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Dialogue Journal #2


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Course Number and Title: American Literature 1
Number of Credits: 3
Instructor Name: Sos Bagramyan
Email Address:
Telephone Number: 51 27 69
Office Location: Paramaz Avedisian Building, 132W
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 8am-9am
Term/Year: Spring 2015

ENGL 120 – American Literature 1
This survey course introduces students to American literature from the beginning of European contact to the present, focusing on major authors and different literary genres. It examines the historical influences on the evolution of this body of literature and the construction of a distinct and complex American identity. Through close reading, class discussion and their own research and writing, students will explore how themes such as gender, race, class, spirituality, economics, and the environment play a role in the formation and evolution of the American experience Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

Required Materials: All readings are located in PDF format on our course’s Moodle page.

Academic Integrity: All graded assignments must completed individually. Plagiarism is a serious offense, and any attempt to pass off another person's ideas and writings as your own will result in severe disciplinary measures, possibly expulsion from the university. This also applies to your Informal Responses, which should reflect your own understanding of the material and not simply repeat what I or your classmates have already said. Students are required to conduct themselves in an academically responsible and ethical manner in line with the Student Code of Ethics. These acts are subject to disciplinary measures as prescribed in the AUA Code of Student Ethics (

Course Structure: You are expected to have done the readings for each day and be ready to discuss the day’s reading when assigned, or come prepared to participate in an activity as noted on the syllabus. You will have a number of written assignments of varying difficulty and point value, which are outlined below.

Method of Evaluation:
Online Reading Responses: 150 Points
Explication Exercise: 200 Points
In Class Writing: 150 Points
Argument Paper: 300 Points
Total Points: 800 Points


Online Reading Responses: Each week, you are expected to free write on a blog (this will be on our course’s moodle page). This assignment should include at least one quote from the week’s readings, and claims that correspond to those quotes. Each posting will be worth 10 points, totaling 150 points for the semester.

Explication Exercise: In a 1-2 page short paper will ask you to present an analytical reading of passage from one of the readings we have read in class. If you are working on a poem, you must write on the entire poem. In order to complete this assignment, you must demonstrate that you have read the text in question thoroughly and critically. You must also present your argument in a well-organized, persuasively written reading of a passage that will entail textual evidence and analysis of language.

In-Class Writing: This writing assignment will be done in class randomly each week. You will have one question/topic to which you will have to reply for the week. Each write up will be worth 10 points, totaling 150 points for the semester.

Argument Paper: You will have a choice between two kinds of essay questions for this paper. The first question will ask you to compare two texts we’ve read in class. The second will ask you a focused question that will be applicable to a single text. In 3-5 pages, you are expected to give a present a debatable thesis and provide textual support explaining the validity of your argument.

Course and University Policies
Library and Media/Technology Use: Students are encouraged to use supplemental online and reference materials available at the library to enhance their overall learning in the course. Students are encouraged to use audio-visual aids and presentation software as appropriate. If students have any questions or need additional support in using library resources or technology, they should confer with library staff, ICT, or the instructor.

Late Policy: Assignments will be deducted 1/3 a letter grade for each day they are late. For example, if your grade for an assignment is an A- and it is late, it will be deducted to a B+ after one day. After 2 days, it will be a B, and so on. After 3 days you will receive an F on the assignment. Please turn in all of your work on time. There will be no make up times given for the midterm exam.

Policy on Grade Appeal
Students are entitled to appeal grades in line with the university’s grade appeal policy which is available online at

Special Needs: Students requiring special accommodations for learning should contact the instructor or Dean by end of Drop/Add period with such requests.

Schedule & Topics: Week | Topic | Reading | Non-Reading Home Tasks | 1 | Literary Analysis and Oral Literature | T: Introduction/Thompson’s Form and MeaningTH: The Bungling Host (70-74), Iroquois Creation Story (17-20), Pima Stories of the Beginning of the World (21-24) | | 2 | Diversity of Experience in Early American Literature | T: Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (207-218); Equiano, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” TH:(351-360); Wheatley, “On Being Brought from Africa to America”; “To His Excellency General Washington” (367, 374-375); Irving, “Rip van Winkle” (448-459); | | 3 | American Transcendentalism | T: Emerson, “Nature” (485-513)TH: Thoreau, “Resistance to Civil Government” (837-852); Conclusion to Walden (931-938) | | 4 | Literature Until the American Civil War II | T: (584-598); “Young Goodman Brown” (610-618); Poe, “The Raven” (697-700); “To Helen” (697); To --- Ulalume (701-703); TH: Whitman, “Spontaneous Me” (1058-1060); “Once I Passed Through a Populace City” (1060); “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (1061-1066); “When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer” (1070) | | 5 | Literature Until the American Civil War II | T: Douglass, “Life of Frederick Douglass” (942-973); Melville, “Bartleby, The Scrivener” (1086-1111)TH: Dickinson, “I never lost as much but twice” (1171); “I taste a liquor never brewed” (1172); “After great pain, a formal feeling comes” (1176); “Much Madness is divinest Sense” (1178); | Friday: Explication Exercise | 6 | The World of Mark Twain | T: Twain, Huckleberry Finn (1244-1286)TH: Twain, Huckleberry Finn (1286-1324) | | 7 | The World of Mark Twain | T: Twain, Huckleberry Finn (1324-1367)TH: Twain, Huckleberry Finn (1367-1406) | | 8 | The World of Mark Twain | T: Twain, Huckleberry Finn (1406-1432)TH: Bierce, “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” | | Spring Break | | M: SPRING BREAKW: SPRING BREAKF: SPRING BREAK | | 9 | The Borders of Modernity | T: James, “Daisy Miller: A Study.” (1501-1539); Crane, “The Open Boat” (1721-1738)TH: Frost, “The Oven Bird” (1888)“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (1891); Stevens, “The Snow Man” (1920), “Anecdote of the Jar” (1926) | Thursday: Explication Exercise Due | 10 | Literature Between the World Wars: The Lost Generation | T: Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow” (1940),; Pound, “In a Station of the Metro”; Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1975-1979); Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily” (2160-2166)TH: Eliot, “The Waste Land” (1981-1994) | | 11 | Different Forms of Modernity | T: Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (2227), “The Weary Blues” (on moodle); “Harlem” (on moodle); Fitzgerald, “Babylon Revisited”TH: cummings, “l(a” (on moodle); “as freedom is a breakfast food” (on moodle), “humanity I love you” (on moodle), anyone lived in a pretty how town” (2117-2118); Smith, “Not Waving but Drowning” (on moodle) | | 12 | Modern Disillusionment | T: Hemingway, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (2209-2224); “Hills Like White Elephants” (on moodle)TH: Anderson, “Mother” (1905-1910), “Queer” (1910-1916) | | 13 | Modern American Drama | T: O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night (2005-2043)TH: O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night (2043-2082) | | 14 | The Postmodern Novel | T: Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (Chapters 1-3)TH: Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (Chapters 4-6) | | 15 | Postmodern Poetry | T: Wright, “A Blessing” (2752); Plath, “Daddy” (2781), “Lady Lazarus” 2778-2781) TH: Argument Paper Due | Thursday: Argument Paper Due |

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