American Literature 2: 1865 to Present
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Butler Community College
English Department
Humanities/Fine Arts Division
Fall 1998
Course Outline
LT 216. American Literature II: 1865 to Present. 3 hours credit. Prerequisite: English Composition I (EG 101) with a C or better. This course includes representative work in prose and poetry from the Civil War to the present. Emphasis upon those writers whose works still affect and illustrate modern American thought will be emphasized.

The American Tradition in Literature, Eighth Edition (Shorter Edition in One Volume), ed. George Perkins, Schulley Bradley, Richmond Beatty, and E.

Hudson Long. New York: McGraw Hill, 1994.

The primary object of American Literature II is to provide reading, discussion, and writing experiences which will allow students to improve their knowledge, skills of interpretation, and understanding of American literature.

At the completion of this course, the student should demonstrate the following discussion and writing skills used in interpreting and understanding literary works:

  1. To compare and contrast literary works with the historical events which are related to them.
  2. To identify the philosophical ideas contained in a literary work.
  3. To examine the role of literature as a force in molding, reflecting, and interpreting American thought.
  4. To identify and state the peculiar aspects of content and form which mark a literary work as its author's own.
  5. to investigate the unique technical and theoretical contribution to American literature of each writer studied during the semester.
  6. To evaluate the philosophical and moral significance of each writer studied during the semester.
  7. To point out the rhetorical devices used, the poetic forms, or critical approach used by the writer.
  8. To analyze fictional works for plot, character, setting, point of view, and philosophical purpose and message.
  9. To appraise literary works according to aesthetic standards discovered by himself/herself.
(The two approaches given below are only two of several possibilities an instructor might use. An instructor might use a third approach.)

Chronological Approach (Selected literary works are discussed in the order in which they appear in the textbook. The dates below are approximate, not exact.)

  1. Transition to Modern American Literature--1850-1890 (Whitman and Dickinson)
  2. Realism, Local Color, and Naturalism--1860-1930 (Twain to Dreiser)
  3. Poetry, Fiction, and Disillusionment--1890-1945 (E. A. Robinson to e.e. cummings)
  4. Modern Poetry, Modern Fiction--1918-Present (Faulkner to Whomever)
Thematic Approach (Selected literary works are arranged according to common elements to cover the entire period of 1850 to the present, thus showing an evolution of the ideas discussed by the authors).
  1. Philosophers (Varying ways of deciding to act or not in a bewildering world).
  2. Short Stories and Chapters (From Mark Twain to Isaac Singer, showing the evolution of the short story in American literature).
  3. Walt Whitman and His Successors (American poetry from an unlikely source).
  4. Emily Dickinson (Major American poetry from an unlikely source).
  5. Reality and Sex (Varying emphasis on the content of the short story and poetry).
  6. Death (Varying uses of death as a major theme in American literature).
Methods of class instruction may include lecture, instructor-led class discussion, daily exercises, tests (including quizzes and chapter or unit tests), handouts, audio-visual aids, study guides, panel discussions, reports, writing assignments, book reports, or semester projects. All instructors may use these methods individually or in combination.

Telecourses: Independent study of audio/video materials augmented by text and study guide; collaboration and participation with class members and faculty via available means. Faculty role is facilitator of learning experiences.

Methods of evaluation may include the following: tests, both essay and objective; daily work; class participation; and other methods of evaluation (e.g., semester projects or book reports) at the discretion of the individual instructor.

Students with impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills are encouraged and have the responsibility to contact their instructor, in a timely fashion, regarding reasonable accommodation needs.