What is American literature? What are its distinctive voices and styles? How do social and political issues influence the American canon? Video Comprehension Questions: What is social realism? How did this literary movement depart from earlier nineteenth-century literary conventions? Context Questions: What kinds of social reform might Yezierska have been interested in promoting? How are her concerns different from Wharton's? Exploratory Questions: How do you think the immigrant experience has changed since Yezierska wrote about it?
What is an American? How does American literature create conceptions of the American experience and identity? Video Comprehension Questions: What groups of immigrants came to America at the end of the nineteenth century? Why did they leave their homes? How did they change the face of America? Context Questions: How do the characters Hannah Hayyeh and Lily Bart rebel against social and class conventions? How does their status as women affect their situations? How do their different social classes affect their situations? Exploratory Questions: How has women's status in America changed since Wharton and Yezierska wrote about it?
How are American myths created, challenged, and re-imagined through these works of literature? Video Comprehension Questions: What expectations and hopes did many immigrants have when they came to America? How was the reality of their experience different from what they imagined? Context Questions: How does Yezierska's work broaden and expand the possibilities of the American Dream? Exploratory Questions: Do you think American writers still view literature as an important instrument of social change? As an effective tool for reform?
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