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English 110: Writing Through Literature

Fall 2007
Instructor: Mark Spalding

Office: Administration Building 235 E

Office Phone: (260) 982-5367

Office Hours: MWF 10:00 -11:00 a.m. or by appointment

E-Mail Address:
Course Name: ENG 110A

Course Title: Writing Through Literature

Credit Hours: 3

Meeting Time: MWF 8:00 – 8:50 a.m.

Selected readings from diverse literatures, representing different modes, genres, and cultural traditions, integrated with extensive practice in expository and analytical writings. Includes practice in research and documentation. Emphasis will be placed upon critical thinking and reading, and clear, focused writing. Students may be assigned to the Writing Center upon recommendation of the English Department.
Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007.
Stanford, Judith A. Responding to Literature: Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays. 5th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
1. To engage in collegial discussion, and to participate actively in the Great Conversation.

2. To read, to reflect upon, and to interpret selected works of literature.

3. To appreciate the fundamentals of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.

4. To further expository writing skills.

5. To read analytically.

6. To develop skills in academic research.

7. To master the fundamentals of grammar, punctuation, and style.
Personal reading and reflection.

Individual presentations.

Group discussion.

Lecture, including explication, discussion, and criticism of texts.

Implementation of the Writing Process.

Exploring, focusing, drafting, peer critiquing, and revision activities.

Writing, and periodic explanations of the principles of writing.

Individual conferences.

In accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, please let your instructor know if you require any special accommodations.
Students will complete four major writing assignments:
1. A narrative of personal experience (or memoir) (500 words).

2. An analysis of the theme or central idea of a literary work (750 words).

3. A critical analysis of a literary work (750 words).

4. A research essay on a literary topic (1, 500 words).

In addition, there will be minor writing and homework assignments, in-class exercises, and quizzes.
Please note that all papers written outside class must be typed. Use the MLA style for margins, headers, and page numbering. Be certain that all papers are clearly titled and identified according to MLA guidelines.
At the conclusion of the course, all students will be expected to present a Portfolio of their writings. Because we emphasize the Writing Process, the Portfolio will contain all prewriting activities, as well as outlines, initial and polished versions of essays, etc. What this means, of course, is that nothing should be blithely thrown away! The purpose of the Portfolio is to demonstrate the evolution of an essay from initial idea to polished text.

A midterm exam and a final exam will be administered on dates and times to be announced. In order to receive credit for the course (and this cannot be overemphasized), students MUST successfully complete all major writing requirements and all examinations.
The professor may, on the basis of a diagnostic essay given during the first week of class, require some students to meet with an instructor in the Writing Center twice a week (in lieu of the remedial classes demanded by most colleges and universities). If there is a marked improvement in subsequent essays, students so designated may, upon recommendation of the instructor, be excused from attending the Writing Center. Of course, all students are strongly encouraged to take their essays to the Writing Center for general feedback and advice. Every writer needs a reader.
Attendance: Students are expected to attend class (including the Writing Center, if so required) regularly and to be on time; failing to do so will lead to failure in the course. Should students miss more than three class sessions, they may be dropped from the course.
Participation: Because collegial life hinges on group interaction, students are expected to participate in class discussions, in group discussions, and in writing workshops. All students will share drafts of their work in the course of the Writing Process.
Presentations: Each student will be expected to make two in-class presentations. This will include preparing readings in advance (possibly in consultation with the professor), and engaging in some minor research and analysis. Essentially, the student will be responsible for leading the class discussion and for posing significant questions which arise from the readings.
Deadlines: All work must be handed in on time (and may not be submitted via e-mail). Grades on major assignments will be reduced by half a letter grade for each day they are late—and only then with prior consent from the instructor. Homework assignments, class work, quizzes, and take-home tests may not be turned in late or made up at a later time.
Written Assignments: No matter what their final average may be, students MUST turn in all four papers and the portfolio (plus take the exams) in order to pass the course.
Writing Center: Students who are required to visit the Writing Center but fail to do so will be dropped from the course.
Athletic/Extracurricular Participation: Outside activities are an important part of the college experience. However, academics are always a student’s first priority. Those who intend to miss class owing to athletic or extracurricular activities will need to provide a written schedule signed by their coach or sponsor within two weeks of the first day of class. While those engaged in college sports programs may miss class, they are responsible for completing their work before the class period occurs.
Plagiarism: Using another’s words or ideas as one’s own amounts to academic theft and is neither permitted nor tolerated. Plagiarism will result in an “F” grade or dismissal from the course. All of the following constitute plagiarism:

  • Copying word for word from another source without acknowledging it.

  • Paraphrasing or summarizing another source without acknowledging it.

  • Adopting a particularly apt turn of phrase as if it were yours.

  • Using an image or a copy of an image without crediting the source.

  • Paraphrasing another’s line of thinking as if it were yours.

  • Receiving excessive help from a friend (or, indeed, from any source).

  • Using another’s project as if it were yours.

[Adapted from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. New York: MLA, 2003: 65-75.]

The College provides many resources to help students succeed. Among these are the following:
The Funderburg Library <>
The Library provides a variety of resources that support both academic and personal inquiry. Please familiarize yourself with all that it has to offer. Computer terminals provide access to numerous electronic resources (among them some excellent databases), most of which are also accessible via computer.
The Writing Center
Located in the College Union Success Center, the Writing Center offers students (or faculty) guidance in all aspects of the Writing Process. Whether you are brainstorming, writing, revising, editing, or proofreading, the Writing Center staff will be glad to assist.
Your Instructor
An often overlooked resource is your instructor. If you are struggling or do not understand an assignment, then feel free to contact your instructor during posted office hours; or where circumstances do not permit otherwise, schedule an appointment.

A 100-95

A- 94-90

B+ 89-87

B 86-83

B- 82-80

C+ 79-77

C 76-73

C- 72-70

D+ 69-67

D 66-63

D- 62-60

F Below 60%

Personal Narrative 50 points

Thematic Analysis 100 points

Critical Analysis 150 points

Research Essay 200 points

Midterm 100 points

Final Exam 100 points

Portfolio 150 points

Homework/In-Class Assignments/Quizzes 100 points

Miscellaneous 50 points

Reminder: You may miss class three times without penalty or explanation; however, if you are absent more than three times you may be dropped from the course.

Proposed Schedule
We will strive to follow the schedule outlined below. I will, however, make changes and modifications where the need arises. Changes will be announced in class, and it will be your responsibility to make note of them. All reading assignments, unless otherwise indicated, are from the text Responding to Literature: Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays.
08/29 Session 1

Welcome to English 110.

Distribution of syllabus.

Course expectations.

08/31 Session 2

Diagnostic writing sample.

Read Chapter 1, pp. 1-11.
09/03 Session 3

Why Read Literature?

Read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” pp. 194-205.

We will discuss “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost.

09/05 Session 4

Ways of Talking About Literature.

Read Chapter 2, pp. 13-26.

Read The Man in a Case (pp. 17-23) with particular care.

Read Maya Angelou’s “Graduation in Stamps,” pp. 385-95. Look for sensory detail.

Requirements for the narrative essay will be outlined.

09/07 Session 5

We will read Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” in class.
09/10 Session 6

The first draft of your narrative essay is due. Bring three copies to class.

Narrative essays will be shared and discussed in a group setting.

09/12 Session 7

The Vocabulary of Literature.

Finish reading Chapter 2, pp. 26-56.

09/14 Session 8

Read Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est,” p. 966.

We will read Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer” in class.

09/17 Session 9

Genre: Types of Short Fiction.

Begin reading Chapter 3, pp. 57-65.

Read Chewing Blackbones’ “Old Man and Old Woman,” p. 1152.

We will examine various samples of short fiction in class.

Be prepared to discuss “Little Red Riding-Hood.”

09/19 Camp Mack Day – No class.

09/21 Session 10

The final draft of your narrative essay is due.

Choose a fable, myth, fairytale, or parable that you enjoy.

Be prepared to read your selection to the class, and to explain why it is meaningful to you.

09/24 Session 11

An Introduction to Poetry.

Read Chapter 3, pp. 65-70.

Select a poem (not from the text) that is meaningful to you. Share it with the class.

We will read Anne Bradstreet’s “Verses Upon the Burning Down of Our House, July 10th,

1666” in class.

09/26 Session 12

An Introduction to Drama.

Read Chapter 3, pp.70-8.

Read Oedipus Rex, pp. 748-91.

09/28 Session 13

An Introduction to Nonfiction.

Finish Chapter 3, pp. 78-86.

Read C.S. Lewis’s “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness,’” pp. 678-82.

10/01 Session 14

Writing About Literature/Writing to Respond.

Begin reading Chapter 4, pp. 87-101.

Read Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” pp. 1247-48.

We will read Robert Southey’s “Bishop Hatto” in class.

10/03 Session 15


10/05 Session 16

Write a thesis statement for your thematic analysis.

Be prepared to share your thesis statement in class.

10/08 Session 17

Writing to Compare and Writing to Analyze.

Continue reading Chapter 4, pp. 101-21.

Choose one of the following works and write an analysis using the guidelines on p. 116.

“Oranges,” by Gary Soto, pp. 240-42.

“To me he seems like a god,” by Sappho, pp. 591-92.

“To His Coy Mistress,” by Andrew Marvell, pp. 595-96.

“The Red Convertible,” by Louise Erdrich, pp. 218-26.

10/10 Session 18

Read John Donne’s “The Sun Rising,” pp. 593-94.

Read Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” pp. 598-99.

We will read Amy Lowell’s “Patterns” and William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 (“My

Mistress’ Eyes”) in class.

10/12 Session 19

The first draft of your thematic analysis is due. Bring three copies to class.
10/15 Session 20

Writing to Explicate and Writing to Evaluate.

Continue reading Chapter 4, pp. 121-46.

Thematic essay is due.

Outline requirements for research essay.

10/17 Session 21

Choose one of the following literary works and evaluate it using the guidelines on p. 144.

Joyce Carol Oates’s “Shopping,” pp. 699-708.

Harvey Fierstein’s “On Tidy Endings,” pp. 1203-23.

William Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily,” pp. 1170-77.

10/19 Fall Break.
10/22 Session 22

Argument, Critical Thinking, and Research.

Read Chapter 5, pp. 147-91.

Write a thesis statement for your research essay.

10/24 Session 23

Read Shakespeare’s Hamlet, pp. 244-91.

10/26 Session 24

Read Hamlet, pp. 291-358.

10/29 Session 25

Read Cynthia Ozick’s “The Shawl,” pp. 929-33.

Read Thomas Hardy’s “The Man He Killed,” pp. 964-65.

Read Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Facing It,” pp. 969-70.

Read Randall Jarrell’s “Gunner,” p. 967.

Continue working on your research essay.

10/31 Session 26

Read Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge,” pp. 904-11.

Read Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” pp. 934-48.

We will read Wilfred Owen’s “Strange Meeting” and Rupert Brookes’ “The Soldier” in


Continue working on your research essay.

11/02 Session 27

The first draft of your research essay is due. Bring three copies to class.

11/05 Session 28

The final draft of your research essay is due.

Read the section on Robert Frost, pp. 1246-67.

We will read “Bending Birches” in class.

11/07 Session 29

Read the sections on Emily Dickinson (pp. 1239-45) and on Billy Collins (pp.1267-73).

11/09 Session 30

Read Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” pp. 608-64.

11/12 Session 31

Read Antigone, pp. 978-1010.

11/14 Session 32

Choose four selections from “Connections: Art and Poetry” (the colored section in the middle of the textbook) and read them.

11/16 Session 33

Write the thesis statement for your critical analysis.

We will discuss the requirements for the final Portfolio.
11/19 Session 34

Re-read Maya Angelou’s “Graduation in Stamps,” pp. 385-95.

Read Nadine Gordimer’s “Town and Country Lovers,” pp. 575-84.

The first draft of your critical analysis is due. Bring three copies to class.

11/21 Thanksgiving Recess.

11/23 Thanksgiving Recess.

11/26 Session 35

Read Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays,” p. 740-41.

Read Neal Bowers’ “Driving Lessons,” pp. 739-40.

Read George Saunders “My Flamboyant Grandson,” pp. 1067-72.

11/28 Session 36

The final draft of your critical analysis is due.

11/30 Session 37

Read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” pp. 532-45.

12/03 Session 38

Select a short story, poem, essay, or play that we have not yet studied in class, and read it. Be prepared to present and discuss it in class.

12/05 Session 40

Presentation of final Portfolio.

12/07 Session 41

Review for Final Exam.

12/10-12/13 FINAL EXAM—At a time and place to be announced.

Date ____________ Time ____________ Place ______________________________

What I Look For When I Grade

Professor Spalding

Having some acquaintance with the theories of Peter Elbow, a noted rhetorician and teacher of writing, my grading system is grounded—at least to some extent—in his.
I will identify errors by placing a check mark in the right-hand margin. I will not generally correct the error or even explain it. I will merely acknowledge it. If I feel compelled to comment, I will make brief observations in the left-hand margin, or in the double space immediately above the error. I will sometimes play the devil’s advocate, posing questions that I think you should have considered, or which I think any reasonably attentive reader would ask.
I do not, on the whole, dock points for errors. I simply read your paper and, in light of an overall impression, determine a grade.
If you are dissatisfied with your grade, then you are welcome to visit me during my office hours to discuss the possibility of a rewrite. Under these circumstances, if you earned a “B-” and you chose to make merely superficial corrections, you would earn a “B.” If you chose to make global revisions and to significantly rewrite your paper, then the grade might change considerably.
I am far more interested in the organization and fluency of your ideas than I am in minor technical errors (which can always be edited out later). By the time your paper has worked its way through the writing process, however, it ought to be almost error free.
In the final analysis, a strong thesis (or argument) which is clearly supported from the text and which exhibits an unusual originality or freshness (that indefinable je ne sais quoi) will separate the merely average from the superior.
If you are confused by my grading system, or if you do not understand why I have reached a particular conclusion or assigned a particular grade, then it is up to you to make the time to meet with me or to pay a visit to the Writing Center. All conferences will be conducted civilly within the confines of my office rather than in the classroom.
It is important to remember that grading, in the end, is a fairly subjective process. However, there are some things that I do look for. First and foremost, I use the Departmental Guidelines which are posted on the wall of the classroom and which are included in your syllabus. Beyond these I will look for the following:

  • Correct use of MLA style.

  • Evidence of pre-writing activity.

  • Clarity and conciseness of expression.

  • A strong, focused introduction.

  • A clear summative conclusion.

  • A central controlling thesis that is clear, arguable, and qualified.

  • Effective transitions.

  • An organic development of ideas (rather than something that sounds like a patchwork of quotations).

  • Varied sentence patterns.

  • Effective paragraphing.

  • Fluent syntax.

  • Reader- rather than writer-based prose.

  • Minimal repetition of words, phrases, or quotations.

  • Organized and logical development of thought.

  • Ample support for your claims, along with examples from the text in question.

  • Integrated quotations.

  • Quotations that are properly introduced and explained (i.e. no isolated quotations).

  • Globally effective prose.

  • Prose that requires but a single reading.

  • An authentic voice (in other words, you will sound like you).

  • Originality of thought.

  • Correct grammar, syntax, punctuation, and spelling.

  • Minimal errors.

  • Evidence of thorough revision.

After reading your essay, I will, if needs be, write a terminal comment. Again, if you wish to discuss the terminal comment, or the marginal notes and annotations, please feel free to visit with me during my office hours, or to pay a visit to the Writing Center.

In the final analysis, I am looking for a thoughtful reader who fully engages the text, allowing it to act as a catalyst for learning. I do not want to read papers that are simply a formulaic response to some preconceived notion of what I want. I am looking for papers that are clear, reasoned, original, and logical, expressed in your own style, and demonstrating a clear command of language, punctuation, spelling, syntax, and grammar.

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