Essay #1: “Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America”
For this first essay assignment, you will read the sections: “Preface” and “Part One: Rise 1839-1865”
This will be a series of short “essays” based on each of the eight numbered chapters in Part One. This assignment should be typed, double spaced, your name on each page, stapled, and handed in during class on March 24, 2017.
“Preface”: A “Preface” or “Introduction” in any book is where the author gives the reader an overview of the entire book. He usually tells the reader something about the earlier books on the subject and where and why his is different. Reading this gives you an over-view of the book that helps you understand the separate parts that are the chapters. With General George Armstrong Custer, most books already in print focus on his death at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. The battle and his death is still a matter of great controversy. Here, the author T.J. Stiles, writes that Custer was a man of his times. That before the battle he was a celebrity of sorts because of his service in the Plains Indian Wars and the Civil War. Stiles’ primary argument is that he was a product of a specific moment in American history. A time when things were changing and, so, his life had all the elements that “caught the public imagination.” (Custer, xvi)
What you want to explain here in Essay #1, by using each chapter of the biography in a short written response, is how each of these individual elements of his life shaped the man by 1865. Your response should use the chapter name and number as a title for that section, describe what Stiles argued in that chapter, and a quoted passage that illustrates that argument. A quote should be a phrase or a sentence. Each chapter essay should be about 4-5 sentences or a paragraph long. Remember: After the quoted portion, you should cite the source page of the quote like this: (Custer, 43).
1. The Accused
2. The Observer
3. The Protégé
4. The Prodigy
5. The Women
6. The General
7. The Hero
8. The Victor