EN318 Later American Literature

for SP 2010

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EN 318 Later American Literature


SP 2010 HO


Wood, Jane


Interim Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Ph.D. University of Kansas
MA University of Kansas
BA University of Missouri

Office Location

209 Copley

Office Hours

by appointment, call Dawn Hyatt at 816-584-6480

Daytime Phone




Web Page


Semester Dates

Spring 2010

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours













ISBN and Publisher


Required Or














ed. Richard Kennedy



Selected Poems by e.e. cummings




Liveright 0871401541




ed. by Janet Sharistanian



My Antonia by Willa Cather





Oxford UP 019953814X




F. Scott Fitzgerald



The Great Gatsby





Penguin 0140620184




Flannery O'Connor



A Good Man is Hard to Find





Mariner 0156364654




Eugene O'Neill



A Long Day's Journey Into Night




Yale UP 03000930055




Tim O'Brien



The Things They Carried





Mariner 618706410





Marilynne Robinson









Picador 0312424094




Ernest Gaines



A Lesson Before Dying





Serpent's Tail 185242723X




Additional Resources:
Please see embedded links in the syllabus for online readings.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
EN318 Later American Literature (MLL): Study of significant American writers from the Civil War to the present with attention to the historical and cultural contexts of their works. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
I will ask you to entertain the notion that reading and discussing literature matters. Indeed, I believe that who we choose to become as individuals and as a collective community springs directly from our ability to understand and make sense of the complexity of personal and collective life. Literature allows us to contemplate ways, as James Baldwin so eloquently writes, “to impose order on the void.” Read well, think and write wisely, discuss your interpretations as if the world depends upon your thoughts and ideas. For, indeed, I believe that it does.

Also consider these wise words from Kurt Vonnegut:
"Practicing an art not matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." --from A Man Without a Country

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate what is uniquely “American” about certain texts in literature
  2. Evaluate features of later American literature
  3. Identify and analyze American cultural issues presented in a variety of texts

Core Assessment:

All Park University courses will include a Core Assessment with rubric. This will include ¾ of the Core Learning Outcomes listed above. The Core Assessment in this course will be a major critical paper of no fewer than 5 pages, which will include research and MLA documentation. The project will be completed in the final quarter of the term.

 The rubric for this assignment is published so the student can see the expectations.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:
Research Paper, Mid-term, Weekly Quizzes (every Thursday), Final; Group Presentation 


Research Paper--25%
Weekly Quizzes Over the Reading--15%
Final-- 25%
Group Presenation--15%

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Course work is due on the day and hour that is listed in the syllabus. Anytime that the work is turned in after I call for it (except in the cases of illness or prearranged absence) it will lose one letter grade per day that it is late.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

We will assume that we all are looking forward to stimulating literary discussion. In order to enhance this opportunity for everyone, I will insist on a few conduct rules: 
  • No sleeping in class. If you fall asleep in class, I will ask you to leave and you will be marked absent for the day.
  • No texting on your cell phone in class.
  • Bring your class reading for the day to class. We will be reading from it at each class period.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Daily Syllabus for EN 318 Later American Literature

 Spring 2010 

Week 1 (January 12th): Realism

T: American Realism: read the introduction by Paul Reuben on http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap5/5intro.html

and “In Our Neighborhood” by Alice Dunbar Nelson



R: “A Double—Barrelled Detective” by Mark Twain




Week 2 (January 19th): Naturalism         

T:  American Naturalism: read the introduction by Paul Reuben on http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap6/6intro.html

And “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane



R: “To Build a Fire” by Jack London




Week 3 (January 26th ): Early Modernism          

 T: My Antonia by Willa Cather


R: My Antonia by Willa Cather


Week 4 (February 2nd): Pioneers and Immigration         

T: My Antonia by Willa Cather

“Willa Cather’s My Antonia: Haunting the Houses of Memory” by Lisa Marie Lucenti


R: Group Presentation on Immigration/Trains/Midwest Pioneering


Week 5 (February 9th): WWI Poets—Case Study e.e. cummings          

T:  WWI and the poetry of e.e.cummings




R:  e.e.cummings

Class visit to National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial


Week 6 (February 16th): The Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes        

T: The Harlem Renaissance, The Jazz Age, The Great Migration


Zora Neale Hurston: Read information and essay below.


“How it Feels to be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston (First published in May 1928 in World Tomorrow)


Langston Hughes: Read information and poems below:


“I, Too, Sing America” http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15615

“Let America Be America Again” http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15609

“The Negro Speaks of Rivers” http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15722

“The Weary Blues” http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15612

“Theme for English B” http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15614

R: Group Presentation on the Jazz Age


Week 7 (February 23rd): Modernism—American Novel         

T: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


R:  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald



Week 8 (March 2nd)             

T: Group Presentation on Paris, Stein, and the Left Bank

R: Midterm, March 4th


Spring Break (March 15th—19th)


Week 9 (March 16th): American Drama          

T: A Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill



R: A Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill

“Eugene O’Neill: American Drama and American Modernism”



Week 10 (March 23rd) : American Short Story—Case Study in Flannery O’Connor        

T: A Good Man is Hard to Find Flannery O’Connor


Read: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”; “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”

R: A Good Man is Hard to Find Flannery O’Connor

Read: “Good Country People” , “The Displaced Person”


Week 11th (March 30th):   Gender and the American Novel  

T:  Group Presentation on American Transcendentalists

R: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Review of Housekeeping in The Revealer


Yale Lecture on Housekeeping by Prof. Hungerford



Week 12 (April 6th)               

T: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

R: Group Presentation on the Vietnam War


Week 13 (April 13th): Literature of the Vietnam War             

T: The Things They Carried


Vietnam War Through Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried


R: The Things They Carried


Week 14 (April 20th): Postmodern American Novel—Case Study of Ernest

Gaines A Lesson Before Dying             

T: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines   



R: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines


Week 15 (April 27th)             

T: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines


R: Review/Evaluations—Research Paper Due


Week 16 (May 4th) Finals Week   

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95
I take attendance at the beginning of class. If you are not in your seat when I take attendance you will be counted absent. After three unexcused absences, you will drop one letter in the course grade (this includes times when you may have been in class, but missed the attendance call.)

After 10 absences, you will receive an "F" in the course.

Excused absences include: Death in the family, Emergency room visits, etc. Please do not schedule routine doctor's appointments, etc, during class hours. These are not excused absences. Additionally, work hours are not excused absences. If you have additional questions about what constitutes and excused absence, please let me know.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Offers clearly stated personal and critical insights to interpretation of earlier American literary works. Makes adequate personal and critical statements, which are relevant and interpretive. Provides only plot summary, biographical information, or fails to retain focus on poem or poems. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
1, 2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Incorporates primary and secondary sources using MLA documentation style perceptively and creatively in ways that provide new insights into the literature. Incorporates primary and secondary sources using MLA documentation style adequately without particularly fresh insights, but still retains personal voice. Primary and secondary sources used rarely if at all and without adequate MLA documentation. Insights are predictable. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Provides convincing and innovative connections between texts and identifies features of earlier American texts. Provides connections between texts that are obvious but nonetheless plausible, and identifies features of earlier American texts. Connections between texts remain vague and undeveloped. Critique does not clearly identify features of earlier American texts. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Literary and critical terminology applied skillfully throughout paper that highlights American cultural issues. Literary and critical terminology used adequately throughout much of the paper that sometimes highlights American cultural texts. Rarely employs appropriate literary and critical terminology, misuses it, or omits it altogether. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
1, 2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Skillfully interweaves passages from literary and critical texts and makes strong personal statements that illustrate main point of essay. Adequately incorporates passages from literary and critical texts and includes some personal statements to prove thesis. Rarely provides specific passages from poem(s) or critical theory for analysis, or does so without making connections clear. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Technical Skill in Communicating                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Employs conventions of Standard Written English with grace and style in a well organized, fully developed essay. Employs conventions of Standard Written English adequately in a reasonably well organized and developed essay. Writing shows persistent problems with the use of Standard Written English. Statements are often illogical, incomprehensible; organization and development of ideas do not support thesis. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Interdisciplinary and Contemporary Components                                                                                                                                                                                                              
1, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Analysis makes full use of historical, cultural, and/or other perspectives as interpretive tools. Analysis includes some consideration of historical, cultural, and/or other perspectives. Historical, cultural, and/or other perspectives are not used in any meaningful way. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Multicultural Component                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
1, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Analysis includes ample discussion of multicultural perspectives. Multicultural perspectives are mentioned appropriately but without depth. Multicultural perspectives are omitted from consideration. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 


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Last Updated:12/15/2009 3:07:28 PM