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  1. Write a 750-word (minimum) essay addressing one of the topics described below.  You must meet the minimum word count to get full credit.
  2. Your essays must include quotes from each text used to get full credit.  Be sure to quote, cite, and reference from the text(s) using appropriate APA format


Topic 1: Write an essay in which you compare Art Spiegelman’s Maus to a more traditionally formatted story assigned for this class or a comic book you are familiar with.  How are elements including theme, plot, and conflict different or alike in the two works?  How successful do you think Spiegelman is in conveying his message through the more unfamiliar format of the graphic novel?

Topic 2: Choose two texts that we’ve read from week 3 (you may use Trifles for one of them) and discuss them in relation to modernism.  Use the definition of modernism given in the Terms lecture from Week 3.  Make sure to explain what modernism is and show how the texts you chose demonstrate modernism.

Topic 3: View one of the films below.  Choose one character from the film and compare him/her to another character from another reading we’ve studied in class.  How are they similar?  Why did you choose these characters?  Do they have characteristics that you can relate to?  You may include elements of psychoanalytic criticism (see Week 2 Terms).

The table below identifies the three films you may choose from.


The Great Gatsby, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.  Available to rent on Amazon; available for streaming on Netflix as of May 2013;
also in theaters in May of 2013)
Of Mice and Men, based on John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel.  Available to rent on Amazon; available for streaming on Netflix as of May 2013

The Glass Menagerie, based on Tennessee Williams’s 1944 play. Available to rent on Amazon; available for streaming on Netflix as of May 2013


Week 1 – Beginnings to 1700 and American Literature 1700-1820

Required Reading

Assignments and Due Dates

Week 1 lectures

  • Terms
  • Authors
  • History
  • Poetry Terms
  • Frequently Asked Questions (Under Start Here)
  • APA Format (Under Start Here)
  • Essay Tutorial (Under Start Here)
  • Plagiarism Information (Under Student Resources)

Beginnings to 1700

Christopher Columbus

  • biography (p. 24)
  • “Letter to Luis de Santagel Regarding the First Voyage” (pp. 25-26)
  • “Letter to Ferdinand and Isabel Regarding the Fourth Voyage”
    (pp. 26-28)

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

  • biography (pp. 28-29)
  • from “The Relation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca” (pp. 29-35)

Anne Bradstreet

  • Biography (p. 110)
  • “To My Dear and Loving Husband” (p. 120)
  • “The Prologue” (pp.111-112)
  • ” In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet, Who Deceased August, 1665, Being a Year and a Half Old” (pp. 121-122)

Mary Rowlandson

  • biography (pp. 126-127)
  • from A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary
    (pp. 127-143)

American Literature 1700-1820

Red Jacket

  • biography (p. 229)
  • from “Reply to the Missionary Jacob Cram” (pp. 230-231)

Benjamin Franklin

  • Biography (pp. 234-236)
  • “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America” (pp.244-247)

Thomas Paine

  • Biography (pp. 323-324)
  • from Common Sense (pp. 324-331)

Phillis Wheatley

  • Biography (pp.401-403)
  • “On Being Brought from Africa to America” (p.403)
  • “To the University of Cambridge, in New England” (pp.404-405)
  • “To His Excellency General Washington ” (pp. 410-411)

Week 2 – American Literature 1820-1865 and 1865-1914

Required Reading

Assignments and Due Dates

Week 2 lectures

  • Terms
  • Authors
  • History
  • Elements of Fiction

American Literature 1820-1865

  • Timeline (pp. 464-466)
  • “Slavery, Race, and the Making of American Literature” (pp. 761-762)

Edgar Allan Poe

  • biography (pp. 683-687)
  • “The Fall of the House of Usher” (pp. 702-714)

Walt Whitman

  • biography (pp. 1005-1009)
  • “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (pp. 1069-1073)

Emily Dickinson

  • biography (pp. 1189-1193)
  • Poem 122 (“These are the days when Birds come back”) (p. 1194)
  • Poem 207 (“I taste a liquor never brewed”) (p. 1195)
  • Poem 236 (“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church”) (p. 1196)

Frederick Douglass

  • biography (pp. 934-938)
  • “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” (pp. 1002-1005)

American Literature 1865-1914

Kate Chopin

  • biography (pp. 1604-1605)
  • “The Story of an Hour” (pp. 1609-1611)

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

  • biography (pp. 1668-1669 )
  • “The Yellow Wall-paper” (pp. 1669-1681)
  • “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wall-paper'” (access using  this link)

Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • biography (pp. 1805-1806)
  • “Sympathy” (p. 1809)


Week 3 – American Literature 1914-1945

Required Reading

Assignments and Due Dates

Week 3 lectures

American Literature 1914-1945

Langston Hughes

  • biography (pp. 2221-2222)
  • “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (pp. 2222-2223)
  • “Mother to Son” (p. 2223)
  • “I, Too” (pp. 2223-2224)

Robert Frost

  • biography (pp. 1911-1912)
  • “Mending Wall” (pp. 1913-1914
  • “The Road Not Taken” (pp. 1919-1920)

Richard Wright

  • biography (pp. 2244-2245)
  • “The Man Who Was Almost A Man” (pp. 2245-2253)

F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • biography (pp. 2147-2149)
  • “Babylon Revisited” (pp. 2164-2178)

Willa Cather

  • biography (pp. 1861-1863 )
  • “Neighbor Rosicky” (pp. 1863-1883)

Susan Glaspell

  • biography (pp. 1926-1927)
  • Trifles (pp. 1927-1936) AND
    watch the performance of Trifles below


Week 4 – American Literature since 1945

Required Reading

Assignments and Due Dates

Week 4 lectures

American Literature after 1945

Robert Hayden

  • biography (pp. 2370-2372)
  • “Middle Passage” (pp. 2372-2376)
  • “Homage to the Empress of the Blues” (p. 2377)
  • “Those Winter Sundays” (p. 2377)

Raymond Carver

  • biography (pp. 2678-2679)
  • “Cathedral” (pp. 2679-2689)

Alice Walker

  • biography (pp. 2714-2715)
  • “Everyday Use” (pp. 2715-2721)

Art Spiegelman

  • biography (pp. 2734-2735)
  • from Maus (pp. 2736-2752)

Creative Nonfiction

  • “Creative Nonfiction” (p. 2803)

Edwidge Danticat

  • biography (p. 2827)
  • from Brother, I’m Dying (pp. 2827-2829)


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