First assignment: 800 words. Read Howell’s “Editha”, Jewett’s “The White Heron” , Chesnutt’s “The Wife of His Youth”, London’s “To Build a Fire”, Crane’s “The Open Boat” , and Zitkala Sa’s “Impressions of an Indian Childhood”. Be sure to read the introductions to each of the authors. Select one work from this week’s readings and make a case that this work does or does not belong in the American literature canon for a course like ours, a college survey course of American writers.

Second assignment: 300 words. Pick a work from this week’s readings other than the one selected for use this essay. Which label best fits this work, realism or naturalism?

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First and Second Assignments
Assignment One
For this submission, the selected reading is Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.” A short adventurous narrative, which presents the story of an unnamed male character and his dog that tries to make his way through the freezing cold weather of the Alaskan Yukon. After several traumatic encounters, the man eventually dies but the dog walks on to find warmth and something to eat after howling, as a way of mourning his master. By pitting man against nature, the work shows two conflicting characteristics of nature; one of beauty and the other of barbarism. Since it reflects the principles of realism and naturalism, London’s work rightly fits in within the American literature canon for a course like ours, a collegiate survey of the American writers.
“To Build a Fire” captures the primary tenets of realism by showing how people act to determine how cold it is. Primarily, London demonstrates that some people observe the time taken for spit to freeze, hence estimating the degree of coldness...
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