american literature before the civil war

{INSTRUCTIONS – read and reply to 2 forums below. each replies should be substantive, insightful, and further discuss or explore the discussion. EACH response should be around 150 words, 300 words total. Try to include probing questions as well.
The original forum instructions were, for part 1 “ What is it Washington Irving is trying to convey to the reader through his story? Do any of the surrounding characters have roles or represent themes related to the Revolution? If so, what might those be?”
and part 2 “ What can we say about individual freedoms versus the ideal of equal opportunities protected by the institutions of a justly ordered society? Express these juxtapositions using lines from the reading as support. And then please add your opinion of ownership and conservation, law, and freedoms”
just respond to these 2 forums below}

**FORUM 1**
Part 1. – In “RIP Van Winkle” by Washington Irving there are characters that had roles and represent themes related to the revolution. One of the characters that had not only roles but a theme related to revolution was Rip Van Winkle. One of the reasons he stood out to me was “The great error in Rip’s composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor” (Irving pg 6). This starts out showcasing what a character does not like. It then goes on to state “Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled on; a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.” (Irving pg 7). This to me hints that Rip might be willing to do something about the things he does not agree with. Another one of the characters that stood out to me was not huge in the story but represented a them of revolution was the old man in a sharp cocked hat. The reason he represented a revolution theme was because the old gentleman stated “what brought him to the election with a gun on his shoulder, and a mob at his heels, and whether he meant to breed a riot in the village?” (Irving pg 12). Finally the character that also had revolutionary themes was Brom Dutcher, the reason is because in the story it stated “Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the war; some say he was killed at the storming of Stony Point7––others say he was drowned in a squall at the foot of Antony’s Nose.8 I don’t know––he never came back again.”(Irving pg 13).
Part 2 – In “The Pioneers” Chapters one, three, and four, there are a few examples of who owns the land outright be that by natural law or human law. An example of both human law and natural law is states ““But if there’s a law about it at all, though who ever heard of a law that a man shouldn’t kill deer where he pleased!—but if there is a law at all, it should be to keep people from the use of smooth bores. A body never knows where his lead will fly, when he pulls the trigger of one of them uncertain fire-arms.” (Cooper pg 38). This shows both laws by the hunter wanting to continue to hunt on lands that are older than the laws that tell him he cannot hunt on certain lands. In my opinion it is very important for conservation laws to be in effect. In the previous example of hunting humans tend to go overboard with hunting animals to extinction. These laws are in place to prevent that. As far as freedoms go yes people have the right to hunt animals for food sport whatever it might be but, to go as far as hunting an animal so much that it does nor exist is too far. Ownership of land is a little different in my opinion. If you own a piece of land you should be able to almost be able to do whatever you want with what you own. That goes to human law. But natural law can a person really own a piece of land that has been around long before they were?

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**FORUM 2**
part 1 – I do not think I have ever read Rip Van Winkle till this class, or if I have read it, I do not recall much; anyway, I did enjoy it. I found it interesting, especially since it is considered one of the first short stories in American literature. I think Washington is trying to describe the feeling of change and how it can approach so rapidly and how the world goes on, especially that of one post-war. I personally can relate to this all too well. After my first deployment, I remember visiting home, and everything had changed. My friends were gone, some of which had gone to war and died, much like Washington described. I visited stores, my old school, and places where I had spent much of my youth and everything, seemed different. It has not been two decades, like in the story, but even just after a few years, everything had changed. Washington conveys this when Rip recalls old friends who all went off to war and died or moved on; “Where’s Brom Dutcher?” “Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the war; some say he was killed at the storming of Stony Point––others say he was drowned in a squall at the foot of Antony’s Nose. I don’t know––he never came back again.” “Where’s Van Bummel, the schoolmaster?” “He went off to the wars too, was a great militia general, and is now in congress. Rip’s heart died away at hearing of these sad changes in his home and friends, and finding himself thus alone in the world. (Perkins, pg. 205)” This passage perfectly captures the point Washington is trying to make, and that is one of change.
Part 2 – I enjoyed part two of this week. Growing up in the North West, not too far from the Oregon Trail sites, I have become fond of early American westward travel. It was such an exciting time, new lands to explore, and it would forever shape America as we know it today. Cooper’s narratives were an enjoyable read; he dove deep into the noble savage literary trope and really painted early natives as true stewards of the land. He explored the negative impact westward expansion might have in the future. Cooper was an early environmentalist who understood the implications American settlements would have on the ecosystem. The land was so vast. It seemed as though it could never run out of resources. For those who just escaped tyranny, the idea of claiming ownership of their own land was instrumental to manifest destiny. This is where Cooper argues the concept of land ownership, natural law vs. human law. Should man lay claim to the land as his? Or is it part of something greater? Cooper shows his support for nature by focusing on the dialogue of Natty heavier than the rest of the characters. Natty is always urging those he encounters to treat the land with respect, for it is a finite resource. Natty is often arguing with Judge about the importance of proper conservation. “Did ye think to stop a full grown buck, with Hector and the slut open upon him within sound, with that pop-gun in your hand? (Perkins, Pg. 227)” Using the proper firearm is paramount; you do not want an animal to suffer any more than it has to. They have already given you their life; dispatch it appropriately. Proper land and wildlife conservation were a constant theme in Cooper’s books. I am an avid outdoorsman and hunter, so the ideals of proper conservation are personal. The land is our most incredible resource; we must not squander it.

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