Here's a link to the last (sparsely attended) study session with the seniors...if you're looking for a template, here it is!
Some study questions to consider:
Do you know the names of the major characters from the stories?
Could you summarize the plots of each of the short stories/selections/poems in a five-sentence paragraph? (This is to make sure you get the "big picture" of the stories.)
The Romantics are represented by Irving (particularly "Rip Van Winkle"). What aspects of Romantic thought does the story reflect? (Try to find at least two.)
The Transcendentalists are represented by Emerson and Thoreau. What aspects of Transcendentalist thought do each of the stories reflect? (Try to find at least two.)
The Anti-Transcendentalists/Dark Romantics are represented by Melville and Hawthorne. What aspects of Anti-Transcendentalist/Dark Romantic thought do each of the stories reflect? (Try to find at least two.)
Poe is also an anti-Transcendentalist - but he's a Gothic author as well! What aspects of both can you find in "The Raven" and "The Fall of the House of Usher?" (Try to find at least two for each.)
Transcendentalism, Romanticism, and the New England Renaissance in general are excellent places to start. (Gary Q. Arpin's chapters on Romanticism and the Renaissance/Transcendentalists contain just about everything you'll need.)
You need to have read the stories I mentioned on the handout, and know the information about the authors that I included on the review PowerPoint (including the differences between the authors' writing styles).
That just about covers it. The relevant PowerPoints were posted on 11/19, 11/26, 11/29, and 12/10.
The whale can symbolize any number of things, depending on your perspective. For Ahab, the white whale/Moby-Dick represents the evil inherent in existence/life; for others, he represents the difficult task humans face when we try to understand something rationally. (Hawthorne deals with something similar in "Heidegger.")