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Washington Irving: Rip Van Winkle and Ralph Waldo Emerson: The American Scholar

First essay. Washington Irving: Rip Van Winkle

1. Irving’s depiction of Dame Van Winkle is less than positive, but the story appears immediately after “The Wife” in The Sketch Book. Choose one of the following prompts and discuss the story from a woman-centered approach:

 a. Explain how the placement of “The Wife” and “Rip Van Winkle” in the original publication generates an overall narrative view of women. That is, does “The Wife” help to soften our view of Irving’s stereotype of Dame Van Winkle? Is “The Wife” some kind of joke?

second essay: Ralph Waldo Emerson: The American Scholar

1. Emerson uses many metaphors of the body, especially in “The American Scholar.” Make a short list of some of those metaphors, and then explain why they are effective in works that posit transcendence.

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