Course: ENGL 2220Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: Introduction to Fiction
Semester Approved: Spring 2021
Five-Year Review Semester: Fall 2025
End Semester: Fall 2026
Catalog Description: This course is an introduction to fiction, primarily short stories and novels. The course will emphasize literary traditions, historical time periods, diverse authors, careful reading, literary analysis, and thoughtful interpretation.
General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: TBA
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0
Justification: English 2220 is an introduction to the study of fiction in its two major genres: short story and the novel. The course introduces or reviews literary terms and emphasizes their importance in written and oral discussion of literature. This course offers a general education opportunity to students who would like to come to a greater intellectual and visceral appreciation of written works. This course provides a good introduction to literature for all non-English majors as well as English majors.
The Humanities are a group of academic disciplines that study the many ways by which humans have attempted to understand themselves and their world. At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: languages, literature, and philosophy. The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretive, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.
General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum has a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world. An important goal of this course is to foster an appreciation of literature in general. After completing this course, students are prepared to recognize and enjoy literary works for intellectual as well as visceral reasons. Students read and discuss a representative selection of culturally significant short stories and novels. Quizzes, writing assignments, examinations, special projects, and class discussions will ask students to consider readings in a variety of contexts.
2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read and research effectively within disciplines. Students read a variety of fiction texts (short stories and novels) and are quizzed on content. Discussion questions, writing prompts, and writing assignments are designed to elicit constructive and critical responses (e.g. "What values or beliefs are being transmitted through this piece of literature?" "What is the author trying to communicate through this piece of literature and what strategies does the author employ to accomplish that goal?").
3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can draw from multiple disciplines to address complex problems. To read and analyze literary works, students will draw from other disciplines such as history, sociology, economics, and geography, among others. Students will demonstrate this interdisciplinary work though quizzes, discussions, and writing projects.
4: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively. Students are asked to critically evaluate rhetorical choices the author makes in order to understand and interpret the literature. Students are also asked to understand the development of ideas and movements in literature as reflected through a representative selection of short stories and novels. Students will demonstrate their ability to read and think critically about literature, understand its context, and interpret meaning through essay exams, papers, and class discussion.
5: A student who completes the GE curriculum can communicate effectively through writing and speaking. Students write on a regular basis demonstrating the validity of various theses in diverse writing assignments. Writing assignments are designed around the collaborative model and incorporate all elements of the writing process. Written assignments will be returned with suggestions for improving the student's writing skills.
General Education Knowledge Area Outcomes:
1: Through the study of a representative selection of short stories and novels, students will examine a variety of philosophical problems concerning human thought and experience (e.g., human nature, race and identity, individuality and society). Class discussions, essays, and essay-exams will allow students to demonstrate that they can articulate ways in which authors writing fiction have asked and answered various questions; they will also allow students to demonstrate they can participate in discussions about these questions. Through the study of a representative selection of short stories and novels, students will examine a variety of philosophical problems concerning human thought and experience (e.g., human nature, race and identity, individuality and society). Class discussions, essays, and essay-exams will allow students to demonstrate that they can articulate ways in which authors writing fiction have asked and answered various questions; they will also allow students to demonstrate they can participate in discussions about these questions.
2: Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature, and/or philosophy. Through the practice of close reading literary analysis of fiction, students will understand how knowledge is created within the field of literature. Students will be able understand how such things as history, audience, authorial choices in relation to the text, and personal biases impact the reading of a text. Students will be asked to demonstrate their ability to read closely on exams and in written assignments.
3: Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present. Students will understand the cultural traditions that produced and that are represented in short stories and novels. They will also be able to discuss fiction in a historical context and be able to articulate connections with contemporary culture. Class discussions, quizzes, and exams will allow students to identify, contextualize, and explain various authors, works, and movements in fiction.
4: Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterpreted) from a Humanities’ perspective. Students will be able to read, interpret, analyze, and respond to a representative selection of primary literary texts, particularly short stories and novels. Reading strategies, writing assignments, discussions, and exams will allow students to demonstrate an ability to read critically in order to understand, explain, and evaluate literary texts.
5: Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments. Students will be able to write interpretive and analytic essays that are supported through textual analysis. They will be given feedback on written drafts in order to improve thinking and writing skills from one assignment to the next.
English 2220 covers a representative sample of short stories and novels in English from a variety of literary traditions and historical time periods. Instructors will choose readings by authors of a variety of racial, national, gender, linguistic and other identities.
Through lecture and discussion formats, the course focuses on close reading, literary conventions, historical influences, contextual and textual analysis, interpretation, synthesis, and critical thinking and writing.
Key Performance Indicators:
regular content quizzes 25 to 30%
exams 30 to 35%
special projects and/or written assignments 35 to 40%
Participation may also be assessed 0 to 10%
Representative Text and/or Supplies:
For a selection of short fiction, instructors may choose and anthology like Gillespie, Sheena and Robert Becker, Across Cultures: A Reader for Writers, current edition
A variety of novels can also be assigned; the following are representative examples: John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
Louise Erdrich, Four Souls
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies
Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys
There are a range of pedagogical concerns for the class. Course content will be delivered through short lectures, class discussions, and writing assignments to ensure an engaged and interactive classroom. Some form of accountability for reading should be established: reading quizzes, discussion boards, bell work, etc. The course should also build to a signature assignment that will allow students to demonstrate their learning related to the HU GE outcomes. Exams can have some focus on recall and content but should also be opportunities for critical thinking and synthesis of concepts across literary texts. The course content will endeavor to reflect the value of diversity. Furthermore, students are prepped to engage with the material, their first encounter with the literature occurs outside of the classroom, and class time employs differentiated and inclusive learning techniques, including discussion in varying formats, freewriting and pairing, group discussion, class discussion, group feedback on writing. The professor functions as a guide, asking students to engage with the literature and historical moments as they move from initial impressions to informed analysis, close reading, interpretation, and critical thinking.
Maximum Class Size: 30
Optimum Class Size: 20