What Is American Literature? Essay

Before speaking about American literature, it should be mentioned that the literature of every country greatly reflects its development in all spheres of life. In today’s literature, it is possible to observe the artistic, historical, social, and political value of literary work in connection with the social and political conditions of the definite epoch. This formulation means that features of an epoch are reflected in a theme selected by the author, its characters. These features can add to the work a great public and political significance.

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The close connection of the present and history gives rise to new genres (for example, the novel-chronicle) and new graphic means: documents are entered into the text, moving to the time of many decades, and another is popular. The desire to help society forces the writers to pass from novels and stories to publicists ( Bradbury, 1992) .

The literature is the last and maximum expression of an idea of people shown in a word. The organic sequence in development – here that makes the character of the literature, and here the difference between literature and writing. If the literary work carries on itself a press of essential advantage, – it cannot be the casual phenomenon any more which would not be to some extent result of work preceded it or, at least, would not generate other literary phenomena or, at least, would not have on the direct or indirect influence.

In one of the public performances, a well-known American writer Sol Bello has declared: “To be the intellectual in the United States – means to be immured in privacy where you think, but think under the oppression of that humiliating sensation as it is insignificant a little can to change an idea in life“( McMichael, 2006) . Loneliness and inability to go in a waterway of life – the basic theme of the modern American literature declared during the post-war period when the mood of winners was replaced by confusion before the crisis phenomena which began to declare it both in material and in spiritual parties of life.

If the peculiar feature of the writers of school ” hot blood ” – from Jack London up to Ernest Hemingway – “clearness and distinctness of intonation, since 50th in the American prose, poetry and dramatic art ironicalness, anxiety, self-flagellation, shyness, and sensitivity have started to prevail” (Baym, 2002).

The American literature for some last decades – from the end 40 up to 90 – had been made the important opening: one of the vital phenomena and it is necessary to recognize the crisis as the fact and to sustain it before it is possible to overcome it.

In 1940 the novel by E. Hemingway, “For whom the bell calls,” has put the end of a certain stage in the history of American society. In the 30-40ies, the works of Hemingway, with great accuracy, transferred the tastes, smell, and sensation of reality. The readers of Hemingway translated this reality on the language of their own emotions that helped them to perceive the world what it was seen by heroes of the writer. After the war, the universe was lost, the life lost the habitual reliable outlines. Heroes of the great writer died in the struggle against fascism that is why they get tired of living and struggle without clearly realized purpose (Tom Hudson in “The Islands at the ocean”) ( Cain, 2004) .

The creativity of Hemingway became defining for a new generation of writers who were united in general school “new prose” – to K.MacCalers, J.Wetley, T.Kapote, R.Morris. The subjectivity and ambiguity in the definition of the moral position are the main features of the aesthetic ideals of this school. Wide epic cloths were extremely seldom created now: the art consciousness was split up under the influence of a set of subcultures that drew the serious literature aside mass.

Nevertheless, the moral searches, pilgrimage to the truth, to internal “I” always were in the focus of creativity of writers of the post-war period – Apdake, N.Mailer, S.Bello, D.Salinger, U.Staron. The big influence on the American literature of the 50-70ies was rendered with the philosophy of existentialism. The problem of alienation of the person has been laid down on the basis of ideology. In 50th in San Francisco, the group of young intelligence which has named itself “the broken generation” was formed. They have apprehended close to heart such phenomena as post-war depression, “cold war,” threat of a nuclear accident. They fixed a condition of estrangement of the human person from modern societies and is, naturally, poured out in the form of the protest. Representatives of this youth movement let know that their contemporaries-Americans live on ruins of a civilization. Revolt against establishment became for them the original form of interpersonal dialogue, and it made related their ideology with French existentialism writers (McMichael, 2005) .

In the American literature of last decades, Charles Bukovski (1920-1994) takes a special place, belonging to the writers from the category “enfant terrible.” The writer uses thus a non-normative lexicon.

The special place in the literary process of the USA is taken with the Negro literature. Its brightest representative James Baldwin (1924-1987), has called Black writers to depart from stereotypes in the image of the Blacks and to show in all sincere riches and discrepancy of the person of the black American. Baldwin’s position was also divided by other Black writers, and all of the movement has got the name of “a new wave.” Writers brought the focus to the moral aspect of the Black person instead of that has been generated by racist prejudices ( Skipp, 1992).

So, it is obvious that literature and national experience are interconnected. They can not exist without each other. As it was mentioned before, literature reflects the experience of the nation, and at the same time, from literature, people learn the experience of the past, which can help them to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

As we know, American literature has developed over several centuries, and it is worth saying that English and French literature have influenced greatly.

Works cited

  • Baym Nina, The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Shorter Version, W. W. Norton & Company; 6th edition (2002)
  • Bradbury Malcolm, Ruland Richard , From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature, Penguin (Non-Classics) (1992)
  • Cain William E., American Literature, Volume I (Penguin Academics Series), Longman (2004)
  • McMichael George, Leonard James , Anthology of American Literature, Volume I (Anthology of American Literature) , Prentice Hall; 9th edition (2006)
  • McMichael George, Leonard James , Concise Anthology of American Literature, Prentice Hall; 6th edition (2005)
  • Skipp Francis E., American Literature (EZ-101 Study Keys), Barron’s Educational Series (1992)

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American Literature I – ENGL 201

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 06/22/2023

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Course Description

A survey from the early Colonial period through the American Renaissance. Two critical papers are required.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the  Academic Course Catalog .

English 201 provides an opportunity for students to explore and analyze some of the more significant works of American literature.  Through studying and writing about the literature, students will discover the connection between historical, philosophical, and religious views expressed by the authors of this period.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and  Student Expectations , the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (2)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student will reply to at least 1 classmate’s thread. For Discussion: American Literature from a Christian Worldview, the thread must be 250–300 words and the reply must be 200–250 words. For Discussion: Reflection, the thread must be 250–300 words and the reply must be 150–200 words. Both the thread and the reply must demonstrate correct, formal writing style. (CLO: 1, 6; CT 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

This step in the writing process will help the student to map out their ideas, develop organization, and ensure that they are on the right track. The student will develop a one-sentence thesis statement and outline for each essay. The student must plan for their thesis statement to be the last sentence of the intro paragraph. The thesis and outline should address one of the prompts from the essay instructions.

Essay: The Colonial Period Assignment

The student will compose a 750-word critical analysis essay (3–4 pages). The essay must focus on the colonial period of American literature that is covered in the course. The essay must include a title page, thesis statement, and outline followed by the essay and a correctly documented works cited page. The essay must include two (2) or more secondary, scholarly sources. The student will have the opportunity to receive instructor feedback by submitting the thesis and outline prior to the essay. (CLO: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; CT 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Essay: The Age of Reason/Revolutionary Period Assignment

The student will compose a 750-word critical analysis essay (3–4 pages) that focuses on the Age of Reason/Revolutionary Period of American Literature covered in the course. The essay must include a title page, thesis statement, and outline followed by the essay and a correctly documented works cited page. The essay must include two (2) or more secondary, scholarly sources. The student will have the opportunity to receive instructor feedback by submitting the thesis and outline prior to the essay. (CLO: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; CT 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Essay: The American Renaissance/Romantic Period Assignment

The student will compose a final paper of at least 1,200 words (4–5 pages) that incorporates a minimum of three (3) secondary, scholarly sources. The paper must have a title page, thesis statement, and outline followed by the paper and a correctly documented works cited page. The student will have the opportunity to receive instructor feedback by submitting the thesis and outline prior to the research paper. (CLO: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; CT 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Practice Quizzes (3)

In the module before each quiz, the student will take a Practice Quiz (Practice Quiz: The Colonial Period, Practice Quiz: The Age of Reason/Revolutionary Period, and Practice Quiz: The American Renaissance/Romantic Period) that will help him/her prepare for the subsequent quiz. Each Practice Quiz will be open-book/open-notes; consist of 16 multiple-choice and true/false; and have a 1-hour time limit. The student may take each Practice Quiz as many times as he/she likes until the due date. The final attempt will be counted toward the final grade. (CLO: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6; CT 1, 5)

Quizzes (3)

The student will take 3 quizzes (Quiz: The Colonial Period, Quiz: The Age of Reason/Revolutionary Period, and Quiz: The American Renaissance/Romantic Period). Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes; consist of 40 multiple-choice, true/false, and reading comprehension questions; and have a 1-hour time limit. Unlike the Practice Quiz, the student may only take each quiz once. (CLO: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6; CT 1, 5)

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American Literature Essay

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20 th Century American Novel

The history of the novel in the U.S. during the twentieth century can in many ways be charted in terms of a fundamental, interactive tension between, on the one hand, the idea or sense of the national space and, on the other, local or regional specificities or densities that are in some fashion resistant to this idea. The “national” in this context signifies essentially the rapid and expansive unfolding of capitalist modernity in America following the end of the Civil War in 1865, an era that saw the increasing unification of what had hitherto been a more loosely aggregated national realm. With the full advent of industrialization, along with the widespread implementation of railroads and the telegraph, a genuinely national commercial marketplace was established for the first time. The rhythms of wage labor and commodity production (and consumption) became increasingly the norm, and people, goods, ideas, and images could now circulate more widely and easily than ever before, all of which fostered a manifold set of overlapping and often contradictory perceptions and experiences and offered up a new social substance for literary reflection. Thus, modernity might be welcomed for its social dynamism and cosmopolitanism, or instead criticized for its rootlessness and cultural depthlessness; the local, meanwhile, might either be favored for its traditional values and sense of connectedness (to people, to the land) or shunned for its backwardness and refusal to embrace innovation. This multivalent, ongoing cultural dialectic of nation and region, intertwined with a tension between modernity and tradition, affords a productive framework for considering the course of the twentieth-century American novel.

American Literature Essay

American Naturalism

Regardless of this question of generic function, regionalism doubtless expanded the reach of realism, if we follow that account of realism which stresses its opening up to literary representation hitherto unrepresented social groups, classes, and spaces. Regionalism thus helped make way for the brief flowering of that variant of realism known as naturalism during the first years of the twentieth century. While some naturalist fiction toyed with Darwinian themes (notably Jack London’s work, as in The Call of the Wild, 1903 and White Fang, 1906), naturalism is best grasped as a turning away from the more genteel realisms of William Dean Howells and Henry James (with their comfortable middle-class settings) toward working-class and ethnic subjects—rendered all too often through broad caricature—and a more frank consideration of themes of sexuality, violence, poverty, and prejudice.

With this came a strong emphasis on the determining influence of both the physical and social (chiefly economic) environments on individual behavior and destiny. Norris’s work is central here, with its cast of vivid Californians enmeshed by greed and the railroad companies, as is that of the brilliantly unclassifiable Stephen Crane, whose Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893) is one of the earliest tenement or slum tales. Also important are Abraham Cahan, a Russian-born chronicler of the Jews of New York’s Lower East Side and a pioneering figure in the coming wave of immigrant fiction— Yekl (1896), The Rise of David Levinsky (1917)—and the prolific journalist, social critic, and activist Upton Sinclair, whose novel The Jungle dramatized the deplorable conditions in the U.S. meatpacking industry. But it is Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (1900) that stands as perhaps the central achievement of naturalism, offering a brilliant anatomy of money, desire, and commodity spectacle which, while rooted in a certain regional experience (in particular Dreiser’s flight from the restrictions of small-town Indiana and his German Catholic family), in effect short-circuits the dialectic invoked above and develops an immanent presentation of the social forces of modern capitalism. The work of Edith Wharton, meanwhile, despite its generally more privileged settings, might plausibly be grouped with naturalism for its clear-eyed focus on the inexorable and destructive force of gender and class conventions on individuals—The House of Mirth (1905), The Age of Innocence (1920).

The season of naturalism was in some respects short-lived: Sister Carrie sold poorly and Dreiser did not really regain his writerly footing until the seldom-read Cowperwood Trilogy of 1912–15; London became increasingly alcoholic and erratic; and both Crane and Norris died young, leaving the first two decades of the twentieth-century novel in the U.S. with a somewhat patchy record of achievement. One standout emerging in the teens is Willa Cather, a Virginia-born transplant to the Great Plains who brilliantly reenergized the regionalist dialectic with deceptively complex meditations on the passing of tradition, the growth of new wealth, new roles for women, and the fate of immigrant culture in the Plains and Southwest—O Pioneers! (1913), My Antonia (1918), The Professor’s House (1925), Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927). Cather’s work presages in part the fiction of the so-called “revolt from the village” movement, a set of mostly Midwestern writers who, far from casting the small town as a bulwark against modernity, see it as all too eager to embrace everything that is corrupting and spiritually deadening about bourgeois society. The novels of Sinclair Lewis—Main Street (1920) and Babbit (1922)—and Sherwood Anderson—Winesburg, Ohio (1919) and Poor White (1920)—while popular and critically acclaimed in their day (indeed, Lewis was the first American recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature), have in recent years fallen into disfavor as readers have found their critique to be rather one-note.

Lewis and Anderson were certainly not wrong, however, in training their attention on a rapidly modernizing capitalist system. With innovations such as Henry Ford’s “five-dollar day” (the substantial, if conditional, wage increase given hi sworkers starting in 1914), the layaway system and other forms of credit, and the rapid growth of advertising, modern mass consumerism was gradually though unevenly extended to certain sectors of the working- and lower-middle classes. The economy in the 1920s famously boomed (a misleading image, to the extent that inequalities of wealth were also increasingly exacerbated), and President Calvin Coolidge could declare, in a phrase that grates on the sensibilities of cultural workers to this day, that “the business of America is business.”

The writers of the 1920s thus found themselves in a difficult situation: while passionately committed to the aesthetically and culturally New (spurred on, of course, by the twin thunderclaps of 1922, James Joyce’s Ulysses and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and by modernism more generally), the “new” as it manifested itself in other social domains often occasioned a good deal more uncertainty. Hence the choice of expatriation for so many of the central writers of the decade, or the renewed and intensified focus on specific locales for others, as ways of keeping alive a kind of imaginative tension or distance, or perhaps a paradoxically nourishing sense of marginality, in the face of both the increasingly exuberant materialism of American culture together with its still dominant Puritanical ways, as witnessed for example by the (in hindsight, remarkable) prohibition on the sale of alcohol between 1919 and 1933.

The impact of modernism on the novel in the U.S. was in most instances subtle rather than overt, inflecting the main realistic current rather than reshaping its course outright. The time shifts, lyrical density, and cinematic flourishes employed in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece of upward mobility and American mythmaking (chiefly the abiding American myth of transcending one’s origins), The Great Gatsby (1925), are a good example of the distinctive yet accessible modernist elements writers began to use. Fitzgerald, for many the representative novelist of the decade, was a Midwesterner who went to Princeton and then Paris, and whose sharp (if exaggerated) sense of class and regional marginality fuels much of his best work. Ernest Hemingway, meanwhile, under the influence partly of the journalism trade and partly of modernist doyenne Gertrude Stein, developed a lean, stripped-down (and much imitated) style designed to say little and imply much. The success of books like In Our Time (1925), The Sun Also Rises (1926), and A Farewell to Arms (1929), along with his assiduous cultivation of the Hemingway “brand,” centered on the masculine pursuit of strenuous pastimes, made him for a long time the most famous American author in the world. Even Cather, a writer not generally known for formal innovation, began to speak, as the 1920s wore on, of the novel demeuble (“unfurnished”), a vision of clean, spare prose shorn of what were seen as the weighty encumbrances of older realisms.

The most exuberant modernisms appeared, first, with John Dos Passos’s Manhattan Transfer (1925), whose fragmentary, jump-cutting style attempts to capture the rhythm of a city and which was directly inspired both by Joyce and the cinema (indeed, film and its techniques are an abiding source of fascination and inspiration for many writers during these decades). Dos Passos amplified this approach in his epic U.S.A. trilogy—The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936)—an admixture of glassy, depersonalized prose, news clippings, biographical pastiche, and subjective lyricism. Here Dos Passos attempts to “synthesize” the nation/region dialectic through a great totalization of all regions of the country and offers a grim panoply of political dreams crushed and ambitions of all sorts squelched by the routinized grind of profit making. Djuna Barnes, another expatriate, brought together female sexuality and cultural decay in the dense and harrowing Nightwood (1936). But it is undoubtedly William Faulkner who went furthest and most lastingly with the modernist enterprise in fiction. Faulkner chose to stay in the rural northern Mississippi of his childhood and make of its history and geography, and that of the South more generally, the stuff of an intricate and architectonic fictional world, over which hangs the gothic curse of the South’s history of defeat and the baleful aftereffects of slavery, inflected in turn by the belated modernization of the region. The elaborate stream of consciousness of The Sound and the Fury (1929) and the serpentine, multiclausal sentences of Absalom, Absalom! (1936) are only two instances of the many techniques he employed in the construction of his fictionalmythos—see also As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932), and Go Down, Moses (1942).

Another key literary movement beginning in the 1920s, one centrally rooted in spatial and demographic processes, is of course the Harlem (or New Negro) Renaissance (ca. 1918–37). The Great Migration, beginning around 1910, brought tens of thousands of African Americans from the rural South to the urban, industrial North. Places like Harlem fostered strong social and cultural ferment as more settled, middle-class blacks lived cheek by jowl with new working-class arrivals. The Renaissance itself was a rather more loosely knit affair than its name might suggest, comprising writers with strong ties to Harlem as well as many others with more tangential affiliations. Harlem in that sense was less a stable geographic locale than a touchstone for a kind of imagined community, a space of flows serving to organize symbolically a disparate collection of cultural producers. Their striking social positionality, meanwhile—on the liminal cusp of North and South, modernity and tradition, all complicated by the fraught calculus of race—allowed them to ring intricate changes on the many facets of the cultural dialectic we have been foregrounding, and to interrogate the bearing of African American culture with respect to American culture more generally. The outstanding novelists of the movement include Nella Larsen—Quicksand (1928), Passing (1929)— Claude McKay—Home to Harlem (1928), Banjo (1929)—Arna Bontemps—Black Thunder (1936)—and Zora Neale Hurston— Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).

The arrival of the Great Depression in 1930 began to change the literary landscape in the U.S. in many ways. The rapid economic deterioration (fully one-quarter of the workforce unemployed by 1932) led to a widespread leftward movement amongst writers and intellectuals and an often contentious reconsideration of the appropriate forms and purposes of literature. While this politicization was by no means consistent— with some joining the Communist movement, others remaining within a more liberal/ progressive orbit, with many offshoots in between—nonetheless what Michael Denning has called a broad “cultural front” came into being in the 1930s, marked by a fellow-traveling sensibility at once critical of capitalism and engaged in advocating on behalf of the dispossessed. One early outgrowth of this was the set of novels, all by women, focusing on the textile strike in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1929: Mary Heaton Vorse’s Strike! (1930), Myra Page’s Gathering Storm (1932), Grace Lumpkin’s To Make My Bread (1932), and Fielding Burke’s Call Home the Heart (1932).

More representative, however, of fiction in the 1930s is what Denning calls the “ghetto pastoral,” portraits of largely ethnic working- class urban neighborhoods and the daily struggles of their inhabitants. Such work differs from earlier naturalistic excursions into this territory in that the later writers frequently shared this plebeian social background with their subjects. The ghetto, of course, was a region unto itself, caught between an ambivalently desired mainstream America on the one hand and the values of the Old Country on the other. Tonally, the ghetto pastoral was often an uncertain blend of tough, even brutal naturalism (conditioned in part by the cynical, often violent hardboiled detective fiction pioneered in the 1920s by writers like Dashiell Hammett), as in James T. Farrell’s Studs Lonigan trilogy (1932–35), set in Irish Chicago, and lighter material, often drawing on youthful escapades and comic neighborhood tales and gossip, as in Mike Gold’s Jews Without Money (1930) and Daniel Fuchs’s Williamsburg trilogy (1934–37), both set in poor Jewish neighborhoods of New York. While versions of realism were the dominant stylistic strain in the ghetto pastoral, more modernist techniques feature in important works like Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep (1934), Pietro DiDonato’s Christ in Concrete (1938), set amongst immigrant Italian bricklayers, and Tillie Olsen’s Yonnondio (wr. 1930s, pub. 1974).

The politicization of the decade energized the feminist movement of the time as well, swelling the ranks of women writing literary fiction (as the above might already suggest). Other important works by women include The Unpossessed (1934) by Tess Slesinger and the Trexler trilogy (1933–39) by Josephine Herbst. The novel of migration, meanwhile, was a recurring form in the 1930s, as the economic crisis forced thousands onto the roads and rails in search of work: John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939) is easily the most famous—indeed, along with Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War saga Gone With the Wind (1936), it is probably the most famous novel of the decade (these two texts themselves, of course, using a regional focus to mount a national narrative). Nelson Algren’s Somebody in Boots (1935) deserves mention here as well. Finally, while much of this writing is already grim enough, there are those writers who present a uniquely pessimistic portrait of American society, in that the political sensibility that animates so much of the foregoing is with them suppressed. Steeped more in European symbolism and surrealism than, say, the Chicago School sociology of Farrell and Algren, these novelists envision society as a danse macabre of people increasingly in thrall to powerful culture industries that stoke unfulfillable desires, inciting violence and madness, with only a shrinking world of private fantasy remaining with which to resist: Henry Miller— Tropic of Capricorn (1938)—Horace McCoy—They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1935)—and, especially, Nathanael West— Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), The Day of the Locust (1939). In works like these we begin to see the emergence of black humor as a device for undermining the conventions of standard realism.

The 1940s and 1950s

The onset of WWII reoriented cultural priorities yet again, and the literary novel, while it did not cease production as did the automobile, nonetheless received less focused attention for a time. If the 1940s were the decade of the noir in cinema, much the same could be said for the novel, with the noir thriller being among the more vital genres of the decade, drawing the efforts of at least a few writers who had been poets and literary novelists in the 1930s. Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Kenneth Fearing, Edwin Rolfe, Chester Himes, and Cornell Woolrich are key figures in a genre that, thrills aside, offers an often complex set of reflections on the political aftermath of the Depression (the richly atmospheric Los Angeles locales frequently deployed are also of note). Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940) occupies an ambivalent and important juncture: between high- and middlebrow fiction (Wright made several choices aimed at broadening his readership, and the novel became a Book-of-the-Month Club selection), and also in terms of genre. A late version of the ghetto pastoral (the story is set in Bronzeville, an African American district in Chicago), it is also something of a noir thriller in its own right, while also presaging the rise of the suburb in postwar fiction. The war itself, meanwhile, furnished the material for at least one major novel, Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead (1948); Mailer would later publish one of the more interesting fictional meditations inspired by the disastrous war in Vietnam, Why Are We in Vietnam? (1967), a scabrous dissection of machismo and the emotional investments in violence that never, title aside, mentions Vietnam. Nor does Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (1961), a WWII novel whose satire on the absurdity and moral vacuity of warfare became increasingly resonant as the 1960s wore on and American involvement in Southeast Asia grew deeper. Distinguished work that does mention Vietnam of course exists, such as The Things They Carried (1990), by Tim O’Brien.

The novelists in the years following the war found themselves once more at a difficult aesthetic and political conjuncture. On the one hand, those realisms that had been the predominant novelistic modes for some eighty years, and had been so strenuously championed during the proletarian 1930s, were now, as the country moved into the era of Cold War conservatism, seen as critically suspect, as if encoding a certain Stalinism in their very heart. On the other hand, modernism was by and large felt to be reaching its limit, its dialectic of innovation having exhausted itself (a situation allegorized in John Barth’s The Floating Opera, 1956). Apolitical irony was the new order of the day in criticism, and older works were refunctioned to fit the new dispensation: thus Faulkner (whose best work was well behind him) and Henry James (who had been dead for over forty years) emerge as in some ways the most important novelists of the 1950s. Those novelists who wished to craft something lasting in the fifties needed guile and determination beyond the usual. One strategy was to cleave to older modes in defiance of prevailing styles, an approach most often leading to failure but one that worked for Harriette Arnow, whose The Dollmaker (1954) is perhaps the last of the great ghetto pastorals. Or one might revive even older forms, now seen as a breath of fresh air, to great critical acclaim, as with the picaresque fabulism and nineteenth-century pontificating of Saul Bellow—The Adventures of Augie March (1953), Henderson the Rain King (1959). But achieving the new in this context demanded once more a certain distance from the constricted literary horizon and related critical fashion, a distance provided, for instance, by the experience of exile, as with the Russian-American Vladimir Nabokov, whose Lolita (1955) stands as one of the few masterpieces of an authentically late modernist style. Another would be Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952), which weds an irrepressible narrative drive to a layered, allusive allegory of African American marginality. For the Beats, immersion in the bohemian (for them) world of jazz and drugs afforded a space apart from the felt conformity of the age. Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) and William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch (1959), in their freeform composition and often hallucinatory intensity, revivify prose in yet new ways. The road, in both On the Road and Lolita alike, is an ambivalent trope: for Nabokov, a pathway into the seductive realm of American popular culture, for Kerouac the sign of an always-on-the-cusp-of-vanishing freedom. In any case, it testifies yet again to the irreducibly spatial dimension of literary production in the U.S.

The regional dialectic takes another turn in these years by the emergence of the suburb as a fresh site of narrative investment. The economic boom of the postwar era, coupled with measures like the G.I. Bill (1944) for veterans and tax incentives, helped millions become homeowners for the first time, and the suburban areas of American cities underwent a phase of enormous growth. The phenomenon of so-called “white flight” from more racially mixed city centers, beginning around the early 1960s, only amplified this development. Despite the evident public enthusiasm for these new living spaces, the novelistic suburb is mostly a baleful place, a realm of thwarted dreams, cultural deprivation, and (typically male) anxiety and depression: middle-class privilege is here reimagined as a kind of impoverishment. This is the imaginary terrain treated with a certain sentimentality in John Updike’s five Rabbit novels (appearing every ten years from 1960 to 2001), with rather more pungency in Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road (1961), through to the important work of Richard Ford—The Sportswriter (1986), Independence Day (1995)—and Rick Moody—The Ice Storm (1994).

American Postmodernity

At length we come to the matter of postmodernism and its place in the consideration of U.S. fiction of the last few decades. As with modernism, postmodernism comes in several versions, some more consequent than others. In perhaps its narrowest sense, we have here to do with an aesthetic of the signifier as such, devoted to the cunning free play of language. In an earlier age, such a strategy had more political content, as in the radical maneuvers of Dada, aimed at the repressive conventions of the bourgeois institutions of Art and Literature; under postmodernism this more often issues in elaborate, mazelike metafiction, such as that by Barth and Robert Coover, that displays great inventiveness but can seem rather self-absorbed, arguably possessing little in the way of deeper cultural resonance. When the difficult attempt is made to ground this aesthetic in some wider cultural experience, like the traditions of black signifying as in Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo (1972), Maxine Hong Kingston’s meditations on Chinese mythology and the immigrant experience—The Woman Warrior (1976), Tripmaster Monkey (1989)—or Kathy Acker’s explorations of alternative sexualities and the bodily sensorium, the results are rather more interesting and valuable. Works such as these typify the blending of genres often observed in post-1960s fiction, as nonfictional materials, poetic passages, elements of fantasy, other subgeneric modes, and so forth come together in an increasingly heterogeneous mixture.

The most consequent deployment of a postmodern strategy within the realm of the novel probably comes through the turn to history, what Linda Hutcheon has called historiographic metafiction. This is paradoxical, in that postmodernity has been characterized as a profoundly unhistorical era, but in a sense therein lies the key. The intention of this fiction is in no way to conjure some convincing representation of the past, or to make some case for its continuing claims upon us, as in older historical thinking. Rather, these narratives in effect refract and estrange the present through the past, using the intricate and unexpected juxtaposition of real and imaginary people and events to prize apart the highly compartmentalized social world of late capitalism. This, as Fredric Jameson has argued, is an essentially spatial exercise, that works by undermining the ideological cell walls between the many cultural and political subzones of our social formation, allowing a more synthetic narrative and conceptual process to take place. This would then be the latest (now second- or third-order) development in the sociospatial dialectic with which we began. The central figures here are Thomas Pynchon (1973, Gravity’s Rainbow; 1997, Mason and Dixon), Don DeLillo (1988, Libra; 1997, Underworld), and E. L. Doctorow (1975, Ragtime; 1989, Billy Bathgate). These writers also frequently evince themes of conspiracy and paranoia, another response to the increasingly systematic and all-pervasive character of the times (Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, 1966; DeLillo’s White Noise, 1986). Toni Morrison’s work (1987, Beloved; 1992, Jazz) figures in this context as well, though account must be made of the greater existential density of the historical within the African American context. In addition, the fiction of Richard Powers, such as Gain (1998) and Plowing the Dark (2000), juxtaposes scientific speculation, historical pastiche, and contemporary political events to probe the genesis and structure of the new global order.

Contemporary Novels

The general cultural fragmentation of postmodernity has clearly left its mark on the contemporary novel, making any attempt to survey the territory problematic. In some respects the realm of literary fiction has suffered as creative energies havemoved into subgeneric territory: science fiction, for example, has developed remarkably in the last few decades, encompassing now the full range of so-called “soft” sciences and rich in political and anthropological speculation; detective fiction, too, continues to map social space in ever more inventive ways. Still, staying within our working framework reveals several important recent developments. Thus alongside (often bombastic) calls for a new realism—directed against the perceived narrowness of “creative writing program” fiction—there persists strong work in a (sometimes deceptively) traditional realism, particularly that of Russell Banks, who has explored the conjuncture of America’s racial stain and the injuries of class society with unflagging determination, frequently focusing on small-town New England and New York’s Adirondack Mountains (1985, Continental Drift; 1995, Rule of the Bone; 1998, Cloudsplitter). Meanwhile, there is also a well-established new regionalism, as novelists once more turn to the byways and forgotten corners of the nation. Sometimes, this local is badly in need of a now global modernity, while at other times the local provides the resources to resist the force field of globalized economic and cultural flows, with the narratives seeking to explore an always troubled balance between value and rootedness on the one hand and drudgery and deprivation on the other. Work by Richard Russo, Carolyn Chute, Annie Proulx, Pat Conroy, Barry Hannah, Dorothy Allison, and Chris Offutt, among others, demonstrates once more the absolute centrality to the narrative imagination in the U.S. of the problems of cultural integrity versus cosmopolitanism, of the simultaneous fostering and curtailment of desire and freedom, all thought through a profoundly spatial frame.

Little by little, it seems, the themes that arose so often during the first half of the nineteenth century, as the nation was coalescing and its concept had yet to stabilize, inexorably return, as the uncertain solvents of the unfolding global dispensation increasingly exert their power, complicating and expanding the spatial dialectic. For example, the examination of both the idea and the reality of the border has drawn much interest from novelists as late capitalism slowly redefines the very notion of the nation state. Novelists such as Cormac McCarthy (1985, Blood Meridian; 1994, The Crossing) and Leslie Marmon Silko (1991, Almanac of the Dead) explore the creation and violation of borders and the violence that spreads forth from this, highlighting imperialism and Manifest Destiny, and underscore the unsettling shifts of identity endemic to the borderlands. Perhaps more crucially, the recent wave of writing by people of color is replete with signs and portents of future metamorphoses of American fiction. Taking initial impetus from the political energies of the 1960s, particularly as these shifted somewhat later into the set of debates and movements identified by the notion of identity politics, this literature frequently sets in motion a set of complex exchanges between an increasingly decentred American national space and ever-widening real and conceptual territories in the global South and Pacific Rim (not to mention the disruptive and unmappable terrain of the native reservation system). While varying widely in style, setting, and tone, work by Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Sherman Alexie, Amy Tan, Jessica Hagedorn, Junot Diaz, Anita Desai, Ha Jin, Louise Erdrich, and Rolando Hinojosa, among many others, not only reinterrogates amid fresh circumstances the literary dialectic of ethnic and immigrant experience established earlier in the century, but also stays true to the fundamental impulse of realism to bring unexplored social spaces and subjects into the realm of narrative representation. The many ways in which American fiction goes global will continue to surprise.


  • Bercovitch, S., ed. (1999), Cambridge History of American Literature, vol. 7.
  • Bercovitch, S., ed. (2002), Cambridge History of American Literature, vol. 6.
  • Denning, M. (1997), Cultural Front.
  • Hutcheon, L. (1989), Poetics of Postmodernism.
  • Jameson, F. (1991), Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.
  • Jurca, C. (2000), White Diaspora.
  • Kazin, A. (1942), On Native Grounds.
  • Lutz, T. (2003), Cosmopolitan Vistas.
  • McCann, S. (2000), Gumshoe America.
  • Michaels, W.B. (1993), Our America.
  • Seguin, R. (2001), Around Quitting Time.
  • How to Write a Literature Essay
  • How to Write a Book Review
  • Literature Essay Topics

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essay about american literature

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Writing help, paraphrasing tool, how are romanticism and transcendentalism connected in american literature.

  • Romanticism , The Scarlet Letter

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  • 1.1 Hawthorne’s Views on Transcendentalism and Dark Romanticism
  • 1.2 Rhetorical Devices and Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter
  • 1.3.1 References:

Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Introduction

Nathaniel Hawthorne has a very high rank among American authors, especially of his time period. He was an excellent craftsman, using good diction and organizing his books well so that every chapter, paragraph, and sentence is imperative to the plot and the theme. Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1808. When he was only three, his father died of yellow fever, and his mother moved him and his sisters to live with her parents at their house, also in Salem. His ancestors were from there, and he lived there for most of his life with much of his extended family. He then went to college at Bowdoin College, where he realized he had a real gift and passion for writing. He graduated in 1825, soon after returning home to spend his time learning how to master writing fiction novels.

Hawthorne’s Views on Transcendentalism and Dark Romanticism

His first works were not popular enough to provide him with a stable income, so he got a job in the Boston Custom House. Eventually, he was able to gain enough money through writing, and he was able to marry his wife and rent a house with her in Concord. By the 1850s, Hawthorne was identified as a significant figure in American Literature. Concord was very much the center of philosophy at that time, especially with people like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, so the new movement known as Transcendentalism took hold. This new movement encouraged people to ‘transcend’ the materialistic world and focus on human freedom. Many of Hawthorne’s more famous works, like The Scarlet Letter, The House of Seven Gables, and The Marble Faun, talk about morals, sin, and guilt and have some anti-transcendentalism ideas and views. They were more a part of the Dark Romanticism movement, which was influenced by and gained popularity around the same time as Transcendentalism.

These works are some of his most famous because of how bold and different they are compared to other books in this time period. His challenging views gained him more fame and are one of the reasons why he is so well renowned today. The official Literary Movement that Hawthorne was a part of was Dark Romanticism. This movement came from the Romance Movement, which is characterized by third-person writing with the author providing “insights into the character’s thoughts and states of mind” while focusing on emotion and imagination. In the intro to The Scarlet Letter, he lets the reader enter a “neutral territory” while still being in the Romance style. It lets the reader know that this work is fiction, but it talks about tangible and realistic ideas. What makes the bulk of his work Dark Romanticism is Hawthorne’s use of Gothic. This style is applied to fiction writing with the use of horror, the supernatural and irrational, and an atmosphere of gloom. Gothic drew from these elements to focus his stories on sin, guilt, and the inherent evil of humanity, with his purpose being to be anti-transcendentalist because he was against the idea that divinity comes before everything.

Rhetorical Devices and Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne uses many rhetorical devices in his most critically acclaimed novel, The Scarlet Letter. The largest portion of the book incorporates imagery and explicit detail about the surroundings and tone of the situation the characters are in. For instance, Hawthorne exemplifies detailed imagery in this passage: It had indeed a very cheery aspect; the walls being overspread with a kind of stucco, in which fragments of broken glass were plentifully intermixed; so that, when the sunshine felt aslant-wise over the front of the edifice, it glittered and sparkled as if diamonds had been flung against it by the double handful. (Hawthorne 106) The purpose of putting this much detail into one passage is to put the reader in the place with the character. Hester Prynne, the protagonist, is going through many difficult trials in her life, and Hawthorne really wants the reader to feel her pain and be with her through her pain and how she resolves her situation. By putting oneself in the situation of the protagonist, one can sympathize with them and then find the true meaning of the book and the story. Imagery like this is all throughout the book and follows Hester through every stage of her new life. Another rhetorical device frequently used by Hawthorne that is more subtle is a simile. In chapter five, Hawthorne focuses on Hester’s inner struggles and how torn she is in her life.

Dark Romanticism focuses on the outcasts of society and their personal torment inside their heads. Hester’s daughter Pearl is also a symbol; she serves as the living symbol of the letter and her mother’s sin since she is the product of it. Chapter six focuses on Hester’s inner torment, while Hawthorne describes her life with Pearl. Hawthorne states, “She named the infant Pearl, as being with great price – purchased with all she had – her mother’s only treasure!” This explains how Hester feels about her daughter: she loves her and cares for her, but Pearl is also a constant reminder of her sin and her public shame. These symbols serve to let the reader see the inner struggle and her need for human connection. Even though she is an outcast, her daughter serves as her one relief in life. Overall, Hawthorne wanted his readers to connect with the protagonist and be able to see raw human emotions and not some fluff that comes with the religion and laws of that time.

Hawthorne’s Enduring Influence

The history of literature is a long and very intricate subject, and every time period has a stand-out author or authors that really sum up the time period and the movement they are associated with. I believe Nathaniel Hawthorne is a huge influencer on Romance writing and helped shape how we read between the lines of a book and not just take them at face value. He not only tells the story of a character and goes through the motions of narration, but he dives deep into the psychological and moral factors that play into a character’s life and journey. It is very evident in The Scarlet Letter that Hawthorne develops his stories well and can keep a reader interested in the book all throughout, which is one of the most important aspects of writing. This book shot Hawthorne into tremendous success, and still, to this day, people are enjoying and analyzing the story in order to get some insight into the harsh Puritan world of the late 1600s. Nathaniel Hawthorne may be gone, but the purpose and excellence of his writing will come through no matter who is reading or when they read it.


  • Student Companion. “Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne.” 
  • Britannica Encyclopedia. “Early Years.” 
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. “First Works.”
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. “Legacy.” 
  • Student Companion. “The Romance.”
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. 

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This illustration, formed from black paper cutouts on a pale background, depicts two kneeling Black women facing each other in silhouette, their hands entwined. Above them shines a large sun; the space around them is filled with stars, birds, blooming plants and vegetation.

Imprinted By Belief

What Can Literature Teach Us About Forgiveness?

American fiction has always grappled with sin, atonement and mercy. In the second installment of an essay series on literature and faith, Ayana Mathis examines what we can learn from forgiveness.

Credit... Andrea Dezso

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By Ayana Mathis

  • Aug. 24, 2023

“How I’m gon keep from killing him,” says Celie, the protagonist of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel “The Color Purple.” The “him” is Celie’s husband, Mr.__. His first name is Albert, but he’s so cruel Celie won’t speak his name. In any case, Mr.__ wouldn’t brook such disrespect. He would beat Celie for it, as he has beaten her ever since he married her to look after his four children and work his land; and for the milk cow Celie’s Pa threw in to sweeten the deal.

Once married, Mr.__ allows Celie’s sister Nettie to live in his house, but when Nettie spurns his advances, he throws her out. Nettie disappears and Celie gives her up for dead. Years pass — the novel, set in rural Jim Crow Georgia, spans some three decades — before Celie learns that Nettie is very much alive. She has been writing to Celie faithfully, letters Mr.__ intercepted and dumped, unopened, in a trunk hidden in the house. Killing Mr.__ wouldn’t set things right, but it might make Celie feel better, at least for a while. If she doesn’t kill him, does he escape all consequence? Would she have to forgive him?

The previous essay in this series ended with a hard truth: The tribulations of the past cannot be undone even as they cannot be excused. The transgressed and their transgressors carry with them the irreversible past, and so we arrive at the vexing question of forgiveness. Most would define forgiveness as a moral good, a virtuous act that requires us to forgo retribution for wrongdoing and extend pardon without conditions. But what about the fact that forgiveness cannot restore what’s been lost to grievous harm? What of the transgressed person’s grief or rage? In a case like Celie’s, what good would forgiveness accomplish?

Western Christian conceptions of forgiveness hinge on an idea of atonement: Humankind is indebted to God for its existence, a debt that we can never pay and that is compounded by our sinful fallenness. In a profound act of love, God sacrificed God’s own son to an agonizing death by crucifixion. Thus humanity’s debt is paid, and universal forgiveness, or salvation, becomes possible. Somehow, we — individually and collectively — have derived from this account a sense that forgiveness ought to be unconditional and freely given, but the crucifixion is a violent, harrowing event. Alone on the cross, the suffering Christ cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Viewed one way, this story suggests that forgiveness always costs something, and suffering is payment. Another, less transactional, interpretation might emphasize the role of God’s grace and loving sacrifice.

Biblical narratives are recondite and sometimes contradictory, confounding any straightforward assumptions about forgiveness. In the Hebrew Bible, Joseph forgives his brothers for selling him into slavery in Egypt, but only after testing their character and loyalty: Ultimately, his forgiveness is loving and absolute even if he doesn’t forget his brothers’ wrongs. In a parable in the Gospel of Matthew, a king forgives a slave for a debt, but when the forgiven man refuses to extend this same benevolence to a fellow slave, the king reverses his pardon and has the first man thrown into prison. In part, the parable is about mirroring the mercy one has been shown, but it’s also the case that forgiveness is conditional in this instance, revoked when the forgiven fails to meet a moral standard dictated and enforced by the king.

To further confuse matters, there are a multitude of conflicting phrases, biblical and secular, that offer partial, calcified notions of retribution and forgiveness: an eye for an eye, turn the other cheek, forgive and forget. In his recent book “Forgiveness: An Alternate Account,” the Harvard Divinity School professor Matthew Ichihashi Potts quotes his colleague the theologian Mark Jordan on the Gospels: “They are contradictory stories studded with paradoxical aphorisms. Every theology that is not written as a life told four ways already departs from the most authoritative model of Christian writing.”

In other words, this multitude of vantage points, even contradictions, are not obstacles to be overcome in order to arrive at a single, distilled truth: There is wisdom in the accumulation and juxtaposition of biblical narratives. They are choral and kinetic, not fixed; they invite reinterpretation and re-engagement. Forgiveness involves striving — to find new meanings inside older ones, to uncover what we have overlooked, to revise inadequate and indurate conceptions. Forgiveness is not a single act or event but a process .

Literature, by its very nature, is in the business of telling things “four ways.” It is visionary and revelatory, and finds dynamism in a mix of insight, incident and description. The experience of being wronged (or doing wrong) is messy and full of ambiguity, a realm in which literature thrives. American fiction, preoccupied from the outset with sin, atonement, recompense and mercy — themes that run from the novels of the nation’s Puritan heritage through the literature of its continuing struggles — has long grappled with these issues. At its best, our literature is possessed of an expansive moral imagination about forgiveness that goes beyond legal redress and the payment of debts, eschewing pronouncements and implacable conclusions for questions and observations. This openness, this lack of rigidity, is of some comfort and utility in these days of rage and polemic, of fear and deep unknowing about how, or if, we will survive the current crises.

This illustration features a white mouse standing on two legs atop a small pyramid shape. Encircling the mouse is a ring of stylized ovals resembling the twisted ladder-shape of the DNA double helix.

Near the middle of Yaa Gyasi’s novel “ Transcendent Kingdom ” (2020), her protagonist, Gifty, remembers giving her heart to Jesus in the Pentecostal church of her childhood: “I knelt down before my pastor as he placed a hand on my forehead and I felt the pressure of his hand like a beam of light from God himself.” When we meet Gifty she is 28, a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at Stanford researching addiction, pain and reward in mice. She grew up in Huntsville, Ala., where she, her mother and teenage brother were among very few Ghanaian families. Her brother, Nana, died of an overdose after getting hooked on painkillers prescribed for a basketball injury. Since then, Gifty’s once indomitable mother, so sharp-tongued and unknowable that young Gifty nicknamed her The Black Mamba, has suffered from bouts of near-catatonic depression.

“Transcendent Kingdom” is a novel of reverent remembrance. Gifty’s plunge into memory begins when she brings her mother to Palo Alto after the older woman has a depressive episode that leaves her unable to eat, work or bathe. At first, Gifty’s memories are innocuous: sweet letters she wrote to God as a child about winning three-legged races with Nana or her annoyance at his coming into her room without knocking. But they quickly progress to the terror days of his addiction: “He picked up the TV and smashed it on the floor and punched a hole in the wall and his hand was bleeding and TBM started crying.”

Gifty is a pious, anxious kid, desperate to believe that good behavior and faith in God will heal her family and protect her from the racism of her school and church. Nana was the star basketball player, adored by everyone in town, but after the parishioners discover his addiction, Gifty overhears two of them talking about him: “I really do hate to say this — their kind does seem to have a taste for drugs.” For the first time, Gifty feels self-hatred, and in that moment she hates her brother too. When his addiction leads him to play poorly, the church folk turn on him and boo him in the stands. This is the beginning of the end for Gifty and God: “I saw my church and I couldn’t unsee.” After Nana’s death, she leaves the church.

Adult Gifty hopes she can find a way out of these labyrinths of pain through the study of addiction, as if the science could restore Nana, and her mother. As Gifty says, “I had traded the Pentecostalism of my childhood for this new religion.” But what her work reveals about a mouse brain doesn’t solve the mysteries of her own, and leads, in fact, to deeper and more unsettling reflection. Gifty’s memories pull to the surface what she most wants to submerge. Of Nana’s addiction, she writes, “When I saw him strung out … I would think, God I wish it was cancer, not for his sake but for mine. … Because I still have so much shame. I’m full to the brim with it.”

There is so much that Gifty must forgive: She must face her shame and forgive herself. She must forgive Nana for his addiction, and for dying and leaving her. She must forgive her mother for abandoning her when she needed her most. Finally, she must forgive religion itself for its narrowness and betrayal. Yet Gyasi offers no simple remedy — rather, a kind of lament. Gifty’s lamentation is intolerable, but it must be tolerated if she is to have a future that isn’t circumscribed by the past.

Matthew Potts writes that forgiveness “is more mourning than miracle, a manner of living with rather than magically fixing a broken past.” We have come to think of sorrow as a pathology to be cured, when in reality it’s a reflexive, and reflective, response to the caprice and mystery of devastating experience. This insight doesn’t make for a triumphant story of overcoming. But in the face of great loss, triumph is a mirage that denies the finiteness and vulnerability we have in common with every other living being. Compassion, and ultimately forgiveness, are pushed further out of reach.

At the end of the novel, we meet Gifty some years into the future. A scientist with her own lab, she has not returned to religion, but the memory of being saved as a child calls her to a nearby church in the quiet empty hours between services. Gyasi writes with poignant clarity about this character who has traveled so far and mourned so deeply: “I’m no longer interested in other worlds or spiritual planes. I’ve seen enough in a mouse to understand transcendence, holiness, redemption. … I sit in blessed silence and I remember. I try to make order, make sense, make meaning of the jumble of it all.” Gifty’s “blessed silence” is a kind of forgiveness as Potts conceives of it — an awe at the incomprehensibility of her life, of any life.

Gyasi’s conclusion makes a powerful analogy to apophatic, or negative, theology: When faced with the magnitude of God, we can articulate only what we know, which is limited and elementary — the rest is silent astonishment. Gina Berriault riffs on apophatic awe in her 1996 short story “The Overcoat.” A young man named Eli returns home to visit his parents after a 16-year absence. Eli has lived rough, “his arms lacerated by needles, scar on scar, like worms coming out, with the tattoos like road maps to show them the way.” The overcoat of the title is far too large for him, a carapace around his thin body. Shaking and battered, he takes a ferry and several buses to find his fisherman father, who lives on a boat at the “watery” edge of Washington State.

Narratives about prodigal children generally have reconciliation as their goal; this typically involves repentance followed by unconditional forgiveness. In Berriault’s hands, such forgiveness isn’t on the table. “What the hell else did you do with your life?” Eli’s father wants to know. “I wrecked it,” Eli replies. “Well now you see you got sick,” his father says. “Could be you’re being punished for wrecking your life.” He has nothing to offer his son, no comfort, no wisdom.

Later, dozing on a spare bunk on his father’s boat, Eli recalls the people he’s met over the years — social workers and parole officers and the like — and the explanations he’s given them for his troubles: “He’d blamed this old man on this rotting boat and he’d blamed his mother, wherever she was, for what had become of Eli. They had pried out his heart, those prying strangers, and the empty place left behind was where death got in.” Both father and son reach for a logic of blame and punishment to account for the wreckage of Eli’s life. But Berriault shows us that Eli’s suffering cannot be understood solely as punishment for sin or payment for debt; death got in through many fissures.

Eli seeks out his mother, who is institutionalized in Seattle, in a place of endless corridors and narrow beds, filled with old women like her. Here Berriault’s language summons the mystical: “He went along before their pale faces staring out at the last puzzling details of the world, himself a detail.” Eli finds her on a bench in a concrete courtyard. She does not seem to recognize him, or rather, his significance to her takes time to register. But oh, when it does! For years she’d wake in the night, she tells him, convinced that he was about to meet some harm, and to save him, she’d yell, “Run, Eli, run!” “I rescued you, every time,” she says. Eli pulls his overcoat over his head so that she won’t see him weep.

The scene is a little death before the final one we suspect is coming — Eli is likely not much longer for this world. Berriault doesn’t offer the clarity of epiphany, or even resolution. But there is mercy. By the end of the story, Eli is, in a sense, reconciled with his mother and father, seeing them as objects of love and sorrow. He enters a kind of apophatic state in which the whole foundation of his resentment toward his parents, their failures and his, and what he thought he knew about the whys of his life, is reduced to tiny fragments that together gesture toward something overwhelming and ineffable. “The Overcoat” ends: “They were baffled by what had gone on in their lives and by what was going on now and by whatever was to go on, and this was all they had to offer him, Eli, come back to them, baffled enough by his own life.” Forgiveness is re-envisioned here as mystical, intelligible only as a shared experience of woeful, baffled wonderment.

IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES , bafflement leads not to transcendent wonder, but to bitter confusion and a mouth full of ash. No depth of mourning will suffice. Instead, vengeance presents itself as a viable option. Celie narrates “The Color Purple” through a series of letters, the first of which reads: “Dear God, I am 14 years old. ̶I̶ ̶a̶m̶ ̶ I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me.” As the novel progresses, we learn of years of abuse. Celie births two children, a result of repeated sexual assaults by her stepfather. The babies are taken from her, one in the dead of night. Then there is her marriage-sale to Mr.__, who continues the abuse. “He say, Celie, git the belt,” Celie writes. “It all I can do not to cry. I make myself wood. I say to myself, Celie, you a tree.” The misogyny, exacerbated by the racism of the Jim Crow South, is enfleshed in the figure of a young girl.

I have never begun this book without a rageful desire to hurt these men for what they’ve done. And yet, the novel’s arc is not toward retribution. Walker turns the ship, subtly, event by event, year by year, so that we end in decency and dignity, not just for Celie but for nearly every character. Remarkably, despite having witnessed such carnage, and without dismissing the men’s offenses, the reader too is reoriented toward mercy.

We learn that for many years Mr.__ has been in love with an itinerant singer named Shug Avery. Shug is glamorous: She dresses in furs and feathers; she is unmarried and unburdened by children (her three children with Mr.__ don’t live with her); she has her own money and her own mind. When she comes to town, Mr.__, whom Shug calls Albert, has dozens of her pink concert fliers in the trunk of his car. Celie is infatuated: “I just be thankful to lay eyes on her.” Sometime later, Mr.__ brings an ill Shug to his house to nurse her to health.

“You sure is ugly,” she says the first time she meets Celie. Celie takes the comment in stride. After all, a sick woman’s scorn isn’t lethal, and Celie is ever mindful of what might kill her. “I think about Nettie, dead,” she writes in a letter to God early in the book. “She fight, she run away. What good it do? I don’t fight. I stay where I’m told. But I’m alive.” Months pass, and Celie and Shug become dear friends, and then lovers.

Celie’s liberation begins with Shug; the novel wants more for her than brute survival. We might map its themes onto a branch of contemporary Christian thought called womanist theology, which has its roots in Alice Walker’s Black women’s feminism of the same name. Womanist theology emphasizes Christ’s solidarity with the poor and the disregarded. Its focus is on poor women of color — the idea is that if Christian thought and practice addresses the spiritual and material needs of the least powerful and most vulnerable, it becomes more just, more capacious, more truly Christian. It envisions a Christianity that is most concerned with fellowship and loving care for all humanity, and that de-emphasizes transactional suffering as God’s requirement for forgiveness and salvation.

Indeed, by the novel’s final section, after so much misery, Celie has no interest in a God who would allow decades of anguish. Shug wants to know what Celie’s done with God. “Who that?” Celie replies. Shug’s response to this is a kind of womanist sermon, in which she distinguishes God and belief from church dogma. “Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me,” Shug declares. “When I found out I thought God was white, and a man, I lost interest.” She continues: “Man corrupt everything. … He try to make you think he everywhere. Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain’t.” God isn’t Mr.__ or Celie’s stepfather, God isn’t white, God isn’t even a man.

Celie’s life is profoundly altered by these realizations. For a time she lives with Shug, whose fame as a singer affords her a big house in Memphis. She is reunited with her sister and with her children. Celie doesn’t kill Mr.__, despite his crimes. The problem with vengeance, Walker suggests, is as much pragmatic as moral. Retaliation has consequences; to resist it — such resistance is itself a kind of forgiveness — is to end a cycle of harm that traps the injured party in an irremediable past and poisons the present. Once Celie understands herself as a woman loved by others and by a God who does not delight in her pain, the people who have hurt her are dethroned and diminished. She is renewed by the twin action of love and forgiveness. Here is the salutation with which she begins her final letter: “Dear God. Dear Stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear people. Dear Everything. Dear God.”

Gyasi’s remembrance, Eli’s baffled awe, Celie’s everywhere, everything God: These are not solutions to the problem of transgressor and transgressed. Instead, they are metaphors that recruit forgiveness to the creation of a livable future, one that acknowledges the wrongs of the past so that it can move beyond them. In each of these works, transformation accompanies forgiveness, and grace liberates the future from the past. These stories hew closer to the nuance and multivalence of biblical narratives, or to how we might read them if dogma hadn’t gotten to them first. We end, then, with a final metaphor: resurrection. I don’t mean life after death, per se, but renewal, the chance to revise our stance, until we get to something better.

Ayana Mathis’s new novel, “The Unsettled,” will be published in September.

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Essay Samples on American Literature

Julie garwood: unexpected passing and lasting legacy.

Julie Garwood was a beloved author of historical and contemporary romance novels who passed away in 2023 at the age of 78. Though she is no longer with us, her stories continue to delight readers around the world. Early Life and Career Born in Kansas...

  • American Authors
  • American Literature

Carol Higgins Clark: Remembering the Legacy of a Prolific Mystery Novelist and Actress

Author Carol Higgins Clark passed away on June 12, 2023 at the age of 66 after a battle with appendix cancer. Though gone too soon, Clark leaves behind an admirable legacy as a prolific mystery novelist and actress. She was best known for her Regan...

Judy Blume: A Literary Icon's Enduring Impact and Cinematic Journey

The Legacy of Judy Blume In the realm of children's and young adult literature, few authors are as venerated and renowned as Judy Blume. Her literary gems such as "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret", "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing", and "Blubber" continue...

"The Great Gatsby": Character Analysis Of Jay Gatsby

For some, greatness is the riches and fame one can obtain throughout a lifetime, what's not realized is that there is a deeper, more profound meaning to it. Greatness is having the courage and ability to step out of one’s comfort zone to find the...

  • American Fiction
  • The Great Gatsby

Analysis Of Puritanism In The Works Of American Literature

Anthropology, the study of human societies and cultures and their developments, is almost always directly correlated with sociology which is the study of the structure and functioning of a society. The Puritans’ overarching anthropology was that God is completely sovereign and that man gets attached...

  • Anne Bradstreet

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The Impact of Irving, Poe and Hawthorne on Early American Literature

In the 18th century when television was not invented, people used to read and talk to each other. When electronic devices were not advanced yet, reading is one of the common ways that people get pleasure. Back in the days, people used to read to...

  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne

Differences Between the American and British Gothic Literature

Gothic literature came to America in the late eighteenth century. This genre was paradoxical to the new country based on liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Consequently, the people of America discarded the gothic genre because the novels seemed unreliable. Gothic was based on history,...

  • Gothic Literature

Symbolic Meanings in The Scarlet Ibis

James Hurst establishes “The Scarlet Ibis” by using multiple literary devices such as symbolism. Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. The main symbol utilized in the short story is the Scarlet Ibis itself. The bird, Scarlet Ibis, is not the...

  • The Scarlet Ibis

Exploring the Evocative Power of Imagery in "The Scarlet Ibis"

In The Scarlet Ibis, symbolism is used as a main story telling element. It expresses the character, Brother’s, feelings toward all that happens, and shows his connections to events taking place in the story. In the story, the character called Brother learns to deal with...

Injustice and Prejustice in The Scarlet Ibis

William Armstrong was a young boy filled with light, energy, and passion. He was burdened with a terrible condition making him sensitive towards the outside world. He had a loving family and aunt, who wanted him to live as long as possible. While having many...

Rhetorical Analysis of Me Talk Pretty One Day

Sedaris employs appeals to pity, a tonal shift from fear to calm, and a humorous tone in order to emphasize the difficulty of living in a foreign country with a minimum level of fluency in the language spoken in that country. Sedaris appeals to the...

  • Me Talk Pretty One Day

The Last of the Mohicans: The Frontier Changing Characters

When Mr. James Fenimore Cooper started writing his books, he was writing them in the American Romanticism era. This means that his books most likely reflected values found in this era. The book The Last of the Mohicans had many of these characteristics. We find...

  • Last of The Mohicans
  • Romanticism

The Problem of Racial Inequality in James Cooper's Novel The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans, written by James Fenimore Cooper, was published around the time of the first “Indian Removal” debates, where the government was deciding on whether or not remove Native Americans from their land and use it for the expansion of the United...

Amelia Earhart Journey Began in 1897

Imagine waking up every morning with the knowledge that you could change lives. Every step you take for yourself is a step taken in the name of equality and change. This is how our great female innovators felt at every stage of their inspiring lives,...

  • Amelia Earhart
  • Women's Rights

Violence, Misery and Abuse against Women in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hussien

The aim of this study is to focus and illustrate the characteristics of female characters that demonstrate the inner strength and abilities of women being challenged by hard life conditions. Particularly, it aims to explain how a unified vision of selfhood and strong self-identity and...

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns

The Role of Robert Frost's Life in His Art

Throughout the vast collection of American literature, very few individuals have attained a position as distinguished as Robert Frost within literature. Even after his death in 1963, he is still remembered today for his great literary works. Although Robert Frost is heavily associated with New...

  • Robert Frost

Robert Frost's Mastery of Rhyme in His Poetry

Robert Frost was born on March 26th, 1874 to his father, William and his mother Isabelle. Roberts’s father, William, worked as a reporter, while his mother stayed home. Robert was born in San Francisco with his family, until his father passed on May 5th, 1885....

Depiction of American South in Burning Barn and A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Would you ever think that Southern Americans would write stories based on morality in the early 1900s? Probably not based on the fact that slavery was abolished only a few years earlier. Authors, William Faulkner and Flannery O’ Connor were far from exceptions to this....

  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find
  • Barn Burning

Walt Whitman: The Most Impotant Poet in American Literature

Imagine being known as America’s greatest and most influential poet. You’ll be known as someone who could be able to influence people just by using your words and putting it into poetry. Walt Whitman is extremely well-known and is one of the most influential writers...

  • Walt Whitman

My Desire To Study English Literature At A Level

It seems that the greatest situational irony encountered is life itself. For this reason I chose to study English Literature at A Level. Language is ceaseless and boundless and its only limits stem from the conscious decisions of the author, hence, every literary device and...

  • Personal Experience

Best topics on American Literature

1. Julie Garwood: Unexpected Passing and Lasting Legacy

2. Carol Higgins Clark: Remembering the Legacy of a Prolific Mystery Novelist and Actress

3. Judy Blume: A Literary Icon’s Enduring Impact and Cinematic Journey

4. “The Great Gatsby”: Character Analysis Of Jay Gatsby

5. Analysis Of Puritanism In The Works Of American Literature

6. The Impact of Irving, Poe and Hawthorne on Early American Literature

7. Differences Between the American and British Gothic Literature

8. Symbolic Meanings in The Scarlet Ibis

9. Exploring the Evocative Power of Imagery in “The Scarlet Ibis”

10. Injustice and Prejustice in The Scarlet Ibis

11. Rhetorical Analysis of Me Talk Pretty One Day

12. The Last of the Mohicans: The Frontier Changing Characters

13. The Problem of Racial Inequality in James Cooper’s Novel The Last of the Mohicans

14. Amelia Earhart Journey Began in 1897

15. Violence, Misery and Abuse against Women in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hussien

  • William Shakespeare
  • Sonny's Blues
  • A Raisin in The Sun
  • Hidden Intellectualism
  • A White Heron
  • Beowulf Anglo-Saxon
  • A Pair of Silk Stockings
  • Alone Together

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“The Fish” By Elizabeth Bishop – Essay Example

Elizabeth Bishop is considered to be one of the most famous female writers of the 20th century. Some say her poetry is rather cold and objective because her personality is never present in her writings. However, all of her works … Full sample →

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Summary – Essay Sample

At the beginning of the story, we meet a teenager Connie, who cannot find common language with her mom or older sister. As a result, the girl spends most of her summer time out with friends. One night, she goes … Full sample →

The Jury of Her Peers – Essay Sample

The story starts with Mr. and Mrs. Hale going to the crime scene with sheriff Peters and his wife Mrs. Peters. Martha Hale and Mrs. Peters are main female characters. Martha met sheriffs wife only once at county fair, so … Full sample →

Symbolism in Great Gatsby – Essay Sample

The novel Great Gatsby is a novel about a self-made man; a man who lived the American Dream, but whose money and wealth never made him truly happy. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the well-known author of the novel, filled it with … Full sample →

Richard Cory Analysis – Essay Sample

Richard Cory, the main hero of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poem, seemed like a true gentleman; a person who belonged to the upper class and enjoyed the advantages to which he was entitled. The man was neatly dressed, polite to others, … Full sample →

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Why Should I Pay Anyone to Write My Essay?

If you’re suddenly wondering, “Can someone do my paper for me?”, there’s likely a very good reason for that. After all, college is an eye-opening experience for most students. Not only is it your first attempt at independent life free from parents’ oversight, but it’s also a completely new level of academic requirements and independent study many aren’t ready for. 

And if you’re an overachiever or a perfectionist, keeping up with all the classes, assignments, extracurriculars, and side gigs will keep you up most nights. You will soon forget about your plans to discover the party scene, visit your parents every other weekend, or find your soulmate on campus. If you try to stay on top of all your responsibilities, you’ll likely burn out or suffer an anxiety attack sooner rather than later. 

So don’t feel bad if your thoughts go from “Can someone write my paper?” to “Write me a paper asap!” within the first few weeks of the college term. You’re not alone, and it’s perfectly normal to struggle in a new environment and buckle under the weight of elevated expectations. 

Luckily, you don’t have to suffer in silence or give up on your dream of a college degree. Instead, you can seek help. And nowadays, it’s as easy as typing “Make an essay for me” in live chat.

Why Should I Choose Write Paper For Me As My School Assistant?

A quick Google search will unearth dozens of do-my-paper services, adding to your stress, instead of alleviating it. But unfortunately, you cannot trust the first company you find, tell the writers “Write a paper for me”, and hope for the best. Although you may be lucky enough to stumble upon a reliable company by accident, choosing a trustworthy service requires some research.

We suggest you look for these staples of a solid writing service WritePaperForMe has in spades:

  • Academic writers with proven experience in your major. For instance, our write my paper service employs hundreds of experts across the most popular majors, so we can handle anything from Anatomy to Zoology.
  • Thorough anti-plagiarism protocols. In our experience, a combination of writer training, strict citation procedures, and a mandatory plagiarism check ensure the best results for our clients.
  • Round-the-clock access to human support agents. With our 24/7 support, you don’t have to wait for office hours to ask “Can you do my paper for me?”. You can get answers to all your questions, paper progress updates, and other help whenever you need it.
  • Free and frictionless revision process. Although our writers do their best to meet your expectations on the first try, we guarantee free revisions and make the revision process easy and painless for everyone involved.
  • Detailed confidentiality terms that protect your personal and financial data. We adhere to local and international data protection regulations and keep the specifics of your order private, so your school can never learn about your paper from us.
  • Affordable rates that ensure the best value for money. We realize how tight money can be for students, so we keep our prices as low as possible while still keeping the writers happy and motivated.

If you want to make the most of these and other benefits, start by typing “Help me write my essay” in live chat, and we’ll see what we can do for you.

We Handle Any Paper Writing Task for High School, College, and Grad School

One of the most common complaints when it comes to paper writing is a poor writing style, unsuitable for a specific academic level. Fortunately, that never happens to our customers, as we carefully match your requirements with our writers’ expertise levels while keeping the rates affordable.

For example, when you come to us asking for a college essay, we’ll round up our experts with Bachelor’s degrees and above. Similarly, if you want us to handle MBA coursework, we’ll match you with a writer who already has their Master’s degree. And even doctorate papers, like thesis proposals or research papers, are not beyond our expertise, as our talent pool includes a fair share of PhDs.

So if you think our order form is too complex and your order doesn’t need to go beyond “Write essay for me,” we ask for your patience. After all, the more details you provide, starting with your academic level, the better we’ll be able to help you.

“Type an Essay for Me” Is Not the Only Service We Offer

You’ve probably found our site when you were looking to pay someone to write your essay. And we will happily take over argumentative, persuasive, narrative, and creative pieces for you. However, the do-my-paper service is not your only option. We have plenty of offers for students who are unwilling to let others take over their work completely. Here are a few viable suggestions that can make your college writing much easier:

  • Editing works wonders for students unwilling to admit, “I need someone to write papers for me,” and looking to improve their writing style. Choose this service if you want actionable suggestions that will instantly improve your chances of getting a higher grade.
  • Proofreading goes beyond the standard spellcheck and weeds out the smallest grammar, spelling, and style errors. Your professors will appreciate a flawless piece of writing without a single typo. 
  • Formatting doesn’t have to be dull and time-consuming, especially when your reference list exceeds a few dozen sources. If you let our experts take over, you’ll save yourself hours and submit a picture-perfect paper.
  • Paraphrasing is the best choice for fast results when you already have a flawless piece but need it to pass a plagiarism check the second time. Just say, “Help me write my paper based on this sample,” and our writers will deliver a perfect replica, capable of fooling Turnitin.

We Employ Expert Academics to Make Your “Write My Paper” Order Perfect

Whether you’re an English or a STEM major, you’re probably wondering, “Who can write essay for me?” or “Why should I pay someone to write my paper for me when I know nothing about them?” And you’re absolutely right about asking these questions. After all, thousands of freelancers offer to write essay online, but you can’t know who to trust with your grades and record. To make your life easier, we take over the screening tasks to ensure only the best are hired and have the privilege to write an essay for you.

To get on our team, each writer must:

  • Provide us with a copy of a college or postgraduate diploma.
  • Share multiple samples of academic writing across different subjects, topics, and paper types.
  • Write a paper on a topic of our choosing within 24 hours to demonstrate research and writing skills.
  • Pass a timed English proficiency test with and score 80+ points.

And once hired, writers must keep their customer feedback rating high. Those who get negative comments don’t stay on our team for long.

Although our hiring approach may seem harsh, it’s proven its efficiency for writers and students. And we urge you to give our experts a chance to prove they’re as good at writing papers as we claim they are.

We Deliver Every “Write My Paper” Order on Time

Timing is critical in the college papers market. An hour’s delay can make your submission late and cause you to fail the class. And a drawn-out revision may fry your last nerve and end in a breakdown.

To guarantee your every “write papers for me” order arrives in your inbox on time, we use an efficient communication and time-management approach and train our writers, editors, and proofreaders in beating procrastination and writer’s block. 

Still, we urge you to be realistic in your expectations. Research alone would usually take several hours, and writing and finishing touches need time, too. So please give our experts enough time to work on your paper and give yourself enough leeway for a quick review and revision.

Our “Write Essay for Me” Service Is Online and Ready to Help 24/7 

With so many responsibilities, it’s not uncommon for students to forget about essays. So if you wake up in cold sweat scrambling for answers to “Can someone do my essay for me asap?” you won’t be left to deal with the problem alone.

Our write my paper service never sleeps. The support agents operate round-the-clock through weekends and holiday seasons to ensure you can reach a human manager in your darkest hour and get the answers and support you need.

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Simply reach out, and explain your “write my paper” problem, and our managers will help you find a suitable solution. They can also get you in touch with your expert, provide progress updates, and explain our policy clauses and conditions.

We Guarantee Our “Write My Essay” Help Is Private and Confidential

“Can someone do my essay for me without risking my reputation?”

“I’m afraid my school will kick me out if they learn about my order.”

If you’re familiar with either of these lines of thinking, you’re just like any other college student. However, you have nothing to worry about when you pay someone to write your essay for you with our service. We carefully guard the details of your order and do not disclose your personal information to anyone without a court order.

So the only way your professors and school administration can learn about our help is if you tell them, “I pay to write my essay”. Without your confession, they’ll have no hard evidence. Their accusations and threats will be empty, and you’ll get away with buying papers easily, like thousands of our clients before you.

We Keep Working on Your “Write a Paper for Me” Requests Until You’re Happy

Reputation is everything for paper writing services. Although no company is safe from accusations, negative reviews, and underhanded rivalry with fellow “write my paper for me” platforms, we strive to keep every customer happy and willing to return.

That’s what our satisfaction guarantee is about. Whenever you come asking, “Write my essay online, we take your requirements seriously and ensure the experts fulfill your every instruction. And if you still think our writing could be better, you can order a free revision with your initial “write essay for me” parameters. Your writer will rework your piece according to your comments and return the second draft for your approval within 24 hours. With luck, you’ll like it better, and if not, you can repeat the whole process again and again until you’re 100% satisfied with your paper.

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If you’re ready to place your first “write my paper” order, welcome to the order form. It’s streamlined to guide you through sharing all the information your expert will need beyond your request of “write my paper for me”. And if at any point you feel lost, confused, or too tired to deal with our simple “do my essay” order form, reach out to our support team. Call or type something like “I want you to write a paper for me,” and they’ll respond within seconds to help you complete the order, finalize the payment, and get the first progress update when we assign the best expert to your case.

How can I pay someone to write a paper for me? What are your payment methods??

We accept credit and debit card payments by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, JCB, and American Express. You can use a reliable and secure payment system that keeps your personal and financial information safe to get us to write an essay for you. So you don’t have to worry and ruminate, “Is it safe to pay someone for writing my papers online?” After all, it’s as safe as getting your next coffee batch on Amazon or paying for your Netflix subscription.

How fast can you write my essay for me?

“Write my essay ASAP!” and “Write my essay, and I need it yesterday!” are two of the most common requests we get from college students. And although we can’t trick time and only have 24 hours in our days, we can deliver short pieces in 6 hours and longer assignments—within a day. As long as you don’t come asking “Write my research paper in six hours,” and are realistic about your expectations, our experts should be able to handle the tightest deadlines. But please account for a preview and revisions not to miss your submission deadline.

Can I talk to the person who’ll do my essay for me?

Of course, you can. We realize you’re probably thinking, “When I pay someone to write my paper, I want to have a direct line to this person.” So all you need to do is log into your account and find the chat tab to ask your questions or provide comments. But please remember that writers may not be available 24/7, as they have research and writing to take care of. If you’re thinking “I want round-the-clock access with the person I hired to write an essay for me,” you’re unlikely to find a writing service that will satisfy your needs.

Can you write my essay for me cheap?

Sure, our rates start as low as $6.99. Despite inflation and global crises, we keep our prices student-friendly. So anyone who comes asking, “write my paper for cheap” or “write my term paper without breaking the bank” will feel welcome and safe in the knowledge they’ll get the best value for money. At the same time, we urge you to beware of online frauds promising free results, as every “Write my research paper for me for free” may end in a scam.

Is it legal to use your service and pay someone to write my paper?

Yes, it is legal. Whether you’re carefully considering “Can someone do my paper for me?” in the privacy of your own mind or clamoring for assistance with the bold demands of “Write my paper for me now!”, you’re in the clear until you submit the paper you purchase for grading under your name. Even that isn’t illegal in most countries, though it is frowned upon in most schools. It’s up to you to decide what to do with the paper you get after we fulfill your order.

Can I pay someone to do my essay after it’s done?

Sadly, no. In an ideal world of perfectly honest people, you’d say, “I need help write my research paper”, and we’d have it ready for you for free and rely on your generosity. In the real world, our writers, editors, and support managers are real people who like to have a roof over their heads and meals on their tables. Our refund policy keeps you safe, but only your upfront payment protects our writers from scams. So whenever you ask, “Can you write my essay cheap?”, we say, “Sure”, but we ask you to cover the cost first.

Who will write my paper for me? How do I know they’re qualified to handle it?

Every writer on our team holds a degree in one or more majors, possesses years of academic writing experience, and has a solid reputation among our clients. You can be sure that whenever you run asking, “Write essay for me”, we’ll match you with an expert best suited to handling your academic level, class, and topic. Be safe in the knowledge that we only hire seasoned academics to write papers for you.

How do I choose the best writer to write my paper for me?

You can select a specific expert to deal with your “write my essay” issue or pick a top or pro-level writer. Although either of these options will add to the bottom line, you won’t have to wonder, “Who will write my essay?”. We recommend selecting one of our premium experts for critical assignments that need a special touch to score top grades and improve your class ranking or GPA. Contact our support team to ask, “Can someone write my paper for me with top results?” to learn more about writer options.

How do I know if you’ll make my essay original?

Your every “write my essay” order goes through a plagiarism checker to guarantee originality. After all, our writers know “write my paper” means crafting an original piece from scratch, not rewriting a stale sample found online. But if you want further proof, you’re welcome to order an official plagiarism report with a similarity percentage. All it takes is checking the box in the order form or asking a support agent to add it to the bottom line when you come asking, “I need you to write an essay for me.”

How can I lower the price when ordering an assignment?

Although we keep our online paper help rates as low as possible, you can play around with the order parameters to lower the price. For example, instead of crying, “I need you to write my essay in 12 hours”, set the deadline for two weeks, and your bottom line will be much more affordable. You can also wait for a seasonal promotion with discounts of up to 15% if you’re thinking, “I’m in no hurry to pay someone to write my essay.”

What do I do if you write my paper for me, and I don’t like it?

You can get a revision or a refund, depending on how much your “write my essay for me” order went off track. We know when you pay someone to write your paper you expect the best results, and we strive to follow every instruction to a T when we write a paper for you, but miscommunication can occur. In this case, don’t be shy about requesting a free revision or a new writer to rework your assignment. And if you feel the paper is unsalvageable, you may be liable for a partial or full refund.

How do I know you’ve finished writing my paper?

We’ll notify you via email the moment the writer uploads the first draft for your revision. You can then preview it and approve the piece to download an editable file or get it sent for a revision round with your comments about necessary corrections. Besides, you can always request a progress update from your writer or a support manager. Just ask them, “Any progress since I hired you to write my essay for me?”. As you see, you don’t need to fret, thinking, “How will I know when you write my essay, and it’s ready?”

What are you waiting for?

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    American literature | Timeline, History, & Facts | Britannica Home Literature Literatures of the World Arts & Culture American literature Cite External Websites Written by James R. Giles Professor of English, Northern Illinois University, De Kalb. Author of Confronting the Horror: The Novels of Nelson Algren and others. James R. Giles,

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    The first widely read novel by an African-American author appeared in 1853—Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin—which depicted slavery with vivid realism and gained immense popularity both within and outside America due to its powerful themes related to freedom and justice.

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    728 Words 3 Pages Decent Essays Preview The American Of American Literature American literature is the literature written or produced in the area of the United States and its receding colonies. American literature as a whole is the written literary work, and the new England colonies were the center of early American literature.

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    American Literature is literature written or produced in the United States of America and its preceding colonies (written products which have been produced in the United States). American Literature inspects the cultures and literature of the Americans from the colonial period through the early national period of the United States.

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    The novels of Sinclair Lewis—Main Street (1920) and Babbit (1922)—and Sherwood Anderson—Winesburg, Ohio (1919) and Poor White (1920)—while popular and critically acclaimed in their day (indeed, Lewis was the first American recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature), have in recent years fallen into disfavor as readers have found their critique ...

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