[Blurb about course]

This is a general education course that satisfies the Literature requirement (LIT) for the Queens Core under the CUNY General Education structure called Pathways.

Note: We will read and, occasionally, view sensitive material. If you object to or are uncomfortable with depictions of sex, drugs, violence, profanities, and so on, you should drop the course. Your continued enrollment in this section indicates your comfort with and responsibility for reading and viewing these texts.


  • Develop an appreciation for literature and its analysis as part of encountering and understanding the world and its regions in a cultural and historical context;
  • Develop close reading skills to interpret literary texts across different genres;
  • Develop familiarity with some conventional disciplinary language and its use to think about how texts work (for example, assessing literary works in terms of voice, tone, and structure);
  • Understand how context works with ideas to produce the meaning of a text;
  • Use both informal and formal writing as opportunities to discover one’s own ideas in conversation with the ideas of others;
  • Write a thoughtful, analytical and coherent essay that is firmly grounded in the text and adheres to MLA guidelines.


This course will meet remotely due to the COVID pandemic. All course materials will be made available through this blog, and we will meet remotely through Google Meet.

It is important to note that this course will have a hybrid synchronous/asynchronous format. We will meet as a group on a video call via Google Meet on Tuesday during class time (10:00am-11:15am). However, we will not meet via video on Thursdays. I will provide you with independent work to be done, in theory, on Thursdays during class time. But in practice you will be able to complete those activities on your own schedule before we meet the following Tuesday. Please note that you may sometimes be asked to do work in groups on Thursdays. Again, you may schedule a different time to meet with your partners, but Thursdays may end up being the time when your partners are all free, so it might be a good idea to keep your schedule open as much as possible during class time.


Close Reading Essay
One 4-5 page interpretive essay, based on close reading and analysis of a given text is due on November 11. Essays must be typed, stapled in the upper left corner, titled, and double-spaced, with a 12-point font and standard margins. We will be using Modern Language Association (MLA) format in English 162, and we will spend time in class briefly reviewing MLA citation format. One useful website that can help you get acquainted with MLA format is The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

You are responsible for keeping a backup copy of all written work that you hand in. If you think that you may need an extension on an assignment for medical reasons or a family emergency, please contact me as soon as possible before the due date.

Take-Home Midterm and Final Examination
We will have two “in-class” open book exams.

A midterm exam on October 19. The midterm will include a combination of reading identification, short answer and paragraph-length written response questions. This open-book exam will be an opportunity to consolidate your knowledge about material from the first part of the course, through Stephen Crane, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets. Students who are unable to submit their responses by the due date and time of the exam will not receive credit for the midterm exam; unless an extension is agreed with the instructor. If a make-up midterm exam is necessary for any student who is absent on the day of the examination with QC-approved documentation, it will be offered on the last day of class.

Your final exam, on the other hand, will offer you a choice of written response questions, which will be posted on the blog on December 7. The final exam will be due on December 9, the last day of class. Responses for the final exam must be typed, stapled in the upper left corner, and double-spaced, with a 12 point font and citations in MLA format. Late final exams will be penalized by half a grade for every day that they are overdue; unless an extension is agreed with the instructor.

Informal Writing
Short, ungraded writing exercises, generally in response to the required readings, will also be a significant part of the course. These informal writings will be discussed in class and will be periodically collected for review. We will also have occasional in-class reading quizzes. Active participation in in-class writing assignments and in discussions based on these exercises will make up a large part of your class participation score.
The work for this course is cumulative, which means that one assignment builds from the next and it is difficult to catch up once you fall behind. Please remember that being absent is not an excuse for missing or late work. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to check with a classmate for any missed information and to get assignments from our course’s blog.

I will assess your final grade by this formula:

Close Reading Essay:
Midterm Exam:
Final Exam:

Classroom Policies:

This is not a lecture class; it depends upon your speaking and responding both to each other and to me. In order for us to really engage with our written assignments and with our reading materials, we will need to create a lively class atmosphere in which we all feel comfortable speaking to each other in a respectful way. As a general guideline, all students should try to contribute at least once during every class meeting.

You are expected to arrive on time and attend all classes. Arriving late or leaving early will, depending on the specific situation, count as a full or partial absence. I understand that, over the semester, illnesses and emergencies arise. Accordingly, you will have two absences to manage over the course of the semester. I will not grant excused absences since two absences are permitted without impact to your class participation. If situations arise that are beyond your control and that will result in a prolonged absence, please come talk to me.

Academic Integrity Policy:

Avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. Plagiarizing material on a paper or examination in this course is grounds for failing that assignment. A second offense is grounds for failing the course. If you are having problems with a writing task, let me know and we will discuss acceptable strategies to manage the assignment. There is never an excuse for plagiarism of any kind.

Writing Center

The Writing Center employs trained tutors to help students with the writing process. You can sign up for tutoring sessions on their website.

Students With Special Needs

I am happy to provide accommodations for students with disabilities, and I will protect the confidentiality of students’ individual learning needs. I will work with the Office of Special Services and if you have not already contacted them, I encourage you to do so. Please email me by the second week of the semester if you would like to discuss approved accommodations. I will set up a confidential appointment with you so we can make arrangements to tailor any course policies or assignments to your specific needs.