Jul 25, 2024  
2010 January Bulletin 
    
2010 January Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

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ENGL 192Z - American Killers, American Saints

Semester Hours: 3
Much like a common language or heritage, violence is essential to social order. Governments enforce laws by threatening punishment, and nations impose their will by preparing for war. Yet violence, anthropologists tell us, can also serve sacred ends, promote faith, or draw believers closer to God. Americans have long understood this paradox. Our culture has used violence to unify and inspire, even as violent acts have scarred and harmed. This course will explore the social uses of violence—its beauty and terror, its senselessness and serious purpose—by examining great American texts. We will range widely from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Beginning with Indian captivity narratives by Mary Rowlandson and Charles Brockden Brown, we will later consider the turbulent period ending in civil war, reflected in the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, the poetry of Walt Whitman, and Stephen Crane’s great novel, The Red Badge of Courage. Texts in the 20th century include F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and short stories by Ernest Hemingway. We will conclude the course with a Vietnam-era novel, Ron Kovic’s Born on the Fourth of July, and view the film adaptation by Oliver Stone, starring Tom Cruise. Throughout the course we will explore the mysterious process that renders even the greatest villains symbols of national redemption. Written requirements include two response papers and two longer essays.

January 2010 Offering:
10245: MTWRF, 5:30-9:15 p.m.; Fichtelberg; 101 Brower





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