English 11 Final Exam Review

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A Clean Well Lighted Place Author:
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Ernest Hemingway
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Young Goodman Brown Author:
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Nathaniel Hawthorne
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Through the Tunnel Author:
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Doris Lessing
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Not Waving But Drowning Author:
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Stevie Smith
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Death of a Salesman Author:
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Arthur Miller
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If We Must Die Author:
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Claude McKay
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The Joy Luck Club Author:
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Amy Tan
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The Lottery Author:
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Shirley Jackson
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No Name Woman Author:
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Maxine Hong Kingston
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The Yellow Wallpaper Author:
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Barn Burning Author:
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William Faulkner
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A Rose for Emily Author:
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William Faulkner
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The Things They Carried Author:
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Tim O'Brien
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The Chimney Sweeper Author:
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William Blake
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The Tyger Author:
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William Blake
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The Garden of Love Author:
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William Blake
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On First Looking into Chapman's Homer Author:
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John Keats
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My Last Duchess Author:
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Robert Browning
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I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain Author:
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Emily Dickinson
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When I Was One-and-Twenty Author:
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A.E. Housman
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The Road Not Taken Author:
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Robert Frost
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Incident Author:
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Countee Cullen
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My Wicked, Wicked Ways Author:
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Sandra Cisneros
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From a Correct Address in a Suburb of a Major City Author:
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Helen Sorrells
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The Colonel Author:
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Carolyn Forche
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Dover Beach Author:
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Matthew Arnold
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My Papa's Waltz Author:
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Theodore Roethke
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Those Winter Sundays Author:
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Robert Hayden
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Say You Love Me Author:
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Molly Peacock
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Oranges Author:
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Gary Soto
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Death, Be Not Proud Author:
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John Donne
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I heard a Fly buzz - when I died Author:
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Emily Dickinson
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To an Athlete Dying Young Author:
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A.E. Housman
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Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night Author:
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Dylan Thomas
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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Author:
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Robert Frost
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The Unknown Citizen Author:
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W.H. Auden
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Night Author:
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Elie Wiesel
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Daddy Author:
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Sylvia Plath
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A Clean Well Lighted Place Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Old man, young waiter, experienced waiter Summary: An old man is sitting in a dark corner of a cafe, and continues to drink late into the night. One young waiter is impatient and wants the man to leave so he can get home to his wife. Another experienced waiter realizes what the old man is going through and is more considerate.
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Young Goodman Brown Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Young Goodman Brown, the ghost of Goodman Brown's father, Faith, Dark Minister Summary: Young Goodman Brown leaves his wife, Faith, to go to the forest where he has a meeting with the devil. Along the way, he feels guilty and contemplates turning back, but never does. He encounters an old man that comes to represent evil and tempts Goodman Brown further into the forest. Goodman Brown suddenly sees Faith's pink ribbon fall from the sky, symbolizing her loss of innocence. Goodman Brown then realizes everyone is a secret sinner, and runs to the ceremony. Goodman Brown and Faith look up to the sky (at heaven and hell) and suddenly Goodman Brown finds himself alone in the forest. He lives the rest of his life as a gloomy and cautious person, seeing everyone as secret sinners.
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Through the Tunnel Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Jerry, Jerry's mother, boys at the beach Summary: Jerry and his mom go to the beach while on vacation. At the beach, Jerry sees a group of other boys who dive off the cliffs into the deep ocean water and seem to disappear. Afterwards, they end up on the other side of a rock wall, and Jerry is puzzled as to how it is possible. Jerry then spends the rest of his vacation looking for the secret tunnel in the rock and training so he can make it through the tunnel. On the last day of his vacation, Jerry decides to try to make it through the tunnel. He ends up making it through, although he sees visions of death and desperation while in the tunnel.
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Not Waving But Drowning Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Drowning man Summary: A dead man is farther out in the deep water than anyone ever thought. The man lay moaning, but ended up dying, either due to heart problems or the cold water. Many mourn his death, since it is explained he was a good man. At first glance, it may have looked like the man was waving from the water. In reality, he was drowning.
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Death of a Salesman Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Willy, Linda, Happy, and Biff Loman, Ben, Howard, Oliver, Charley Summary: A play about the Loman family. Willy arrives home exhausted, having traveled for work. Willy talks about his drive, and how he has had close encounters with accidents on the road. Because of this, Linda encourages Willy to ask his boss, Howard, to work closer to home to avoid travelling so far to sell. He and Linda then begin discussing their children, Happy and Biff. Happy and Biff, now living at home, discuss their dreams of borrowing money from Oliver, a previous coworker, and starting their own business. Meanwhile, Willy is downstairs experiencing flashbacks of his son's high school days. Willy also thinks about a woman, who he has cheated on Linda with. The neighbor, Charley, is also introduced when he hears a noise, visits the house, and offers Willy a job. Willy is eventually fired from his selling job. Later on, Willy gets caught up in the idea of planting seeds. Again talking to Ben while planting them, he suggests the idea of killing himself so Biff could get his $20,000 life insurance benefit. Willy and Biff go on to get in a large fight, with Biff demanding Willy to accept that he will never be able to live up to his expectations and accomplish the impossible. Willy unexpectedly speeds off in the car. The sound of the car puts an end to the story, as Linda, Happy, and Biff realize Willy has killed himself. Overall, Willy is portrayed as a tragic hero whose inability to accept reality and release guilt eventually lead to his own destruction.
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If We Must Die Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, speaker's allies Summary: Poem stating that if one were to die, they should die nobly having put up a fight. The speaker and his allies are under attack in the first few lines of the poem. The following lines explain his desire to keep fighting, although victory is nearly impossible. The purpose of the poem is to empower and encourage any individual that may be oppressed.
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The Joy Luck Club Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Suyuan and Jing-Mei Woo, An-Mei and Rose Hsu, Lindo and Waverly Jong, Ying Ying and Lena St. Clair, lost half sisters Summary: A novel about four mother-daughter pairs stemming from the mahjong club. The story exemplifies the barriers and conflicts between generations due to cultural divide and hidden pasts.
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The Lottery Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Mr. Summers, Mr. Hutchinson, Mrs. Hutchinson, townspeople, playing children, Clyde Dunbar, Old Man Warner Summary: The story begins on June 27th, with the members of a small town meeting to participate in the lottery. The children in the square begin putting stones in their pockets, and also create a pile of stones in the square. Then, Mr. Summers, the director of the lottery, arrives along with a black wooden box. The box is old, battered, faded, stained, and no longer black, but is never replaced due to tradition. Excitement for the lottery pick grows as Mrs. Hutchinson arrives, joining her family late. Everyone in the town is at the event, except for Clyde Dunbar, who will have his wife draw for him. There are talks of quitting the lottery, but Old Man Warner, the oldest man in the town, strongly disagrees with this option. Slowly but surely, all the families in the village are called, with the head of the family, usually the father, going to pick up the family's paper slip from the black box. Rumors fly as the papers are opened and everyone is curious to find out who won. Tessie Hutchinson states the drawing is rigged, and she and her family of five draw again from the box. Although one would think the lottery would reward you with money, instead in this village, you are rewarded with stones being thrown at you.
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No Name Woman Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Maxine, Maxine's mother, Maxine's father, Maxine's aunt Summary: This is a short story in which the narrator continually hears about her aunt, and how she betrayed her family. The story is narrated by Maxine Hong Kingston, and is just one chapter out of a longer book. Kingston tells the secret story her mom told her about a forgotten aunt, the sister of Kingston's dad in China. The author imagines that this already married "No Name Woman" was pressured into having sex with an anonymous villager who immediately led a village attack against her when he found out she got pregnant. Shamed and alienated, the aunt drowns herself and the baby in the family well. Kingston is ashamed for having participated in the family's disownment of her aunt. She does not even know her aunt's name. She resents the double standards that Chinese women are faced with. To this day, the author does not know the name of her aunt, and chances are she may never find out.
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The Yellow Wallpaper Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Narrator, John, Jennie, Mary Summary: This story is told written as diary writings by a woman diagnosed with feminine hysteria. The narrator and her husband, John, move to a new house out in the country. They choose a room that was previously a nursery on the top floor of the house to use as their master bedroom. She wanted a prettier room on the lower floor, but since her husband is a male doctor, he makes all the decisions. The narrator explains her boredom over the three months she is there, but describes the way she comes to obsess over the ugly, yellow wallpaper in the room. She notices it is ripped, unattractive, and seems to have varying patterns. Over time, she begins to see a woman in the wallpaper, trapped behind bars. Although her husband claims she is healing from her illness, she can see right through his lies. Upon hearing that she will soon be leaving this room and this house, the narrator frantically decides to free the woman trapped in the wallpaper. One night, the narrator locks herself into the room, throwing the key outside. She then begins ripping the wallpaper down, in an attempt to free the woman behind the bars. John comes home, opens the door with the key, and faints at the sight of his wife and the state of the bedroom.
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Barn Burning Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Sarty, Abner, Mr. Harris, the Snopes family, Mr. de Spain Summary: A story from around 1895 that starts out in a country store that doubles as a courthouse. It is centered around a young boy, Sarty. Abner Snopes, his father, is being accused of burning down Mr. Harris's barn. Sarty is called up to testify against his father, knowing he will have to lie and say his father didn't burn the barn. The Judge later tells Mr. Snopes to leave the country and never return. While leaving the courthouse, a kid calls Sarty a "Barn Burner", beating him to the ground. The family spends that night camping before arriving at their new home, a beat up shack, the next day. Since they will now be working as tenant farmers, Abner takes Sarty with him to talk to the owner. In the yard, Abner purposely steps in some horse poop and continues to get it all over the expensive rug inside the owner's home. Later that day, the owner, Mr. de Spain, drops the rug off at Abner's shack to be cleaned and returned. Early the next morning, Abner takes Sarty to return the cleaned rug. Mr. de Spain still claims the rug is not in the same condition as before, so he decides to charge Abner twenty extra bushels of corn in order to pay for it. Later that week, Sarty goes to town. While visiting the store, he sees the court is in session, and that Abner is suing de Spain to reduce the fee of bushels. The judge proclaims Abner responsible for damages to the rug, but reduces the fee to ten bushels. That night after dinner, Abner plans to burn down the de Spain barn. Sarty attempts to stop his father, running to the de Spain house to warn them. However, it is too late, and as Sarty begins running away he looks back to see the red glow of the de Spain barn burning. Sparty runs until he is alone on a hill, claiming he is no longer afraid and is not turning back.
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A Rose for Emily Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Emily, Homer, her father, her cousins, Toby (servant), townspeople Summary: The story begins at a funeral for Miss Emily Grierson, in which the whole town attends. Nobody has been to her house in ten years, except her servant. Her house is old, but was once the best house around. The town had a special relationship with Miss Emily ever since it decided to stop forcing her to pay taxes. The new generation of town leadership wasn't happy with this arrangement, so they paid a visit to Miss Emily to get her to pay the debt, although she still refused to pay. Thirty years before, the townspeople heard numerous complaints about a bad odor surrounding Emily's house. The smell got stronger, but instead of confronting Emily about the smell, they sprinkled lime around the house and it eventually disappeared. Then, it is explained that when Emily's father died, everybody felt sorry for her. Not long after her father dies, Emily starts dating Homer Barron, a construction worker in town for a sidewalk project. The town disapproves of the Homer and brings Emily's cousins to the town to break up the relationship. Next, Emily is spotted buying arsenic at the drugstore and leaves the town thinking she will soon kill herself. Then, she buys a bunch of men's items, and now the townspeople think she and Homer are getting married. Emily's hair turns gray and she later dies in a downstairs bedroom. Back at her funeral, Emily is buried, and the townspeople go upstairs to break into the room previously closed off for forty years. In the room they find Homer Barron's rotted corpse in the bed. Next to Homer, the townspeople find a long, gray hair on the indentation of a pillow, indicating she had been laying with his corpse.
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The Things They Carried Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, Martha, Ted Lavender, various soldiers Summary: A short story describing a crew of soldiers in the Vietnam war and the things they often carried, both necessarily and excessively. Different soldiers throughout the story carry what they see as necessities depending on their lifestyle. Some of the things they carried include dignity, poise, knowledge, fear, superstitions, pictures, food, ammunition, tools, etc. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is the main character, who carries letters from a girl named Martha, a student at college. Jimmy knows they were not love letters, but always hoped they were since he loves her but she fails to love him back. Ted Lavender, a fellow soldier, dies in the short story. Jimmy Cross comes to blame himself for the death of his soldier. Before Ted's death, Jimmy receives a lucky pebble from Martha in the mail that he quickly becomes preoccupied by. A day after Ted Lavender dies, Jimmy burns the letters and photos he has of Martha, fearing he cares too much for her opposed to his men. Near the end, Lieutenant Cross realizes the things his men carry inside, mentally and physically. At the end of the story, Jimmy Cross decides to crack down on his men, the things they carry, and the way they act in order to be successful.
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On First Looking into Chapman's Homer Characters & Summary:
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Characters: John Keats Summary: A short poem told from the perspective of John Keats. He talks of reading lots of books and seeing all the various different worlds an author can create. Specifically, he mentions learning about the Greeks and Homer, a famous Greek writer. While reading Homer's book, he reaches a point of discovery. Keats describes himself feeling like an astronomer discovering a new planet or an explorer looking at the America's and Pacific Ocean for the first time ever.
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My Last Duchess Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The Duke, the Duchess, Pandolf, the Count, servant Summary: The Duke of Ferrara is negotiating with a servant for the hand of a count's daughter in marriage. During negotiations, the Duke takes the servant upstairs into his art gallery and shows him some of the pieces of art in the room. The first piece of art is a portrait of his former duchess. The portrait is kept behind a curtain that only he is allowed to see. While the servant looks at the portrait, the Duke describes how the art was painted and what happened to his former wife. His former duchess was happy and at times too easily pleased. The Duke also explains the Duchess could also make him mad at times, hinting he locked her up or even killed her previously while in a state of rage.
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I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, funeral attendees Summary: The speaker imagines a funeral inside her brain, as she feels the mourners pacing back and forth. The mourners sit down, and the funeral service begins. The drum beating of the service makes the speaker believe her mind is going numb. The mourners lift the casket and walk across her soul. They are described as wearing heavy lead boots. At the end of the service, she feels as though a church bell were ringing inside her head. She imagines her mind as the entire universe. She feels wrecked, and silence is her only companion. The wooden floor in her mind suddenly breaks, as she falls a long way down. She keeps hitting what she describes as worlds on the way down. The poem ends abruptly and ominously, as we never find what was at the bottom of her fall.
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The Road Not Taken Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker Summary: The speaker comes to a fork in a path in the woods. It is fall season, and the leaves are changing colors. The speaker is unsure which way to go, wishing he could go both ways. Looking down one path as far as he can see, he decides to take the other path. The speaker thinks the path he chose is the one less traveled by, when in reality they are both about the same. The speaker says that when he returns, if ever, he will choose the path he didn't pick that particular day. In reality, he'll be talking about how his decision was significant and life changing in the future.
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Incident Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, man on the bus Summary: A very short poem that begins with the speaker reminiscing on a happy time riding the bus in Baltimore. The speaker makes eye contact with another person, and smiles at him. But instead of smiling back, he stuck his tongue out and called him a "n*gger" The speaker was only eight years old, but that memory is the only event he can remember during his time in Baltimore.
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My Wicked, Wicked Ways Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, speaker's father, speaker's mother, an unknown woman Summary: A poem describing the narrator's father. He was young, looked like Errol Flynn, and wore a hat, suit, and baggy pants. The narrator next describes her mother, who is not crying, but cannot look into the lens, referring to a camera. It also mentions an additional woman, one her father knows, that is not there. Lastly, the poem describes her mother will become mad, her father will say nothing, and after a while everyone will forget it but her mother. The narrator never mentions what "it" is. It turns out that the narrator's mother is actually pregnant with the narrator currently, unaware of how bad her child will turn out in the future. The child is using the flashback technique to tell the effects and anticipations of her birth.
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From a Correct Address in a Suburb of a Major City Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Charming woman Summary: Poem about a charming woman who has lived on the same house on the same street forever. She is very charming for her age, and longs for change. However, she settles for conformity, too afraid to change. She is set on being what society desires, instead of living to fulfill her own dreams.
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The Colonel Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The Colonel, Colonel's wife, Colonel's daughters, house guests Summary: This story starts in a colonel's house, with his wife, daughter, and son. It is described as a typical house with coffee, sugar, daily papers, pet dogs, and even a television. At first glance the house and family seem normal, until we find that there is a pistol on the couch, broken bottles in the wall, and grates on the windows. The colonel has guests over, and begins talking about politics and how difficult it is to govern. Suddenly upset, he storms out of the house, and returns with a bag full of human ears that he places on the table. These ears represent all the men and women he has hurt over the years, and are described as coming back to life right there on the ground. At this point, we become aware that the colonel is angry at the United States and those who look to expose human rights violations. He feels no remorse for the people and families he has hurt along the way during his time of governing. The ears are dead and do not talk but come along to listen to the colonel. Cutting people's ears off is the colonel's way of lashing back.
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Dover Beach Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Man, woman Summary: The poem opens by describing a quiet ocean scene, while a couple looks out on the moonlit water of the English channel. They also note hearing the sound of the waves, sea spray, and tranquility that exists. Then, the poem turns, as the waves of the sea make the narrator think of ancient Greece. Following this, the speaker turns the sound of the sea into a metaphor of human history, comparing the faith his culture has steadily lost to the Sea of Faith that has emptied.
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My Papa's Waltz Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, speaker's father, speaker's mother Summary: This poem describes a father, who has consumed too much whiskey. Because of this, the father is inclined to waltz around the kitchen. The speaker tells of his difficulty keeping up with his drunk father's dancing. The dance caused the pans to slide from the kitchen shelf, and the boy often scraped his ear on his father's belt buckle. The father is a guy who works with his hands, since he is described as battered and caked by dirt. At the end of the poem, the father waltzes his son to bed.
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Those Winter Sundays Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, speaker's father Summary: A poem describing Sunday mornings in his house. His father, who works a long workweek as it is, gets up early to light fireplaces and polish shoes. The poem seems to be written as a reflection. As a young boy, the speaker did not realize his father's actions were a sign of love. In fact, the speaker described often being tense around his father as a young boy.
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Say You Love Me Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, speaker's father, speaker's sister Summary: The poem begins by describing the speaker's drunk father, who pins her to a chair, demanding the speaker tells him she loves him. The speaker refuses, wondering if the father is angered by her mother's actions. Her sister encourages her to just tell her father she loves him to get him to leave. Instead, the speaker tries to kick him. Finally, she gives in, whispering to her father that she loves him. Then, the speaker and her sister create a distraction, telling their father the phone is ringing. While their father runs for the phone that is not actually ringing, the siblings flee, but find the world outside does not exist and they are completely alone.
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Oranges Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Young boy, young girl Summary: This poem describes the first time the speaker walked with a girl when he was twelve years old. At the time, he had two oranges in his jacket pocket. It was December and it was cold as he walked towards her house. She came out smiling, both happy to see each other. They ended up entering a drugstore, and the speaker bought her candy. The speaker only has a nickel, so when the girl chooses chocolate costing a dime, the boy negotiates and pays the cashier with a nickel and an orange. Through eye contact, the saleswoman understands the situation. After leaving the drugstore, they walk outside hand in hand until he lets her unwrap her chocolate. While she eats the chocolate, he eats his remaining orange, which he describes as so bright against the gray December sky that from a distance, one might think he was making a fire in his hands.
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Death, Be Not Proud Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker Summary: The speaker is talking at death, regarding it as a person. The speaker tells death not to be proud, since death is not as powerful and frightening as most think. Additionally, the speaker calls death a slave, associating it with poison, war, and sickness. Lastly, the speaker identifies that death is only a short sleep before one wakes up for eternity, and after one wakes, death is officially dead.
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I heard a Fly buzz - when I died Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, fly Summary: Poem about the speaker, who is dying. She describes the air in the room as extremely quiet and still. Next, the speaker describes the room she is in, the people surrounding her, and her efforts to sign her possessions away. Then, the a fly interrupts her thoughts, coming between her and the light. Suddenly, the windows fail, the speaker cannot see, and it is portrayed that the speaker has died.
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To An Athlete Dying Young Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, townspeople Summary: A negative poem about an athlete that dies young. The poem starts with the speaker remembering the athlete's success after winning a big race. The whole town celebrated his or her success. Then, the poem moves to the athlete's funeral. The poem wraps up by stating the positive aspects of the athlete's death, which seems a bit odd.
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Do Not Go Gentle Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, speaker's father Summary: The speaker encourages old men to fight and resist death near the ends of their lives. He pleads them to leave this world kicking and screaming, furious at death. At the end of the poem, we find that the speaker's own father is dying, and he is begging his father to not go quietly into the night without battling.
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Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, horse Summary: A poem about the speaker, who is in the woods, trespassing on a man's land who lives in the village. The speaker is riding a horse through the country, between the woods and frozen lake. The horse has harness bells on its back, and shakes them to get the speaker's attention. It is serene, peaceful, and quiet in the woods, with the only sounds being the wind and snowflakes fluttering down. The poem ends with the speaker expressing his love for the woods, but explaining he or she must keep on going. He has promises to keep, places to go, and people to see. He has many miles to go before he can sleep, so he continues moving.
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The Unknown Citizen Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Unknown citizen Summary: A poem describing an average citizen in a government controlled state. In many big cities, there is a monument to the Unknown Soldier that stands for the thousands of unknown soldiers who die for their country. The citizen in which the monument was built for is portrayed as faultless. He was a saint not because he searched for God but because he served the government perfectly. He did not get dismissed from his job. He was a member of the Union and paid all his dues to the union. The social psychology workers found that he was popular among his fellow workers and had a drink with them now and then. He also bought a newspaper every day. He had good health and although he went to the hospital once, he came out cured. The citizen was sensible about buying things on an installment basis. He had everything a modern man needed at home. Additionally, this ideal citizen was found to be sensible in his view. When there was peace, he supported it. But when there was war, he was ready to fight. He didn't hold his personal views on anything. This theme of unknown in this poem relates to the ordinary citizen in a modern, urbanized society that has no individuality or identity. The poem ends on an inquisitive note, asking if the citizen was happy and free. By asking these questions, the poet suggests that the modern man is slave to routine and he is incapable of understanding concepts such as freedom and happiness.
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Night Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Elie, Elie's father, Elie's mother, Elie's sisters, other Jews, Nazi leaders, Moshe the Beadle, Idek, Franek, Madame Schachter, Dr. Mengele, Summary: A story about Elie Wiesel, a young Jewish boy. Despite warnings about German attacks, Elie's family and other Jews in the town of Sighet miss their opportunity and do not flee. In turn, the Jewish population is deported to concentration camps. At Auschwitz, Elie and his father are separated from his mother and sister. Elie struggles to survive against starvation and abuse, and begins to question his faith in God. Throughout the book, Elie and his father are sent from Auschwitz to Buna, followed by Buchenwald. Elie's father dies a few months before liberation. Elie ends up being the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust after Buchenwald is liberated by Russia.
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Daddy Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, speaker's father Summary: Poem in which the speaker creates an image of her father, using many different metaphors to describe her relationship with him. He is a black shoe that she's had to live in, a statue that stretches across the United States, a God, a Nazi, a Swastika, and finally, a vampire. The speaker, faced with her father as a giant and evil Nazi, takes the part of a Jew and a feminine victim. Eventually, the speaker gets her revenge, killing both her father and the model of her father. This poem shows her struggle to declare that, no matter how terrible her father was and how much he remains in her mind, she is now through with him.
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A Clean Well Lighted Place Author:
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Ernest Hemingway
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Young Goodman Brown Author:
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Nathaniel Hawthorne
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Through the Tunnel Author:
answer
Doris Lessing
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Not Waving But Drowning Author:
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Stevie Smith
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Death of a Salesman Author:
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Arthur Miller
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If We Must Die Author:
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Claude McKay
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The Joy Luck Club Author:
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Amy Tan
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The Lottery Author:
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Shirley Jackson
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No Name Woman Author:
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Maxine Hong Kingston
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The Yellow Wallpaper Author:
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Barn Burning Author:
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William Faulkner
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A Rose for Emily Author:
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William Faulkner
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The Things They Carried Author:
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Tim O'Brien
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The Chimney Sweeper Author:
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William Blake
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The Tyger Author:
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William Blake
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The Garden of Love Author:
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William Blake
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On First Looking into Chapman's Homer Author:
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John Keats
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My Last Duchess Author:
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Robert Browning
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I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain Author:
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Emily Dickinson
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When I Was One-and-Twenty Author:
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A.E. Housman
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The Road Not Taken Author:
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Robert Frost
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Incident Author:
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Countee Cullen
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My Wicked, Wicked Ways Author:
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Sandra Cisneros
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From a Correct Address in a Suburb of a Major City Author:
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Helen Sorrells
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The Colonel Author:
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Carolyn Forche
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Dover Beach Author:
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Matthew Arnold
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My Papa's Waltz Author:
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Theodore Roethke
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Those Winter Sundays Author:
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Robert Hayden
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Say You Love Me Author:
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Molly Peacock
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Oranges Author:
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Gary Soto
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Death, Be Not Proud Author:
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John Donne
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I heard a Fly buzz - when I died Author:
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Emily Dickinson
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To an Athlete Dying Young Author:
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A.E. Housman
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Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night Author:
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Dylan Thomas
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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Author:
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Robert Frost
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The Unknown Citizen Author:
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W.H. Auden
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Night Author:
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Elie Wiesel
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Daddy Author:
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Sylvia Plath
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A Clean Well Lighted Place Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Old man, young waiter, experienced waiter Summary: An old man is sitting in a dark corner of a cafe, and continues to drink late into the night. One young waiter is impatient and wants the man to leave so he can get home to his wife. Another experienced waiter realizes what the old man is going through and is more considerate.
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Young Goodman Brown Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Young Goodman Brown, the ghost of Goodman Brown's father, Faith, Dark Minister Summary: Young Goodman Brown leaves his wife, Faith, to go to the forest where he has a meeting with the devil. Along the way, he feels guilty and contemplates turning back, but never does. He encounters an old man that comes to represent evil and tempts Goodman Brown further into the forest. Goodman Brown suddenly sees Faith's pink ribbon fall from the sky, symbolizing her loss of innocence. Goodman Brown then realizes everyone is a secret sinner, and runs to the ceremony. Goodman Brown and Faith look up to the sky (at heaven and hell) and suddenly Goodman Brown finds himself alone in the forest. He lives the rest of his life as a gloomy and cautious person, seeing everyone as secret sinners.
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Through the Tunnel Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Jerry, Jerry's mother, boys at the beach Summary: Jerry and his mom go to the beach while on vacation. At the beach, Jerry sees a group of other boys who dive off the cliffs into the deep ocean water and seem to disappear. Afterwards, they end up on the other side of a rock wall, and Jerry is puzzled as to how it is possible. Jerry then spends the rest of his vacation looking for the secret tunnel in the rock and training so he can make it through the tunnel. On the last day of his vacation, Jerry decides to try to make it through the tunnel. He ends up making it through, although he sees visions of death and desperation while in the tunnel.
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Not Waving But Drowning Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Drowning man Summary: A dead man is farther out in the deep water than anyone ever thought. The man lay moaning, but ended up dying, either due to heart problems or the cold water. Many mourn his death, since it is explained he was a good man. At first glance, it may have looked like the man was waving from the water. In reality, he was drowning.
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Death of a Salesman Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Willy, Linda, Happy, and Biff Loman, Ben, Howard, Oliver, Charley Summary: A play about the Loman family. Willy arrives home exhausted, having traveled for work. Willy talks about his drive, and how he has had close encounters with accidents on the road. Because of this, Linda encourages Willy to ask his boss, Howard, to work closer to home to avoid travelling so far to sell. He and Linda then begin discussing their children, Happy and Biff. Happy and Biff, now living at home, discuss their dreams of borrowing money from Oliver, a previous coworker, and starting their own business. Meanwhile, Willy is downstairs experiencing flashbacks of his son's high school days. Willy also thinks about a woman, who he has cheated on Linda with. The neighbor, Charley, is also introduced when he hears a noise, visits the house, and offers Willy a job. Willy is eventually fired from his selling job. Later on, Willy gets caught up in the idea of planting seeds. Again talking to Ben while planting them, he suggests the idea of killing himself so Biff could get his $20,000 life insurance benefit. Willy and Biff go on to get in a large fight, with Biff demanding Willy to accept that he will never be able to live up to his expectations and accomplish the impossible. Willy unexpectedly speeds off in the car. The sound of the car puts an end to the story, as Linda, Happy, and Biff realize Willy has killed himself. Overall, Willy is portrayed as a tragic hero whose inability to accept reality and release guilt eventually lead to his own destruction.
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If We Must Die Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, speaker's allies Summary: Poem stating that if one were to die, they should die nobly having put up a fight. The speaker and his allies are under attack in the first few lines of the poem. The following lines explain his desire to keep fighting, although victory is nearly impossible. The purpose of the poem is to empower and encourage any individual that may be oppressed.
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The Joy Luck Club Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Suyuan and Jing-Mei Woo, An-Mei and Rose Hsu, Lindo and Waverly Jong, Ying Ying and Lena St. Clair, lost half sisters Summary: A novel about four mother-daughter pairs stemming from the mahjong club. The story exemplifies the barriers and conflicts between generations due to cultural divide and hidden pasts.
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The Lottery Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Mr. Summers, Mr. Hutchinson, Mrs. Hutchinson, townspeople, playing children, Clyde Dunbar, Old Man Warner Summary: The story begins on June 27th, with the members of a small town meeting to participate in the lottery. The children in the square begin putting stones in their pockets, and also create a pile of stones in the square. Then, Mr. Summers, the director of the lottery, arrives along with a black wooden box. The box is old, battered, faded, stained, and no longer black, but is never replaced due to tradition. Excitement for the lottery pick grows as Mrs. Hutchinson arrives, joining her family late. Everyone in the town is at the event, except for Clyde Dunbar, who will have his wife draw for him. There are talks of quitting the lottery, but Old Man Warner, the oldest man in the town, strongly disagrees with this option. Slowly but surely, all the families in the village are called, with the head of the family, usually the father, going to pick up the family's paper slip from the black box. Rumors fly as the papers are opened and everyone is curious to find out who won. Tessie Hutchinson states the drawing is rigged, and she and her family of five draw again from the box. Although one would think the lottery would reward you with money, instead in this village, you are rewarded with stones being thrown at you.
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No Name Woman Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Maxine, Maxine's mother, Maxine's father, Maxine's aunt Summary: This is a short story in which the narrator continually hears about her aunt, and how she betrayed her family. The story is narrated by Maxine Hong Kingston, and is just one chapter out of a longer book. Kingston tells the secret story her mom told her about a forgotten aunt, the sister of Kingston's dad in China. The author imagines that this already married "No Name Woman" was pressured into having sex with an anonymous villager who immediately led a village attack against her when he found out she got pregnant. Shamed and alienated, the aunt drowns herself and the baby in the family well. Kingston is ashamed for having participated in the family's disownment of her aunt. She does not even know her aunt's name. She resents the double standards that Chinese women are faced with. To this day, the author does not know the name of her aunt, and chances are she may never find out.
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The Yellow Wallpaper Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Narrator, John, Jennie, Mary Summary: This story is told written as diary writings by a woman diagnosed with feminine hysteria. The narrator and her husband, John, move to a new house out in the country. They choose a room that was previously a nursery on the top floor of the house to use as their master bedroom. She wanted a prettier room on the lower floor, but since her husband is a male doctor, he makes all the decisions. The narrator explains her boredom over the three months she is there, but describes the way she comes to obsess over the ugly, yellow wallpaper in the room. She notices it is ripped, unattractive, and seems to have varying patterns. Over time, she begins to see a woman in the wallpaper, trapped behind bars. Although her husband claims she is healing from her illness, she can see right through his lies. Upon hearing that she will soon be leaving this room and this house, the narrator frantically decides to free the woman trapped in the wallpaper. One night, the narrator locks herself into the room, throwing the key outside. She then begins ripping the wallpaper down, in an attempt to free the woman behind the bars. John comes home, opens the door with the key, and faints at the sight of his wife and the state of the bedroom.
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Barn Burning Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Sarty, Abner, Mr. Harris, the Snopes family, Mr. de Spain Summary: A story from around 1895 that starts out in a country store that doubles as a courthouse. It is centered around a young boy, Sarty. Abner Snopes, his father, is being accused of burning down Mr. Harris's barn. Sarty is called up to testify against his father, knowing he will have to lie and say his father didn't burn the barn. The Judge later tells Mr. Snopes to leave the country and never return. While leaving the courthouse, a kid calls Sarty a "Barn Burner", beating him to the ground. The family spends that night camping before arriving at their new home, a beat up shack, the next day. Since they will now be working as tenant farmers, Abner takes Sarty with him to talk to the owner. In the yard, Abner purposely steps in some horse poop and continues to get it all over the expensive rug inside the owner's home. Later that day, the owner, Mr. de Spain, drops the rug off at Abner's shack to be cleaned and returned. Early the next morning, Abner takes Sarty to return the cleaned rug. Mr. de Spain still claims the rug is not in the same condition as before, so he decides to charge Abner twenty extra bushels of corn in order to pay for it. Later that week, Sarty goes to town. While visiting the store, he sees the court is in session, and that Abner is suing de Spain to reduce the fee of bushels. The judge proclaims Abner responsible for damages to the rug, but reduces the fee to ten bushels. That night after dinner, Abner plans to burn down the de Spain barn. Sarty attempts to stop his father, running to the de Spain house to warn them. However, it is too late, and as Sarty begins running away he looks back to see the red glow of the de Spain barn burning. Sparty runs until he is alone on a hill, claiming he is no longer afraid and is not turning back.
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A Rose for Emily Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Emily, Homer, her father, her cousins, Toby (servant), townspeople Summary: The story begins at a funeral for Miss Emily Grierson, in which the whole town attends. Nobody has been to her house in ten years, except her servant. Her house is old, but was once the best house around. The town had a special relationship with Miss Emily ever since it decided to stop forcing her to pay taxes. The new generation of town leadership wasn't happy with this arrangement, so they paid a visit to Miss Emily to get her to pay the debt, although she still refused to pay. Thirty years before, the townspeople heard numerous complaints about a bad odor surrounding Emily's house. The smell got stronger, but instead of confronting Emily about the smell, they sprinkled lime around the house and it eventually disappeared. Then, it is explained that when Emily's father died, everybody felt sorry for her. Not long after her father dies, Emily starts dating Homer Barron, a construction worker in town for a sidewalk project. The town disapproves of the Homer and brings Emily's cousins to the town to break up the relationship. Next, Emily is spotted buying arsenic at the drugstore and leaves the town thinking she will soon kill herself. Then, she buys a bunch of men's items, and now the townspeople think she and Homer are getting married. Emily's hair turns gray and she later dies in a downstairs bedroom. Back at her funeral, Emily is buried, and the townspeople go upstairs to break into the room previously closed off for forty years. In the room they find Homer Barron's rotted corpse in the bed. Next to Homer, the townspeople find a long, gray hair on the indentation of a pillow, indicating she had been laying with his corpse.
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The Things They Carried Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, Martha, Ted Lavender, various soldiers Summary: A short story describing a crew of soldiers in the Vietnam war and the things they often carried, both necessarily and excessively. Different soldiers throughout the story carry what they see as necessities depending on their lifestyle. Some of the things they carried include dignity, poise, knowledge, fear, superstitions, pictures, food, ammunition, tools, etc. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is the main character, who carries letters from a girl named Martha, a student at college. Jimmy knows they were not love letters, but always hoped they were since he loves her but she fails to love him back. Ted Lavender, a fellow soldier, dies in the short story. Jimmy Cross comes to blame himself for the death of his soldier. Before Ted's death, Jimmy receives a lucky pebble from Martha in the mail that he quickly becomes preoccupied by. A day after Ted Lavender dies, Jimmy burns the letters and photos he has of Martha, fearing he cares too much for her opposed to his men. Near the end, Lieutenant Cross realizes the things his men carry inside, mentally and physically. At the end of the story, Jimmy Cross decides to crack down on his men, the things they carry, and the way they act in order to be successful.
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On First Looking into Chapman's Homer Characters & Summary:
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Characters: John Keats Summary: A short poem told from the perspective of John Keats. He talks of reading lots of books and seeing all the various different worlds an author can create. Specifically, he mentions learning about the Greeks and Homer, a famous Greek writer. While reading Homer's book, he reaches a point of discovery. Keats describes himself feeling like an astronomer discovering a new planet or an explorer looking at the America's and Pacific Ocean for the first time ever.
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My Last Duchess Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The Duke, the Duchess, Pandolf, the Count, servant Summary: The Duke of Ferrara is negotiating with a servant for the hand of a count's daughter in marriage. During negotiations, the Duke takes the servant upstairs into his art gallery and shows him some of the pieces of art in the room. The first piece of art is a portrait of his former duchess. The portrait is kept behind a curtain that only he is allowed to see. While the servant looks at the portrait, the Duke describes how the art was painted and what happened to his former wife. His former duchess was happy and at times too easily pleased. The Duke also explains the Duchess could also make him mad at times, hinting he locked her up or even killed her previously while in a state of rage.
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I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, funeral attendees Summary: The speaker imagines a funeral inside her brain, as she feels the mourners pacing back and forth. The mourners sit down, and the funeral service begins. The drum beating of the service makes the speaker believe her mind is going numb. The mourners lift the casket and walk across her soul. They are described as wearing heavy lead boots. At the end of the service, she feels as though a church bell were ringing inside her head. She imagines her mind as the entire universe. She feels wrecked, and silence is her only companion. The wooden floor in her mind suddenly breaks, as she falls a long way down. She keeps hitting what she describes as worlds on the way down. The poem ends abruptly and ominously, as we never find what was at the bottom of her fall.
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The Road Not Taken Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker Summary: The speaker comes to a fork in a path in the woods. It is fall season, and the leaves are changing colors. The speaker is unsure which way to go, wishing he could go both ways. Looking down one path as far as he can see, he decides to take the other path. The speaker thinks the path he chose is the one less traveled by, when in reality they are both about the same. The speaker says that when he returns, if ever, he will choose the path he didn't pick that particular day. In reality, he'll be talking about how his decision was significant and life changing in the future.
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Incident Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, man on the bus Summary: A very short poem that begins with the speaker reminiscing on a happy time riding the bus in Baltimore. The speaker makes eye contact with another person, and smiles at him. But instead of smiling back, he stuck his tongue out and called him a "n*gger" The speaker was only eight years old, but that memory is the only event he can remember during his time in Baltimore.
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My Wicked, Wicked Ways Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, speaker's father, speaker's mother, an unknown woman Summary: A poem describing the narrator's father. He was young, looked like Errol Flynn, and wore a hat, suit, and baggy pants. The narrator next describes her mother, who is not crying, but cannot look into the lens, referring to a camera. It also mentions an additional woman, one her father knows, that is not there. Lastly, the poem describes her mother will become mad, her father will say nothing, and after a while everyone will forget it but her mother. The narrator never mentions what "it" is. It turns out that the narrator's mother is actually pregnant with the narrator currently, unaware of how bad her child will turn out in the future. The child is using the flashback technique to tell the effects and anticipations of her birth.
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From a Correct Address in a Suburb of a Major City Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Charming woman Summary: Poem about a charming woman who has lived on the same house on the same street forever. She is very charming for her age, and longs for change. However, she settles for conformity, too afraid to change. She is set on being what society desires, instead of living to fulfill her own dreams.
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The Colonel Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The Colonel, Colonel's wife, Colonel's daughters, house guests Summary: This story starts in a colonel's house, with his wife, daughter, and son. It is described as a typical house with coffee, sugar, daily papers, pet dogs, and even a television. At first glance the house and family seem normal, until we find that there is a pistol on the couch, broken bottles in the wall, and grates on the windows. The colonel has guests over, and begins talking about politics and how difficult it is to govern. Suddenly upset, he storms out of the house, and returns with a bag full of human ears that he places on the table. These ears represent all the men and women he has hurt over the years, and are described as coming back to life right there on the ground. At this point, we become aware that the colonel is angry at the United States and those who look to expose human rights violations. He feels no remorse for the people and families he has hurt along the way during his time of governing. The ears are dead and do not talk but come along to listen to the colonel. Cutting people's ears off is the colonel's way of lashing back.
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Dover Beach Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Man, woman Summary: The poem opens by describing a quiet ocean scene, while a couple looks out on the moonlit water of the English channel. They also note hearing the sound of the waves, sea spray, and tranquility that exists. Then, the poem turns, as the waves of the sea make the narrator think of ancient Greece. Following this, the speaker turns the sound of the sea into a metaphor of human history, comparing the faith his culture has steadily lost to the Sea of Faith that has emptied.
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My Papa's Waltz Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, speaker's father, speaker's mother Summary: This poem describes a father, who has consumed too much whiskey. Because of this, the father is inclined to waltz around the kitchen. The speaker tells of his difficulty keeping up with his drunk father's dancing. The dance caused the pans to slide from the kitchen shelf, and the boy often scraped his ear on his father's belt buckle. The father is a guy who works with his hands, since he is described as battered and caked by dirt. At the end of the poem, the father waltzes his son to bed.
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Those Winter Sundays Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, speaker's father Summary: A poem describing Sunday mornings in his house. His father, who works a long workweek as it is, gets up early to light fireplaces and polish shoes. The poem seems to be written as a reflection. As a young boy, the speaker did not realize his father's actions were a sign of love. In fact, the speaker described often being tense around his father as a young boy.
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Say You Love Me Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, speaker's father, speaker's sister Summary: The poem begins by describing the speaker's drunk father, who pins her to a chair, demanding the speaker tells him she loves him. The speaker refuses, wondering if the father is angered by her mother's actions. Her sister encourages her to just tell her father she loves him to get him to leave. Instead, the speaker tries to kick him. Finally, she gives in, whispering to her father that she loves him. Then, the speaker and her sister create a distraction, telling their father the phone is ringing. While their father runs for the phone that is not actually ringing, the siblings flee, but find the world outside does not exist and they are completely alone.
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Oranges Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Young boy, young girl Summary: This poem describes the first time the speaker walked with a girl when he was twelve years old. At the time, he had two oranges in his jacket pocket. It was December and it was cold as he walked towards her house. She came out smiling, both happy to see each other. They ended up entering a drugstore, and the speaker bought her candy. The speaker only has a nickel, so when the girl chooses chocolate costing a dime, the boy negotiates and pays the cashier with a nickel and an orange. Through eye contact, the saleswoman understands the situation. After leaving the drugstore, they walk outside hand in hand until he lets her unwrap her chocolate. While she eats the chocolate, he eats his remaining orange, which he describes as so bright against the gray December sky that from a distance, one might think he was making a fire in his hands.
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Death, Be Not Proud Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker Summary: The speaker is talking at death, regarding it as a person. The speaker tells death not to be proud, since death is not as powerful and frightening as most think. Additionally, the speaker calls death a slave, associating it with poison, war, and sickness. Lastly, the speaker identifies that death is only a short sleep before one wakes up for eternity, and after one wakes, death is officially dead.
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I heard a Fly buzz - when I died Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, fly Summary: Poem about the speaker, who is dying. She describes the air in the room as extremely quiet and still. Next, the speaker describes the room she is in, the people surrounding her, and her efforts to sign her possessions away. Then, the a fly interrupts her thoughts, coming between her and the light. Suddenly, the windows fail, the speaker cannot see, and it is portrayed that the speaker has died.
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To An Athlete Dying Young Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, townspeople Summary: A negative poem about an athlete that dies young. The poem starts with the speaker remembering the athlete's success after winning a big race. The whole town celebrated his or her success. Then, the poem moves to the athlete's funeral. The poem wraps up by stating the positive aspects of the athlete's death, which seems a bit odd.
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Do Not Go Gentle Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, speaker's father Summary: The speaker encourages old men to fight and resist death near the ends of their lives. He pleads them to leave this world kicking and screaming, furious at death. At the end of the poem, we find that the speaker's own father is dying, and he is begging his father to not go quietly into the night without battling.
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Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening Characters & Summary:
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Characters: The speaker, horse Summary: A poem about the speaker, who is in the woods, trespassing on a man's land who lives in the village. The speaker is riding a horse through the country, between the woods and frozen lake. The horse has harness bells on its back, and shakes them to get the speaker's attention. It is serene, peaceful, and quiet in the woods, with the only sounds being the wind and snowflakes fluttering down. The poem ends with the speaker expressing his love for the woods, but explaining he or she must keep on going. He has promises to keep, places to go, and people to see. He has many miles to go before he can sleep, so he continues moving.
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The Unknown Citizen Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Unknown citizen Summary: A poem describing an average citizen in a government controlled state. In many big cities, there is a monument to the Unknown Soldier that stands for the thousands of unknown soldiers who die for their country. The citizen in which the monument was built for is portrayed as faultless. He was a saint not because he searched for God but because he served the government perfectly. He did not get dismissed from his job. He was a member of the Union and paid all his dues to the union. The social psychology workers found that he was popular among his fellow workers and had a drink with them now and then. He also bought a newspaper every day. He had good health and although he went to the hospital once, he came out cured. The citizen was sensible about buying things on an installment basis. He had everything a modern man needed at home. Additionally, this ideal citizen was found to be sensible in his view. When there was peace, he supported it. But when there was war, he was ready to fight. He didn't hold his personal views on anything. This theme of unknown in this poem relates to the ordinary citizen in a modern, urbanized society that has no individuality or identity. The poem ends on an inquisitive note, asking if the citizen was happy and free. By asking these questions, the poet suggests that the modern man is slave to routine and he is incapable of understanding concepts such as freedom and happiness.
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Night Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Elie, Elie's father, Elie's mother, Elie's sisters, other Jews, Nazi leaders, Moshe the Beadle, Idek, Franek, Madame Schachter, Dr. Mengele, Summary: A story about Elie Wiesel, a young Jewish boy. Despite warnings about German attacks, Elie's family and other Jews in the town of Sighet miss their opportunity and do not flee. In turn, the Jewish population is deported to concentration camps. At Auschwitz, Elie and his father are separated from his mother and sister. Elie struggles to survive against starvation and abuse, and begins to question his faith in God. Throughout the book, Elie and his father are sent from Auschwitz to Buna, followed by Buchenwald. Elie's father dies a few months before liberation. Elie ends up being the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust after Buchenwald is liberated by Russia.
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Daddy Characters & Summary:
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Characters: Speaker, speaker's father Summary: Poem in which the speaker creates an image of her father, using many different metaphors to describe her relationship with him. He is a black shoe that she's had to live in, a statue that stretches across the United States, a God, a Nazi, a Swastika, and finally, a vampire. The speaker, faced with her father as a giant and evil Nazi, takes the part of a Jew and a feminine victim. Eventually, the speaker gets her revenge, killing both her father and the model of her father. This poem shows her struggle to declare that, no matter how terrible her father was and how much he remains in her mind, she is now through with him.