Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
  1. In “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” how does Whitman “invent” himself?

American poet Walt Whitman wrote the poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (one from his poetry collection “Leaves of Grass”) from the first person, what left the impression of intimacy. The writer describes both routine and marvelous nature as well as people’s actions on the Brooklyn ferry. People rush, cross from shore to shore, see large and small islands, watch flood-tide below them and “sun half an hour high” (Whitman, 2012) while the poet is watching them. He is invisible, but he sees the place where he not once used to be: “I too many and many a time cross’d the river, the sun half an hour high: I watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls – I saw them high in the air: floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies” (Whitman, 2012). The author invents himself as a part of the “Soul for a proper time” (Whitman, 2012), he projects himself by his feelings and senses to the place he loved to be, because after once being in some place, one becomes the part of the energy of any place and all these energies and people “are a part of all”(Whitman, 2012). Walt Whitman claims that everyone is identified by the body, and this body helps them to become what they should be, but body is not so important and “time and distance of no avail” (Whitman, 2012), but it is requisite to realize that through the whole life, “you furnish your parts toward eternity: Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul” (Whitman, 2012). Your impressions and emotions will make you eternal and, through each of them, you will return to any place you have been to.

2.In "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," who is the "messenger?" What is the significance of the "messenger's" appearance?

A poem from the Walt Whitman’s poetry collection “Leaves of Grass” “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” tells us a sorrowful story of the birds’ love, which should be retold to people by the author. Firstly, Whitman appears before readers as a curious boy who watched the couple of birds’, he did it without disturbing, never came too close and was absolutely absorbed. The birds cared about four brown spotted eggs together in the nest, when suddenly she-bird did not return. In the gloom mourning, he-bird constantly sings touching songs. “The destiny of me [the author]” is “translating the notes, following you, my brother [he-bird]” (Whitman, 2012). The author now is “A man – yet by these tears a little boy again” (Whitman, 2012), but the bird’s grief “Never again leave me [the author] to the peaceful child I was before what there, in the night” (Whitman, 2012). The author appears in the poem as a “messenger” of the bird’s sorrow and devotion to the readers: “Yes, my brother, I know; the rest might not – but I have treasure’d every note” (Whitman, 2012). This appearing is so significant, because it accentuates the importance of the poem’s content and the Whitman’s poetry meaningfulness at all. It is not a light stories, it is didactic poetry contribution. “A word then, (for I will conquer it,) the word final, superior to all” (Whitman, 2012).

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3. “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County:” What is the significance of the names of Smiley’s animals? Some animals do not have names, what might that signify?

“The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras Country” is the first short story written by Mark Twain. In the story, the author is requested by his friend from the East to ask the sociable Simon Wheeler about Leonidas W. Smiley’s life. Mr. Twain could not refuse the old friend and ought to listen to the joyful Mr. Wheeler’s stories about Mr. Smiley’s animals. There were a lot of them: “Smiley had rat-tarries, and chicken cocks, and tomcats and all them…” (Twain, 2012) . Through the story, the readers meet mare, called by boys the fifteen-minute nag, a little small bull-pup Andrew Jakson, who won many dogs by gripping their hind leg and had lost the only one without them, “they'd been sawed off in a circular saw” (Twain,2012). Another named animal is Dan’s Webster, the fastest frog in the Calaveras country. At the end of the story, appears “a yaller one-eyed cow that did not have no tail” (Twain, 2012), about which the author did not heart because of “lacking both time and inclination” (Twain, 2012). The animals’ names signify that they are extraordinary and singular. All the four animals mentioned in the story are called somehow. Less impressive and, may be, less loved by the owner are just “the fifteen-minute nag” – the mare and “a yaller one-eyed cow”. The animals, who became Simley’s friends, had gotten real names; of course, the dog Andrew Jakson is the best animal friend of a man as well as a frog Dan’s Webster, for training of which Simley devoted three months of his life.

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4. How does “The Yellow Wall-paper” explore oppression? What is the protagonist's relationship with her husband? Why is this relationship significant?

The main heroine of Charlotte Gilman’s story “The Yellow Wall-paper” has brain-fag, that is why her husband and brother, who are the doctors, force her to sleep an hour after eating, do nothing, communicate just with few, and do not write a word. But she adores writing, it helps her, “I must say what I feel and think in some way – it is such a relief” (Gilman, 1899). But no one listens to her and “it is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my [the protagonist’s] work” (Gilman, 1899). The oppression of the protagonist is shown by misunderstanding (“he hates to have me write a word” (Gilman, 1899); disrespect (husband does not agree to change the wall-paper and plead a wife’s illness); necessity (the heroine should do everything what her husband, brother, and even babysitter say, but not what she wants and finds necessary). All “that cultivates deceit …o no!” (Gilman, 1899).

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From the first sight, the protagonist’s relationship with her husband are not bad. “He said I was his darling and his comfort and all he had” (Gilman, 1899). The heroine writes that “he is very careful and loving, and hardly let me stir without special direction” (Gilman, 1899), but at the same time, he does not let her to do whatever she wants without his special direction: she cannot write, sleep alone, spend time in a company of her expressive relatives and even change the wall-papers which fear her and make her sick.

The indifference of surrounding people excites the protagonist’s nerves, and the story ends with the nervous breakdown, which helps the heroine “to creep over him [her husband]” (Gilman, 1899), and she says “I’ve got out at last” (Gilman, 1899). At last, she has no need to pretend and can free herself. It is obvious that without her husband’s “care” she won’t be so sick and nervous, he makes her such and that is why their relationship is so significant in this short story of Charlotte Gilman.

5. How is death personified in Dickinson's "I Could Not Stop For Death?"

Emily Dickinson personified death as a kindly man, who knew no haste. The author gives privilege to death from the first two lines: “I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me” (Dickinson, 2012). Emily is not afraid to drive in the carriage with Death, because they are not alone, the Immortality is the third of their company. They had driven the whole day, when the horses paused “before a house that seemed a swelling of the ground; the roof was scarcely visible, the cornice but a mound” (Dickinson, 2012). Many years and centuries had passed since then, but the day when the writer understood that Death always leads to eternity seemed longer than them all. Death is not terrible, it is kind without haste and it is not the end, it is a new beginning, beginning of a person’s eternity.

6. What is the "beast in the jungle?" How does it 'pounce' on John Marcher when he least expects it?

The protagonist of the Henry James’ story “The Beast In the Jungle” has been waiting for an advantage or the destiny’s “beast pounce” for the whole his life. No advantage has happened to him, but he is waiting. The one who understands his anticipation is May Bartram, the only John’s soul adviser. They speak a lot about “the beast”: What it would be like? Who will win? When will it occur? The years’ve passed and nothing changed. No advantage appeared in Marcher’s life. His friend became old and so did he. One day she told him about her illness and just before her death he realized that it was “the bearst in the jungle”. The whole his life John Marcher was looking forward and never looked around. He could live a happy life with May, but he devoted himself to imaginary challenge. He was afraid to live an ordinary life but did the worst, he did not live at all, he was just anticipating. With May’s death, he realized what he had lost, and this realization was “the beast of the jungle”. “The beast of the jungle” is a wasted life without love, protagonist’s loneliness, John’s emotionally empty being: “What could the thing that was to happen to him be, after all, but just this thing that had began to happen? Her dying, her death, his consequent solitude - that was what he had figured as the Beast in the Jungle, that was what had been in the lap of the gods” (James, 2012). But it is strange that it had been happening for such a long time, and he did not defend himself. The Beast came when Marchew did not expect him, and the Jungle was her close friend May.

7. What does it mean to be kept "Under the Lion's Paw?" How does this impact the protagonist's search for the American Dream?

Mr.Haskins and his family have gotten homeless. Council, whom they met one night, proposed them to rent run down land and start from the beginning. Kind-hearted Council and his family helped the neighbors. Haskins worked days and nights. In “the American farm where is no law against child labor, the elder boy took the place of a man” (Garland, 2012). They forced themselves to earn some money and buy the farm. It was their American dream, and, in few years, it seamed to be so closed. The harvest was generous, the faces were smiling, when one day, the tenant Jim Butler came to visit his land. The protagonist was so closed to his American dream of having his own land and not being a free slave, when the owner decided to rise the rent from 300 to 550 dollars. It is unfair but what poor almost homeless worker can do, the law is against him, and Butler’s word did not cost a thing. Butler lived an easy life, he owned lands where the folks worked, and they paid their rents to him, but “poor” Butler “had not enough money to pay taxes on his land” (Garland, 2012). He was the Lion, and they were under the Lion’s Paw. They depended on him and, because of him, could hardly ever search their American Dream, as the example of the protagonist showed.

8. Compare and contrast the oppression in "The Yellow Wall-paper" and "Under the Lion's Paw."

The oppression is shown through the whole plot of the short stories “The Yellow Wall-paper” and “Under the Lion’s Paw”. Both stories describe disrespect, moral or physical slavery, impasse. The first story refers to moral problems of domestic misuderstanding and no right of choice: the protagonist’s actions are prescribed by relatives and wishes are not considered (“he hates to have me write a word” (Gilman, 1899). The second one concerns the human rights’ problems, the ferocity of labour, the helplessness of the folk’s poverty among the riches impudence. The protagonists of both works can do nothing but put up. When Gilman’s heroine does this more passively (she tries to satisfy husband’s orders and be the loving wife), the Garland’s hero and his family do as much as they can working days and nights, the result is one - “head sunk into his hands” (Garland, 2012)

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