Conventional Society

This assignment will be submitted to Turnitin®. Instructions Read the following selections from Norton Anthology of Literature Volume A:  – Thomas Paine, pp. 639-647 (8th ed.); 681-689 (9th ed.) – Thomas Jefferson, pp. 659-677 (8th ed.); 702-720 (9th ed.) – Olaudah Equiano, pp. 687-699 (8th ed.); 731-744 (9th ed.) – Judith Sargent Murray, pp. 737-743 (8th ed.); 770-776 (9th ed.) – Philip Freneau, pp. 756-762 (8th ed.); 780-787 (9th ed.) – Phillis Wheatley, pp. 763-771 (8th ed.); 787-795 (9th ed.) Answer five of the six following questions, using quotes from the readings for support. 1. In the headnote to Thomas Paine’s section of readings, it’s noted that his “attempt to define his beliefs was viewed as an attack on Christianity and, by extension, on conventional society” (Baym 640).  Using any of the selections in Paine’s section, defend or refute this belief.  2. How is Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence” similar in form to Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?”  Compare the language used in each, as well as the impact both works are meant to have on their readers.  3. Why might Olaudah Equiano’s narrative be an important addition to a collection of early American works, such as the one used in this course?  What makes it interesting as “American” literature, considering the scholarly debate surrounding his origin of birth (Africa or South Carolina)? 4. Why are Murray’s letters given such eloquence?  In reading these fictional, intimate letters now, what pleasures or frustrations might readers have?  Do the letters allow us, the audience, to truly experience how people during her time lived, or do we only see them as we wish they lived?  Does Murray seem to be capturing absolute realism, or do you think she has something else in mind?  5. What seems to be limiting Philip Freneau’s writing?  Does his chosen form (poetry) have anything to do with this reason?  For many people, he’s not as well known an author as his contemporaries (Franklin, Paine, and Jefferson, for example), but why might that be?  How did he address political and social conditions of his time, and why should modern-day readers care more about his work? 6. Like Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley also used her poetry to address public subjects.  How does her work compare to Bradstreet’s in voice and topic?  What do you think explains the absence of a personal voice in Wheatley’s writing, and does this affect its overall power?

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