English 2200: Writing about Literature, Fall 2015

Section 03: TR 2:00-3:15PM, Arts & Sciences 363



Dr. Alex E. Blazer


Office Hours: TR 11:30-12:15PM and 5:00-5:30PM Arts & Sciences 330


Course Description


The undergraduate course catalog describes English 2200 as "A course emphasizing theory and practice in writing literary analysis and practical criticism." While the course in the core curriculum, English 1102, teaches students how to analyze and write about three traditional literary genrespoetry, fiction, and dramathis course in the literature major also includes three contemporary genresgraphic literature, film, and television. In this section, we will learn to interpret both canonical literature and critically acclaimed works from the past two years. This course's Academic Assessment page describes our topics:

as well as course outcomes:

We will informally answer study questions in order to prepare us to draft and revise three formal papers, which will dig deeper into each work and eventually include research; and we'll do a group project in which we analyze, research, and finally teach the rest of the class a new work of literature. Note that this course's prerequisite is English 1102.


Course Materials


required textbooks (Amazon or GCSU Bookstore)

Baker, The Flick

Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing about Literature

Mandel, Station Eleven

McCloud, The Sculptor

Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric

required film and television (availability)


Un Chien Andalou

Dr. Strangelove: or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Hannibal, "Mukozuke" (Season 2, Episode 5)

True Detective, "The Secret Fate of All Life" (Season 1, Episode 5)

Veep, "Alicia" (Season 3, Episode 3)

recommended textbook (Amazon)

Gaffney, et al, Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays

Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.

recommended website

Alex Blazer's Literature Flipboard Magazine


Assignments and Grade Distribution


close reading paper (poetry or fiction explication), 20%

In a 4-6 page close reading paper, you will explicate a short poem or passage from a work of fiction.

idea and significance paper (graphic literature or drama essay), 20%

In a 4-6 page idea and significance paper, you will interpret the theme and argue the significance of a work of drama or graphic literature.

summary and evaluation paper (film review or television recap), 20%

In a 4-6 page summary and evaluation paper, you will review a film or recap a television episode.

group project, 20%

You will work in groups of 2-3 members to research and teach a canonical work of literature from one of the six genres covered in class (poetry, fiction, graphic literature, drama, film, and television).

research paper, 20%

You will compose an 8-10 page research paper, either by revising a previous paper with newly incorporated secondary sources or composing a paper from your group project work. Here's how to calculate your final grade.


Course Policies



We will use the course site for the syllabus schedule and assignment prompts; supporting documents include an attendance record, a course grade calculation spreadsheet, FAQ, a GeorgiaVIEW walkthrough, a guide to literary analysis, a research methods guide, and paper templates. We will use GeorgiaVIEW for assignment submission and electronic course reserves. Check your university email for course-related messages. Use an online backup or cloud storage service such as Dropbox or Spideroak to not only save but also archive versions of your work in case of personal computer calamities.


Because this liberal arts course values contemporaneous discussion over fixed lecture, regular attendance is required. Any student who misses seven or more classes for any reason (excused or unexcused) will fail the course. There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every unexcused absence beyond three. I suggest you use your three days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and surfing the internet will be treated as absences. Unexcused absences include work, family obligations, and scheduled doctor's appointments. Excused absences include family emergency, medical emergency, religious observance, and participation in a college-sponsored activity. If you have a medical condition or an extracurricular activity that you anticipate will cause you to miss more than four days of class, I suggest you drop this section or risk failure. The university class attendance policy can be found here. You can check your attendance here.

MLA Style and Length Requirements

Part of writing in a discipline is adhering to the field's style guide. While other disciplines use APA or Chicago style, literature and composition follows MLA style. In-class exams, discussion board responses, informal/journal writing, and peer review may be informally formatted; however, formal assignments and take-home exams must employ MLA style. One-third of a letter grade will be deducted from a formal paper or take-home exam for problems in each of the following three categories, for a possible one letter grade deduction total: 1) margins, header, and heading, 2) font, font size, and line-spacing, and 3) quotation and citation format. A formal paper or take-home exam will be penalized one-third of a letter grade if it does not end at least halfway down on the minimum page length (not including Works Cited page) while implementing 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and 1" margins. Each additional page short of the minimum requirement will result in an a additional one-third letter grade penalty. It is your responsibility to learn how to control your word-processing program. Before you turn in a formal paper, make sure your work follows MLA style by referring to the FAQ handout and using the MLA style checklist. Feel free to use these templates that are preformatted to MLA style.

Late Assignments

We're all busy with multiple classes and commitments, and adhering to deadlines is critical for the smooth running of the course. There will be a one letter assignment grade deduction per day (not class period) for any assignment that is turned in late. I give short extensions if you request one for a valid need at least one day before the assignment is due. I will inform you via email if I cannot open an electronically submitted assignment; however, your assignment will be considered late until you submit it in a file I can open. Because your completion of this course's major learning outcomes depends on the completion of pertinent assignments, failing to submit an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within a five days of its due date will result in failure of the course. Failing to submit a final exam or final paper within two days of its due date will result in failure of the course.

Academic Honesty

The integrity of students and their written and oral work is a critical component of the academic process. The Honor Code defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work the words or ideas of an author or fellow student. Students should document quotes through quotation marks and footnotes or other accepted citation methods. Ignorance of these rules concerning plagiarism is not an excuse. When in doubt, students should seek clarification from the professor who made the assignment." The submission of another's work as one's own is plagiarism and will be dealt with using the procedures outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. Allowing another student to copy one’s own work is considered cheating; and submitting the same paper in two classes (recycling or double-dipping) is dishonest. As plagiarism is not tolerated at GCSU, any student found guilty of substantial, willful plagiarism or dishonesty will fail the assignment and the course. Here is how I have dealt with plagiarists in the past. This course uses plagiarism prevention technology from TurnItIn. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

Passing or Failing of the Course

There are three ways to fail the course: failing to regularly attend class, plagiarizing, failing an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade, be it from poor quality, lateness of submission, or a combination of poor quality and lateness. By contrast, students who regularly attend class, complete their work with academic integrity, and submit assignments on time will pass the course.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a free service available to all members of the university community. Consultants assist writers in the writing process, from conception and organization of compositions to revision to documentation of research. Located in Library 228, the Center is open Monday through Friday. Call 445-3370 or email for more information.

Additional Policies

Additional statements regarding the Religious Observance Policy, Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability, Student Rating of Instruction Survey, Academic Honesty, and Fire Drills can be found here.


Course Schedule

Week 1
T, 8-18

First Day Reading

Broder, "Lunar Shatters" (GeorgiaVIEW)

R, 8-20

Genre 1: Poetry — Canonical Poetry

Cullen, "Threnody for a Brown Girl" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Dickinson, [A not admitting of the wound] (GeorgiaVIEW)

H. D., "Sheltered Garden" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Stevens, "The Man on the Dump" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Williams, "The Crowd at the Ball Game" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Barnet, 1—Writing about Literature: A Crash Course (Barnet 2-7) (GeorgiaVIEW)

Barnet, 2—The Writer as Reader: Reading and Responding (Barnet 8-18) (GeorgiaVIEW)

Week 2
T, 8-25

Contemporary Poetry

Choi, "To the Man Who Shouted 'I Like Pork Fried Rice' at Me on the Street" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Lockwood, "Rape Joke" (GeorgiaVIEW)

McConnell, "vivisection (you're going to break my heart)" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Pardlo, "For Which It Stands" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Quart, "Instrumental" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Barnet, 13—Writing about Poetry (Barnet 221-66) (GeorgiaVIEW)

Close Reading Prewriting 1: Annotating and Responding

In Class Activity: The Elements of Poetry

R, 8-27

Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (1-80)

Barnet, 14—Poems and Pictures (Barnet 267-80)

Close Reading Prewriting 2: Poems and Pictures

Week 3
T, 9-1

Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (81-161)

Barnet, 4—Two Forms of Criticism: Explication and Analysis (Barnet 43-69)

Rankine and Lucas, Situation 5

Recommended: KCRW's Bookworm, Claudia Rankine

In Class Activity: Explicating and Analyzing a Book of Poetry

Close Reading Prewriting 3: Explication

R, 9-3

Genre 2: Fiction — Canonical Short Stories

O'Connor, "Parker's Back" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Petry, "Like a Winding Sheet" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Barnet, 3—The Reader as Writer: Drafting and Writing (Barnet 19-42)

Week 4
T, 9-8

Contemporary Short Stories

Boyle, "The Night of the Satallite" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Lindsey, "Evie M" (GeorgiaVIEW)

MLA Style

R, 9-10

Contemporary Novel

Mandel, Station Eleven (1-164)

Barnet, 10—Writing about Fiction: The World of the Story (Barnet 130-79)

Developing Your Thesis

Close Reading Prewriting 4: Brainstorming

In Class Activity: Developing a Thesis

Week 5
T, 9-15

Mandel, Station Eleven (165-333)

Barnet, 16—Style and Format (Barnet 292-314)

Recommended: Slate Audio Book Club, Station Eleven

R, 9-17

Writing Day: Bring Your Laptops

Close Reading Paper Due

Week 6

T, 9-22

Peer Response Day: Bring Your Laptops

Close Reading Paper Peer Response

R, 9-24

Genre 3: Graphic Literature

Eisner, "A Contract with God" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Barnet, 11—Graphic Fiction (Barnet 179-86)

Week 7
T, 9-29

McCloud, The Sculptor (1-278)

R, 10-1

McCloud, The Sculptor (279-488)

Barnet, 6—Literature, Form, and Meaning (Barnet 80-8)

In Class Activity: From Conflict and Theme to Idea and Significance

Close Reading Paper Revision Due

Week 8
T, 10-6

Genre 4: Drama — Classic Drama

Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays

Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2014 @ 8 p.m./Oct. 4 @ 2 p.m.

Barnet, 12—Writing about Drama (Barnet 187-220)

Prewriting 1: Personal and/or Cultural Significance

Recommended: Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays

R, 10-8

Baker, The Flick (Act 1)

Barnet, 9—Writing about Literature: An Overview (Barnet 108-29)

Week 9
T, 10-13

No Class: Fall Break

R, 10-15

Baker, The Flick (Act 2)

In Class Activity: Developing an Idea and Significance Thesis

Recommended: WTF with Marc Maron, "Annie Baker"

Week 10
T, 10-20

Writing Day: Bring Your Laptops

Significance Paper Due

R, 10-22

Genre 5: Film — Short Film

Un Chien Andalou (Buñuel, 1929, 16 min) (availability)

Corrigan, "Film Terms and Topics for Film Analysis and Writing" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Film Analysis

In Class Activity: Film Analysis

Significance Paper Peer Response Due

Week 11
T, 10-27

Classic Film

Dr. Strangelove: or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Kubrick, 1964, 95 min) (availability)

Barnet, 5—Other Kinds of Writing about Literature (Barnet 70-79)

Barnet, 7—What Is Interpretation? (Barnet 89-100)

Barnet, 8—What Is Evaluation? (Barnet 101-7)

Group Project Sign Up

R, 10-29

Contemporary Film

Boyhood (Linklater, 2014, 165 min) (availability)

Literary Research Methods

Week 12
T, 11-3

Genre 6: Television

True Detective, "The Secret Fate of All Life" (Season 1, Episode 5) (availability)

O'Donnell, "Television Style" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Group Project Topics, Bibliographies, Plan of Action Due

R, 11-5

No Class: Professor at Conference

Significance Paper Revision Due

Week 13
T, 11-10

Hannibal, "Mukozuke" (Season 2, Episode 5) (availability)

R, 11-12

Veep, "Alicia" (Season 3, Episode 3) (availability)

In Class Activity: Developing a Summary and Evaluation Thesis

Week 14
T, 11-17

Writing Day: Bring Your Laptops

Group Project Conferences

Summary and Evaluation Paper Due

R, 11-19

Barnet, 17—Writing a Research Paper (Barnet 315-52)

Barnet, Appendix B: How Much Do You Know about Citing Sources? (Barnet 364-72)

Group Project Conferences

Summary and Evaluation Paper Peer Response Due

Week 15
T, 11-24

Poetry Group Project Due

Fiction Group Project Due

R, 11-26

No Class: Thanksgiving Holiday

Week 16
T, 12-1

Graphic Literature Group Project Due

Drama Group Project Due

R, 12-3

Film Group Group Project Due

Television Group Project Due

T, 12-8

Research Paper Due