Modern and Contemporary American Literature



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Modern and Contemporary American Literature
Prof. Irma Maini Office: G 262

Office hours: T 6-7, R 2-3, 6-7 and by appointment Phone: (201) 200-3077

Mailbox: English department G 303 E-mail: imaini@njcu.edu
Required Text:

The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol II (fourth edition)


Beloved by Toni Morrison
Course Requirements:

Writing assignments:

In-class Essays (2)

Research Paper (6-8 pages), In-class Final

All written assignments must be completed in order to pass the class. Late assignments will be downgraded by a letter grade for each day they are late.



Discussion Leader: Each student will lead discussion on one of the assigned authors. Do some background research on the critical reception of the work. Come prepared with at least five questions that address the issues, ideas, and techniques of the reading that will help stimulate class discussion. Make connections with earlier readings. You are the teacher for this portion of the class and you will be responsible for engaging the class in a lively and meaningful discussion. Hand me your lesson plan and research materials after your presentation.

Participation and Attendance: This class will be run as a seminar, so do come prepared to participate actively in the discussion and give thoughtful and substantive commentary on the readings.



Evaluation Criteria:

30% In-class Essays (2)

25% Research Paper

15% Final

15% Quizzes, participation, and attendance

15% Discussion leadership


Plagiarism Policy:

The NJCU student handbook defines plagiarism as the attempt: “a) to steal and pass off ideas or words of another as one’s own, b) to use material without crediting the source, and c) to present as new and original an idea, phrase, or statement derived from an existing source.” In other words, if you copy words or ideas from the Internet, a book, a newspaper, or any other source, and do not use quotation marks, parenthetical citations, and a works cited page, you may be plagiarizing. The English department considers plagiarism a flagrant violation of academic integrity. Plagiarism in this course will result in automatic dismissal from the course, a grade of “F” for the course, and a report of the incident to the Dean of Students.



Schedule
Jan 18: Introduction; Glaspell’s Trifles (handout)
Jan 25: Yezierska’s “America and I” (1727), Donato’s “Christ in Concrete” (1939), Olsen’s “I Want you Women up North to Know” (1324), Poetry by Early Chinese Immigrants (1955)

Feb 1: Wright’s “Bright and Morning Star” (1889), Ellison’s “A Party Down at the Square” (2147), McKay’s “Lynching” (1675), Brooks, selected poems (2280)


Feb 8: Hansbery’s A Raisin in the Sun (2389)
Feb 15: McNickle’s “Hard Riding” (1836), Alexie’s “Because my Father …” (2927)
Feb 22: O’Brien’s “In the Field” (2741), “The Things they Carried,” (handout) Bly, selected poems (2760), Komunyakaa (2768)
Mar 1: In-class Essay I, From Okada’s No-No Boy (2203)
Mar 8: Spring Break
Mar 15: From Bulosan’s America is in the Heart (2088), From Rivera’s and the earth did not devour him (2782), Hagedorn “Homesick” (2897)
Mar 22: Morrison’s Beloved

Mar 29: Continue Beloved


Apr 5: In-class Essay II, Lahiri (handout)

Apr 12: Yamamoto’s “Seventeen Syllables” (2535), Ginsberg, selected poems (2293)


Apr 19: Due: Research Paper proposal. Plath, selected poems (2368), Rich selected poems (2525)
Apr 26: Due: First Draft of Research Paper. Peer workshop. Poetry selections: “AmeRican” (3046), “Latin Women Pray” (3044)
May 3: TBA
May 10: Due: Final Draft of Research Paper. Final

Modern and Contemporary American Literature
Prof. Irma Maini Office: G 262

Office hours:T:3-4, R 3-7 and by appointment Phone: (201) 200-3077

Mailbox: English department G 303 E-mail: imaini@njcu.edu
Required Text:

The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol II (fourth edition)


Beloved by Toni Morrison
Course Requirements:

Writing assignments:

Paper I (3-5 pages), In-class Midterm

Paper II (6-8 pages), In-class Final

Complete all written assignments and hand them in on time. Late assignments will be downgraded by a letter grade for each day they are late.



Discussion Leader: Each student will lead discussion on one of the assigned authors. Do some background research on the critical reception of the work. Come prepared with at least five questions that address the issues, ideas, and techniques of the reading that will help stimulate class discussion. Make connections with earlier readings. You are the teacher for this portion of the class and you will be responsible for engaging the class in a lively and meaningful discussion. Hand me your lesson plan and research materials after your presentation.

Participation and Attendance: This class will be run as a seminar, so do come prepared to participate actively in the discussion and give thoughtful and substantive commentary on the readings.



Evaluation Criteria:

20% Paper 1

25% Paper 2

15% Midterm

15% Final

15% Quizzes, participation, and attendance

10% Discussion leadership
Plagiarism Policy:

The NJCU student handbook defines plagiarism as the attempt: “a) to steal and pass off ideas or words of another as one’s own, b) to use material without crediting the source, and c) to present as new and original an idea, phrase, or statement derived from an existing source.” In other words, if you copy words or ideas from the Internet, a book, a newspaper, or any other source, and do not use quotation marks, parenthetical citations, and a works cited page, you may be plagiarizing. The English department considers plagiarism a flagrant violation of academic integrity. Plagiarism in this course will result in automatic dismissal from the course, a grade of “F” for the course, and a report of the incident to the Dean of Students.



Schedule
Sep 4: Introduction; Glaspell’s Trifles
Sep 11: Yezierska’s “America and I” (1727), Donato’s “Christ in Concrete” (1939)

Sep 18: Wright’s “Bright and Morning Star” (1889), Ellison’s “A Party Down at the Square” (2147), McKay’s “Lynching” (1675)


Sep 25: Hansbery’s A Raisin in the Sun (2389)
Oct 2: Petry’s “Like a Winding Sheet” (handout), Gaines’ “The Sky is Gray” (2673)
Oct 9: Due: First draft of Paper 1. Brooks, selected poems (2280)
Oct 16: Morrison’s Beloved
Oct 23: Due: Second draft of Paper 1. Continue Beloved
Oct 30: Midterm; Plath, selected poems (2368)
Nov 6: From Bulosan’s America is in the Heart (2088), From Rivera’s and the earth did not devour him (2782)
Nov 13: McNickle’s “Hard Riding” (1836), Alexie’s “Because my Father …” (2927)

Nov 20: Due: Paper 2 proposal. Ginsberg, selected poems (2293), O’Brien’s “In the Field” (2741)


Nov 27: Thanksgiving!

Dec 4: Due: First Draft of Paper 2. Yamamoto’s “Seventeen Syllables” (2535), Rich, selected poems (2525)


Dec 11: Poetry selections: “AmeRican” (3046), “Latin Women Pray” (3044); Review
Dec 18: Due: Final Draft of Paper 2. Final

Schedule


Jan 22: Introduction
Jan 23: Handout
Jan 27: Bourne’s “Trans-National America” (1716)
Jan 29: Yezierska’s “America and I” (1727)
Jan 30: Donato’s “Christ in Concrete” (1939)

Feb 3: Odet’s Waiting for Lefty (1788)

Feb 5: Continue Odets
Feb 6: Le Suer’s “Women on the Breadlines” (1805)
Feb 10: Wright’s “Bright and Morning Star” (1889)
Feb 12: Ellison’s “A Party Down at the Square” (2147)
Feb 13: Bellow’s “’Looking for Mr. Green” (2482)

Feb 17: President’s day holiday!


Feb 19: Hansbery’s A Raisin in the Sun (2389)
Feb 20: Continue Hansberry
Feb 24: Due: First draft of Paper 1. Brooks, selected poems (2280)
Feb 26: Student conferences
Feb 27: Student conferences
Mar 3: Due: Second draft of Paper 1. Petry’s “Like a Winding Sheet” (handout)
Mar 5: Gaines’ “The Sky is Gray” (2673)
Mar 6: Midterm

March 10-15: Spring break!


Mar 17: Morrison’s Beloved

Mar 19: Continue Beloved

Mar 20: Continue Beloved
Mar 24: From Bulosan’s America is in the Heart (2088)
Mar 26: From Rivera’s and the earth did not devour him (2782)
Mar 27: Viramontes’ “The Cariboo Café” (3050)

Mar 31: Miller’s The Crucible (1973)

Apr 2: Continue The Crucible

Apr 3: Continue The Crucible


Apr 7: Ginsberg, selected poems (2293)
Apr 9: Inada, selected poems (2547)
Apr 10: TBA
Apr 14: McNickle’s “Hard Riding” (1836)
Apr 16: Alexie’s “Because my Father …” (2927)
Apr 17: Handout
Apr 21: Plath, selected poems (2368)
Apr 23: Rich, selected poems (2525)
Apr 24: Due: Paper 2 proposal. Continue Plath and Rich
Apr 28: O’Brien’s “In the Field” (2741)
Apr 30: Mukherjee’s “A Wife’s Story” (3062)
May 1: Due: First Draft of Paper 2
May 5: Student Conferences
May 7: Student Conferences
May 8: TBA
May 12: Due: Final Draft of Paper 2. Review
Final exam: TBA
Professor Irma Maini American Literature III

Midterm

You only have 50 minutes so organize your time well. Spend a few minutes brainstorming or thinking your ideas through before writing your essay. Please do not write a plot summary. If you want to use a quote from the book, simply write the first and last words of the quote and give the writer’s name and page # in parenthesis.





  1. Choose any one of the following groups of writers. Write an essay making connections between the ideas, issues, themes, or style of these writers as presented in the works we have read by them this semester. Be sure to give specific examples and references from their works. (80 points)




  1. Yezierska, Di Donato, and Bourne

OR





  1. Wright, Odets, and Gaines

OR





  1. Petry, Hansberry, and Ellison


  1. Discuss the symbolic significance of the title and the ending of any one work we have read this semester. (20 points)

Professor Irma Maini American Literature III



Midterm


(Take home)

Choose any one of the following groups of writers. Write a well-organized essay making connections between the ideas, issues, themes, symbols, and/or narrative style of these writers as presented in the works we have read by them this semester. Be sure to make connections between all three writers and avoid a simplistic compare-contrast essay. Give specific examples and references from their works. Please do not write a plot summary. You don’t need to do any research for this essay. Use the MLA style for any quotes you use in your essay (i.e. after each quote give the last name of the writer and page in parenthesis).




  1. Yezierska, Di Donato, and Hansberry

OR





  1. Wright, O’Brien, and Alexie

OR





  1. Hansberry, McNickle, and Ellison



Plagiarism Policy:

The NJCU student handbook defines plagiarism as the attempt: “a) to steal and pass off ideas or words of another as one’s own, b) to use material without crediting the source, and c) to present as new and original an idea, phrase, or statement derived from an existing source.” In other words, if you copy words or ideas from the Internet, a book, a newspaper, or any other source, and do not use quotation marks, parenthetical citations, and a works cited page, you may be plagiarizing. The English department considers plagiarism a flagrant violation of academic integrity. Plagiarism in this course will result in automatic dismissal from the course, a grade of “F” for the course, and a report of the incident to the Dean of Students.

Professor Irma Maini American Literature III

Final

Respond to one question from each section. Spend a few minutes brainstorming or thinking your ideas through before writing your essay. Please do not write a plot summary. Give specific examples from the works to support your ideas. If you want to use a quote from the book, simply write the first and last words of the quote and give the writer’s name and page # in parenthesis.


Part I

Choose any one of the following: (30 points)




  1. Many of the works we read brought up the issue of memory and remembering. Discuss the significance of this issue in any two works. What is the writer’s purpose in using it? How does it contribute to our overall understanding of the work?




  1. Analyze the use of violence in any two works. Why do these writers use images of violence? Do they succeed in their purpose? How does their use of violence contribute to our overall understanding of the work?




  1. Examine the way writers use wit and humor in any two works. What is the significance of humor/wit in these stories? Why do the writers use it?

Part II

Analyze the symbolic significance of the title or the ending of any 5 of the following: (50 points)




  1. Beloved 2. Howl

3. Hard Riding 4. In the Field

5. A Wife’s story 6. America is in the Heart

7. And the Earth did not devour him 8. The Cariboo Café

9. The Crucible 10.Daddy

11. Because my Father…

Part III


Choose any one of the following: (20 points)


  1. Toni Morrison, Arthur Miller, Tim O’Brien, Sylvia Plath, and Sherman Alexie are at a party together. Imagine their conversation.




  1. Sethe, John Proctor, Victor, the unnamed narrator (And the earth did not devour him), and Panna are at a party together. Imagine their conversation.

Professor Irma Maini American Literature III



Final

Spend a few minutes brainstorming or thinking your ideas through before writing your essay. Please do not write a plot summary. Give specific examples from the works to support your ideas. If you want to use a quote from the book, simply write the first and last words of the quote and give the writer’s name and page # in parenthesis. You may use your books and handouts but not your notes.


Part I

Choose any one of the following: (50 points)


Throughout the semester we’ve been talking about the idea that texts are not static artifacts with self-contained meanings but are strategic examples of what one writer calls “cultural work.” In other words, texts are products of cultural confrontation, negotiation, and transformation. Critically analyze any two works (except Beloved) within the context of this idea taking into account the socio-political, and/or historical background of the work.
OR
Chicana writer Gloria Anzaldua says, “Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the ‘real’ world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.” Critically examine any two works (except Beloved) using the ideas in this quote. Make sure you situate your discussion within the context of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and/or sexuality.


Part II

Analyze the symbolic significance of the title or the ending of any 5 of the following works. Make sure you relate it to the meaning of the work as a whole: (50 points}


1. Howl 2. Hard Riding

3. Seventeen Syllables 4. Orbiting

5. And the Earth did not devour him 6. Diving into the Wreck

7. In the Field 8. Daddy



9. Because my Father Always said he was the only Indian who saw Jimi Hendrix Play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock

10. This Blessed House


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