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ENGL232 English Literature

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ENGL232 English Literature

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Course Code: ENGL232
University: Canterbury Business College

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Country: Australia

Question:
In what ways does this parallel American opinion writing today? Are “opinion pieces” supposed to be pleasant and acceptable to the majority of readers, or is there a place for incisive, even offensive essays in America today? Essays that challenge traditional readings of recent history, or interpretation of the events dominating our political and cultural attention?

Answer:
Bret Harte was one of the best writers in America during the year of 1870 (Gale). Just years before stating his career as a young journalist, he had denounced a massacre that was made by local Indians. This was actually done by some white vigilantes and due to his opposing views, he was thrown out of town. However nowadays due to more social acceptance and free speech, opinions pieces are pleasant than before (Baym, Nina, and Levine). In modern times, literature pieces are indeed criticized however, the writers are not penalized as seriously as the time of Bret Harte. This is more so towards the political and cultural attention as there are many author who focus writing on controversial subjects. Despite the fact people would not appreciate if authors were to write controversial subjects, however in the 1870s it was a grave sin and Harte faced the circumstances for which he was denounced by the white vigilantes.  
In Bret Hate’s “The Luck of Roaring Camp” the story focuses on an old gold mining camp that besets with strange events (Harte). The novel opens with a woman in the mining camp who gives birth to a child (Wilkins Freeman). The woman, Cherokee Sal dies in child-birth however the child survives and becomes an orphan. The people of the camp raise the child and a local man named Stumpy. However, as the story progress the unexpected occurs when the entire mining camp along with the child dies when they are struck by a massive flood (Wilkins Freeman). These elements are very much similar to that of Mary Wilkins Freeman’s writing through both of the author’s writing style.  They present the more vivid and cruel version of America’s poverty where the hardship of people are shown. Bret Harte exposed the cruel realities whereas Mary Wilkins Freeman builds her writing with a feminist approach and poverty. Overall, both of them target the same audience and represent the same themes. 
In “The Luck of Roaring Camp” there are many factors that indicate the narrative to the Gospel and the birth of Jesus. Throughout the text there are references to God and biblical terms. “…we’re here for a christening, and we’ll have it. I proclaim you Thomas Luck, according to the laws of the United States and the State of California, so help me God”.  Cherokee Sal, unlike Mary dies during the childbirth process. After the birth of the child, Tom Luck the camp starts taking care of him and especially the person named Stumpy. As the story progress everyone on the village gets an idea of building a hotel, that is contrasted to the Gospel when Jesus started to preach the way of finding God. The hotel to the people of the mine is a source of salvation from their life of hardship (Harte and Bret). However due to unexpected turn of events, their dreams are crushed when a massive flood gets the village and in turn killing people. The hotel was actually the idea of Tommy so that the village would be able to attract respectable members in the society.  The flood not only destroys that hotel but also many people that include Tommy. It can be said that elements represented here are partly similar to that of the Gospel. Just like Jesus, Tommy was cursed from birth that he would meet his demise from a source that could not be avoided (Wander). Tommy has been shown to be a potent yet expansive character that dwells random good fortune. There is also the element of representation as Jesus and Tommy were both the representations of their society. 
In the “The Luck of Roaring Camp” the most common message is the element of bad luck, and this is more highlighting due to the fact that the main character’s name is Tom Luck (Harte). This is an ironical message that is introduced at the beginning. The metaphorical character, lays the description of what comes later in the story. This presentation comes with the added information that makes Stumpy worry. Later on this is casted as a foreshadowing. The message that is presented by the community spirit with the rejection of the self-interest of the mercenary or the workers. This is also shown as an altruistic medium that drives the camp together in a path that helped in collateral improvement (En.wikipedia.org). The messages represented in the text also set the tone and mood of violence, tragedy, and unsettling situations. There are also evidence that the Roaring Camp was indeed a real place. Harte was inspired to write the story from the Great Flood that took place in California in the year of 1862. 
The theme of gender in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane represents the will and resilience of a character through the means of naturalism (Crane). This is the factors that make the ending of the story ore tragic (Purdue). The story presents the struggle of Maggie as she tries her hardest to overcome her role in the society as a woman and her conditions of poverty. This also reflects the primary concerns in gender as women are represented to struggle more due to the lack of proper support and physical strength (Purdue). However, that being said Maggie is not a stereotypical representation of woman with feminine characteristics. She excels in willpower despite the fact she remains in an urban jungle where she continuously adapts to the change of situations. These elements have made the story as an example of naturalism and the repetition of the struggle of the female gender. 
The theme of Ecocriticism in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is highlighted with a formal description of the text. Throughout the document, multiple cues give a total understanding of what Crane actually tired to represent when he brought the element of environment. There is no part of the text that shows that the characters are actually represented as victims but they are shown to be used to it. The children are represented to be born in a violent area and they endure the hardship. They are innocent and full of hope, they present in hopeless conditions with textual examples (Purdue). There is the concept that represents circumstances beyond their comprehension. Crane made it very clear that due to the fact they are born in such a harsh environment, they are mentally stronger than normal people (Link.Springer.Com). The character in the narrative paints a picture that aims a naturalist structure. This form of quality is to present facts and the harsh conditions that do affects the progression of the story. Realism is another factor that has its effects in the character. There descriptive narrative gives a vivid presentation for the characters that are not from the upper class and struggles with reality. 
The grief expressed by Maggie at the end of the story is indeed genuine. The time when the drunk Mary accused Maggie of disgracing her family, it is then the viewer actually understands that Pete and Maggie were indeed together. Is becomes more clear when Maggie runs into Pete’s arms while crying (Link.Springer.Com). This further leads to a conflict that Jimmie takes out his anger. towards Pete and they started brawling. Living a life of poverty, Maggie actually wanted nothing but love and happiness that he got from Pete. This actually led to major problems for Jimmie and Mary (Purdue). Even after their issues with they meet another person name Nellie who is a scheming woman and she easily convince Pete on leaving Maggie. The characters are described in such a method that it seems that they are affected with the progression of the story.  This has offered insights into each of the characters that suits the story. 
In Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, is a evident that Maggie is a one dimensional character. Even through the works of Charles Loring Brace, Thomas DeWitt Talmage, and Jacob Riis it can be said that she struggle to go against the forces that are larger than she is. By leading a life that was full of struggle and hardship, she continues to fight her inner demons and make sordid types of changes that serve as a stock of primary and secondary characters (Brace). Therefore the issues that were raised in this regard are the struggles and hardships in the life of Maggie and what are her actions she took to fight against the darker forces residing within her own mind. Crane utilized the same to show how she had to struggle against these forces which may be larger than she is. The inside world of Maggy is thus explored in this way (Zhu and Lemeng). There are no extra surprises when the setting of the story is described. There is the utter rejection of the of concept of religion and despite the characters share different beliefs, it does not stop Maggie from being judged as a person who have committed a severe sin. The characters portrayed by Crane are religious yet they are beyond faith. 
References
Baym, Nina, and Robert S. Levine, eds. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Eighth International Student Edition. WW Norton & Company, 2011.
Charles Loring Brace. Supplimental Reading of Maggie A Girl in the Streets. 1979.
Crane, Stephen. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Xist Publishing, 2015.
En.wikipedia.org. “The Luck Of Roaring Camp”. En.Wikipedia.Org, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Luck_of_Roaring_Camp. Accessed 3 Nov 2018.
Gale, Steven H. Encyclopedia of American humorists. Routledge, 2016.
Harte, Bret. The Luck of Roaring Camp: And Other Stories… Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1888.
Harte, Bret. The Luck of Roaring Camp:(heathen Chinee) Poems and Other Sketches. AS Irving, 1871.
Lab, Purdue. “Ecocriticism // Purdue Writing Lab”. Purdue Writing Lab, 2018, https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/literary_theory_and_schools_of_criticism/ecocriticism.html.
Lab, Purdue. “Gender Studies And Queer Theory // Purdue Writing Lab”. Purdue Writing Lab, 2018,
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. A New England Nun and Other Stories. 2001.
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. The Revolt of Mother. 1987.
Wander, Ryan. “Heterochronic West: Temporal Multiplicity in Bret Harte’s Regional Writing.” Western American Literature 51.2 (2016): 143-173.
Zhu, Jiang, and Lemeng Han. “Analysis on the Personality of Maggie by Jung’s Archetype Theory.” Theory & Practice in Language Studies 3.2 (2013).

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