“My Kinsman, Major Molineux,” ………………………………………………………….152-164
Narrative of a Slave of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass…………………………..165-213
“The Raven,” Edgar Allan Poe 214-216
Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson 217-220
Selected Poems of Walt Whitman 221-224
Selected Poems of Stephen Crane 225-226
“The Open Boat,” Stephen Crane 227-239
Stephen Crane’s Own Account of the Shipwreck 240-243
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” Ambrose Bierce 244-249
“Chickamauga,” Ambrose Bierce 250-252
“The War Prayer,” Mark Twain 253-254
Introduction to Modernism 255-259
Selected Poems of Robert Frost 260-261
“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” Ernest Hemingway 262-264
“Big Two-hearted River,” Ernest Hemingway 265-273
“A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner 274-280
“The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” Katherine Anne Porter 281-285
Introduction to the Harlem Renaissance 286-288
Selected Poems of the Harlem Renaissance 289-294
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Study Questions 295-298
The Great Gatsby Study Questions 294-303
The Sacred Earth and the Power of Storytelling: The Cycle of Life:
Native Americans saw animals, plants, and the forces of nature as part of a great sacred cycle of life that humans must treat with deep respect. Religious ceremonies organized around the event of this natural cycle. Through dreams and visions, Native Americans sought contact with the spirits they believed to inhabit all living things. Through their tales and songs, Native Americans expressed their view of the sacredness of the natural world.
Native American's belief that the natural world is sacred affected their attitude toward land ownership. In their view, no one person could own land, which instead belonged in common to all people—and other living things—that inhabited it.
This concept of common ownership controlled sharply with that of the Europeans, who began selling North America in the early 1600s. These settles had a fierce desire to own their own land. Violent conflicts often resulted when Native American leaders signed treaties—which they usually did not understand—that opened lands to white settlement.
A Legacy of Stories:
The Native American oral tradition began when humans crossed from Asia to Alaska via a land bridge now covered by the Bering Strait. As populations migrated south, unique cultures and languages developed in response to different environments. Even European explorers first arrive in the New World, thousands of languages, some as unlike each other as English and Chinese, were spoken in the Americas. Each of these cultures developed its own stores and mythology.
It is likely that many early stories dramatized the struggle of the first Americans to survive. Stone Age hunters may have related tales of the hunt to groups sitting around campfires. Sacred stories were often at the heart of religious ceremonies, and in societies where myth and reality merged; rituals were thought to link the spirits of hunters and animals. Version of the earliest stories has evolved through hundreds of generations and is still a living part of Native American traditions.
Native American Mythology
Centuries before the first Europeans arrived on the shores of North America; Native Americans had established hundreds of thriving nations, each with a unique culture and heritage. Each nation had its own tradition of oral literature—stories that were passed down from one generation to the next as they were told and retold in the privacy of households and in tribal ceremonies. These stores embodied the tribe's past and told of it close relationship with the natural world. The result is a literature that is timeless, a literature created by no one author but by the people as a whole.
A myth is an anonymous, traditional story that explains a natural phenomenon, an aspect of human behavior, or a mystery of the universe. Creation myths tell how the world and human beings came to exist. Origin myths explain how natural phenomena, such as the stars, moon, and mountains, came to be or why a society has certain beliefs and customs. Elements of both creation myths and origin myths appear in one story, as in this my of the Taos Pueblo people:
“When earth was still young and giants still roamed the land, a great sickness came upon them. All of them died except for one small boy. One day while he was playing, a snake bit him. They boy cried and cried. The blood came out, and finally he dies. With his tears our lakes became. With his blood the red clay became. With his body our mountains became, and that was how earth became.”
The myths told by peoples around the world share common elements known as archetypes. An archetype is a symbol, story pattern, or character type that is found in the literature of many cultures. An example of an archetype is children with opposite qualities who are born of the same parent. In Iroquois myth, Sky Woman gives birth to twins, one good and one evil. This event explains the eternal struggle between light and dark and between order and chaos.
Another archetype found in Native American mythology is the trickster. This character type, frequently an animal—such as a coyote, a raven, or a mink-- that speaks and displays other human traits, has two sides to its personality. Tricksters are rebels who defy authority and frequently cause trouble, but they are also clever and creative figures who can unexpectedly reveal wisdom. For example, in one Native American myth, the coyote brought death into the word when he realized that the earth would become too crowded if people were to live forever. In a Navajo myth, the Holy People were gathered to place the stars in the sky. This process was taking so long that Coyote grew impatient, snatched that bag of stars, and hurled it into the heavens, forming the Milky Way. A Kiowa myth explains how a trickster stole the sun from those living on the other side on the earth so that all people could share day and night equally.
The Function of Myths:
Native American myths told by various tribes have several things in common. Many emphasize a strong spiritual bond between the Creator, humanity, and the entire natural world. They emphasize that it is the duty of human’s beings to maintain a balance within the natural world.
In many Native American cultures, each family group, or clan, believed it descended from a particular animal or to the natural object, called the totem. Members of the bear clan, for example, honored the bear as their clan ancestor. The bear in turn served as the clan's guardian spirit, helping and protecting its members. The bear clan was responsible for preserving the myths of the bear.
Myths and rituals continue to play a central role in traditional Native American cultures. They are used to give people a sense of order and identity, to heal the sick, to ensure a plentiful supply of food, to teach moral lessons, and to initiate young people into adulthood and the wisdom of the tribal past.
The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday
A single knoll rises out of the plain in Oklahoma, north and west of the Wichita Range. For my people, the Kiowa’s, it is an old landmark, and they gave it the name Rainy Mountain. The hardest weather in the world is there. Winter brings blizzards, hot tornadic winds arise in the spring, and in summer the prairie is an anvil's edge. The grass turns brittle and brown, and it cracks beneath your feet. There are green belts along the rivers and creeks, linear groves of hickory and pecan, willow and witch hazel. At a distance in July or August the steaming foliage seems almost to writhe in fire. Great green and yellow grasshoppers are everywhere in the
tall grass, popping up like corn to sting the flesh, and tortoises crawl about on the red earth, going nowhere in the plenty of time. Loneliness is an aspect of the land. All things in the plain are isolate; there is no confusion of objects in the eye, but one hill or one tree or one man. To look upon that landscape in the early morning, with the sun at your back, is to lose the sense of proportion. Your imagination comes to life, and this, you think, is where Creation was begun.
I returned to Rainy Mountain in July. My grandmother had died in the spring, and I wanted to be at her grave. She had lived to be very old and at last infirm. Her only living daughter was with her when she died, and I was told that in death her face was that of a child.
I like to think of her as a child. When she was born, the Kiowa’s were living the last great moment of their history. For more than a hundred years they had controlled the open range from the Smoky Hill River to the Red, from the headwaters of the Canadian to the fork of the Arkansas and Cimarron. In alliance with the Comanche’s, they had ruled the whole of the southern Plains. War was their sacred business, and they were among the finest horsemen the world has ever known. But warfare for the Kiowa’s was preeminently a
matter of disposition rather than of survival, and they never understood the grim, unrelenting advance of the U.S. Cavalry. When at last, divided and ill provisioned, they were driven onto the Staked Plains in the cold rains of autumn, they fell into panic. In Palo Duro Canyon they abandoned their crucial stores to pillage and had nothing then but their lives. In order to save themselves, they surrendered to the soldiers at Fort Sill and were imprisoned in the old stone corral that now stands as a military museum. My grandmother was spared the humiliation of those high gray walls by eight or ten years, but she must have known from birth the affliction of defeat, the dark brooding of old warriors.
Her name was Aho, and she belonged to the last culture to evolve in North America. Her forebears came down from the high country in western Montana nearly three centuries ago. They were a mountain people, a mysterious tribe of hunters whose language has never been positively classified in any major group. In the late seventeenth century they began a long migration to the south and east. It was a journey toward the dawn, and it led to a golden age. Along the way the Kiowa’s were befriended by the Crows, who gave them the culture and religion of the Plains. They acquired horses, and their ancient nomadic spirit was suddenly free of the ground. They acquired Tai-me, the sacred Sun Dance doll, from that moment the object and symbol of their worship, and so shared in the divinity of the sun. Not least, they acquired the sense of destiny, therefore courage and pride. When they entered upon the southern Plains they had been transformed. No longer were they slaves to the simple necessity of survival; they were a lordly and dangerous society of fighters and thieves, hunters and priests of the sun. According to their origin myth, they entered the world through a hollow log. From
one point of view, their migration was the fruit of an old prophecy, for indeed they emerged from a sunless world.
Although my grandmother lived out her long life in the shadow of Rainy Mountain, the immense landscape of the continental interior lay like memory in her blood. She could tell of the Crows, whom she had never seen, and of the Black Hills, where she had never been. I wanted to see in reality what she had seen more perfectly in the mind's eye, and traveled fifteen hundred miles to begin my pilgrimage.
Yellowstone, it seemed to me, was the top of the world, a region of deep lakes and dark timber, canyons and waterfalls. But, beautiful as it is, one might have the sense of confinement there. The skyline in all directions is close at hand, the high wall of the woods and deep cleavages of shade. There is a perfect freedom in the mountains, but it belongs to the eagle and the elk, the badger and the bear. The Kiowa’s reckoned their stature by the distance they could see, and they were bent and blind in the wilderness.
Descending eastward, the highland meadows are a stairway to the plain. In July the inland slope of the Rockies is luxuriant with flax and buckwheat, stonecrop and larkspur. The earth unfolds and the limit of the land recedes. Clusters of trees, and animals grazing far in the distance, cause the vision to reach away and wonder to build upon the mind. The sun follows a longer course in the day, and the sky is immense beyond all comparison. The great billowing clouds that sail upon it are shadows that move upon the grain like water, dividing light. Farther down, in the land of the Crows and Blackfeet, the plain is yellow. Sweet clover takes hold of the hills and bends upon itself to cover and seal the soil. There the Kiowa’s paused on their way; they had come to the place where they must change their lives. The sun is at home on the plains. Precisely there does it have the certain character of a god. When the Kiowa’s came to the land of the Crows, they could see the darkness of the hills at dawn across the Bighorn River, the profusion of light on the grain shelves, the oldest deity ranging after the solstices. Not yet would they veer southward to the caldron of the land that lay below; they must wean their blood from the northern winter and hold the mountains a while longer in their view. They bore Tai-me in procession to the east.
A dark mist lay over the Black Hills, and the land was like iron. At the top of a ridge I caught sight of Devil's Tower up thrust against the gray sky as if in the birth of time the core of the earth had broken through its crust and the motion of the world was begun. There are things in nature that engender an awful quiet in the heart of man; Devil's Tower is one of them. Two centuries ago, because they could not do otherwise, the Kiowa’s made a legend at the base of the rock. My grandmother said:
Eight children were there at play, seven sisters and their brother. Suddenly the boy was struck dumb; he trembled and began to run upon his hands and feet. His fingers became claws, and his body was covered with fur. Directly there was a bear where the boy had been. The sisters were terrified; they ran, and the bear after them. They came to the stump of a great tree, and the tree spoke to them. It bade them climb upon it, and as they did so it began to rise into the air. The bear came to kill them, but they were just beyond its reach. It reared against the tree and scored the bark all around with its claws. The seven sisters were born into the sky, and they became the stars of the Big Dipper. From that moment, and so long as the legend lives, the Kiowa’s have kinsmen in the night sky. Whatever they were in the mountains, they could be no more. However tenuous their well-being, however much they had suffered and would suffer again, they had found a way out of the wilderness.
My grandmother had a reverence for the sun, a holy regard that now is all but gone out of mankind. There was wariness in her, and an ancient awe. She was a Christian in her later years, but she had come a long way about, and she never forgot her birthright. As a child she had been to the Sun Dances; she had taken part in those annual rites, and by them she had learned the restoration of her people in the presence of Tai-me. She was about seven when the last Kiowa Sun Dance was held in 1887 on the Washita River above Rainy Mountain Creek. The buffalo were gone. In order to consummate the ancient sacrifice--to impale the head of a buffalo bull upon the medicine tree--a delegation of old men journeyed into Texas, there to beg and barter for an animal from the Goodnight herd. She was ten when the Kiowa’s came together for the last time as a living Sun Dance culture. They could find no buffalo; they had to hang an old hide from the sacred tree. Before the dance could begin, a company of soldiers rode out from Fort Sill under orders to disperse the tribe. Forbidden without cause the essential act of their faith, having seen the wild herds slaughtered and left to rot upon the ground, the Kiowa’s backed away forever from the medicine tree. That was July 20, 1890, at the great bend of the Washita. My grandmother was there. Without bitterness, and for as long as she lived, she bore a vision of deicide.
Now that I can have her only in memory, I see my grandmother in the several postures that were peculiar to her: standing at the wood stove on a winter morning and turning meat in a great iron skillet; sitting at the south window, bent above her beadwork, and afterwards, when her vision failed, looking down for a long time into the fold of her hands; going out upon a cane, very slowly as she did when the weight of age came upon her; praying. I remember her most often at prayer. She made long, rambling prayers out of suffering and hope, having seen many things. I was never sure that I had the right to hear, so exclusive were they of all mere custom and company. The last time I saw her she prayed standing by the side of her bed at night, naked to the waist, the light of a kerosene lamp moving upon her dark skin. Her long, black hair, always drawn and braided in the day, lay upon her shoulders and against her breasts like a shawl. I do not speak Kiowa, and I never understood her prayers, but there was something inherently sad in the sound, some merest hesitation upon the syllables of sorrow. She began in a high and descending pitch, exhausting her breath to silence; then again and again--and always the same intensity of effort, of something that is, and is not, like urgency in the human voice. Transported so in the dancing light among the shadows of her room, she seemed beyond the reach of time. But that was illusion; I think I knew then that I should not see her again.
Houses are like sentinels in the plain, old keepers of the weather watch. There, in a very little while, wood takes on the appearance of great age. All colors wear soon away in the wind and rain, and then the wood is burned gray and the grain appears and the nails turn red with rust. The windowpanes are black and opaque; you imagine there is nothing within, and indeed there are many ghosts, bones given up to the land. They stand here and there against the sky, and you approach them for a longer time than you expect. They belong in the distance; it is their domain.
Once there was a lot of sound in my grandmother's house, a lot of coming and going, feasting and talk. The summers there were full of excitement and reunion. The Kiowa’s are a summer people; they abide the cold and keep to themselves, but when the season turns and the land becomes warm and vital they cannot hold still; an old love of going returns upon them. The aged visitors who came to my grandmother's house when I was a child were made of lean and leather, and they bore themselves upright. They wore great black hats and bright ample shirts that shook in the wind. They rubbed fat upon their hair and wound their braids with strips of colored cloth. Some of them painted their faces and carried the scars of old and cherished enmities. They were an old council of warlords, come to remind and be reminded of who they were. Their wives and daughters served them well. The women might indulge themselves; gossip was at once the mark and compensation of their servitude. They made loud and elaborate talk among themselves, full of jest and gesture, fright and false alarm. They went abroad in fringed and flowered shawls, bright beadwork and German silver. They were at home in the kitchen, and they prepared meals that were banquets.
There were frequent prayer meetings, and great nocturnal feasts. When I was a child I played with my cousins outside, where the lamplight fell upon the ground and the singing of the old people rose up around us and carried away into the darkness. There were a lot of good things to eat, a lot of laughter and surprise. And afterwards, when the quiet returned, I lay down with my grandmother and could hear the frogs away by the river and feel the motion of the air.
Now there is a funeral silence in the rooms, the endless wake of some final word. The walls have closed in upon my grandmother's house. When I returned to it in mourning, I saw for the first time in my life how small it was. It was late at night, and there was a white moon, nearly full. I sat for a long time on the stone steps by the kitchen door. From there I could see out across the land; I could see the long row of trees by the creek, the low light upon the rolling plains, and the stars of the Big Dipper. Once I looked at the moon and caught sight of a strange thing. A cricket had perched upon the handrail, only a few inches away from me.
My line of vision was such that the creature filled the moon like a fossil. It had gone there, I thought, to live and die, for there, of all places, was its small definition made whole and eternal. A warm wind rose up and purled like the longing within me.
The next morning I awoke at dawn and went out on the dirt road to Rainy Mountain. It was already hot, and the grasshoppers began to fill the air. Still, it was early in the morning, and the birds sang out of the shadows. The long yellow grass on the mountain shone in the bright light, and a scissor tail high above the land. There, where it ought to be, at the end of a long and legendary way, was my grandmother's grave. Here and there on the dark stones were ancestral names. Looking back once, I saw the mountain and came away.
“from The Iroquois Constitution”
I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations’ Confederate Lords I plant the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your territory, Adodarhoh, and the Onondaga Nation, in the territory of you who are Fire keepers. I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. Under the shade of this Tree of the Great Peace we spread the soft white feathery down of the globe thistle as seats for you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords.
We place you upon those seats, spread soft with the feathery down of the globe thistle, there beneath the shade of the spreading branches of the Tree of Peace. There shall you sit and watch the Council Fire of the Confederacy of the Five Nations, and all the affairs of the Five Nations shall be transacted at this place before you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords, by the Confederate Lords of the Five Nations.
Roots have spread out from the Tree of the Great Peace, one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. The name of these roots is The Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength.
If any man or any nation outside the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the Great Peace and make known their disposition to the Lords of the Confederacy, they may trace the Roots to the Tree and if their minds are clean and they are obedient and promise to obey the wishes of the Confederate Council, they shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves.
We place at the top of the Tree of the Long Leaves an Eagle who is able to see afar. If he sees in the distance any evil approaching or any danger threatening he will at once warn the people of the Confederacy.
The Smoke of the Confederate Council Fire shall ever ascend and pierce the sky so that other nations who may be allies may see the Council Fire of the Great Peace.
Whenever the Confederate Lords shall assemble for the purpose of holding a council, the Onondaga Lords shall open it by expressing their gratitude to their cousin Lords and greeting them, and they shall make an address and offer thanks to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools, the springs and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, to the animals that serve as food and give their pelts for clothing, to the great winds and the lesser winds, to the Thunderers, to the Sun, the mighty warrior, to the moon, to the messengers of the Creator who reveal his wishes and to the Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above, who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler of health and life.
Then shall the Onondaga Lords declare the council open. . . .
All Lords of the Five Nations Confederacy must be honest in all things. They must not idle or gossip, but be men possessing those honorable qualities that make true royaneh. It shall be a serious wrong for anyone to lead a Lord into trivial affairs, for the people must ever hold their Lords high in estimation out of respect to their honorable positions.
When a candidate Lord is to be installed he shall furnish four strings of shells (or wampum) one span in length bound together at one end. Such will constitute the evidence of his pledge to the Confederate Lords that he will live according to the constitution of the Great Peace and exercise justice in all affairs.
When the pledge is furnished the Speaker of the Council must hold the shell strings in his hand and address the opposite side of the Council Fire and he shall commence his address saying: “Now behold him. He has now become a Confederate Lord. See how splendid he looks.” An address may then follow. At the end of it he shall send the bunch of shell strings to the arveled side and they shall be received as evidence of the pledge. Then shall the opposite side say:
“We now do crown you with the sacred emblem of the deer’s antlers, the emblem of your Lordship. You shall now become a mentor of the people of the Five Nations. The thickness of your skin shall be seven spans — which is to say that you shall be proof against anger, offensive actions and criticism. Your heart shall be filled with peace and good will and your mind filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the Confederacy. With endless patience you shall carry out your duty and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodgement in your mind and all your words and actions shall be marked with calm deliberation. In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground — the unborn of the future Nation.”
Meet William Bradford
It was 1620, and the passengers aboard the Mayflower were traveling to the Americas. Violent storms tossed the creaking ship and blew it far off course. Among the passengers was thirty-year-old William Bradford.
Born in Yorkshire, England, in 1590, Bradford was orphaned as an infant and brought up by relatives. As a youth, he studied the Bible and became a Separatist. Like the Puritans, Separatists sought reforms in the Church of England. Rather than try to “purify “it, however, the Separatists broke away. In 1609, Bradford expatriated, moving to Leiden in Holland with the congregation and its leader, John Robinson. Fearing they might become assimilated into Dutch culture and lose their identity, the Separatists decided to go to the Americans. John Carver, a successful businessman, attained financial backing and chartered the Mayflower. Nearly 500 miles northeast of their intended destination, the Separatists landed in Province town, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod on November 21, 1620. On December 26, the 102 settlers disembarked nearby at a site they named Plymouth, after the town where they had set said. Before leaving the Mayflower, the men in the group drafted and signed the historic Mayflower compact, the colony's rules of government.
The First Winter:
The group of about 100 settlers, known today as the Pilgrims, elected Bradford leader after John Carver, the first governor, died. The voyage had been harsh. They arrived with little or no food at the onset of winter and had no wilderness survival skills. They constructed crude shelters, hoping to make it through the winter. Nearly half the colonists died of scurvy, pneumonia, fever, or starvation.
The colony survived and in time grew into a thriving community under Bradford's leadership. He was reelected governor for thirty one-year terms between 1622-1656. In his gubernatorial years, he served as chief magistrate, high judge, and treasurer. He also presided over the community's legislature, known as the General Court. Unlike the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was a Bible commonwealth, Plymouth was fairly egalitarian for its day, allowing Presbyterians and maverick non believers to live in the community without forcing them to practice in Congregationalist or Separatist churches. To ensure a peaceable, organized society, Bradford distributed parcels of land equally to all settlers, even non-believers.
In 1630, Bradford started to compile Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. The chronicle is unique in that it separates religious commentary from historical commentary. Certain narratives published by Puritans who had arrived during the Great Migration deemed colonial life as God's plan. Bradford made no such doctrinaire claims. Instead he steered a middle course between a Bible commonwealth and a secular society that made for a prosperous Plymouth.