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COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Literature"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Silvia Ammary
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30-2:50 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above

This is a reading and writing intensive course. Students in 200-level literature classes are required to produce 4-5,000 words of critical writing. Presupposing no previous knowledge in particular of literature, the course deals in an intensive manner with a very limited selection of works in the three genres of fiction, drama, and poetry. Students learn the basic literary terms that they need to know to approach literary texts. They are required to do close readings of the assigned texts, use various critical approaches, and write several critical essays on specified readings.
Presupposing no previous knowledge in particular of English literature, the course will deal in an intensive manner with a very limited selection of works in the three genres of fiction, drama and poetry. Students will learn the fundamental elements and major literary terms of each genre so that they are able to deal with literary texts critically by using the right approaches. Each genre will be dealt with separately, and so the course is divided into three sections: Fiction, Poetry and Drama. There is a fourth section that deals with criticism where students learn about the different critical approaches and perspectives.
In order to pass the course, students are expected to write 4 in-class essays about specific assigned literary texts in addition to numerous out-class homework and assignment. These will account for 40% of the total grade. There will also be a mid-term exam out of 20%, a final exam out of 30%. In-class contribution is an essential part of this course, and will account for 10% of the final grade.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
The Norton Introdcution to Literature mAYSnorton978-0-393-93893-7     

4 in-class essays  40%
Midterm 20%
Final exam 30%
In-class participation 10%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the co
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

More than 5 absences will result in a failing grade (for whatever reason)
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Course Outline:

Week 1: Orientation, introduction to the course. What is Literature?

Fable:  The Appointment in Samarra

            The Fox and the Grapes

            Parable: The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Week 2&3: Approaching Fiction: plot, character

The Short Story

Ernest Hemingway: Cat in the Rain (to be photocopied)

In-class 1: characterization

                              Week 4: Themes

Kate Chopin: The Story of an Hour and Desiree’s Baby (to be photocopied)

In-class essay 2: themes

 Week 5: Narrative Point of View, Allegory and Symbolism.                   

1.      Alice Walker: Everyday Use

2.      Edgar Allan Poe: The Cask of Amontillado

3.      In-class 3: point of view

 Week 6: Approaching Poetry

 Langston Hughes: Harlem

John Keats: La Belle Dame sans Merci

                        John Keats: Ode to a Nightingale

                    Week 7 and 8: Selections from Robert Frost’s poetry

The Importance of Poetic Metaphor

The Road Not Taken

Mending Wall

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Desert Places

   In-class essay (4)


 Week 9: Tone, Figurative Language

Robert Herrick: To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Thomas Hardy: The Man He Killed (to be photocopied)

    Sylvia Plath: Metaphors

   William Carlos Williams: The Red Wheelbarrow

  Dickinson: Because I Could not Stop for Death

                  Week 10: Imagery and Symbolism, Irony

Ezra Pound: In a Station of a Metro

Percy Shelley: Ozymandias.

Andrew Marvel: To His Coy Mistress

John Donne: The Flea

         Week10&11: Approaching Drama

Tragedy: Arthur Miller: Tragedy and the Common Man

Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House

        Week 12&13: Criticism

        Week 14: Things resolved and unresolved

                      Final Exam.


Grading Criteria:

  1. Content: the clarity and interest of the central idea (thesis), the strength and appropriateness of the support and the depth of the student’s insight into the topic. The quality of the work decreases if the support is not convincing, or not exciting.
  2. Organization: it is the construction of the paper in terms of paragraphs. This includes paragraph unity and development, logical progression of ideas, and the effectiveness of the introduction and conclusion.
  3. Style: this includes sentence structure, tone, and word choice. Clarity of diction and syntax is essential. Good writing usually employs varied sentence structures and vocabulary to maintain interest. The tone should be consistent and appropriate.
  4. Mechanics: it includes grammar, punctuation, spelling and correct application of appropriate conventions. Sloppy mechanics discredit a writer and distracts readers from the ideas presented in the writing.

The following criteria will be considered for any writing assessment in this course:


 1.      Outstanding Grade A/A-:

This is outstanding writing which reflects a perceptive and thoughtful response to the assignment.  It is well organized with excellent development of its ideas and reflects the writer's command of appropriate rhetorical strategies.  The prose is vigorous and fresh, and the writer is clearly in control of the standard conventions of English prose.  There are no errors in the mechanics of writing

2.      Very good Grade B/B-:

This is very good writing that fulfils the assignment and shows evidence of clear thought and good planning.  It is well organized with good supporting details.  The writing is fluent, and there are only minor errors in the mechanics of writing which do not detract from a reading of it.

3.      Satisfactory  Grade C/C-

This is satisfactory writing that fulfils the assignment and is adequately developed.  The writing is clear and coherent with relatively few errors in usage and mechanics, but the writer fails to demonstrate any particular strength that would mark this writing above average.


4.      Below Average Grade D/D-

This is below-average writing which fulfils the assignment but exhibits major problems in writing.  It may have difficulty with the presentation of ideas (e.g., lack of clear thesis, weak organization, poor development of ideas, or incoherence), or it may reflect poor control of the conventions of standard English prose (e.g., poor use of idiom, inappropriate diction, poor spelling) or be marred by enough errors in the mechanics of writing to seriously distract the reader.

5.      Unsatisfactory  Grade F

This is writing that relates to the topic but is so poorly presented that it fails to fulfil the assignment.  It fails to present its basic ideas, either because of poor organization and lack of clarity or because the writing reflects a lack of control over the basic conventions of standard English usage.  There may be sentence boundary problems, poor use of idiom, inappropriate diction (words used incorrectly), agreement errors, or verb tense problems.

Please note the grades in letters for the in-class and out-class assignments are equivalent to the following numbers:

A     : 10

A-    : 9.5

B+    : 9

B     : 8.5

B-    :8

C+   : 7.5

C     :7

C-  : 6.5

D+: 6

D: 5.5

D-: 5

Below that is a failing grade (F)