West Chester University

Spring 2006 and Fall 2005

West Chester University

Fall 2004and
Spring 2005

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001






Course Syllabi and Announcements
  LIT 165 Syllabus
  LIT 165 Announcements and Assignments
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Announcements and Assignments

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Spring 2008)
  A Reading of THE TEMPEST

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Rites of Passage (Spring 2006)
  Goals of the Course
  Fundamental Questions about Literature
  Valuing Literature
  Critical Thinking and Reading Literature
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  Literature as ART
  Approaching the Art of Fiction
  Defining the Short Story
  Evaluating Short Fiction
  Craft of Fiction: PLOT
  Craft of Fiction: CHARACTER
  Small Group Exercise
  ARABY by James Joyce
  A note about GIRL
  POE and the art of STORY OF A HOUR
  Notes on Innovative Fiction
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #1
  Fiction and Ambiguity - Your Questions
  Writing Workshop - Short Fiction
  Poetry Journal Project Assignment Sheet
  Defining Poetry
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry
  Drama and Tragedy
  Study Questions: DEATH OF A SALESMAN

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Spring 2006)
  Paper #4 Assignment Sheet
  Critical Thinking and Commentary
  Casebook: Evaluating Sources Worksheet
  Selecting Information
  Evaluating Arguments
  CASEBOOK PROJECT Assignment Sheet
  Approaching Persuasive Writing
  Topic Development - Profile Essay
  Generating Ideas for the Profile Essay
  Paper #2 Assignment Sheet
  Profile Exercise
  Objective Writing: Selected Readings
  Writing Workshop: Paper #1
  Expressive Writing in the NYTimes
  Writing Effective Introductions and Conclusions
  Paper #1: IDENTITY
  Expressive Writing
  Open Letter Exercise and Examples
  EMERSON on Individuality vs. Conformity
  Literature related to IDENTITY
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'

Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web
  Blackboard at WCU
  WCU Homepage
  WCU's Francis Harvey Green Library

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Fall 2005)
  One Last Look at Imaginary Worlds
  Franz Kafka's BEFORE THE LAW
  Paper #3: Assignment Sheet
  Paper #4: Independent Project
  The Problem of Stability in BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Analyzing Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Defining Utopia
  Embarking on Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD
  A Reading of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST
  From today's news (11/3/05)
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #2
  Goodbye to Dante's Imaginary World
  Stepping Through Dante's Inferno: Cantos 10-34
  Stepping Through Dante's Inferno: Cantos 1-10
  INFERNO: Questions/Analysis: Cantos 32-34
  INFERNO: Questions/Analysis: Cantos 18-31
  INFERNO: Questions for Analysis: Cantos 12-17
  INFERNO: Structure
  INFERNO: Questions for Analysis: Cantos 1-5
  INFERNO: Analyzing Canto 1
  Relating to Dante's Inferno
  Approaching Dante's DIVINE COMEDY
  A Little Help with Dante's INFERNO
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #1
  Responses to LEAF BY NIGGLE
  ON FAIRY STORIES: An Essay by Tolkien
  Notes on Axolotl
  Reading Ovid's Tales
  From Myth to Literature: Approaching Ovid's Tales
  Functions of the Genesis Tales
  Analyzing Mythic Tales
  Defining Mythology
  Filtering the Introduction to FANTASTIC WORLDS
  Commentary on LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI by Keats
  Commentary on DARKNESS by Byron
  Handout: Imagination Poems Set
  What is Imagination?
  Our Course Theme: Imaginary Worlds
  LIT 165 Assignments: Fall 2005
  LIT 165 Announcements: Fall 2005
  Imaginary Worlds: Course Syllabus

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Fall 2005)
  Paper #4: Independent Thinking/Reading/Writing
  Casebook Preparation Checklist
  Casebook Assignment Schedule
  Evaluating Sources for the Casebook
  Casebook Project Assignment Sheet
  Notes on Rational Argument
  Assignment Sheet: Objective Writing
  Reviewing Elements of the Profile Essay
  Writing the Profile Essay
  Readings: Objective Writing
  Assignment Sheet: Expressive Writing
  Rubric for Evaluation of Writing
  Emerson on Individuality vs. Conformity
  Mind-map: Identity
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Assignments Page
  Announcements Page
  WRT 120 Course Syllabus for Fall 2005

ENG Q20: Basic Writing

Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web
  Blackboard at WCU
  WCU Homepage
  WCU's Francis Harvey Green Library


Lit 165: Topics in Literature
Rites of Passage

Syllabus, Spring 2006


Instructor: Stacy Tartar Esch

Campus Office Main Hall, 312
Campus Phone 610-436-2481
Campus Mail Main Hall, 527
Office Hours MW 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM in Main 312
Email or


Also visit our Blackboard course site

Course Texts and Materials
The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, 7th ed.  Michael Meyer, ed.
Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2006
ISBN:  0-312-43445-6
A pocket folder to serve as a portfolio
Course Objectives

As the course catalog explains, this introductory level literature course is “designed to develop an awareness of literature as being central to all the arts, to increase levels of literacy and critical faculties, and to broaden understanding of the human condition” (WCU Undergraduate Course catalogue). Furthermore, LIT 165 is designated as a “writing emphasis” course, indicating that, along with instruction in interpretive reading skills, the development of students’ creative and analytical writing skills are an objective of the course.  There are several formal and informal writing tasks spread evenly throughout the semester, and the most significant  portion of your final grade is derived from  these writing tasks.  Therefore, students should strive for clarity, correctness, and grammatical grace in all written course work.  Revisions may be submitted with the final portfolio.  

Course Components: Reading, Discussing, Writing

The readings are the heart, mind, and soul of our course. You are expected to carefully read each assignment prior to class, even if you personally find it difficult or confusing-even if you think it's "boring." You must make the effort to read through these obstacles. Along with the literature that excites or intrigues you, or the works you find easy but which leave you indifferent, these challenging texts or passages often become excellent springboards for class discussion. Our readings will be truly diverse in range, style, and genre. In addition to a novel, an epic poem, and a play, we'll read several shorter poems and short stories. What will tie them together will our own desire and our own ability to weave a meaningful thread through the imaginary worlds they visit.

Discussion is a term that refers to several different class activities to extend or enhance your thinking about the readings: class-wide, large group discussions; collaborative, small group discussions; and individual response papers, which are meant to be shared with the instructor and potentially with your classmates. Students are expected to attend each class prepared to engage in any of these discussion activities when materials are assigned.

The formal writing assignments for this course will be very open-ended and in some cases creative (that will be up to you). You will be required to develop your own topics and make your own explicit choices regarding purpose (expressive, expository, or persuasive) for the papers you write. I expect you to use MLA style documentation when necessary for all of your formal papers. Three formal papers, 4-6 pages each, and one independent term paper (in lieu of a final exam) are required. The term paper should be longer: 6-8 pages.  Students who want to keep working on the formal assignments after they've been assessed will have the opportunity to submit revisions in the final portfolio.

The reading, discussion, and informal writing you do throughout the semester will combine to form the PREPARATION AND ORAL PARTICIPATION grade at the end of the semester. Absence (aside from the attendance policy) and lack of preparation for any of the assigned classwork will affect your participation grade. The formal writing assignments and the independent term paper will combine to form your ESSAY grade. If you fail to hand in one of your formal essays you cannot receive more than a "D" for your final course grade, regardless of your other scores. If you fail to hand in more than one of your formal essays, you will receive an "F" for the course. Your final course grade is calculated by compiling your PARTICIPATION, ESSAY, and PORTFOLIO scores as follows:

15% PAPER #1
15% PAPER #2

15% PAPER #3

Class Policies

Late Work. All essays and other assignments are due on the date assigned. If a serious injury, illness, or other emergency prevents you or seems likely to prevent you from meeting a deadline, make arrangements with me before the assignment is due, or the day it is due. If no specific arrangement has been made, late penalties will ensue. Late papers will be assessed a penalty of one letter grade for every two days late (in our age of email, weekends count). You cannot turn in an assignment for full credit more than one week after its due date. After one week, your work can only earn a "D" (numerically 65) or lower.

Portfolio. Each student is required to hand in a portfolio of their writing at the end of the semester. The portfolio assignment (10% of your grade) will ask you to discuss your overall response to the reading and writing you did throughout the semester by compiling your work and writing a commentary.

Attendance. I take attendance each class period. Students are expected to attend every class having read assigned material or prepared assigned homework. Any student who misses more than four classes may receive a lowered grade. (Absences necessitated by a student's participation in a University-sanctioned event are not penalized if the student follows the "excused absence" policy stated in the University catalog.) After four absences your final grade may be lowered according to the severity of your absenteeism and my own discretion. Students with extended medical problems or personal emergencies should notify the Dean of Students, who will contact me about allowing for necessary adjustments. Athletes, student teachers, band members, etc., should provide me with a note from the appropriate professor or coach documenting your need to be away from class. Chronic or extended absence throughout the semester without consultation or permission from the Dean of Students will be grounds for failure. These penalties may be waived only in the case of extreme extenuating circumstances. It is up to the student to provide official verification from the Dean's office of extenuating circumstances, and preferably to discuss these issues with me directly via office visit, phone, or email.

Writing Center. If you are having trouble with a writing assignment, do not hesitate to bring your problem to my attention or bring your essay to the Writing Center in Main 203. The Writing Center offers free, high-quality tutoring to any student who is writing a paper for any course offered by the college. The staff will assist students at all stages of the writing process: developing ideas, organizing drafts, revising, and editing. Tutors will not serve as your proofreaders, however. Their aim is to help you develop your own skills. You may need to call ahead for an appointment as the center becomes fairly busy once the semester is under way. The number is 436-2121. Writing Center hours are
M (10-4), Tu (9-5), W (9:30-7:30), Th (10-7:30), F (10-2).

Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. I will make accommodations for students with disabilities. If you have a disability, please make your needs known to me and contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at 436-3217 for further support or information.

Diversity and Fair Language. You are required by University policy to use nondiscriminatory language and to treat all issues of diversity respectfully (including, but not limited to, race, sex/gender, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation). Read Quick Access, pp.101-103.

Academic Honesty. Plagiarism of any type is a serious academic offense that can result in a failing grade on an assignment, failure of the course, or referral to academic judicial affairs, depending upon the instructor's judgment. You are plagiarizing if you lift either ideas or word-for-word passages from a published book, article, or website without giving credit to the author; pass off another student's work as your own; or allow a "helper" to actually write parts of your paper for you. Don't do it!!! If you have any questions about how to use sources properly, approach me or one of the tutors in the Writing Center. You can also read Quick Access, pp. 126-134.

Course Outline

JAN 17, 19   
Introduction: aims of the course, our “rites of passage” theme; defining literature.
Assignment: When you get the textbook, thumb through it until you find one or more works that appeal to you personally, regardless of whether they’re on the course reading list or part of our course theme.  Read this selection, twice if you can. You’ll work with this reading in class.  You’ll be asked to respond to the reading expressively and to share your response and your ideas about this work with your classmates.
Informal Writing: What makes reading literature rewarding for you personally?  What do you think it is that makes someone a “good” reader?  How would you define an excellent short story? An average short story?  A poorly written story? What are some of the qualities of the story you read that make it either excellent or average or poor? (Due Jan. 24; 10 pts.)


JAN 24, 26   
Topic: Defining the art of short fiction
Read course notes online; CBIL as assigned in class.
Read: “The story of an Hour” (15) and “A Sorrowful Woman” (38)
Read: “A & P” (553) and “Eveline” (432)
Informal writing:  Once we’re physically born, we will, if we’re lucky, physically grow into adulthood.  But some people reach adulthood, middle age, or even old age, and they’ve never “grown up.”   In our culture, we might see this as a positive or a negative, depending on the individual. Along the same lines, some individuals try very hard to grow up while others never want to grow up.  What are your thoughts about what it means to “grow up”?  What are some of the milestones you’ve passed in your own life that have made you feel like you’ve been maturing? Were any of these especially difficult?  Is there anything about growing up that you especially look forward to or especially resist? Does your own experience compare or contrast to the characters’ experiences or feelings in the stories we’ve read so far? (Due Feb. 21; 10 pts.)


FEB 2   
Read “Araby” (e-reserves) an “Love in L.A.” (256)


FEB 7, 9   
Read “Girl” (517) “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been” (e-reserves) and “Lust” (282)
Read “The Birthmark” (328) and “Popular Mechanics” (264


FEB 14, 16   
Read “How To Tell a True War Story” (473) and “Soldier’s Home” (154)
Read “Miss Brill” (473) and “Young Man on Sixth Avenue” (154) [Also: Half a Day (e-reserves)]

FEB 21, 23   
Topic: our readings in context of our course theme; discuss additional short stories on reserve.
Assignment sheet for Paper #1 will be distributed in class and available online.
Individual conferences scheduled to discuss topics for Paper #1. Work with assignment sheet to brainstorm topics for your first formal paper; bring ideas, outline, and/or draft to conference.
Meetings in Main 312.


FEB 28,  MAR 2  
Conferences, cont. Bring ideas, outline, or draft to conference. Meetings in Main 312.
In-class peer review: Bring a complete typed draft of Paper #1 (4-6 pages) to class for constructive peer review session.


MAR 7, 9
NEW Topic: Defining the art of poetry
Read course notes online; CBIL as assigned.
Read “Dust of Snow” (handout); “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (863) “My Papa’s Waltz” (745); Those Winter Sundays” (565); “You Fit Into Me” (667); “Introduction to Poetry” (584)
Informal Writing: See Assignment Sheet for Reading Journal Project distributed in class and available online.


MAR 14, 16
S P R I N G   B R E A K
Assignment over break: work on reading journal project.

MAR 21, 23
Read “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” (927); “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” (622); to His Coy Mistress” (624); “My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun” (755); “You Fit Into Me” (667); “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” (handout)
Informal Writing: Continue working on reading journal project.

MAR 28, 30
Read “With No Immediate Cause” (handout); “Richard Cory” (688) ; “Rite of Passage” (783); “Dulce et Decorum Est” (654); “That Piercing Chill I Feel” (handout)
Reading journal project is due this week.
Assignment sheet for Paper #2 will be distributed and made available online. Work with assignment sheet to brainstorm topics for Paper #2.

APR 4, 6
In-class peer review: Bring a complete typed draft of Paper #3 (4-6 pages) to class for constructive peer review session.
NEW Topic: Defining the art of drama
Read course notes online; CBIL as assigned.

APR 11, 13
Read Death of a Salesman (1373)
Read A Doll’s House (1204)
Informal Writing: Who are the characters you feel are struggling to “grow up” in these two plays?  Which character moves you the most?  Which character(s) strike you as tragic figures?  Who arouses your sympathy and who doesn’t?  Each of these plays presents a portrait of family life in a past era; what do you think a contemporary playwright with a sensibility for tragedy might focus in on looking at families in America today?  What are your expectations for a happy family, either right now or sometime in the future?


APR 18, 20
Video Screening: Death of a Salesman
Assignment sheet for Paper #3 will be distributed and made available online. Work with assignment sheet to brainstorm topics for Paper #3.

APR 25, 27
No class this week: individual conferences to discuss Paper #3 and Independent Project.


Finals Week
MAY 8-12   
Informal Writing: Cumulative response to the course readings.

Course Readings: Rites of Passage

Births: The Quest for Identity
Initiations / Awakenings / Transformations: growing up, coming of age, maturing
  • Innocence or experience?
  • Empowerment or paralysis?
  • Growth or arrested development?
  • Illusion/fantasy or disillusionment/reality?
  • Identity formation or fragmentation?
The Story of an Hour (15)
The Sorrowful Woman (38)
A & P (553) and Eveline (432)
Young Goodman Brown (309)
The Birthmark (328)
Barn Burning (400)

Lust (282)
Love in L.A. (256)
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? (library)
Araby (library)
In Dreams Begin Responsibilities (library)

The Hero’s Journey: The Pursuit of Happiness
Trials / Adventures: reaching maturity, falling in love, getting married, having a family, working, seizing opportunity, aging

  • Seize the moment (“carpe diem”) or live with regrets?
  • Disillusionment, resignation, and confusion—or acceptance, determination, meaning?
  • Happiness or despair?

Girl (517)   
The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky (243)
Popular Mechanics (264)   
Lady with a Pet Dog (179)
The Minister’s Black Veil (319)
Wakefield (library)
The Yellow Wallpaper (library)
One Perfect Rose (library)
My Papa’s Waltz (745)
Those Winter Sundays (565)
Mother to Son (886)   
Rain (handout)
Mirror (676)
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time  (622)
To His Coy Mistress (624)
My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun (755)
You Fit Into Me (667)
A Simile (handout)   
Intimations of Immortality (library)
Death of a Salesman (1373)  
A Doll’s House (1204)

Coming Home: A Search for Meaning
Being and Nothingness / DeatH
  • Succumb to grief, loss, despair—or find fulfillment, meaning, purpose, happiness?
                    SHORT FICTION
                    Miss Brill (252)
                How to Tell a True War Story (473)
                Soldier’s Home (154)
                Killings (89)
                Clothes (214)
                Young Man On Sixth Avenue (library)
                Half a Day (library)
Richard Cory (688)
That Piercing Chill I Feel (library)
With No Immediate Cause (library)
Dulce et Decorum Est (654)
Death of a Salesman (1373)






Questions? Contact me.

All materials unless otherwise indicated are copyright © 2001-2008 by Stacy Tartar Esch.

The original contents of this site may not be reproduced, republished, reused, or retransmitted
without the express written consent of Stacy Tartar Esch.
These contents are for educational purposes only.