Calendar

  • A consolidated list of major student assignment due dates can be found here.
  • A summary of the course’s essential questions and the answers we have come up with during class discussions can be found here.
  • A complete list of links to all the pdfs of class handouts, including the syllabus and assignment sheets, can be found at the bottom of this page.

Introduction to the Study of Literature

What’s the Point?

Thursday, August 30th

Topics: Value; Texts; Readers; Authors

Handouts

Tuesday, September 4th

Topics:  Value; Interpretation

Required Readings
  • Literature: Norton 1-9
    • John Keats, “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”
  • Fiction: Norton 12-17, 29-31
    • “The Elephant in the Village of the Blind”
    • Linda Brewer, “20/20”
  • Poetry: Norton 698-719
    • Lydia Davis, “Head, Heart”
    • Edwin Arlington Robinson, “Richard Cory”
    • Thomas Hardy, “The Ruined Maid”
    • William Wordsworth, [I wandered lonely as a cloud]
    • Frank O’Hara, “Poem”
    • Phillis Wheatley, “On Being Brought from Africa to America”
    • Emily Dickinson, [The sky is low–the Clouds are mean]
    • Billy Collins, “Divorce”
    • Bruce Springsteen, “Nebraska”
    • Robert Hayden, “A Letter from Phillis Wheatley”
    • Aphra Behn, “On Her Loving Two Equally”
  • Drama: Norton 1152-55
Required Assignments
  • You should begin working on the portfolio assignment we discussed last class by first just doing a journal entry for the required readings for this class period.
  • Here is the handout for the portfolio assignment, which you should read before next class so you can try writing a journal entry: Portfolio Assignment
  • For now, only worry about writing a reading journal entry. Next class, I will begin assigning questions for groups to respond to. Basically, your reading journal entry should summarize generally what the readings as a whole were about and what your personal reactions were. Your entry should just be a quick and informal response that is only a half page to a full page in length. You can do that!
  • Do not worry too much about writing your reading journal entry. If you are at all confused by this assignment, just skip doing it for now and we can talk more about it during next class. Remember, your reading journal will not be turned in until near the end of the semester as part of a portfolio of your work.
Additional, Non-Required Readings to be Reviewed Together in Class:
Why Bother With the Humanities? The Money Answer

Literature, Culture, and Change

What economic, moral, or other value does literature provide or promote?

Thursday, September 6th

Topics: Literature as Cultural Criticism (the “Woman Question”); Literature as the Zeitgeist (Yeats and the “Collective Unconscious”)

Required Readings
  • Fiction: Norton 519-37
    • Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”
    • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  • Poetry: Norton 997-1005
    • Yeats, “All Things Can Tempt Me,” “Easter 1916,” “The Second Coming,” Leda and the Swan,” “Sailing to Byzantium.”
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • Consider the closing medical diagnosis of Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.” Does the word “joy” seem correct? Why or why not? If not, what does the use of “joy” suggest about the doctors?

Group 2:

  • Can you think of a horror movie in which someone was “creeping” on all fours? What is creepy about that image? How does that creepy feeling relate to the end of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”? Why does she end the story as she does?

Group 3:

  • Imagine being calm and in your bedroom, safe at home with no one else around. All of your comfortable belongings are around you. Now, imagine being calm and in a sunny field in the summer, with no one around except the birds and the butterflies. Flower heads bob in the warm breeze. Is the calm in your bedroom the same calm in the summer field? Can you describe any differences between the two experiences? Does the word “calm” adequately capture the feelings you would have for both experiences? Please do your best to explain.

Group 4:

  • After reading Yeats’s “The Second Coming,” do you feel like the poem is relevant today? Why or why not?

Tuesday, September 11th

Topics: Literature as a Snapshot

Handouts
Required Readings
  • From Dubliners:
    • Stories:
      • “The Sisters” (3-11)
      • “An Encounter” (11-20)
    • Context:
      • “A Curious History” (197-200)
      • “Gas from a Burner” (200-03)
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • Consider this statement Joyce made about Dubliners in a 1906 letter: “My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my own country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis.” What paralysis, if any, do you see depicted in “The Sisters”?

Group 2:

  • In “The Sisters,” Mr. Cotter says repeatedly that “it’s bad for children.” What do you think is the “it” that is bad for children?

Group 3:

  • In “The Encounter,” the boys encounter a man who at first seems to be in favor of boys having “sweethearts.” But soon after, he declares that any boy with a sweetheart should be whipped. What happened? Why do you think this man has reversed himself so dramatically?

Group 4:

  • The context readings (“A Curious History”; “Gas from a Burner”) reveal the troubled publication history of Dubliners. Does Joyce’s difficulty in getting the book published surprise you? Why or why not? In particular, the Dublin printer demanded that “The Encounter” be omitted. Why do you think that story was deemed unfit to print?

Thursday, September 13th

Topics: Literature as Art; MLA Style

Required Readings
  • Norton 1119-1120; 1110-1113
    • John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
    • T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Plot

What motivates an author’s choices regarding the structure and sequence of a literary work?

Tuesday, September 18th

Topics:

Required Readings
  • Fiction: Norton 85-92, 115-137
    • Edith Wharton, “Roman Fever”
    • Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where have You Been?”
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • In “Roman Fever,” why do you think Wharton chose the Colosseum to feature so heavily in the story rather than some other location?

Group 2:

  • At the start of “Roman Fever,” one of the mothers notes just after their daughters leave that there is a “collective modern idea of Mothers” and that “The new system has certainly given us a good deal of time to kill.” What new system do you think she is talking about?

Group 3:

  • Why do you think Oates spends so much time in the story leading up to the shift that begins when Connie asks, “Hey, how old are you?”

Group 4:

  • What is suggested by the final words of the story: “she was going to it”? Why does she give in to “going to it?”

Thursday, September 20th

Topics: Plot; Situation

Due:
Required Readings
  • Critical Theory: Norton 1971-79 (up to “Emphasis on the Source”
  • Poetry: Norton 764-66 (end of “To His Coy Mistress”)

Narration/Point of View

Where is our information coming from, and who should we trust?

Tuesday, September 25th

Topics: Narration/Point of View/Tense/Author

Required Readings
  • Fiction: Norton 174-92
  • Poetry: Norton 735-43 (up to “Poems for Further Study”)
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” (Norton 178-84), what clues can you find about who the auditor of the story is, and why does the narrator tell the auditor his story?

Group 2:

  • In George Saunders’ “Puppy” (Norton 186-92), how do corn fields relate to our understanding of both of the central characters of this story?

Group 3:

  • In X. J. Kennedy’s “In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus One Day” (Norton 735-36) the “lady in skunk” obviously gives us a lot to think about, but what about the narrator? Who is this person and what does his attitude toward her seem to be like?

Group 4:

  • In Dorothy Parker’s “A Certain Lady” (Norton 742-43), what do you think “goes on” while the speaker’s “love” is away? Why do you think that?

Thursday, September 27th

Topics: Narration/Point of View

Due:
  • Seminar Paper: Primary Work Choice
Required Readings
  • From Dubliners:
    • Stories:
      • “Araby” (20-26)
      • “Eveline” (26-32)
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • Footnote 4 on page 26 of “Araby” gives us an accounting of how much money the boy in this story has. Why is accounting important for the story?

Group 2:

  • Can you think back to a time when you also had an experience of romantic anguish? You certainly do not need to share what happened, but I am wondering if based on your experience what the boy does after the end of the “Araby.” Does he tell his family what has experienced? Does he tell the girl he is interested in? What clues from the narration suggest to you an answer?

Group 3:

  • In “Eveline,” what clues given to us through the narration suggest why Eveline stands paralyzed at the end, failing to follow Frank?

Group 4:

  • What is the meaning of life? No, seriously, think about it. In “Eveline,” she is sure that her boyfriend will “save” her by taking her away, loving her, and giving her a life. Can he provide her with a life? What about her family, including her dead mother and her father. They obviously provided her with a life, but what is that life for her? What is the meaning of Eveline’s life, for Eveline, if it is provided for her by her boyfriend or her parents? What about you? What is the meaning of your life?

Character

Who changes, how, and why?

Tuesday, October 2nd

Topics: Character

Handouts
Portfolio Assignment
Required Readings
  • Fiction: Norton 218-52
  • Poetry: Norton 1103-04 (“My Last Duchess”)
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • In “Barn Burning,” why does the boy’s father ruin the rug?

Group 2:

  • In “Recitatif,” what do you think happened to Maggie? Why?

Group 3:

  • In “My Last Duchess,” who is the speaker talking to? How do you know?

Group 4:

  • In “My Last Duchess,” what do you think happened to the last Duchess? Why do you think so?

Thursday, October 4th

Topics: Character

Due:
Handouts:
  • Short Essay #3
  • These three essays needed for Essay #3 are also available to download through Elearning:
    • Earl G. Ingersol’s “The Stigma of Feminity in James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’ and ‘The Boarding House’”
    • Gerald Doherty’s “‘There Must be Reparation’: A Sacrificial Reading of ‘The Boarding House’”
    • Louis Parascandola and Maria McGarity’s “‘I’m a Naughty Girl’: Prostitution and Outsider Women in James Joyce’s ‘The Boarding House’ and Eric Walrond’s ‘The Palm Porch’”
  • An example essay written by me on Browning’s “My Last Duchess” is available for download through Elearning.
Required Readings
  • From Dubliners:
    • Stories:
      • “After the Race” (32-38)
      • Two Gallants (38-49)
  • Theory: Norton 1979-1984 (to “Emphasis on the Receiver”)

Setting

Where are we, and why does that matter?

Tuesday, October 9th

Topics: Setting

Required Readings
  • Fiction: Norton 284-301; 318-27
    • Chekhov, “The Lady with the Dog”
    • Gibson, “The Gernsback Continuum”
  • Poetry: Norton 766-67; 774-76
    • Arnold, “Dover Beach”
    • Marlowe, “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”
    • Raleigh, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”
    • Hecht, “The Dover Bitch”
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • In “The Lady and the Dog,” what is different about when Gurov visits Anna in the city where she lives, “S—–,” versus when she visits him in his city, Moscow?

Group 2:

  • In “the Gernsback Continuum,” is the city that he sees with the people whose meals are food pills real? What do we mean when we say something or some place is real?

Group 3:

  • In “The Dover Bitch,” is she really a bitch?

Group 4:

  • In “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd,” how would you characterize the speaker’s opinion on young shepherds in love?

Thursday, October 11th

Topics:

Required Readings
  • From Dubliners:
    • Stories:
      • “The Boarding House” (49-56)
      • “A Little Cloud” (57-70)
  • Theory: Norton 1984-95
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • In “The Boarding House,” what are at least two reasons for why Polly is crying?

Group 2:

  • After reading “The Boarding House,” do you think that the options for a girl in Polly’s position has improved today? Why or why not?

Group 3:

  • In “A Little Cloud,” the narration includes this thought, broken off: “If it died! …” (69). What are two ways to finish that thought?

Group 4:

  • Is there anything about life a student at WMU that you think might make students feel trapped or unable to pursue their dreams?

Symbol/Figurative Language

How is each image and word significant to the work’s meaning?

Tuesday, October 16th

Topics:

Due: Short Essay #3
  • These three essays needed for Essay #3 are available to download through Elearning:
    • Earl G. Ingersol’s “The Stigma of Feminity in James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’ and ‘The Boarding House’”
    • Gerald Doherty’s “‘There Must be Reparation’: A Sacrificial Reading of ‘The Boarding House’”
    • Louis Parascandola and Maria McGarity’s “‘I’m a Naughty Girl’: Prostitution and Outsider Women in James Joyce’s ‘The Boarding House’ and Eric Walrond’s ‘The Palm Porch’”
Required Readings
  • Fiction: Norton 334-66
  • Poetry: Norton 848-54 (up to “Poems for Further Study”)

Thursday, October 18th

NO CLASS: FALL BREAK

Tuesday, October 23rd

Topics:

Handouts
Required Readings
  • No new readings: we will get caught up as a class on everything we have read so far but have not yet discussed

Theme

What’s the point?

Thursday, October 25th

Topics: Symbolism; Theme

Due:
  • Seminar Paper: 1st Rough Thesis due
Required Readings
  • Fiction: Norton 383-413
  • Poetry: Norton 794-802 (End of “Sympathy”)
Portfolio Assignment
I will place you in groups in class, and you only need to respond to the prompt below that is assigned to your group. If you did not come to class, please just pick and complete any one of the group assignments below. Write one page in response.

Group 1:

  • In Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat,” why do we know the name of Billie, but not the rest?

Group 2:

  • In Gabriel García Márquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” is the old man an angel, a sailor, or a Norwegian with wings?

Group 3:

  • Does your world seem full of only grasshoppers? Explain.

Group 4:

  • In Adrienne Rich’s “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers,” compare/contrast Aunt Jennifer and her tigers.

Tuesday, October 30th

Topics: Theme; Online Research

Handouts

 

Required Readings
  • No additional readings
Important:
If you have a laptop, please bring it to class today. We will be practicing online research together, and if you have a laptop that you can bring, you can practice in class.

Context: Author

What can we learn from the author’s history and by comparing multiple works from the same author?

Thursday, November 1st

Topics: The Author’s Work Context

Due:
Required Readings
  • Fiction: Norton 467-95; 506-18
    • You will be reading two stories by Flannery O’Connor as well as a selection of writing by O’Connor or about O’Connor.
      • Stories:
        • “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
        • “Good Country People”

Tuesday, November 6th

Topics: Online Research; Library Visit

Required Readings
  • None: We will be going to the library this day. Come to our class room first, but there is no need to set up the classroom like we normally do. We will be leaving together on a field trip to the library after we talk more about online research. If you have a laptop you do not mind carrying, you should bring it to class this day.

Context: Culture/History

Does the cultural or historical background of the work suggest anything about its meaning?

Does the work suggest anything about its cultural or historical background?

Thursday, November 8th

Topics: The Harlem Renaissance; Research

Due:
  • Seminar Paper: Annotated Bibliography
    • IMPORTANT: THE DUE DATE FOR THE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY HAS BEEN CHANGED TO THURSDAY NOVEMBER 15TH (SEE BELOW)
Required Readings
  • Norton 1031-48
    • Pick 1 poem that you hope we discuss in class because you personally found it especially moving or significant.

Tuesday, November 13th

Topics: Poetic Structure; Drama; Research

Due:
  • Seminar Paper:  Updated Rough Thesis & Outline
Required Readings
  • Poetry:
    • Norton 897-906; 918-928

Writing Good Academic Papers

How can we write good papers, and why do we do it?

Thursday, November 15th

Topics: CLASS CANCELLED! I WILL BE TRAVELING TO HOUSTON FOR A CONFERENCE.

Due:

Tuesday, November 20th

Topics: Rough Draft Workshop; Research

Due:
  • Seminar Paper: Rough Draft due (minimum of five pages). PRINT OUT TWO COPIES AND BRING BOTH TO CLASS!

Thursday, November 22nd

NO CLASS: THANKSGIVING

Individual Conferences

How can your paper probe deeper?

Tuesday, November 27th

NO CLASS: INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES

Thursday, November 29th

NO CLASS: INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES

Creative Project Presentations

What can you say about the world today?

Tuesday, December 4th

Creative Project Presentations:

  1. Wolfe-Wagner, Grace M.
  2. Wilkinson, Megan R.
  3. Reberg, Mitch C.
  4. Mason, Mike B.
  5. Reed, Hannah E.
  6. Esser, Nikki A.
  7. Daddio, Alisha
  8. Bowen, Emily C.
  9. Shannon, Masyn N.

Thursday, December 6th

Due:
  • Portfolio Assignment
  • All Elearning Quizzes
  1. Cronkright, Hannah
  2. Fairnot, Dayna
  3. Frego, Chris
  4. Leatherman-Munn, Twyla
  5. Prater, Caylee
  6. Redmond, Rachael
  7. Sawhney, Sehej
  8. Steele, Allie
  9. Yahr, Nicholas

Final Exam

Thursday, Dec. 13, 8-10 a.m.

Seminar Paper Due

Friday, Dec. 14, 11:59 p.m.

Turn in through Elearning using the “Seminar Paper” dropbox

Notes:

The main page for this class is here: ENGL 1100–Fall 2018

This calendar will be updated with new readings, assignments, and other information throughout the semester. Students will need to revisit this page often.

Unless stated otherwise elsewhere, all assignments must be printed out and physically turned into me during class on the day the assignments are due.

If you cannot make it to class but still want to turn it in on time, you must turn it in electronically through Elearning as a Word or PDF file using the “Assignments” dropbox by the start of the class period or else it will be late.

Files: