online syllabus:


electronic reserves: (100)

listserv website:


listserv address:


~ schedule ~


Literature 100: Reading of Literature
Introduction to Literature
Poetry ~ Fiction ~ Drama


winter 2005

Dr. Abby Coykendall

Office Phone: (734) 487-0147

Office Location: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G
Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 12:00-1:30; 4:15-5:15

~ or by appointment ~

Section 010; Registration #27295
Wednesday 7:00 - 9:40 PM
Pray Harrold Hall 319




Course Description: Reading of Literature

Literature 100 is a class in which you will explore a wide variety of literature — novels, short stories, poetry, and drama — ranging in period from the fifteenth-century to the present and encompassing authors from around the world.  The aim is to provide a general introduction to literature, including an examination of the major literary periods, movements, and genres.  By the end of the course, you will have surveyed representative works written in English, honed your interpretative skills, familiarized yourself with literary conventions, and learned to think critically and carefully about those conventions.  Whether discussing literature or world events, we will attempt to expand rather than confine our engagement with the material, ultimately coming to understand how literature offers a means to (re)envision and hopefully to (re)create the material world in which we all live.


Required Texts

The following books are available at Ned’s bookstore (; 483-6400; 707 W. Cross Street), although additional copies may be available at other EMU bookstores:


v      Literature: A Portable Anthology, edited by Janet E Gardner (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003; ISBN #0312412797)

v      Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Dover Thrift, 1991; ISBN # 0486266885)

v      Aristophanes, Lysistrata (Dover Thrift, 1994; ISBN # 0486282252)

v      Arthur Schnitzler, Hands Around (Dover Thrift, 1995; ISBN #0486287246)

Make sure to get the same editions pictured and listed above; otherwise, the differing page numbers will make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to follow along with class discussions.  Nothing is more vital for success in this class than keeping up with, and actively engaging in, the weekly reading assignments and class discussions. 


Many other required texts are located in the Halle Library’s Electronic Reserves:  (Contact another student or myself if you forget the password.)  If you experience difficulty opening these texts on your computer, see the link “Problems viewing PDF or other file formats?  Read this!”  You may need to download small versions applications (Adobe, MS Word, etc.) in order to access them.  It is best to print out the Electronic Reserve materials in one sitting in advance from the computers on the first floor of the Halle library, where you will see a station with multimedia computers equipped with the course-reserve software.  These computers are much more likely to be able to open the files (and to open them quickly) than your own computer. 


Make sure to bring a copy of each of the texts that we will be discussing to class, whether electronic reserve materials, plays, the novel, or the anthology.  You will need to have read the assigned material, and have it on hand, when I call on you in class or when we do group work, which will be often.  There will also be periodic quizzes. 






Responses, Quizzes, Poetry Presentation,
& Class Participation




Examination #1: Short Story & Novel

February 9



Examination #2: Poetry & Drama

April 27



Five-Page Critical Essay



The participation grade, largely based on responses, quizzes, and the poetry presentation, is a considerable portion of your final grade — 20% — so keep up with the reading and response assignments and make your voice heard in class.  Late assignments are marked down only minimally, but they must be turned in within a week of the initial due date.  Your total participation points will be averaged, put on a fair grading curve, and then bumped up or down slightly depending on how actively you engage in class discussions. 


Responses to the readings will be posted periodically to the class listserv, emailed in plain text and without attachments to and thence dispersed to all of the members of the class at once.  See to subscribe to the listserv, and then visit the listserv archives to double check that your response went through or to view the responses of other class members.  Responses may also be handwritten if you prefer privacy or have difficulty accessing the internet.  All responses are listed on the schedule below and due by the following class period, but if you post them by 6 PM on the previous evening, you will get them back much earlier.  Each response should be at least 400 words, or roughly two paragraphs and one page, although longer (or more engaged) responses will not only enhance your grade, but also enhance the ability of other students and myself to offer feedback.

The exams will consist of a brief multiple-choice section and essay questions.  The first exam will have one essay question on short fiction and another on the novel; the second exam will have one essay question on poetry and another on drama.  You will be able refer to an outline during the exams, but not to the texts themselves. 

The critical essay will be given two grades — one for the quality of the theme and one for the quality of the writing — which will be averaged together equally for a final grade.  In it, you will analyze a poem of your choice from the Literature anthology, the same poem that you select for your poetry presentation, as well as (if you like) a second poem by way of contrast.  This poem cannot otherwise be covered in class as required reading.  Handouts on writing about literature are available in the Supplemental Folder of the Electronic Reserves.



Because this class primarily consists of reading and discussion — rather than facts, figures, or memorization — attendance is crucial.  You may be absent three times without penalty.  Each absence after that will result in a reduction of your final grade by one-third the letter grade: that is, the fourth class missed will turn a final grade of an A into an A-; the fifth, into a B+; and so on.  The three absences are for emergencies, so if you ditch the class three times, do not expect a reprieve from the rule if you become gravely ill or have other extenuating circumstances towards the end of the semester. 

Above all, make sure to withdraw from the course if you find that you cannot attend class regularly or fall too far behind in the reading.  Aside from the grade reduction, missing classes will hinder your ability to do the assignments properly and promptly.  Likewise, even though there will be no penalty for lateness, it can have several undesirable consequences: you may miss crucial information (such as the extension of a deadline) often covered in the first ten minutes of class and, of course, you will likely distract other students and myself while entering the room.  If you are late, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have not been marked absent.  If you are absent from class, contact another student who can fill you in on missed work before contacting me. 

In the unlikely event that you experience an emergency of any kind at the end of the semester (a death in the family, lost limb, prison term, &c.), I will go out of my way to help in any way I can, including giving you an incomplete, supposing that you document the situation in some fashion and have otherwise kept up with the assignments, attended class regularly, and finished a majority of the course. 


Academic Dishonesty

Any academic dishonesty will result in a failing, zero-percent grade for the assignment.  Thus, if you plagiarize on the essay, you can expect, at most, to receive a C (or 75%) for your final grade, supposing that you did everything else in the class perfectly.  Similarly, if you cheat on the second exam, you can expect at most to receive a C- (or 70%), again supposing that you did everything else perfectly. 

Plagiarism is a very serious offense against the Code of Student Conduct.  According to Funk and Wagnalls’ New Standard Dictionary (1921), plagiarism is the “act of plagiarizing or appropriating the ideas, writings, or inventions of another without due acknowledgment; specifically, the stealing of passages either for word or in substance, from the writings of another and publishing them as one’s own.”  The general rule is that if you use three or more words of another writer in a row without enclosing those words in quotation marks and acknowledging your source, you are guilty of plagiarism. 


With the internet, plagiarism is quite easy and tempting to do; however, plagiarism is also that much more easy to catch and document, so do not even think about doing it in this class or elsewhere.  Note: Turning in a paper that you wrote for another class as an essay for this class, i.e. recycling the same words for double credit, also constitutes academic dishonesty at EMU. 


January 5:  Introduction to course; First-day conjectural responses / Homework: Get Books; Review the syllabus and write down any questions that you have; Read Literature: A Portable Anthology (LPA), pg. 1265-77; Michael Herr, “Dispatches,” pg. 200-208, and Ambrose Bierce, “Chickamauga,” pg. 213-218, each in the Electronic Reserves (ER):  Bring copies of all ER materials and the book to class, as well as the classes that follow. [12/13]

January 12:  Discuss approaches to literature; Discuss Herr and Bierce, as well as the elements of fiction / Homework: Read “Analyzing Fiction” (ER 2-21); Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “Yellow Wallpaper” (LPA 1388-89; 82-96); Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal” (LPA 1385; 196-208); Subscribe to the class listserv at; Write a 400-word response on Gilman and Ellison, using one of the questions from “Analyzing Fiction” as a basis for your response; Send the response as an email in plain text to the listserv at (if you use my.emich, the email will automatically be in plain text); Do not send the response in an email attachment; For confirmation, visit the archives (make sure to refresh the page to see the latest posts); Email your response to me ( if you have any difficulty, or hand it in as a hard copy during class.  There will be extra credit for the student who posts the first response.  This response (as well as all future responses) is due by the next class period, but if you post it by 6 PM on the previous evening, you will get it back much earlier. [19/28]

January 19:  Discuss Gilman and Ellison; Debate on “Yellow Wallpaper” and “Battle Royal” / Homework: Read “Analyzing Film” (ER 54-66); Read the glossary definitions for 1) “Allegory,” 2) “Allusion” and “Intertextuality,” 3) “Irony” (Dramatic, Situational, and Verbal), 4) “Paradox,” 5) and “Symbol” (LPA 1430+); Read the Robert Louis Stevenson Background in the Electronic Reserves (“ER”); Read Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Chapt. 1-4 (1-17); Find an example of the five literary devices mentioned above: one from the opening of the Stevenson novel, as well as one from each of the four short stories that we have read thus far.  Make a list to turn in with relevant quotations (or descriptions of the relevant scenes), explaining briefly how those passages exemplify the particular literary device. [20/17]

January 26:  Discuss Narrative in Cinema and Literature, Literary Devices, the Novel, and Stevenson; Watch Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde / Homework: Read “Common Writing Assignments” (LPA 1302-17); Finish Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Chapt. 5-10 (18-64); Email in plain text (without attachments) a 400-word response to the class listserv (, comparing and contrasting the literary and filmic versions of the Stevenson novel, and approaching the novel and its film adaptation as you imagine one of the literary critics would (e.g. Marxist, feminist, formalist, etc.); Optional reading, “Writing about Stories,” as well as the sample essay, for review (LPA 1318-24). [15/46]

February 2:  Discuss Stevenson; Groupwork on Critical Approaches to Literature and Stevenson; Review for Exam One on the Short Story and Novel / Homework: Read “The Writing Process” (LPA 1278-90; 1293-95); Read “Taking Essay Exams” (LPA 1314-17); Prepare outlines for Exam One [17]

February 9:  **Exam One: The Short Story and Novel** Watch Poets on Video (Creeley, Hughes, Stevens, Olds), as well as the Voices & Visions segment on Sylvia Plath / Homework: Read “Analyzing Poetry” (ER 22-41); Read (and re-read) the following poems: Sylvia Plath “Daddy” (LPA 1412; 602-604); Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” (LPA 1421; 556-57); Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz” (LPA 1415; 547); Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool” (LPA 1376; 559); Langston Hughes, “Harlem” (LPA 1396; 539); Wallace Stevens, “Disillusionment of Ten O’clock” (LPA 1420; 513-14); Listen to the audio files for Thomas, Roethke, and Brooks (ER). [19/13]

February 16: Discuss Poetry, Poetics, and Poetic Terminology / Homework: Read “Things to Think about when You Think about Poetry” (ER); Read (and re-read) the following poems: William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18” (LPA 1416; 379); Edgar Allen Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream” (LPA 1412; ER, 1 pg.); Edna St. Vincent Millay, “What Lips My Lips Have Kissed” (LPA 1406; ER, 1 pg.); William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (LPA 1426; 427-28); George Gordon Byron, “She Walks in Beauty” (LPA 1390; 437); Listen to the audio files for Poe, Wordsworth, and Byron (ER); Read the glossary definitions of the following literary devices: oxymoron, metaphor, simile, image, synesthesia, personification, alliteration, assonance, and consonance (LPA 1443+); Find an example of all but three of the literary devices, each from different poems that we have read for this week.  Make a list to turn in with relevant quotations, explaining briefly how those passages exemplify the particular literary device; Optional reading, “Writing about Poems,” as well as the sample essay, for review (LPA 1325-30). [10/10]

February 23:   Continue discussing poetry, poetics, and poetic terminology; Discuss Poetry Presentations and the final five-page essay / Homework: Read (and re-read) the following poems: Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” (LPA 1414; ER, 1 pg.); Sharon Olds, “The Solution” (LPA 1410; ER, 1 pg.); Marge Piercy, “The Secretary Chant” (LPA 1411; ER, 1 pg.); e. e. cummings, “next to of course god america I” (LPA 1381; ER, 1 pg.); Dorothy Parker, “Résumé” (ER, 1 pg.); Joy Harjo, “A Postcolonial Tale” (LPA 1391; ER, 1 pg.); Listen to the audio files for cummings and Harjo; Email in plain text (without attachments) a 400-word response to the class listserv ( on one of the poems that we have read for this week, basing it on one of the questions on the “Things to Think about when You Think about Poetry” handout; Read the “Poetry Presentations” handout; Review the anthology and select a poem from the anthology that we have not already covered in class to discuss for your poetry presentation; *** Email a list of the four poems that you most want to discuss, in the order that you most want to discuss them, to me ( by Tuesday, March 8; you will likely get to do your first choice, but if someone else picks that poem as well, you may have to present on your second, third, or fourth choice, depending on the earliness with which I receive your list compared to other students. [1/10+]

March 2: Winter Recess

March 9: Continue discussing poetry, poetics, and poetic terminology / Homework: Read “Analyzing Drama” (ER 42-53); Prepare the poetry presentation, as well as a written version of the presentation to turn in to me. [11]

March 16:  Discuss Dramatic Conventions; Poetry Presentations / Homework: Read “Tragedy & Comedy” (ER, 1 pg.); Read the glossary definitions of the following literary terms: climax, anticlimax, catharsis, farce, satire, parody, pun, sarcasm, stock character, hubris, hyperbole, mock epic (LPA 1431+); Read Aristophanes, Lysistrata, halfway through, including the prefatory material. [15/32]

March 23: Discuss Dramatic Conventions and Aristophanes; Poetry Presentations / Homework: Finish Aristophanes, Lysistrata; Email in plain text (without attachments) a 400-word response on Lysistrata to the class listserv (, basing it on one of the questions in “Analyzing Drama” (ER 42-53). [32]

March 30: Discuss Dramatic Conventions and Aristophanes; Debate on Lysistrata / Homework: Read Arthur Schnitzler, Hands Around, halfway through, including the prefatory material; Work on Critical Essays; Optional reading, “Writing about Plays,” as well as the sample essay, for review (LPA 1331-37). [32]

April 6:  Discuss Schnitzler; Poetry Presentations / Homework: Finish Arthur Schnitzler, Hands Around; Read “The Writing Process” (LPA 1296-1301); Review “The Writing Process” (LPA 1278-90; 1293-95); Work on Critical Essays. [32]

April 13:   Discuss Schnitzler; Discuss Essays; Revisit Conjectural Responses; Review for Exam Two / Homework: Prepare outlines for Exam Two; Work on Critical Essays; Optional reading, “Taking Essay Exams” (LPA 1314-17).

April 27:   **Exam Two: Poetry and Drama**

TBA:  ** Five-Page Essay Due** 


[Syllabus last modified January 5, 2005]