English 394: Literature for Young Adults (PDF Version)
MC 570, MWF 9:00 a.m.–9:50 a.m.
Grant T. Smith, Ph.D.
Office: MC 533
Office Hours: T Th 1–3 p.m., MWF 2–3 p.m.
S Y L L A B U S
Godless by Pete Hautman
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
In the Name of God by Paula Jolin
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Holes by Louis Sachar
True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Chains and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
In this course we shall read, discuss, and analyze selected prose and poetry written for adolescents.
Format: Class sessions will consist of lectures and discussions. I expect the students to read carefully the assigned texts and be able to discuss the relationship between each selection and the various themes listed above.
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- Click here for the university policy on plagiarism.
- If you are a person with a disability and require any auxiliary aids, services or other accommodations for this class, please see Jane Eddy in Murphy Center Learning Center 332 (796-3194) within ten days to discuss your accommodation needs. If there other accommodations that need to be made for you to succeed in the class, please indicate those needs to the instructor. Click here for a link to the Learning Center.
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- Thinking—Students engage in the critical and creative thinking
- Ethical Decision Making—Students respond to ethical issues
- Communication—Students communicate effectively orally and in writing
- Aesthetic Sensitivity—Students engage in artistic experiences and reflect critically upon them
- Cultural Sensitivity—Students demonstrate a respect for the diversity of the human experience
- Community Involvement—Students demonstrate responsible citizenship
English Department Student Learning Outcomes:
Critically read and analyze a variety of texts.
Invent, draft, revise, and edit effectively for various audiences and purposes.
Research and document proficiently
Demonstrate proficiency in the use of bibliographic resources and other research tools to find, incorporate, and properly cite sources, according to MLA style.
Understand literary classifications
Demonstrate familiarity with classification of literature written in English, including:
- Historical development
Understand development of English
Demonstrate familiarity with the basic history of the development of the English language.
Transfer skills to work
Connect academic training to potential professional experience.
Links related to English Department Student Learning Outcomes:
- Thinking—The students will engage in critical thinking when they explicate or “close read” literary texts; when they identify formal elements such as point of view, literary language, symbolism, imagery; when they consider texts and authors in relation to historical, cultural, ideological, and theoretical contexts; when they compare what they are reading with what they have read previously; when they relate what they are reading to the wider world and to universal issues of human life. Click here for a Critical Thinking Web Page. Click here for a Logical Fallacies Web Page.
- Communication—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their interpretations, insights, analyses, and evaluations of the assigned literature. Click here for the English Department’s Home Page on Writing a Critical Analysis of Literature.
- Aesthetic—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their understanding of the elements of a “masterpiece” of young adult literature. The students will evaluate the lasting quality of literature from the formal and contextual elements embedded in the literature.
- Ethics—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their responses to the ethical questions and dilemmas posed in the assigned readings. Ethics is generally defined as the principles of conduct governing an individual or group; concerns for what is right or wrong, good or bad. The students will not plagiarize. Click here for the Viterbo University plagiarism statement. Click here for the English Department plagiarism statement. Click here for the Viterbo University Institute of Ethics in Leadership.
- Cultural Sensitivity—The students will read various texts by diverse authors. The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their understanding of life values represented in different texts in relation to their own. Individual projects are designed to give the students an opportunity to move outside of their own culture and to study and interact with a new culture. Click here for the university’s statement on sexual harassment.
Attendance: 100 points (Students are permitted three unexcused absences during the semester)
Reflection Essays: 400 points (Four one-page reflection papers)
Midterm Exam: 200 points
Final Exam: 300 points
Week One: January 17
Do you know how to read?
Benetton Power Point and Benetton Semiotics
How good is this stuff?
Read “The Body” by Stephen King and “Shaving” by Leslie Norris
Summary of “Shaving”
What is Young Adult Literature? "
Vandergrift's Young Adult Literature Page
Intro to Young Adult Literature
Young Adult Literature: What is It in Today's World
"Lifetime developmental tasks that confront adolescents"
Read the short essay on Structuralism
Weeks Two and Three: January 24, 31
What role does religion play in my life?
Read The Bronze Bow, Godless, and In the Name of God
Discussion questions on The Bronze Bow
Discussion questions on Godless
Elizabeth George Speare
“One University Under God”
A Teacher’s Guide to Religion in the Public Schools
First reflection paper on The Bronze Bow, Godless, or In the Name of God (100 points)
Weeks Four and Five: February 7, 14
Am I a racist?
Read Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Read One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Click here for a Unit Plan on One Crazy Summer
Black Panther Party
What Was the Black Panther Party?
Read Monster by Walter Dean Myers
A web site on Walter Dean Myers
Discussion questions on Monster
Weeks Six and Seven: February 21, 28
Who Am I?
Read True Believer
Discussion questions on True Believer
Read an interview with Virginia Euwer Wolff
Read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Discussion questions for Part-time Indian
Second reflection paper on True Believer or Part-time Indian (100 points)
Week Eight: Spring Break March 7
Weeks Nine and Ten: March 14, 21
What are my virtues?
Read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Discussion questions for The Book Thief
Mark Zusak (author)
United States Holocaust Museum
Read Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork
Discussion questions for Marcelo in the Real World
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
Plato—Book VII of The Republic
Midterm essay due on The Book Thief or Marcelo in the Real World (200 points)
Weeks Eleven and Twelve, March 28, April 4
Holes and Speak
Anderson's home page
A lesson plan and discussion questions for Speak
Discussion questions on Holes;
A gigantic list of palindromes
A variety of lesson plans on Holes
Holes and Speak have been made into motion pictures—view both of them and be prepared to discuss strengths and weaknesses of film adaptations of the novels.
Third reflection paper due on Holes or Speak (100 points)
Weeks Thirteen and Fourteen: April 11, 18
What is the past? What is the future?
Read Chains and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Revolution’s Black Soldiers
Discussion questions for Chains
Read Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Discussion questions for Ship Breaker
Easter Break: April 22, 25
Weeks Fifteen and Sixteen: April 27, May 2
What’s New in Young Adult Literature?
Craig Thompson’s home page
A site on graphic novels
Teaching Graphic Novels
Read Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
Top Ten Verse Novels
Final reflection paper due on Blankets or Crossing Stones (100 points)
Week Seventeen: Final Exam
Final Exam Questions
Thursday, May 12, 7:40–9:40 a.m., MC 570
Final Exam due by noon Friday, May 13