English R50

Freshman and Sophomore Studies: Tradition and Dislocation

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2005 Stasi, Paul
MWF 11-12 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Forster, E.M.: A Passage to India; Hemingway, E.: The Sun Also Rises; Joyce, J.: Dubliners; Smith, Z.: White Teeth; a course reader


"The child,' William Wordsworth famously wrote, 'is father to the man,' a line that argues for the determinant power of an individual's past on his/her future. The modern world, however, has lost faith in this concept, leading to our so-called 'postmodern moment' with its attendant lack of historical consciousness. Modernization, it has been argued, has severed us from our roots and our traditions. The modern subject is seen as alienated --a faceless consumer in the anonymous industrial city.

This course will examine the notion of the modern individual as someone who is disconnected from his/her roots. What is it that dislocates people from their traditions? Who is it that feels dislocated from his/her past and who feels all too tied to that past? How does one negotiate the desire to hold onto a local tradition with the reality of an increasingly hybrid, increasingly globalized world?

To respond to these questions we will look at several canonical examples of early 20th-century Western alienation --Eliot's 'Wasteland' and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Then we will read Joyce's Dubliners as a kind of response to the previous works. We will then turn to Forster's A Passage to India, and Zadie Smith's White Teeth, for two different versions of the relationship between Imperial England and her colonies.

Students will be required to write three essays that engage with these issues in a substantive and original way. All three essays will be developed through draft work. Two will be revised. For the final essay students will be required to do outside research. In addition there will also be a number of homework assignments --largely responses to the reading --and some in-class writing. "

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