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The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Fifth Edition
Paul Lauter, General Editor
Sample Assignments

Marianne Moore's "England" and National Character
Charles Molesworth, February 15, 2003

Description of assignment:
Mention Moore's characteristically elliptical approach in her poetry; ask if the poem is about what its title says; ask if the poem isn't in some important way a "definition" of Americanness; look at line eleven and comment on the effect of this; look too at line nineteen and ask if this qualifies as a definition of national character. Does the poem comment on national character as an idea or category?

Description of the course in which the assignment was used:
Public university, upper level course on modern poetry, about 25 students

Course coverage:
Modern Period

What pedagogical goals do you think this assignment achieves:
Allows students to reflect on the questions involved in approaching literature as the expression of a national character.

Assignment type:
Discussion Questions; In-Class Reports; Research Projects; Short Papers

Character; General American Literature; Modernism; National/Post-NationalRhetoric

Related authors and groups:
William Carlos Williams