Despite being a work of fiction, “The Case of George Dedlow” reveals much about American culture
during and immediately following the Civil War period.
The prompts below will ask you to focus on a single aspect of American culture that the story helps illuminate. This essay is argumentative, so you will choose one of the prompts below and argue that that topic is the most salient in Mitchell’s writing. There is no ‘correct’ answer, as this short story can be read in many ways.
You will argue for your point of view, bring in textual evidence to support your reading, and cite the text as appropriate. You will also rely on your knowledge from the lecture to substantiate claims about the historical context and may engage in supplementary outside research if needed.
1). Argue for the ways in which “The Case of George Dedlow” sheds light on the medical knowledge and
practices of the American Civil War era.
2). Argue for the ways in which “The Case of George Dedlow” sheds light on the spiritual and religious
responses to the mass casualties, displacement, and devastation of the American Civil War era.