Advantages and disadvantages of fiction and nonfiction in environmental protection

Part I: Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of using fiction (such as Jewett’s) and nonfiction to argue for environmental protection. After reading “A White Heron,” locate an article or essay by accessing an archived/recent issue of a nature or conservation magazine (Audubon, National Wildlife or Sierra).

Please include and cite the article you found. Conclude by expressing your opinion of the results you’ve uncovered. Part II: “The Passing of Grandison” is a satire that presents a romanticized view of slavery and a stereotypical view of plantation life only to expose them as false in the end when an uneducated black slave outwits his wealthy white owner.

What effect might this story have had on the general public? How does humor play a role in the story? Finally, consider the title of the story. “Passing” is a term that refers to light-skinned African Americans who tried to pass themselves off as white to avoid racial incrimination. What other meaning might “passing” take on in this tale as it refers to Grandison? What does he try to pass himself off as?

Part III: When Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published, society treated it as a horror story. Reflect on the short story and apply what you know about the elements of Gothic fiction. What element(s) do you believe justify its place in the gothic lit genre? Provide several examples to support your point.

The story can also be viewed as an early feminist piece that examines the role of women in the late nineteenth century, also serving to highlight Gilman’s own unhappy experience of being medically treated with a “resting cure” following a severe bout of post-partum depression. Compare the “resting cure” with today’s more advanced (and more sympathetic) treatments of post-partum depression. Part IV: Edith Wharton is famous for creating female figures who are often very unhappy–abandoned, imprisoned, silenced, or otherwise living lives of secrets, lies, and quiet desperation.

Explain how “Roman Fever” fits this pattern as it reveals Wharton’s understanding of the place of women in the late nineteenth century. If you’re feeling ambitious, you might want to compare how the visions of Gilman and Wharton are similar in their representations of women’s lives.

Crane’s “Open Boat” and London’s “To Build A Fire” imply that humans do not have free will. They are, in fact, powerless to shape their external environment and control events. “When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples” (Crane 107 ).

Such is the nature of Naturalistic literature, in which authors from this time period conceived of man as controlled by his instincts and unable to free himself from his place in the social and economic circumstances in which he finds himself. Part V: The external environment in these two short stories is an indifferent universe where men suffer. Was there a point at which you began to feel their pain or relate to their situations?

What does “The Open Boat” say about the perceptions and observations of men in a crisis (men facing death)? What does “To Build a Fire” say about man’s relationship to Nature? Can you find places in the stories where the authors communicate an overall message of despair or indifference about man’s condition?

Part VI: Do you believe man has control of his fate? In other words, are our fates predetermined and the universe indifferent to us? Why do we, as humans and Americans in particular, fight so hard to prove we are “free”–to rise above our circumstances and to conquer things that hold us back? Will include files of eBook for American Literature and two articles regarding Part 1. Please post no fewer than 300 words, making sure to balance your answers to the separate parts. You should use quotations from the text to support your points, but make sure they don’t dominate your posts.

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