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Required texts: 

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X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.  Backpack Literature:  An Introduction to Fiction,                           Poetry, Drama, and Writing, 5th edition.  Pearson/Longman, 2016.



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Email and Blackboard/STARFISH Policy Implementation:



English 102-18

Spring 2019 Calendar

3/4 through 3/8:  SPRING BREAK



3/11                 “Araby” (296)


3/13                 “Dead Men’s Path” (187)


3/15                 “Rite of Passage” (395); “Do not go gentle into that good night” (506)




3/18                 Othello Act 1 and 2 (736-787)


3/20                 Othello Act 3 and 4 (787-833)


3/22                 Othello Act 5 (833-852) (Blackboard)



3/25                 “The Yellow Wall-Paper” (260)


3/27                 “Facing It” (530)


3/29                 (Note:  Today is the final “Drop Day” for the semester.)


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4/1                   “We Wear the Mask” (507); “Medusa” (543)


4/3                   El Santo Americano (1017-1022)


4/5                   “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (336)(Blackboard)



4/8                   “Because I could not stop for Death” (577); “Annabel Lee” (609)


4/10                 “Ozymandias” (614); “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” (615)


4/12                 “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (307)(Blackboard)



4/15                 “London” (422); “Leda and the Swan” (472)


4/17                 (Blackboard)


4/19                 EASTER BREAK



4/22                 EASTER BREAK


4/24                 Trifles (633-645)


4/26                 (Blackboard)



4/29                 last day of classes; Final Essay due; review for Final Exam








Content:  (points indicate DEDUCTIONS)


Adequate length (points are deducted fractionally, depending on how far the essay falls short of the length, before any other point deduction is even considered)


Unclear thesis statement (10 points)

Extensive plot summary (15 points)

Poor organization, focus, and/or paragraphing (10 points)

“Padding” (10 points)

Nonexistent conclusion (10 points)

Weak and/or repetitive conclusion (5 points)

Missing quotes WITH citations (10 points)

No Works Cited page (10 points)



Style:  (points indicate DEDUCTIONS)


For each of the following—5 points if few, 10 points if regular, and 15 points if rampant:




  • Thou shalt not write an introduction without a clear thesis statement that explains exactly what you’re addressing in the essay. It should appear clearly in the first paragraph, but should you wish to open with an anecdote of some sort, putting it in the second paragraph is fine provided you get to the point pretty quickly.
  • Thou shalt not have a vague thesis statement. The more particular your thesis, the easier it is for the reader to understand what you’re talking about.
  • Avoid bold, grand, sweeping statements in your introductions. Again, it’s vague—but more importantly, presumptuous and annoying.
  • Thou shalt not write a conclusion that merely repeats the introduction. The conclusion should provide the take-away points of the essay—what you learned and/or what you want the reader to take away from it.  Think of it this way:  What did you learn by moving your thesis through the “exploration” that is the body?
  • Thou shalt not repeat thyself. No matter how good your ideas are, repetition of any kind is distracting and defeats the focus of the essay.  This includes your thesis statement (after a while, doing so just insults the reader’s intelligence) and proper names (use a pronoun once in a while!).
  • Thou shalt not begin thy conclusions with “In conclusion,”.
  • Thou shalt not use the adjective “interesting.” It’s a cop-out word, when you have absolutely nothing to say and demonstrates a clear lack of imagination, depth, and critical thinking on your part.  Want to know how ambiguous “interesting” is?  Go up to a complete stranger on campus and tell them they have an “interesting” face.
  • Thou shalt not “pad” your essay with excess words—repetition, block quotes, excessively long quotes. It’s very transparent and reveals to the instructor and reader a desperate attempt to make the length requirement due to a lack of the proper substance.
  • Thou shalt not use vocabulary beyond what you’re comfortable with. Again, it’s very transparent.  Your thoughtfulness, not your “big” words, will demonstrate your competency.  But if they are words you use and of which you understand the subtlety, by all means go for it.
  • Thou shalt not give a plot summary. Always assume that the reader and instructor are familiar with the basic plot of the text.  The purpose of an essay is not to retell the story.  All citations and references to the plot should be used sparingly and only so far as they will support your ideas concerning the plot.
  • Thou shalt not manipulate the margins and spacing to compensate for length. That’s about as transparently desperate as it gets.
  • Focus and organize! Don’t turn in an unedited brainstorm, always irrefutable evidence of a done-at-the-last-minute essay, which never serves you well in the instructor’s eyes.
  • Thou shalt not narrate thine own essay: “And now I shall discuss…”  Just do it!
  • Thou shalt not stray from MLA format—and Wikipedia, Sparknotes, etc. are forbidden.
  • Thou shalt not plagiarize. The academic hammer of the gods will be your future.
  • Thou shalt not use quoted dictionary definitions. Unless you’re specifically discussing etymology, it’s the epitome of unnecessary.


English 102 final Essay:  4 Options

Choose ONE of these four options—

OPTION 1 (Character Analysis): 

Assignment:  Choose THREE different characters from three different works—one short story, one poem, and one play—COVERED IN CLASS.  Comparison and contrast should certainly play a part.  Using CITED examples and quotes from the chosen works, analyze the character(s) keeping the following criteria (not necessarily ALL of them) in mind:

  • point of view
  • roundness (vs. flatness)
  • dynamism (vs. stasis—i.e., dynamic vs. static)
  • involvement
  • the limits/biases of their perspective (mental state, physical state, gender, race, etc.)
  • setting (not just place, but time/history)
  • symbolism/representation

Be especially sure to keep in mind how the author goes about bringing such details/revelations about a given character STYLISTICALLY.


OPTION 2 (The Gothic and Its Influence):

What is the typical gothic subject matter?  The dark. The horrible. The grotesque.  The mysterious…

In a nutshell, the persistence, threat, and resurfacing of PAST sins—that is, how they are hidden (“buried”) and perpetuated in the present (which often fools itself into thinking the influence of those past sins is dead, gone, and can no longer touch them).

How does this tend to manifest itself?  Perversion, insanity, murder, sadism (persecution, torture), grotesquerie.

Keep in mind that gothic works have proven to be strongly and arguably universally influential in literature and others arts; works that might be considered less obviously gothic or not gothic at all often still utilize the tropes (thematic and stylistic patterns) of the Gothic.

Assignment:  Compare the style and approach of how THREE different works COVERED IN CLASS that could be considered Gothic.  Make sure that ONE of the works could arguably be a less obvious example than the other

OPTION 3 (Imagery): 

Refamiliarize yourself with CONNOTATION and IMAGERY (see pages 421-422, 431, 433, and 446).

Assignment:  Discuss, via comparison and contrast, how WORD CHOICE and IMAGERY contribute to the common thematic goal of THREE different works—one short story, one poem, and one play—COVERED IN CLASS.


OPTION 4 (Archetypes):

Refamiliarize yourself with what an ARCHETYPE is; read it on pages 542-543 and 557 of your anthology.

Assignment:  Consider an archetype discussed in class or argue for the existence of a particular new, undiscussed one of your naming.  Discuss how THREE different works COVERED IN CLASS approach a similar archetype differently.


Length:  3 to 5 pages, MLA style


This is what individual anthology entries on your Works Cited page (completely separate page, with MLA-style pagination at top right) should look like:  (the formula, then examples)

Last Name of Author, First and (if any) Middle Name of Author.  Title of Work within

            the Anthology (in quotation marks if a short story or a poem, underlined or

            italicized if a play).  The Full Name of the Anthology (underlined or italicized)

            followed by the edition.  Translator (Trans., only if the original work was not

            written in English; first name first; if more than one, alphabetical by last name). 

            Editor (Ed., first name first; if more than one, alphabetical by last name).  City

            of Publication:  Publishing Company, Latest Copyright Date.  Pages that the

            work occupies within the anthology (numbers only).  Medium (“Print” or “Digital”).

(Notice how the entries are listed alphabetically according to the author’s last name, and how they are reverse indented; that is, indented the opposite of how you indent a paragraph, with only the first line NOT indented.)


Works Cited

Sophocles.  Oedipus the KingBackpack Literature:  An Introduction to Fiction,

Poetry, Drama, and Writing 5thed.  Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald.  Ed.

Dana Gioia and X.J. Kennedy.  Boston:  Pearson, 2016.  690-732.


English 102 Final Essay:

It is the same as the Midterm Essay assignment, but you may only choose from the works COVERED IN CLASS after the Midterm Exam, and you cannot choose the same option chosen for your Midterm Essay.

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