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Diversity in American Lit.

Syllabus Creation Project

Brandon Castaneda

Course Description:
This class will bring up the ideas of many aspects of diversity in your studies. This includes areas
such as; The creation of America and all it stands for, narratives of captivity from the aspects of
African American slaves as well as those captured by Native Americans, as well as fiction and
not fiction short stories showing the lives and experiences of diverse writers. The following list is
a week by week description of what will be studied.

Reading List

Week 1:
Tuesday class:

Introduce the Main Themes of Literature, carry them throughout the semester.
Thursday class:

Hughes, Let America Be America Again.

Walt Whitman, I Hear America Singing
Langston Hughes, I, Too
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, America, I Sing You Back

Week 2:

Tuesday Class:
The Story of a Captive
Mary Rowlandson
Thursday Class:

Captured by Indians: Mary Jemison Becomes an Indian

Native History: White Child Abducted by Delaware Embraced Native Life
Week 3:
Tuesday Class:

Life in Slavery- Sarah Ashley

The poem Caged Bird by Maya Angelou
Sympathy Paul Laurence Dunbar
Thursday Class:

Two Slavery Stories- Dr. Elwood Harvey, Samuel Gridley Howe

Read about Fredrick Douglass
Week 4:
Tuesday Class:

Read a few Passages about how to read and analyze Poetry

This includes articles by University of Wisconsin-Madison: How to Read a Poem.
A few Poems could by Snow by David Berman, Deer Hit by Jon Loomis, or even
Mother to son by Langston Hughes.
Thursday Class:

Learn About Mark Twain

Read a Few Mark Twain Poems and Analyze why they are Diverse
Week 5:
Tuesday and Thursday Class:

Have Students choose between a few Novels: The Sympathizer by Viet Nguyen,
Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert, and Booked by Kwame Alexander. The next few
weeks will depend on the readings.
Read a Packet of famous poems by famous and diverse writers. Lead discussions on
how we interpreted them.
Week 6:
Tuesday and Thursday Class:

Start reading course novel.

Discuss what has been read of the novel. This is the focus of that week.
Week 7:
Tuesday and Thursday Class:

Continue reading novel.

Add a few short stories that are like the book chosen. This would be stories like,
shorts from The Refugees by Viet Nguyen, Stories of what it is like to live with
bipolar disorder, and stories about what it is like living with divorced parents.
Week 8:
Tuesday and Thursday:
Finish on reading the course novel.
Discuss why it was considered diverse and give reports about literary elements.
Week 9:

Judgement Day-Flannery OConnor

A Party Down at the Square-Ralph Ellison
Life in Slavery- Sarah Ashley Thursday:

On the Road-Langston Hughes

Saturday Afternoon-Erskine Caldwell

Week 10:
Tuesday and Thursday:

Start Reading Miss Evers Boys

Read about famous dramas, and why they are important in Literature.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
Week 11:

Try to Finish reading Miss Evers Boys lead discussion of the ending.

Watch the film, discuss the differences and why they made the choice to change
Week 12:

Learn about Octavia E. Butler

Read the short story Blood Child

Read the short story The Evening and the Morning and the Night
"Speech Sounds"
Week 13:

Dont Call Me by My Right Name- James Purdy

Unpopular Gals Margaret Atwood

The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I Stand Here Ironing Tillie Olsen
Week 14:

Happily Ever After by Eric Shanower

The Missing Person by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Dear Lang by Emma Donoghue

Week 15:

Revisit The Morning and The Evening and The Night

The Use of Force William Carlos Williams

Saboteur Ha Jin
Week 16:

A Man Who Had No Eyes Mackinlay Kantor

Ghost Boy - Elinor Nash

Beach Vacation - Dharval Mehta

Revisit "Speech Sounds"
There isnt a major amount of readings, and they arent all very long. The focus of this
reading list is to make it so you arent overwhelmed by reading too much. You will focus on the
readings that they will read for that day, and try to really understand it. That day, the readings
will be thoroughly discussed as a class.

Week one is focused on introducing the main elements of Literature, this includes
elements such as: Ecocriticism, Marxism, Critical Race Theory, Psychoanalysis, and others. The
readings to come throughout the semester will be discussed on which elements go with that days
readings. That week will also consist of some readings that put into question the country that we
live in.
Week two brings up the idea of Captivity Narratives. This week will be studying the
perspectives of those under captivity by Native American Indians. We will be discussing the
trials involved with their captivity as well as the perspectives not shown in the story. That would
be the perspectives of the Native Americans.

Week three is the African American slavery section. This will go through the experiences
of a few slaves. You will also be introduced to poetry in the form of some poems about slavery.
This is the section that will drive home the point of Critical Race Theory. You will also be
introduced to the African American writer Fredrick Douglass.

Week four is on how to properly read and analyze poetry. You will read the poems
beforehand, and in class we will all analyze them together. Poetry in a very important section of
literature. Poetry falls under many categories, learning how to read poems properly will carry
you through the rest of the semester. There is also an emphasis on a few diverse poets.

Week five is both for setting up the next few weeks as well as finishing some talking
from the previous ones. You will be given a packet of poems each day, and each day you need to
bring your thoughts and analyzation of these poems. We will discuss their meanings in detail.
You will also have chosen the novel for the semester, you are required to get the books. But I
will be lenient in the next week for you not getting it in time.

Week six and seven will be focused on what we have read each day. We are going to try
to get the novel done by week eight. You will also read a bit from the author of the novel that
you have chosen. We will study how these stories differ from the novel and the author. Week
eight will be finishing the novel as well as giving presentations from the novel.

Week nine is studying racism and its effects on people. Most of the readings for this
week is told from the perspective of African Americans and their experiences with racism. This
ranges from slavery, lynchings, and also day-to-day racism. This week will help set up for the
class drama.
Week ten is starting to read Miss Evers boys. This will mainly be in class together. You
will also learn a little bit about other famous dramas and why they are important in literature.
Thursday will have a few short story dramas.

Week eleven will be finishing the book and having a major discussion about what we
learned from the book. This week will also be watching the film version of the story. There are
some differences between the book and the film. You will be taking notes on the differences and
we will discuss them.

We will be introduced to Octavia E. Butler in week 12. She was a great author as well as
a prime example of successful diverse writers. We will be reading her short stories Blood
Child, The Evening and the Morning and the Night, and Speech Sounds. We will be
discussing the differences in her writing as well as the similar elements.

Week 13 is our feminism section. We will not only discuss examples of feminism in
literature, we will also be discussing feminism in general. Feminism is seen as being negative,
however it wasnt supposed to be that way. We will figure out why that is.

Week 14 is about studying queer theory in literature. We will be analyzing the works:
Happily Ever After, The Missing Person, and Dear Lang. These are all great examples of
stories that bring sexuality into question.

The 15th week is focused on how sickness is portrayed in books. You will revisit The
Morning and the Evening and the Night by Octavia Butler. As well as reading the works: The
Use of Force and Saboteur. These will lead into the last week, week 16.

Week 16 is the section on disabilities. You will again revisit the works of Octavia Butler
and analyze how disability is shown in literature. We will try to keep this week short.

By the end of the weeks, you should be able to understand diversity in American literary
texts. As well as be aware of the elements that every story could be analyzed with. You should
be able to properly read and analyze poetry. And hopefully, in the end, you will have a better
understanding of the world around you.