ENGL 152
Family Matters: Family in Recent American Fiction Fall 2021
Division I Writing Skills

Class Details

“Anyone who has survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life” (Flannery O’Connor). A course designed to explore the representations of family in recent American literature. Family is our first community, and in the literature of family one commonly accepted convention emerges: family members are morally bound to one another. These bonds of blood, both liberating and limiting, have always been a literary convention. In this course, we will examine recent American fiction that explores such bonds. What do such narratives claim we want from our families? What do such narratives claim we’re willing to do to get it? Have recent narratives developed particular and characteristic strategies for approaching this topic? And are there importantly particularizing aspects of the American family? The goal of this course is to teach you how to write a clear, well-argued, and interesting analytical paper. We will spend most of our class time actively engaged in a variety of techniques to improve your critical reasoning and analytical skills, both written and oral. Though the skills you learn will be applicable to other disciplines, and a central purpose of the course is to improve all aspects of your writing, this is a literature class, designed partly to prepare you for upper level courses in the English Department, so we will, therefore, spend equal time on the interpretation of literature. Authors to be considered may include: Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Danielle Evans, Rick Moody, Junot Diaz, Amy Hempel, ZZ Packer, Lorrie Moore, Gish Jen, Cormac McCarthy, Edward Jones, among others.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 1902
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Active participation, written and verbal comments on published and peer work, the leading of one class discussion, five essays (2-7 pages each, most in multiple drafts, including a final radical revision of an essay of the student's choice).
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: First Year students
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: Five essays ranging from 2-7 pages each, most in multiple drafts. Students will receive extensive written comments on their writing skills, with suggestions for improvement, and may choose to meet with the professor individually outside of class as often as they'd like. Students will also comment (verbal and written) on published work and their peers' drafts, operating under the assumption that becoming a better writer involves becoming a better reader.

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