LITR232 American Literature from 1865

Department of Language & Literature: Literature

I. Course Number and Title
LITR232 American Literature from 1865
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Number of Instructional Minutes
IV. Prerequisites
V. Other Pertinent Information

The Department of Language and Literature has determined that all literature courses must require a minimum of at least 2500 words in writing assignments.
During the first week of class, the instructor shall provide students with a weekly suggested reading schedule for the semester.

This course meets the General Education requirement in Arts/Humanities.
This course meets the General Education requirement in Critical Thinking.

VI. Catalog Course Description
This course surveys the development of American Literature from Whitman to the present, with emphasis upon thorough acquaintance with the work of the significant writers of the period, including women and minorities, in their historical and cultural context.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Course Learning Goals

    Students will:

    1. analyze literature through discussion and writing [Critical Thinking & Arts/Humanities];
    2. demonstrate an understanding of such literary terms, themes, strategies, and issues as are relevant to the works being studied;
    3. express their understanding of the relationship between literature and the historical/cultural contexts in which it was written [Arts/Humanities];
    4. demonstrate a basic knowledge of the chronology of authors, literary periods, and literary movements;
    5. articulate their awareness of the major recurrent patterns, themes, psychological insights, and concerns in the works read;
    6. examine literature in relationship to the diverse values and concerns of the country, exploring both historical and philosophical heritage, and viewing literature as one aspect of a total pattern, not an isolated discipline; and
    7. demonstrate the ability to view the literature from the perspective of diverse cultural groups and in the context of current social struggles, as well as through various schools of modern criticism.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities

    Students read selectively the work of American authors from the Civil War to the present. The instructor, although not confined to authors on the following list, shall include at least

    • Whitman, James, Twain, Dickinson, emphasizing the major works of these writers
    • Selections from various minority writers (as suggested below and/or of the instructor’s choice)
    • Two additional writers of fiction pre-1900 (suggestions: Crane, Chestnut, Chopin, Gilman, Freeman, Garland, Harte, Howells, and Norris)
    • Frost, Williams, Stevens, Eliot and two other pre-World War II poets (suggestions: H. Crane, Cullen, H. D., Dunbar, Hughes, Lindsay, Moore, Pound, Robinson, Sandburg)
    • Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Wharton
    • Two writers of fiction or drama (suggestions: Anderson, Cather, Lewis, dos Passos, Dreiser, DuBois, Farrell, Glasgow, Hurston, Lewis, McCullers, O'Neill, Porter, Steinbeck, Toomer, Welty, West, Williams, Wright)
    • Three post World War II writers of fiction and drama (suggestions: Albee, Baldwin, Barth, Bellow, Carver, Cheever, Cisneros, Ellison, Hansberry, Mailer, Miller, Oates, Momaday, O'Connor, Tyler, Walker, Morrison, Delillo, Pynchon, Wilson, Vonnegut)
    • Three post World War II poets (suggestions: Ashbury, Baraka, Bishop, Bly, Brooks, Dove, Ginsberg, Hayden, Kinnell, Levertov, Lowell, Plath, Rich, Roethke, Wright, Sexton, Gluck)

    In addition:

    1. Students enter the course both with and without training in verbal analysis of literature; therefore, a subsidiary set of objectives dealing with literary analysis may be imported as individual student needs dictate.
    2. Reading remains the basic learning method available to students although various means of instruction are employed: lectures, group discussion, mock trials, role playing, individual or group presentations to the class, team teaching, library research, etc.
    3. Through reading, writing, discussion, and various class activities, students identify, explain, and analyze the following: formal elements of the literature, particularly images, image patterns, narrative strategies, diction, and structural divisions of the work; themes and thematic patterns; literary periods, movements, and terms as appropriate to the literature.
    4. The writing requirement complies with Department standards for literature courses, a minimum of 2,500 words. Writing assignments reflect the course goals that students can comprehend, interpret, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the literature.
    5. Because there are no prerequisites for literature courses, it is important that students understand the kind and quality of the writing expected.
    6. Students use various critical approaches as ways of assigning the meanings in the work; these include but are not limited to the major critical schools--humanistic, ethical, socio-cultural, historical (both the history of events and the history of ideas), psychological, mythical, and formal.
  3. Assessment Methods for Course Learning Goals

    To evaluate all learning goals and objectives, instructors may determine the depth and quality of student comprehension and critical thinking through several analytical essays (2500 words total required), exams, quizzes, journals, oral or multi-media presentations, class discussions, conferences with individual students, service learning projects, and other methods as necessary to course content.
  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Student:

    Instructors choose an anthology of American literature, which they may supplement with additional readings.

    See individual course syllabi.

Review/Approval Date - 3/99; Core Goals/Objectives added 3/04; revised 6/08; Revised 5/2010; New Core 8/2015