it mean to be an American?
do we define success in a country that guarantees our freedom
to the "pursuit of happiness"? What is it, how do we
get it, how much does it matter? What is the relationship between
cultivation and material success? How can we believe in the value
of equality if we also believe in the value of success?
do we deal with differences in a country composed of people of
different nationalities, religions, and political opinions? Are
there some characteristics that all Americans are expected to
share? How do Americans go about the process of persuading other
Americans to accept them and their views?
kind of national "conversation" has allowed Americans
to develop answers to these questions? What role does literature
play in that conversation; what other voices take part in the
conversation? Does literature offer any "answers"?
What issues, if any, continue to be contested in literature?
Do any answers remain consistent over time and across texts?
Do we really listen to the answers or use them in our lives?
Beneath each date on the syllabus, you will
find the reading, writing, and reflection assignments that should
be completed before coming to that day's class. Any writing assignment
that is turned in after the class in which it was due will receive
a lowered grade. Unless you are given other instructions, you
need not do any work with the online resources listed below before
coming to class.
Links to other syllabi and earlier versions of this site: