What Is American in Modern American Poetry

Please respond to original forum with a minimum of 250 words

Respond to both students on separate pages with a minimum of 100 words each

page 1- original Forum and references

page2- student Response

page 3- student Response

Original Forum 

Part I: Identify three symbols in the readings from this week and discuss what you think those symbols mean in the context of the story or poem in which they are found.

Part II: Based on Hemingway and TS Eliot, what are your impressions of the “Modern Man”?

Part III: Share a web-based resource that you located that gave you more information about one of our readings this week, about Modernism, about WWI or about a specific author we covered. It could be a video or a website with text. Explain how the source contributed to your understanding. Is it the kind of source you could use in a literary essay, or is it better for ‘preliminary research’ and overall understanding, but not appropriate for academic use? Why?

Readings for the week

American Modernism (1920-1945) Chapter 2: The Lost Generation

“What Is American in Modern American Poetry? A Primer with Poems”

Ernest Hemingway: “The Fight on the Hilltop,” “The Chauffeurs of Madrid”

F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Babylon Revisited”

John Steinbeck “The Chrysanthemums”

E.E. Cummings: “In Just,” “Since Feeling is First,” and “Buffalo Bill’s Defunct”
T. S. Eliot: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

TS Eliot:  “The Hollow Men”

Student Responses


In E.E. Cummings poem “Since Feeling is First”, kiss or kisses are symbolic for love and syntax for reason. When Cummings states that those who pay attention to syntax will never wholly kiss you he is stating that those who are analytical or favor reason will never truly succumb to feeling or love. In T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”, the hollow men are essentially described as scarecrows. This is symbolic of the men’s lack of soul or emotions. They are empty beings. In John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”, the chrysanthemums are symbolic for Elisa need for femininity as a woman. The flowers are beautiful and delicate and she carefully takes care of them. Her husband fails to see her need when he overlooks her hard catering of the flowers and says he wishes that she would work that hard on the apples in the orchard.

My impressions of the “Modern Man” would have to be well diverse. Both Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Eliot traveled the world spending a majority of their time in Europe particularly in Paris. They both used their experiences in life to influence their work and became very famous because of it. Hemingway was known for his travels and his drinking. I read his famous book “The Sun Also Rises” a few years ago, and all I can remember from it was his depictions of his group partying in Spain. T.S. Eliot was famous for his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in which he depicts the devastation that World War I had caused to American and European society.


I used this web-based resource to help me understand the symbolism in John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”. While reading this story, I knew that the chrysanthemum flowers had some symbolic meaning but I could not determine it was specifically. However, after reading this resource’s break down of the symbolism it was easy for me to see that the flowers symbolized Elisa’s needs and femininity as a woman. I think this source is credible for preliminary research for overall understanding, and I think that I would use it in a literary essay but I would not use it as a single source. This source is from Lone Star College and they have it listed as a model essay on their website. Lone Star College is an accredited college and would essentially make it safe to assume that this is a credible source.


Part I:

F. Scott Fitzgerald – Babylon Revisited

Babylon itself in this story was represented by Paris, France(1). In the bible, Babylon exists as a place wrought in depravity, sin, corruption, and iniquity within the Book of Revelations. During the roaring twenties, Paris was a mecca for alcoholism, erotic promiscuity, and immorality.

The Bar at The Ritz represented loosely, Charlie’s home, being that he has become a modern day nomad. Charlie moved away from the country where he was born, America. He has become an outsider elsewhere. Babylon Revisited begins and ends in the same place, with Charlie sitting at the bar at The Ritz drinking and gossiping with the bartender Alix(1).

John Steinbeck – The Chrysanthemums

The Chrysanthemums represent Elisa’s true gorgeousness and splendor. Although she had a masculine figure making her appear to be “blocked and heavy in her gardening costume”(2), she was beautiful despite the opinion of her husband who never cared for the flowers.

The “wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens”(2) represented security and safeguarding of Elisa from the man’s world. As long as she remains within such confines of her own borders, she is safe.

Part II:

T.S. Eliot paints a picture of modern temperament that still exists in the form of spiritual and moral decay. Yet he remains with an optimistic approach. Today, our generation, just as the generations previous to ours, perceives even more dissipation and decay of spirituality and morals within the next generation. Yet even today, we are taught to have a solution to our problems. In the midst of losing ourselves whilst climbing the ranks of our own maturity, we must seek our own answers for progress. Eliot quoted: “… The only solution for the entire problems of modern man is to turn to God and neglect the world that completely occupied them spiritually”.(3) Despite what our belief system is, we must continue to press forward and reshape ourselves for the better.

Part III:

This is an analysis on the works of E.E. Cummings entitled: “Breaking Down How E. E. Cummings Wrote Beautiful Love Poems” http://digg.com/video/ee-cummings-love-poems-how

The analyst describes the efforts, scope, obligation, and overall intended objective of the many works of E.E. Cummings to be timeless. This perspective timelessness is found mainly in the author’s choice of words. The analyst begins with how he uses simple imagery in a lighthearted tone. These are things I instantly noticed upon reading “In-Just” and is a concept I find easy to appreciate. As much as I enjoy the cryptic attitude of Walt Whitman, simplicity in art is also deeply esteemed.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. “Short Stories, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Short Stories, by F. Scott Fitzgerald : Babylon Revisited, 2016, ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/f/fitzgerald/f_scott/short/chapter35.html.

Steinbeck, John. The Chrysanthemums. Perfection Learning Corp., 1979.

Barzinji, Mariwan Nasradeen Hasan. The Image of Modern Man in T.S. Eliot’s Poetry. AuthorHouse, 2012.

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