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Page history last edited by Abigail Heiniger 7 years, 7 months ago

English 2043-01

American Literature After 1865: the American Hero and the American Dream 



Time: 1:00-1:50pm MWF

13 January – 27 April 2016 (Spring 2016)

Classroom: BC ADM 101

Course Wiki: http://amlit2americanhero.pbworks.com


Instructor: Dr. Abigail Heiniger 

Office: 002 Rish Hall

Office Hours: 8-9, 10-11 MWF, 11-12 WF, 1-2:30 TTh

Contact information:

e-mail: aheiniger@bluefield.com 

phone: (276) 326-4275


ENG 2043 Spring 2016 Heiniger rev.pdf




Registration Information

Last day to ADD course is 14 January 2016. 

Last day to WITHDRAW from course without a “W” is 20 January 2016.

Last day to WITHDRAW from course is 15 April 2016


Course Description


The evolution of American literature is an integral part of the construction of national identity in America. English 2043 explores the relationship between text and culture. The main goals of the course are (1) to have students engage in the close reading of both fiction and non-fiction by American authors; (2) to introduce students to the major themes and issues in American literature after 1865; (3) to understand American literature within a broader regional and national context; and (4) to teach students to articulate their analysis of these texts through writing.


To achieve these goals, the course places considerable emphasis upon the relationship between reading and writing. Literary analysis and close reading skills will be practiced individually in weekly journals, discussed in class, and utilized in a final paper and class presentations. 


This course also attempts to contextualize and connect works of American writers, positioning the discourse about American literature as it emerged through the trope of the American Hero living the American Dream in both regional and national contexts. Quizzes and exams will be designed to evaluate students' abilities to make these connections as well as assess basic comprehension of the materials.


Section Description


More specifically, our class will take up the above objectives on three levels:

1) We will engage the critical and theoretical aspects of American literature in class presentations in which students will introduce one of the secondary texts to the class.

2) The pragmatic process of close reading and literary analysis (how to write about American literature) will be accomplished through the final paper and through journals that respond to specific reading questions. 

The questions and responses will be discussed in class along with techniques for close reading and literary analysis. As a college-level course, it is expected that students will adhere to the mechanics of composition (grammar, sentence structure, arrangement, etc.).

The final paper and presentation will utilize the close reading and literary analysis skill that students learn throughout the year along. It will also have a research element - students will be expected to consult three or more scholarly secondary sources for their final paper (which will be revised and edited during the course of the semester). 

The presentation will be online. It will demonstrate student’s ability to use online media.

3) Finally, basic comprehension of reading materials for the course will be measured in quizzes and exams throughout the course of the semester. Since this is a survey course, exams will make up a large portion of the final grade.


The bulk of your final grades will be based on the class presentation, weekly journals, quizzes, exams, the final paper, and the final presentation (of the final paper).


Learning Objectives

Successful completion of this course depends on the students' ability to express cogently, both orally and on paper, that they understand how:


  • literature is a representation of human motives, conflicts, and values.
  • to use evidence from the texts to support interpretations, evaluations, and comparative analyses.  
  • to use methods and terminology for literary analysis in order to make responsible judgments about literature,
  • the significance of genre.
    • the ways in which genres developed. 
  • authors are stylists, conscious exploiters of the rhythmical, figurative, and structural resources of language.
  • authors stylistically and thematically can define both literary traditions (such as Realism, Naturalism, and Modernism) and their own individuality.
  • political, philosophical, social and religious traditions affect the literature of a given period.
  • recent regional and ethnic American literature is both a smoothly evolving continuum and a widely diverse collection of highly individualistic writers.
  • that students can position their own writing within scholarly conversations in English and use English scholarly texts effectively. 


Texts and Supplies


  • Required: Louis L'Amour, Daybreaker (any edition)
  • Required: Sherman Alexie, Indian Killer (any edition) 
  • Required: Anca Vlasopolos, New Bedford Samurai (any edition) 
  • Required: Copies of fiction and secondary materials included on wiki 
  • Required: A Bluefield College e-mail address you check regularly
  • Required: class wiki account: http://amlit2americanhero.pbworks.com


All required texts are available at the campus bookstore. 




TOTAL = 1000 pts (approximate)


All written work is to adhere to MLA guidelines (available online through the Purdue OWL website).


All Assignments and Due Dates listed on the Assignments page of the class wiki. 


Attendance and Participation


This is a discussion-based class. Attendance and participation in discussion is mandatory. Participation and quizzes (given randomly throughout the semester) cannot be made up except in the case of a university-accepted excused absence.


Exams and quizzes


The majority of the final grade depends upon the three exams and several quizzes throughout the semester. Attendance on exam dates is mandatory; exams and quizzes cannot be made up except in the case of a university-accepted excused absence.


Online Resource Group Project

In this project, every group will choose a word and study its history and evolution in American literature relating to the theme of the American hero. We will use tools like the OEDOnline as well as examples of spoken language in media clips. Like a paper, this project should have a clear and identifiable statement of purpose (thesis). All the pages and activities in the project should support that. The statement of purpose should sum up the group's perception of WHY the evolution of the term is significant. The ultimate purpose of this paper is to create an online resource that may be used by the class throughout the semester.


Final Paper and Final Presentation

The final paper is worth 35% of the final grade and the Online Presentation is worth 10% of the final grade. For the final paper (8-12pp), students will do a close reading of one or more of the texts read in class. Students must develop a thesis guide their analysis and close reading based on one of the assigned class themes (or another theme approved by the instructor). This thesis will also be supported with research from at least three scholarly sources utilized in the course. Students will work on and revise this paper throughout the semester. Specific guidelines and due dates can be found on Assignments, the Final Paper Guidelines page, and the Online Presentation page (on the course wiki).


Students will give a ten-minute presentation of their final paper for their final presentation (8/12).    


Grading Papers


English 2033 uses the official grading scale included on MyBC: A 100-94%; A- 93-90%; B+ 89%: B 88-84%; B- 83-80%; C+ 79%; C 78-74%; C- 73-70%, D+ 69%; D 68-64%; D- 63-60%; F 59% and below. Although some questions on quizzes are simply objective, the general rubric for written responses and for the final paper in our course is as follows:


The "A" Paper


The "A" paper has an excellent sense of purpose. Its aim is clear and consistent throughout the paper. It attends to the needs of its audience and the topic itself is effectively narrowed and clearly defined.

The content is appropriately developed for the assignment and the text it is analyzing. The supporting details or evidence are convincingly presented. The reasoning is valid and shows an awareness of the complexities of the subject. If secondary sources are used, they are appropriately selected and cited.

The organization demonstrates a clear and effective strategy. The introduction establishes the writer's credibility and the conclusion effectively completes the essay: paragraphs are coherent, developed, and show effective structural principles.

The expression is very clear, accessible, concrete. It displays ease with idiom and a broad range of diction. It shows facility with a great variety of sentence options and the punctuation and subordinate structures that these require. It has few errors, none of which seriously undermines the effectiveness of the paper for educated readers.


The "B" Paper

The "B" paper has a good sense of purpose. It shows awareness of purpose and focuses on a clearly defined topic.

The content is well developed and the reasoning usually valid and convincing. Evidence and supporting details are adequate.

The organization is clear and easy to follow: the introduction and conclusion are effective, and transitions within and between paragraphs are finessed reasonably well.

The paper has few errors, especially serious sentence errors. Sentences show some variety in length, structure, and complexity. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling conform to the conventions of edited Standard American English.


The "C" Paper

The "C" paper has an adequate sense of purpose. Its purpose is clear and it is focused on an appropriate central idea. The topic and analysis may be unoriginal, but the assignment has been followed, if not fulfilled.

The content is adequately developed. The major points are supported, and paragraphs are appropriately divided, with enough specific details to make the ideas clear. The reasoning is valid.

The organization is clear and fairly easy to follow. The introduction and conclusion are adequate; transitions are mechanical but appropriate.

The expression is generally correct, although it shows little competence with sentence variety (in length and structure) and emphasis. The paper is generally free of major sentence and grammar errors and indicates mastery of most conventions of edited Standard American English.


The "D" Paper

The "D" paper has a limited sense of purpose. Its purpose may not be clear, its topic may not be interesting to or appropriate for its audience.

The content is inadequately developed. The evidence is insufficient, and supporting details or examples are absent or irrelevant.

Organization is deficient. Introductions or conclusions are not clearly marked or functional. Paragraphs are not coherently developed or linked to each other. The arrangement of material within paragraphs may be confusing.

Expression demonstrates an awareness of a very limited range of stylistic options. It is marred by numerous errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation that detract from a reader’s comprehension of the text.


The "F" Paper

There is no sense of purpose or of the objectives of the assignment as described in the syllabus.

The content is insufficiently developed and does not go beyond the obvious. The reasoning is deeply flawed.

The organization is very difficult to follow. Sentences may not be appropriately grouped into paragraphs, or paragraphs may not be arranged logically. Transitions are not present or are inappropriate.

The number and seriousness of errors—in grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.—significantly obstruct comprehension.


Course Policies:

Late Work


I do not accept late work - for your writing to receive credit it must be posted in the appropriate space on the wiki (and in SafeAssign on Blackboard) by the deadline, otherwise I will comment on it, but it will not receive credit. 


Bluefield College Attendance Policy Statement


Regular class attendance is recognized as critical to the teaching and learning process.  Students must attend a minimum of 75% of classes in a course to receive academic credit. This college-wide policy serves as the basis for the instructor’s individual attendance policies as described in her or his course syllabi.  This policy clarifies the consequences of the student’s decision for not attending class sessions.  Instructors will maintain class rolls for all courses.  At the discretion of the instructor, unexcused absences can result in severe academic penalties ranging from: academic withdrawal; reductions in course final grades; out-of-class reading assignments with in-class oral reports, to out-of-class meetings with the course instructor.  All such penalties must be included in the course syllabi. For this course, 12 absences (class meeting and conferences) will result in failure of the course.


As this is a discussion and workshop-driven class, attendance of all participants is particularly important. You are also encouraged to make use of office hours.


Please be on time and prepared to learn. In respect for your classmates and professor, once the attendance sheet is passed, you may not sign in and receive credit for attending. You are welcome to stay and listen to the lecture and participate, but it will be marked as an absence. Leaving early without prior permission will also count as an absence. If you are caught signing in a classmate who is not present, you will both receive an honor code violation.


N.B. Attendance and participation in class, conferences, and rough draft workshops comprises 10% of the final grade.


Sharing Student Work


English 2043 is a collaborative course, as such we will be sharing our writing throughout the semester as a means to helping each other become better writers and thinkers. To better facilitate this process, I will be using selections of your work during class as examples. If you would prefer that I not use your work, please let me know by the end of the first week of the semester.


Media Policy


I encourage you to use your laptops, computers and Internet connections to search out information relevant to class during class. However, browsing unrelated to the class (as well as other media use - texting, IMing, etc.) will be grounds for expulsion from the course.


I expect professional behavior in the classroom. Please do not allow cell phones or other electronic devices to interrupt class. Please refrain from texting. Repeated interruptions will be held accountable as one unexcused absence.


Academic Dishonesty


Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of ideas and information from sources without proper citation and documentation (e.g., copying from texts or pasting from websites without quoting, and not providing a complete list of Works Cited). Students are required to sign a plagiarism statement, declaring all work is original.


In English 2043, the first instance of plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the entire assignment. Any subsequent infringements will result in a failure of the course. See the Bluefield Honor Code for more information.


To prevent and detect plagiarism in this course, all major assignments will be submitted to SafeAssign on Blackboard.


Incomplete Policy


I generally do not allow “Incompletes,” it is the responsibility of students to complete all work in a timely fashion; failure to do so will be reflected in the student’s grade unless that student withdraws from the course. Exceptions to this policy are rare and will be decided on a case-by-case basis. If you decide to leave the course, be sure to withdraw within the allotted time. Failure to do so will demand a failing grade at the semester’s end.





Bluefield College’s ACE (Academic Center for Excellence) is located on the lowest level of Rish Hall. Mrs. Ashley Mingo, Director of Student Success and Mrs. Brenda Workman, Assistant Director of ACE and the staff of ACE are available to assist with student needs.  They connect students with tutors who can guide student learning.   Students may contact Brenda Workman in the ACE, at bworkman@bluefield.edu, or by phone at 276-326-4220 to set up an appointment with a tutor in the subject where help is needed.  A list of tutors is available outside the door of ACE or at the ACE quick-link on myBC.



ACE is open and available for students to use for computers, studying, and individually scheduled tutoring sessions Monday-Friday 7am-10pm and Saturday-Sunday 12pm-5pm. ACE Staff are available Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm. 



Anyone with a Bluefield College email address may sign up for a FREE account at Grammarly.com/edu.  Visit Grammarly.com/edu and select the sign up button.  When prompted, complete the sign up form using your BC email address. An activation link will be mailed to your BC email address and you must use that link to finish your registration.  After completing this step your account setup is complete.  If you have trouble, please go to the link titled “Instant Writing Help” under the ACE quick link on myBC.  Email ckieloch@bluefield.edu for additional help with Grammarly.



Students may also receive assistance with most writing assignments by using the ACE Writing Lab for face-to-face appointments or by accessing the ACE Online Writing Lab.  Face-to-face writing lab hours will be posted outside the ACE and also on the ACE quick-link.  Students may email Brenda Workman (bworkman@bluefield.edu) about connecting with a face-to-face writing tutor if they cannot visit during lab hours.


Students may submit essays online using Smarthinking to receive feedback. Use the ACE link in the lower left-hand corner of the myBC homepage and then select the link in the left-hand menu to access the FREE Online Tutoring.  Please be sure to plan ahead when using the online writing lab.  Students usually receive responses within 24 hours to 48 hours.


Students may receive assistance with Math courses through the ACE Math Lab.  Math lab hours will be posted outside the ACE and also on the ACE quick-link.  Students may email Brenda Workman (bworkman@bluefield.edu) about connecting with a math tutor if they cannot visit during lab hours. 



Please notify the instructor at the beginning of this course if you are a student with a documented disability who may require appropriate accommodations in order to be provided the opportunity to fulfill course requirements.  More information about disability and academic accommodations can be found on the ACE quick-link under Disability Services. Should you need accommodations, please visit Brenda Workman, Assistant Director of ACE in her office inside the ACE in the lower level of Rish Hall or email her at bworkman@bluefield.edu


Syllabus Contract

 After reading this syllabus, please go to the Syllabus Contract Page (linked to the syllabus page on the wiki). If you agree to the terms and conditions of this syllabus, print out and sign the text from this page and bring it into class by TBA.



The instructor reserves the right to revise the syllabus and assignments during the course of the semester. All revisions to the syllabus, assignments and lectures will be posted on the course wiki in the appropriate places. 


Revised 15 January 2016.




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