E 377K • American Novel after 1920
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
The many enduring contacts and conflicts between culturally and ethnically diverse communities have always been of interest to American novelists. In this class, we will consider the contributions to this literary history made by authors who place these contacts and conflicts at the center of their work. In our consideration of the novels on the reading list, we will discuss issues such as literary representation and self-representation, cultural sovereignty, cultural authenticity, and community identity. The diverse regional, religious, and cultural contexts that inform these novels provide a broad variety of perspectives on what W. E. B. DuBois called in 1903 the problem of the twentieth century: the color line or, more specifically for this class, the color lines that these authors erase, negotiate, and, often, reconstruct in old and new ways.
Two 2-3 page critical essays 20% each
One 4-5 page critical essay 20%
Eight reading responses 40%
Attendance: Excessive absences (more than 5) will adversely influence your final grade.
Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)
William Faulkner, Light in August (1932)
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1970)
Ron Arias, The Road to Tamazunchale (1976)
Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988)
Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club (1989)
Sherman Alexie, Reservation Blues (1995)