American Literature 2

In this course we will be looking at American literature from World War I up to the present day. We will be reading two novels and a play, as well as a sampling of short stories and some poems. One focus in reading these stories will be to see how they reflect American history and society.

Course Policies

The seminar is mainly discussion based. This means that you should come to class prepared and having read the text for that week. Be sure to read the original work in English (language, after all, is the purpose of this program) and do not rely on short summaries of the work from the Internet. Important details are often missing from these summaries, and they seldom do justice to the work itself. In order to prepare you for the discussion, another assignment is to keep a reading journal each week. This means a one-page reaction to the reading, done in your own words. You may choose one work or both for that particular week. The reading journal is not a formal essay; it is just a reflection on your part about the work. Grading for the journals is based on having done them and not upon grammar. Journals should be at least 350 words and may be done on a blog.

In addition to keeping up with the readings, you should complete the worksheets on the readings for that week before coming to class. The worksheets contain questions about the readings and are intended to prepare students for the seminar discussion and the final test at the end of the semester. The questions are not difficult, though they are designed to get you thinking about the story. If there is no quiz for that week, the worksheets will be collected and graded. Worksheets are available by clicking the date on the website for that particular week.

Many of the readings are available online and can be accessed by links on the class page. Since this is an English program and the overall goal is to improve your language skills, it is expected that students complete all the readings and read them in English.

For all the writing you do, remember: no re-telling of the story and no plagiarism (copying or not identifying your sources). In the latter case, the writing will receive an automatic 1 (one, egy, eins, un, uno)--no re-writes.

Since the seminar only meets every other week, in the off-week you are expected to comment on the class forum (Google Groups) for that week’s topic. The topics are either poetry or continuations of the previous in-class discussion, depending on whether we have finished the topic or not. Some form of comment is part of your class participation grade and counts toward attendance. However, commenting does not substitute physical presence in the seminar—you may miss a maximum of three class sessions for any reason whatsoever. Missing four or more means no signature.


For the seminar you get a gyakoralati jegy, which is based on 4 factors:
• Class participation (40%)
• Quizzes/worksheets (20%)
• Reading journal (10%)
• In-class test (30%)


9.9 Poetry: Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg

16.9 Poetry

23.9 "Hills Like White Elephants" & "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber" by Ernest Hemingway

30.9 Read The Great Gatsby

7.10 "Dry September" & "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

14.10 Poetry (Robert Frost) (Stopping by ..." & "The Road Not Taken")

21.10 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

28.10 Autumn break (no instruction)

4.11 "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O’Connor
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

11.11 Film version of Gatsby

18.11 "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates
"Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin

25.11 Poetry

2.12 You're Ugly, Too" by Lorrie Moore & "Cortes Island" by Alice Munro

9.12 Take-home test due