Critical Introduction to Literature
English 2600      Fall 2017

Instructor: Dr. Rick McDonald      Office Phone: 863-8365
Office:  CB 41OG       Office Hours: 1:00- 2:15  M &W   and by appointment.
Course: ENGL 2600-003  Time:  M/W  4:00- 5:15    Room: LA 226
Email:   Web Pages:

TEXTS:     Beginning Theory (3rd Ed) by Peter Barry

The Awakening (2nd Ed) edited by Nancy A. Walker.  Bedford St Martins

Etexts from Canvas “files”


In the course of this semester successful students should:
o    Read and practice a variety of types of Literary Criticism;
o    Learn to recognize and define critical terms, and theoretical positions from numerous schools of criticism;
o    Realize that texts can take on meaning from a number of different perspectives;
o    Develop multiple different interpretations for a single test;
o    Develop independent readings of texts from a perspective they identify and choose;
o    Practice the skills of literary critique; and
o    Research and write analytically about texts using MLA format.


ENGL 2600 (Critical Introduction to Literature) is designed to help students begin to develop methods for analyzing literature from a variety of perspectives.  In this course you should be exposed to the major ideas and techniques used by practicing critics and scholars.  We will look particularly at New Historicism, Feminism, Deconstruction, New Criticism, Psychoanalytic, Gender Studies, Marxism, Ecocriticism, and Reader Response criticisms.  As an English major you will increasingly be expected to have a thorough understanding of these critical positions as you advance through the major.

We will read 30-50 pages per class on average.  You will be expected to have made a valiant attempt to read, and understand the texts for each day. We will review and discuss the concepts of the chapter during class in large and small group work.


Journal Responses:

Over the 14+ weeks of this class I will expect you to submit 21 journal entries.  The journals should discuss what you think is an interesting/useful part of the reading for that day.  I will often have study questions to help you select an appropriate journal topic.  Before class, I will want you to write what you think you know so far—knowing that you are new to this process.  Responses will be 100+ words long and will be graded relatively leniently. 

Summary and Treatment Papers:

Each student will write three out of four Summary and Treatment Papers (for which you receive an informative handout).  I want you to summarize the main ideas in one of the critical theory chapters—entirely in your own words. I would expect this formally-written summary to be 500+ words.  At the end of each summary, I would like you to speculate about a possible interpretation of a text you might attempt using the summarized theory (maybe 50 to 100 words and relatively informal.)

Group Presentation:

In Groups of 3-5 students will present an interpretation of The Awakening to exemplify one of the types of literary theory we have studied for the class.  Presentations should last 15 + minutes and involve all group members.

Long Paper:

You will write one six-to-nine page paper for this class.  It may be on any text you wish.  Whatever text you choose to write about, you should identify and use some of the interpretive skills you are learning this semester to discuss the text.

Final Exam:
We will have a final exam that asks students to define a number of schools of critical thought and apply criticism to texts of their choosing.

The Exam for this class will be Monday December 11th from 3:00-4:50 pm.


Unless an extension is prearranged by me, any late work will receive a 5 point deduction for every day it is late.  Anyone who has their long paper in on time will be allowed the opportunity to rewrite, if necessary. A student may also rewrite one of the Summary/Treatment papers.  A rewrite will require the student make substantial changes in either style or content—beyond changing the few items I mark.  Speak to me before you begin rewriting; I will assign you a deadline for the project.
I think coming to class is very important (so important that it’s part of your grade). I will have a sign-in sheet everyday.  Make sure you sign in each day—it is your responsibility—ask if you can’t find the sign-in sheet.  Anyone who misses more than three classes (NO EXCUSED ABSENCES), will find their grade affected.  If you want to explain your absence, do so by talking to me or emailing me outside of class.  You get three absences—do not use them except in an emergency—and don’t have more than three emergencies.
Your journals will be graded on a +, , -  scale. Your journals will be graded on a 1-5  scale. (I will not accept late journal entries.) Journals will account for 20% of your grade.  Your 6-9 page paper will be worth 30% and your 3 Summaries and Treatments will be worth 25%.  Group presentations will be worth 10% of your grade and your final will be worth 15%.


A            93+ 
C            76
A-            90
D-            74
B+            88 
D+            72
B            84 
D               68
B-            82 D-              65
C+            80 

 Below you will find an excerpt from the UVU Student Rights and Responsibilities Code concerning Plagiarism and Cheating. Either activity can result in a Failing grade in this class.  Each student is expected to maintain academic ethics and honesty in all its forms, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism as defined hereafter:

o    Cheating is the act of using or attempting to use or providing others with unauthorized information, materials or study aids in academic work. Cheating includes, but is not limited to passing examination answers to or taking examinations for someone else, or preparing or copying other's academic work.

o    Plagiarism is the act of appropriating any other person's or group's ideas or work (written, computerized, artistic, etc.) or portions thereof and passing them off as the product of one's own work in any academic exercise or activity.

Students who need accommodations because of a disability may contact the UVU Accessibility Services Department (ASD), located on the Orem Campus in LC 312. To schedule an appointment or to speak with a counselor, call the ASD office at 801-863-8747. Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals, email or text 385-208-2677.

During class your cellphones should be off and put away.  Taking calls or texting during class is unacceptable.  If you believe you need your cell phone on for some emergency it must be in silent mode and you should leave the room to answer it.  This should happen only in emergencies.  As you will be possibly taking notes you may use a laptop to do so, but while you are in class it should only be used for classwork in this course; doing otherwise will undoubtedly annoy your peers and me.

***************************ATTENTION ****************************

Literary Criticism can be very difficult to do and understand. I am interested in seeing everyone pass my class.  If you have a problem, alert me to it early in the semester.  I can help you with whatever difficulties the texts create for you, but I cannot resolve them for you.