Acadia University Faculty of Arts English 1406 E0: Writing and Reading Critically

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Acadia University Faculty of Arts

English 1406 E0: Writing and Reading Critically

Regular Session 2014-2015 (Both Terms)

MW 1:00 pm - 2:20 pm. (Slot 56) Location: BAC 204

Instructor: Dr. Jon Saklofske


Office: 423 BAC

Office Phone: 585-1442

Office Hours: (First term)

MW 2:30-4:00; Tuesday 10-12

Course Description and Objectives:

This course will introduce you to the study of literature in English through close readings, comparative considerations and an exploration of the form, content and context of a number of representative literary works that span over 400 years of cultural expression. The purpose of this course is to exercise and improve your skills in comprehension, composition and independent critical thought by actively encountering and responding to poetry, prose, and drama from various historical periods. Ultimately, we will use these foundations to better understand the ways that narrative traditions have persisted and evolved in the media-rich environment of the 21st-century.

Required Course Materials:

NOTE: All textbooks for this course are available for purchase at the “Box of Delights Bookstore”: 466 Main Street in Wolfville (across the street from Pronto Pizza and beside the travel agency).

  1. Babington, Doug, Don LePan & Maureen Okun. The Broadview Guide to Writing. 4th Edition. Peterborough: Broadview, 2009.

  2. Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2002.

  3. Highway, Tomson. The Rez Sisters. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1992.

  4. Lemire, Jeff. The Complete Essex County. Top Shelf Productions, 2009.

  5. Ondaatje, Michael. Coming Through Slaughter. Vintage, 1998.

  6. Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Dover Thrift Editions, 1998.

All other course material is available via links (see the tentative reading schedule below). On the day(s) that we look at a particular piece of literature, I expect you to come to class with either a printout or your computer so that you have the text in front of you.

Assignments and Evaluation:

Students are expected to attend class on a regular basis. It is essential that you keep up with the assigned readings and read assigned work carefully and critically prior to our in-class discussions. Each student will be expected to contribute to class discussions throughout the term. Please note that the last day to drop full year courses without academic penalty is January 30, 2015. The final grade will be based on the following partial grades:

5%: Sonnet Analysis notes (7 in total) handed in Sept. 15-24.

5%: Essay #1: Due October 6 (900 words/ 3 pages minimum)

10%: Essay #2: Due November 3 (1200 words/ 4 pages minimum)

5%: Essay #3: Written in-class on December 3

10%: Essay #4: Due February 6 (1200 words/ 4 pages minimum)

20%: Coming Through Slaughter Discovery Module

10%: Essay #5: Due April 1 (1500 words/ 5 pages minimum)

10%: Attendance, Participation, Quizzes, Group Work, Presentations. (5% per term)

25%: Cumulative Final Exam (Mandatory, 3 hours)

Total: 100%

  • Essays will be word-processed, double-spaced, and make use of a 12-point font. Each essay should be written in a clear, concise and formal manner and will consist of a central thesis supported by a well-structured argument. Topics will be provided for the essays through ACORN (except for the in-class essay) in the first few weeks of the course. Essays will be evaluated for both content and style. Please use the MLA format for documentation in your papers, making use of MLA citation style and including a Works Cited page. Strategies and formatting guides can be found: in the required text, The Broadview Guide to Writing, in the “Files” section of our ACORN coursepage and here:

  • For all essays, (except for the in-class essays and the sonnet analyses), use the VUE mindmapping tool (available here) to create a visual outline of your paper. Export the map as an image file and paste the image in to your paper after the works cited page. If you submit your paper without this outline, 1/3 of a letter grade will be deducted from your mark.

  • Except for the in-class essays, all essay assignments should be submitted to me electronically via ACORN.

  • The In-Class Essays will be handwritten during class time on the scheduled date and will be closed book (no textbooks, notes, computers or other material allowed).

  • Final Exam: There will be a mandatory final examination scheduled during the April examination period. The final exam will be worth 25% of your final grade.

  • If you are a student with a documented disability who anticipates needing accommodations in this course, please inform me after you meet with Kathy O’Rourke (902-585-1823) or Abu Kamara (902-585-1291) in Accessibility Services, Student Resource Centre, lower level of the Old SUB.


  1. Late Submissions: Papers are due before class on the specified due date. Papers submitted during or after our class period on the due date will be considered late. It is your responsibility to contact me as soon as possible regarding late or missed assignments. Late assignments are subject to a penalty of 1/3 letter grade per day (including weekends) unless you are granted an extension due to documented medical or compassionate circumstances (i.e a “B” paper that is handed in two days late would receive a mark of “C+”). As well, late assignments will be graded, but will include no written commentary. Late essays not submitted electronically MUST be date stamped and submitted to me via the English Department Office (Room 415, BAC). I do not accept papers submitted under my office door.

  1. Plagiarism: Please refer to the section entitled "Academic Integrity" in the 2014-2015 Calendar for Acadia University's policies regarding plagiarism. Note that penalties for plagiarism include rewriting work, receiving a failing grade for a particular assignment, failing the course or being dismissed from the university. Please be aware that faculty members reserve the right to utilise software or websites to test student assignments for the presence of plagiarised material. Although some class time will be spent learning how to avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism, when in doubt, ask me for advice or go to

  1. Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. More than 3 unexcused absences per term will result in a significant deduction from your participation mark.

Please note that I will not accept assignments submitted after the last day of lectures. (Tuesday, April 7, 2015)

Course Outline

  1. Poetry

  1. Form: The Sonnet

  2. Content: a. Speaker, Tone, and Irony

b. Figurative Language, Imagery and Symbol

  1. Context: Canadian First Nations Poetry

  1. Drama

  1. William Shakespeare. The Tempest

  2. Tomson Highway. The Rez Sisters

  1. Prose

  1. Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking Glass

  2. Michael Ondaatje. Coming Through Slaughter

  1. Graphic Narratives

  1. Jeff Lemire. The Complete Essex County

  1. E-Lit, Interactive Fiction and …

Tentative Reading Schedule:
(Readings may be supplemented or modified as the term progresses)




8, 10

September 8: Plagiarism module

September 10: Essay Writing Resources

Introduction to Poetry


September 15: The Argumentative Essay Module

Poetic Form: The Sonnet

Sonnets can be found on Acorn and should be printed out before we are scheduled to discuss them in class. Please engage in a close reading/analysis, and--at the beginning of the class on the date that we are scheduled to go over the poem—submit (to me) your notes and conclusive interpretations about the relationship between form and content on a printed copy of the sonnet. Collectively, these responses will contribute 5% to your final grade, and late submissions will not be accepted.

  • Sept. 15: Edmund Spenser “One day I wrote her name upon the strand”

  • Sept. 15: Michael Drayton “Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part”


September 17: Middle paragraphs of essays module & essay don’ts

  • Sept. 17: William Wordsworth “The world is too much with us”

  • Sept. 17: William Wordsworth: “Nuns fret not…”


Class Cancelled (Jon involved in a program review on the 22)


September 24: Using Quotations Module

  • Sept. 24:William Shakespeare “Sonnet 18” and “Sonnet 130”

  • Sept. 24: John Donne, “Holy Sonnet XIV”



September 29: How to Cite Sources Module

October 1: Quoting poetry using MLA Style Module

Poetic Content I: Speaker, Tone and Irony

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson “Ulysses”

  • Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess”


October 6: Essay #1 Due

Poetic Content I: Speaker, Tone and Irony

Theodore Roethke “My Papa’s WaltzGroup Work


Poetic Content II: Figurative Language, Images and Symbols

  • Wallace Stevens “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”


October 13: Thanksgiving (No classes)

15, 20

Poetic Content II: Figurative Language, Images and Symbols

  • Tom Dawe “The Bear”

  • William Blake, “The Tyger”

  • Adrienne Rich “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” Group Work


Class Cancelled (Jon presenting at a conference)

October 27-31 Fall study break


3, 5

Poetic Context: Canadian First Nations Poetry

  • Louise Halfe “My Ledders”

  • Marilyn Dumont “Letter to Sir John A. MacDonald”

November 3: Essay #2 Due


Poetic Context: Canadian First Nations Poetry

  • Marilyn Dumont “The Devil’s Language”

  • Dennis Saddleman “Monster” (audio posted on ACORN)


Form, Content and Context:

  • Saul Williams “Coded Language”

(Download transcription from ACORN)


17, 19, 24, 26

Drama I:


December 3: In-Class Essay (Essay #3)

December Holidays


7, 12, 14, 19

Drama II:

  • Tomson Highway The Rez Sisters



  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”

26, 28

Classes Cancelled (Jon presenting at a conference)


2, 4, 9, 11

February 4: Essay #4 Due
Prose: Novel

  • Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass

Mid-Term Break (February 16-20)—No Classes


23, 25
2, 4, 9, 11

Prose: Novel

Coming Through Slaughter Discovery Module

16, 18, 23,

Graphic Novel:

  • Jeff Lemire, Essex County


25, 30,
1, 6

April 1: Essay #5 Due

E-lit, Interactive Fiction and Game Based Stories

  • Titles and digital examples TBA


Discussion and Review

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