Professor: Dr. Joe Goeke
English 104, Section 06
Office: McIver 126
Office Hrs: MW 2:00-3:00; TR 5:00-5:50
? Gioia, Dana, and X.J. Kennedy. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry,
4th compact ed. New York: Pearson, 2005.
?Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr. Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade, A Duty-Dance with
Death. New York: Dell, 1991.
“Approaches to Literature” is a reading course. We will read fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction as our primary task, with the goal of becoming more informed and more critical readers. As you learn to respond to a text with an honest appreciation for a writer’s craft and a useful sense of how the text relates to your life, you can also learn more about yourself, others, and the cultures we live in. Good reading challenges you to do this by bringing your own experience to a text. It challenges you to be engaged, to use your imagination, to recognize and examine your own values, and to see how people’s lives have changed and stayed the same—over days, years, centuries; in different places; and in different circumstances.
Through it all, you have yourself as a compass. You can test what you read against what you have known. You can stay in safe, familiar places; you can venture into uncharted territory, all in reading the same text. The difference is up to you. Just be prepared to share, explain your views, and keep an open mind.
Course Work and Class Demeanor
Writing assignments will be designed to help you inquire about the meaning, form, and origin of texts that we read. You will also do some creative writing to discover firsthand more about writing within genres and the choices that writers make. Class meetings will combine lectures with discussion, in-class writing, and occasional small group work. Active participation and note taking are encouraged and will have a positive influence on your final grade. Supplementary materials such as film, music, and art may also be introduced.
Distracting behavior unworthy of a serious student (e.g., walking out before class is dismissed, carrying on conversations, reading newspapers or other unrelated texts, sleeping, disruptive late entrances, etc.) may result in a deduction of 5 points from the student’s final average and/or the student’s being asked to leave the room.
Attendance & Participation 5%
Creative Writing 15%
Reading Quizzes 25%
Critical Essay 30%
Final Exam 25% (Friday 12/10, 12:00-3:00)
We will hold creative writing workshops midway through the fiction, poetry,
and drama units. Here you will get a chance to apply what you’ve learned
from studying each genre and share your work with your peers. Creative writing
assignments will be handed out near the beginning of each unit. They will not
be graded, but you will be required to fulfill the assignment.
Reading quizzes will be given weekly on Fridays. I will announce any exceptions ahead of time. Otherwise, you should be prepared to answer six objective questions on the week’s readings at the beginning of Friday’s class. The questions will be devised so that you can generally answer them if you’ve done the reading. The sixth question will count as a bonus. Make-up quizzes will not be offered. Your two lowest quiz grades will be dropped.
The critical essay (3-5 pages) will require you to analyze a selected text from our reading list, using concepts we have discussed in class. The class will divide into three groups to work on this essay so that I can devote a fair amount of time to reading each one. Group A will workshop, revise, and turn in their essays at the end of the fiction unit (9/17, 9/20), Group B at the end of the poetry unit (10/18, 10/20), and Group C at the end of the drama unit (11/15, 11/17). You may revise after receiving my comments with a grade, as long as you meet with me first to review your graded essay and my comments.
Plagiarism is strictly forbidden and will result in failure of the assignment, possibly even failure of the course and expulsion from the university.
Attendance and Participation
Much of our class will involve group discussion, which requires frequent participation, so attendance is very important. You should show up on time and be prepared to discuss the day’s reading(s). If you must miss a class, let me know before we meet, if possible. Absences over four will have a negative effect on your final grade. Such absences will especially affect borderline cases (e.g., a B-/C+ borderline grade would automatically become a C+). Any student who misses ten or more classes and does not withdraw from the course will automatically fail.
This schedule is tentative and subject to change. Page numbers appear in parentheses.
Date Reading Assignment Due Dates
M 8/16 Introduction / Meet & Greet / Assign Groups
W 8/18 Fiction 1 Reading a Story, Plot (1-22); Featured Story (FS): “A&P” by John Updike—Introduce Fiction Assignment
F 8/20 Fiction 2 Point of View (23-28, 53-80); FS: “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin—Introduce Critical Essay Assignment
M 8/23 Fiction 3 Character (81-84, 99-113); FS: “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver
W 8/25 Fiction 4 Setting (116-23); FS: “The Storm” by Kate Chopin
F 8/27 Fiction 5 Tone and Style (150-58, 182-84); FS: “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway
M 8/30 Fiction 6 Theme (185-99); FS: “Dead Men’s Path” by Chinua Achebe, “The Prodigal Son” from Luke 15: 11-32, and “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
W 9/1 Fiction 7 Symbol (200-202, 211-221); FS: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “No One’s a Mystery” by Elizabeth Tallent
F 9/3 Fiction Workshop Fiction Workshop
M 9/6 Labor Day—No Classes
W 9/8 Fiction “Revelation” by Flannery O’Connor (Bio. 253-54; Story 265-80; Commentary 284-85)
F 9/10 Fiction Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: Chapters 1-4 (1-86)
M 9/13 Fiction Slaugtherhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: Chapters 5-6 (87-153)
W 9/15 Fiction Slaugtherhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: Chapters 7-9 (154-215)
F 9/17 Group A Critical Essay Workshop Workshop-A
M 9/20 Poetry 10 Reading a Poem (429-448)—Introduce Poetry Assignment Essay-A Due
W 9/22 Poetry 11 Listening to a Voice (449-72)
F 9/24 Poetry 12 Words (477-500)
M 9/27 Poetry 13 Saying and Suggesting (501-12)
W 9/29 Poetry 14 Imagery (513-27)
F 10/1 Poetry 15 Figures of Speech (532-50)
M 10/4 Poetry Workshop Poetry Workshop
W 10/6 Poetry 16 Song (551-71)
F 10/8 Poetry 17 Sound (582-89)
M 10/11 Fall Break—No Classes
W 10/13 Poetry 18 Rhythm (590-607)
F 10/15 Poetry 19 Closed Form (608-25)
M 10/18 Group B Critical Essay Workshop
W 10/20 Poetry 20 Open Form (626-40) Essay-B Due
F 10/22 Poetry 24 Critical Casebook: Latin American Poetry (691-712)
M 10/25 Drama 29 Reading a Play (866-87, 895-97); Featured Play (FP): Trifles by Susan Glaspell—Introduce Drama Assignment
W 10/27 Drama 31 Critical Casebook: Shakespeare (988-1022); FP: Othello
F 10/29 Drama 31 Critical Casebook: Shakespeare (1022-54); FP: Othello
M 11/1 Drama 31 Critical Casebook: Shakespeare (1055-96); FP: Othello
W 11/3 Drama “O” (A Modern Film Adaptation of Othello)
F 11/5 Drama “O” (A Modern Film Adaptation of Othello)
M 11/8 Drama Workshop Drama Workshop
W 11/10 Drama 35 New Voices in American Drama (1323-40); FP: Am I Blue by Beth Henley
F 11/12 Drama 35 New Voices in American Drama (1341-57); FP: The Sound of a Voice by David Henry Hwang
M 11/15 Group C Critical Essay Workshop
W 11/17 Drama Miss Firecracker (A Film Adaptation of The Miss Firecracker Contest by Beth Henley) Essay-C Due
F 11/19 Drama Miss Firecracker
M 11/22 Creative Nonfiction “Life without Principle” by Henry David Thoreau (e-reserve)
W 11/24 Thanksgiving Break—No Classes
F 11/26 Thanksgiving Break—No Classes
M 11/29 Creative Nonfiction “Corn-Pone Opinions” by Mark Twain (e-reserve)
W 12/1 Creative Nonfiction “Stickeen” by John Muir (e-reserve)
F 12/3 Creative Nonfiction “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston (e-reserve)
M 12/6 Creative Nonfiction “On Self-Respect” by Joan Didion (e-reserve); Review for Final—Last day of classes
F 12/10 Final Exam 12:00-3:00 p.m. Final Exam