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EN227: American Literature 1855-1920

Instructor: Dean Karpowicz             Office:   Comm Arts 281
Email: karpowic@uwp.edu
Phone:
Dean’s Office Hours: Monday by appointment (Tallent 265); Tuesday 3-4;Wednesday 11-12; Thursday 2-3; Friday by appt.
Adam’s Office Hours: Monday 1-2; Wednesday 4-5:30

Course Description: In English 227, we will focus on the study American Literature dating from 1850-1920. Rather than perusing excerpts of texts written during this period, we will read a collection of shorter, entire works. This method allows for an in-depth analysis of each work that we cover. Some time will also be spent covering literary movements. Within the scope of our study, we will obtain the necessary skills to debate and analyze literary texts.

Course Work: We will read six complete novels and a selection of poetry (time permitting) in this course. Students will be graded on two tests, response posts, and a final paper. The tests will consist of several identifications and short answer questions; the final paper will be a thematic analysis, 5-7 pages in length and on the topic of the student’s choice. Final papers will be written in MLA style, with proper citations and a works cited page. If you have questions about a MLA citation, please ask me, as it isn’t something that we are going to cover in class; Also, the UW-Parkside library has more than one MLA Handbook on hand.

Message Board: During the first week of class, students will register for the class message board. This message board will be used for responses to the texts that we read. Your responses should be at least a few paragraphs long, and I may ask you to comment on a specific section of the reading. Each student will be required to complete five of the seven posted responses, and each  response will be worth twenty points. I will not ask you to cite from outside the class texts in your responses, but you will be expected to cite from them. Practice your MLA citation style in your responses, as it will count significantly on the final paper.

Texts: The following texts are required for the class. I have selected the Dover editions of each of them, except for Moby Dick, and they are available at the campus bookstore. All in-class references that I make will be from the editions below. However, students may use any edition they like, and I have included links to electronic versions of these books below. I do ask that you select a format that you can search if you use an electronic version of the texts, so that you can follow along with our discussion.

Selections, by Henry David Thoreau

  • See Schedule Below.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, By Frederick Douglass

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

Daisy Miller, by Henry James

House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton

My Antonia, by Willa Cather

Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson

Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

“The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman

Attendance

  • Students are allowed no more than three absences.
  • Students missing more than six classes should not expect to pass the class.

Late Work and Make-up Work

  • Late posts will not be accepted. Threads are locked Sunday at Midnight. No exceptions.
  • Exams cannot be made up unless there is a documented emergency.

Plagiarism

  • Any student found guilty of plagiarism will receive a zero for the theme, and plagiarism can result in a zero for the course. You may view the English Department policy here.

Grading Breakdown

10%   Class Participation/Attendance
25%   Responses and Board Activity
20%   Mid-term Exam
25%   Final Paper
20%  Final  Exam

English Department

Writing Goal Students will become writers who know how to employ a wide range of strategies as they write and to use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Objectives

Students will:

  • craft written responses to texts that put the writer’s ideas in conversation with those in a text in ways that are appropriate to the discipline of English, or other appropriate contexts;
  • create multiple kinds of texts to extend and synthesize their thinking (including, but not limited to, analytical essays,  poems, scripts, brochures, short stories, graphic narratives); write texts for various audiences and purposes that are informed by research (e.g., to support ideas or positions, to illustrate alternative perspectives, to provide additional contexts);
  • craft writing as a process of motivated inquiry, engaging other writers’ ideas as they explore and develop their own;
  •  demonstrate an ability to revise for content and edit for grammatical and stylistic clarity;
  • demonstrate an ability to use the correct citation methods for the appropriate context;
  • demonstrate an ability to use the appropriate technology to communicate ideas;
  • demonstrate an ability to understand language, including its complexities, nuances, ambiguities, connotations and denotations, and be able to express that understanding, with increasing sophistication, as is appropriate for the level and context of the course;

 

Critical Reading and Analysis Goal Students will become accomplished, active readers who appreciate ambiguity and complexity, and who can demonstrate a wide range of strategies for understanding texts, including interpretations with an awareness of, attentiveness to, and curiosity toward other perspectives.

 

Objectives

 

Students will:

  • read and engage with texts from different genres (including poetry, prose, plays, screen plays, graphic novels, film), styles, and historical periods;
  • read a wide range of texts from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic, linguistic) of human experience;
  • apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. These strategies may include, but are not limited to: drawing on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, reflection, intertextuality, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, syntax, context, graphics, images);
  • demonstrate an ability to read and understand texts from multiple points of view (e.g. sympathetic to a writer’s position and critical of it) and in ways that are appropriate to the academic discipline or other contexts where the texts are being used;
  • develop their capacity to evaluate the aesthetic and ethical values of texts—and will be able to articulate the standards behind their judgments;
  • demonstrate an ability to critically read texts drawn from the full diversity of literary periods and genres and written by authors representing the full range of social, ethnic, and national origins that have contributed to the corpus of literature in English;
  • demonstrate an ability to read, with depth, critical texts, expository prose and other types of writings frequently not used in the curriculum of the major; for example, writing by fellow students;

 

History and Theory Goal Students will develop a comprehensive knowledge of the variety of texts in diverse time periods and in diverse locations, as well as know something of the critical and historical principles behind the construction of literary, linguistic, and cultural histories, in order to demonstrate an active participation in scholarship.

Objectives

Students will:

  • learn the terminology of literary and/or cultural periods in order to be active participants in a variety of literary and/or cultural fields;
  • have an awareness of controversies concerning the establishment of distinctions between periods, and an understanding of the general significances attached to various views taken of the transitions and differences between periods;
  • develop an ability to read texts in relation to their historical and cultural contexts, in order to gain a richer understanding of both text and context, and to become more aware of themselves as situated historically and culturally;

Research Goal Students will be able to follow a research process from proposal, research, drafts, to final projects.

Objectives

  • be able to generate questions to guide research;
  • demonstrate an ability to select and use effectively appropriate research databases;
  • demonstrate an ability to critically discuss and evaluate literary texts and ideas with specific reference to evidence;
  • be able to follow accurately the citation methods and structures appropriate to their field of study (thereby preparing them to learn other such systems in their chosen profession);

 

Collaborative Learning Goal Students will learn that the ability to communicate their ideas to a larger audience is as important as having the ideas themselves, and that sharing and coordinating ideas sustains and develops the larger intellectual sphere, of which they are a part. Students will understand the connection between collaborative learning and their intended professional field(s), including but not limited to their future professional roles and responsibilities.

Objectives

Students will:

  • develop and demonstrate an ability to use technology to work collaboratively;

Class Schedule

February

3: Introduction to the class.

5: Transcendentalism; “Life Without Principle,” Thoreau.
Download the lecture notes here: Download Notes

10: Spring, Walden; “Slavery in Massachusetts,” Thoreau

12: The Slave Narrative. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

17: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

19: American Romanticism. “I Sing the Body Electric,” “Democratic Vistas,” Whitman

24: Moby Dick, Melville.

26: Moby Dick, Melville.

March

3: Moby Dick, Melville.

5: Moby Dick, Melville.

10: American Realism; Huck Finn, Twain

12: Huck Finn, Twain

17: Huck Finn, Twain

19: Huck Finn, Twain; Read to XXXII

24: Huck Finn, Twain; Finish reading; Post Due!

26: Exam 1

Spring Break (March 28-April 5)

April

7: Daisy Miller, James; Part 1

9: Daisy Miller, James; Part 2

14: Intro to Naturalism; House of Mirth, Wharton

16: House of Mirth, Wharton

21: House of Mirth, Wharton

23: House of Mirth, Wharton

28: American Modernism; My Antonia, Cather

30: My Antonia, Cather

May

5: My Antonia, Cather

7: My Antonia, Cather

10: Final Exam

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