EL 150: Introduction to Literary Study

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From the catalog:

"Introduction to reading, research, grammar, and writing in the study of literature. Emphasis on literary forms, research tools, and the vocabulary of literary study. Practice in writing the literary essay. English majors take this course during their freshman or sophomore year."

This course will introduce all English majors to the three different varieties of the English major: creative writing, new media journalism, and literature.  Coursework will include reading poetry, short fiction, drama, and one novel; critiquing peer drafts; attending the Seton Hill production of "As You Like It" (Feb 12-22); volunteering for three hours with The Setonian; oral presentation; maintaining an online journal; short papers in each of these three areas, a fourth short paper in any area of English, and a researched essay.

Spring 2004
Tu & Th, 2-3:15
Dennis G. Jerz (jerz.setonhill.edu; jerz@setonhill.edu; x1909)
Office: 403 St. Joseph
Office Hours: 12 Mon, 3:30 Tue, 11 Wed, & by appointment
Seton Hill University



  • Edson, Wit 0571198775
  • Farrel & Koch, Sleeping on the Wing (modern poetry anthology) 0394743644
  • Gibaldi & Franklin, MLA Handbook (6th ed) 0873529863
  • Miller, Death of a Salesman 0140481346
  • Shakespeare, As You Like It 0671722565
  • Stephenson, The Diamond Age 0553380966
  • Treadwell, Machinal 1854592114
Other texts will be available on the Internet or via E-Reserve.  When we are spending class time discussing a text that has been posted on the Internet, bring a printout of the text to class. (You won’t need to print out every E-Reserve text; many of them will simply be there for you to consult if you need them.)


10 Creative Paper 3-4p
10  Lit Crit Paper 3-4p
10  News Feature 3p
**        Wildcard  4-5p (lit, creative, NMJ, or teaching project approved by instructor

Averaged with lowest of above 3 papers.

15        Quizzes (Drop lowest mark)

5          Journalism reflection paper (3 pages)

3 hours volunteering for The Setonian; times TBA

20       Weblog (online journal)

·        Portfolio I, Week 7
·        Portfolio II, Week 14

10        Oral Report, 10m + 2p (handout & bibliographical note)

20       Researched Academic Essay          6-8p

Deadline Policies

Papers are either on time, delayed, or late.

On Time

Papers that are ready when I collect them at the beginning of class receive a 1/3 letter grade "Decorum Bonus." Minor annoyances such as loose pages, smudged printouts or crumpled corners may forfeit the bonus.


If your submission is not ready when I collect the others, the assignment not only loses the decorum bonus, it provisionally drops one letter grade.
There are two ways you can lessen this penalty:
1.      If you can get your completed paper to me before I go home for the day, I will probably waive the penalty (but I won't restore the bonus).
2.      If you e-mail me the assignment to me by midnight, and submit a completed printout by the next working day, I will lessen the penalty to 1/3 of a letter grade (but again, no bonus, so that's still 2/3 of a letter grade less than what an on-time paper would have earned)


If you can get your late paper to me within a week, I'll accept it without further penalty. After a week, late papers earn half credit; at the two-week mark, the assignment will be recorded as a zero.

(In the event of a severe illness or prolonged emergency, I will of course consider alternative arrangements.)

If you are absent from or very late to class (without an approved excuse) on a day when a major assignment is due, the assignment will be counted as late.


If you only attend 90% of the classes, I will multiply your final grade by 90%. Our class meets 28 times; that works out to a little less than 4% per missed period. I will count late arrivals and early departures as partial absences.

If you plan to be absent for a university-sponsored activity, please fill out a Absence Form at least two weeks in advance. If you have a sudden emergency that requires you to be absent, fill out the same form.

At the end of the term, I will look at the absences in my book and compare the Absence Forms that are on file to determine how to calculate your final grade. If I don't have an absence form, I will assume your absence is unexcused.

University Statements


If you have a disability that may require consideration by the instructor, you should contact the Coordinator of Disabled Student Services at 724-838-4295 or bassi@setonhill.edu.  It is recommended that this be accomplished by the second week of class.  It is not necessary to disclose to your instructor the nature of your disability.  If you need accommodations for successful participation in class activities prior to your appointment at the Disabled Students Services Office, you should offer information in writing which includes suggestions for assistance in participating in and completing class assignments.

Academic Dishonesty

Seton Hill University expects that all its students will practice academic honesty and ethical conduct. The University regards plagiarism, cheating on examinations, falsification of papers, non-sanctioned collaboration, and misuse or illegal use of library material, computer material, or any other material, published or unpublished, as violations of academic honesty.

Detailed Schedule

Week 1

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

12 Jan


13 Jan

Intro; "The Yellow Wall-paper"

Text: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/GilYell.html

Audio: http://www.scribblingwomen.org/cgwallpaperfeature.htm

Preview "Ex 1: Summary vs. Analysis"

14 Jan


15 Jan

Review syllabus revision ("Attendance")

Intro to Blogging

Due: Ex 1

16 Jan


Week 2

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

19 Jan

Take the Day On

20 Jan

Journalism: Objectivity and Opinion

Read: "A Jury of Her Peers" (online text)


Preview "Ex 2: Hard News & Editorial"

Hard news: Lead, news & background.

(While no human is truly objective, a good news reporter must attribute every opinion, and must let advocates of multiple different sides of an issue present their case in their own words; it must fairly represent the interests of all parties.)

Example: Cheerleader death | follow-up | follow-up

Editorial: Inform; promote; praise; entertain.

(A good editorial does not merely attack -- anyone can do that. If it criticizes, it must present and defend a solution better than the one being critiqued.)

Example: MLK

21 Jan


22 Jan

Read: Covering Crime and Justice (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Due: Ex 2

  1. Brief analysis of the following 2 stories (100 words)
    1. "Religious Extremists Kill Child with Exorcism"
    2. "Couple Charged in Alleged Exorcism Death"
  2. Short news story on the murder of John Wright, from "A Jury of Her Peers." [You are a reporter who arrives just after the events depicted in the story end. Your deadline is tomorrow morning. Write a story based only on what the characters in the story would tell you.] (200 words)
  3. (Due next Tuesday) Editorial: In the person of Mrs. Wright or Mrs. Hale, write a guest editorial on a topic related to "A Jury of Her Peers." [Your readers have not read the fictional story, but the news article you wrote for Ex 2.3 is public knowledge.] (200 words)

Peer Review Ex 2.1 & 2.1

(Blogging Refresher)

23 Jan


Week 3

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

26 Jan


27 Jan


(Snow Day)


28 Jan


29 Jan

Narrative (Short Story)

Update: Since Tuesday's class was cancelled, we're dropping "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and delaying "Cathedral" until after next week's poetry unit.

Read: "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/bernice/bernice.html

Due: Ex 2.3 (see above)


Preview "Ex 3: Narrative & Poetic Technique Worksheet"


  • Crisis vs. Conflict
  • Showing vs. Telling
  • Writing Dialogue
    • Printed handout (Arnzen)
    • "Write each person's spoken words, however brief, as a separate paragraph. Use commas to set off dialogue tags such as "she said" or "he explained." Closely related narrative prose can be included in a paragraph with dialogue. If one person's speech goes on for more than one paragraph, use quotation marks to open the speech and at the beginning--but not the end--of each new paragraph in the speech. To close the speech, use quotation marks at the end of the final paragraph."  --From Quotation Marks, <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_quote.html>

30 Jan


Week 4

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

02 Feb


03 Feb



  • Coleridge, "The Raven" (another copy, in pdf)
  • Short Poems
  • Dickinson, "Bee! I'm Expecting You" (Sleeping on the Wing 41); "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" (43)
  • Hopkins, "Pied Beauty" (47), "God's Grandeur" (48), "Spring and Fall" (50)
  • Yeats, "Adam's Curse" (72)

Workshop: Elements of Poetry (rhyme, meter, etc.)

Read: "Poetry Writing: Top 10 Tips" and "Getting College Credit For Your Old High School Poetry"

Exercise 3

Part I (due 05 Feb)

  • Choose whether you want to turn in, for Paper 1 (due next week), a short story (800-1000 words) or poetry (a collection of separate works or a single long narrative work). Produce a very rough draft of the opening page of your story or poem, or one complete poem (whichever is shorter).
  • Read the appropriate “tip” handout very carefully, and write a one-sentence response to each tip. Read and respond to: "Poetry Writing: Top 10 Tips" or "Short Stories: 10 Tips" (both documents were written by former students of mine).
  • On your weblog, post a short sample from your work-in-progress, and invite feedback on some particular detail . (Plenty of students are already posting short stories or poems, but I don't think people have in general felt like comments are really welcome -- so if you identify the specific kind of feedback you're looking for, we'll probably generate better online discussions.)

Part II (by 10 Feb)

  • Read and comment on the work-in-progress posts made by the two people alphabetically above you and the two people alphabetically below you. (Those at the top and bottom of the list, wrap around.)
  • Write a short essay in the form of a richly-linked blog entry, that presents your opinion on what you are struggling with and/or gaining from this exercise. Link to your peer's blog entries and anything else that you find useful online.
    • For example, if you find you like long wordy descriptions of tears rolling down the protagonist's face, but Orson Scott Card writes that, "We should not face the emotions until we completely understand the entire situation so that we will feel those emotions ourselves -- and then the character does not have to 'tremble badly' and waste our time sitting around while memories 'storm' through his mind," you might blog your reaction to this advice.
    • Another example: If you are having trouble differentiating between "showing" and "telling," find a piece of creative prose that you admire, and analyze a brief portion of it in terms of showing and telling. Write several descriptions of the same brief event in order to practice the technique.

04 Feb


05 Feb

Discuss: Poetry (same list as above)

Due: Ex 3

06 Feb


Week 5

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

09 Feb


10 Feb


Q1: As You Like It;

Discuss: As You Like It (script)

Preview Ex 4 [PC2]   (Requires seeing Seton Hill University’s production of As You Like It by 19 Feb)

11 Feb


12 Feb

As You Like It (cont’d)

Due: P1 (Creative)

13 Feb

Recommended: As You Like It 10:30am

Week 6

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

16 Feb


17 Feb

Q2: The Diamond Age (pp. 1-103)

Discuss The Diamond Age

18 Feb


19 Feb

Newswriting Workshop

Due: Ex 4

Due: List of possible sources and "angle" for P2 (news story)

20 Feb



EL 150 (Tu & Th)

23 Feb

Spring Break

24 Feb

Spring Break

25 Feb

Spring Break

26 Feb

Spring Break

27 Feb

Spring Break


Week 7

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

01 Mar


02 Mar

Due: P2 (Journalism; Rough Draft) (2 copies)

Peer Review P2 Draft

03 Mar


04 Mar

Due: P2 (Journalism; Final Draft)

Blogging Refresher & Portfolio Preview

05 Mar


Week 8

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

08 Mar


09 Mar

Read: Machinal; Preview "Ex 6: Lit Crit"

10 Mar


11 Mar

Read: Critical articles (TBA)

Due: Blog Portfolio 1

12 Mar


Week 9

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

15 Mar


16 Mar

Read: Death of a Salesman

Read: Articles TBA

17 Mar


18 Mar

Discuss Death of a Salesman

Due: P3 (Literary Criticism)

19 Mar


Week 10

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

22 Mar


23 Mar

Q3: Diamond Age (pp. 103-304)

Discuss Diamond Age

24 Mar


25 Mar

Jerz in San Antonio

26 Mar


Week 11

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

29 Mar


30 Mar


Readings: TBA

31 Mar


1 Apr

Research Paper Workshop

2 Apr


Week 12

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

5 Apr


6 Apr


Readings: TBA

Due: Research Paper Draft (2 copies)

Preview "Ex 7: Research Paper Peer Review"

7 Apr

Easter Break

8 Apr

Easter Break

9 Apr

Easter Break

Week 12 (cont’d)

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

12 Apr

Easter Break

13 Apr

Easter Break

14 Apr


15 Apr


Read: TBA

Due: Ex 7

16 Apr


Week 13

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

19 Apr


20 Apr

Q4: The Diamond Age (304-454)

Discuss The Diamond Age

21 Apr


22 Apr

Discuss The Diamond Age

Due: Research Paper Final Draft

Instructor/Course Evaluation

23 Apr


Week 14

EL 150 (Tu & Th)

26 Apr


27 Apr

Read/Discuss: Wit

Journalism reflection paper due

28 Apr


29 Apr

Discuss: Wit

Readings: TBA

Due: Blog Portfolio II

Due: Wildcard Paper (optional; averaged with lowest grade of P1, P2, P3)

30 Apr



EL 150 (Tu & Th)

3 May

(No Final Exam)

4 May


5 May


6 May


7 May


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