September 2004


Dear EGL 207 Weekender Participants:


Welcome to English 207: American Literature from 1865-present.  We will meet from 6-10:30 on Friday nights and 8:30-5 on Saturdays on the following weekends: Oct 8-9, 22-23, and Nov 5-6.  Please allow sufficient time to reach campus, park, and find the classroom so that we can begin promptly at 6:00.  Since we have a lot of ground to cover in three weekends, I have included some assignments to be completed before the first day of class:


1.      Buy the Heath Anthology of American Literature: Volume II.  Bring this book to every class.


2.   Read all of the selections listed in the syllabus for October 8 and 9, including the introduction to

each author.  All selections for the first assignment are in the Anthology.  Make sure you allow yourself enough time to read them before Oct 8.


2.      As you read, note the main elements of the fictional work: setting, plot, and characterization.  Ask questions like, “Why did the character say/do that?”  “Does the setting have an effect on what is happening in the story?”  “Why did the story end that way?”  These kinds of questions will help you come to understand what point the author is expressing in the story—in other words, the story’s theme.


3.      Be prepared to write short response papers on your reading.  These responses will show me whether or not you read and thought carefully about each selection.


Feel free to call me if you have any questions (301-322-0570).  I look forward to meeting you on Oct 8.





Wendy Perkins

Associate Professor of English








Dr. Perkins                                                                                                                                                                 M3058, 322-0570

Fall 2004                                                                                                                                                                     Hours: M/W 12-1, F 5-6





Our objective is to understand the evolution of American literature from 1865 to the present through the study of the following literary periods: Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, and contemporary literature. We will be examining a variety of literary voices that explore philosophical, historical, and cultural aspects of American experience. Several questions will guide our study:

--How does American literature represent how we establish a personal and social identity? Is our sense of ourselves inextricably linked to our historical moment? To what degree are we governed by historical, cultural, and biological realities?

--How and why do characters' experiences and responses change as we move from 1865 to the present? Is there any continuity that allows us to feel some bond with these figures from the past?

As we examine how novels, plays, and poetry define American experience, we will explore the techniques authors employ to effectively recreate reality.

The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume Two, Fourth Edition
The Great Gatsby.
Morrison. Beloved

Responses 25%
Midterm 25%
Research paper 25%
Final exam 25%
Student Responsibilities

--Please come to class on time. You will often be assigned writings at the beginning of each class 

   period.  No extra time will be allowed for lateness.  Work done in class cannot be made up.

--No absences are allowed.  If you miss any classes, you should expect a failing grade. 

--If you have a documented disability, please see me at the beginning of the semester so that we can make appropriate accommodations.

Expected Course Outcomes
Students successfully completing the course will be able to:

            1. Identify major authors and works of the period from 1880 to the present and explain their   

2. Identify and describe important literary movements and place specific works in their   


3. Explain how the social and intellectual climate has influenced the themes of recent 

   American literature.

4. Explain how literature reflects basic themes in American cultural history.
5. Apply at least one critical approach to reading and analyzing a text with documented 

6. Identify important literary forms in American literature.

Academic Integrity
Any work that you submit to me, including weekly conference responses, must be your own; any words, ideas, or data that you borrow from another source and include in your work must be properly documented. Plagiarism is not difficult to detect. Any student who plagiarizes will fail the course.



Oct 8-9            Introduction

                        Overview of Realism

Twain: Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog, The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg, A True Story, The War Prayer (1905)

Washington: Up From Slavery, Chapter 1

                        Chopin: Desiree's Baby

                        James: Daisy Miller

                        Oskison: The Problem of Old Harjo (1907)

Glaspell: Trifles


Oct 22-23        Naturalism

Crane: A Mystery of Heroism, The Open Boat, poems
London: South of the Slot



Hemingway: Hills like White Elephants

Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Faulkner: Barn Burning

e.e. cummings: Buffalo Bill's, the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls, i like my body when it is with yours, pity this busy monster, manunkind

The Great Gatsby



Nov 5-6           Harlem Renaissance

Langston Hughes: The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Negro, I, Too, The Weary Blues, Freedom Train, Harlem
Cullen: Incident, Heritage, Yet Do I Marvel
Hurston: The Gilded Six-Bits


                        Frost: "Out, Out--", Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Desert Places, Design

                        Brooks: The Mother

                        Baraka: Dutchman

                        O'Brien: In the Field

                        Morrison: Beloved

                        Final Exam


Nov 19            Research Paper Due