ENG 335 American Literature - Realism and Modern


  • Understand and appreciate literature as a valuable source of intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic experience reflecting and enriching the human experience.
  • Understand how historical events and philosophical ideals helped shape American realist and modern literature and how the literature from these periods conversely shaped history, culture and philosophy.
  • Strengthen ability to carefully analyze literature and the ability to effectively present that analysis in oral discussions and written documents.


English 335 examines American works of literature from Realist and Modern periods. It focuses on select works and authors, the influence of historical events and philosophical ideas, and specific literary trends. To gain a greater understanding of the material covered in this course, we will read various novels, poems, short stories, and plays. We will write papers, complete exercises, and take tests and quizzes, all in an effort to broaden and deepen our intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic experiences. In this course, we will not only read and interpret great American works, but we will also gain an understanding of the political, philosophical, literary, and historical contexts in which these works were created.

Learning Model Architecture

This course follows the regular rhythm of the BYU-Idaho Learning Model by allowing students to prepare, teach one another, and ponder/prove. Students are required to prepare each week by completing various readings by authors such as Mark Twain, Willa Cather, and E. E. Cummings. They will teach one another by participating in class discussions and will ponder/prove through quizzes, essays, and tests.

  • American Literature: Volume 2 by William E. Cain (ISBN-10:0321116240 ISBN-13:978-0321116246)
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain (ISBN-10:0553211439, ISBN-13:978- 0553211436)
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (ISBN-10:0684801469, ISBN-13:978-0684801469);
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (ISBN-13:978-1451673319)
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (ISBN-10:0679728899, ISBN-13:978-0679728894)
  • As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text by William Faulkner (ISBN-10:067973225X, ISBN-13:978-0679732259)
  • Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck (ISBN-10:0140053204, ISBN-13:978-0140053203)

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Grading Policies

Grades will be divided into the following areas:

Quizzes (15%)

  • Throughout the semester, you will take weekly quizzes designed to test your understanding of assigned readings.

Tests (20%)

  • Two tests will be given throughout the semester. These tests will ask you to demonstrate your understanding of key literary concepts, to engage in precise textual analysis, and to write coherently and insightfully about literature.

Major Essays (40%)

  • This semester, you will write two fully-developed, well-researched academic essays.

Exercises/Discussions (25%)

  • Throughout the semester, I will ask you to complete various writing exercises that will help you explore your understanding of literature and literary concepts. I will ask you to participate actively in online discussions.

Grade Scale

(Grades will be assigned on the following scale.)

























Class Participation

Because this is an online class, your regular participation in class discussion boards and in other class activities is essential to the learning process. Plan to engage with the literature we will study this semester and share your ideas with the class.

Late Assignments

Students are expected to complete all course work on time. Late assignments will not be accepted.

A Note about Literature and Morality

I believe that all of the works we will read in this class have academic, aesthetic, and moral value. However, you may not agree with my assessment of these works, and that's just fine. In fact, you may find some pieces of literature I've assigned in this class to be offensive and valueless (and again, that's just fine). If such a case should arise, understand that you do not have to complete any reading assignments in this class that make you feel uncomfortable. In these cases, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY, and talk to me about the offending piece. This way I'll be able to give you an alternate reading assignment, and I'll be able to decide whether I should remove the offending piece from future syllabi.

I believe in each student's "right to read." This means that you have the right to refrain from reading anything that you find offensive without punishment or judgment, but this "right to read" also means that I and your classmates have the right to read what we choose without facing your judgment. As readers, we each make moral decisions about what we choose to read. Don't judge others for their reading choices, and don't allow others (including your teachers) to judge you for yours.


The instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus at any time during the semester in order to adapt to changing course needs. If there is a discrepancy between this syllabus and I-Learn, consider the I-Learn information to be correct.