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ENGLISH 2G06B Canadian Literature

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Roger Hyman


Office: Chester New Hall 302

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23732

Office Hours: Tuesdays 5:00-6:00pm & Wednesdays 2:00-3:00pm

Course Objectives:

Course Description:

This course raises questions about the different national narratives that have defined and complicated the Canadian experience. We begin with foundation documents that introduce ongoing national concerns with settler colonialism and its effects, and discuss texts dealing with racism, marginalization, class, gender, power and victimization. These concerns will be dealt with by discussions in class and I hope students will become comfortable discussing and offering their opinions about social and political issues raised and suggested by the course materials.

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course student should be able to read and think critically, discuss and take positions on various aspects and implications of the issues under consideration, and write clearly.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:
These are available at Titles, the university bookstore.


Emily Carr, Klee Wyck.

Joseph Boyden Three Day Road

Richard Wagamese, Medicine Walk

Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf.

Jacques Poulin, Volkswagen Blues.

Ethel Wilson, Hetty Dorval.

Esi Edugyan, Half Blood Blues


Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Evaluations:

Tutor’s Evaluation:              25%

First term evaluation essay: 5% (500 words; assigned week of Sept. 12, due in class or to tutor week of Sept. 26.)

First term essay                 15% (1,500 words; assigned week of Sept. 26; due in class or to tutor week of November 7)

Second term essay:           25% (2,500 words, dates to be determined)

Final Exam:                       30% (scheduled by Registrar’s Office)

Late essays will be accepted without penalty if: 1. a Faculty extension has been granted, or there are issues that, in the opinion of the course instructor following discussion with the student (at least a week in advance of the due date), warrant an extension. Otherwise essays will be penalized 10% for each day they are submitted after the due date and will not be accepted after five days. Students’ are responsible to make arrangements with the instructor or marking assistant to submit late essays. Electronic submissions will be accepted only in rare cases after discussion with the course instructor. 

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:

English 2G6

Second Term Readings

January 9                                 Douglas LePan. “Canoe Trip,” Margaret Atwood, “Journey to the Interior”; Gwendolyn McEwen.                                                   “Portage”; Introduction to Never Cry Wolf 

January 16                               Never Cry Wolf

January 23                               Never Cry Wolf

January 30                               Margaret Atwood, “The Animals in that Country,” “Departure from the Bush”;

Earle Birney, “The Bear on the Delhi Road,” “Billboards Mean Freedom of Choice”; Irving Layton, “The Bull Calf”

February 6                               Lorna Crozier  “Poem About Nothing,”  “Testimonies,” “Forms of Innocence,” “Fathers Uncles                                                         and Old Friends of the Family”; Mary di Michele “Snapshot” Introduction to Hetty Dorval 

February 13                             Hetty Dorval                             

February 20                             Spring Break

February 27                             Hetty Dorval

March 6                                   Leonard Cohen: poems and songs; A. M. Klein. “Indian Reservation: Caugnawagha,” Bruce                                                          Taylor, “Social Studies”; Introduction to Volkswagen Blues

March 13                                 Volkswagen Blues      

March 20                                 Volkswagen Blues

March 27                                 Half Blood Blues

April 3                                     Half Blood Blues


Other Course Information:

Important Note 1: In the event of class cancellations, students will be notified on Avenue and the English Department Website.  It is your responsibility to check these sites regularly for any such announcements.

Link:  (Department)

Link:  (avenue to learn)


Important Note 2: Tutorials start one week after classes begin. Students are expected to attend every tutorial and to be prepared to discuss the material weekly.

Important Note 3: Email 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 the 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.

*          Students will be requested to complete a course evaluation at the end of the course.