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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

3. Gothic Undercurrents

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
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- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
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Activities: Author Activities

Henry Ward Beecher - Author Questions

Back Back to Henry Ward Beecher Activities
  1. Comprehension: According to Beecher, how exactly does the prostitute lure her young men? What exactly are the consequences for men who have a sexual encounter with the prostitute? In what sense are these elements "gothic"?

  2. Context: Consider the gender politics of the sermon. How does Beecher draw on stereotypes and assumptions about women in general in order to make his point about prostitutes in particular? How does he invoke the cult of true womanhood?

  3. Exploration: Why does "The Strange Woman" open with an attack on Chaucer, Shakespeare, and other famous writers? How is this section related to the main argument of the sermon? How would Melville (in "Hawthorne and His Mosses") disagree with Beecher about the aims and effects of literature?

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