21L.501 | Spring 2013 | Undergraduate

The American Novel: Stranger and Stranger

Instructor Insights

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 21L.501 The American Novel: Stranger and Stranger as it was taught by Dr. Wyn Kelley in Spring 2013.

The course covered American authors and focused on relating the appearance of strangers to different kinds of strangeness. These sophisticated novels collectively illustrated strange places with strange histories, people with strange narratives or backgrounds, and how these can be both strange and estranging at the same time. This course used numerous tools, including Locast (PDF) and Annotation Studio, along with writing assignments and presentations.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • To identify and appreciate the beauty of creative art
  • To think logically and critically about language
  • To practice revision

Instructor Insights

On the following pages, Dr. Kelley describes various aspects of how she taught 21L.501 The American Novel: Stranger and Stranger.

Curriculum Information



Requirements Satisfied



A version of this course, focusing on the American novel, is taught one semester per academic year. The focus of the course changes each semester. Examples of past focus topics include ghosts, wealth and poverty, and the American revolution.


The students’ grades were based on the following assessment elements:

  • 15% In-class presentation
  • 10% Class attendance and participation
  • 60% Three five-page essays
  • 15% In-class writing

Student Information

Breakdown by Year

Primarily juniors and seniors.

Breakdown by Major

A range of majors.

Typical Student Background

This is an intermediate-level class, so students have had some experience with college writing and exposure to at least one introductory or survey-level course.

Enrollment Cap

There was no cap.

Ideal Class Size

Less than 18.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

  • Dr. Kelley usually began each class with a 15-30 minute discussion of concepts, biographical background of the authors, or other information needed to confidently proceed with the text.
  • Students then discussed specific passages, significant transitions in the text, or moments of tension in the text.
  • Classes regularly included presentations, small group work focusing on close readings, annotations, and in-class writing assignments.

Out of class

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2013
Learning Resource Types
Activity Assignments
Presentation Assignments
Written Assignments with Examples
Instructor Insights