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American Studies English
Dr. Struzziero
Notes for Literary Analysis: Rationalism Unit
Essential Questions
1. What can these writing teach us about what is means to be American, especially about
the search for freedom?
2. What can these writings teach us about the story of American literature?
To address the essential questions, please use the historical lens.
Rationalism (1750-1800):
 influenced by the American Revolution
 Americans sought truth in science and reason
 reaction to Puritanism (truth is found in religion)
Imagery- words that create a picture in the reader’s mind.
allusion- a reference within a work of literature to another work of literature
simile- a comparison using like or as
metaphor- a comparison that does not use like or as
rhetorical question- a question to which there is no answer expected
antithesis- expresses contrasting ideas in parallel. Example: “Give me liberty, or give
me death”
parallelism- a repetition of similar ideas using similar grammatical structure. Example:
the list of grievances against King George III that are listed in the Declaration of
Independence “For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;…For cutting off
our trade with all parts of the world; For imposing taxes on us without our consent;…”
repetition-recurrence of words, phrases, or lines
Pathos- to persuade using the character of the reader; in its critical sense, pathos signifies
a scene or passage designed to evoke the feeling of pity or sympathetic sorrow in a reader
or viewer.
Logos- to persuade using logic
Ethos- to persuade using the character of the author