Eng 2: Seeing Catastrophe
English 2 has two goals: first, to introduce students to the pleasures, issues, and formal strategies of literature and, second, to continue the work begun in English 1 on strengthening students' ability to use language both expressively and analytically. Reading will be drawn from a range of genres, periods, and traditions.
This class draws on the literature of the world to explore a feature that is common to all of them: catastrophe. We will examine catastrophe in some of its most common permutations, including natural disaster, manmade disaster, social and cultural upheaval and personal crisis, as well as the interactions between them. We will investigate how the authors of nonfiction books, novels, and plays describe, analyze, and explain catastrophe, and explore how their characters (or subjects) fight their way out of their problems, make their situations even worse than before, or do a little of both. Supplementary handouts and films will illuminate the cultural, social, and/or political contexts of the assigned books.