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LIT 2013-01        T Th 11:00 - 12:15 PM        A-331
Spring 2017         Class begins 12 January 2017

Kimberly M. Radek-Hall,  Instructor 
Office: Building A, Room 314, IVCC
Office Hours:  9-11 AM on MW and
9:00-9:30 AM and 12:15-12:45 PM on T
Phone: (815) 224-0395
E-mail: Kimberly_RadekHall@ivcc.edu


Course Objectives                                 

This course introduces you to the pleasures and subtlety of the details and narrative artistry contained in the novel and short stories.  The course is less an historical survey than an intense appreciation of individual works of art. You will read different literary forms of fiction, and you should become able to identify motifs, themes, and structural patterns in the literature.  Additionally, you will learn historical, philosophical, religious, and cultural information to help increase your understanding and appreciation of the works. You will need critical reading and writing skills to successfully complete this course, hence the prerequisites of English 1001 and 1002.  By the end of the course, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the texts, the authors and literary movements that produced them, and the elements of those texts, such as symbols, themes, and points of view.

Required Texts

Brown, Dan.  The Da Vinci Code. New York: Doubleday, 2003.

Charters, Ann.  The Story and Its Writer. 9th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2015.

Martin, George R. R. A Game of Thrones. New York: Bantam Books, 1996.

Additional readings, as assigned.

Grading Scale (%)

 A: 100-90         B: 89-80         C: 79-70         D: 69-60         F: 59-0  

Breakdown of Grades 
(not including reductions for poor attendance, etc.)

Class Participation 20%   Examination #1 15%
Group Presentation 15% Examination #2 15%
Researched Reaction Paper  20%  Examination #3 15%

Class Participation: You will be evaluated on your contribution and efforts to the class.  All homework, in-class writings, computer assignments, presentations, and quizzes will be graded and make up part of your class participation grade.  You can expect a brief quiz on each story at the beginning of the class in which we first begin discussing it. Material from lecture or other reading assignments may also be assessed this way.  Additionally, preparation for class, participation in class discussion, and tardiness contribute to this category of evaluation.

The Paper: Your paper must be typed, double-spaced, laser-printed, and follow standard MLA format.  In this paper you will react to a work of literature that we've covered in class, explaining what its message is, how that message relates to you, whether you find it an enjoyable or useful read, and whether you think it is a good or great work of literature-quoting from it to support these responses.  In the researched reaction portion of the paper you will reveal how two published readers have answered the above prompts. Finally, you will explain whether you agree or disagree with those readers' opinions, using the text itself to make either the proof or refutation of that opinion. This paper should, of course, have a clearly stated thesis statement in the first paragraph and contain quoted support from the texts to show how and why you've come to the opinion that you have.  Late papers are accepted and graded only at the instructor's discretion. The due dates of the papers correspond to the topic of the paper.  They are due at the beginning of the class period the week following the conclusion of our in-class study of said subject.

Papers will be given letter grades that will be converted to percentage points before I compute the final semester grade, and they will be evaluated on audience, content, grammar, organization, presentation, spelling, style, logic, and accuracy.

The Examinations: You will be tested over the material covered in class lecture, discussions, and assigned readings.  The examinations will include short answer, multiple choice, and passage identification questions, but will be largely based upon essay questions.  These exams will show that you can read these texts critically and analytically, identify common themes and issues in them, and write clearly about them.

The Group Presentations: You will be asked to form a group of four-six students for the purpose of teaching the class a story during the second unit of the syllabus. You will be asked, during the first unit, to form groups and to pick a story from the text that is not already on the syllabus. Your group should research the story so that you can share with the class its theme, its historical or authorial context, and its use of literary elements and its artistic use of language.  Additionally, you should prepare an attendance quiz and discussion questions related to the story.  You will present these on the day the story is assigned to the syllabus, and of course, you can assume that your classmates will already have read the story.  You may write your paper on the story your group covers.


Because the class, itself, will determine the quantity and depth of the texts we study, your attendance is extremely important. You cannot learn (or help others learn through insightful discussion) if you are not in class.  You will not receive credit for any work you miss or fail to turn in to me while or because you are out of class. It is your responsibility to request by 12:15 PM on April 6th that I withdraw you, if you find that you are not going to be able to complete the course successfully. 

Note: The only absences I consider excused are IVCC-sponsored trips.  If  you will be attending one of these, your assignments and papers must be turned in to me in advance of the trip.

General Education Credit

This course is a general education course, which fulfills a humanities requirement toward your bachelor's degree. It has been accepted by IAI as an H3 901 course, so you know that it will be accepted by all participating schools. Additionally, this course will help you attain the following goals, deemed central to IVCC's general education program: 

1. To apply analytical and problem solving skills to personal, social, and professional issues and situations.                                                                      

2. To communicate successfully, both orally and in writing, to a variety of audiences.

3. To construct a critical awareness of and appreciation for diversity.

4. To understand and use technology effectively and to understand its impact on the individual and society.

5. To develop interpersonal capacity.

6. To recognize what it means to act ethically and responsibly as an individual
and as a member of society.

7. To recognize what it means to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle in terms of mind, body, and spirit.

8. To connect learning to life.

Expected Student Outcomes

1.  The student will read texts with understanding and appreciation, reacting to and analyzing what he or she has read.

2.  The student will listen actively to lectures and discussions, asking questions for clarification on ideas or issues, if needed.

3.  The student will participate in discussion, offering his or her insights about the literature or asking the class or instructor for clarification on material he or she does not completely understand.

4.  The student will integrate and cite accurately information of other writers, using other writers' opinions, beliefs, and/or observations to support his or her own opinions, beliefs, and/or observations.

5.  The student will synthesize lecture, discussion, and text materials to come to a more solid world view on the impact writing has and has had upon history and the impact history has and has had upon writing.

Desired Attitudes Toward the Course

Students will respect each other's personal beliefs and be committed to helping each other learn more about the course information and themselves.  Students will help each other improve their written and oral communication skills so that each student may be more confident in his or her own unique personal voice and see the authority in his or her own personal experience.  Students will prepare thoroughly for class.


The College's policy on plagiarism, as detailed in the Student Code of Conduct, applies in this class; I will question you if your work does not appear to be your own.  Keep all notes, outlines, drafts, and finished assignments so that you can demonstrate that writing you have submitted is your own work, should any question of plagiarism arise.


You may be eligible for academic accommodations if you have a physical, psychiatric, or cognitive disability. If you have a disability and need more information regarding possible accommodations, please contact Tina Hardy at 224-0284 or Judy Mika at 224-0350 or stop by office B-204.

Tentative Class Schedule

Readings are due for class on the day they are listed

Deadlines, Readings, and Subjects
Th 1/12 Explanation of Syllabus and Instructor Philosophy
Complete and submit Assignment #1
Introduction to Course and Texts
T 1/17 Elements of Fiction
Read Charters, pages 1-4 and Appendix 1, "Reading Short Stories"
Read commentaries by Anderson, Atwood, Cheever, Chekhov, Munro, and O'Connor ("Nearest Thing")
Th 1/19  Read Charters, Appendix 2, "The Elements of Fiction, " and Appendix 6, "Glossary of Literary Terms"
Read and discuss "Cupid and Psyche;" Grimms' "Little Red Cap," "Little Brier-Rose," and "Ashputtle;" and Perrault's "Little Red Riding Hood," "Sleeping Beauty," and "Cinderella"
     Take Quiz #1
T 1/24 Read Woody Allen's "The Kugelmass Episode" and Jack London's "To Build a Fire" and his commentary on it
Read Charters, Appendix 3, "A Brief History of the Short Story"
     Take Quiz #2
Th 1/26 Origins Lecture: Creation Stories
and discuss the NIV's Genesis 1-4 and KJV's Genesis 1-4 and Bulfinch's "Prometheus and Pandora"

     Take Quiz #3
T 1/31 Read Washington Irving's "Rip VanWinkle" and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lecture: Literary History
     Take Quiz #4
Th 2/2 Read Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace" and Chopin's commentary on it, and O. Henry's (or William Sydney Porter's) "The Last Leaf" and "The Gift of the Magi," and Richard Wright's "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" and his commentary on reading fiction, and Russell Banks's "Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat"
: Details for "The Last Leaf"
     Take Quiz #5
T 2/7 Read Ernest Hemingway's "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber"and F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams"
     Take Quiz #6
Th 2/9 Read Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" and the related commentary, and Appendix 4, "Writing About Short Stories"
     Take Quiz #7
T 2/14 Take Examination #1
Th 2/16 Read William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and "That Evening Sun" & Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" as well as the related commentaries for each, as included
     Take Quiz #8
T 2/21 Read Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" and Louise Erdrich's "The Red Convertible" and the related commentaries (Mason, O'Brien, and Silko)
Lecture: Names as Symbols
     Take Quiz #9
Th 2/23 Read Ursula K. LE Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and the related commentary and casebook and John Edgar Wideman's "newborn thrown in trash and dies" and Junot Díaz's "How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie"
     Take Quiz #10
T 2/28 Read Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson" and Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" and the related commentary and ZZ Packer's "Brownies" and Edwidge Danticat's "Night Women"
     Take Quiz #11 
Th 3/2 Read  Zora Neale Hurston's "The Gilded Six-Bits" and "Sweat,"" as well as the related casebook commentaries
     Take Quiz #12
T 3/7 Read Edgar Allen Poe (all of the Charters selections and the casebook commentaries) and Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and the related commentary
     Take Quiz #13
Th 3/9 Read Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark," "The Minister's Black Veil," and "Young Goodman Brown" as well as the related commentaries
     Take Quiz #14
T 3/14 Read Gish Jen's "Who's Irish?" and and Leslie Marmon Silko's "Yellow Woman" and Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings," as well as Atwood's commentary 
     Take Quiz #15
Th 3/16 Read Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and "Désirée's Baby" in Charters and related commentary by Chopin, as well as her "At the 'Cadian Ball" and "The Storm"
     Take Quiz #16
T 3/21 Read Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and related commentaries and Amy Tan's "Two Kinds" and commentary
     Take Quiz #17
Th 3/23 Take Examination #2
T 4/4 Read Joyce Carol Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", as well as the related commentary, and Angela Carter's "The Werewolf"
     Take Quiz #18
Th 4/6 Read Tanith Lee's Wolfland and "Wolfed"
Read Appendix 5, "Literary Theory and Critical Perspectives"
     Take Quiz #19
Theoretical Approaches to Literature

Note: This is the last day to request a withdraw from class.
T 4/11 Begin discussing Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
Th 4/13 Read Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code through chapter 54.
     Take Quiz #20    
T 4/18 Read and discuss Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.
     Take Quiz #21
Th 4/20 Read George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.
     Take Quiz #22
T 4/25 Read George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.
     Take Quiz #23
Th 4/27 Read George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.
Take Quiz #24
T 5/2 Read and discuss George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones
Take Quiz #25
Th 5/4 Wrapping It All Up: The Resolution
T 5/9 Take Examination #3

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