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ENGLISH 1A03 Lit. in English:Shorter Genres

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. David Clark


Office: Chester New Hall 321

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23737


Office Hours: 11:30 am-12:30 pm, Tuesdays, CNH 210

Course Objectives:

This course introduces students to some of the fundamental skills in literary criticism, i.e., the rigorous and capacious interpretation of literary texts. We focus on a selection of shorter texts, including poems, short stories, and autobiographical writings. The course emphasizes the development of critical skills in reading literature and writing effectively about literature.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:

1. Lisa Chalykoff, Neta Gordon, and Paul Lumsden, The Broadview Introduction to Literature:  Short Fiction (Broadview Press, 2015).

2. Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. Ed. Joel Faflak (Broadview Press, 2009). [Important note: You are responsible only for pages 49-131.]

3. Leslie E. Casson. A Writer’s Handbook: Developing Writing Skills for University Students (Broadview Press, 2011).

4. First-Year English & Cultural Studies Handbook. See: 

5. All poems and other writings available through live links listed on pages 14 to 15 of this            course outline.

6. All course-related materials and other materials assigned for tutorials and posted on Avenue.    These materials include the Study Notes posted on Avenue.

Method of Assessment:

Course Assignments (Weighting):

  1. Essay #1:         15%
  2. Essay #2:         30%
  3. Quizzes:           10%
  4. Tutorial part.:     10%
  5. Final Exam        35%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late penalties:  All assignments are due at the start of tutorial on the due dates indicated. All written assignments will be docked one grade per day late up to 7 days, i.e., a B+ paper turned in two days late would be lowered to B-. Saturday and Sunday are included in the calculation of days late. After 7 days the grade is zero. TA’s are not authorized to grant deadline extensions. Students must contact their Faculty Office to make arrangements before any deadline can be considered.

There are 3 tutorial quizzes in total, given at the start of tutorial Monday 26 September, 24 October, and 14 November. The best grades in two of the three quizzes will count towards your total tutorial quiz grade (representing 10% of your final grade). In other words, the lowest grade of the three quizzes that you take will not count. Absence (including an MSAF absence) from one of the three quizzes will count as a zero grade, meaning that the grades for the other two quizzes will be what counts towards your total tutorial quiz grade. No make-up quizzes will be scheduled.

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

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.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

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 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 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.

Topics and Readings:

Sept     12        Prefatory Remarks + Donald Justice, “The Wall” + Henri Cole, “Torso” (poems posted on Avenue and also circulated in class).

Tutorials begin week of September 19

            19        William Blake, “The Chimney Sweeper” + “London” (web addresses below).

            26        Suheir Hammad, “What I Will” + “Break Clustered” + Yusef Komunyakaa, “Facing It” (web addresses below).

Oct      3          John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” + “Ode to a Nightingale” (web addresses below).

            10        Mid-term recess (no classes or tutorials).

            17        Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck” + Sylvia Plath, “Daddy” (web addresses below).

            24        William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 130” + Claude McKay, “Harlem Dancer” + Edna St. Vincent Millay, “I Being       Born a Woman Distressed” + Harryette Mullen, “Dim Lady” (web addresses below).

            31        Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (in Broadview anthology).

Nov     7          James Joyce, “Araby” + “The Dead” (in Broadview anthology).

            14        Alice Munro, “Friend of My Youth” (in Broadview anthology).

            21        Margaret Atwood, “Happy Endings” + Ali Smith, “True Short Story” (in Broadview anthology).

            28        Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater (available in bookstore; you are responsible for pages 49-131).

Dec      5          Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater


Tutorial schedule*


*Tutorials begin week of 19 September


19 September:                         Essay #1 topics circulated.

                                                Tips on writing an effective short analysis.                           


26 September:                         Quiz #1.

                                                Discuss Robert Penn Warren, “Evening Hawk” (web address                                                          below).


3 October:                               Discuss bp Nichol, “Two Words: A Wedding” (web address                                                           below).

                                                Essay #1 due in tutorial.


10 October:                             Midterm recess (no classes or tutorials)


17 October:                             Discuss Essay #1.

                                                Essay #1 returned at end of tutorial.

                                                Essay #2 topics circulated.


24 October:                             Quizz # 2.

                                                Discuss Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck” + Sylvia Plath,                                                      “Daddy” (web address below).


31 October:                             Discuss poem or short fiction selected by your T.A.


7 November:                           Discuss James Joyce’s “Eveline” (in Broadview anthology)

                                                Essay #2 due in tutorial.


14 November:                         Quiz #3.

                                                Discuss Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From                                                           Omelas” (in Broadview anthology)


21 November:                         Discuss Lydia Millet, “Love in Infant Monkeys” (in Broadview                                                      anthology)


28 November:             Discuss Margaret Atwood, “Happy Endings” + Ali Smith, “True                                                     Short Story” (in Broadview anthology).


5 December:                Recapitulation of the course and final examination review

                                                Essay #2 returned at end of tutorial.