Approaches to Literature
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Office hours: M–W 4:45–6:00 p.m.
This course is designed to acquaint students with three major genres of literature and with the terms, concepts, general themes, and structures associated with them. The course will consist of three units: fiction, poetry, and drama. Over the course of the semester, we will read works by a wide assortment of authors in order to understand the way literature is constructed, and to appreciate its status as a powerful instrument of societal reflection and change.
Discussions will place literature and authors in various contexts, addressing historical, literary, psychological, and even pop cultural relevance of the stories, novels, poems, and plays just to name a few. Over time, the elusive and academic nature of literature should be replaced with an understanding that literature is both accessible and useful to our everyday lives.
Banks, Russell. The Sweet Hereafter.
Erdrich, Louise. Tracks.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun.
James, Henry. Daisy Miller.
Kelly, Joseph. The Seagull Reader: Poems.
Lawn, Beverly. 40 Short Stories: A Portable Anthology. 1st Edition, 2000.
The course will consist of three exams, one at the end of each unit with the last occurring the last regular class period. Students will also write one critical essay on a topic of their choosing to be approved by me beforehand. Quizzes also comprise a portion of the student’s grade, and these short quizzes will occur unannounced throughout the semester at the beginning of a class period. In order to demonstrate an effort to incorporate literary arts into everyday life, students must attend either a play or theatrically sponsored work, or a poetry or fiction reading at some point during the semester and write a one-page analysis of the experience. The overall grade breaks down into the following point totals:
Test 1: 100
Test 2: 100
Final Exam: 125
Critical Essay: 100
Play/Reading Response: 50
A student may only miss two classes (2) before he or she is eligible to be dropped from the course roster. Absences are neither excused nor unexcused, but rather count as absences no matter the circumstance. Therefore, you may wish to save them for those days you truly need to be absent.
In the event of an absence, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain notes or materials from the missed class. Missed quizzes or exams may not be made up.
Students are expected to arrive on time and participate in the daily discussion, an intangible component of the student’s overall grade. Please turn off all pagers, cellular phones, and electronic devices during the seventy-five minutes you are inside the classroom. Any student with special needs, physical limitations, or learning differences should feel free to contact me at their earliest opportunity so that accommodations might be made.
Schedule (much more to be added soon)
8/17 T Explanation of syllabus; Approaching fiction and narrative
8/19 R “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor (Lawn); “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood (Lawn)
8/24 T “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates (Lawn); “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien (Lawn)
8/26 R “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker (Lawn); “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner (Lawn)
8/31 T Daisy Miller by Henry James
9/2 R “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman” (Lawn); “Lust” by Susan Minot (e-reserves)