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603j pray Harrold hall

MTWTh 1:45–2:45 PM

~ schedule ~

Literature 101:

Imaginary Worlds: Introduction to Fiction

Winter 2014

Dr. Abby Coykendall



Section 9 (#20971)

Monday & Wednesday 12:30–1:45

Pray-Harrold Hall 318

Literature 101: Imaginary Worlds: Introduction to Fiction

Literature 101 is a class in which you will engage with a wide variety of prose fiction—novels, novellas, and short stories—ranging in period from the early modern era to the present and encompassing authors from around the world.  The primary aim is to provide a general introduction to fiction, including an examination of the major literary movements, periods, techniques, and genres.  By the end of the course, you will have surveyed representative fictional works written in English, honed your interpretative skills, familiarized yourself with literary conventions, and learned to think carefully critically and 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 fiction offers a means to (re)envision and hopefully to (re)create the world in which we all live.

Course Objectives: By the end of the course, you will be better able to

1) Develop an appreciation of fiction, including the formal conventions of literary works;

2) Broaden life experience through imagination, empathy, and engagement with diverse narratives and perspectives;

3) Learn to interpret fiction within various historical, philosophical, and cultural contexts, studying a wide selection of canonical and non-canonical texts from different literary periods;

4) Understand the reciprocal relationships between literature and culture, becoming aware of the ways that literature effects culture and that culture effects literature in turn;

5) Enhance critical-thinking skills through self-reflexivity, as well as through reflection on cultures foreign and familiar;

6) Become conversant in the terminology, debates, and practices of literature and literary criticism;

7) Communicate this newly acquired knowledge verbally and, when possible, in writing.

General Education Rationale:

Fiction draws readers in by presenting compelling characters, engaging situations, or familiar human problems.  Whether the worlds in fiction feel comfortably realistic or expand a reader’s horizons with their newness, fiction remains popular for its ability to explore the boundaries of human possibility.

Literature 101 is designed to cultivate students’ appreciation of prose fiction by providing a context to learn about the formal and historical features of different kinds of short stories and novels. This class introduces terms important for the critical understanding of fiction as an imaginative literary form. It also helps students analyze the plots, character, and setting of fiction not only as windows into the themes of the texts but as literary works that have impacted and influenced the on-going traditions of Western literature.  Because the course focuses on different types of fiction in historical contexts, students gain a nuanced understanding of the cultural meaning of fiction and learn to interpret these texts as a complex social practice meaningful as human art.

Required Textbooks:

Books are available for purchase at the EMU Bookstore in the Student Center, as well as at online merchants (Amazon, Able’s, Barnes & Noble) or other university bookstores in the area. Make sure to get the correct edition pictured below by double-checking the ISBN numbers (a fingerprint of sorts for the book):


40 Short Stories: A Portable Anthology, ed. Beverly Lawn, 4th Edition (Bedford 2012; ISBN# 1457604752)

Octavia E. Butler, Wild Seed (Grand Central Publishing, 2001; ISBN# 0446676977)

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, ed. Jeremy Tambling (Penguin, 2004, ISBN# 0375761195)

The other required readings are available in the online course shell, printable from any campus computer: (see the "Doc Sharing" link). Bring copies of required readings, whether the books above or handouts from the course shell, with you to class. You will need everything on hand for groupwork and class discussions. 


Nothing is more vital for success in this course than keeping up with, and actively engaging in, the reading assignments, response papers, and class discussions each day. The more actively you participate, the more the course content can reflect your unique needs and interests. As with any university course, homework will take around two hours to complete for every unit of class or, in other words, six hours per week. See the course shell online ( for information about assignments, including ways to augment your grade through extra credit if you fall behind.



Participation (Responses, Homework, Groupwork, Presentation, & Quizzes)


Examination #1: Elements of Fiction  (True-False; Short-Answer; Essay)


Five-Page Comparison-Contrast Essay (on two short stories in the anthology)


Examination #2: Application to Novels (True-False; Self-Designed Essay Question)

Instructor Availability:

I will be delighted to discuss any course-related questions, interests, or concerns during my office hours, as well as at any time through email ( Emails with straightforward questions usually receive a reply within a few hours to a day; those with thornier issues usually receive a reply within a week. Please limit inquiries to those that I alone can answer so I can give the more pressing issues of other students the attention that they deserve. If, for example, you are unsure about a due date, consult the syllabus, the handouts in the online course shell, or the peers in your group, and then email only if the confusion persists. Your first visit to my office hours with a course-related inquiry, such as to get guidance on homework, discuss readings lately covered, or brainstorm essay ideas, will be worth extra credit.


Failure to participate regularly in class discussion makes achieving the course objectives difficult and, eventually, impossible. Reserve absences for illnesses, car accidents, or other unforeseen emergencies preventing you from coming to class and make sure not to exhaust your allowable absences too early in the term. Because this course primarily consists of reading and discussion—rather than facts, figures, or memorization—regular attendance is crucial. You never need to explain why you are absent, as I always will assume that you have an excellent reason to miss class. However, any student who misses FIVE class periods for any reason—that is, any student who misses over two weeks of the term—will have his or her final grade reduced by a full mark (for example, lowered from A to B, B to C, etc.), and any student who misses SIX or more class periods will become ineligible to pass. When you must be absent, contact the other students in your group to share notes or determine what you missed. All missed homework is due on your return, and any changes to the schedule will be sent to the class as a whole by email.


The most essential information—due dates, assignment instructions, clarification of issues—is given at the beginning of class, so it is essential to come on time. Make sure to leave early just in case you encounter any problems along the way (traffic jams, late busses, no parking). Arriving well into the period or exiting well before its conclusion both count as half an absence. If you are late, it is your responsibility to sign the attendance sheet to avoid being marked absent. Habitual lateness that disrupts the class eventually counts as an absence (or absences) as well.

Classroom Etiquette:

It is important to be mindful of your peers during class time, listening to them with the same respect and attention that you hope to receive yourself. Once class begins, do not distract your peers by walking in or out of the room unless there is a genuine emergency. If you have a medical condition requiring you to leave occasionally, bring a doctor’s note confirming as such; otherwise, conduct all personal business outside of class.

Disruptive exits can be both mental and physical. Students unprepared to discuss the materials for the day, or discovered using laptops or phones for purposes unrelated to the course, will be asked to leave and marked absent. This course has a no-laptop, no-cell-phone policy, so do not bother using these instruments during class time unless specifically asked to do so to look something up.


This class is meant to be a welcoming educational experience for all students, including those who may have challenges or disabilities that impact learning. If you find yourself having difficulty participating or demonstrating knowledge in this course, please feel free to contact me to discuss reasonable accommodations (preferably at least one week prior to the need), even if you currently lack a Disability Resource Center (DRC) accommodation letter. You can also contact the DRC directly to talk about possible accommodations (734-487-2470; 240K Student Center;

Grading Scale:






























Academic Resources & Campus Safety:

The University Writing Center (115 Halle Library) offers one-to-one writing consulting. Students can make appointments or drop in from 9AM to 6PM Mondays through Thursdays and from 11AM to 4PM on Fridays. Students should bring a draft of what they’re working on and their assignment. The Academic Projects Center (116 Halle Library) offers one-to-one, drop-in consulting for students on writing, research, or technology-related issues from 11-5 Monday-Thursday. Another support center is the International Student Resource Center (200 Alexander, 487-0370) dedicated to second-language students from abroad.

Also consider availing yourself of the campus escort service, Student Eyes and Ears for University Safety, by calling 48-SEEUS (487-3387). If you sign up for the emergency text-messaging system (, DPS can notify us of any calamity afflicting the campus.

Academic Integrity:

Understanding and avoiding academic dishonesty, and doing all coursework on your own, is imperative. Copying the homework of peers, taking credit for essays that you find on the internet, cheating on exams, or recycling your own essays written for other classes for double credit are all forms of academic dishonesty. The worst form of academic dishonesty is plagiarism, which, put simply, is taking either the ideas or the words of another person and reusing them as if they are your own.

You thus must acknowledge when you make use of the concepts and/or expressions of other people without any exception under any circumstance, whether it be by drawing on Wikipedia for mundane (and quite possibly specious) information or channeling the most holy of holy books for heavenly inspiration. When describing the ideas of someone else in your own words, make sure to signal as such (e.g., So and so says X … ”); most importantly, when inserting the words of someone else into your own writing, make sure to credit that person for the passage and place quotation marks on either side (e.g., So and so says “X”). Writing that lacks these acknowledgements will pass as your own by default, and any writing that thus seems to be your own, without actually being your own, will be plagiarizing the original source.

All instances of academic dishonesty will result in an automatic 0% grade for the assignment; second instances will result in outright failure of the course. There is no excuse for academic dishonesty, nor will there be any exceptions to this policy. Make sure that your work is plagiarism-free before turning it in.


Schedule for LITR 101: Imaginary Worlds (Winter 2014)

Section One: The Elements of Fiction Note: readings with asterisks (*) are in the “Doc Sharing” folder of the course shell (; the other readings, besides the novels, are available in the 40 Short Stories collection.



Reading Schedule by Class Period

Homework / Preparation for Class

Mon Jan. 6:

No Class: Snow Day


Wed Jan. 8:

Course & Student Introductions; Conjectural Responses


Mon Jan. 13:

Discuss Elements. Hawthorne, & Carter

o  Read the syllabus over carefully and review the materials in the online course shell, jotting down any questions you have

o  Read Part 1 & 2 of “Elements of Fiction”*

o  Read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”*

Be prepared to discuss in class the various elements of fiction found in Hawthorne’s short story (character, point of view, setting)

Wed Jan. 15:

Discuss Responses

o  Read Part 3 of “Elements of Fiction”*

o  Read Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber”*

Post a list of four complete sentences in the course shell ( comparing and/or contrasting “The Birthmark” and “The Bloody Chamber”

Mon Jan. 20:

No Class: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


Wed Jan. 22:

Discuss O’Brien and Diaz

o Read “Analyzing Fiction”* to review and reinforce your understanding of the elements of fiction

o Note: If you missed class the first day, make up the Conjectural Response by 1/15 at the latest

Post a 300-word response in the course shell responding to one of the questions on pg. 20-21 of “Analyzing Fiction” using Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” (if your last name begins with A-L) or Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber” (if your last name begins with M-Z)

Mon Jan. 27: Review for Exam One

o Read Junot Diaz, “Drown” (40SS)

o Writing about Short Stories” (40SS)

o Read “Guidelines on Exam 1”*

o Read “Taking Essay Examinations”*

Be prepared to discuss “Drown” in terms of a) symbolism, style, imagery, b) narrator, narrative structure, point of view, and c) theme.; Get Blue Books, Make Outline, and Prepare for Exam One

Wed Jan. 29:

Exam One (True-False; Short-Answer; Essay)

* Finish all outstanding homework for Section One if you want to receive partial credit for late work*


Section Two: The Elements Applied

Mon Feb. 3:

Discuss David Copperfield

o  Begin reading Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield (Chapt. 1-5)

o  Read “Guidelines on the Presentation and Essay”*

Begin making a list of the three stories from the anthology that you prefer to do for the presentation. This list is due Feb. 12, but the sooner that you turn it in or email it (acoykenda at, the more likely that you will get your first choice.

Wed Feb. 5:

o  Continue Dickens’ David Copperfield (Chapt. 6-10)

 Continue working on the list of the three short stories that you prefer to do for the presentation

Mon Feb. 10:

o  Continue Dickens’ David Copperfield (Chapt. 11-15)

Presentations: last names A through D

Post a list of three complete sentences in the course shell describing recurring symbols, thematic issues, and/or instances of irony in the novel, with a representative quote to illustrate each

Wed Feb. 12:

o  Continue Dickens’ David Copperfield (Chapt. 23–24, 41)

Presentations: last names E through P

Post the list of your three preferred stories in the course shell (see the “Guidelines on the Presentation and Essay”*

Mon Feb. 17:

o  Continue Dickens’ David Copperfield (Chapt. 44, 48, 55)

Presentations: last names R through T

 Post quotations from two passages from the novel that stand out to you and that relate to each other in some way—a quotation early in the book and another towards the end of the latest reading—and be prepared to discuss your selections in class

Wed Feb. 19:

o  Continue Dickens’ David Copperfield (Chapt. 60–64)

Presentations: last name  T-Y through Z

Post a substantive discussion question (50 words minimum) about the novel in the discussion thread on the course shell for your peers to respond

Feb. 24– Feb 26:

No Class: Winter Break


Mon Mar. 3:

o Continue Dickens’ David Copperfield (Read any 4 chapters of your choice that you have yet to be assigned to read)

Post a reply to one of your peer's discussion questions (300 word minimum) in the discussion thread on the course shell

Wed Mar. 5:

** Groupwork **


o Read and then re-read the short story assigned to your group (see the Group presentation schedule in the course shell to determine which to read)

**Note: coming to class Mar. 5 is important since the 20 points for groupwork can only be made up through extra credit.

Mon Mar. 10: Presentations of Groups 1 & 2

o Read John Updike, “A & P” (40SS)

o Read Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” (40SS)

Be prepared to respond to the discussion questions about the stories in class after the presentations for this class and those that follow.


Wed Mar. 12:

Presentations of Group 3

o Read Gabriel García Márquez, “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” (40SS)

Mon Mar. 17:

Presentations of Groups 4 & 5

o Read Toni Cade Bambara, “The Lesson” (40SS)

o Read Amy Tan, “Two Kinds” (40SS)

Be prepared to respond to the discussion questions about the stories in class after the presentations for this class and those that follow.

Wed Mar. 19:

Presentations of Group 6

o Read Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (40SS)

Mon Mar. 24:

Presentations of Groups 7 & 8


o Read Alice Walker, “Everyday Use” (40SS)

o Read Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal” (40SS)

Wed Mar. 26:

No Class (International Narrative Conference)


Mon Mar. 31:

Discuss Essays and Wild Seed

o “Comparison: An Analytic Tool”*

o Review the “Guidelines on the Presentation and Essay”*

o Begin reading Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed (pg. 1-30)

Post an introduction and outline for the Comparison-Contrast Essay to the course shell. The introduction must have the thesis statement underlined, and the outline must have at least three complete sentences for the topic sentences.

Wed Apr. 2:

o Continue Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed (pg. 31-89)


Mon Apr. 7:

o Continue Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed (pg. 90-148)

Post quotations from two passages from the novel that stand out to you and that relate to each other in some way—a quotation early in the book and another towards the end of the latest reading—and be prepared to discuss your selections in class

Wed Apr. 9:

o Continue Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed (pg. 149-207)

Post a substantive discussion question (50 words minimum) about the novel in the discussion thread on the course shell for your peers to respond

Mon Apr. 14:

o Continue Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed (pg. 208-66)

Post a reply to one of your peer's discussion questions (300 word minimum) in the discussion thread on the course shell

Wed Apr. 16:

o Finish Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed (267-320)

** Comparison-Contrast Essay Due**

Mon Apr. 21:

o Read “Guidelines on Exam 2”*

o Review “Taking Essay Examinations”*

 Get Blue Books, Make Outline for Peer Workshops, and Prepare for Exam Two

Wed Apr. 23:

11:30 - 1:00 p.m.

Exam Two (True-False; Self-Designed Essay Question)