Learning Goals


My hope is that through the semester, students will:


1)   Exercise close reading-based analytical skills  in variety of ways (i.e. informal writing, group discussion, papers, artistic creation)

2)   Explore ways of putting the literature we discuss in conversation with nonfiction texts, both historical and contemporary.

3) Write a clear and cogent literary analysis paper with a strong text-based thesis, relevant textual evidence, and compelling explanation of how the evidence supports the thesis.


4) Define the term binary and identify an example of a binary at work in some cultural text.

5)  Distinguish between the historical/social/political construct of the child and actual young people who we may know and identify as children.

6)  Articulate at least one connection between American history and American children’s literature.

7)  Analyze the explicit and implicit assumptions embedded in children’s literature and constructions of the child, particularly the ways in which blackness, bondage, and/or histories of race, gender, and class inequities play a part in the formation of the narratives we tell ourselves about children and the potential functions of children’s literature.

8)   Imagine alternatives to the binary narratives told to and through children


Learning Goals for English Majors in General (as articulated by the English Department)

By completion of their studies, students who major in English will:

1. sharpen reading and writing skills

2. gain new insights into human nature and cultural diversity

3. achieve increased flexibility in their own creative and critical approaches to life.

Those students considering graduate work, should be able to demonstrate

4. a familiarity with multiple literary genres, major literary figures, and a  range of English, American, and non-Western literature

5. strategies of interpretation, including and ability to use critical and theoretical terms, concepts, and methods in relation to a variety  of textual forms and other media

6. an ability to engage with the work of other critics and writers, using and citing such sources effectively