Read Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (647), Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” (1086), Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” (539), and Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government” (837). Be sure to read the introductions to each of the authors.

Read Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (647), Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” (1086), Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” (539), and Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government” (837). Be sure to read the introductions to each of the authors. Literary canons are formed by people. Scholars, critics, historians, writers, college professors, school boards, concerned citizens, etc. are all the time making judgments about what works should be included in anthologies, what works should be labeled as "classics," and what works should be fundamental to an understanding of the American experience and will appear in great/classic books courses or reading lists. The point to remember is that people make these decisions, and over time works move in and out of the canon as tastes, attitudes, and outlooks evolve. 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.

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