Literature: The Human Experience

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  • Edition: 12th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-10-09
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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Now in its twelfth edition, Literature: The Human Experience provides a broad range of compelling fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction that explore the intersections and contradictions of human nature. Timeless themes such as innocence and experience, conformity and rebellion, culture and identity, love and hate, and life and death are presented through the context of connections and experiences that are enduringly human. By presenting diverse selections from contemporary and classic authors across time and cultures, students are certain to discover literature in this anthology with which they can connect.

Literature: The Human Experience is also designed to make teaching literature convenient for instructors and to make reading and writing about literature appealing for students.. A flexible arrangement of literature within each theme allows instructors to teach the text however best suits their classrooms, and the expert instruction and exciting selections will help to guide and entice even the most reluctant readers. Enhancements to the twelfth edition include four new casebooks—one per genre—that help students to see how literature can make arguments as well as new reading questions that ask students to make arguments about the selections. To top it off, Literature: The Human Experience costs about $10 to $30 less than comparable anthologies, providing a wealth of material for an affordable price.

Author Biography

Richard Abcarian (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is a professor of English emeritus at California State University, Northridge, where he taught for thirty-seven years. During his teaching career, he won two Fulbright professorships. In addition to editing Literature: The Human Experience and its compact edition, he is the editor of a critical edition of Richard Wright's A Native Son, as well as several other literature textbooks.

Marvin Klotz (PhD, New York University) was a professor of English emeritus at California State University, Northridge, where he taught for thirty-three years and won Northridge's distinguished teaching award in 1983. He was also the winner of two Fulbright professorships (in Vietnam and Iran) and was a National Endowment for the Arts Summer Fellow twice. In addition to editing Literature: The Human Experience and several other textbooks, he coauthored a guide and index to the characters in Faulkner's fiction.

Samuel Cohen (PhD, City University of New York) is Associate Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Missouri. He is the author of After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s (University of Iowa Press, 2009), coeditor (with Lee Konstantinou) of The Legacy of David Foster Wallace (University of Iowa Press, 2012), Series Editor of The New American Canon: The Iowa Series in Contemporary Literature and Culture, and coeditor of JMMLA. He has also been published in such journals as Novel, Clio, Twentieth-Century Literature, The Journal of Basic Writing, and Dialogue: A Journal for Writing Specialists. For Bedford/St. Martin's, he is author of 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology and coauthor of Literature: The Human Experience.


Table of Contents

* = New to this edition

Preface for Instructors
Responding to Literature
Emily Dickinson, There Is No Frigate Like A Book
Why We Read Literature
Reading Actively and Critically
Reading Fiction
 The Methods of Fiction
  Point of View
 Questions for Exploring Fiction
Reading Poetry
  Walt Whitman, When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
Word Choice
Figurative Language
 The Music of Poetry
 Questions for Exploring Poetry
Reading Drama
 Stages and Staging
 The Elements of Drama
  Dramatic Irony
  Plot and Conflict
 Questions for Exploring Drama
Reading Nonfiction
 Types of Nonfiction
  Narrative Nonfiction
  Descriptive Nonfiction
  Expository Nonfiction
  Argumentative Nonfiction
 Analyzing Nonfiction
  The Thesis
  Structure and Detail
  Style and Tone
 Questions for Exploring Nonfiction
Writing about Literature
Responding to Your Reading
 Annotating While You Read
  William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29
 Keeping a Journal
 Exploring and Planning
  Asking Good Questions
  Establishing a Working Thesis
  Gathering Information
  Organizing Information
Drafting the Essay
 Refining Your Opening
 Supporting Your Thesis
Revising the Essay
 Editing Your Draft
  Selecting Strong Verbs
  Eliminating Unnecessary Modifiers
  Grammatical Connections
 Proofreading Your Draft
Some Common Writing Assignments
 Comparison and Contrast
The Research Paper
An Annotated Student Research Paper
Some Matters of Form and Documentation
  Brackets and Ellipses
  Quotation Marks and Other Punctuation
  Documenting Online Sources
A Checklist for Writing about Literature
Questions for Thinking and Writing
 Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown
 *Naguib Mahfouz, Half a Day
John Updike, A & P
 Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson
 Jamaica Kincaid, Girl
 Daniel Orozco, Orientation
 *Camden Joy, Dum Dum Boys
 James Joyce, Araby
 Rivka Galchen, Wild Berry Blue
CASE STUDY IN ARGUMENT: Finding Grace in Flannery O’Connor
 Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
 Flannery O'Connor, from Mystery & Manners
*Bob Dowell, from The Moment of Grace in the Fiction of Flannery O’Connor
Hallman B. Bryant, Reading the Map in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
*Michael Clark, Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”: The Moment of Grace
 *Jonathan Swift, Stella’s Birth-Day. 1724-5
William Blake, The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence)
 *William Blake, The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Experience)
 William Blake, The Lamb
 *William Blake, The Shepherd
William Blake, The Garden of Love
 William Blake, London
 William Blake, The Tyger
 Robert Browning, My Last Duchess
 Emily Dickinson, I felt a Funeral, in my Brain
 *Thomas Hardy, The Men Who March Away
 Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring and Fall
 A.E. Housman, When I Was One-and-Twenty
 Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
 Robert Frost, Birches
 Stevie Smith, Not Waving but Drowning
 Stevie Smith, To Carry the Child
 Countee Cullen, Incident
 Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill
 Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Constantly Risking Absurdity
 Philip Larkin, A Study of Reading Habits
 Philip Larkin, This Be the Verse
 Anthony Hecht, After the Rain
 Audre Lorde, Hanging Fire
 *Alicia Ostriker, The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz
Jean Nordhaus, A Dandelion for My Mother
 *Louise Glück, The Myth of Innocence
Louise Glück, The School Children
 Alan Feldman, My Century
 Sandra Cisneros, My Wicked Wicked Ways
 Sandra Castillo, Christmas, 1970
 Spencer Reece, The Manhattan Project
 Evelyn Lau, Solipsism
CONNECTING POEMS: Voices of Experience
 Langston Hughes, Mother to Son
 Peter Meinke, Advice to My Son
 Robert Mezey, My Mother
 Gary Soto, Behind Grandma's House
 W. S. Merwin, Thanks
 Carl Dennis, Thanksgiving Letter from Harry
 Sheila Ortiz Taylor, The Way Back
James Welch, Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat
 Maggie Nelson, Thanksgiving
 Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House
 Suzan-Lori Parks, Father Comes Home from the Wars
 Langston Hughes, Salvation
 Judith Ortiz Cofer, American History
 Brian Doyle, Pop Art
 *Allie Brosh, This Is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult
 David Sedaris, What I Learned, And What I Said at Princeton
 David Foster Wallace, Commencement Speech, Kenyon College
Further Questions for Thinking and Writing
Questions for Thinking and Writing
Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
 Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist
Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal
 Shirley Jackson, The Lottery
 Harlan Ellison, "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman
Amy Tan, Two Kinds
*Jennifer Egan, Safari
CONNECTING STORIES: Rebellious Imaginations
*James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
*George Saunders, The End of FIRPO in the World
 John Donne, Holy Sonnets: "If poisonous minerals, and if that tree"
 Richard Crashaw, But Men Loved Darkness rather than Light
 William Wordsworth, The World Is Too Much with Us
 Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses
 Emily Dickinson, Much Madness is divinest Sense
 Emily Dickinson, She rose to His Requirement
 William Butler Yeats, Easter 1916
 William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming
 Carl Sandburg, I Am the People, the Mob
 *Wallace Stevens, Peter Quince at the Clavier
 Claude McKay, If We Must Die
 Langston Hughes, Harlem
 W. H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen
 Dudley Randall, Ballad of Birmingham
 Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool
 Donald Davie, The Nonconformist
 Philip Levine, What Work Is
 Marge Piercy, The Market Economy
 Carolyn Forche, The Colonel
 Natasha Trethewey, Flounder
CONNECTING POEMS: Revolutionary Thinking
 William Butler Yeats, The Great Day
 Robert Frost, A Semi-Revolution
 Nikki Giovanni, Dreams
CONNECTING POEMS: Revising America
 Walt Whitman, One Song, America, Before I Go
 Langston Hughes, I, Too
 Allen Ginsberg, A Supermarket in California
     Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Learning to Love America
CONNECTING POEMS: Soldiers' Protests
 Thomas Hardy, The Man He Killed
 Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est
 Hanan Mikha'il 'Ashrawi, Night Patrol
 Kevin C. Powers, Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting
 Sophocles, Antigonê
 Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal
 Jamaica Kincaid, On Seeing England for the First Time
 E.L. Doctorow, Why We Are Infidels
 Salman Rushdie, "Imagine There's No Heaven"
*Bill McKibben, A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change
*Rebecca Solnit, Revolutions Per Minute
*Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted
*Clay Shirky, The Political Power of Social Media
Further Questions for Thinking and Writing
Questions for Thinking and Writing
*Lu Xun, Diary of a Madman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
 James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
 Alice Walker, Everyday Use
Sherman Alexie, War Dances
*Edwidge Danticat, The Book of the Dead
CONNECTING STORIES: Insiders and Outcasts
 William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily
 Ha Jin, The Bridegroom
 *Jonathan Swift, Market Women’s Cries
Emily Dickinson, I'm Nobody! Who Are You?
 James Weldon Johnson, A Poet to His Baby Son
 Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear the Mask
 Georgia Douglas Johnson, Old Black Men
 T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
 e. e. cummings, the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
*Pablo Neruda, The Men
*Howard Nemerov, Money
Etheridge Knight, Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane
 Marge Piercy, Barbie Doll
 Kay Ryan, All Shall Be Restored
 Juan Felipe Herrera, 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border (remix)
 Maggie Anderson, Long Story
 *Gregory Djanikian, Sailing to America
Judith Ortiz Cofer, Latin Women Pray
 Louise Erdrich, Dear John Wayne
Marilyn Chin, How I Got That Name
 Joshua Clover, The Nevada Glassworks
Taslima Nasrin, Things Cheaply Had
*Omar Pérez, Contributions to a Rudimentary Concept of Nation
*Chris Abani, Blue
Kevin Young, Negative
 Terrance Hayes, Root
  Alexandra Teague, Adjectives of Order
 *Tishahi Doshi, The Immigrant’s Song
*Tishani Doshi, Lament I
CONNECTING POEMS: Poetic Identities
 Walt Whitman, from Song of Myself
 Frank O'Hara, My Heart
 Billy Collins, Monday
 Carl Phillips, Blue
Timothy Yu, Chinese Silence No. 22
 Tess Gallagher, I Stop Writing the Poem
 Julia Alvarez, Woman's Work
 Rita Dove, My Mother Enters the Work Force
 Deborah Garrison, Sestina for the Working Mother
CONNECTING POEMS: America through Immigrants’ Eyes
Phillis Wheatley, On Being Brought from Africa to America
*Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus
*Léopold Sédar Senghor, To New York
*Kofi Awoonor, America
*Richard Blanco, América
CASE STUDY IN ARGUMENT: Reviewing an American Classic
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun
*Lloyd W. Brown, Lorraine Hansberry as Ironist: A Reappraisal of A Raisin in the Sun (1974)
*Margaret Wilkerson, A Raisin in the Sun: Anniversary of an American Classic (1986)
*Robin Bernstein, Inventing a Fishbowl: White Supremacy and the Critical Reception of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1999)
*Marilyn Stasio, Variety Review of A Raisin in the Sun (2014)
 David Henry Hwang, Trying to Find Chinatown
 Virginia Woolf, What If Shakespeare Had Had a Sister?
 George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant
 *Sabrina Jones, Little House in the Big City
 *Eula Biss, Time and Distance Overcome
 Bharati Mukherjee, Two Ways to Belong in America
 Lacy M. Johnson, White Trash Primer
Further Questions for Thinking and Writing
Questions for Thinking and Writing
 Kate Chopin, The Storm
 Zora Neale Hurston, Sweat
 Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
 Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
 *Lydia Millet, Love in Infant Monkeys
*Junot Díaz, Drown
*Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, My American Jon
 Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants
 David Foster Wallace, Good People
 Sappho, With His Venom
 Catullus, 85
 William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18 "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"
 William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29 "When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes"
 William Shakespeare, Sonnet 64 "When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced"
 William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds"
 William Shakespeare, Sonnet 130 "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"
 John Donne, The Flea
 John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
 Ben Jonson, Song, to Celia
 Robert Herrick, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
 Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband
 William Blake, A Poison Tree
 Robert Burns, A Red, Red Rose
 Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach
 Robert Frost, Fire and Ice
 Dorothy Parker, One Perfect Rose
 Theodore Roethke, I Knew a Woman
 Elizabeth Bishop, One Art
 John Frederick Nims, Love Poem
 Wislawa Szymborska, A Happy Love
 Lisel Mueller, Happy and Unhappy Families I
 Carolyn Kizer, Bitch
 *Carolyn Kizer, Afternoon Happiness
 Galway Kinnell, After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
 Adrienne Rich, Living in Sin
 Sylvia Plath, Daddy
 Lucille Clifton, There Is a Girl Inside
 Seamus Heaney, Valediction
 Billy Collins, Sonnet
 Sharon Olds, Sex without Love
 Wyatt Prunty, Learning the Bicycle
 Adrian Blevins, The Case Against April
 Daisy Fried, Econo Motel, Ocean City
CONNECTING POEMS: Looking Back on Love
 Sir Thomas Wyatt, They Flee from Me
 Lady Mary Wroth, "Come darkest night, becoming sorrow best"
 Sharon Olds, My Father's Diary
 Dean Young, Winged Purposes
CONNECTING POEMS: Remembering Fathers
 Theodore Roethke, My Papa's Waltz
 Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays
 Li-Young Lee, Eating Alone
*Catullus, 70
*Aphra Behn, Love in Fantastique Triumph satt
*Edna St. Vincent Millay, I know I am but summer to your heart (Sonnet XXVII)
*Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Be Near Me
*Andrea Hollander, Betrayal
CASE STUDY IN ARGUMENT: Seductive Reasoning
Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress
*A.D. Hope, His Coy Mistress to Mr. Marvell
*Peter DeVries, To His Importunate Mistress (Andrew Marvell Updated)
Annie Finch, Coy Mistress 
William Shakespeare, Othello
Susan Glaspell, Trifles
 Lynn Nottage, Poof!
 Paul, 1 Corinthians 13
 Maxine Hong Kingston, No Name Woman
 Grace Talusan, My Father's Noose
 *Sonya Chung, Getting It Right
CONNECTING NONFICTION: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
 *Dagoberto Gilb, I Knew She Was Beautiful
*Pablo Piñero Stillmann, Life, Love, Happiness: A Found Essay from the Twitterverse
Further Questions for Thinking and Writing
Questions for Thinking and Writing
 Edgar Allen Poe, The Cask of Amontillado
 Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich
 Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour
 Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
Helena María Viramontes, The Moths
*Sam Lipsyte, The Naturals
 Leslie Marmon Silko, The Man to Send Rain Clouds
*Allegra Goodman, Apple Cake
CONNECTING STORIES: Between Life and Death
 Katherine Anne Porter, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall
 Tobias Wolff, Bullet in the Brain
 Anonymous, Edward
 William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73 "That time of year thou mayst in me behold"
 William Shakespeare, Fear No More the Heat o' the Sun
 John Donne, Death, Be Not Proud
 *Jonathan Swift, A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias
 John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn
 Emily Dickinson, After great pain, a formal feeling comes
 Emily Dickinson, I heard a Fly buzz—when I died
 Emily Dickinson, Apparently with no surprise
 Emily Dickinson, Because I could not stop for Death
 Gerard Manley Hopkins, God's Grandeur
 A. E. Housman, To an Athlete Dying Young
 William Butler Yeats, Sailing to Byzantium
 Edwin Arlington Robinson, Richard Cory
 Robert Frost, After Apple-Picking
 Robert Frost, "Out, Out—"
 Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay
 Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
 Robert Frost, Design
 Pablo Neruda, The Dead Woman
 *Czeslaw Milosz, A Song on the End of the World
Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
 Donald Hall, Affirmation
 *Marvin Klotz, Requiem
Mary Oliver, When Death Comes
 Alicia Ostriker, Daffodils
Seamus Heaney, Mid-term Break
 Jane Kenyon, Let Evening Come
 Yusef Komunyakaa, Facing It
 Victor Hernández Cruz, Problems with Hurricanes
 Mark Halliday, Chicken Salad
 Marie Howe, What The Living Do
 Mark Turpin, The Man Who Built This House
 *Dilruba Ahmed, Snake Oil, Snake Bite
 Elizabeth Bishop, The Fish
 William Stafford, Traveling Through the Dark
 William Greenway, Pit Pony
 *Pablo Neruda, A Dog Has Died
 *John Updike, Dog’s Death
 Rainer Maria Rilke, Archaic Torso of Apollo
 James Wright, Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
 Billy Collins, Sandhill Cranes of Nebraska
 Barbara Ras, You Can't Have It All
 Tony Hoagland, I Have News for You
 W.H. Auden, Musee des Beaux Arts
 Pieter Brueghal the Elder, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus [Image]
 Lawrence Ferlinghetti, In Goya's Greatest Scenes
 Francisco de Goya, The Third of May, 1808, Madrid [Image]
 Anne Sexton, The Starry Night
 Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night [Image]
 Donald Finkel, The Great Wave: Hokusai
 Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave of Kanagawa [Image]
 *Edward Albee, The Sandbox
Woody Allen, Death Knocks
 John Donne, Meditation XIV, from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
  E. B. White, Once More to the Lake
 Jill Christman, The Sloth
 *John Jeremiah Sullivan, Feet in Smoke
*Jonathan Lethem, 13,1977, 21
*Ruth Margalit, The Unmothered
Further Questions for Thinking and Writing
Glossary of Critical Approaches
 Ethical Criticism
 Feminist Criticism
 Formalist Criticism
 Marxist Criticism
 Historical Criticism
 Psychoanalytic Criticism
 Postcolonial Criticism
 Reader-Response Criticism
Biographical Notes on the Authors
Glossary of Literary Terms
Index of Authors and Titles

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