Women Literature

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Women writers in the early 1900s used innovative means of expressing their particular plight in a society still arguing for, among other things, the right for women to vote.

Gertrude Stein (The Gentle Lena) and Susan Glaspell (Trifles) touch on the plight of women in a society dominated by men. At the same time, Modernism as a movement gained popularity in a society in which the inner truths veiled behind social structures were coming into question.

Compare and contrast each work. How do the works relate to Modernism? What truths about society are conveyed in these texts? How might the themes explored in the works have had a significant impact on the ideas of the time? In your opinion, would these works be considered triumphs of progress for women or not? Support your thoughts and ideas with appropriate resources.

The Harlem Renaissance occurred during roughly the same time period (1900-1940). This artistic eruption depicted African American experiences and celebrated their unique cultural heritage through visual, literary, and musical arts, including Jazz. The primary socioeconomic factor in the development of the Harlem Renaissance was the “Great Migration.” Within the scope of this relocation, millions of African Americans moved northward, fleeing the enforcement of post-Reconstruction segregation in southern states through the terrorism of lynching and pervasive, debilitating effects of systematic exclusion from economic opportunity and social equality (McMichael & Leonard, 2011, p. 1563). Thus, the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar (“Sympathy” and “We Wear the Mask”); and Langston Hughes (“The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “The South,” and “Theme from English B”); arose during a period of social and political revolution in America. How do each of these poets use the literary conventions of rhythm, alliteration, assonance, and/or imagery to convey the unique experience of African Americans in the turmoil of the time period? Give at least two examples from the poetry to illustrate your answer. Your initial post should be at least 300 words in length.


Cain, W., McDermott, A., Newman, L., & Wyss, H. (Eds.). (2014). American Literature: Volume2 (2nd ed.). Boston, Mass: Pearson.

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