Lit 165: Introduction to Literature

Sec. 10: TTh 9:30-10:45, Tyson 120A
Sec. 83: W 7:15-10, Main 213

Spring 2003
Dr. Robert Fletcher
Main 524, x2626,
Office Hours: TTh 1-2, W 4-7

Course Description

This course introduces you to the academic study of literature. We will read and discuss examples of short fiction, poetry, drama, the novel, and hypertext fiction, and, at the same time, we will also be studying the cultural, cognitive, and rhetorical processes that enable people to read and write texts. My hope is that you'll leave this class with better interpretive and analytical skills, greater awareness of the relation between imaginative texts and their cultural contexts, and greater range in your responses to literature.


Three of the General Education Goals at West Chester University have been identified as the objectives of Lit 165:

Texts Requirements and Evaluation Policy
  1. Careful and consistent reading and enthusiastic participation in class discussions. See my expectations for participation grades. 10% of final grade
  2. Participation in webboard discussion (about 100 words per week). 10%
  3. Attendance at WCU production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM:
    1. Directed by Leonard Kelly
      E.O. Bull MainStage

      April 8 - 12, 2003 at 8 p.m.
      April 12 and 13, 2003 at 2 p.m.

      William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is perhaps the Bard’s most fanciful play of love, where the audience is treated to an enchanted world in which nymphs and fairies, royalty and common folk all bump heads in their frantic search for romance--with outrageous results. 5% pass/no pass credit

  4. Three examinations (essays of 750-1000 words) 75%
Other Policies

We at West Chester University wish to make accommodations for persons with disabilities.  Please make your needs known by contacting me and/or the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at ext. 3217.  Sufficient notice is needed in order to make the accommodations possible.  The University desires to comply with the ADA of 1990.

Late Assignments: Papers or other assignments submitted late will have 1/3 of a grade deducted for each day (not class period) that passes after the due date. I will not accept any assignment more than 1 week late.

Plagiarism: "Plagiarism is using another's words or ideas without appropriate acknowledgement" (MLA Style Manual 4). In formal essays, "acknowledgement" means using conventions of citation such as the quotation marks and parenthetical note in the previous sentence. Even if you paraphrase someone's words, you must provide a note showing your debt. NOTE: If you plagiarize or use commercial study aids (e.g. Cliff's Notes), in your formal essays, you will receive an irrevocable "F" grade.

Attendance: A class that studies reader response, as ours will, has to have some healthy discussion of actual responses to readings, and so attendance will be part of your participation grade. You are permitted three absences during the semester, excluding those for major medical problems, which will be handled on an individual basis. If you miss too much of the semester--even with a legitimate medical excuse--I may have to ask you to withdraw. After the three cuts, your final grade in the course will be lowered a third of a grade (e.g. from C to C-) for each cut.

Schedule of Readings and Assignments

Please note: When I provide a page reference for the literary works, I may cite only the first page number--needless to say, I expect you to read the story, poem, play or essay in its entirety. This schedule is subject to change on short notice (shifting items to a later date, deletion of items). If you are absent, it's your responsibility to check with me for updates.

T 1/14
Introduction to the course.  After class read "Introduction" p. 1-4.

Culture and Class

T 1/21
"Introduction to Fiction" p. 5-24 "Historical and Sociological Criticism" p. 1419
Chekhov, Anton 1860-1904, “An Upheaval”  p.173

Th 1/23
Achebe, Chinua 1930-, “Dead Men's Path” p. 367
Walker, Alice 1944-, “Everyday Use” p. 462

T 1/28
Gautreaux, Tim 1947-, “Died and Gone to Vegas” p. 471
"Introduction to Poetry" pp. 25-48.

Th 1/30
Whitman, Walt (1819-1892) “When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer” 655
Robinson, Edwin Arlington (1869-1935) “Richard Cory”  681
Dunbar, Paul Laurence (1872-1906) “We Wear the Mask”  683
Simpson, Louis (1923-) “American Classic”  775
Snyder, Gary (1930-) “Walk, A”  810

T 2/4
Barrax, Gerard (1933) “Strangers Like Us: Pittsburgh, Raleigh 1945-1985”  818
Willard, Nancy (1936-) “Hardware Store As Proof of the Existence of God, A”  826
Mayers, Florence Cassen (1940-) “All-American Sestina”  841
Bottoms, David (1949-) “Sign for My Father, Who Stressed the Bunt”  875
Harjo, Joy (1951-) “Song for the Deer and Myself to Return On”  884
Song, Cathy (1955-) “Stamp Collecting”  897

 Th 2/6, and T 2/11
"The Play's the Thing" p. 70, "Realistic Drama . . . "  p. 94
Wilson, August, Fences p. 1315

War and Violence

Th 2/13
Borges, Jorge Luis (1899-1986), "The Gospel According to Mark"  269
Erdich, Louise 1954-, “The Red Convertible”  512

T 2/18, Th 2/20, and T 2/25
O’Brien, Tim, The Things They Carried

Supplemental readings:  The American Experience/Vietnam, The Vietnam War Internet Project, Tim O'Brien's Home Page, Novelist, Featured Author: Tim O'Brien, Writing Vietnam - Tim O'Brien Lecture Transcript
Th 2/27
Browning, Robert (1812-1889) “Porphyria's Lover”  638
Whitman, Walt (1819-1892) “A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim”  640
Hardy, Thomas (1840-1928) “The Convergence of the Twain”  664
Yeats, William Butler (1865-1939) “Leda and the Swan”  674
Yeats, William Butler (1865-1939) “The Second Coming”  676

3/4 and 3/6:  Spring Break

T 3/11
Crane, Stephen (1871-1900) “War Is Kind, 21”  683
Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918) “Dulce Et Decorum Est”  720
Toomer, Jean (1894-1967) “Reapers”  726
Walker, Margaret (1915-) “For Malcolm X”  752
Hecht, Anthony (1923-) “'More Light! More Light!'”  772

Th 3/13
Heaney, Seamus (1939-) “Punishment”  838
Ai (1947-) “Child Beater”  869
Komunyakaa, Yusef (1947-) “Facing It”  871
Forché, Carolyn (1950-) “The Colonel”  879
Salter, Mary Jo (1954-) “Welcome to Hiroshima”  895

T 3/18, T 3/25,  and Th 3/27
Moulthrop, Stuart, Victory Garden (meet in Recitation 301)

Th 3/20: Class cancelled.  Continue reading Victory Garden.

Supplemental readings:  frontline: the gulf war | PBS, Fog of War, The Unseen Gulf War by Peter Turnley - The Digital Journalist
Men and Women

T 4/1, Th 4/3, and T 4/8
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616), A Midsummer Night’s Dream + Introduction; "Feminist and Gender Criticism" p. 1420

 Th 4/10
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616), Sonnets 20 and 130 (pp. 543, 545)
Donne, John (1572-1631), “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” 552
Herrick, Robert (1591-1674) “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”  556

T 4/15
Millay, Edna St. Vincent (1892-1950) “If I Should Learn, in Some Quite Casual Way,” “Oh, Oh, You Will be Sorry for That Word!”, “Not In a Silver Casket,” “What Lips My Lips Have Kissed”  718-20

Th 4/17
Hope, A.D. (1907-) “Imperial Adam”  733
Rich, Adrienne (1929-) “Aunt Jennifer's Tigers”  804
Plath, Sylvia (1932-1963) “Metaphors”  817
Clifton, Lucille (1936-) “to my last period”  824
Olds, Sharon (1942-) “One Girl at the Boys Party, The”  851

T 4/22
Wharton, Edith 1862-1937, “Roman Fever”  181
Hemingway, Ernest 1899-1961,  “Hills Like White Elephants”  264

Th 4/24
Atwood, Margaret 1939-, “Happy Endings”  444
Lorrie Moore 1957-, “How to Talk to Your Mother (Notes)”  522

Final Examination:  TBA