Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama
Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama

Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama

2nd Edition
By Robert DiYanni
Copyright: 2008

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ISBN10: 0073124451 | ISBN13: 9780073124452


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Critical Thinking and the Pleasures of Literature

The Pleasures of Fiction

Thinking Critically about a Story

Learning to Be Silent

Critical Thinking and Contexts

The Pleasures of Poetry

Thinking Critically about a Poem

Robert Frost, Dust of Snow

Critical Thinking and Contexts

The Pleasures of Drama

Drama and Imaginative Thinking

Critical Thinking and Oprah's Book Club: An Exercise

Approaching Literature with Critical Thinking




Critical Thinking and Context

Critical Thinking and Writing about Literature

Reasons for Writing about Literature

Ways of Writing about Literature

Arguing about Literature

The Writing Process

Stephen Crane, War is Kind



Chapter 1: Reading Stories

Luke, The Prodigal Son

The Experience of Fiction

The Interpretation of Fiction

Reading in Context

The Evaluation of Fiction

John Updike, A&P

The Act of Reading Fiction

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour

Chapter 2: Types of Short Fiction

Early Forms: Parable, Fable, and Tale

Aesop, The Wolf and the Mastiff

Petronius, The Widow of Ephesus

The Short Story

The Nonrealistic Story

The Short Novel

Chapter 3: Elements of Fiction

Plot and Structure

Frank O'Connor, Guests of the Nation


Kay Boyle, Astronomer's Wife


Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh

Point of View

William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily

Language and Style

James Joyce, Araby


Eudora Welty, A Worn Path

Irony and Symbol

D. H. Lawrence, The Rocking-Horse Winner

Chapter 4: Writing About Fiction

Reasons for Writing about Fiction

Informal Ways of Writing about Fiction

Katherine Anne Porter, Magic

Formal Ways of Writing about Fiction

Student Papers on Fiction

Questions for Writing about Fiction

Suggestions for Writing


Chapter 5: Three Fiction Writers In Context

Reading Edgar Allan Poe and Flannery O'Connor in Depth

Edgar Allan Poe in Context

Poe and Journalism

Poe and The Horror Story

Poe and The Detective Story

The Dimension of Style

Edgar Allan Poe: Stories:

The Black Cat

The Cask of Amontillado

The Fall of the House of Usher

Edgar Allan Poe: Letters, Essays

Critics on Poe

Flannery O'Connor in Context

Southern Gothic

The Catholic Dimension

O'Connor's Irony

Flannery O'Connor: Stories:

Good Country People

A Good Man is Hard to Find

Everything That Rises Must Converge

Flannery O'Connor: Letters, Essays

Critics on O'Connor

*Chapter 6: Envisioning Narrative

*Visual Stories

*Charles Schulz, Peanuts

*Marjane Satrapi, The Veil

*Rachel Masilamani, Two Kinds of People


Chapter 7: A Selection of Contemporary Fiction

Sherman Alexie, Indian Education

*Gish Jen, Who's Irish?

*Jhumpa Lahiri, Hell-Heaven

Chapter 8: A Selection of World Fiction

*Chinua Achebe, Marriage is a Private Affair

Jorge Luis Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths

Jamaica Kincaid, Girl

*Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings translated by Gregory Rabassa

*Isaac Bashevis Singer, Gimpel the Fool translated by Saul Bellow

Chapter 9: For Further Reading

Margaret Atwood, Happy Endings

*James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues

Raymond Carver, Cathedral

*Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Little Dog translated by Richard Peavear and Larissa Volokhonsky

*Kate Chopin, The Storm

*Sandra Cisneros, Barbie-Q

Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal

*William Faulkner, Barn Burning

*F. Scott Fitzgerald, Babylon Revisited

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown

Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants

*Zora Neale Hurston, Spunk

*Shirley Jackson, The Lottery

James Joyce, The Boarding House

*Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried

Tillie Olsen, I Stand Here Ironing

Katherine Anne Porter, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

*John Steinbeck, The Chrysanthemums

Amy Tan, Rules of the Game

Alice Walker, Everyday Use

Eudora Welty, Why I Live at the P.O.



Chapter 10: Reading Poems

The Experience of Poetry

Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays

Reading in Context

The Interpretation of Poetry

Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Reading in Context

The Evaluation of Poetry

Gwendolyn Brooks, A Song in the Front Yard

The Act of Reading Poetry

Theodore Roethke, My Papa's Waltz

Chapter 11: Types of Poetry

Narrative Poetry

Lyric Poetry

Chapter 12: Elements of Poetry

Voice: Speaker and Tone

Stephen Crane, War is Kind

Robert Browning, My Last Duchess

Muriel Stuart, In the Orchard

Gerard Manley Hopkins, "Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend"

Anonymous, Western Wind

Henry Reed, Naming of Parts

*Randall Jarrell, Death of the Ball Turret Gunner


William Wordsworth, I wandered lonely as a cloud

Edwin Arlington Robinson, Miniver Cheevy

William Wordsworth, It is a beauteous evening

Robert Herrick, Delight in Disorder


Elizabeth Bishop, First Death in Nova Scotia

William Butler Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Robert Browning, Meeting at Night

H.D., Heat

Thomas Hardy, Neutral Tones

Figures of Speech: Simile and Metaphor

William Shakespeare, That time of year thou may'st in me behold

John Donne, Hymn to God the Father

Robert Wallace, The Double-Play

Louis Simpson, The Battle

Judith Wright, Woman to Child

Symbolism and Allegory

Peter Meinke, Advice to My Son

Christina Rossetti, Up-Hill

William Blake, A Poison Tree

Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

George Herbert, Virtue

Emily Dickinson, Because I could not stop for Death Syntax

John Donne, The Sun Rising

Thomas Hardy, The Man He Killed

William Butler Yeats, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

Robert Frost, The Silken Tent

e.e. cummings, "Me up at does"

Stevie Smith, Mother, Among the Dustbins

Sound: Rhyme, Alliteration, Assonance

Gerard Manley Hopkins, In the Valley of the Elwy

Thomas Hardy, During Wind and Rain

Alexander Pope, Sound and Sense

Bob McKenty, Adam's Song

May Swenson, The Universe

Helen Chasin, The Word Plum

Rhythm and Meter

Robert Frost, The Span of Life

George Gordon, Lord Byron, The Destruction of Sennacherib

Anne Sexton, Her Kind

William Carlos Williams, The Red Wheelbarrow

Structure: Closed Form and Open Form

John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

Walt Whitman, When I heard the learn'd astronomer

e.e. cummings, l(a

e.e. cummings, [Buffalo Bill's]

William Carlos Williams, The Dance

Denise Levertov, O Taste and See

Theodore Roethke, The Waking

Christine Kane Molito, Reflections in Black & Blue

C.P. Cavafy, The City translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard


Emily Dickinson, Crumbling is not an instant's Act

Chapter 13: Writing about Poetry

Reasons for Writing about Poetry

Informal Ways of Writing about Poetry

Robert Graves, Symptoms of Love

Formal Ways of Writing about Poetry

Sylvia Plath, Mirror

Student Papers on Poetry

Questions for Writing about Poetry

Suggestions for Writing


Chapter 14: Transformations


William Blake, London

William Butler Yeats, A Dream of Death

Emily Dickinson, The Wind begun to knead the Grass

D.H. Lawrence, Piano

Langston Hughes, Ballad of Booker T.


William Carlos Williams, This is Just to Say

Kenneth Koch Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams

William Shakespeare, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

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

Robert Frost, Dust of Snow Bob McKenty, Snow on Frost


*Christopher Marlowe, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

*Sir Walter Raleigh, The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

*William Shakespeare, Not marble, nor the gilded monuments

*Archibald MacLeish, Not marble Nor the Gilded Monuments

*William Blake, Chimney Sweeper (Innocence), Chimney Sweeper (Experience)

*Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

*Anthony Hecht, The Dover Bitch: A Criticism of Life

*Poetry and Song

*Ecclesiastes, To Everything There is a Season

*Pete Seeger, Turn, Turn, Turn!

*Edwin Arlington Robinson, Richard Cory

*Paul Simon, Richard Cory

*John Newton, Amazing Grace

*Don Maclean, Vincent

Chapter 15: Envisioning Poetry

Poems and Paintings

Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night

Anne Sexton, The Starry Night

Francesco de Goya, The Third of May, 1808

David Gewanter, Goya's The Third of May, 1808

Pieter Breughel the Elder, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

W.H. Auden, Musee des Beaux Arts

William Carlos Williams, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

William Blake, The Sick Rose (painting)

William Blake, The Sick Rose (poem)

Henri Matisse, The Dance

Natalie Safir, Matisse's Dance

Jan Vermeer, Young Woman with a Water Jug

Stephen Mitchell, Vermeer

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase

X.J. Kennedy, Nude Descending a Staircase

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son

Elizabeth Bishop, The Prodigal

Kitagawa Utamaro, Girl Powdering Her Neck

Cathy Song, Girl Powdering Her Neck

Romare Bearden, At Five in the Afternoon

Federico Garcia Lorca, Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías (pt. 2)

*Giorgio de Chirico, The Melancholy and Mystery of a Street

*Roy Jacobstein, The Melancholy and Mystery of the Street

Lun-Yi Tsai, Disbelief

Lucille Clifton, Tuesday 9/11/01

Chapter 16: Three Poets in Context

Reading Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Langston Hughes in Depth

Emily Dickinson in Context

The 19th-Century New England Literary Scene

Dickinson and Modern Poetry

Dickinson and Christianity

Dickinson's Style

Emily Dickinson, I cannot dance upon my Toes (326)

Emily Dickinson, The soul selects her own Society (303)

Emily Dickinson: Poems

*67 Success is counted sweetest

*108 Surgeons must be very careful

*130 These are the days when Birds come back

*135 Water, is taught by thirst

*185 "Faith" is a fine invention

199 I'm "wife"--I've finished that

214 I taste a liquor never brewed

241 I like a look of Agony

249 Wild Nights--Wild Nights!

*252 I can wade Grief

*258 There's a certain Slant of light

280 I felt a Funeral, in my Brain

*288 I’m Nobody! Who are you?

324 Some keep the Sabbath going to Church

*328 A Bird came down the walk

*341 After great pain, a formal feeling comes

348 I dreaded that first Robin, so

419 We grow accustomed to the Dark

435 Much Madness is divinest Sense

*448 This was a Poet--It is that

449 I died for Beauty--but was scarce

465 I head a Fly buzz--when I died

*501 This World is not Conclusion.

*508 I'm ceded--I've stopped being Theirs--

*569 I reckon--when I count at all--

585 I like to see it lap the Miles

599 There is a pain--so utter

632 The Brain--is wider than the Sky

650 Pain--has an element of Blank

*657 I dwell in Possibility--

*668 "Nature" is what we see

754 My Life had stood--a Loaded Gun

986 A narrow Fellow in the Grass

*1078 The Bustle in a House

1129 Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

1732 My life closed twice before its close

Three Poems with Altered Punctuation

Poets Inspired by Dickinson

Jane Hirshfield, Three Times My Life has Opened

Billy Collins, Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes

*Francis Heaney, Skinny Domicile

Linda Pastan, Emily Dickinson

Dickinson on Herself and Her First Poems

Critics on Dickinson

Robert Frost in Context

Frost and Popularity

Frost and Nature

Frost and the Sonnet

Frost's Voices

Robert Frost: Poems

The Tuft of Flowers

Mending Wall



Home Burial

*After Apple-Picking

Fire and Ice

*Nothing Gold Can Stay

Acquainted with the Night

Tree at My Window



Desert Places

Provide, Provide

Poets Inspired by Frost

Edward Thomas, When First

W.S. Merwin, Unknown Bird

Seamus Heaney, The Forge

Critical Comments by Frost

Critics on Frost

Langston Hughes in Context

The Harlem Renaissance

Hughes and Music

Hughes's Influences

Hughes's Style

Langston Hughes: Poems

Dream Deferred

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Mother to Son

I, Too

My People

*Dream Variations

*Song for a Dark Girl

The Weary Blues

Young Gal's Blues

Morning After

Trumpet Player

Dream Boogie

*Ballad of the Landlord

Madam and the Rent Man

*When Sue Wears Red

*Listen Here Blues

*Consider Me

Theme for English B

Aunt Sue's Stories


Let America Be America Again

I'm Still Here

Poets Inspired by Hughes

Rita Dove, Testimonial

Dudley Randall, The Ballad of Birmingham

Kevin Young, Langston Hughes

Hughes on Harlem, the Blues

Critics on Hughes


Chapter 17: A Selection of Contemporary Poetry

*Billy Collins, Sonnet (2002)

Wendy Cope, The Ted Williams Villanelle (2001)

*Deborah Garrison, A Working Girl Can’t Win (1998)

Jane Kenyon, Peonies at Dusk (1995)

*Ted Kooser, A Spiral Notebook (2004)

*Taylor Mali, Like Lilly Like Wilson (2004)

Chapter 18: A Selection of World Poetry

Chairil Anwar (Indonesia), At the Mosque translated by

Burton Raffel

Matsuo Basho (Japan) Three Haiku translated by Robert Hass

*Faiz Ahmed Faiz (Pakistan), Before You Came translated by Agha Shahid Ali

Pablo Neruda (Chile), Ode to My Socks translated by Robert Bly

Boris Pasternak (Russia), Hamlet translated by Jon Stallworthy and Peter France

*Octavio Paz (Mexico), The Street translated by Muriel Rukeyeser

Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Hamlet

*Wislawa Szymborska (Poland), The Acrobat

*Derek Walcott (Caribbean) House of Umbrage

Chapter 19: For Further Reading

Sherman Alexie, Indian Boy Love Songs 1 and 2

Anonymous, Barbara Allan

Margaret Atwood, This is a Photograph of me

*Margaret Atwood, Spelling

W.H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen

W.H. Auden, In Memory of W.B. Yeats

W.H. Auden, Funeral Blues

W.H Auden, September 1, 1939

Jimmy Santiago Baca, from Meditations on the South Valley XVII

*Elizabeth Bishop, Sestina

*Elizabeth Bishop, One Art

*Elizabeth Bishop, The Fish

William Blake, The Lamb

William Blake, The Tyger

William Blake, The Garden of Love

*Eavan Boland, Anorexic

Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband

Edward Kamau Brathwait, Ogun

Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool

Gwendolyn Brooks, First fight. Then fiddle

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, How do I love thee

Robert Burns, A Red, Red Rose

Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky

Raymond Carver, Photograph of My Father in His Twenty-Second Year

Sandra Cisneros, Pumpkin Eater

Lucille Clifton, Homage to My Hips

Judith Ortiz Cofer, The Game

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan

Billy Collins, Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins, History Teacher

*Billy Collins, The Listener

Countee Cullen, Incident

e.e. cummings, anyone lived in a pretty how town

e.e. cummings, i thank You god for this most amazing

John Donne, Song: Go and catch a falling star

John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

John Donne, The Flea

John Donne, Death, be not proud

John Donne, Batter my heart, three-personed God

Rita Dove, Canary

Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear the Mask

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

Louise Erdrich, Indian Boarding School: The Runaways

*Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Constantly Risking Absurdity

*Carolyn Forche, The Memory of Elena

Nikki Giovanni, Ego Tripping

Nikki Giovanni, Nikki Rosa

*Louise Gluck, The School Children

George Gordon, Lord Byron, She walks in beauty

Donald Hall, My son, my executioner

*Thomas Hardy, The Ruined Maid

*Thomas Hardy, Channel Firing

*Joy Harjo, Eagle Poem

*Robert Hayden, Frederick Douglass

Seamus Heaney, Digging

Seamus Heaney, Mid-Term Break

George Herbert, The Altar

Robert Herrick, Upon Julia's Clothes

Robert Herrick, To the Virgins, to make Much of Time

Gerard Manley Hopkins, God's Grandeur

Gerard Manley Hopkins,The Windhover

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Spring and Fall: To a Young Child

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

A.E. Housman, To an Athlete Dying Young

*Andrew Hudgins, Elegy for My Father, Who Is Not Dead

Ben Jonson, On My First Son

Ben Jonson, Song: To Celia

John Keats, When I have fears that I may cease to be

John Keats, La Belle Dame sans merci

John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

John Keats, Ode to a Nightingale

*Galway Kinnell, Blackberry Eating

Yusef Komunyakaa, Facing It

D.H. Lawrence, Snake

*D.H. Lawrence, When I Read Shakespeare

Audre Lorde, Hanging Fire

Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica

Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress

Claude McKay, The Tropics in New York

*Edna St. Vincent Millay, I Being Born a Woman and Distressed

*Cszeslaw Milosz, Encounter translated by the author and Lillian Vallee

John Milton, When I consider how my light is spent

*Marianne Moore, Poetry

*Paul Muldoon, Hedgehog

Sharon Olds, Size and Sheer

Sharon Olds, Rite of Passage

Sharon Olds, 35/10

*Mary Oliver, Poem for My Father's Ghost

Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est

Linda Pastan, Ethics

*Robert Pinsky, Dying

Sylvia Plath, Blackberrying

Sylvia Plath, Metaphors

Sylvia Plath, Morning Song

Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

Alexander Pope, from An Essay on Man

*Ezra Pound, In a Station of the Metro

Ezra Pound, The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

*Rainer Maria Rilke, The Cadet Picture of My Father Translated by Robert Lowell

Alberto Rios, A Dream of Husbands

Theodore Roethke, Elegy for Jane

*Theodore Roethke, Root Cellar

*Sonia Sanchez, Towhomitmayconcern

Anne Sexton, Two Hands

William Shakespeare, When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes

William Shakespeare, Let me not to the marriage of true minds

William Shakespeare, Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame

William Shakespeare, My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Gary Soto, Behind Grandma's House

William Stafford, Traveling through the Dark

Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

*Wallace Stevens, Disillusionment of Ten O’clock

May Swenson, Women

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Eagle: A Fragment

*Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill

Dylan Thomas, Do not go gentle into that good night

*Jean Toomer, Song of the Sun

Jean Toomer, Reapers

Walt Whitman, One's-Self I Sing

Walt Whitman, A Noiseless Patient Spider

*Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

William Carlos Williams, Spring and All

William Carlos Williams, Danse Russe

*William Carlos Williams The Young Housewife

William Wordsworth, The world is too much with us

William Wordsworth, The Solitary Reaper

William Wordsworth, Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey

William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

William Butler Yeats, The Wild Swans at Coole

William Butler Yeats, Leda and the Swan

William Butler Yeats, Sailing to Byzantium

William Butler Yeats, When You are Old

*William Butler Yeats, Adam's Curse

Chapter 20: Lives of the Poets



Chapter 21: Reading Plays

The Experience of Drama

Isabella Augusta Persse, Lady Gregory, The Rising of the Moon

The Interpretation of Drama

The Evaluation of Drama

Chapter 22: Types of Drama



Chapter 23: Elements of Drama






Symbolism and Irony


Chapter 24: Writing about Drama

Reasons for Writing about Drama

Informal Ways of Writing about Drama


Double-columned Notebook

Formal Ways of Writing about Drama

Student Papers on Drama

Questions for Writing about Drama

Suggestions for Writing


Chapter 25: The Greek Theater: Sophocles in Context

Reading Sophocles in Context

Athens in the Golden Age

Greek Tragedy

Sophocles and His Works

Sophocles: Plays

Oedipus Rex translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald

Critics on Sophocles

Chapter 26: The Elizabethan Theater: Shakespeare in Context

Reading Shakespeare in Context

London in the Age of Elizabeth

The Arts in the Age of Elizabeth

Stagecraft in the Elizabethan Age

Shakespeare and His Works / Timeline

Shakespeare: Othello

The Tragedy of Othello

Critics on Shakespeare

Chapter 27: The Modern Realistic Theater: Ibsen in Context

Reading Ibsen in Context


A Note on the Theatre of the Absurd

Ibsen, Exile, and Change

Ibsen: The Play

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll House translated by Rolf Fjelde

Chapter 28: Envisioning Drama: Miller and Williams in Performance

*Envisioning Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

*Envisioning The Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams, Production Notes to The Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie


Chapter 29: A Collection of Modern and Contemporary Drama

Susan Glaspell, Trifles

*Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly (and Afterward)

*Milcha Sanchez-Scott, The Cuban Swimmer

Wendy Wasserstein, Tender Offer

August Wilson, Fences


Chapter 30: Writing with Sources

Why Do Research about Literature?

Clarifying the Assignment

Selecting a Topic

Finding and Using Sources

Using Computerized Databases

Using the Internet for Research

Developing a Critical Perspective

Developing a Thesis

Drafting and Revising

Responding to the Ideas of Others: Using One source as a Stimulus for Ideas


Documenting sources

A Research Paper on a Single Work using Multiple Sources

A Research Paper Using Multiple Works and Multiple Sources

Chapter 31: Critical Theory: Approaches to the Analysis and Interpretation of Literature

Readings for Analysis

William Carlos Williams, The Use of Force

Emily Dickinson, I'm 'wife'--I've finished that

The Canon and the Curriculum

Formalist Perspectives

Biographical Perspectives

Historical Perspectives

Psychological Perspectives

Feminist and Marxist Perspectives

Reader-Response Perspectives

Mythological Perspectives

Structuralist Perspectives

Deconstructive Perspectives

Cultural Studies Perspectives

Using Critical Perspectives as Heuristics