Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing / Edition 4

Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing / Edition 4

by X. J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia
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Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing / Edition 4

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 selections have been added including four new one-act plays to help “ease” students into the study of this genre. The new plays include two comedies-- David Ives’s, Sure Thing and Jane Martin’s Beauty—as well as Terrence McNally’s poignant Andre’s Mother and Edward Bok Lee’s experimental drama El Santo Americano.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780205151660
Publisher: Longman
Publication date: 07/29/2011
Pages: 1232
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

** = new selection vs. Backpack 3e



To the Instructor

About the Authors


Talking with Amy Tan

1 Reading a Story

The Art of Fiction

Types of Short Fiction

W. Somerset Maugham 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 The Fox and the Grapes

Ever wonder where the phrase “sour grapes” comes from? Find out in this classic fable.

**Bidpai The Camel and His Friends

With friends like these, you can guess what the camel doesn’t need.

Chuang Tzu 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 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 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

THINKING about Plot

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 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 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.

**Jamaica Kincaid Girl

“Try to walk like a lady, and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming.” An old-fashioned mother tells her daughter how to live.

Virginia Woolf A Haunted House

Whatever hour you woke a door was shutting. From room to room the ghostly couple walked, hand in hand .

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 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 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.

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.

Raymond Carver 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


Kate Chopin The Storm

Even with her husband away, Calixta feels happily, securely married. Why then should she not shelter an old admirer from the rain?

**Jorge Luis Borges The Gospel According to Mark

A young man from Buenos Aires is trapped by a flood on an isolated ranch. To pass the time he reads the Gospel to a family with unforeseen results.

Jack London 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 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 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 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 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.”

Kate Chopin 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.”

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

**ZZ Packer Brownies

A brownie troop of African American girls at camp declare war on a rival troop only to discover their humiliating mistake.

Stephen Crane 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 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. 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 The Chrysanthemums

Fenced-in Elisa feels emotionally starved—then her life promises to blossom with the arrival of the scissors-grinding man.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman 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.

Ursula K. Le Guin 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 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

Chinua Achebe Dead Men’s Path

The new headmaster of the village school was determined to fight superstition, but the villagers did not agree.

Sherman Alexie 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.

** Isabel Allende The Judge’s Wife

Revenge can take many forms, but few are as strange as the revenge taken in this passionate tale.

Margaret Atwood Happy Endings

John and Mary meet. What happens next? This witty experimental story offers five different outcomes.

**T. Coraghessan Boyle Greasy Lake

Murky and strewn with beer cans, the lake appears a wasteland. On its shore three “dangerous characters” learn a lesson one grim night.

Sandra Cisneros 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.

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.

James Joyce 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 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.

Joyce Carol Oates 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 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 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.

**Eudora Welty A Worn Path

When the man said to old Phoenix, “you must be a hundred years old, and scared of nothing,” he might have been exaggerating, but not by much.


Talking with Kay Ryan

9 Reading a Poem

Poetry or Verse

Reading a Poem


William Butler Yeats The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Lyric Poetry

Robert Hayden Those Winter Sundays

Adrienne Rich Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers

Narrative Poetry

Anonymous Sir Patrick Spence

Robert Frost “Out, Out—”

Dramatic Poetry

Robert Browning My Last Duchess

Didactic Poetry

Writing Effectively

Thinking about Paraphrase

William Stafford Ask Me

William Stafford A Paraphrase of “Ask Me”

Checklist: Writing a Paraphrase

Writing Assignment on Paraphrasing

More Topics for Writing


10 Listening to a Voice


Theodore Roethke My Papa’s Waltz

Countee Cullen For a Lady I Know

Anne Bradstreet The Author to Her Book

Walt Whitman To a Locomotive in Winter

Emily Dickinson I like to see it lap the Miles

** Gwendolyn Brooks Speech to the Young. Speech to the Progress-Toward

Weldon Kees For My Daughter

The Person in the Poem

Natasha Trethewey White Lies

Edwin Arlington Robinson Luke Havergal

Ted Hughes Hawk Roosting

Anonymous Dog Haiku

Langston Hughes Theme for English B

Anne Sexton Her Kind

William Carlos Williams The Red Wheelbarrow


Robert Creeley Oh No

W. H. Auden The Unknown Citizen

Sharon Olds Rite of Passage

Edna St. Vincent Millay Second Fig

Thomas Hardy The Workbox

For Review and Further Study

**Julie Sheehan Hate Poem

Richard Lovelace To Lucasta

Wilfred Owen 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 This Is Just to Say


Marianne Moore Silence

John Donne Batter my heart, three-personed God, for You

The Value of a Dictionary

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Aftermath

** Kay Ryan Mockingbird

Carl Sandburg Grass

**Samuel Menashe Bread J. V. Cunningham Friend, on this scaffold Thomas More lies dead

J. V. Cunningham Friend, on this scaffold Thomas More lies dead

Word Choice and Word Order

Robert Herrick Upon Julia’s Clothes

Thomas Hardy The Ruined Maid

For Review and Further Study

E. E. Cummings anyone lived in a pretty how town

Wendy Cope Lonely Hearts

Anonymous Carnation Milk

Gina Valdés English con Salsa

Lewis Carroll 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 London

Wallace Stevens Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock

**Gwendolyn Brooks The Bean Eaters

Robert Frost Fire and Ice

Diane Thiel The Minefield

Rhina Espaillat Bilingual/Bilingüe

**A. R. Ammons , Coward

Alfred, Lord Tennyson Tears, Idle Tears

Richard Wilbur 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 In a Station of the Metro

Taniguchi Buson The piercing chill I feel


T. S. Eliot The winter evening settles down

Theodore Roethke Root Cellar

Elizabeth Bishop The Fish

Emily Dickinson A Route of Evanescence

Gerard Manley Hopkins Pied Beauty

Jean Toomer Reapers

About Haiku

Arakida Moritake The falling flower

Matsuo Basho Heat-lightning streak

Matsuo Basho In the old stone pool

Taniguchi Buson On the one-ton temple bell

Taniguchi Buson Moonrise on mudflats

Kobayashi Issa only one guy

Kobayashi Issa Cricket

Haiku from Japanese Internment Camps

**Suiko Matsushita Rain shower from mountain

**Suiko Matsushita Cosmos in bloom

**Hakuro Wada Even the croaking of frogs

**Neiji Ozawa The war—this year

Contemporary Haiku

Etheridge Knight Making jazz swing in

**Adelle Foley Learning to Shave

**Gary Snyder After weeks of watching the roof leak

**Garry Gay Hole in the ozone

For Review and Further Study

John Keats Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art

**William Carlos Williams El Hombre

**Li Po, Translated by Arthur Waley Drinking Alone by Moonlight

Billy Collins Embrace

Stevie Smith Not Waving but Drowning

Robert Bly Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter

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 The Eagle

William Shakespeare Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Howard Moss Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?

Metaphor and Simile

Alfred, Lord Tennyson Flower in the Crannied Wall

William Blake To see a world in a grain of sand

Emily Dickinson My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun

Sylvia Plath Metaphors

** Jill Alexander Essbaum The Heart

N. Scott Momaday Simile

Craig Raine A Martian Sends a Postcard Home

Other Figures of Speech

James Stephens The Wind

Margaret Atwood You fit into me

**Timothy Steele Epitaph

Dana Gioia Money

Carl Sandburg Fog

For Review and Further Study

Robert Frost The Silken Tent

**Harryette Mullen Dim Lady

Kay Ryan Turtle

John Keats Ode on a Grecian Urn

** Emily Brontë Love and Friendship

Writing Effectively

Thinking About Metaphors

Checklist: Writing about Metaphors

Writing Assignment on Figures of Speech

More Topics for Writing


15 Sound

Sound as Meaning

William Butler Yeats Who Goes with Fergus?

William Wordsworth A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

Aphra Behn When maidens are young

Alliteration and Assonance

A. E. Housman Eight O’Clock

Alfred, Lord Tennyson The splendor falls on castle walls


Kevin Young Doo Wop

Hilaire Belloc The Hippopotamus

William Butler Yeats Leda and the Swan

Gerard Manley Hopkins God’s Grandeur

Robert Frost Desert Places

Reading Poems Aloud

Michael Stillman 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 We Real Cool

Alfred, Lord Tennyson Break, Break, Break

Dorothy Parker Résumé


Edna St. Vincent Millay Counting-out Rhyme

A. E. Housman When I was one-and-twenty

Walt Whitman Beat! Beat! Drums!

Langston Hughes 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 This living hand, now warm and capable

Robert Graves Counting the Beats

John Donne Song (“Go and catch a falling star”)


Anonymous Bonny Barbara Allan

Dudley Randall Ballad of Birmingham

The Sonnet

William Shakespeare Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Edna St. Vincent Millay What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why

Robert Frost Acquainted with the Night

R. S. Gwynn Shakespearean Sonnet

** Amit Majmudar Rites to Allay the Dead

The Epigram

Sir John Harrington Of Treason

** Langston Hughes Two Somewhat Different Epigrams

** John Frederick Nims Contemplation

** Dorothy Parker The Actress

Other Forms

Dylan Thomas Do not go gentle into that good night

Paul Laurence Dunbar We Wear the Mask

Elizabeth Bishop 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 Ancient Stairway

Free Verse

E. E. Cummings Buffalo Bill ’s

**W. S. Merwin For the Anniversary of My Death

William Carlos Williams The Dance

**Stephen Crane The Wayfarer

Walt Whitman Cavalry Crossing a Ford

Wallace Stevens Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Prose Poetry

**Charles Simic The Magic Study of Happiness

For Review and Further Study

E. E. Cummings in Just-

**Carole Satyamurti I Shall Paint My Nails Red

Langston Hughes 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 The Boston Evening Transcript

Emily Dickinson The Lightning is a yellow Fork

Identifying Symbols

Thomas Hardy Neutral Tones

Yusef Komunyakaa Facing It


Matthew 13:24–30 The Parable of the Good Seed

Robert Frost The Road Not Taken

Christina Rossetti Uphill

For Review and Further Study

Mary Oliver Wild Geese

Lorine Niedecker Popcorn-can cover

Wallace Stevens 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 Nothing Gold Can Stay

William Wordsworth The world is too much with us

H. D. Helen


Louise Bogan Medusa

A. E. Stallings First Love: A Quiz

Personal Myth

William Butler Yeats The Second Coming

Sylvia Plath Lady Lazarus

Myth and Popular Culture

Anne Sexton Cinderella

Writing Effectively


Checklist: WRITINg About Myth

Writing Assignment on Myth

More Topics for Writing


21 What Is Poetry?

**Archibald MacLeish Ars Poetica

Dante, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, **Gwendolyn Brooks, William Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Mina Loy, W. H. Auden, José Garcia Villa, Christopher Fry, Elizabeth Bishop, Joy Harjo, Charles Simic Some Definitions of Poetry

22 Poems for Further Reading

Aaron Abeyta thirteen ways of looking at a tortilla

** Kim Addonizio First Poem for You

Sherman Alexie The Powwow at the End of the World

Matthew Arnold Dover Beach

Margaret Atwood Siren Song

W. H. Auden September 1, 1939

W. H. Auden Musée des Beaux Arts

Elizabeth Bishop One Art

William Blake The Tyger

Gwendolyn Brooks the mother

Elizabeth Barrett Browning How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

Robert Browning Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

** Charles Bukowski Dostoevsky

Judith Ortiz Cofer Quiñceañera

Samuel Taylor Coleridge Kubla Khan

Billy Collins Care and Feeding

E. E. Cummings somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond

** Emily Dickinson Wild Nights - Wild Nights!

Emily Dickinson I heard a Fly buzz – when I died

Emily Dickinson Because I could not stop for Death

John Donne Death be not proud

John Donne The Flea

Rita Dove Daystar

T. S. Eliot The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Robert Frost Birches

Robert Frost Mending Wall

Robert Frost Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Allen Ginsberg A Supermarket in California

** Thomas Hardy Hap

Seamus Heaney Digging

George Herbert Easter Wings

Robert Herrick To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gerard Manley Hopkins Spring and Fall

Gerard Manley Hopkins The Windhover

A. E. Housman Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

A. E. Housman To an Athlete Dying Young

Langston Hughes The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes Harlem [Dream Deferred]

Randall Jarrell The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

** Robinson Jeffers Rock and Hawk

** Ha Jin Missed Time

Ben Jonson On My First Son

** Donald Justice Men at Forty

** John Keats n Ode to a Nightingale

John Keats To Autumn

** Philip Larkin Poetry of Departures

D. H. Lawrence Piano

Shirley Geok-lin Lim Learning to love America

Andrew Marvell To His Coy Mistress

Edna St. Vincent Millay Recuerdo

John Milton When I consider how my light is spent

Sharon Olds The One Girl at the Boys’ Party

Wilfred Owen Anthem for Doomed Youth

Sylvia Plath Daddy

Edgar Allan Poe Annabel Lee

Ezra Pound The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter

Henry Reed Naming of Parts

Edwin Arlington Robinson Miniver Cheevy

** William Shakespeare Sonnet 55: Not Marble nor the Gilded Monuments

William Shakespeare Sonnet 130: My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun

Percy Bysshe Shelley Ozymandias

Wallace Stevens The Emperor of Ice-Cream

Alfred, Lord Tennyson Ulysses

Dylan Thomas Fern Hill

John Updike Ex-Basketball Player

** Derek Walcott Sea Grapes

Walt Whitman I Hear America Singing

Walt Whitman O Captain! My Captain!

Richard Wilbur The Writer

William Carlos Williams Spring and All

** William Carlos Williams Queen-Anne’s-Lace

William Wordsworth Composed upon Westminster Bridge

James Wright Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

Mary Sidney Wroth In this strange labyrinth

William Butler Yeats Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop

William Butler Yeats Sailing to Byzantium

William Butler Yeats When You Are Old


Talking with David Ives

23 Reading a Play

Theatrical Conventions

Elements of a Play

Susan Glaspell 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


Christopher Marlowe 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 Sure Thing

Bill wants to pick up Betty in a cafe, but he makes every mistake in the book. Luckily, he not only gets a second chance, but a third and a fourth as well

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

The Theater of Sophocles

The Civic Role of Greek Drama

Aristotle’s Concept of Tragedy


The Origins of Oedipus the King

Sophocles Oedipus the King (Translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald)

“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

The Theater of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

A Note on Othello

Picturing Othello

William Shakespeare 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

More Topics for Writing

27 The Modern Theater


Henrik Ibsen 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.

Experimental Drama

***Edward Bok Lee El Santo Americano

A wrestler and his unhappy wife drive through the desert to a surprising conclusion.

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

**Jane Martin Beauty

We’ve all wanted to be someone else at one time or another. But what would happen if we got our wish?

**Terrence McNally Andre’s Mother

After Andre’s funeral the four people who loved him most walk into Central Park together. Three of them talk about their grief, but Andre’s mother remains silent about her son, dead of AIDS.

Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie

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 Fences

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 Nothing Gold Can Stay

Think About the Reading

Plan Your Essay

Prewriting: Discover Your Ideas

Sample Student Prewriting Exercises

Develop a Literary Argument

Checklist: Developing an Argument

Write a Rough Draft

Sample Student Rough Draft On Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

Revise Your Draft

Checklist: Revising Your Draft

Some Final Advice on Rewriting

Sample Student Revised Draft Lost Innocence in Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

What’s Your Purpose? Common Approaches to Writing About Literature 2083


Sample Student Paper By Lantern Light: An Explication of a Passage in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Robert Frost Design

Sample Student Paper An Unfolding of Robert Frost’s “Design”


Sample Student Paper Faded Beauty: Bishop’s Use of Imagery in “The Fish”

Sample Student Paper Othello: Tragedy or Soap Opera?

Comparison and Contrast

Sample Student Paper Successful Adaptation in “A Rose for Emily” and “Miss Brill”

Response Paper

Sample Student Paper 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

Checklist:Finding Reliable Sources

Visual Images

Checklist: Using Visual Images

Evaluate Your Sources

Print Resources

Web Resources

Checklist: 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


Index of Authors and Titles

Index of Literary Terms

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Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
TheMonkeyMan More than 1 year ago
One of the best collection of stories I have ever found. Highly useful. I was required to get this for my English class but I ended up keeping it afterwards and finishing reading it. It touches on every subject you can imagine. Highly recommended!