Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing / Edition 3

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The smallest and most economical member of the Kennedy/Gioia family, Backpack Literature is a brief paperback version of the discipline's most popular introduction to literature anthology. Like its bigger, bestselling predecessors, Backpack Literature 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 of 11 high-quality plays.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205727582
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 10/21/2009
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 1248
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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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

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