online syllabus:


electronic reserve:


listserv website:


listserv address:


~ schedule ~



Literature 101: Introduction to Literature
The Reading of Fiction

winter 2004

Dr. Abby Coykendall

Office Phone: (734) 487-0147

Office Location: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G
Office Hours: Monday 12-1; Wednesday 12-2, 3-5

~ or by appointment ~

Section # 4; Registration # 23864
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:00 - 11:50 AM
Pray-Harrold Hall 318



 “The private person who squares his accounts with reality in his office demands that the interior be maintained in his illusions. …  From this springs the phantasmagorias of the interior.  For the private individual the private environment represents the universe.  In it he gathers remote places and the past.  His drawing room is a box in the world theater.”

Walter Benjamin, “Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century,” Reflections


English 101: Introduction to Literature — The Reading of Fiction

Literature 101 is a class in which we will explore a variety of prose fiction, particularly novels and short stories, ranging in period from the nineteenth-century to the present and including authors from around the world.  We will begin with Isak Dinesen’s “The Dreamers,” which is not only a wonderful novella in and of itself, but also an exploration into the genre of fiction as a whole that will set the terms for what we will investigate throughout: the ways in which personal identity might be considered a mode of storytelling, the ways in which personal identity might work in relation to, and even in opposition to, the stories that our cultures (or our parents) might tell of themselves, and the ways in which fictional narratives might impact the real, everyday world of lived experience, particularly by illuminating the day to day experience of those from different cultures or simply from different points of view.  More than anything else, fiction is a means of transport: it can be a vehicle for identification with others, differentiation from others, or even a way to escape the demands of human interaction altogether.  As such, fiction provides an ideal forum in which to stage encounters across cultures and facilitate what are truly global perspectives, or points of view free of insularity, cognizant of diversity, and receptive to the manifold ways of being and thinking throughout the globe.  In the end, we will see how fantastic tales of heroic adventure can become thinly disguised horror tales once taken in their historical context; however, we will also see how fiction offers a means to (re)envision and hopefully to (re)create the material world in which we all live.  Ultimately, whether discussing literature or world events, we will attempt to expand rather than confine our engagement with the material.


Required Texts

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


v  William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style, 4th Edition  (Longman 2000; ISBN # 020530902x)

v  Short Guide to Writing About Literature, Ed. Sylvan Barnet (Longman 2003; ISBN # 0321104765)

v  Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Random House 1999; ISBN # 037575377x)

v  Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (Penguin 2003; ISBN # 0141439556)

v  Arundhati Roy, God of Small Things (Harper Perennial 1998; ISBN # 0060977493)

v  Bram Stoker, Dracula, Ed. John Paul Riquelme (Bedford/St. Martin’s 2001; ISBN # 0312241704)

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.  Additional required texts are located in the Halle Library’s Electronic Reserve:  (Contact another student or myself if you forget the password.)  If you experience difficulty viewing 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 open them.  It is best to print out the Electronic Reserve materials in one sitting early in the semester from the computers on the first floor of the Halle library, where you will see a station with multimedia computers all equipped with 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.  Hard copies of the Electronic Reserve texts will be available on reserve at the Halle circulation desk if you experience any complications, but you will then have to pay for the photocopying rather than printing them from the library computers for free.


Nothing is more vital for success in this class than keeping up with, and actively engaging in, the daily reading assignments and class discussions.  Make sure to bring a copy of each text that we will be discussing to class.  You will have 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, unannounced quizzes to ensure that you are keeping up with the reading.



There will be a large number of writing assignments: informal responses, polished essays, and essay exams.  Guidelines on the final critical essay are available in the Electronic Reserves and online (  The final exam will include critical responses and an essay question, each comprehending the literary, filmic, and critical materials that we have covered throughout the class.  As with any university course, the homework will take around two hours for every hour of class, and thus you can expect to spend six hours each week completing the various assignments and readings.


The responses will be posted to the class listserv (, but they may also be handwritten if you prefer privacy or have difficulty accessing the internet.  Each response should be at least 500 words, or roughly two paragraphs and one page, although longer (or more engaged) responses will not only enhance your grade, but also increase the ability of other students and myself to offer feedback.  In contrast to the responses, the essays will offer a thorough examination of the readings and have the proper academic format.  The primary difference between a response and an essay is that with the response, the mechanical elements of writing do not matter in the least, and the goal is to freely and openly express ideas; whereas, with the essay, the mechanical elements of writing must be attended to very thoroughly and the goal is to defend a focused argument clearly, coherently, and persuasively.  






Responses, Participation,

and Research Proposals




Essay on Heart of Darkness (5 pg.)

February 2, 2004



Final Examination: Critical Responses / Essay Question

April 21, 2004 (11- 12:30)



Critical Essay on Dracula (6 pg.)

April 26, 2004


Essays will be given two grades — one for theme and one for writing — which will be averaged together evenly.  Those students who are less familiar with the technicalities of writing will thus receive a boost if they put initiative into conceiving a unique idea, and those students who are less used to thinking critically will receive a boost by writing clearly and carefully.  In order to ensure that you put effort into enhancing both aspects of your writing, however, revised essays will be worth as much, if not more, than the first versions and will also be given two grades: one for the amount of effort put into revision and one for the quality of the essay as a whole.  Any late essay will drop a third of a grade for each day late; that is, an A paper will turn into A- if turned in one day late, an A paper will turn into B+ if turned in two days late, and so on.  Likewise, any essay that is shorter than the required length will be marked down in proportion to the pages missing.  For instance, a 3¾-page essay that is supposed to be 5 pages can receive at most a grade of 75%, or C, since it is missing ¼ of the required length. 


The participation grade, largely based on responses, quizzes, and the research proposal, 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 responses are marked down only minimally but must be turned in within a week of the initial due date.  The best way to make up a response is by comparing the reading that you missed to that which the class is currently considering.  This will help both you and the other students make connections and comparisons that span the course as a whole.  Your total response 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.  


Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism is a very serious offense against the Code of Student Conduct.  According to Funk and WagnallsNew 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, the internet also makes plagiarism 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. 


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


Because this class primarily consists of reading and discussion — rather than facts, figures, or memorization — attendance is crucial.  You may be absent four 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 fifth class missed will turn a final grade of an A into an A-; the sixth, into a B+; and so on.  The four absences are for emergencies, so if you ditch the class four times, do not expect a reprieve from the rule if you become ill or have other extenuating circumstances towards the end of the semester.  If there is a documented emergency (a death in the family, lost limb, prison term, &c.) at the end of the semester, I will go out of my way to help in any way I can, including giving an incomplete, supposing that you have otherwise kept up with the assignments, attended class regularly, and finished a majority of the course.  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.  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. 



Monday, January 5:  Introduction to the Course / Homework:  Review the syllabus and write down any questions that you have; Get books; Email to be added onto the class listerv; Read Isak Dinesen, “The Dreamers” (ER 271-303) [32 pgs.]


Wednesday, January 7:  Discuss Dinesen / Homework:  Read “The Writer as Reader” (Short Guide 3-9); Dinesen, “The Dreamers” (ER 304-335) [37 pgs.]


Friday, January 9:  Discuss Dinesen / Homework:  Read “The Reader as Writer” (Short Guide 12-31, 33-36); Finish Dinesen, “The Dreamers” (ER 336-55); After reviewing Dinesen, write a response, sending it in plain text to the listserv email address at; For confirmation or to see other responses, visit the listerv archives at; If you have any difficulty, either email your response to me or turn in a hard copy on Monday. [41 pgs.]


Monday, January 12:  Discuss Dinesen, Responses, and Writing Conventions / Homework:  Read Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (xi-xviii, 3-40) [44 pgs.]


Wednesday, January 14:  Discuss Conrad / Homework:  Read Conrad, Heart of Darkness (40-84) [44 pgs.]


Friday, January 16:  Discuss Conrad / Homework:  Finish Conrad, Heart of Darkness (84-96); Read commentary on Heart of Darkness (xxi-lii); Write down a quote from one of the critics and two related quotes from Conrad, the first quote substantiating the critic’s argument and the second disproving or at least complicating it [43 pgs.]


Monday, January 19:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


Wednesday, January 21:  Discuss Conrad, Criticism / Homework:  Read “Writing About Fiction” (Short Guide 125-37, 142-46, 151-52, 160-63, 164-70); The Elements of Style, Part I (1-14) [41 pgs.]


Friday, January 23:  Discuss Literary Interpretation, Writing Conventions / Homework:  Read “Two Forms of Criticism:  Explication and Analysis” (Short Guide 37-59); “Other Kinds of Writing about Literature” (Short Guide 60-63); “Style and Format” (Short Guide 257-77); Write an introductory paragraph, thesis, and three topic sentences for Essay One on Conrad (5 pages, Due Monday, February 2), sending it in plain text to the listserv email address at [45 pgs.]


Monday, January 26:  Discuss Conrad, Writing Conventions, Introductions / Homework:  Read “What Is Literature?” (Short Guide 75-83); Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Introduction, Biographical Notice, and Editor’s Note (xv-liv) [47 pgs.]


Wednesday, January 28:  Discuss Literary Analysis, Brontë / Homework:  Read Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Vol. I Chapt. 1-5 (3-44) [41 pgs.]


Friday, January 30:  Discuss Brontë / Homework:  Read Edward Said, “Imaginative Geography and Its Representations,” Orientalism (ER, 4 pgs. []); The Elements of Style, Part II (15-33); Finish Essay One on Conrad (5 pages, Due Monday, February 2) [22 pgs.]


Monday, February 2:  Watch and Discuss Edward Said on Orientalism / Homework:  Read Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Vol. I Chapt. 6-9 (45-90); Watch the Said video, which is available on reserve in the library, if you are absent [45 pgs.]


Wednesday, February 4:  Discuss Brontë / Homework:  Read Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Vol. I Chapt. 10-12 (91-133) [42 pgs.]


Friday, February 6:  Discuss Brontë / Homework:  Read “What Is Interpretation?” (Short Guide 85-90); Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Vol. I Chapt. 13 to Vol. II Chapt. 2 (134-170); Write a response on Brontë, sending it in plain text to the listserv email address at [41 pgs.]


Monday, February 9:  Discuss Brontë / Homework:  Read “What Is Evaluation?” (Short Guide 97-102); Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Vol. II Chapt. 3-5 (171-203) [37 pgs.]


Wednesday, February 11:  Discuss Brontë / Homework:  Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Vol. II Chapt. 6-9 (204-244) [40 pgs.]


Friday, February 13:  Discuss Brontë / Homework:  Read Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Vol. II Chapt. 10-16 (245-298) [53 pgs.]


Monday, February 16:  Discuss Brontë, Group Work / Homework:  Finish Brontë, Wuthering Heights, (299-337); Review for Final Exam by finding one theme operative in each of our texts (Dinesen, Conrad, Brontë) and writing down at least one quote from each text pertaining to that theme [38 pgs.]


Wednesday, February 18:  Review for Final Exam / Homework:  Read the biography of Arundhati Roy in the ER; Begin reading Roy, God of Small Things (1-44) [46 pgs.]


Friday, February 20:  Discuss Roy / Homework:  Read The Elements of Style (34-65); Arundhati Roy, God of Small Things (45-75) [60 pgs.]


Monday, February 23 — Winter Recess


Wednesday, February 25Winter Recess


Friday, February 27Winter Recess


Monday, March 1:  Discuss Writing Conventions, Roy / Homework:  Read “Writing About Literature:  An Overview” (Short Guide 104-106); Roy, God of Small Things (75-117) [44 pgs.]


Wednesday, March 3:  Discuss Roy / Homework:  Read “Writing About Literature:  An Overview” (Short Guide 106-108); Roy, God of Small Things (117-161) [45 pgs.]


Friday, March 5:  Discuss Roy / Homework:  Read Roy, God of Small Things (161-200); Write a response on Roy, sending it in plain text to the listserv email address at [39 pgs.]


Monday, March 8:  Discuss Roy / Homework:  Read “Writing About Literature:  An Overview” (Short Guide 108-113); Roy, God of Small Things (200-40) [45 pgs.]


Wednesday, March 10:  Discuss Roy / Homework:  Read “Writing About Literature:  An Overview” (Short Guide 113-18); Roy, God of Small Things (240-78) [43 pgs.]


Friday, March 12:  Discuss Roy / Homework:  Finish Roy, God of Small Things [43 pgs.]


Monday, March 15:  Discuss Roy / Homework:  Read “Writing a Research Paper” (Short Guide 278-93); Bram Stoker, Dracula (3-39) [46 pgs.]


Wednesday, March 17:  Discuss Research Techniques, Stoker / Homework:  Read Stoker, Dracula (39-84) [45 pgs.]


Friday, March 19:  Discuss Stoker / Homework:  Read “Writing a Research Paper” (Short Guide 293-300, 309-10); Stoker, Dracula (85-129) [50 pgs.]


Monday, March 22:  Discuss Stoker / Homework:  Read Stoker, Dracula (130-174) [44 pgs.]


Wednesday, March 24:  The class will meet in the Halle Library / Homework:  Read Stoker, Dracula (175-224) [49 pgs.]


Friday, March 26:  CLASS CANCELLED FOR CONFERENCE / Homework:  Read Stoker, Dracula (225-75) [50 pgs.]


Monday, March 29:  Discuss Stoker / Homework:  Read Stoker, Dracula (275-321) [46 pgs.]


Wednesday, March 31:  Discuss Stoker / Homework:  Finish Stoker, Dracula (321-69) [48 pgs.]


Friday, April 2:  Discuss Stoker / Homework:  Read Dracula, “Contextual Illustrations and Documents” and “Critical History” (370-79, 388-397, 400-406, 409-28); Write a response on Stoker and one of the contextual materials, sending it in plain text to the listserv email address at [44 pgs.]


Monday, April 5:  Discuss Stoker / Homework:  Read Dracula, “Gender Criticism” (434-65) [31 pgs.]


Wednesday, April 7:  Discuss Gender Criticism / Homework:  Read The Elements of Style, Part V (66-85); “Essay Examinations” (ER 375-76); Write your proposal for the Critical Essay; See “Guidelines on the Critical Essay” []; “List of Recommended Databases for Literature” [][20 pgs.]


Friday, April 9 — Spring Recess


Monday, April 12:  Discuss Final Exam, Research Essays / Homework:  Read Dracula, “Psychoanalytic Criticism” (466-98) [35 pgs.]


Wednesday, April 14:  Discuss Psychoanalytic Criticism / Homework:  Read Dracula, “New Historicism” (500-35); Write a response applying one of the methodologies (gender criticism, psychoanalysis, or new historicism) to Roy’s God of Small Things [34 pgs.]


Friday, April 16:  Discuss Literary Criticism, Roy, Stoker / Homework:  Review for Final Exam; Finish Critical Essay on Dracula


Wednesday, April 21 (11:00 AM - 12:30 PM):  Final Exam


Monday, April 26, 12 PM:  Final Critical Essay on Dracula Due. Drop it in my mailbox in the English Dept., 612 Pray Harrold or slide it under my office door, 603G Pray Harrold. Anything handed in after 12 PM sharp will not be given any credit. Also leave a self-addressed, stamped manila envelope if you want commentary on your essay.