In this course we will explore a variety of
“visions” of American Identity; literary works that reflect and examine social,
political, economic, and gender/racial issues which make up a significant part
of American history and culture. How do
particular authors “see” and depict American life? How do their literary works define American
identity? What makes their vision
characteristically American? We will consider these questions and some of
the ways these texts engage, confront, and reflect the lives of readers, and examine
how they challenge our own visions of Americanism, our own perception of
America and our place in it.
a close examination of various periods of American literature, students will
explore what some authors have defined as the American Identity, and delve into the diversity of such definitions
as this term continues to evolve and is redefined over time and through the
literary genres of the short story and American novel. From this focal point students will read a
diverse group of authors and works which include the classics from Hemingway,
Faulkner, and Edith Wharton, to African American masterpieces by Richard
Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Later works will include Asian American authors such as Amy Tan, Nora
Okja Keller, and Lois-Ann Yamanaka.
Requirements: Assignments include weekly
response papers, two formal analysis essays, two examinations (one midterm and
one final), emphasis on participation in class discussions, and unannounced
quizzes. Attendance is mandatory. This course is designated Writing Intensive.