Introduction to American Literature - 3rd year

Will introduce major American writers in the genres of fiction, poetry, drama and nonfiction. Emphasis is on writing and analytical skills as these skills relate to developing a broad knowledge of American literature and a literary/critical vocabulary.


By the end of the course, the student will be able to demonstrate:

1. Knowledge of major periods and trends in American literature;

2. Understanding of varying difficulty to identify themes, metaphors, symbols and a wide variety of literary devices;

3. Connect different texts both to one another and the historical contexts in which they appear;

4. Understanding of the contribution of different texts and authors to American literary tradition;

5. Understanding and application of a basic literary/critical vocabulary in the discussion of texts;

6. Engagement with issues, themes and characters;

7. Understanding of the differences and similarities between literary genres and identify the criteria specific to each category;

8. Understanding of texts on emotional, intellectual, and aesthetic levels.


Course topics will include the following:

1. Fiction

a. setting
b. narration
c. theme
d. characterization
e. plot
f. novel/short story
g. conflict

2. Poetry

a. form and content
b. rhythm
c. metaphor
d. versification

3. Drama

a. performance
b. Aristotelian structure
c. characterization

4. Major American Periods/Writers

The course may include but is not limited to works by the following authors:

Hawthorne, Whitman, Dickinson, Emerson, Thoreau, Hemingway, Faulkner, Pound, Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Flannery O’Connor, Frost, Cummings, Plath, Welty, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Wallace Stevens, E.A. Robinson, Arthur Miller, Millay, Robert Lowell, Marianne Moore, Raymond Carver, Shirley Jackson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ray Bradbury, John Cheever, Willa Cather, Fitzgerald, Ralph Ellison, Steinbeck, Updike, Wharton, Richard Wright

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Seminar/Discussion

3. Film Adaptations/Documentaries

Types of Assignments:

1. Short papers

2. Term paper

3. Quiz, Mid-Term, Final