Introduction to Literature

This course will be comprised of eight short stories from the book Fictions, 4th Edition, edited by Joseph F. Trimmer and C. Wade Jennings.  For each of these stories, you will be given the choice of which you would like to read and analyze, taken from the sections underscored in the Thematic Table of Contents, which include:

                Initiation and Maturation
                Men and Women
                The Individual and Society
                The Minority Experience
                The Artist and Art
                The Ordeal of Nature
                Terror and Violence
                Aging and Dying

in an effort to illustrate the thematic development of literary conventions and the techniques requisite in attaining a comprehensive understanding of short, literary fiction.  Once this has been accomplished, the focus of the course will shift to discovering how these conventions are adapted into the novel, with an emphasis on the difference between the two media forms, through the study of John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Students will be responsible for preparing the shorter readings in time for class discussions and keeping a journal on the thoughts these readings inspire, which will be collected during each class meeting for review and discussion.  This journal project is worth 30% of the course grade.

During the study of the novel, no journals will be assigned.  There will, however, be a quiz at the beginning of each class session, and these quizzes will comprise 25% of the course grade.

Each student will also be responsible for writing a 4-5 page academic book report concerning one particular aspect of A Prayer for Owen Meany.  This will be worth 15% of the course grade and will be due 29 July, 1999.

There will be a midterm concerning the material read and discussed in class.  The format of this exam will consist of the subjective analysis of one question that thoroughly represents the material covered. This exam is worth 15% of the course grade and will be held on the 8th of July, 1999.

As this is largely a participatory class, the last 15% of the grade will be directed toward class participation.

Because of the short duration of this course, attendance is mandatory.  If an absence cannot be avoided, the student must submit an explanation in writing to the instructor to be excused from class.  A student who misses class more than three times, for any reason, excused or not, will be dropped.  

If you need to contact me, you may do so at any time either at my home (314) 752-9311, or by email, at

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