ENG4120 - Story of Success: Autobiography

Year of Study:3 or 4
Credit Units: 3
Duration: 45hours
Prerequisites: ENG1100 Introduction to Literature,
ENG2100 Exploring the Genre of Poetry,
ENG2101 Exploring English Novels,
ENG2102 Drama and Theatre
or with special permission from Instructor and approval by Department Head
Module Description
An autobiography is a self-narrative. This module aims to introduce students to the fascinatingly diverse and significant genre of autobiography. The module aims to enhance students understanding of the central themes of the genre: ‘self-realisation’ and ‘identity formation’. Students will be engaged in exploring the concept of the autobiographical ‘I’ and the unique characteristic of the genre that autobiographical texts communicate to their readers not only the ‘life and times’ of the writer but also their feelings, emotions and thoughts. In this module, students will be given the opportunity to consider different types of autobiography such as ‘success stories’, ‘slave narratives’ and ‘gender voices’. By conducting an in-depth study on the autobiographical texts written by writers of different racial, social and cultural backgrounds, the ultimate goal of this module is to encourage students to read beyond the literary and theoretical contexts and to be inspired by the personal attributes and virtues of the autobiographers to overcome hardships and make way to their success, and subsequently to relate to as well as to make sense of these experiences.
Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an informed understanding of the wide range of autobiographical texts and deploy an initial analytical and critical vocabulary for the basic discussion of the genre;

  2. develop an understanding of ways in which the study of autobiography necessitates engagement with complex issues of ‘class’, ‘race’ and ‘gender’;

  3. demonstrate an understanding of the possible limitations of the genre and an ability to make critical judgement as well as to generate and articulate personal interpretation on the texts;

  4. apply the above knowledge and skills in constructing and communicating an informed appreciation of the literary value of the texts considered both verbally and in the writing of coherent, informed critical essays;

  5. transfer above skills into intellectual and professional skills to construct and communicate a sustained analysis of texts and to conduct research and evaluate the material acquired both within and outside of literary study context.