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Ch 2: Analysis of American Literature

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on analyzing American literature and learn about methods for analyzing poetry, short stores, drama and more. These lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

Analysis of American Literature - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

This chapter introduces you to the techniques needed to analyze a variety of American literary works, including poems, fiction, short stories and drama. You'll examine different poetry forms and the function of the narrator in American novels. Instructors will teach you about interior monologues in drama and rhetorical devices used in works of non-fiction. After you've watched all the lessons in this chapter, you'll have knowledge of:

  • Metaphor, simile and personification techniques
  • Poetic terms
  • Functions of plot in American fiction
  • Tone and mood in short stories
  • Dramatic techniques
  • Pathos and ethos

Video Objectives
Analyzing American Poetry: Terms and Examples Examine common techniques for analyzing poems, including metaphor, simile, personification and symbolism. Analyze works from Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and Whitman.
Identifying Forms in American Poetry Use meter, rhyme and other terms to define poetic forms. Explore poems from William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot and e e cummings.
Role of the Narrator in American Novels: Types and Examples Describe the narrator's function in American literature and discuss point of view. Learn about unreliable narrators and look at works by Faulkner, Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
Plot Techniques in American Fiction: Definition and Examples Learn about functions such as backstory, foreshadowing and red herrings. Identify plot techniques in works from Edith Wharton, Sherwood Anderson and Steinbeck.
Analyzing the American Short Story: Techniques and Examples Use popular American short stories to identify techniques like tone, mood and setting. Study works from Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Twain.
Analyzing American Drama: Techniques and Plays Analyze dramatic techniques used in American plays, including interior monologue, flashbacks, symbols and motifs. Examine works from Miller, O'Neill and Williams.
Common Rhetorical Devices: Definition and Examples Explore such rhetorical devices as logos, pathos and ethos; irony; metaphor; and simile. Describe how these are used in well-known works of non-fiction from English and American writers.

8 Lessons in Chapter 2: Analysis of American Literature
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Analyzing American Poetry: Terms and Examples

1. Analyzing American Poetry: Terms and Examples

It can sometimes be tough to figure out what a poem means. This lesson provides some tools to help you analyze poetry and develop your interpretations.

Identifying Forms in American Poetry

2. Identifying Forms in American Poetry

There is more to poetry than symbolism and imagery. This lesson will help you figure out meter and rhyme schemes in poetry, with some classic American poems as examples.

Role of the Narrator in American Novels: Types and Examples

3. Role of the Narrator in American Novels: Types and Examples

Thinking about who is telling the story in a novel, and what he or she might be leaving out, is crucial to understanding that novel. Learn about the various types of points of view in American novels, as well as a few specific, noteworthy narrators, in this lesson.

Plot Techniques in American Fiction: Definition and Examples

4. Plot Techniques in American Fiction: Definition and Examples

A novel's plot involves more than just what happens in the story. Authors employ a number of techniques, including foreshadowing, red herrings, backstory, and B-plots to enrich their stories.

Analyzing the American Short Story: Techniques and Examples

5. Analyzing the American Short Story: Techniques and Examples

Identifying the tone, setting, and mood in a short story can help you analyze that story. In this lesson, we'll think about those literary features in the context of a few well-known American short stories.

Analyzing American Drama: Techniques and Plays

6. Analyzing American Drama: Techniques and Plays

Plays are often developed with the use of a number of literary techniques. This lesson explores the use of symbolism, motifs, flashbacks, and monologues in American drama.

Rhetorical Device: Definition & Examples

7. Rhetorical Device: Definition & Examples

Rhetorical devices are used in language to communicate effectively and persuade. Here you'll discover more about rhetorical devices and learn how to put some of them to use in some persuasion of your own.

The Petting Zoo by Jim Carroll: Summary, Characters, & Analysis

8. The Petting Zoo by Jim Carroll: Summary, Characters, & Analysis

In this lesson, we will summarize, analyze, and discuss the characters in 'The Petting Zoo' by Jim Carroll. This is a novel about an artist who succumbs to mental illness.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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