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ENGLISH 1A03 Lit. in English:Shorter Genres

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Jeffery Donaldson

Email: jdonalds@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 308

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24132


Office Hours: TBA

Course Objectives:

The old adage about tiny hors-d’oeuvres (“take three, they’re small!”) applies to this three-unit course in poetry and short fiction.  The brevity of the works assigned will provide students with an opportunity to explore literary particulars, using patient, jeweller’s-eye analyses of textual details, while honing their critical reading and writing skills.  A great deal of attention will be paid to these skills in the two major essays for the course.  The other nice thing about shorter genres, you have a chance to read each work over and over and over … and over. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

English 1A03 Course pack

Gaunce & Mayr, The Broadview Anthology of Short Fiction, Second Edition, Broadview Press

All first-year sections

First-Year English & Cultural Studies Handbook 2010-2011, optional

Method of Assessment:



Essay 1 (Oct 8, 1000 words)              20%

Essay 2 (Nov 18, 1500 words)           25%

Poetry Quiz                                           5%

Short Fiction Quizzes 5 x 1                  5%

MLA Citation Bonus Quiz                   2%

Exam Question Assignment (Nov 25)  5%

Tutorial                                               10%

Exam                                                  30%


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

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Modification of course outlines

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McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Other Course Information:

Week 1           

Sept 9


 Sept 10

What we talk about when we talk about poems                                            

Craig Raine, “Arsehole”

Hughes, “The Tractor,” “February 17th”

Strand “The Whole Story,” “The Tunnel”

            Larkin, “This be the verse”

 Week 2           

Sept 16

Charm and Riddle

Brooks, “We Real Cool”

Herbert, “Prayer I”

 Ammons, “City Limits”


Sept 17

 Sound and Rhythm

Williams, "The Dance”

Carroll, "Jabberwocky"

Clampitt, “The Smaller Orchid”

Wilbur, “A Barred Owl”

Coleridge, “Metrical Feet”                             


Week 3           

Sept 23

Words in Relation

Hopkins, "God's Grandeur”

Merrill, “Water Boiling”

Merrill, “body”

Herbert, “Iesu”

Sept 24
Figurative Language

Wilbur “Mind”

Burns, “A red red rose”

Simic, “Fork”

Pound, “In a Station of the Metro”

Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow”


Week 4            Sept 30

 Figurative Language

Outram, “Hiram’s Rope”

 Outram, “Hiram Beachcombing”

MacLeish, “Ars Poetica”

Heaney, “The Tollund Man,” “The Rite of Spring”

 John Terpstra, “Dad”


 Oct 1


Arnold, "Dover Beach”

Williams, “This is just to say”

Outram, “Barbed Wire”

Outram, “Stage Crew”

 Adam Getty, “Reply to a Caseworker”


Week 5           

Oct 7   MLA Citation Bonus Quiz (4:30 pm Oct 5 – 4:30 pm Oct 7)

Structure & Form

Herbert, “Easter Wings”

Bishop, “Sestina”

Outram, “Round of Life”


 Oct 8

Outram, “Vernal Pond”

 Roethke, “The Waking”

 Bishop, “One Art”


Reading Week Oct 11 - 17


Week 6            Oct 21

Poetry quiz (4:30 pm Oct 19 – 4:30 pm Oct 21)

Sonnet and Genre Conventions

Spenser, Sonnet 75

Shakespeare, "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun”

Donne, Holy Sonnet 14 ("Batter my heart ...")

Millay, “I, being born a woman, and distressed,”

“Only until this cigarette is ended”

  Cummings, “Perhaps it is to feel strike”


Oct 22

Dramatic Monologue

  “My Last Duchess”


Week 7            Oct 28            

Short Fiction Introduction


Oct 29

Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants”


Week 8           

Nov 4

Quiz on Chopin & Gilman (4:30 pm Nov 2 – 4:30 pm Nov 4)

Chopin, "The Story of an Hour"


Nov 5

 Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Week 9          

  Nov 11

Quiz on Mansfield & Baldwin  (4:30 pm Nov 9 – 4:30 pm Nov 11)

  Mansfield, “A Doll’s House”

Nov 12           

 Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues

Week 11        

 Nov 18           

Short Fiction essay due in lecture

Quiz on Faulkner & O’Connor (4:30 pm Nov 16 – 4:30 pm Nov 18)

 Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily”

Nov 19

O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”

Week 12         

Nov 25

Exam questions due in lecture

 Quiz on Salter and Carver (4:30 pm Nov 23 – 4:30 pm Nov 25)

 Salter, “Last Night” (Course pack)

Nov 26

Carver, "Cathedral"

Week 13        

 Dec 2

 Quiz on O’Brien & Munro (4:30 pm Nov 30 – 4:30 pm Dec 2)

  O’Brien, “The Things They Carried”

 Dec 3

 Munro, “Tricks” (Course pack)