E 338 • American Lit from 1865-present-W
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Using F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic The Great Gatsby (1925) and Joseph ONeills critically acclaimed Netherland (2008) as historical bookends, this course will explore post-Civil War American literature through the concept of the "American Dream." Our central concern will be that of how national perceptions of individual success and collective belonging have changed from the late nineteenth century to the twenty-first. Are there limitssocial, economic, and otherwiseto the self-fashioning that is central to this dream? How did the suburbanization of the 1950s and 1960s alter U.S. notions of the ideal life? Finally, how have immigration and globalization reshaped not only what is means to arrive, but also what it means to be American? Indeed, can one still speak of such a nationally specific concept in our post-9/11, borderless world?
Two short papers (4 pages each) 40% Final exam 25% Reading responses/quizzes 20% Rough draft of first paper (4 pages) 15%
The reading list may include the following texts but is subject to change: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925), Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (1959), Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1984), Gish Jen, Mona in the Promised Land (1996), Joseph O'Neill, Netherland (2008)