EN201 Introduction to Literature

for SP 2013

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Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


EN 201 Introduction to Literature


SP 2013 HO


Okerstrom, Dennis R.


Professor, English


Ph.D. -- English and History

Office Location

Copley 305

Office Hours

10 -- 11 a.m.; 2:45 -- 4 p.m.; or by appointment

Daytime Phone




Semester Dates

14 January -- 10 May 2013

Class Days


Class Time

11:00 - 11:50 AM



Credit Hours



The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing, 8th ed.  Michael Meyer. ed.

Additional Resources:


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.
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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:

 Introduction to Literature:  Introduction to concepts and vocabulary involved in literary analysis.  Develops skills in reading, interpreting, and evaluating literature and surveys some of the major literary concerns and movements.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine a range of literary texts and discuss responses to them
  2. Categorize texts by established genres and critique genre identifications
  3. Articulate a full response to a single literary text or define and respond to a collection of texts

Core Assessment:

The core assessment for En 201 is a critical paper consisting of 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:
Presentations, projects, short papers, class discussion and participation, literary analysis paper.


Grades: You decide. You'll have to work harder for a B than a C, and harder still for an A.   I think there's beauty in that concept, don't you?  (Please see Attendance policy for how absences will affect your final grade)

C: Attend all classes; participate in class discussions (which presupposes that you will read the assignments); write the occasional in-class assignments that arise; write three 3-page (typed, ds) response papers, one for each of the three genre we will study; write a literary analysis paper as described in the core assessment above.

B: All of the above, plus attend a live play and write a 3-page response paper.
A: All of the above, plus present to the class the insights from your analysis paper.  This will be a 15-minute presentation in the last week of the course, and should include an outline of your findings for the class. (This is not a time for reading your paper, but rather discussing what you have gleaned from your studies.Ideally, you will do this before actually writing the final draft of your paper.  This ensures that you will be able to incorporate views, questions, and suggestions from the class.)   
Please note that for a B, the requirements for an A may be substituted.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late submissions are a pain for your professor and unfair to other students.  Late assignments will not be accepted, except in unusual circumstances that will be determined on an individual basis. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Grown up rules apply.  Civil discourse expected; don't run with scissors; don't cut in line.  Oh , and about that cell phone: turn it off.  Including the texting thingee.  If you text in class, you will be considered absent, which is a bad thing for your final grade. If you cannot refrain from texting for 50 minutes, you might consider addiction counseling.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
 Below is a rough trailguide to the semester (and, since this is written on paper [and displayed on a computer screen] and not carved in stone, it is subject to occasional change):

Week One: Introduction and all that. What is literature, and why do we study it? A short history of literature.

Week Two: Guest lecturers.  If we have time, we'll start on DRAMA. Read Oedipus the King, by Sophocles (p. 1102). Is Oedipus the victim of predestination, or did he just make bad choices? What are the conflicting values in this play? What is the communal experience of drama?

Week Three: Othello, by William Shakespeare (p. 1164).  Does this play depict racist attitudes of the playwright, or of others in his day?  How do you explain the unmitigated evil of Iago? Why is Shakespeare considered an icon of English lit when he started as a popular writer of bawdy plays?

Week Four: "Trifles," by Susan Glaspell (1048). What makes this a modern play? What elements are timeless?  Who is the main character?  What do we know about her, and how?

Week Five: Student Plays. Students will select a short one-act play, a scene from a longer work, or write their own original text, and stage the drama complete with some costuming and set design. You won't need to memorize any lines, as this will be reader theater. Relax and have fun.

Week Six: POETRY. Why don't poets just say what they mean, anyway. And what makes it a poem? And how am I supposed to tell a good poem from doggerel?

Weeks Seven--Ten: Various poems. Found poems. Centos. Terminology. Explication.

Week Eleven: FICTION. Finally, something we can understand. Elements. Levels of meaning. Schools of criticism. Read Updike, ((560).  What assumptions do we as readers make about fictions?  How do we fill in the gaps of any narrative?
Week Twelve: Read  Chopin, (15); Bloom, (526); Kincaid, (541); Minot, (292). A feminist perspective. "B" papers due.

Week Thirteen: Read O'Connor, (367); O'Brien, (543); Faulkner, (418). Marxist literary criticism.

Week Fourteen: Read Hemingway, (165); Ellison, (243); Crane, (266); Hawthorne, (334). Filling in the gaps; Reader Response Criticism.  Ambiguity. "A" papers due.

Week Fifteen: Read Jin, (79); Divakaruni, (533); Chekhov (205); Weldon, (172). An international look.   Student presentations will be valorized over the readings; time for presentations will come first, followed by considerations of the readings if time allows.

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95
Don't plagiarize.  You will fail the class, but far more important than that is the resulting diminution of your reputation and your essential you-ness.  You are better than that.

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, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. 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".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98
Your contributions to this class are necessary, so it is important for you to be here.  I cannot teach you if you are not here.  So here's the deal: I'll give you three free passes on absences.  For each additional three absences, your final grade will be lowered one grade.

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)
1, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Provides well-chosen personal and critical insights to the literatures that supports thesis. Makes adequate personal and critical statements, though sometimes strays from thesis. Provides only plot summary, biographical information. Little or no evidence of close reading of literature. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Incorporates primary and secondary sources using MLA documentation style in ways that provide new insights into the literature. Incorporates some primary and secondary sources using MLA documentation style adequately, though without particularly fresh insights. Primary and secondary sources used rarely if at all and without adequate MLA documentation. Adds no coherent personal insights. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
1, 2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Provides convincing and innovative connections between texts through careful close reading of literature. Provides reasonable connections between texts that are obvious but nonetheless plausible. Connections between texts remain vague and undeveloped. Critique not supported by close readings. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Skillfully interweaves passages from literature and critical texts as well as strong personal statements that illustrate main point of essay. Incorporates passages from literary and critical texts as well as some personal statements to prove thesis. Rarely provides specific passages from literary or critical texts, or fails to provide coherent explanation of passages. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
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 developed essay. Writing shows persistent problems with the use of Standard Written English. Statements are often illogical, incomprehensible; organization and development of ideas do not support thesis. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Close Reading                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Provides new insight into specific passages from primary text(s). Adequately examines specific passages from primary text(s). Does not examine specific passages, or does so using vague generalities. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Provides links among a range of literary texts                                                                                                                                                                                                             
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Analysis includes full discussion of a range of literary texts. Employs generic and literary terms with ease. An attempt is made to include discussion of a range of texts with clear grasp of generic and literary terms. Paper does not address a range of texts and does not employ appropriate literary terms. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 


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Last Updated:1/12/2013 10:07:45 AM