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ENGLISH 1A03 Lit. in English:Shorter Genres

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Eugenia Zuroski


Office: Chester New Hall 403

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23720

Office Hours: Mondays 2:00-4:00pm

Course Objectives:

Course objectives and topics

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, 5th Canadian Edition
  2. Leslie E. Casson, A Writer’s Handbook: Developing Writing Skills for University Students, 3rd Edition

The First-Year English & Cultural Studies Handbook is available as a PDF on Avenue to Learn.

Avenue to Learn will contain my PowerPoint slides, links, resources for the lectures, and any important announcements. Your tutorial will also have a section on this site.

Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Due Dates

Essay #1 (500 words): Due in tutorial the week of Feb. 6                       15%

Essay #2 (1,000 words): Due in tutorial the week of Mar. 20                  30%

Tutorial Participation                                                                                20%

[that 20% is broken down as follows:

                        10% tutorial assignment TBA by your TA

                        10% general tutorial participation]

Final Exam (2 hours)                                                                                35%


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Assignments

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.

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

Jan. 10             John Cheever, “The Swimmer” (173–181)

Jan. 15             Mavis Gallant, “The Ice Wagon Going Down the Street” (200–216)           

Jan. 17             Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener” (47–72)

Jan. 22             Workshop: Writing Academic Papers on Literature

Jan. 24             Doris Lessing, “A Sunrise on the Veld” (194–200)

Jan. 29             Thomas King, “Borders” (281–290)

Jan. 31             Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (75–87)

Feb. 5              Ernest Hemingway, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” (132–136) [paper 1 due in tutorial]

Feb. 7              Eudora Welty, “Why I Live at the P.O.” (164–173)

Feb. 12            Louise Erdrich, “Fleur” (307–316)

Feb. 14            Madeleine Thien, “Simple Recipes” (328–335)        

Feb. 19, 22     Midterm Recess: No Classes                       

Feb. 26            “The Elements of Poetry” (339–373)

Feb. 28            William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow” (550); Marianne Moore, “Poetry” (555)

Mar. 5 (UK)      John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (470); Wallace Stevens, “Anecdote of the Jar” (543)

Mar. 7 (UK)      Scansion workshop

Mar. 12             Keats, “Bright Star” (409); Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur” (513)

Mar. 14             Margaret Avison, “Butterfly Bones: or Sonnet against Sonnets” (616); George Elliott Clarke, “Blank Sonnet” (685–686)

Mar. 19           Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” (596); Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” (600–601) [paper 2 due in tutorial]

Mar. 21           NO LECTURE

Mar. 26           W.H. Auden, “Musée des Beaux Arts” (577–578); William Carlos Williams, “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” (553–554)

Mar. 28           Sylvia Plath, “Sheep in Fog,” “Kindness” (631–634); Adrienne Rich, “The Afterwake,” “Moving in Winter” (627–628)

Apr. 2              Emily Dickinson, “[I’m ‘Wife’—I’ve Finished That],” “[The Heart Asks Pleasure—First],” “[I Never Hear the Word],” “[I Heard a Fly Buzz]” (503–506)

Apr. 4              Dionne Brand, “Islands Vanish,” selections from “thirsty” (678–683)

Apr. 9              Final review   

Final Examination to be scheduled by the registrar’s office.