Dr. Roberta Seelinger Trites, Acting Dean of Arts & Sciences 438-5669

Office: STV 141 Office hours: TR 3-3:30 seeling@ilstu.edu

English 375: Studies in Literature for Adolescents

Course objective: In this class we will define the concept of adolescence, discuss characteristics of young adult literature, and analyze texts for adolescents.

Required texts: Block, Weetzie Bat

Clemens, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Cormier, The Chocolate War

Crutcher, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

Daly, Seventeenth Summer

Hinton, The Outsiders

Johnson, Toning the Sweep

Krisher, Spite Fences

Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

Paterson, Lyddie

Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

Voigt, On Fortune's Wheel

Webster, Daddy Long-Legs

Woodson, From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

Supplementary readings

Course requirements: Mid-term exam: 25%

Book analysis & bib: 15%

Term paper: 25%

(Undergrads = 2500 words; Grads = 5000 words)

Final exam: 25%

Daily grade/participation: 10%




I consider communication between the student and the instructor a key factor in maximizing students’ learning. Please feel free to email me at the address above; I find email exchanges with students very fruitful.

I also encourage you to drop by my office during office hours or to contact my secretary, Peggy Haycraft, at 438-5669, to set up a more formal appointment. Students are my top priority; don’t be afraid to contact me!

The URL of my homepage is http:www//cas.ilstu.edu/english/trites/index.htm


Each student will write a term paper analyzing the works of one author of young adult novels. YOU MUST GET PERMISSION FROM ME BEFORE YOU CHOOSE YOUR AUTHOR! I will provide you with suggestions, and I will discourage people from duplicating one another's topics. You may not write about any book we are discussing in class on your term paper.

On February 18, you will turn in the first stage of your paper: a straightforward literary analysis of ONE book by your author and a thorough bibliography of criticism about your author. (For undergraduates, the paper will be 3-4 pages long; for graduates 5-6). You may revise and include this paper in your final paper if you wish to do so.

You can find bibliographic information in the MLA (6th floor Milner), in ERIC (1st floor Milner), and among the Teaching Materials Center's reference books (1st floor Milner). I recommend that you begin with two encyclopedias: Something About the Author and Children's Literature Review, both of which are located among the TMC's reference materials.

Your term paper, due April 15, will outline the corpus of an author's works, including such things as analyses of recurring issues, recurring themes, recurring (or shifting) ideologies, OR developments in the writer's style. (Pick one of these topics; do not attempt to do them all. Well-focused papers are better than shallow papers that attempt to cover too much material.) I AM NOT INTERESTED IN BIOGRAPHIES OF AUTHORS! We will discuss the paper throughout the course of the semester, but PLEASE do not hesitate to ask me your questions about it, either before class or during office hours.


Graduate Students:

Periodically throughout the semester, I will dismiss the undergraduates at 3:30 on Thursdays so that we may have a more in-depth discussion of the theoretical criticism surrounding Adolescent Literature. I will announce these days in advance; please see me if your staying until 5 will represent a major problem for you.

ENG 375 Reading Schedule


January 12: Introduction

January 14: Caroline Hunt, "YA Lit Evades the Theorists" (handout)

January 19: Huckleberry Finn

January 21: Chambers, "All of a Tremble . . . "

January 26: Daddy Long Legs

January 28: Kornfield & Jackson, "Female Bildungsroman . . . "

February 2 - 4: Catcher in the Rye

February 9: Seventeenth Summer

February 11: Carroll, "Re-Reading the Romance of Seventeenth Summer"

February 16: Outsiders

February 18: book analysis and bib due

February 23: Chocolate War

February 25: Yoshida Junko, “The Quest for Masculinity in The Chocolate War

March 2: Mid-term review and PHYLLIS BIXLER, LOIS LENSKI LECTURE; additional class will be held at 7 p.m. in CVA 151

March 4: Mid-term exam

March 16: A Wizard of Earthsea

March 18: Gooderham, “Children’s Fantasy Literature”

March 23: Voigt, On Fortune’s Wheel

March 25: No class will be held; please read Trites, “Subverting Stereotypes”

March 30: Lyddie

April 1: Toning the Sweep (no fooling!)

April 6: Spite Fences

April 8: Trites, “Narrative Resolution”

April 13: Weetzie Bat

April 15: Papers due

April 20: Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

April 22: Chapter from Peter Hollindale’s Signs of Childness in Children’s Literature

April 27: From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

April 29: Review and conclusion


TUESDAY, MAY 4, 3:10-5:10 P.M., FINAL EXAM



† Denotes a supplementary required reading. THESE READINGS WILL FIGURE PROMINENTLY ON BOTH TESTS!