St. Thomas University
ENGL 1006 F: Introduction to Literature 2005-06

Professor: Garry Hansen
Office: GMH 107
Phone: 452-0600 (office) 455-9082 (home)


ENGL1006 will provide a general introduction to the conventions, forms, and methods of literature. Through class discussions, informal exercises, and essay workshops, this course will help you to develop critical reading skills and to express your own responses to literary texts. By the end of the course you will have a solid understanding of current critical concepts and be able to produce a sustained, organized critical essay.


5% Preparation and Participation: The success of the class depends on your participation, which is more than mere attendance. It is important to ask and respond to questions, and to contribute your ideas, impressions, and experiences. You are expected to prepare for this participation by reading and thinking about the assigned material before attending class. In accordance with procedures outlined in the university calendar, students who regularly miss classes without written notification from the Registrar's Office will be asked to withdraw.

10% Mini-assignments: Throughout the year, you will complete several brief, relatively informal assignments. These may include informal responses to readings, brief revision or research exercises, and creative writing. Typically, the assignments will be due in the following class. Individual mini-assignments may receive brief comments, but won't be "graded." If you make a reasonable effort and pass in mini-assignments when due, you'll receive the full 10% for the year. Students can miss one mini-assignment per semester without penalty.

20% Critical Responses: You will write one or two short critical responses each semester. These will be somewhat longer and more formally structured than mini-assignments.

15% Essay 1 and Outline: In the first semester, we'll take a step-by-step approach to writing a critical essay on literature. We'll begin by learning to categorize our own responses to literary works and, by the end of the first term, learn to devise a thesis, structure an argument, provide support, and present the finished product in an appropriate academic format. The first essay will be relatively brief (approximately 2000 words). If possible, I'll also meet with each student individually to discuss his or her outline and initial draft.

15% First-term Examination: Format to be described in class.

15% Essay 2: The second essay (approximately 2500 words) may involve a research component.

20% Final Examination: Format to be described in class.


Beaty, Jerome et al, eds. The Norton Introduction to Literature. Shorter 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2002.

Ringuet, Thirty Acres. New Canadian Library. Toronto: McClelland, 1989.

Any essay guide outlining the current MLA format. Form and Format is one inexpensive example.

Sept. 12 Introduction: What is literature? Why study it?
Course description and outline
Sept. 14 What is literature?
Responding to literature
Tallent, "No One's a Mystery" (NIL 5)
"What is Literature" (NIL xxvii-xxxii)

Mini-assignment: First Response
Sept. 19 Responding to literature cont.
Categorizing responses
Sept. 21 Literature and community
Anon., "Sir Patrick Spens" (NIL)
Ballads (handout)
Sept. 26 Folksongs Folksongs (handout)  
Sept. 28 Story, plot and structure "Plot" (NIL 15-20)
Maupassant, "The Jewelry" (NIL 8)
Atwood, "Happy Endings" (NIL 20)
Oct. 3 Narration and focalization "Narration and Point of View" (NIL 66-69)
Bierce, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (NIL 513)
Oct. 5 Character "Character" (NIL 102-07)
Lessing, "Our Friend Judith" (NIL 142-55)
Oct. 10 Thanksgiving: NO CLASS    
Oct. 12 Symbol "Symbol" (NIL 195-97)
Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants" (NIL 75)
Mini-assignment: symbols
Oct. 17 Conventions: the initiation story "Literary Kind as Context" (NIL 446-47)
Munro, "Boys and Girls" (NIL 385)
Oct. 19 Short story cont. Carver, "Cathedral" (NIL 580-90) Critical Response #1 due
Oct. 24 Garry at conference: NO CLASS    
Oct. 26 Writing a critical essay
(developing a thesis, structure, outlining)
NIL (A33-45)  
Oct. 31 Critical essay cont.
(format, scholarly citation)
NIL (A45-50) Mini-assignment: Thesis statements
Nov. 2 Irony Kuman, "Woodchucks" (NIL 627)
Baker, "Pants on Fire" (NIL 410-414)
Nov. 7 Satire

Cogswell, "Ode to Fredericton" (handout)
Souster, "Fredericton" (handout)
Betjemin, "In Westminster Abbey" (NIL 914)
Newman, Songs (handout)

Nov. 9 Feminist poetics Piercy, "Barbie Doll" (NIL 619)
Piercy, "What's That Smell in the Kitchen?" (NIL 918)
Paston, "Marks" (NIL 719)
Jiles, "Paper Matches" (NIL 919)
Mini assignment: satirical description Outline and draft of
Essay 1 due
Nov. 14
Essay tutorials
Nov. 16 Drama, Comedy
Comedy of Manners
"Drama: Reading, Responding, Writing"
(NIL 1016-19)
"Understanding the Text" (NIL 1043-50)
"Literary Context: Tragedy and Comedy"
(NIL 1383-85)
Nov. 21 Earnest cont. Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
(Act I)
Nov. 23 Earnest cont. Earnest (Act II-III)  
Nov. 28 Earnest cont.    
Nov. 30 Review   Final draft of Essay 1 due
Jan. 4 What is poetry?
Responding to poetry
Handout: Poetry questions and quotations

Jan. 9 Responding to poetry cont.
Figurative devices
Poetry: Reading, Responding, Writing (NIL 600-14)
Handout: Figurative and sound devices
Metaphor and Simile (NIL 717-25)
Frost, "Design:" (NIL 822)
Jan. 11 Sound and Meter The Sounds of Poetry (NIL 743-54)
Hopkins, "God's Grandeur" (NIL 981)
Jan. 16 Verse form: Sonnet The Sonnet (NIL 793-98)
Constable, "My Lady's Presence Makes the Roses Red" (NIL 797)
Shakespeare, "[My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun]"
McKay, "The Harlem Dancer" (handout)
Mini Assignment: Heroic couplet
Jan. 18 Situation and voice Speaker (NIL 640-59)
Situation and Setting (NIL 660-71)
Donne, "The Flea" (NIL 664)
Hudgins, "Praying Drunk" (NIL 654)
Jan. 23 Verse form: free verse, shape poems, concrete poetry The Way a Poem Looks (NIL 809-12)
Whitman, "I Hear America Singing" (NIL 1000)
Cummings, "[1(a]" (NIL 809)
Herbert, "Easter Wings" (NIL 812)
Handout: Concrete Poetry
Jan. 25 Poetry Critical Response #2
Jan. 30 Critical approaches "Critical Approaches" (NIL A18-26)
Feb. 1 Critical and research essays, research methods
Feb. 6 Research methods cont.
Feb. 8 Responding to criticism Mini Assignment: Works Cited
Feb. 13 The modern novel
The novel of the land
Feb. 15 Ringuet, Thirty Acres
Feb. 20 Thirty Acres cont.
Feb. 22 Thirty Acres cont.
Feb. 27 Thirty Acres cont. Critical Response #3
Mar. 1 From the classical tradition to Renaissance drama Tragedy and C omedy (NIL 1383-85)
Handout: excerpts from Aristotle's Poetics
Mar. 6-8 Midterm break: NO CLASS
Mar. 13 Tragedy Author's Works as Context: William Shakespeare (NIL 1216-1222)
Hamlet Act I
First draft of Essay 2
Mar. 15 Student research fair: NO CLASS
Mar. 20 Tragedy cont. Hamlet cont.
Mar. 22 Tragedy cont. Hamlet cont.
Mar. 27 Tragedy
Mar. 29 Tragedy Final draft of Essay 2 due
April 3 Summary and Review   Mini Assignment: Potential exam questions
April 5 Review