Responses to essay questions on selfhood in american literature and an analysis of selected passages of the grapes of wrath

Pages 8 (2008 words)
Download 0 defines the word "selfhood" as: 1) the state of having a distinct identity or individuality; 2) the fully-developed self or an achieved personality; and 3) self-centeredness. Smith takes the idea of selfhood further by saying that "the way we as humans come to know ourselves, to experience our bodies and to place ourselves in relation to others changes - over time, and between cultures - can be to challenge something essential." He further asserts that in the idea of selfhood, the person separates himself from the society, and the body becomes the container of his individuality.


It is understandable, as writers often draw upon their own experiences and insights to produce these stories. American literature, as surveyed in this class, is not any different from the rest. The three works to be cited in this essay are Walt Whitman's preface to Leaves of Grass, William Faulker's A Rose for Emily, and three chapters from John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
Though set in a form that is often filled with flowery imagery and other masking literary devices as poetry is, Mr. Whitman's message in this preface is simple and clear. His soul, his inner being - his self - is committing himself to writing the verses that, as lines three to five infer, will give him a measure of immortality. For what perhaps does the self seek most of all but immortality, the assurance that the self will live on long after its confining body is gone
The idea of the self emerges differently in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily. ...
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