Undergraduate Courses, Summer 2013

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for official class times and locations and an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Lower Division (1000–2000) Special Content Courses

Note: Only course descriptions are listed below. For a comprehensive summary of course numbers, sections, times and locations, titles, and instructors, see the following web page:

Summer 2013, Lower Division, Special Content

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature & Culture: “Story-Truth”

Mariko Turk

The ‘truth’ is never simple, and searching for it requires more than merely collecting facts.  The truth of a historical event, personal experience, emotion, or cultural attitude is contentious, ever-changing, and always elusive, but perpetually sought by individuals, organizations, and nations.  Stories often figure in this quest to convey truth, often unearthing insights and perspectives that hard facts tend to obscure.  In his famous short story collection that attempts to capture the surreal horrors of the Vietnam War, for instance, author Tim O’Brien argues that “story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.”  This course will explore O’Brien’s claim in light of various 20th century American texts that attempt to tell the truth through fiction. 

Primary texts will cover a variety of literary forms (short story, novel, graphic novel, poetry, essay collection), which we will read in conjunction with cultural materials that represent the same issues or events, but that ultimately tell very different stories (documentary, propaganda, popular magazines, photographs).  Throughout the course, we will think about how different literary forms are used to tell different stories, and in what situations fiction can be ‘truer’ than fact.  Students will undertake their own searches for meaning and truth as they read the course texts closely and critically, and write about their interpretations in weekly discussion questions, a close reading, a prompt essay, and a final paper.