To many, the family is the most basic social fact, but over the last decades it has been the site of intense conflict over definitions of authority, identity, sexuality. Responses to the family range from utter loyalty to the bitterest rebellion; but it is not a structure that can be ignored.
We will look at a range of novels: Native Son, Beloved, China Men, Portnoy's Complaint, Ragtime, Sister Carrie, The Little House of the Prairie?, as well as some poetry. The Beats, the New York School, and confessional poetry. We will also study a few films.