In this course we will discuss the vexed trope of the "American Dream" as it is represented and dissected in fiction after 1980. While each of the texts we read are not necessarily about the American Dream in and of itself, all of them deal with the confrontation between expectations and reality, a theme that has always been central to American literature, but that has particular resonance in the post-Vietnam, post-9/11 internet age. Using a blend of novels, short stories, and critical essays, we will explore the subjects of family, fame, social mobility, work, religion, and apathy, among many others. Coursework will consist of daily reading quizzes, two short response papers (2-3 pages), a midterm examination, and a final paper (5-7 pages).
- White Noise by Don Delillo
- The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez by John Rechy
- Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
- An active Gauchospace account for additional readings