ENG 241: American Literature Survey II                                                                                                                                                                                Spring 2012


Instructor: Jake Jakaitis

Classroom: Root Hall A110

Office:  Root Hall A209

Meeting Time:  M W F 12:00 to 12:50

Office Phone:  237-3269

Office Hours:  10 to 12 M & W, 5 to 6 Tu, and by appt.


Web Pagehttp://isu.indstate.edu/jakaitis/ 




ENG 241, a foundational survey of American literature from 1865 to the present, begins with post-civil war local color writers, and then covers realism and naturalism before moving on to modernism, the beat generation, and contemporary American literature.  The fiction, poetry, and drama of each period will be read and discussed, often with attention to historical and political contexts as well as to literary and aesthetic concerns.




The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter Seventh Edition.  Nina Baym, General Editor.  ISBN 978-0-393-93057-3.

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. [This is the national Big Read selection for 2012. The edition that we will use has not yet been determined, for the books will be provided by the Vigo County Public Library.]




1.  Attendance and Participation (10% = 100 Points)


Attendance:  Full attendance is expected.  Because we will open some class sessions with a quiz, punctuality is crucial to your success.  If you arrive late, it will be impossible to give you additional time to complete the assignment and since the class discussion following each quiz will rely on studentsŐ responses to the quizzes, completing the work after class is not an acceptable option.  If you accumulate 9 unexcused absences, you will fail this course.  Of course, all absences, excused or unexcused, affect your grade because each absence reduces your quiz and participation score.  If you have an excused absence for medical or other University approved reasons, it is your responsibility to make up missed work by appointment with me, preferably before the next class meeting.  Attendance will account for 5% of your course grade.


Participation:  Much of our time will be spent discussing the assigned readings.  Exemplary performance in these activities will demonstrate that you are effectively preparing and thinking about the material and will significantly increase your attendance/participation score.  After each class meeting, I will assign participation points to students who actively comment on the readings and promote meaningful discussion related to the specified goals of the course. At semester's end, I will assign you a letter grade for participation based on your accumulated point total. It is in your best interest to take notes and come to class prepared to ask questions or provoke discussion.  These practices will also prepare you to perform well on the short essays and the final project.  Conferences are not required but are encouraged. If you wish to meet with me but cannot attend my office hours, please arrange a conference with me at a more convenient time.  If you do intend to meet with me during one of my office hours, it is best to let me know that you are coming so that I can reserve the time for you. A semester goes by rather quickly; please see me immediately if you begin having difficulty with any of the course materials.  Participation will account for 5% of your course grade.


Professional Courtesy:  You will be expected to behave professionally in this college classroom.  Turn off cell phones before entering the room.  From the moment that you enter the classroom, you should be focused on the materials and assignments in this course.  Reading of newspapers or other material not directly related to work in this course will not be allowed in the classroom--neither before class has started nor during our formal class session.   If you are interested in reading newspapers or other materials unrelated to this course as you wait for class to begin, do so outside the classroom. Students who behave rudely, or who have to be asked to put down newspapers or other reading materials will lose participation points.  Under extreme circumstances, such students will be removed from the classroom or dropped from this course.  Laptops may be used for note-taking and for review of course materials posted in our on-line syllabus or for searches during class to support our discussions.  However, this privilege will be revoked for anyone using a laptop for e-mail, instant messaging, or any purpose not directly related to the ongoing class discussion.  If laptop use appears to become a problem, I reserve the right to demand that an individual immediately turn the display toward me for inspection.  Any student viewing material irrelevant to this course will be removed from the class.


2.   Quizzes (10% = 100 Points)


Class meetings will often open with a quiz.  These short examinations will either ask you to respond briefly to a few factual questions [usually 10] about the assigned reading, or require short essay responses that analyze and interpret assigned reading.  The latter responses must begin with topic sentences that directly answer the question and then supply specific story details to support the topic.  [See the "Essay Quizzes" link below.]  Simply quickly reading the assigned stories will not prepare you score well on these quizzes.  Instead, you must actively consider study questions, literary techniques, plot structures and conflicts, thematic concerns, or the relation of the assigned reading to material presented in lectures and discussions of previously assigned works.  Missed quizzes cannot be made up unless you have a medical, family emergency, or ISU program excuse. Essay Quizzes


3. Essay (20% = 200 Points)


You will write one 4-5 page [1,200-1,500 word], typed analytical documented paper on a topic of your choice.  The essay will be typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all four sides of the page.  Use a standard Times New Roman or Cambria 12 font size.  Essays will be submitted by e-mail attachment and will be returned in the same manner.  More detailed instructions for essay submissions, including an explanation of MLA documentation style and the course plagiarism policy, will appear in the essay assignment.


4.  Hour Examinations (40% = 400 Points)


During weeks five and eleven, you will write examinations including both short answer questions about concepts, terms, and assigned works discussed in class and an extended response to an essay question.  These examinations will cover the readings as well as the broad issues in American literature discussed in class. It is crucial that you attend the scheduled review class meeting for each examination. Each examination is worth 200 points or 20% of the course grade.


5.  Final Examination (20% = 200 Points)


You will complete a final examination covering material assigned from week eleven through the end of the semester.  Like the mid-term, the final will include both short answer and essay components.  The final will be written during our final examination class meeting on Wednesday, May 2, at 8:00 a.m. in Root Hall A110.




The following point totals are tentative guidelines and are subject to change based, for example, on the number of quizzes actually given during the semester.  I reserve the right to alter assignments and percentage values as the semester progresses.  If changes become necessary, I will inform the class in advance and post all changes on this site:



Attendance/Participation [10%]


Quizzes [10%]


Essay [20%]


Exam #1[20%]


Exam #2 [20%]


Final Exam [20%]






We will work on a 1,000–point system. In accord with the University's grading policy, including minus final grades, the following scale will be used: 920 points or higher = A; 900 = A-; 850 = B+; 820 = B; 800 = B-; 750 = C+; 720 = C; 7000 = C-; 650 = D+; 620 = D; 600 = D-; less than 600 = F.


 ****Retain this policy statement and all graded assignments until you receive your final grade. You will have little chance for grade review unless you are able to re-submit your graded work.


ENG 241: American Literature Survey II                                                   Spring 2012 Syllabus


This is a tentative schedule of readings and is subject to change as the semester continues. Please check the on-line syllabus and schedule of readings regularly, for I will frequently update with additional links and supporting information on texts and authors.  All reading assignments are in the Norton Anthology unless otherwise indicated.




WEEK ONE:  Course Introduction

 1-9   [M]        Course Introduction

    Late Registration Begins:  $30 Late Registration Fee


 1-11 [W]       "American Literature 1865-1914": 1255-69.


1-13  [F]         "Mark Twain": 1270-1273 & "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County": 1273-77.

WEEK TWO: Local Color Writers


1-16 [M]                     MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY:  NO CLASSES


1-18 [W]        "Sarah Orne Jewett": 1590-91 & "A White Heron": 1591-98.


1-20 [F]          "Kate Chopin": 1602-04; "At the 'Cadian Ball": 1604-11; & "The Storm": 1611-15.

WEEK THREE:  Realism


1-23 [M]         "William Dean Howells": 1463-65; "From Novel Writing and Novel -Reading: An Impersonal Explanation": 1747-50; & "Editha": 1465-75.


1-25 [W]        "Henry James": 1491-94; "From The Art of Fiction": 1750-52; & Daisy Miller: 1495-1532. Some Notes and Study Questions.


1-27 [F]          "Edith Wharton": 1695-96; & "The Other Two": 1697-1710.

WEEK FOUR:  From Realism to Naturalism


1-20 [M]         "Theodore Dreiser": 1761-63; "Theodore Dreiser: True Art Speaks Plainly": 1756-58; & two chapters from Sister Carrie: 1763-1777. Naturalism Study Questions


2-1   [W]         "Frank Norris:  A Pleas for Romantic Fiction": 1752-56; "Stephen Crane" & "The Open Boat": 1777-1795.


2-3   [F]          "The Blue Hotel": 1795-1814.

WEEK FIVE:  Examination #1


2-6   [M]                                             EXAM #1 REVIEW


2-8   [W]                                             EXAM #1                   


2-10  [F]         Robert Frost: 1951-52; "Mending Wall": 1953-54; "The Road Not Taken": 1960; "Stopping by the Woods...": 1963; & "Design": 1964.

                       Carl Sandburg: 1987-88; "Chicago," "Fog," & "Grass": 1988-1990.


We will not be able to cover all of the assigned poems in detail in a single class period. However, your task is to read the author background information and to develop a sense of each poet's practice and both content and formal emphases. Consider both the the formal qualities of the poems [meter, rhyme schemes, structure] and the ideas that govern each poet's work. We will discuss selections from each poet in class. Please arrive prepared to initiate discussion of the poems most interesting to you either because of their content or their formal qualities.                            

WEEK SIX:  Early 20th Century Poetry


2-13  [M]        Wallace Stevens: 1990-92; "The Emperor of Ice Cream": 1993; "Sunday Morning": 1994-97; & "Of Modern Poetry": 2000-01.

                        William Carlos Williams: 2007-09; "The Young Housewife": 2089; "Portrait of a Lady": 2010 ;"The Red Wheelbarrow": 2014; "This is Just to Say": 2015; "The Dance": 2015-16.

                       Breughel'sThe Wedding Dance; View the Painting before you read "The Dance."


2-15  [W]       Ezra Pound: 2018-19; "ToWhistler, American": 2020; "A Pact": & "In A Station at the Metro": 2021;"The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter": 2022.

                       H.D.: 2025-26; "Leda": 2027-28; "Fragment 113": 2028-29; "Helen": 2029-30.

                       Marianne Moore : 2030-31; "Poetry": 2031-32; "To a Snail": 2032-33; "The Paper Nautilus": 2033-34.


2-17  [F]         T.S. Eliot: 2037-39; "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock": 2039-42; "The Hollow Men": 2057-60.Exam #1 Results Exam #1 Results Word Version

WEEK SEVEN: Modernist Fiction


2-20  [M]        American Literature 1914-1945: 1881-1897; & "Sherwood Anderson," "Hands," & Mother": 1977-1987. Anderson at the Literature Network: Life and Works


2-22  [W]       "Ernest Hemingway" & "The Snows of Kilimanjaro": 2241-59. Hemingway Foundation    Hemingway Resource Center


2-24  [F]         "F. Scott Fitzgerald": 2184-86  & "Babylon Revisited": 2201-2215. F. Scott Fitzgerald Society

WEEK EIGHT: Mid-Century American Drama


2-27  [M]        "William Faulkner" & "A Rose for Emily": 2216-24.


2-29  [W]       "Eugene O'Neill" and A Long Day's Journey into Night Acts 1 & 2: 2065-2105. Essay on the play as an allegory for pre-WWII America.

                       The Eugene O'Neill Archive is a rich source of full text, study guides to the plays, and scholarly articles.


3-2    [F]         A Long Day's Journey into Night Acts 3 & 4: 2105-2143. Study Companion to the play.







WEEK TEN: Mid-Century American Drama


3-12  [M]        "Arthur Miller" & Act One of Death of a Salesman: 2460-92. Arthur Miller Society. Miller Biography.

                        This period in American literature includes quite a few other texts investigating American business practices and particulalry the role of salesmen in a culture experiencing

                         radical post-WWII cultural transformations. See, for example, Eudora Welty's short story, "Death of a Traveling Salesman," free on-line in this pdf.


3-14  [W]       Act Two of Death of a Salesman: 2492-2526.


3-16  [F]         "Tennessee Williams" & Scenes One through Five of A Streetcar Named Desire: 2334-2370. Biography, Filmography, and Critical Studies of Williams.

                        Williams also wrote about a travelling salesman in The Last of the Solid Gold Wacthes; see me if you would like to read a copy of this short, one act play. 


WEEK ELEVEN:  Examination #2


3-19  [M]        Scenes Six through Eleven of A Streetcar Named Desire: 2370-2398.


3-21  [W]                                           EXAM #2 REVIEW Preparation for Exam #2.


3-23  [F]                                             EXAM #2


WEEK TWELVE: The Beat Generation


3-26  [M]        "Jack Kerouac" and Excerpts from The Big Sur: 2542-51; "Gary Snyder" and Three Poems: 2633-2636; "Amiri Baraka" and Two Poems: 2695-2702

                        Kerouac On The Steve Allen Show [1959; Snyder Reading "Breasts"; Baraka Reading "The Way of Things (In Town)" & "Ugly."


3-28  [W]       "Allen Ginsberg": 2590-92, Howl: 2592-600, & "A Supermarket in California": 2601-02. Ginsberg Reading Howl Reading "A Supermarket in California"





WEEK THIRTEEN:  Mid-Century Poets


4-2   [M]         "Theodore Roethke" [2319-20] & His Poems [2320-23] Roethke Reading

                        "Randall Jarrell" [2424-25] & "Death of the Ball turret Gunner" & "Second Air Force" [2425-27] Jarrell Reading


4-4   [W]         "Denise Levertov" [2551-53] & Her Poems [2553-56] Levertov   Reading Six Poems

                        "Galway Kinnell " [2602] & His Poems [2603-06] Kinnell      Reading "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps"


4-6   [F]          "JohnAshbery" [2606-07] & His Poems [2607-11]     

                        "Adrienne Rich [2619-21] & "Storm Warnings" [2621-22] and "Diving In to the Wreck" [2626-28]     Reading "Diving into the Wreck    Reading More Poems



4-9   [M]         BRADBURY: Part One [3-68]


4-11  [W]       BRADBURY: Part II [71-110]


4-13  [F]         BRADBURY: Part III [113-165]      ESSAY ASSIGNMENT


WEEK FIFTEEN: Identity and Race


4-16  [M]        "Ralph Ellison" & Chapter I of Invisible Man: 2429-2440.


4-18  [W]       "James Baldwin" & "Going to Meet the Man": 2556-2568.


4-20  [F]         "Alice Walker" & "Everyday Use": 2771-2778.   SQ  Essay Due, Or is it?




4-23  [M]        "Toni Morrison" & "Recitatif": 2637-2651.


4-25  [W]       "Flannery O'Connor" & "Good Country People": 2568-2583.


4-27  [F]         "Raymond Carver" & "Cathedral": 2732-2743. FINAL EXAMINATION PREPARATION






[Attendance at the final examination period is mandatory.]