Choose one of the following essay topics and write a 700-word essay.
1. William Dean Howells: The aspect of the “world” emphasized in this story involves the relationship between the idea of “the self” and the idea of “the nation”. Let us propose that Howells wants us to recognize the character of this relationship, and that he wants us to regard this relationship from a critical perspective. In your essay, you should:
describe the ideas of “self” and “nation” as they are embodied in Editha and the popular press, respectively;
explain precisely how these ideas relate to one another; and
formulate a critical insight you think Howells intends to communicate.
2. Stephen Crane: The aspect of the “world” emphasized in this story is the idea of “American Civilization”. Let us propose that Crane is interested, first, in the contrast between the Swede’s view of American civilization, on the one hand, and the native-born Americans’ view (e.g., Scully’s), on the other. Let us also propose that Crane, like Howells, is interested in the relationship between the two views of “civilization,” and that he wants to express a critical perspective on that relationship. In your essay, you should:
describe the two views of “American Civilization,” including the assumptions informing each of those views;
explain why each view of “civilization” is unable to recognize the other and how this mutual non-recognition defines the relationship they share; and
formulate a critical insight you think Crane intends to communicate.
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