English | Literary Interpretation
L202 | 7357 | Scott Herring


L202 LITERARY INTERPRETATION
Scott Herring

PREREQUISITE:  Completion of the English Composition requirement.

Open to Hutton Honors College students; English majors/minors only.

7357 - 2:30p-3:45p TR (25 students) 3 cr., A&H, IW.

TOPIC:  “Town and Country”

Are you a city slicker or bona fide hoosier?  Is your Zip code from
inside the Circle City or from the hinterlands of IN?  And why do
these questions seem to matter so much?  No matter where you live,
almost all of us have an opinion on the differences between the
country and the city.  Usually, it’s not very pretty.  This class
will tackle this topic—its history from the Romans to Amy Poehler,
its stereotypes, and where it may be going in contemporary American
culture—over sixteen brief weeks.  We’ll read some novels, a play,
some poems, a memoir, and a short story.  We’ll also listen to a few
songs and watch a film.  To make the large topic of “town and
country” manageable, the course is divided into three sections that
each addresses a different theme: pastoral, migration, and places
left behind.  In “Pastoral,” we start with Book Two of Virgil’s
Georgics on the uses of olive oil, move to Our Town and My Ántonia,
and end with some songs by John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, and
Gladys Knight and the Pips.  In “Migration,” we’ll cover two classic
works in African-American literature, Sula and Their Eyes Were
Watching God, then a heartbreaking memoir about Haitian refugees by
Edwidge Danticat.  In “Places Left Behind” we’ll read short stories
by Bobbie Ann Mason and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and address some
local tensions between Bloomington’s recent Slow Food movement and
the IN-37 Cracker Barrel.  Coming full circle, our course concludes
with another work that uses olive oil creatively: the 2008 film Baby
Mama.