206 Syllabus

EN 206 Sec. B
American Literature II
Spring Semester 2010
Dr. Bess Fox
Tuesday, Friday 03:30PM - 04:45PM, Gail 55

Final Exam: April 30 3:00-5:30, Gail 55
Office Hours: 10:00-12:00 TF, 4:00-6:00 TH, and by appointment Gailhac 23A
Phone: office (704) 284-1568, home (202) 640-1942
E-mail: ude.tnuomyram|xofb#ude.tnuomyram|xofb

Academic Integrity
By accepting this syllabus, you pledge to uphold the principles of Academic Integrity expressed by the Marymount University Community. You agree to observe these principles yourself and to defend them against abuse by others.
Special Needs and Accommodations
Please advise the instructor of any special problems or needs at the beginning of the semester. If you seek accommodation based on disabilities, you should provide a Faculty Contact Sheet obtained through Disability Support Services located in Gerard Hall, (703) 284-1615.
Access to Student Work
Copies of your work in this course including copies of any submitted papers and your portfolios may be kept on file for institutional research, assessment and accreditation purposes. All work used for these purposes will be submitted anonymously.
Student Copyright Authorization
For the benefit of current and future students, work in this course may be used for educational critique, demonstrations, samples, presentations, and verification. Outside of these uses, work shall not be sold, copied, broadcast, or distributed for profit without student consent.
University Policy on Snow Closings
Snow closings are generally announced on area radio stations. For bulletins concerning Marymount snow or weather closings, call (703) 526-6888. Unless otherwise advised by radio announcement or by official bulletins on the number listed above, students are expected to report for class as near normal time as possible on days when weather conditions are adverse. Decisions as to snow closing or delayed opening are not generally made before 5:00 AM of the working day. Students are expected to attend class if the University is not officially closed.


A study of representative American literary works from 1870 to the present. This course provides an overview of the field of American literature since the civil war, including major literary authors, movements, and themes. The class examines how literature is both a reflection and a response to cultural/social/political events. Because writing about a text is crucial to engagement and understanding, this course focuses on student writing. Students will form arguments about literature and support these arguments with textual evidence. Prerequisite: EN 102.


Upon successful completion of this course students will be expected to:

Core General Learning Objectives:

  • examine the aesthetic principles that inform American literary production and apply them to the study and analysis of literary texts.
  • practice analytical discourse, critical reasoning, and problem-solving through close textual analysis and interpretation of the literature studied.
  • apply knowledge and experience in literary analysis to new texts by writing thoughtful literary essays.

Core Introductory Literature Objectives:

  • recognize literature as an expression of the human condition by identifying themes, movements, and texts that constitute the American literary and cultural tradition.
  • demonstrate skills in close reading and interpretation by applying the conventions and vocabulary of literary analysis.
  • examine the historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts that inform American literary discourse.

Additional Course Objectives:

  • Read texts closely and critically, understanding literary texts beyond plot and character
  • Synthesize secondary research with close reading of the text in a presentation that elicits class discussion
  • Make connections between different texts as well as between texts and American history
  • Demonstrate an ability to discover, evaluate, and clearly present textual evidence in support of a literary argument using MLA documentation.
  • Write a capable, interesting literary essay that is essentially free of mechanical errors (grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax) and awkwardness, using a style that is appropriate to a general academic audience


Lecture, discussion, small group discussion, student presentation, tutorial


40% 3 essays (Essays I and II require 3 pages at 10% each; Essay III requires 5 pages at 20%)
35% 3 exams (exam I with take home explications 5%; Midterm Exam 15%; Final 15%)
25% participation and discussion facilitation (5% facilitation with and article summary, 20% in-class reading responses, etc.)

  • Attendance, including physical as well as mental presence, is necessary if you are going to do well in this class and if the class as a community is going to succeed. Whether excused or unexcused, an absence, by definition, will affect a student’s participation grade. Because in-class reading responses comprise a large portion of the participation grade, numerous absences and tardies will have a negative effect on the final grade of even the most vocal and engaged of students.
  • Reading responses, due within the first ten minutes of class, cannot be accepted late or made up for any for any reason. An excused absence provides no exception to this policy.
  • Texting (note that your professor can see you texting even if your phone is on your lap or behind a book) and side conversations in class will negatively affect your participation grade. I will deduct one to five letter grades, depending on the frequency of the offence, from a student’s final participation grade for engaging in these behaviors.
  • If you are absent on the day you are scheduled to lead the class discussion and present research, you will not be able to make up the assignment (5% of your final grade) unless the absence is excused.
  • Exams, including take-home exams, cannot be made up except for circumstances involving an excused absence. All bags, purses, and phones will be left at the front of the classroom during exams.
  • Excused absences, which are only relevant in the case of a missed exam, missed presentation, or late essay, require documentation.
  • Essays are due at the beginning of the class period. If you contact me before the essay is due, we can arrange an extension. If you do not contact me, the below penalties will apply. I will accept essays electronically, but any failures in technology (missing attachments, lost emails, etc) that prevent the essay from being accessible by the due date will result in late penalties.
  1. An essay will be penalized one letter grade for every class day it is late except for circumstances involving an excused absence.
  2. If an essay submission is late due to an excused absence, you must submit it no later than the first class you return in order to avoid late penalties (in certain situations, I will consider extending the deadline further).
  • Students are required to have access to Blackboard and are responsible for keeping their e-mail addresses current in Blackboard.


W.D. Howells The Rise of Silas Lapham 1885 (Penguin 0140390308)
Robert Frost A Boy’s Will and North of Boston 1913 (Dover 0486268667)
Edith Wharton Summer 1917(Penguin 0140186794)
William Faulkner Collected Stories (Vintage 0679764038)
Richard Wright Blackboy 1945 (Harper 0060929782)
Nathaniel West Day of the Locust 1939 (Signet 0451523482)
Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman 1949 (Penguin 0140481346)
Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse IV 1969 (Mass Market 0440180295)
W.D. Howells “Editha”; Mary E. Wilkins Freeman “A Poetess”; T. S. Eliot “The Waste Land” and “Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock”; Allen Ginsburg “Howl” (handouts)


All writing, however strong, can benefit from a careful reader’s response. In addition to feedback from your instructor and your classmates, writing assistance is available from peer tutors in the Learning Resource Center. LRC tutors can help at any stage of the writing process – from getting started to final editing. They can help you figure out an assignment, overcome “writer’s block,” or discover your thesis. Remember, however, that tutors are not allowed to revise or edit students’ papers for them. All changes, revisions, or corrections must be your work.

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