2nd year: Chopin and Hurston

Explication de Textes: Chopin’s The Awakening and Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (2nd year only)

Wednesdays 10:15 to 12:00 Anthropole 4088


The books have arrived at Basta!

This second year course will focus on two key women novelists from the early 20th century. Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899) is one of the most important and frequently taught works of American literature. Exploring a woman’s quest for an existence beyond the self-effacing role of wife and mother, the novel stands as a haunting and powerful example of an emergent feminist consciousness in American culture. Also focusing on a young woman’s experiences of love and marriage, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1936) is an ideal companion to Chopin’s classic and one of the most beloved and respected novels of African American literature.

Course objectives: The aim of this seminar is to teach the tools and terms of narrative analysis and specifically prose fiction. “Learning outcomes” include the mastering of vocabulary and concepts specific to the analysis of narrative prose and the development of critical reading, thinking and writing skills that were acquired in the 1st year. In addition, students will become familiar with the concepts and critical tools specific to the study of women’s fiction and African-American literature. At the end of the seminar, you will be able to explicate a passage of prose fiction and identify its narrative strategies, tone, structure, and identify its principle tropes, images, lexical patterns, and rhetorical effects. You will also have a greater appreciation of the power and beauty of two important American novels. In order to validate the course, students will need to write two short essays (a midterm of 2-3 pages and a final essay of 6-8 pages), and lead a group discussion during the course of one class session.