To provide students with a deep understanding of an important period in American literature; to broaden their understanding of American late twentieth century cultural conflicts; to expand their knowledge of postmodernism; to improve their reading, writing, analytical and research skills.




We will meet for three hours every Tuesday afternoon (1:30-4:20pm), with a short break in the middle.  On-time attendance is expected at every meeting.  I will take attendance at the beginning of class.  Late arrival will be noted.  More than 2 lates and more than 2 absences will affect your overall grade for the class.  Our meetings will include lecture, open class discussion, group workshop projects, and oral presentations by individual students.




Assessment is by 100% coursework, consisting of:
Reading Responses / Film to Text Analysis (3 short essays):  30%
Quizzes / Workshops / Class Participation:  15%
Oral Presentation:  15%
Final Essay:  40%




Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” (1948)
Martin Luther King, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963)
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose (1971)
Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres (1991)
Philip Roth, American Pastoral (1997)
Toni Morrison, Paradise (1997)

Please note:  “The Lottery” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail” are available on line.  The HKU bookstore will carry the other texts. An American Dreaming bibliography and critical articles relevant to each text will be posted to the ENGL 2149 Moodle website.



Course Practices

Students are expected to arrive on time.  I will start promptly at 1:30pm.   If you are late, please see me during the break so that I can record you as late instead of as absent.  Please turn your mobile phone to silent during the lecture.  You are welcome to take notes on your computer but please do not use it for other purposes – it’s distracting for everyone.  Thoughtful and active participation during the lecture is expected during class discussions and small group workshops.

I will post all relevant information and supplementary readings for the course on Moodle.  Please check it regularly. 

Final Essay
The final essay is due Monday, May 7th.  If your paper is late, your grade will go down one mark per day.  If you need an extension, please email me.  I will give you extra time if I can.

Plagiarism is “the unacknowledged use, as one’s own, of the work of another person, whether or not such work has been published.” (Regulations Governing Conduct at Examinations).  You cannot use another scholar’s words or ideas or examples without giving them attribution.  If you are caught plagiarizing, you will receive an F for that assignment and may well receive an F for the class.  You are also liable to disciplinary action by the Faculty of Arts.  It is a serious offense and will be treated seriously.  For more information, please see:



Last updated: 23 May 2018