This is your final paper for the semester. It should show your understanding of American Literature to 1865. I should see examples from the text and evidence of research and reading.

The Assignment

Module Five presents a series of possible topics for the second paper of substantial length for you to complete. Module six emphasizes the essays, poetry, and short stories of Walt Whitman, Dickinson and Melville.

The thesis of the second paper will be developed based on one of the topics listed below or suggested topics in the discussion forums for modules five and six.

You may also choose a writing topic from the following list:

  • Summarize Poe’s theory of aesthetics as he expresses it in “The Philosophy of Composition” and discuss his application of that philosophy in “The Raven.”
  • Write an analysis of Poe’s narrative technique in his short stories.
  • Discuss a major theme in American Literature and where it is shown in the writings of the last half of your semester.
  • Discuss Whitman’s poetry as a climatic point in the development of the American identity. How does Whitman contribute to the ongoing process of self-reliance? of the freedom of man? of democratic concepts?


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