Thursday, February 25, 2010

The A stands for. . . .

Abby Morgan (section 002) answers the question.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

HOPE LESLIE's Central Character

Laura Dickey's (section 002) argument, via YouTube.

"Would a madman have been so wise as this?"

Mark Harken (section 002) sends along this link to a great rendition of "The Tell-Tale Heart" read by Derek Banner.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Mrs. Hutchinson"

Here is a link to what seems to be a reliable version of Hawthorne's 1830 sketch, "Mrs. Hutchinson," to which I have alluded in lecture.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Salem Witch Trials

At the beginning of ch. 2, Hawthorne discusses the crowd gathered to watch Hester's ascent to the scaffold and mentions that "at a later period in the history of New England," such a crowd would have indicated that someone was about to be killed ("It could have betokened nothing short of the anticipated execution of some noted culprit . . ."). What he's alluding to are the Salem Witch Trials, which took place during the early 1690s, or about forty years after the period represented in The Scarlet Letter. (The allusion here is oblique, but, hey, this is Hawthorne. In an earlier short story, "Rappaccini's Daughter," he claims not to have written the story but to have translated it from a French story from a writer named Monsieur L'Aubepine. "L'Aubepine" is the French word for "Hawthorne," so he was claiming to have borrowed the story from himself. Talk about oblique.)

The are many websites devoted to the trials. The University of Virginia's is the best I know of. Of note: Hawthorne's interest in the trials was more than merely historical, for his great grandfather was actually one of the judges who condemned supposed "witches" to their deaths.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Week 4 Lectures

DOWNLOAD 2-12-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 2-10-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 2-8-10 lecture.

William Apess

For those of you who may want to know more about William Apess, Google Books makes available portions of his 1831 autobiography, A Son of the Forest,the first such book we have from a writer of Native American descent.

Apess also wrote a history of a 1670s English-Native war from the natives' persepective--a project very much in keeping with Hope Leslie and its giving Magawisca a voice to tell her side of the Pequod War.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Paper #1

Your first paper is now due Wed., 2/24. The assignment sheet may be accessed here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Now that you've finished the novel. . . .

Thanks to Brooke Jackowski (section 002) for passing this along!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Quiz #2 (Take home: Due in class 2-8-10)

On page 188 (vol. 2, ch. 2) of Hope Leslie you will encounter a scene in which the following words are spoken:

‘God forbid! . . . My sister married to an Indian!’

If we were to do a spot-passage quiz on Monday, this would be one of the passages I would ask you to identify. Since we are a bit behind in this course—and since a take-home quiz will conserve ten minutes of class time and perhaps make for a more focused discussion—I’m going to go ahead and make Quiz #2 a take-home quiz.

For Monday, type up a 400-500 word (or 1-page, single-spaced) response to the following questions. Bring your response paper to class.

Who speaks these words? To whom is she speaking? And above all, why does she say them?

To answer the “why” question, think about two things. First, what is going on in the character’s mind that would move her to say them? And, second, why might Sedgwick have included this scene in the novel? What risks do you see her taking, if any? Does it make you think differently of the characters involved?

Week 3 Lectures

DOWNLOAD 2-5-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 2-3-10 lecture.

DOWNLOAD 2-1-10 lecture.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Mystic Massacre

American Public Television and the Rhode Island PBS put together an excellent documentary on the Pequot War a few ago. A website associated with the documentary provides additional information about the war and the Mystic Massacre, the event that in effect "begins" Hope Leslie.

Anne Bradstreet & Mary Rowlandson

Here are links to the two additional writers mentioned in lecture on Monday, Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson. Each proves that women could find a voice in the public sphere even in 17th-century New England, though only perhaps in certain genres (poetry and personal narrative, e.g.) and only if she made clear her intent to glorify God and celebrate rather than disrupt Puritan society.

Give them a look. Bradstreet's "The Author to Her Book" is my favorite poem of the period.