At the end of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), Nick Carraway goes over to Gatsby’s dark, empty house then heads down to the beach where he sprawls out on the sand and begins to think about the past, the time before he or Gatsby or Tom and Daisy or anyone else built enormous structures on East Egg and West Egg. He becomes … Read More Exploration and Colonization in John Cheever’s “The Swimmer”
Last week, Donald Trump delivered the commencement address at the Naval Academy. There, he stated that “our ancestors tamed a continent,” and he followed this statement up by adding, “we are not going to apologize for America.” What does this mean? What does it mean to “tame” a continent? What does it mean to be so sure of your achievements that you do not … Read More How Did Our Ancestors “Tame” a Continent?
Last year, I wrote about presenting students with a different view of Jonathan Edwards. Rather than just showing him as a religious figure, it is important to highlight the varied places where religion and science overlap in his writing. This semester, I taught Edwards’ Personal Narrative (1739) again, and while I stressed the intersections between science and religion, I also discussed Edwards use of language … Read More Jonathan Edwards’ Personal Narrative and Language
Every semester, I enjoy teaching Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative in relation to Sarah Kemble Knight’s The Journal of Madam Knight because Rowlandson plays into students’s perceptions of women’s role during the colonial period and early part of the eighteenth century and Knight works to dispel their preconceived notions that women did not have much agency during the period. As well, Knight provides a a counter … Read More Sarah Kemble Knight and Spirituality