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Prof. Jim Garrett
Office: E & T A608
Office Hours: M 4:30-6pm, T/TH 10-11:30am and by appt
Phone: (323) 343-4163
Course web site: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/250
Description: Forms and techniques of fiction and/or drama, and
poetry; analysis of representative works of various periods and
cultures; critical compositions and reports. Not open to English majors.
ENGL 102 or its equivalent. Please note that this course is not open
to English majors.
Immanuel Kant defined the sublime as “the abyss in which the
imagination is afraid of losing itself.” If on reading that last
sentence, you involuntarily gasped, thought to yourself “cool,” or
screwed up your eyes and said, “huh?” then welcome to the club of
the aesthetically brave and curious. In this course, we will use the
sublime as a focal point as we explore literary texts ranging from
ancient Greek tragedies to modern novels with plenty of poetry along the
way. And since this course is an introduction to literature, be prepared
for plenty of hands-on work—reading poetry, performing scenes, and
writing, both critical and creative, in response to your reading. We will begin the process of locating these texts in their specific
historical and cultural contexts as well as in the broader and more
contentious context of literary and aesthetic history.
Upon completion of ENGL 250, students will be able
- Be able to define significant literary genres, identify common
literary devices, and analyze the relationship between expression
- Make effective comparisons and connections between relevant aspects
of different texts.
- Recognize and analyze some of the possible relationships between a
text and its historical and cultural context.
- Relate the content and practices of the course to their own
disciplinary knowledge and ways of knowing.
- Demonstrate general skills in reading comprehension, critical
thinking, literary analysis, and academic writing in the humanities.
By actively participating in this course, students
their skills as critical readers—particularly close reading,
making connections within a literary work, and generating
thought-provoking questions—through active reading and guided
their skills at presenting questions and ideas verbally, and at
responding to those of others, through seminar-style class
their skills as critical writers about language and literature
through analytical writing assignments and essay exams.
The ultimate objective, though, is that each of us
will consider the acts of reading and writing as ways of making the
world, of making it cohere or come apart, of inscribing it with purpose
Requirements: Listed below are the requirements for this course.
Please note that students must complete all assignments to pass this
Journal (10% of your grade): Starting with the second class
meeting, I will ask you to take a couple of minutes at the beginning
and at the end of class to record your questions about the material
or the texts, your ideas about the readings, or any other
information that adequately records your progress through the course
and through the material. You will hand in this assignment at the
end of each class meeting.
Reading Quizzes (10% of your grade): Seven randomly chosen class
meetings will begin with a short reading quiz based on the reading
assigned for that day. Quizzes will be administered promptly at 8am
and collected at 8:15am. Six of these quizzes will account
cumulatively for 10% of the course grade (No make-up or alternative
assignments are available, so be on time.)
Assignments (40% of your grade): The writing requirements for
the course can be met in the following ways:
Writing Option: Complete eight weekly reading responses, each
about 1-2 pages in length. Weekly reading responses are due on
Thursdays and should respond to the reading assigned for that day.
Reading responses will be scored using a simple CR/NC scoring
system and can be analytical and/or creative—they need only
represent authentic and meaningful engagement with the text(s).
Writing Option (Argumentative Essays): Complete two short essays
(approx. 3-4 pages each) that each present an argument about an
assigned text. Essays will be scored using a standard essay
scoring guide with the opportunity for feedback and revision.
C (The Combo Burrito): Complete four weekly reading responses and
one short argumentative essay.
Regardless of the option
selected, these writing assignments (options A, B, or C) account for 30%
of the course grade.
midterm exam (20% of
course grade): short answer questions and identifications, and
one essay question
final exam (20% of course grade): short answer questions and
identifications, and one essay question
In order to
pass this course all assignments (papers and exams) must be legitimately
attempted. Plagiarism (see description below) does not
constitute a legitimate attempt of the assignment.
Grading Policy: The distribution of
points for the individual assignments in this course is listed in
“Requirements” above. Course grades are based on standard
percentages (i.e. A = 90%-100%, B = 80%-89% and so on). Plus and minus
grades are used in the class.
Electronic Devices: Please be
respectful of the classroom experience of others. Every quarter I
receive earnest complaints from students about the distracting behavior
of other students using electronic devices. Unless the use of such
devices is approved by the Office of Students with Disabilities, please
do not use electronic devices during class.
Contacting Me: I am available in my office during my posted
office hours and, schedule allowing, by appointment. Email is
also an effective way of contacting me.
Attendance: Attendance is mandatory.
I will take attendance at the start of every class. If you are not
present I will mark you absent. Arriving late will count as half of an
absence. You are allowed one absence without penalty. Each absence
beyond the first one will reduce your course grade. If you miss more
than four classes you will be disqualified from taking the final and
therefore will fail the class.
for Class: Please read the assigned texts before class. Often I will
offer some guidelines about future reading assignments in class. For
example, I might tell you to focus on a particular text for the next
class meeting. If you are absent, you are responsible for getting the
assignment from a classmate.
Written Assignments: Please note the
following carefully when preparing your written assignments for this
assignments must be typed following standard formatting practices
for college writing—use a readable type style and size (12 point
type), indent paragraphs, double space between lines, and use one
inch margins. Any style guide will contain information on formatting
your written assignments for submission.
handing in a written assignment, edit and proofread your work
not use plastic covers or report folders or title pages on your
written assignments. Each assignment, though, should have your name,
the course number, the date, and my name on separate lines
(double-spaced) in the upper left corner of the first page. If the
paper has a title, center it on the first page above the first
page numbers and place them in the upper right corner of the page.
If you are uncertain how to have word processing software generate
the correct page number in the header of your document, ask someone
in one of the labs.
format and style conventions should be followed for all written
assignments (essays and responses). Please note that MLA format for
bibliographic entries (Works Cited page) have changed. For more
information on MLA format and style conventions, see The MLA
Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the appropriate section
of a recent (published 2009 or after) writer’s handbook, or one of
the many reputable online sources.
papers are not accepted. The assignment due dates are distributed on
the first day of class, and the assignments are made available often
weeks before they are due.
Collaborating with others is encouraged when you are planning your
papers, reviewing each other’s work, preparing for presentations or
for exams. Study or reading groups can be effective ways to study and
learn. However, when you write your papers, the text needs to be your
must carefully observe the standard rules for acknowledging the
sources of words and ideas. If you make use of a phrase or a quote
or if you paraphrase another writer’s words or ideas, you must
acknowledge the source of these words or ideas telling us the source
of these materials. APA and MLA style differ on the exact format of
this attribution, but the simple version is the name of the author
and the page number (if appropriate) in parentheses at the end of
the sentence containing the use of the source material. If you fail
to acknowledge properly the source of your text, you will receive a
zero on the assignment and be reported to the Student Disciplinary
you plagiarize or otherwise misrepresent the source of your work,
you will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the
Student Disciplinary Officer.
following texts are required for this class:
Samuel Taylor. The Rime of the
Ancient Mariner and Other Poems. Dover Publications, 1992. (ISBN
Medea. Dover Publications,
1993. (ISBN 978-0486275482)
Frank. The Dark Knight Returns.
DC Comics, 1997. (ISBN 978-1563893421)
Mary. Frankenstein; or The Modern
Prometheus. Oxford UP, 2009. (ISBN 978-0199537150)
required readings are available as PDF downloads from the course web
site. Access to online course readings requires a password. Contact the
instructor to learn how to access these readings.