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Online · College of Arts & Sciences · English

American Realism and Naturalism

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 05/17/2022

Course Description

A study of the major writers of American Realism and Naturalism (1865-1930): Twain, James, Chopin, Crane, Dreiser and others. Research paper required.


For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The study of American literature from the end of the American Civil War to the conclusion of World War I helps the student to understand and appreciate the cultural, social, economic, philosophical, religious, and literary heritage of the United States from 1865-1930.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Examine, in their entirety, the assigned literature selections from the American Realistic (1865-1900) and Naturalistic (1900-1930) periods.
  2. Describe the historical and literary background of the Realistic and Naturalistic periods.
  3. Compare and contrast the Realistic and Naturalistic periods.
  4. Describe the specific talents and diversity of the authors and works studied.
  5. Evaluate the merits of literary works on the basis of style, content, and absence or presence of biblical truth.

Course Resources

Click on the following link to view the required resource(s) for the term in which you are registered: Liberty University Online Bookstore.

Additional Materials for Learning 

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Canvas recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a post in response to the provided topic for each discussion. Each post must be 350–400 words in length and demonstrate course related knowledge. In addition to the post, the student is required to reply to 1 other classmate’s post. The reply must be 250–400 words in length. The student is required to cite sources using current MLA formatting.  (CLO C, D, E)

Essay Assignments (2)

Essay topics must be selected from the provided list. The Realism Genre Essay Assignment must be 4–6 pages in length and must have 1 primary source with at least 3 secondary sources. The Author Worldview Essay Assignment must be 8–10 pages in length and must cite at least 1 primary sources with at least 7 secondary sources. Current MLA formatting is required. (CLO A, B, D, E)

Reading Quizzes (14)

Each quiz will correspond to the reading assignments, be open-book/open-notes, contain 5-10 multiple-choice or true/false questions, have a time limit of 5-10 minutes, and allow 2 attempts. The attempt with the highest score will be graded. (CLO A, B, C, D, E)

Unit Quizzes (2)

The quizzes will cover the Learn material. Each quiz will contain multiple-choice and/or essay questions. The quizzes are open-book/open-notes with time limits of 1 hour and 30 minutes each. (CLO A, B, C, D, E)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussions (1 @ 60 pts & 2 @ 100 pts)


Essay Assignments (2 at 200 pts ea)


Reading Quizzes (14 at 10 pts ea)


Realism Unit Quiz


Naturalism Unit Quiz





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussions, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

900-1010 800-899 700-799 600-699 0-599

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Course Overview
Student Acknowledgements

Course Requirements Checklist

Technology Integration Set-Up

Prepare: Access Your CREATE eBook

Module 1: Week 1

Read: 2 items

Watch: 2 items


Discussion Thread: The Moral Climax of "Huck Finn"

Quiz: Huck Finn Chapters 1 — 31

Module 2: Week 2

Read: 3 items

Watch: 2 items


Discussion Thread: The Worldviews of Whitman and Dickinson

Quiz: Huck Finn Chapters 32 — 43

Discussion Replies: The Moral Climax of "Huck Finn"

Module 3: Week 3

Read: 3 items

Watch: 1 item


Quiz: Portrait of a Lady Chapters 1 — 37

Discussion Replies: The Worldviews of Whitman and Dickinson

Module 4: Week 4

Read: 3 items

Watch: 2 items


Quiz: Portrait of a Lady Chapters 38 — 55

Quiz: Harte, Harris, and "Editha"

Quiz: Realism

Module 5: Week 5

Read: 2 items

Watch: 2 items


Realism Genre Essay Assignment

Quiz: Maggie

Quiz: The Open Boat

Module 6: Week 6

Read: 2 items

Watch: 1 item


Discussion Thread: Masks and Subversion in Chesnutt and Dunbar

Quiz: The Awakening

Quiz: The Yellow Wallpaper

Module 7: Week 7

Read: 3 items

Watch: 2 items


Quiz: Robinson

Quiz: London

Quiz: Sister Carrie Chapters 1 — 12

Discussion Replies: Masks and Subversion in Chesnutt and Dunbar

Module 8: Week 8

Read: 4 items

Watch: 2 items


Author Worldview Essay Assignment

Quiz: Sister Carrie Chapters 13 — 47

Quiz: Desire Under the Elms

Quiz: Naturalism