Approaches to Literature/ ENG.104.02

Ms. Hawkins

Approaches to Literature/ ENG.104.02

Class Time: MWF, 9:00-9:50 AM

MHRA 2207

Office: Curry 335A;

Office Hours: MWF; 10-11 or by appointment

The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.
-Toni Morrison

The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.
-James Baldwin

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.

-John Berger

I. Course Description:

How can literature help us “see”? In this class, we will be considering the complexities of vision—what we “see” when we look at others, the world around us, and at ourselves. How does our sight inform our relationship to the world? How might our sight inform the decisions we make? What goes on when we suddenly “see someone differently?” How does the way we “see” someone affect our ability/ inability to connect with them? How might the way we “see” sometimes blind us from the truth?

In order to engage with these complicated questions, we will be reading and analyzing important American texts in four genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and drama. We will discuss how identity—racial, socioeconomic, gendered, sexuality, etc—informs “sight”: both for the individual and the system at large.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for the GLT marker:

1. Demonstrate the reading skill required for the student of literary texts. (LG3)

2. Identify and/or describe some of the varied characteristics of literary texts. (LG3)

3. Demonstrate orally, in writing, or by some other means, a fundamental ability to use some of the techniques and/or methods of literary analysis. (LG 1 and LG 3)

4. Identify and/or describe some of the various social, historical, cultural, and/or theoretical

contexts in which literary texts have been written and interpreted. (LG3)

Required Texts:

Allison, Dorothy. Two or Three Things I know for Sure. ISBN: 978-0452273405

Browning and Elmes, Lenses: Perspectives on Literature. Second Edition. ISBN: 9780738070070

Hansberry, Lorraine A Raisin in the Sun ISBN: 978-0679755333

Howe, Marie What the Living Do ISBN: 978-0393318869

Morrison, Toni The Bluest Eye ISBN: 9780307278449

Wasserstein, Wendy The Heidi Chronicles ISBN: 978-0679734994

Canvas readings: You are responsible for either bringing hard copies of these stories to class or for having the stories pulled up on a tablet or computer.


According to UNCG English department policy, you have four absences in a MWF class without penalty. I do not differentiate between excused and unexcused absences. If you miss a fifth, sixth, or seventh class, your participation grade will suffer, and if you miss an eighth class, you will automatically fail.

Students are by state law allowed two excused absences due to religious holidays. These absences do not count toward the total maximums allowed above. If a student plans to miss class due to a religious holiday, he or she must notify the instructor in writing at least 48 hours prior to the absence.

If you have extenuating circumstances such as a death in the family, chronic illness/injury requiring prolonged medical treatment, prolonged psychological issues, etc., then you should immediately contact the Dean of Students Office for advocacy ( You can use that department email, () and provide your name, your UNCG ID number, a telephone number that you can be reached, and a general description of why you would like to meet with a staff member. If your situation is urgent, you may opt for a walk-in appointment (Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm), and the staff will connect you with the appropriate person as soon as possible. The Dean of Students office is located on the second floor of the Elliott University Center (EUC).


I will be taking role at the beginning of class, so if you are late to class, you are responsible for reminding me that you were present at the end of class. Excessive lateness will result in a significant loss in your participation grade. If you are more than twenty minutes late to class, you will receive an absence.

What you need to bring to class everyday:

·  Lenses

·  A class notebook and a pen. You may take notes in the notebook, and we will also use it often for free writing during class.

·  The reading for class either printed out or on a tablet. I require paper copies of all novels.


Midterm Exam: 20 %

Final Paper: 30 %

Participation: 10 %

Reading quizzes: 10 %

Close Reading: 15 %

Narrative Assignment: 10 %

In Class Reflections: 10 %

* Do not ask me about the status of your grade. You are responsible for keeping up with your grades in the class, and you will have a good sense of your participation grade based on how much you are participating. If you are near failing (C minus or below), I will send you an email before the “withdraw without penalty” date.

Outline of Class Assignments

Midterm Exam:

I will administer your midterm exam on Friday, February 26. You must be present in the class during this day. There will not be a make up exam. I will return graded exams by Friday, March 4 on the last day to withdraw from the class without penalty.

Final Paper:

Your final paper will be 5-6 pages and will be due on the last day of class. You will receive extensive instruction about this paper towards the end of the semester.


This class is discussion based, so I want to hear all of your voices. Participation also includes bringing your materials to class every day, active listening, and contributing to group work. If you are actively disengaged in the class material, I reserve the right to count you absent.

Reading Quizzes:

We will have multiple reading quizzes over the semester. These quizzes will be 1-2 paragraph responses at the beginning of class about the required text.

Close Reading:

You will have one short close reading assignment. This will be 1-2 pages, and you will be required to analyze a short passage. A formal assignment sheet will be on Canvas closer to the due date.

Narrative Assignment:

The narrative assignment will be a creative piece of writing that will test your understanding of the various elements of narrative. A formal assignment sheet will be on Canvas closer to the due date.

In Class Reflections:

At the end of each unit, you will be responsible for an In-Class Reflection that you will submit to me by the end of the day.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is founded upon and encompasses the following five values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Violations include, for example, cheating, plagiarism, misuse of academic resources, falsification, and facilitating academic dishonesty. If knowledge is to be gained and properly evaluated, it must be pursued under conditions free from dishonesty. Deceit and misrepresentations are incompatible with the fundamental activity of this academic institution and shall not be tolerated” (from UNCG’s Academic Integrity Policy). To ensure that you understand the university’s policy on academic integrity, review the guidelines and list of violations at I expect you to abide by the Academic Integrity Policy. Incidents of cheating and plagiarism are reported to the Dean of Students and sanctions are aligned with the policies at

NOTE: Any instance of plagiarism will result in failure of the assignment and may result in failure of the course, depending on the severity of the violation and the overall value of the assignment to the final grade. A second offense of any kind, including plagiarizing, falsifying information, or cheating, will result in failure of the course.

Behavior and Language

The exchange of ideas in the classroom requires a respect for others. I will not tolerate or excuse lewd, crude, sexist, racist, or homophobic language and behavior. (See policies on hazing, disruptive behavior, and various forms of discrimination at <>.) As the instructor of this course, it is up to my discretion to determine what inappropriate behavior looks like, and I reserve the right to take any measures necessary to maintain the safety of the students in the classroom.

The Writing Center

The purpose of the Writing Center ( is to enhance the confidence and competence of student writers by providing free, individual assistance at any stage of any writing project. Staff consultants are experienced writers and alert readers, prepared to offer feedback and suggestions on drafts of papers, help students find answers to their questions about writing, and provide one-on-one instruction as needed. You may schedule writing conferences either by email () or phone (336.334.3125) as well as just walk in during their open hours (see website link above). If you would like to use the Writing Center online facilities, please understand that they are limited, so the consultants would appreciate it if you made an appointment in advance.


Students with documentation of special needs should arrange to see me about accommodations as soon as possible. If you believe you could benefit from such accommodations, you must first register with the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services on campus before such accommodations can be made. The office is located on the second floor of the Elliott University Center (EUC) in Suite 215, and the office is open 8am to 5pm, Monday - Friday. Telephone: 334-5440; e-mail: .

Technology Policy

Laptops, tablets, or other internet-enabled devices may be used in class to take notes pertaining to our class, to view documents on our Canvas website, or to engage in class- related activities as approved by the instructor. Any student who uses a laptop for any activity not relevant to this course during class time will not be allowed to use a laptop in class again. To be perfectly clear: one violation means no laptop use.

Absolutely no text messaging or cell phone calls allowed during class. If I catch you on your phone, I reserve the right to count you absent from class.

II. Course Schedule:

(Subject to Change)


Unit One: Introduction to Literature

1.11 (M): Intros and Syllabus

In Class Reading and discussion of Wolff, “Bullet in the Brain”

1.13 (W): Unit One Free Write

Lenses: Browning and Scudder, “To read is to write”

CAN: Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues”

1.15 (F): Lenses: Hawkins, “Point of View”

CAN: Carver, “Cathedral”


1.8 (M): No Class/ MLK holiday

1.20 (W): Lenses, Lee, “Setting, Atmosphere and Mood”

CAN: Hemingway, “Hills like White Elephants”

1.22 (F): CAN: Alexie, “An Indian Education”


Unit Two: Gendered Identity

1.25 (M): Unit Two Free Write

CAN: Dubus, “The Fat Girl”

1.27 (W): Lenses: Hart, “Feminist Theory”

CAN: Moore, “How to be an Other Woman”

1.29 (F): Introduce Narrative Assignment

CAN: Munro, “Boys and Girls”


2.1 (M): Lenses: Carter, “Drama”

Wasserstein, The Heidi Chronicles

ACT I: Prologue, Scene 1-3

2.3 (W): Wasserstein, The Heidi Chronicles

Finish Act I, Act 2: Prologue, Scene 1

2.5 (F): Wasserstein, The Heidi Chronicles

Finish the play


2.8 (M): Updike, A + P

2.10 (W): Excerpt from Gay, “Bad Feminist”

2.12 (F): Narrative Assignment due in class


Unit Three: Racial Identities

2.15 (M): Unit Three Free Write

Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

Act I, Scene I

2.17 (W): Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

Act I, Scene 2 and Act II, Scene 1

2.19 (F): Class Cancelled


2.22 (M): Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun,

Read to end

2.24 (W): Midterm Review (Class Optional)

2.26 (F): MIDTERM


2.29 (M): CAN: Ellison, Invisible Man

Prologue and Chapter 1

3.2 (W): CAN: Dunbar, “We Wear the Mask”

CAN: Coates, “Between the World and Me”

3.4 (F): Morrison, “Recitatif”

*Last day to drop class without penalty

WEEK 9: Spring Break/ No class


Unit Four: Socioeconomic Identity

3.14 (M): CAN: Packer, “Brownies”

3.16 (W): In Class Reflection

3.18 (F): CAN: Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily”


3.21 (M): Morrison, The Bluest Eye Prologue-32

3.23 (W): Morrison, The Bluest Eye 33-93

3.25 (F): No Class; Spring Holiday


3.28 (M): Morrison, The Bluest Eye 94-163

3.30 (W): Morrison, The Bluest Eye 164-end

4.1 (F): Allison, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure 1-55


Unit Four: Identities of Sexuality

4.4 (M): Close Reading Due

4.6 (W): Unit Four Free Write

Allison, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure 56- end

4.8 (F): Lenses, Barrionuevo, “Poetry”

Howe, What the Living Do


4.11 (M): Howe, What the Living Do

4.13 (W): CAN: Poissant, “Lizard Man”

4.15 (F): CAN: Diaz, “How to date a brown girl (black girl, white girl, or halfie)”


4.18 (M): In Class Reflection

4.20 (W): CAN: Morrison, “Nobel Prize lecture”

4.22 (F): Peer Workshop for Final Paper


4.25 (M): TBD

4.26 (T): Final Paper due by email