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LUIS MENDEZ firstname.lastname@example.org
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"Alright, I am coming I was just making a bargain," Huck yelled back as he slipped the money in his pocket.
My essay is on the book Huckleberry Finn. I read this book and loved it. I think this book shows a friendship between a black slave and a white boy during a time when that was considered an unusual thing.
This book takes place during a time when blacks were not treated equal. Blacks were thought of as property not as humans. An example of this takes place in the down town slave market.
" Cheap niggers, get your cheap niggers," a slave driver called out from on top of the stage. Families are being separated and children are crying while they are standing in shackles and cuffs. This is hatred.
In this book, there is a lot of action. Every time you turn the page somebody is getting into trouble. It even goes as far as to put on a play to rip people off.
" Come see the Play of Nonsense, the best in the world," the duke yelled to the listeners. The duke and so called king are going to put on a play. Their idea is to rip people off and run with their money. It is a smart idea but later on they pay for it. The next night the play starts. Hundreds of people walk in and hand their money to the duke. Right when the play starts, the duke comes out and announces that there have been some misunderstandings and rushes off with
the money he collected from the audience. This book's plot is awesome.
In this story the main characters are laid back and have a great sense of humor. An example this happens when Huck and Jim, a runaway slave, are rafting down the huge river. Jim is in great danger, but they always have time to play tricks on other people.
Also, there is a lot of dirty tricks and cheating. All four characters have a good sense of humor and a mind that is made to get into trouble. An example of this takes place when Huck fakes his own death and fools everybody while he lives on a raft for two years. He left his Aunt Polly behind to mourn about him and fooled everybody else. For a while he stayed on a little island but then decided to raft down a river. He made his own camps and caught his own food. All this to him was a fun vacation. He loved it!
In conclusion, this book is awesome! My four beliefs are: there is a hatred toward blacks in this story; the plot is filled with all kinds of action; the characters are happy, laid back, and have a great humor; and there is a lot of bad trick playing and a whole bunch of cheating in this story. I think Twain was trying to show us an ideal example of friendship.
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That said, let me add quickly that this novel is a must-read, without a doubt. This truly Gothic tale will keep you in suspence from start to finish--and guess what, Brown even claims a historical precedent for the narrator's brother slaughtering his wife and children. This is Real TV!
It is not a great novel (although superior to, for instance, "Edgar Huntly" and "Stephen Calvert") but it is a fascinating one. Brown was quick to jump on the bandwagon of female fiction that proved to be the bestseller in 19th century America, and this semi-epistolary tale by a female narrator is fascinating if only for the problems its form poses. For instance, its epistolary character, meant to create a sense of urgency and directness, never convinces due to its pretentious literate (read, latinate) diction and syntax. Moreover, Brown's choice of a female narrator--a man writing like a woman writing like a man--, while marketable in 1798, shows that he always bites off much more than he can chew. A much better (and earlier, 1797!) example of a female epistolary novel is Hannah W. Foster's "The Coquette," available in a wonderful edition also by the Oxford UP.
Unlike what some would have you believe, Brown is not the earliest American novelist. It is interesting to note that some of his fans claim Brown instead of Cooper, completely forgetting the books put out by female authors and read mainly by women. I might add that Brown had a male predecessor also, a namesake, William Hill Brown ("The Power of Sympathy," 1789): one shouldn't try to simplify the history of early American literature. However, to come to grips with American literature, and especially its love for the Gothic (mystery, murder, incest), "Wieland" is a great start, and this is a very good edition.
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Perhaps this is why Nelson takes so many chances with this anthology, some for better, and some for worse. I did not want to stick him with a 2 star rating, so I gave him a 3, but whereas I normally consider a 3-star rating as a kind of "yes, I liked it while I was reading it," this time I give it because I'm trying to average the times he made excellent choices with the times he seems to miss the mark.
The most questionable of Nelson's decisions? Easy. His decision to publish Japanese haiku from World War 2. No, that's not the questionable part. But he edits them all together to form one long poem. He takes haiku from many different authors and turns it into a Harmonium-era Stevens poem. This move defies all sense.
However, it also illustrates what is great in Nelson's anthology: inclusiveness. He goes to great lengths to include authors you might not find in other anthologies; and if you would find them, chances are you will find more poems by these poets in Nelson's anthology, or at least different poems. It bests the Norton Anthology in the Harlem Renaissance department, that's for sure. I'd never heard of Angelina Welde Grimke, for instance, who's just an amazing poet who was writing Plath well before Plath.
It is indeed irksome that this inclusiveness is sometimes at the expense of the "major" poets in the American canon: poets like Stevens get ridiculously short treatment, and half of the time, their most important or recognizeable poems are left out entirely. While I appreciate that Nelson wants to open up the canon a little bit (okay, a lot, and there's nothing wrong with that), his anthology feels a little incomplete in a field in which the Norton still casts the tallest shadow. Meaning that, while no anthology can stand alone and requires supplementation, Nelson's requires much more supplementation merely because his exclusions fly in the face of what is, for better or worse, required reading by current canonical standards.
So, if you plan to use this anthology in a class, you will probably need to supplement many of the authors with photocopies. But chances are you were going to do that anyway.
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