English 104:6: Composition and Literature (PDF Version)
MC 346, MWF 1:10 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Grant T. Smith, Ph.D.
Office: MC 533
Office Hours: T Th 1–3 p.m., MWF 2–3 p.m.
In this course we will explore the following environmental themes as they appear in American literature. We will read nonfiction, fiction, and poetry that will help us to explore the complex relationships between “place” and “self.” We will first attempt to identify and define the environments (places) around us and discover the inter-relationships we share with members (human and non-human) of those environments. Through the literature we read we shall then attempt to define the “self” through a paradigm of relationships with the members of those places. We shall consider these questions throughout the semester:
- What is a sense of place?
- How am I connected physically and or spiritually to a place?
- How am I shaped by a place?
- What affect do I have on a place?
- How do I define my physical, spiritual, and environmental self?
- What experiences with the environment and with others have shaped my being?
In this course we will continue the study and practice of composition.
- Click here for the university definitions of an excused and unexcused absence.
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- Click here for the university policy on plagiarism.
- If you are a person with a disability and require any auxiliary aids, services or other accommodations for this class, please see Jane Eddy in Murphy Center Learning Center 332 (796-3194) within ten days to discuss your accommodation needs. If there other accommodations that need to be made for you to succeed in the class, please indicate those needs to the instructor. Click here for a link to the Learning Center.
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- Thinking—Students engage in the critical and creative thinking
- Ethical Decision Making—Students respond to ethical issues
- Communication—Students communicate effectively orally and in writing
- Aesthetic Sensitivity—Students engage in artistic experiences and reflect critically upon them
- Cultural Sensitivity—Students demonstrate a respect for the diversity of the human experience
- Community Involvement—Students demonstrate responsible citizenship
Student Learning Outcomes for English 104:
- You will comprehend poetry, fiction, and essays on a literal level.
- You will develop and support in written language a convincing thematic interpretation of poetry, fiction, and essays. This goal will be measured by your papers and revisions.
You will compose original and valid written arguments, support them with sufficient evidence, organize them to convince a specific audience, and use stylistically and grammatically appropriate language to convey those ideas. These skills will be measured by your papers and revisions.
Research and document effectively
You will formulate, effectively research, and accurately document an argument on a topic relevant to our course using fiction and non-fiction sources, including scholarly print and electronic sources. This goal will be measured by your papers and revisions.
Understand literary classifications
You will demonstrate an understanding of two literary genres (poetry and fiction). This skill will be measured by your literary analysis papers.
English Department Student Learning Outcomes:
Links related to English Department Student Learning Outcomes:
- Thinking—The students will engage in critical thinking when they explicate or “close read” literary texts; when they identify formal elements such as point of view, literary language, symbolism, imagery; when they consider texts and authors in relation to historical, cultural, ideological, and theoretical contexts; when they compare what they are reading with what they have read previously; when they relate what they are reading to the wider world and to universal issues of human life. Click here for a Critical Thinking Web Page. Click here for a Logical Fallacies Web Page.
- Communication—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their interpretations, insights, analyses, and evaluations of the assigned literature. Click here for the English Department’s Home Page on Writing a Critical Analysis of Literature.
- Aesthetic—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their understanding of the elements of a “masterpiece” of young adult literature. The students will evaluate the lasting quality of literature from the formal and contextual elements embedded in the literature.
- Ethics—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their responses to the ethical questions and dilemmas posed in the assigned readings. Ethics is generally defined as the principles of conduct governing an individual or group; concerns for what is right or wrong, good or bad. The students will not plagiarize. Click here for the Viterbo University plagiarism statement. Click here for the English Department plagiarism statement. Click here for the Viterbo University Institute of Ethics in Leadership.
- Cultural Sensitivity—The students will read various texts by diverse authors. The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their understanding of life values represented in different texts in relation to their own. Individual projects are designed to give the students an opportunity to move outside of their own culture and to study and interact with a new culture. Click here for the university’s statement on sexual harassment.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things by John C. Ryan and Alan Durning
Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams
Dark Water by Laura McNeal
Complete Poems Emily Dickinson edited by Thomas Johnson
Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
- Attendance: Students who have three or fewer absences during the semester will receive 100 points. Students who have four to six absences will receive 60 points. Any student who has more than six absences will be asked to withdraw from the course.
- Respond to two reading assignments with a 2-3 page reflection paper (200 points).
- Complete an approved individual project (100 points).
- Complete an 8-to-10 page term paper (200 points).
Weeks One and Two: January 17, 24
Introduction to Environmental Literature
Read Emily Dickinson’s poetry
John Gast's painting, American Progress
Reflection paper on Dickinson due
Weeks Two and Three: January 31, February 7
Read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Chapters One and Two
“Civil Disobedience,” “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” “Cato”
Discussion questions on "Economy"
Discussion questions on "Civil Disobedience."
Reader Response Questions on "Civil Disobedience."
A quiz on "Peacemakers."
Full text of Crito
Reflection paper on Walden Due
Weeks Four and Five: February 14, 21
Read Into the Wild
Discussion questions for Into the Wild
A review of Into the Wild.
A student's journal response to Into the Wild.
A student's formal essay on Into the Wild.
Reflection paper on Into the Wild due
Weeks Six and Eight: February 28, March 14
Read Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
An interview "The Politics of Place" with Terry Tempest Williams
Official Web Page of Terry Tempest Williams
Official Web Page of the Mormon Church
Definition of ecofeminism by Rosemary Radford Reuther
Research and reference guide to nature, ecocriticism, and ecofeminism
Discussion questions on Refuge
Week Seven: March 7 (Spring Break)
Weeks Nine and Ten: March 21, 28
Continue Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
Reflection paper on Refuge due
Weeks Eleven and Twelve: April 4, 11
Read A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (Read Part 1: "A Sand County Almanac" and "Wisconsin" in Part II and "The Land Ethic in Part IV.
Read "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett
Home Page for the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.
Outline on the Aldo Leopold land ethic.
Definition of environmental ethics
The Greenpeace International Home Page
Environmental News Network (ENN)
A Web Page on the land ethic
The official "Endangered Species" web site
Reflection paper on A Sand County Almanac due
Weeks Thirteen and Fourteen: April 18, 25 (Easter Break April 21-25)
Read Dark Water by Laura McNeal
Week Fifteen: May 2
Read Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things by John C. Ryan and Alan Durning
Presentation of Term Projects
Week Sixteen: May 9 (Final Exams)
Monday, May 9, 9:50–11:50 a.m., MC 346