EN234 Introduction to Fiction

for S1T 2008

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EN 234 Introduction to Fiction


S1T 2008 DL


McLallen, Wendy W.


Adjunct Faculty


Ph.D. in English and American Literature, Florida State University
M.A. in English, Florida State University
B.A. in English, Stetson University

Office Location

Online and by phone

Office Hours

By Appointment



Semester Dates

1/14/08- 3/09/08

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours



  • The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction.  Compact 7th Ed.  Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007. Author: Charters, Ann. ISBN: 0-312-44271-8 
  •  The Awakening. Paper. Norton, 1994. Author: Chopin, Kate ISBN: 0-393-96057-9
  • Joseph Andrews with Shamela and Related Writings. Norton Critical Edition. Norton, 1987. Author: Fielding, Henry. ISBN: 0-393-95555-9
  • Native Son. Perennial, 2003. Author: Wright, Richard ISBN: 0-06-053348-X
NB: When ordering textbooks from vendors other than the MBS bookstore (see link below) be sure to use the ISBN number, to ensure you order the correct edition.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

Online Reference Resources

The following list includes web sites that will help with your research as well as web sites that offer general writing advice.  It is not an exhaustive list, but will help get you started.

Skillin,  Edward, Jr.  "Richard Wright's Native Son:  A Review" Chicken Bones:  A Journal for literary and Artistic African-American Themes.

Avoiding Plagiarism (Indiana)

Bibliomania.  http://www.bibliomania.com/0/0/9/16/frameset.html

Skylar Hamilton Burris.  "A Catalogue of Symbols in The Awakening by Kate Chopin."  http://www.literatureclassics.com/ancientpaths/awakening.html

 Kate Chopin--A RE-Awakening:  Electronic Library.  http://www.pbs.org/katechopin/library/

From "When We Dead Awaken by Adrienne Rich

Online English Dictionary and Thesaurus www.dictionary.com

Purdue University Online Writing Lab-- online writing resources including grammar and technical exercises.   http://owl.english.purdue.edu/

Smarthinking.com (Online tutoring; free to Park University Students)

Online Dictionary and links to grammar guides for 110 languages, including English

Aardvark’s English Forum for Students and Teachers of English including ESL and EFL

Arts & Letters Daily http://www.aldaily.com/

Full text reference library, Bartlett’s Quotations http://www.bartleby.com/

Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/

Electric Library http://www.elibrary.com/

My Virtual Reference Desk http://www.refdesk.com/

The Guide to Grammar and Writing http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/

Grammar and Style Notes http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email helpdesk@parkonline.org or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the http://parkonline.org website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:
Close reading of selected works of English and American prose fiction, emphasizing the historical development of the novel and short story. Through readings, writings, discussions and postings, students and the instructor will be able to interact. Essays, a final exam, a major paper, and discussions will be used to cover the course's material.

Your study in this course will consist of reading literary fiction in English from its earlier manifestations in the 18th century to the present and of reading literary critical materials regarding the art of fiction. As we work together to create an open and supportive online environment for this reading, you will also write a brief research paper about some tightly focused topic related to literature and participate in online responses to the literature, the criticism, and to the responses of your classmates. Our work will begin with an introductory writing assignment, some discussion of your experiences in reading fiction and writing about it, and some explanation of the art of fiction and the objectives of our course.

Your study in this course will consist of close readings, research, and thoughtful reflections about those readings and research as well as writing essays.We will work together to create an open and supportive online environment for this work. Student interaction is a vital component of this course. You will engage in frequent class discussions about the work at hand, and you will offer  critical, helpful, and thoughtful comments about the essays composed by the other students in this course.

You will be expected to read each of the assignments and to seek additional critical texts that will help you in your explorations of and responses to literary fiction. The readings of this course are not intended to be difficult; but because of the enormous scope of the art of fiction, there will be a lot of it. However, you should be able to consider most of the fiction reading to be recreational. You will probably need to spend several hours reading for every hour you spend online responding to the reading.  Enjoy it! Remember, whether they are assigned or not, you should make a habit of reading introductions contained in the assigned books. This requirement makes it important for you to get the exact texts (publisher and edition) that are listed in the "required text" section of this syllabus. We will read three novels and a number of short stories. Most of our fiction will come from British and American authors. Each week, we will focus on a different aspect of the study of fiction.

Educational Philosophy:
Critical reading and interpretation are essential keys to Introduction to Fiction. No matter where people's interests in reading lie, being able to read and critically evaluate and interpret text are crucial skills to success in today's society. In addition, we will focus on understanding the connections between fiction and the cultural, historical, and national issues that surround each of us.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the definitive features of fiction as a literary genre
  2. Discuss a representative range of fictional texts
  3. Articulate a response/ interpretation of a single text or body of related texts

Core Assessment:

The Core Assessment for En 234 is a critical paper consisting of no fewer than 5-8 pages of original literary analysis using personal insights and primary and secondary sources. MLA documentation, including a Work Cited page, is also required. A minimum of 3 sources are required, and must include a range of types of sources, including online and traditional print sources. The core assessment must account for no less than 25 % of the final grade.

 The rubric for this assignment is included below.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:
Your progress in the class this term will be assessed via weekly writing assignments, weekly readings and discussion postings, a critical research paper, and a final examination. You will find evaluation criteria for the critical research paper in the class rubric linked to the syllabus. Evaluation criteria for the weekly homework and discussion assignments will be circulated via the announcement page the first week of the term.


  • Weekly Discussion/Homework Assignments 30%
  • Weekly Reading Research and Response Assignments 20%
  • Critical Research Paper (prospectus plus two drafts) 30%
  • Final Examination 20%

* General requirements: The instructor will provide specific due dates and detailed instructions and more specific requirements for each assignment, including grading criteria.

Length Limits: The specific assignments will suggest a length range for each essay. The range is established as a reasonable guide for your written work. Any essay that does not meet the general length requirements will receive a penalty proportionate to the portion missing.

Proctored final examination:  An examination will be taken in a proctored testing environment during the 8th week at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location. For proctored examinations, photo identification is required at the time of the test. Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University website. Other Information on proctored exams: It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor, by the 6th week of the term, who is accepted and approved by the course instructor. Approval of proctors is the discretion of the Online instructor. A proctor request form will be made available to you during the first week of class so that you can send your requested proctor to your instructor for approval. Failure to take a final proctored exam at the prearranged time (or submit your final project for some online graduate courses) will result in an automatic "F" grade.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

I consider any assignment not submitted by the posted deadline late. I generally do not accept late work. Park University's academic week starts on Monday at 12:01 AM and ends the following Sunday at Midnight (MST).  Typically, any work submitted after Sunday at Midnight will not be accepted.  In the case of the final critical paper, I will make an exception but late critical papers will be severely penalized. Keep reading for a more detailed explanation of my late work policy.

Discussion Thread Postings (homework, prospectus, research draft and discussion assignments)

I  will not, under any circumstances, accept work posted to the discussion threads (homework and discussion assignments)  after Sunday of the week in which it was assigned. Often times, discussion and homework assignments will have a midweek deadline.  Work not posted by the stated midweek deadline will be considered late and will not receive full credit.  However, I realize midweek deadlines can be challenging for students, so if you miss the midweek deadline, go ahead and post your work anyway.  Send me an email with an explanation regarding your late assignment and you'll at least get partial credit. Remember, this partial credit proviso is ONLY for  discussion thread work  that is posted before the end of the week  in which it was due.  For example, once week three begins, no credit will be given for week two's work.

Reading Responses

Weekly reading responses are due to the dropbox by the end of each week (Sunday at Midnight).  Work submitted after Sunday at Midnight WILL NOT be accepted.

Critical Paper:

Your critical paper is due via the dropbox at the end of week 7 (by Sunday at Midnight). Late critical papers will be penalized one full letter grade (ten points) for each day late. 

In an online class your ability to submit work on time depends on reliable computer access. Computer problems can and do arise, so think ahead and have a back-up plan in place in case your primary means of computer access goes down unexpectedly. Be prepared: locate the nearest library, Kinkos, Internet cafe, etc and note their hours, price and policies.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Students are responsible for clicking on the link below and thoroughly reading each online course policy. If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact your instructor for clarification.

Online Course Policies:

Park Universitys online class week begins Monday and ends the following Sunday at midnight, Mountain Standard Time (MST). Work will be due at various points within each week and you should expect to be online at least every other day. For example, in a typical week you can expect to have a homework assignment  due on Wednesday(by midnight, MST) a peer response due on Friday (by midnight, MST) and a reading response  due on Sunday (by midnight, MST). You will submit all work by posting it to online discussion forums or by using the digital dropbox.  Refer to each assignment's instructions for specific directions.

Email Policy and Contacting the Instructor: Email is most appropriate for conversations that need to remain private—discussions about individual grades or questions/concerns about your specific progress in the course. General questions about assignments ought to be posted in the office  forum of our class web page. Rest assured, if you have a question about an assignment chances are someone else does too. So, before you hit that send button, ask yourself if your question is one the entire class would benefit from. If so, please post your question in the question forum.

I will make every effort to respond to your email messages and posted questions within 24 hours (usually sooner). Each email you send me needs to have our course and your full name in the subject line. For example, EN 234 from Jane Doe. I receive an awful lot of email during a typical day and rely on subject lines to help me find the important messages. If you don't follow the format above, it's likely your message will end up in my "get to later" folder or my "junk mail" folder.

If at any point in the semester you think you would benefit from a real-time conversation, simply let me know and we can arrange a time to meet for a private online chat or a phone conference. Don't hesitate to contact me to arrange a phone conference if you feel you're struggling.  Sometimes a 10 minute conversation can easily clear up any confusion

Tips for a successful semester:
  • Check the announcement section of our class web page AND your Park email frequently.  I will use the announcement section to update you on class activities, answer questions, and provide supplemental material.  Any email I send to you will go to your Park University email account.
  • Because this class meets on-line, writing and reading are an even more important than they would be in a traditional, face-to-face classroom. Nearly 100% of our classroom interaction will take place through a textual medium. And, because I can't see your face or gauge your body language to know if one of our assignments or class discussions is confusing to you or difficult to understand, it's very important for you to ask questions—lots and lots of questions.
  • Likewise, you will also need to read everything posted on the class web page very carefully. I'll assume that if I've posted it, you've read it and understood it--unless I hear otherwise from you. Communication is, I think, the key to a successful semester, so let me hear from you, often. And don't forget, you can talk to each other too. You can use the web board and chat functions on ecampus as well as e-mail to stay in touch with your classmates. 

If you've never taken an on-line class before, I can't emphasize enough the following two principles: 
               Read everything VERY carefully
               Ask questions

In order to complete this term's assignments you will need, in addition to regular web access, regular access to a word processing program. You should also be comfortable copying and pasting large sections of text and saving in rich text format. I advise composing and saving your discussion postings, reading logs, peer responses using a word processing program and then copying and pasting into ecollege. That way you'll be protected should internet service go down or your ecollege session times out.

You also ought to have a thumb drive or an alternative backup system in place in order to protect yourself from data loss. It would not be fun to have worked on a paper and suddenly find that your hard drive has crashed, taking all your hard work with it.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-86

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85
Plagiarism is a serious offense, regardless of whether it is intentional (e.g. copying a paper off the Internet) or accidental (e.g. taking sloppy notes while researching).  Any incidents of plagiarism will be reported to the appropriate university officials as outlined in the undergraduate catalog and can result in failure of the assignment in question or the entire course.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  3. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  4. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  5. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  6. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  7. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-88

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
Provides well-chosen personal and critical insights into the literature through close reading that supports thesis. Makes adequate personal and critical statements into the literature, through close reading, though sometimes strays from thesis. Provides only plot summary or  biographical information. Paper shows ittle or no evidence of close reading of literature. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Integrates primary and secondary sources in original and perceptive ways, using MLA Documentation Style, that contribute innovative insights and new knowledge to the field, while retaining a personal voice. Integrates primary and secondary sources adequately, using MLA Documentation, though insights are not particularly innovative or personal. Integrates very little from primary/secondary sources, lacks control of MLA Documentation Style, and fails to bring new insights to the literature. Does not submit assignment, or uses inadequate or no sources or no MLA documentation of sources. 
Provides convincing and insightful connections between texts to illustrate the main focus of the essay. Provides connections between texts that are clear but mundane. Ideas sometimes stray from thesis. Provides vague and under-developed connections between texts. Does not submit assignment or provides no clear connections between texts. 
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Skillfully supports interpretation with detailed analysis, logical organization, and convincing conclusion. Adequately supports interpretation, though more detailed discussion is needed. Organization is weak, and conclusion is predictable. Interpretation lacks clarity, plausibility, or adequate detail. Lack of a clear organizing principle obscures point. No plausible conclusion. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to requirements. 
Technical Skill in Communicating                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Employs conventions of Standard Written English with grace and style in a well organized, fully developed essay. Employs conventions of Standard Written English adequately in a reasonably well organized and well developed essay. Writing shows persistent problems with use of Standard Written English. Statements are often illogical or incomprehensible; organization and development of ideas do not support thesis. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to requirements. 
Provides new insights into specific, well-chosen passages from primary text. Adequately examines specific passages, though with little innovation. Does not examine specific passages or does so using vague generalities. Does not submit assignment or does not examine passages closely. 
Responds to a range of literary texts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Analysis includes full discussion of elements of fiction as a genre and makes connections to a range of texts. Adequately discusses elements of fiction as a genre. Does not discuss elements of fiction; makes no meaningful connection to other texts. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to requirements. 


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Last Updated:1/1/2008 11:27:23 AM