An Outline of American Literature by Peter B. High

By Peter B. High

A survey of the English prose, poetry and drama of the USA from Colonial instances to the1980s.

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Its dominant features of big sky and open fields give a feeling of emptiness. The Midwest is the region of big wind, and Big Windy. And of big waters, predominantly the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, and its tributaries. “I think that the river / Is a strong brown god,” wrote T. S. Eliot in “The Dry Salvages,” “sullen, untamed and intractable, / Patient to some degree, at first recognized as a frontier” (130). There is, however, a significant human component to the Midwest, a population dispersed across the amplitudes in settlements of larger or smaller size, and it is these villages which most define the region.

Stupid,” he finally said. Perry nodded again. ” (288, 289) The midwestern style is plainspeak. John T. Flanagan notes in Midwest writers “a definite lack of artistry, of polish. . The English write better, but the Americans have something to say” (232). The midwestern narrator is rarely flamboyant or self-celebrating. Usually he is reticent, unpolished, apologetic, ambivalent, confused, unpretentious. “You Midwestern Literature 19 don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,’ but that ain’t no matter,” says Huck Finn.

9 Describing Call It Cornbelt Baroque 31 the unit in English Journal she details layers of family dynamics buried inside Etter’s poem, supporting her analysis with material from psychologists Dreikurs and Grey on “‘family constellation’ in which birth order, sex of the child, and the age differences between the children have an enormous effect on personality development” and material from psychologist Haim Ginott on “jealousy, envy, and rivalry” (80). Interestingly, Totherow concludes that the poem speaks well to today’s teenagers, to whom “the complexities of modern family life perhaps give .

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