READINGS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE LA390/01
Tuesday through Thursday 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Text: We will work with various online texts. You are expected to read, note and bring in relevant print-outs.
Additionally, we will be watching many videos in here. The Voices and Visions series is invaluable for giving you a sense of the authors. Your attendance will be docked if you text, talk, sleep or open your laptop during these. (I will count you absent for any of the above, and that will mean dropping the course with the stringent absence policy I have for summer—see belowJ
Because we are taking a fast train through the subject matter, as summer courses often require, attendance will be crucial. We will be reading a lot and dealing with that reading in class with writing assignments and activities.
You will be afforded one absence for reasons I will not need to know. I do not excuse any absence after that first one and if you accrue two absences (as the course is so short,) I will likely ask that you drop the course. Please don’t inform me as to the reason for your absence. What time you missed you will be expected to catch up on your own with the blog. Some things cannot be caught-up. Quizzes, class discussions, videos. Ideally, for a decent grade, you will be here every one of our too-few days.
Tardies: After two you have an absence.
Grades: You will be graded heavily on class participation and attendance: (30%) Your written work will comprise 70% of your total grade. Perfect attendance does not mean that you have that 30% guaranteed. I expect lively discussions and real engagement with the topics. I hate to resort to pop quizzes, but I have decided that we will be having quizzes many days before we begin discussion. It will be good for you to be prepared, have done the reading and to know that you will be quizzed.
The written work will consist of some reading responses, in-class exercises and at least one artistic or ekphrastic interpretation of the material. Please be generous and thoughtful in your class discussions.
Cell Phones: Please turn them off. Brain surgery can wait.
I am available to conference with you at any time throughout the course. Please contact me in class or through the email address and we can set a time to meet.
JUNE (flowers brought to you by April showers—exact rhyme
T 14 Introduction.
The Jazz Age and Harlem Renaissance
Homework: Read Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants
Read Fitzgerald’s Winter Dreams
and be prepared to discuss the central themes of each, character development, tone, plot and effectiveness of dialogue. What does each reveal and withhold about their character’s motivations? To what effect? From the literary terms glossary be able to distinguish between a protagonist and a narrator. Also, try to get a feel for the antagonist. If you’re unclear about point-of-view, let me know and we’ll go over them more thoroughly. This site has all of those, plus the terms omniscient and omnipotent. Be able to define all of the italicized words and use them in tomorrow’s class discussion.
Read the poems of Langston Hughes and all of the introductory material on the main page. The links to the poems are on the right side of the page. Read the biographical material of Walt Whitman and all of the Songs of Myself poems, I Sing the Body Electric, When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd and When I Heard the Learned Astronomer. Be prepared to discuss the occasion of the poem: When Lilacs Last...
Read the biography of Emily Dickinson and the poems: Hope is the thing with feathers (254)
I cannot live with You (640) I felt a Funeral, in my Brain (280) I heard a Fly buzz (465) I like to see it lap the Miles (43) I measure every Grief I meet (561)
I taste a liquor never brewed (214) I tie my Hat—I crease my Shawl (443) I'm Nobody! Who are you? (260) It was not Death, for I stood up (510) It's all I have to bring today (26) Knows how to forget! (433) Like Brooms of Steel (1252) Luck is not chance (1350) My life closed twice before its close (96) One day is there of the series One Sister have I in our house (14) Safe in their Alabaster Chambers (216) The Outlet (162) The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman (1487) The Soul selects her own Society (303)
Watch the Voices and Visions video(return to the library).
Homework: Write a poem in imitation of either Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson or Langston Hughes. The poem must be a minimum of twenty lines and be typed. It will be due at the beginning of class on Tuesday 06/21.