American Literature, Volume II with NEW MyLiteratureLab -- Access Card Package

William E. Cain / Alice McDermott  
Pearson Longman
Total pages
October 2014
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As part of the Penguin Academics series, American Literature offers a wide range of selections with minimal editorial apparatus at an affordable price


This new edition of American Literature presents an exciting opportunity for readers. In keeping with the first edition, we created a text that provides a wide variety of selections. You will find many of the pieces you would expect to see in an American literature text, and we have also taken some leaps and included selections that are just as read-worthy, yet perhaps not as well known. You will recognize the authors of these selections and once you read these works, you’ll understand why they were included. 


·   Context and Responses.  Brief excerpts from related literary texts and historical documents have been

 added after selected primary texts. These materials allow students to engage in historically-informed close

 reading.  Specific topics include:

  o   an excerpt from Artemus Ward (His Travels) Among the Mormons, in which Ward—who had a lasting

influence on Mark Twain—details his often-comedic travels aboard a steamship heading West

  o   a sampling of poems by Dorothy Parker, who shared a penchant for sharp-tongued and satirical writing with

Ambrose Bierce

  o   a passage from Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; or, Gustavus Vassa, the African,

Written by Himself, the first slave narrative to capture the world’s attention, contrasts with Booker T.

Washington’s narrative

  o   a collection of poetry of Lisel Muller, who was strongly influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay’s work

  o   a selection entitled “The Chasm,” from Pío Baroja, a master of understatement whose work was avidly read

by Ernest Hemingway

  o   an excerpt from Member of the Wedding, a novel by Carson McCullers, whose career as a writer was

encouraged by her friend, Tennessee Williams 

  o   an excerpt from Herzog by Saul Bellow, predecessor to Philip Roth, who also considered life through the

lens of the middle-class Jewish protagonist


·   Galleries.  Four thematic clusters of excerpts from documents illustrate key trends in American social and literary history:

  o   The South Since Reconstruction

  o   American Writers and the Great Depression

  o   Post-Modernism

  o   American Sings the Blues: A Collection of Songs and Images


·   Images.  A rich selection of woodcuts, daguerreotypes, and photographs are keyed to individual texts and

 provide a visual frame of reference for readers. 


·   New Design.  In addition to providing readers with a wealth of new material, the second edition of American

 Literature has been completely redesigned with the student in mind: 

  o   Marginal space on every page provides a convenient place for readers to annotate the selections by jotting

down questions, ideas, and thoughts about the works they encounter.

  o   A larger trim size and a more open design allow for ease of reading. 

  o   A two-color format better displays key information, contributing to a more effective reading experience. 

New to this Edition

New Design.  In addition to providing readers with a wealth of new material, the second edition of American Literature has been completely redesigned with the student in mind: 

o  Marginal space on every page provides a convenient place for readers to annotate the selections by jotting down questions, ideas, and thoughts about the works they encounter.

  o   A larger trim size and a more open design allow for ease of reading. 

  o   A two-color format better displays key information, contributing to a more effective reading experience. 


Several new primary texts, including:

 o   an additional example of Native American oral tradition, the Akimel O’odham Story of the Creation as told by Thin Leather;

 o   excerpts from two important colonial texts, John Smith’s Generall Historie and John Winthrop’s Journal;

 o   Sarah Kemble Knight’s Private Journal, with its sarcastic and secular observations of colonial society;

 o   One of the first Native American autobiographies written in English, Samson Occom’s A Short Narrative of My Life;

 o   One of the first conversion narratives (with an embedded captivity narrative) by an African American preacher, John Marrant’s A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, a Black;

 o   the historic Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World by the militant black abolitionist, David Walker;

 o   two examples of Lydia Maria Child’s magazine reform fiction, Chocorua’s Curse and Slavery’s Pleasant Homes;

 o   Nathaniel Hawthorne’s much-loved short story, “The Birth-Mark”;

 o   Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic story, “Ligeia”;

 o   Henry David Thoreau’s seminal environmentalist essay, “Walking”; and

 o   additional poems by Anne Bradstreet, Phillip Freneau, Phillis Wheatley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Walt Whitman.


Table of Contents

Part One: American Literature at the End of the Nineteenth


To the Reader


Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) (1835-1910)

  Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

  Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses


  Context and Response: Artemus Ward, from Artemus Ward (His Travels) Among the Mormons


Bret Harte (1836-1902)

  The Outcasts of Poker Flat


W. D. Howells (1837-1920)



Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)


  The Devil’s Dictionary: selections


  Context and Response: The poetry of Dorothy Parker


William James (1842-1910)



Henry James (1843-1916)

  The Pupil


Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908)

  The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

  The New Colossus


Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)

  A White Heron


Kate Chopin (1850-1904)

  Désirée’s Baby 

  The Storm


Mary E Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930)

  The Revolt of “Mother”


Booker T. Washington (1856?-1915).

  Up From Slavery: Chapter XIV. The Atlanta Exposition Address


  Context and Response: Olaudah Equiano, Excerpt from Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah

Equiano; or, Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself


Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932)

  The Sheriff’s Children


Hamlin Garland (1860-1940)

  Under the Lion’s Paw


Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)

  The Yellow Wall-paper


Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

  The Other Two


Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton) (1865-1914) 

  Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian


W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963).

  The Souls of Black Folk: Chapter III. Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others


Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945)

  Old Rogaum and His Theresa

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

  An Experiment in Misery

  An Episode of War

  War Is Kind


Jack London (1876-1916)

  To Build a Fire


Gallery 1: The South Since Reconstruction

Frederick Douglass: The Future of the Negro

George Washington Cable: The Freedman’s Case in Equity (excerpt)

Henry W. Grady: The New South (excerpt)

U.S. Supreme Court: Plessy v. Ferguson (excerpt)

Pauli Murray: Proud Shoes (excerpt)

Marion Post Wolcott, Entrance to a Movie House, Mississippi Delta

H. L. Mencken: The Sahara of the Bozart (excerpt)

Lizzie Woodworth Reese: A War Memory (1865)

Donald Davidson: A Mirror for Artists (excerpt)

Arthur Rothstein, Southern Movie Theater




Part Two: Modern American Literature

To the Reader


Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950)

  Lucinda Matlock

  Davis Matlock


Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

  Richard Cory

  Miniver Cheevy

  Eros Turannos


James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

  Lift Every Voice and Sing

  O Black and Unknown Bards

  Image: James Weldon Johnson


Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)  


  We Wear the Mask


Willa Cather (1873-1947)

  Paul’s Case


Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)

  The Gentle Lena


Amy Lowell (1874-1925)

  The Captured Goddess

  Venus Transiens

  Madonna of the Evening Flowers

  September, 1918

  New Heavens for Old

  The Taxi


Robert Frost (1874-1963)

  The Pasture

  Mending Wall

  Home Burial

  After Apple-Picking

  The Wood-Pile

  The Road Not Taken


  “Out, Out–“

  Fire and Ice

  Nothing Gold Can Stay

  Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

  Desert Places


  Neither out Far nor in Deep


Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941)

  Winesburg, Ohio: Hands

  Image: Sherwood Anderson


Susan Glaspell (1876-1948)



Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)



Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

  The Snow Man

  Sunday Morning

  Anecdote of the Jar

  Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

  The Death of a Soldier

  The Idea of Order at Key West

  Of Modern Poetry

  The Plain Sense of Things


William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

  The Young Housewife

  Portrait of a Lady

  Spring and All

  To Elsie

  The Red Wheelbarrow


  This Is Just to Say

  The Dance (“In Brueghel's great picture, The Kermess”)

  Landscape with the Fall of Icarus


Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

  Portrait d’une Femme

  A Pact

  In a Station of the Metro

  The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

  The Cantos: I (“And then went down to the ship”)


H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886-1961)





Marianne Moore (1887-1972)


  A Grave

  To a Snail


John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974)

  Piazza Piece


T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

  The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

  The Waste Land


  The Hollow Men

  Four Quartets: Burnt Norton


Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953)

  The Emperor Jones


Claude McKay (1889-1948)

  If We Must Die



Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980)

  Flowering Judas


Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

  The Gilded Six-Bits


Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)


  I Think I Should Have Loved You Presently

  [I, being born a woman]

  Apostrophe to Man

  I Too beneath Your Moon, Almighty Sex


  I Forgot for a Moment


Context and Response: The poetry of Lisel Mueller


Archibald Macleish (1892-1982)

  Ars Poetica


Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

  General Review of the Sex Situation.


e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

  in Just--

  Buffalo Bill’s

  the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls.

  “next to of course god america I”

  if there are any heavens my mother will (all by herself) have

  somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond

  anyone lived in a pretty how town


Jean Toomer (1894-1967)

  Georgia Dusk



F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

  Babylon Revisited


Louise Bogan (1897-1970)



William Faulkner (1897-1962)

  That Evening Sun


Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

  The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber


  Context and Response: Pío Baroja, excerpt from The Chasm


Hart Crane (1899-1932)

  At Melville's Tomb

  Voyages: I (“Above the fresh ruffles of the surf”)

  III (“Infinite consanguinity it bears-”)

  V (“Meticulous, past midnight in clear rime”)

  The Bridge: Poem: To Brooklyn Bridge


Allen Tate (1899-1979)

  Ode to the Confederate Dead


Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989)

  He Was a Man

  Break of Day

  Bitter Fruit of the Tree


Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

  The Negro Speaks of Rivers

  Mother to Son

  The Weary Blues

  The South

  Ruby Brown

  Let America Be America Again

  Poet to Patron

  Ballad of the Landlord

  Too Blue

  Theme for English B

  Poet to Bigot

  I, Too


Countee Cullen (1903-1946)

  Yet Do I Marvel



Richard Wright (1908-1960)

  Long Black Song

  Image: Negro Tenant Farmer


Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)

  Effort at Speech Between Two People



Gallery 2: American Writers and the Great Depression

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (excerpt)

Mary Heaton Vorse, School for Bums (excerpt)

Anonymous, Letter to Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt

Robert Johnson, Cross Road Blues

Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again (excerpt)

Alfred Kazin, Starting Out in the Thirties (excerpt)

Agnes Smedley, China Fights Back (excerpt)

Kenneth Fearing, Devil’s Dream

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (excerpt)

Dorothea Lange, Mexican Field Worker’s Home, California

Woody Guthrie, This Land Is Your Land

Dorothea Lange, The Mochida Family




Part Three: American Prose Since 1945

To the Reader


Eudora Welty (1909-2001)

  A Worn Path

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983)

  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


  Context and Response: Carson McCullers, from The Member of the Wedding


John Cheever (1912-1982)

  The Sorrows of Gin


Ralph Ellison (1914-1994)

  Battle Royal


Grace Paley (1922-2007)

  The Loudest Voice


James Baldwin (1924-1987)

  Notes of a Native Son


Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)



Toni Morrison (b. 1931)



John Updike (1932-2009)



Philip Roth (b. 1933)

  Defender of the Faith


  Context and Response: Saul Bellow, excerpt from Herzog


Amiri Baraka (b. 1934)



Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938)

  Where are you going, where have you been?


Raymond Carver (1938-1988)



Toni Cade Bambara (1939-1995)

  The Lesson


Terrance McNally (b. 1939)

  Andre’s Mother


Alice Walker (b. 1944)

  Everyday Use


Tim O’Brien (b. 1946)

  The Things They Carried


Mark Helprin (b. 1947)

  White Gardens


Leslie Marmon Silko (b. 1948)



Edward P. Jones (b. 1951)



Amy Tan (b. 1952)

  Two Kinds


Louise Erdrich (b. 1954)

  The Red Convertible


David Henry Hwang (b. 1957)

  The Sound of a Voice


Jhumpa Lahiri (b. 1967)



Gallery 3: Post-Modernism

Carl Andre, Equivalent VII; Frank Gehry, Walt Disney Concert Hall; Michael Heizer, Levitated Mass

Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism and the Consumer Society (excerpt)

Sherrie Levine, After Walker Evans: 4; Batman and the Joker; Madonna at Super Bowl XLVI

Jonathan Franzen, On Rainer Maria Rilke

Cindy Sherman, Untitled

Diane Williams, Human Being

Charles Bernstein, thinking i think i think

Mitch Stevens, OMG! I just got born!

Alan Kirby, The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond (excerpt)

Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans; Mark Tansey, The Innocent Eye

Test; Jeff Koons, New Hoover Convertibles


Part Four: American Poetry Since World War II

To the Reader


Robert Penn Warren (1905—1989)

  Bearded Oaks

  Mortal Limit


Theodore Roethke (1908—1963)

  Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, and Frau Schwartze

  My Papa’s Waltz

  The Waking

  Night Crow

  I Knew a Woman

  In a Dark Time


Charles Olson (1910—1970)

  Maximus, to Himself


Elizabeth Bishop (1911—1979)

  The Fish


  In the Waiting Room

  The Moose

  One Art


Robert Hayden (1913—1980)

  Homage to the Empress of the Blues

  Those Winter Sundays

  Frederick Douglass


William Stafford (1914-1993)

  Traveling Through the Dark


Randall Jarrell (1914—1965)  

  The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

  The Woman at the Washington Zoo


John Berryman (1914—1972)

  Dream Songs (excerpts)

  14 ("Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so")

  29 ("There sat down, once, a thing on Henry’s heart")

  40 ("I’m scared a lonely. Never see my son")

  45 ("He stared at ruin. Ruin stared straight back")

  385 ("My daughter’s heavier. Light leaves are flying")


Robert Lowell (1917—1977)

  Mr. Edwards and the Spider

  Memories of West Street and Lepke

  Skunk Hour

  Night Sweat

  For the Union Dead


Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

  We Real Cool

  Martin Luther King, Jr.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919)

  Constantly Risking Absurdity


Robert Duncan (1919—1988)

  Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

  Interrupted Forms


Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)


  Love Calls Us to the Things of This World


James Dickey (1923-1997)

  Drowning with Others

  The Heaven of Animals


Mitsuye Yamada (b. 1923)

  To the Lady


Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

  In Mind

  September 1961

  What Were They Like

  Zeroing In


A. R. Ammons (1926-2001)

  Corsons Inlet


James Merrill (1926—1995)

  The Broken Home 


Robert Creeley (1926-2005)

  For Love

  The Messengers


Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)



Frank O’Hara (1926—1966)

  To The Harbormaster

  The Day Lady Died


Galway Kinnell (b. 1927)

  The Porcupine


John Ashbery (b. 1927)


  The Lament Upon the Waters


W. S. Merwin (b. 1927)

  For the Anniversary of My Death

  For a Coming Extinction


James Wright (1927—1980)

  Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

  To the Evening Star: Central Minnesota

  A Blessing


Philip Levine (b. 1928)


Anne Sexton (1928—1974)

  The Truth the Dead Know

  Sylvia’s Death


Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

  Storm Warnings

  Diving into the Wreck


Gary Snyder (b. 1930)


  August on Sourdough, A Visit from Dick Brewer

  Ripples on the Surface


Sylvia Plath (1932—1963)

  Morning Song

  Lady Lazarus




Linda Pastan  (b. 1932)



Amiri Baraka (b. 1934)

  A Poem for Black Hearts


Mary Oliver (b. 1935)

  The Black Snake



Marge Piercy (b. 1936)

  A Work of Artifice


Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)

  In the inner city


Michael S. Harper (b. 1938)   

  Dear John, Dear Coltrane

  Martin’s Blues

  “Bird Lives”: Charles Parker in St. Louis


Frank Bidart (b. 1939)  

  Self-Portrait, 1969


Billy Collins (b. 1941)


  The Names


Gloria Anzaldua (1942-2004)

  To live in the Borderlands means you


Joseph Bruchac III (b. 1942)

  Ellis Island


Sharon Olds (b. 1942)

  Rites of Passage

  The Victims


Dave Smith (b. 1942)

  Tide Pools


Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943)



Louise Glück (b. 1943)

  The Drowned Children

  Gretel in Darkness


Kay Ryan (b. 1945) 

  A Certain Kind of Eden

  Home to Roost


Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947)

  Facing  It


C. D. Wright (b. 1949)




Jorie Graham (b. 1950)

  Sea-Blue Aubade


Joy Harjo (b. 1951)

  Call It Fear

  White Bear

  Eagle Poem


Andrew Hudgins (b. 1951)

  Death and Doom


Jimmy Santiago Baca (b. 1952)

  Cloudy Day


Rita Dove (b. 1952)




  Straw Hat



Judith Ortiz Cofer (b. 1952)

  My Father in the Navy


Alberto Rios (b. 1952)

  Wet Camp

  Advice to a First Cousin


Mark Doty (b. 1953)

  Golden Retrievals

  At the Gym


Aurora Levins Morales (b. 1954)

  Child of the Americas


Lorna Dee Cervantes (b. 1954)

  Refugee Ship


Cathy Song (b. 1955)

  The White Porch




Li-Young Lee (b. 1957)

  The Gift


  This Room and Everything in It


Martin Espada (b. 1957)



Sherman Alexie (b. 1966)

  On the Amtrak from Boston to New York City


Gallery 4: Americas Sings the Blues: A Collection of Songs

Child with Tambourine Accompanying Guitarist, 1930s

W. C. Handy: St. Louis Blues

Bessie Smith: Thinking Blues

Robert Johnson: Walkin’ Blues

W.H. Auden: Funeral Blues

Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues

Folsom State Prison, cell door, 1960s

Merle Haggard: Working Man Blues

Linda Pastan: Mini Blues

Allen Ginsberg: Father Death Blues

Charles Wright: Laguna Blues

Marilyn Chin: We Are Americans Now, We Live in the Tundra

Sherman Alexie: Reservation Blues

Indian photographing tourist photographing Indians, Crow Fair, Montana, 1991

Arrested Development: Tennessee





Map of the United States 


William E. Cain is Mary Jewett Gaiser Professor of English at Wellesley College. Among his many publications is a monograph on American literary and cultural criticism, 1900-1945, in The Cambridge History of American Literature, Vol. 5 (2003). He is a co-editor of the Norton Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism (2nd ed., 2010), and, with Sylvan Barnet, he has co-authored a number of books on literature and composition. His recent publications include essays on Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Shakespeare, Edith Wharton, and the painter Mark Rothko.


Alice McDermott is the author of the forthcoming novel Someone and six previous novels, including After This; Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. McDermott lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.


Lance E. Newman is Professor of English and Environmental Studies at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where he teaches Early American Literature, Environmental Literature, and Creative Writing. He has also worked as a river guide for more than two decades, leading rafting trips in Southeastern Utah and in Grand Canyon. He is the author of The Grand Canyon Reader (University of California Press, 2011) and Our Common Dwelling: Henry Thoreau, Transcendentalism, and the Class Politics of Nature (Palgrave, 2005). With Joel Pace and Chris Keonig-Woodyard, he co-edited Transatlantic Romanticism: An Anthology of British, American, and Canadian Literature, 1767-1867 (Longman, 2006). He co-produced the documentary film Canyonlands: Edward Abbey and the Great American Desert (2011) with Roderick Coover. Newman’s poems have appeared in many print and web magazines, and he is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Come Kanab (Dusi-e/chaps Kollectiv, 2007) and 3by3by3 (Beard of Bees, 2010), both available free on the Web.


Hilary E. Wyss is Hargis Professor of American Literature at Auburn University, where she teaches courses in early American literature, American studies, and Native American studies. She is the author of over a dozen articles and book chapters as well as three books, including English Letters and Indian Literacies: Reading, Writing, and New England Missionary Schools, 1750-1830 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012);  Early Native Literacies in New England: a Documentary and Critical Anthology (University of Massachusetts Press, 2008, co-edited with Kristina Bross); and Writing Indians: Literacy, Christianity, and Native Community in Early America (University of Massachusetts Press, 2000). She has won teaching awards at Auburn University as well as national research grants to support her work.  She has served on the editorial board of the journal Early American Literature and was most recently the President of the Society of Early Americanists.