English | Intro to Writing and Study of Literature
L141 | 2064 | John Eakin


TOPIC:  "Self-Discovery and Cultural Models of Identity"

In this section of L141 we will be concerned with the theme of
self-discovery, particularly in connection with models of identity in
situations of cultural conflict.  Some of the books we read will be
autobiographies, and some will be works of fiction.  All of the
readings deal in one way or another with the process of
self-definition.  As I see it, we are all inevitably involved
ourselves in some version of this process, and so we stand to gain
insight into the shape of our own lives from a heightened awareness of
the forms this process takes in the lives of others, real or
imaginary.  To what extent are we free to shape ourselves and our
lives as we wish?  To what extent is our sense of self determined by
culture and its institutions?  These are some of the larger issues
that we will explore during the course of the semester.

The reading list will include most or all of the following titles:
Malcolm X, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X; Lucy Grealy, THE
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE; Kate Chopin, THE AWAKENING; Chinua Achebe,
THINGS FALL APART; Nadine Gordimer, JULY'S PEOPLE; and Jon Krakauer,
INTO THE WILD.  One additional work will be read in the last three
weeks in each discussion group (to be announced at the beginning of
the semester).