Instructor: Regina Popper ENG. 201


INSTRUCTOR'S PHONE: 595-2263 (or call me at home: 962-1287)

Email me at


TEXTS: John J. Clayton. An Introduction to Fiction

6th edition. St. Charles, Illinois: Houghton Mifflin, l999.

A dictionary, such as the Merriam-Webster or New World

A pocket folder to store handouts

A binder with loose leaf paper; ink pen



Besides enjoying your reading, you gradually will discover the creative tools of fiction writers. That knowledge will make the short stories and novels you read a much richer experience for you. We will review elements such as point of view, setting, character, plot, and theme as well as review figurative language such as simile, metaphor, and personification.

The course's general objectives are as follows:



1. Class participation, Read/Respond sheets (see attached), pop quizzes, and in-class assignments will count 40% of your grade.

2. Journals and team essay on a short story will count 30 %.

3. One 3-5 page, typed/computer processed report on a novel and an accompanying oral report to the class on the same novel will count 20%.

4. Attendance will count 10%. For a class that meets three times a week, the attendance grade will be calculated as follows:

1-2 absences = A

3 absences = B

4-5 absences = C

6 absences = D

7 or more = F


The attendance score is meant to reward good attendance and discourage spotty attendance. However, if your grade is teetering between a B and a C, for example, the 10% may make a difference. I am reasonable and understand true emergencies. Contact me promptly to discuss.

It is important that you call the instructor if you are absent more than one class.

Special consideration will be given for prolonged illness or absence for campus sports team events, but both require a written excuse from a doctor or coach.

LATE ASSIGNMENT RULE: All assignments are due in the beginning of class otherwise they are considered late. One or two late assignments will not affect your grade and will allow for illness or emergencies.

HOMEWORK: The standard ratio is two hours of homework for each hour in a college class, so plan to spend about two hours preparing for each class.

Follow the class reading list which is part of this syllabus. Note that Read/Respond sheets are due for each story. Key Ideas sheets will be due early in the course for background/introduction readings. For one story per week, you will write a Journal entry (usually written during classtime) on one of the week's stories. During class, you will work as part of a team to write a three-page paper analyzing a short story; this paper will be due before mid-term. By the end of the semester, you will complete a 3-5 page paper on a novel (selected from a list to be provided). Oral reports on your selected novel will be spread throughout the last weeks of the semester.

COMPUTER LABS: Even if you have a typewriter at home, you are strongly urged to discover the time-saving process of using a computer to write your essays. Revisions become a breeze! The Computer Lab in the Communications Building (Room l32), has Macintosh computers for you to use in writing assignments. Also try the library CAVE (near the circulation desk) or the labs in the Engineering or Business buildings. Save your work on an inexpensive disk that may be purchased at the Bookstore.

READING & STUDY SKILLS CENTER and WRITING CENTER: Both centers are located in Communications with tutors ready to help you. The Writing Center's tutors will assist you with any part of the writing process. The tutors can give specific assistance with grammar problems and can also help in planning and organizing a piece of writing, but the work must be your own.

EXPECTATIONS: I want to help you complete this course, but you must do your part. You should attend class regularly and do all of the assigned work. All writing should be your own, not copied (plagiarized) or done by another person. Plagiarism is a serious problem and will warrant an F grade. Faculty and staff are here to help you learn. Do yourself a favor and don't hesitate to ask questions or get help if you have any problem. Writing Center tutors and campus counselors are understanding and helpful.

COURSE WITHDRAWAL: If you run into a crisis or emergency (health or otherwise), please call me. Don't just disappear because the class and I will worry about you! Remember that the last day to officially withdraw is Nov 12. By withdrawing, you will avoid getting an F on your record that will be included in your grade point average.

STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS: Please inform me as soon as possible of any special needs you may have so that I may make your learning experience more comfortable and successful. If you need special testing arrangements, note taking assistance, seating close to the front of class, additional testing time, or other accommodations because of a documented disability, please feel free to discuss this with me privately. The college's Access Office will assist students with such needs. Please call 513-4551.


You will read two or three short stories during most weeks; during other times you will read about how writers craft their work and how to write about literature. The stories range from authors such as Hawthorne and Poe to predominately twentieth century masters such as Chekhov, Joyce, Faulkner, Hemingway, Welty, Baldwin, Carver and Bambara. Toward the end of the course you will be reading a short novel and completing a paper and oral report on that novel. For each short story you will complete a brief Read/Respond Sheet. About once every two weeks, you will complete an in-class essay on one of the assigned stories --some chosen by instructor, some by students. A HOMEWORK CALENDAR WILL BE PROVIDED so that you can read ahead or catch up if you are sick.


Week 1 Intro to course; meet each other; begin to read and discuss textbook "Intro" and "How to Read and Write About Fiction"; apply to Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path."

Week 2 Continue readings with some from the nineteenth century and discussion of Week 1 material; apply to Hawthorne or Edgar Allan Poe selection (class chooses).

Week 3 Continue discussion of basic story elements; read Kate Chopin's "Desiree's Baby" and Chekhov's "The Lady with the Dog." In-class writing.

JOURNAL IS DUE at end of week.

Week 4 Modern Masters: William Faulkner's "That Evening Sun" and Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants"; and begin team work on in- class essay analyzing a short story. Team will choose from several stories and complete most of the essay in class.

Week 5-6 Complete rough draft of team essays; peer review rough drafts (after reading other two short stories from other teams)

Week 7 FINAL COPY OF TEAM ESSAY IS DUE; read earlier modern masters--James Joyce "Araby" and D.H. Lawrence's "The Blind Man." Discussion of report on a novel, to be chosen from a list.

Week 8 Begin reading novel, some class time provided; read short stories by other modern writers: Zora Neale Hurston's "Sweat"and John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums." JOURNAL IS DUE.

Week 9 Read John Cheever's "The Country Husband," Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing" and Doris Lessing's "How I Finally Lost My Heart." Some class time to read novel.

Week 10 Read Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues."

Week 11 Read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" and Chinua Achebe's "The Madman."

Week 12 Read Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson," Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" and Nadine Gordimer's "City Lovers." JOURNAL IS DUE.

Week 13 Read John Updike's "Separating," John Barth's "Lost in the Funhouse" and Raymond Carver's "Cathedral." (Read/Respond Sheets only)

Week 14 Peer Review of Novel Reports; Final Novel Reports are due by Wednesday.

Week 15 Oral Reports continue.

Week 16 Oral Reports continue. Novel Reports will be returned; class evaluation