4 Credit Hours
For decades, men in our country have been promised a "mission to manhood," a simple road map to navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood. At no time was this promise more fully realized than after World War II. Hundreds of thousands of young men returned home from the war ready to be educated, secure a job, buy a home, get married and have a family...and to live happily ever after. Many men followed the blueprint, becoming thoughtful husbands and fathers and successful businessmen. But many others failed--leaving the paternal continuum between fathers and sons frayed and undefined. Sam Shepard lays bare the wreckage of this broken promise--and the failure of post-World War II fathers (and our culture) to guide their sons to manhood--and the long-term impact this failure has had on the American male. The course material will begin with STIFFED, Susan Faludi's concise and thoughtful examination of "the betrayal of the American Man." We'll then examine a number of Shepard's plays, short stories, and films before taking a contemporary look at the apathetic and violent American male on display in Chuck Palahniuk's FIGHT CLUB and the post-apocalyptic male in Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. Prerequisite: ENGL 121.