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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Eugenia Zuroski


Office: Chester New Hall 403

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23720

Office Hours: Tues. 12-2

Course Objectives:

This course introduces fundamental skills of literary criticism—including close reading, formal and cultural analysis, and argumentation—through a selection of shorter literary texts (short stories and poems) in English. It will place considerable emphasis upon the development of these critical skills in reading, writing, and discussion.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

The following texts are available at the McMaster Campus Store.

  1. David Staines et al., ed. Elements of Literature: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, 4th Canadian Edition
  2. Chris Baldick, The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms
  3. William E. Messenger et al., The Concise Canadian Writer’s Handbook
  4. First-Year English & Cultural Studies Handbook, 2013–14.

Method of Assessment:

Essay #1 (500 words): Due in tutorial the week of Feb. 3             15%

Essay #2 (1,000 words): Due in tutorial the week of Mar. 17         30%

Tutorial Participation (details determined by tutorial instructor)      20%

Final Exam (2 hours)                                                             35%

Attendance will not be taken in lecture, but material covered in lecture will NOT be summarized and made available to students who do not attend. Attendance in tutorial is mandatory and will be recorded. The details of tutorial participation expectations will be given by your tutorial instructor at the first meeting.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

All assignments are due at the beginning of tutorial on the due dates indicated. All written assignments will be docked one grade point per 24 hours after this time, i.e. a B+ paper turned in within the first 24 hours will receive a B, within 48 hours a B-, and so on. Extensions will only be granted in cases of extreme emergency documented through your faculty dean's office. If you need extra time to complete your assignments, you always have the option of turning work in late at the docking rates described above.

If you are unable to attend tutorial or turn in an assignment due to a documented minor illness, you should use the MSAF (described below). The level and type of accommodation in this case will be determined in consultation with your tutorial instructor.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

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:

Lecture Schedule and Readings

Lectures on the following texts will be given on the dates indicated. You should have completed the entire week's reading by the first lecture or your tutorial, whichever is first in the week. All page numbers refer to the Elements of Literature anthology.


Jan. 7                Introduction to the course; “The Elements of Fiction” (3–20)

Jan. 9               No lecture


Jan. 14              John Cheever, “The Swimmer” (205–213)

Jan. 16              Alice Munro, “Family Furnishings” (288–308)       


Jan. 21              Edgar Allan Poe, “The Purloined Letter” (34–47)

Jan. 23              Workshop: Writing Academic Papers on Literature


Jan. 28              Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (75–87)

Jan. 30              Mavis Gallant, “The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street” (231–247)


Feb. 4               Eudora Welty, “Why I Live at the P.O.” (196–204)

Feb. 6               Thomas King, “Borders” (328–336)


Feb. 11             Doris Lessing, “A Sunrise on the Veld” (225–231)

Feb. 13             Louise Erdrich, “Fleur” (353–362)


Feb. 18, 20        Reading Week: No Classes                     


Feb. 25             “The Elements of Poetry” (365–400)         

Feb. 27             William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow” (583); Marianne Moore, “Poetry” (588)


Mar. 4               Emily Dickinson, “[I Heard a Fly Buzz]” (536)

Mar. 6               William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (485); Archibald Lampman, “Winter-Solitude” (549–550)


Mar. 11             John Keats, “Bright Star” (505); Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur” (543)

Mar. 13             Margaret Avison, “Butterfly Bones: or Sonnet against Sonnets” (654); George Elliott Clarke, “Blank Sonnet” (708–709)


Mar. 18             e.e. cummings, “pity this busy monster” (606); Roy Miki, “make it new” (681–682)

Mar. 20            No lecture


Mar. 25             Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” (629); Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” (637)

Mar. 27             William Butler Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium” (559)


Apr. 1               Michael Ondaatje, “Elizabeth” (690–692)

Apr. 3               Dionne Brand, from “thirsty” (703–706)