Alex E. Blazer Course Site Syllabus
Listservice Response Exam


American Literary Consciousness

English 291 (07968-2): U.S. Literature: 1865 to Present

Winter 2001, M/W: 3:30 - 5:18 P.M., Denney Hall 207

Listservice Response

Sign up for one slot.  Please submit your response to <>  no later than noon on the Saturday or Monday before the reading will be discussed.  For example, Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49  will be discussed on Monday, March 5, but the listserv response will be due Saturday, March 3.  This is especially important for your peers and I (who base class discussion on your responses) need time to read your responses.  Responses will be penalized one letter grade if they’re turned in late; those submitted on the day of discussion or after will receive no credit.


Week 1 No Listservs


Week 2 1-8: Clemens  
1-10: Clemens, continued Adam Chordock
Week 3 1-15  
1-17: Washington Zach Friedrick
1-17: Chestnutt Kelly Jackson
1-17: Du Bois

Andrea Evans

Hodan Siad

Week 4

1-22: Chopin

Andrea Cozza

Erin Hardin

Lisa Kretchmer

1-24: Chopin, continued Laura Crawford
1-24: Jewett Brian Watson
1-24: Gilman Sarah Weber
Week 5 1-29: Robinson

Brian Dorion

1-29: Frost Adam Nation
1-29: Sandburg Joel Bennink

1-31: Faulkner

Lauren Deis

Jen Green

David Riggle

Week 6 2-5: McKay

Josh Mueck

2-5: Toomer Kevin Crowley
2-5: Hughes Stephanie Tsakeris
2-5: Cullen

Sarah Barry

Gary Childers

Week 7 2-12: Pound

Amanda Kaye

Ashley Martin

2-12: Eliot

Angela Jann

Art Lorr

2-14: O'Neill

Misty Fuller

Lindsey Stewart

Week 8 2-19 Lowell

Sam Wyson

2-19 Ginsberg

Beth Kemp-Warner

Alex Triplet

2-21 Ellison

Henry Altshuler

Jane Weikle

2-21 Baraka J. D. Bates
2-21 Reed Donovan Hales
Week 9 2-26 Rich

David McLennan

2-26 Plath

Al Goerrs

Joseph Perkins

2-28 Williams

Lea Ann Chambers

John Rensink

Nina Vitale

Week 10 3-5 Pynchon

Kendra D. Baker

Matt Gibson

Sarah Yoho

Finals Week No Listservs  

Take-Home Midterm Exam

  1. Welcome to the Machine: Individualism is a mainstay of the American character; consequently, when the individual in conflict with society's rage to conform is a major theme in American literature. Compare and contrast the machinations of two individual character's (or poetic speaker's) ethical struggles within the morality of their particular social system. How do they feel constrained? How do they (or do they even) transcend the system? Choose from Twain, Chestnut, Chopin, and Robinson, Frost, and Hughes.
  2. Gender Trouble: From what we've read, gender issues don't seem to be on the radar until women bring them up at the turn of the century; further, it could be argued that they recede afterward, at least inasmuch as we read writing by men. Compare and contrast a turn of the century women writer's conception of patriarchy, the status of woman, and gender relations with a modernist male writer's. Choose from Chopin, Jewett, and Gilman for female writers and Frost, Faulkner, and Hughes for male writers.
  3. Dysfunctional Family Bonding: We haven't read many family portraits thus far, perhaps because authors are so focused on issues of the individual's relationship to society. However, we should take note when we do see a family. Compare and contrast family dynamics in the work of two authors. What drives these families into dysfunction? What compels them to create a more perfect union? How do issues of individualism and social standards play into family discord? Choose from Twain, Chopin, Perkins, and Faulkner.
  4. Race Relations and the Harlem Renaissance: Discuss the ways that the Washington/Du Bois debate from the turn of the century was carried out in the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance. How do (or just do) the poets reconcile their double-consciousness? On what basis do some poems offer conciliation or radical critique? Use Washington and Du Bois as well as two poets of the Harlem Renaissance McKay, Toomer, Hughes, and Cullen.
  5. Regionalism and Renaissance vs/and Nationalism: Even while building a national literature, the rugged individualism of America shines in regionalism and the Harlem Renaissance. How are the two goals mutually exclusive and how are they compatible? Compare and contrast the ways in which a regionalist and a Harlemite writer strives to celebrate and preserve her particular community while simultaneously tapping into the general American worldview. Among regionalists, choose from Chopin, Jewett, and Frost and Faulkner; among Harlemites, choose from McKay, Toomer, Hughes, and Cullen.