Latin American Literature: Boom and Post-Boom

Teacher: Katie Schofield
Extra Help:    Tuesdays in Room 304 from 3-4

Course Overview

Katie Schofield

Extra help: Tuesdays 3-4 pm


Latin American Literature: Boom and Post-Boom

Course Overview


This course explores the lands and cultures of Latin America through the voices of Latin American writers.  We will discover three distinct regions and their people; from the waters of the Caribbean to the mountains of Patagonia. Prepare to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, and Pablo Neruda among other notable (and Nobel prize winning) authors and poets. 


Magical texts take the reader to deeper levels of understanding of the history and culture of diverse nations of Central and South America.   From conquest to identity creation to dictatorship and resistance, themes of struggle and resilience appear again and again.  While novels comprise the majority of our attention, we will read an array of texts including: sudden fiction, poetry, and short stories. The dynamism and enchantment of the continent will be shared through the literary expression of these great Latin American writers.


Essential Questions:

What is Latin American literature?

What patterns and similarities exist in literature from Latin America?

- Why do they occur? What themes, motifs, and symbols repeat?

What shapes literature from Latin America, its authors, and its characters?

- How does literature represent social class and gender?

- How does literature promote social justice and social change?

What are the roots of Magical Realism?

-Why does it exist in Latin American Literature?


Prepare to question authors’ portrayal and the correlation of: Time, cycles, geography, history, culture, and the environment.


Works we may read include:


“The Solitude of Latin America,” Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 1982 (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

In the Time of Butterflies (Julia Alvarez)

Short Stories (Junot Diaz)

Short Stories (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)

Select your own Latin American Novel


Coursework will include:

Throughout: Nightly reading or writing assignments

In-class writing responses, reflections, and small projects and presentations


Introduction: History, Speeches, and Sudden Fiction

Unit 1: Dominican Republic


            Reading In the Time of Butterflies (Julia Alvarez)

Reading Excerpts of Junot Diaz

Project: Eulogy and Map/geography’s impact on characters


Unit 2: Colombia

Reading Short Stories (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Project: Writing magical realistic fiction to show passage of time, culture, environment


Unit 3: Chile


            The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)- approximately first half

            Poetry by Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral

            Project: Essay on class, gender, social justice


Final Assessment: Select a Latin American novel to study, explore, and present.


Final assessment is non-revisable, but drafts may be handed in early for feedback.  All other major projects follow school revision rules.



Assessments will be graded based on the 4 English strands:

Composition (30%): Citing evidence, creating a thesis or argument, expressing ideas persuasively, using literary devices in writing, using proper conventions, spelling and vocabulary, adapting writing for different contexts, reflecting, summarizing and connecting in writing

Analysis (35%): Determining theme, analyzing theme’s development, analyzing character development, analyzing words and vocabulary in the text, reflecting on essential questions using the text, using evidence to form an opinion/argument, connecting history, culture and the environment in literature

Oral Expression (10%): Participating frequently and orally in class discussions and small group discussions including Socratic Seminars, effectively presenting small and major assessments, posing and responding to others in conversation and debate

Work Habits (25%): Completing all assignments on time, from homework to final assessments, effort and diligence in writing and reading in class and at home, using time effectively, increasing writing stamina and writing over extended time frames, overcoming challenges



While this course challenges all students to think critically about the essential questions and read rigorous texts, the honors option allows students to go even deeper.  Honors students will have one significant additional assignments midway through the semester, a challenging final assessment (including reading a more challenging text), and extension requirements on in class or at home projects.  Honors students are collectively responsible for organizing exhibition night and its prep time.  Honors students must maintain a grade of 80% or higher in all strand areas, hand in all work on time and to high standards, as well as act as a consistent classroom leader to qualify.





Class Expectations

In order for this course to be a meaningful experience for all of us, please:


·                 Come on time and prepared.  Always bring your writing materials/book.

·                 Listen to others in class with engagement and respect.  Be kind.

·                 Don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts or writing!

·                 Ask for help when you need it.

·                 Complete assignments on time and with effort.

·                 Follow all expectations of student handbook.

·                 Do NOT bring phones or electronics of any sort into class (except by special arrangement).  If I see one, I will take it to Tina.


Risk taking and respect

You will be sharing your ideas and writing in this class.  That means that everybody needs to feel safe and respected.  It is important that we give both others and ourselves permission to take risks, and that we be enthusiastically, critically, supportively engaged in one another's process. 


Academic Honesty

Plagiarism is claiming someone else’s words or ideas as your own. That means:

-       copying/ pasting something from the internet or another source without quote marks and citation

   -      paraphrasing something from any source without citation


When in doubt, CITE!  If it’s in the gray area, it IS plagiarism.   For more information on the Academic Honesty policy, please refer to the student handbook.  Please know that I will take cases of plagiarism to Mr. Orpen with the first offense.


Late Work Policy

In order for an assignment to be eligible for revision and to receive full credit, it must be turned in on time.  If you need an extension, you must communicate with Ms. Schofield at least 24 hours in advance of the class when the assignment is due. 


Late work is accepted up to two weeks after the due date, but the grade will suffer.  You have one week to hand in work with only a work habits penalty and two weeks to receive credit in all strands.


At the end of the semester the lowest work habits grade is dropped to account for emergency circumstances.  If you are failing the course due to missing work, you may complete honors work for extra credit but I will not create additional work.


Extra Help

Please come see me for extra help! I am available on Tuesday afternoons from 3-4 pm or by appointment.  Contact me at