Intellectually Curious: Sweet Home Alabama…and Mississippi…and Even Georgia! (A Literary Study of the South)
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Intellectually Curious: Sweet Home Alabama…and Mississippi…and Even Georgia! (A Literary Study of the South)

While the South may be stereotyped as an uneducated and backwards region of the United States, the truth is much more nuanced and shocking. Is it too much to assert that the Southern literary tradition is robust, vital, and intellectually important? Your teacher believes this is a true statement. As one expert has noted, “The South has retained its cultural identity, even amid the influx of globalization and migration. Indeed, the literature has proved to be more resilient than anyone expected.”

Consider this list of “greats”: William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Zora Neale Hurston, Flannery O’Connor, and Eudora Welty. Into this century, we’d have to add in Jesmyn Ward, Kiese Laymon, Rick Bragg, and Natasha Tretheway. We’re talking Nobel Prize Winners, National Book Award Winners, and even a Poet Laureate. This is just scratching the surface. We’re leaving so many out!

Is it the stark contrasts of Southern life that make the stories, or do the stories make the South what it is? It’s a case of the chicken and the egg.

This course will examine novels, short stories, and essays from some of America’s finest authors. We’ll explore themes of love, family, race, trust, power, class, poverty, and betrayal. This course and the literature selections will surprise, delight, and challenge students. The pace of the reading will be brisk. Due to gravity of content and graphic language, this course is best suited for very mature dispositions and includes reading comprehension, vocabulary, discussion, and composition. This course is an excellent resource for those considering a liberal arts major or English degree as many authors covered in the class are considered important figures in the field.

This course is part of our Bridge Builder series. The goal for this series is simple: to help students cultivate the capacity to show compassion, grow in empathy, share love with all people, and ultimately collaborate with others to provide solutions to problems in an increasingly complex world.  While this is not the case in most of our classes, the courses in this series require live attendance with video and audio capability to aid in discussion.

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Alabama Authors:

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston, ISBN: 9780008368036
All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg, ISBN: 9780679774020
Pickett’s Charge by Charles McNair, ISBN: 9781604891201
“The Thanksgiving Visitor” and “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote (provided by teacher or ISBN: 978-0679602378 if you want to purchase)

Mississippi Authors:

The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty, ISBN: 978-0156729154
”Why I Live at the P.O.”and ”Where Is the Voice Coming From?” by Eudora Welty (provided by teacher)
“A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner, ISBN: 978-1563127885 and 978-0895986825
Essays by Kiese Laymon (provided by teacher)
Essays by Jesmyn Ward (provided by teacher)
Poetry by Natasha Trethewey (provided by teacher)

Georgia Authors:

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones, ISBN: 9780446690898
“A Good Man is Hard to Find, ” “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” “Everything That Rises Must Converge” and “Revelation” by Flannery O’Connor (provided by teacher)

Jodi Guerra is an Instructor and Coordinator with Excelsior Classes, a consortium of online teachers dedicated to excellence in online instruction. She has been involved in the education of children and adults serving in public schools, private schools, and corporate America. For the last twenty years, Jodi has worked with homeschool students in private classes, tutoring situations, and in the virtual world of online education. She seeks to make every learning situation fun yet productive. Besides teaching, Jodi loves to read and finds both cooking and sewing to be creative expressions.

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