American Lit Since Mid-20th C

ENG 338 (W) (O): American Literature Since Mid-20th Century– Ruth Y. Hsu

Required Texts:  The Concise Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume 2, 1865 to the Present;

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomedy, 2007.

Toni Morrison, The Origin of Others, 2018.

Goals, Organization, Procedures:      This is a very exciting and momentous period of American literature, filled with internationally influential authors. It is also an adventurous time in terms of ideas about identity, aesthetics, and cultural, political, and social life. The main text in this class—The Heath Anthology–contains a wide range of fiction writers, poets, and essayists: Lyrical, original, and always worth the time, these writers engage readers emotionally and intellectually on some of the profoundest changes in the U. S. of the past 60 years. Bechdel’s graphic narrative, Fun Home, is poignant and funny; it has received notable critical acclaim. Morrison’s long essay, The Origin of Others, is a must-read if we’re to begin to understand some of the most urgent issues of US society today.

The (W) Writing Intensive and (O) Oral Communication focus designations of this class mean that your grade consists of formal and informal writing (including revisions of papers) and class presentations. Among your goals in this class should be the development of independent, analytical, interpretative and research skills.

Student Learning Outcomes include:

  • The ability to identify the major literary themes, authors and texts of the period;
  • To be able to analyze via literary terms the ways that writers ‘put together’ a story, a poem, and so on.
  • The ability to use in class presentations, discussions and writing assignments literary terms and concepts appropriate to a 300-level course;
  • To begin to acquire strategies for connecting texts to a broader cultural and historical context.

 Requirements include:

  • Two individual presentations (5 to 10 minutes each) drawn from the reading list;
  • One piece of original writing (a play, short story, etc.) (minimum of 8 pages, double-spaced) based on The Heath Anthology;
  • One argumentative essay (minimum 8 pages, double-spaced);
  • Final Exam is cumulative, multiple choice.