare n Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?  

Howard Moss n Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?  

Metaphor and Simile  

Alfred, Lord Tennyson n Flower in the Crannied Wall  

William Blake n To see a world in a grain of sand  

Emily Dickinson n My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun  

Sylvia Plath n Metaphors  

N. Scott Momaday n Simile  

**Emily Dickinson n It dropped so low – in my Regard  

**Craig Raine n A Martian Sends a Postcard Home  

Other Figures of Speech  

James Stephens n The Wind  

Margaret Atwood n You fit into me  

**George Herbert n The Pulley  

Dana Gioia n Money  

**Carl Sandburg n Fog  

For Review and Further Study  

Robert Frost n The Silken Tent  

Robert Frost n The Secret Sits  

**Kay Ryan n Turtle  

Robert Burns n Oh, my love is like a red, red rose  

Writing Effectively

thinking About Metaphors  

Checklist: writing about metaphors  

Writing Assignment on Figures of Speech  

More Topics for Writing


15 Sound  

Sound as Meaning  

Alexander Pope n True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance  

William Butler Yeats n Who Goes with Fergus?  

**William Wordsworth n A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal  

**Aphra Behn n When maidens are young  

Alliteration and Assonance  

A. E. Housman n Eight O’Clock  

Alfred, Lord Tennyson n The splendor falls on castle walls  


William Cole n On my boat on Lake Cayuga  

Hilaire Belloc n The Hippopotamus

**William Butler Yeats n Leda and the Swan  

Gerard Manley Hopkins n God’s Grandeur  

**Robert Frost n Desert Places  

Reading Poems Aloud  

Michael Stillman n In Memoriam John Coltrane  

Writing Effectively

thinking About a poem’s Sound  

Checklist: Writing about a Poem’s sound  

Writing Assignment on Sound  

More Topics for Writing


16 Rhythm  

Stresses and Pauses  

Gwendolyn Brooks n We Real Cool  

Alfred, Lord Tennyson n Break, Break, Break  

Dorothy Parker n Résumé  


Edna St. Vincent Millay n Counting-out Rhyme  

A. E. Housman n When I was one-and-twenty  

Walt Whitman n Beat! Beat! Drums!  

**Langston Hughes n Dream Boogie  

Writing Effectively

thinking About Rhythm  

Checklist: scanning a poem

Writing Assignment on Rhythm  

More Topics for Writing


17 Closed Form  

Formal Patterns  

John Keats n This living hand, now warm and capable  

Robert Graves n Counting the Beats  

John Donne n Song (“Go and catch a falling star”)  


Anonymous n Bonny Barbara Allan  

Dudley Randall n Ballad of Birmingham  

The Sonnet  

William Shakespeare n Let me not to the marriage of true minds  

Claude McKay n America 

Edna St. Vincent Millay n What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why  

**Robert Frost n Acquainted with the Night  

R. S. Gwynn n Shakespearean Sonnet  

**The Epigram  

**Alexander Pope n Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog

**Sir John Harrington n Of Treason

**Hilaire Belloc n Fatigue

**Wendy Cope n Variation on Belloc’s “Fatigue”

Other Forms  

Dylan Thomas n Do not go gentle into that good night  

Elizabeth Bishop n Sestina  

Writing Effectively

thinking About a sonnet  

Checklist: Writing about a sonnet  

Writing Assignment on a Sonnet  

More Topics for Writing


18   Open Form  

Denise Levertov n Ancient Stairway  

Free Verse

E. E. Cummings n Buffalo Bill ’s  

**William Carlos Williams n The Dance  

Stephen Crane n In the desert  

Walt Whitman n Cavalry Crossing a Ford  

Wallace Stevens n Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird  

Prose Poetry  

**Carolyn Forché n The Colonel  

For Review and Further Study  

E. E. Cummings n in Just-  

** A. E. Stallings n First Love: A Quiz

Langston Hughes n I, Too  

Writing Effectively

thinking About Free Verse  

Checklist: Writing about Line Breaks

Writing Assignment on Open Form  

More Topics for Writing


19   Symbol  

The Meanings of a Symbol

T. S. Eliot n The Boston Evening Transcript  

Emily Dickinson n The Lightning is a yellow Fork  

Identifying Symbols

Thomas Hardy n Neutral Tones  

Yusef Komunyakaa n Facing It 


Matthew 13:24–30 n The Parable of the Good Seed  

**George Herbert n The World  

Robert Frost n The Road Not Taken  

**Christina Rossetti n Uphill  

For Review and Further Study

** Mary Oliver n Wild Geese

Lorine Niedecker n Popcorn-can cover  

Wallace Stevens n Anecdote of the Jar  

Writing Effectively

thinking About Symbols  

Checklist: writing about symbols  

Writing Assignment on Symbolism  

More Topics for Writing


**20       Myth and Narrative  

Origins of Myth

Robert Frost n Nothing Gold Can Stay  

**William Wordsworth n The world is too much with us  

**H. D. n Helen  


**Louise Bogan n Medusa  

Personal Myth  

**William Butler Yeats n The Second Coming  

** Sylvia Plath n Lady Lazarus  

Myth and Popular Culture  

**Anne Sexton n Cinderella  

Writing Effectively  


Checklist: WRITINg About Myth  

Writing Assignment on Myth  

More Topics for Writing


21 What Is Poetry?  

Dante, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Mina Loy, W. H. Auden, José Garcia Villa, Christopher Fry, Elizabeth Bishop, Joy Harjo, Charles Simic  n Some Definitions of Poetry  

22 Poems for Further Reading  

**Aaron Abeyta n thirteen ways of looking at a tortilla  

** Sherman Alexie n The Powwow at the End of the World 

**Anonymous  n Last Words of the Prophet  

Matthew Arnold n Dover Beach  

Margaret Atwood n Siren Song  

**W. H. Auden n September 1, 1939

W. H. Auden n Musée des Beaux Arts  

**Jimmy Santiago Baca n Spliced Wire

**Elizabeth Bishop n Filling Station  

Elizabeth Bishop n One Art  

William Blake n The Tyger  

**Gwendolyn Brooks n the mother  

Elizabeth Barrett Browning n How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways  

**Robert Browning n Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister  

Judith Ortiz Cofer n Quiñceañera  

Samuel Taylor Coleridge n Kubla Khan  

Billy Collins n Care and Feeding  

E. E. Cummings n somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond  

Emily Dickinson n I’m Nobody! Who are you?  

Emily Dickinson n I heard a Fly buzz – when I died  

Emily Dickinson n Because I could not stop for Death  

John Donne n Death be not proud  

John Donne n The Flea  

**Rita Dove n Daystar

Paul Laurence Dunbar n We Wear the Mask  

T. S. Eliot n The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

**Robert Frost n Birches  

Robert Frost n Mending Wall  

Robert Frost n Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening  

Allen Ginsberg n A Supermarket in California  

**Thomas Hardy n The Darkling Thrush  

Seamus Heaney n Digging  

George Herbert n Easter Wings  

Robert Herrick n To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time  

**Tony Hoagland n Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins n Spring and Fall  

Gerard Manley Hopkins n The Windhover  

A. E. Housman n Loveliest of trees, the cherry now  

A. E. Housman n To an Athlete Dying Young  

Langston Hughes n The Negro Speaks of Rivers  

Langston Hughes n Harlem [Dream Deferred]  

Randall Jarrell n The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner  

Robinson Jeffers n To the Stone-cutters  

Ben Jonson n On My First Son  

Donald Justice n On the Death of Friends in Childhood  

John Keats n Ode on a Grecian Urn  

**John Keats n To Autumn  

Philip Larkin n Home is so Sad  

D. H. Lawrence n Piano  

**Denise Levertov n The Ache of Marriage  

Shirley Geok-lin Lim n Learning to love America  

Andrew Marvell n To His Coy Mistress  

**Edna St. Vincent Millay n Recuerdo  

John Milton n When I consider how my light is spent  

**Howard Nemerov n The War in the Air  

Pablo Neruda, Translated by Alastair Reid n We Are Many

**Lorine Niedecker n Sorrow Moves in Wide Waves

Sharon Olds n The One Girl at the Boys’ Party  

Wilfred Owen n Anthem for Doomed Youth  

Sylvia Plath n Daddy  

**Edgar Allan Poe n Annabel Lee  

Alexander Pope n A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing  

Ezra Pound n The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter  

Henry Reed n Naming of Parts  

Edwin Arlington Robinson n Miniver Cheevy  

William Shakespeare n When, in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes  

**William Shakespeare n That time of year thou mayst in  me behold  

William Shakespeare n My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun  

Percy Bysshe Shelley n Ozymandias  

Wallace Stevens n The Emperor of Ice-Cream  

Alfred, Lord Tennyson n Ulysses  

Dylan Thomas n Fern Hill  

John Updike n Ex-Basketball Player  

Derek Walcott n The Virgins  

**Walt Whitman n I Hear America Singing  

**Walt Whitman n O Captain! My Captain!  

Richard Wilbur n The Writer  

William Carlos Williams n Spring and All  

**William Carlos Williams n To Waken an Old Lady  

William Wordsworth n Composed upon Westminster Bridge  

James Wright n Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio  

**Mary Sidney Wroth n In this strange labyrinth  

**William Butler Yeats n Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop  

William Butler Yeats n When You Are Old  

William Butler Yeats n Sailing to Byzantium  



**Talking with David Ives

23 Reading a Play  1223

Theatrical Conventions

Elements of a Play       

Susan Glaspell n Trifles  

Was Minnie Wright to blame for the death of her husband? While the menfolk try to unravel a mystery, two women in the kitchen turn up revealing clues.

Analyzing Trifles    

Writing Effectively

THINKING About a play  

CHECKLIST: Writing about a play  

Writing Assignment on Conflict

MORE Topics for Writing  

Terms for Review

24 Modes of Drama: Tragedy and Comedy  1249


Christopher Marlowe n Scene From Doctor Faustus (Act 2, Scene 1)  

In this scene from the classic drama, a brilliant scholar sells his soul to the devil. How smart is that?


**David Ives n Soap Opera

Should a man choose a mere human lover instead of pure perfection? The world turns on the answer.

Writing Effectively

thinking about comedy

checklist: Writing about comedy

Writing Assignment on comedy

Topics for Writing About tragedy

Topics for Writing About Comedy  

Terms for Review

25 The Theater of Sophocles  1277

The Theater of Sophocles  1277

The Civic Role of Greek Drama  1280

Aristotle’s Concept of Tragedy  1282

Sophocles  1283

The Origins of Oedipus the King  

Sophocles n Oedipus the King (Translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald)  1285

“Who is the man proclaimed / by Delphi’s prophetic rock / as the bloody handed murderer / the doer of deeds that none dare name? / . . . Terrribly close on his heels are the Fates that never miss.”

Writing Effectively

THINKING About Greek Tragedy  

CHECKLIST: writing about greek drama  

Writing Assignment on Sophocles  

More Topics for Writing  

Terms for Review

26 The Theater of Shakespeare  1364

The Theater of Shakespeare  1365

William Shakespeare  1366

A Note on Othello  1367

**Picturing Othello  1367

William Shakespeare n Othello, the Moor of Venice  1368

Here is a story of jealousy, that “green-eyed monster which doth mock / The meat it feeds on”—of a passionate, suspicious man and his blameless wife, of a serpent masked as a friend.

Writing Effectively

Understanding Shakespeare  

Checklist:writing about shakespeare  

Writing Assignment on Tragedy  1671

More Topics for Writing  1676

27 The Modern Theater  1677


Experimental Drama

Henrik Ibsen n A Doll’s House (Translated by R. Farquharson Sharp, Revised by Viktoria Michelsen)

The founder of modern drama portrays a troubled marriage. Helmer, the bank manager, regards his wife Nora as a “little featherbrain”—not knowing the truth may shatter his smug world. 

**Anna Deavere Smithn Scenes from Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

The violence that tore apart a city, in the words of those who were there.

Writing Effectively

THINKING About Dramatic Realism  

CHECKLIST: writing about realism  

Writing Assignment on Realism  

More Topics for Writing  

Terms for Review

28 Plays for Further Reading  1763

**David Henry Hwang n The Sound of a Voice  1976

A strange man arrives at a solitary woman’s home in the remote countryside. As they fall in love, they discover disturbing secrets about one another’s past.

**Jane Martin n Tattoo  1269

When all three of your current one-and-only girlfriends put their heads together, it can't be good.

Tennessee Williams n The Glass Menagerie  1836

Painfully shy and retiring, shunning love, Laura dwells in a world as fragile as her collection of tiny figurines—until one memorable night a gentleman comes to call.

August Wilson n Fences  1996

A proud man’s love for his family is choked by his rigidity and self-righteousness, in this powerful drama by a great American playwright of our time.



29 Writing About Literature

Read Actively  

Robert Frost n Nothing Gold Can Stay  

Think About the Reading

Plan Your Essay  

Discover Your Ideas  

Sample Student Prewriting Exercises  

Develop a Literary Argument  


Developing an Argument  

Write a Rough Draft  

Sample Student Paper n (Rough Draft)  

Revise Your Draft  


Revising Your Draft

Some Final Advice on Rewriting  

Sample Student Paper n (revised Draft)  

What’s Your Purpose? Common Approaches to Writing About Literature   2083


Sample Student Paper n By Lantern Light: An Explication of a passage in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Robert Frost n Design

Sample Student Paper n An Unfolding of Robert Frost’s “Design”


Sample Student Paper n Faded Beauty: Bishop’s Use of Imagery in “The Fish”

Sample Student Paper n Othello: Tragedy or Soap Opera?

Comparison and Contrast:

Sample Student Paper n Successful Adaptation in “A Rose for Emily” and “Miss Brill”

**Response paper

**Sample Student Paper n  Response to tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”

The Form of Your Finished Paper

Topics for Writing on Fiction

Topics for Brief Papers

Topics for More Extended Papers

Topics for Long Papers

Topics for Writing on Poetry

Topics for Brief Papers

Topics for More Extended Papers

Topics for Long Papers

Topics for Writing on Drama

Topics for Brief Papers

Topics for More Extended Papers

Topics for Long Papers

30 Writing a Research Paper  

Browse the Research

Choose a Topic  

Begin Your Research

Print Resources  

Online Databases  

Reliable Web Sources  


Finding Reliable Sources  

Visual Images  


Using Visual Images  

Evaluate Your Sources  

Print Resources  

Web Resources  


Evaluating Your Sources  

Organize Your Research  

Organize Your Paper  

Maintain Academic Integrity  

Acknowledge All Sources  


Citing Ideas  

Document Sources Using MLA Style  

Parenthetical References  

Works-Cited List  

Citing Print Sources in MLA Style  

Citing WeB Sources in MLA Style  

Sample List of Works Cited  

Reference Guide for Citations 

Rewards Program

Customer Reviews

Wonderful Seller March 27, 2011
Book was in very good shape, although it had some creased pages. Just like the seller said, It was like buying a new book for the used textbook price i received it on time & appreciate his honesty! Thank you ecampus very much.
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Backpack Literature : An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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