English 200:  Introduction to Literature—Love

Instructor:       Jennifer Ho

Seminar:          Tuesdays 1-3:50pm, Clapp Lab, Room 501

Office:             8 Park Street (The Auden House), Room 11

Phone:             358-2103

E-mail:             jho@mtholyoke.edu  (this is my preferred method of communication)

Office Hours:  Tuesdays 10-12pm and Wednesdays 10-11am

As the title of this course suggests, the purpose of this class is to introduce students to the study of literature. In order to make this broad topic manageable, the theme of this course is on "love" and its various manifestations in drama, poetry, short fiction, novels, and films. In addition, I will provide a cursory introduction to literary analysis/theory. Because of the enormous breadth of literature in the world, this course will necessarily (and unfortunately) be limited. But hopefully (to use a language in keeping with the course's theme) your desire to read will become inflamed, and you will begin a life-long love affair and passion for literary analysis.

Course Requirements

Final grades will be determined as follows:

Attendance & participation, (includes attending film screenings)

Group Presentation 25%
Paper #1 – Text Analysis 15%
Paper #2 – Character Analysis 15%
Paper #3 – Comparison 30%
There is no midterm and no final exam  


Required Texts:

The Norton Introduction to Literature, Shorter Eighth Edition -- Eds. Beaty, Booth, Hunter, Mays

Persuasion--Jane Austen

Beloved--Toni Morrison

All texts available through The Odyssey Bookshop

Reserve Books/Papers:

The Bedford Handbook, Fifth Edition--Diana Hacker

Literary and Cultural Theory--Donald Hall

Sample student papers (both character analysis and comparison papers)


Week 1--Thursday, Sept. 5



Michael Harper, "Dear John, Dear Coltrane" (762)

Week 2--Tuesday, Sept. 10 & Thursday, Sept. 12 [Drama]

Love of Family

Sophocles, Antigone (1620)

Due: Introductory Letter, Tuesday

9/11--Wednesday night film screening of Antigone, 7:00 pm

Week 3--Tuesday, Sept. 17> [Poetry]

Ideal Love

John Donne, "The Sun Rising" (972)

*Introduction to Critical Analysis/Theory

Web CT presentation

*Explanation of Paper #1 and peer writing assignment

9/17--Due: Group Topic Genre (choose short stories or poetry & request group members)

Week 3--Thursday, Sept. 19 [Poetry]

Seduction -- Call and Response

Christopher Marlowe, "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" (876)

Sir Walter Raleigh, "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" (883)

William Carlos Williams, "Raleigh Was Right" (884)

Sexual Desire

Li-Young Lee, "Persimmons" (632)

Adrienne Rich, "Two Songs" (723)

Week 4--Tuesday, Sept. 24 [Short Stories]

Young Love

James Joyce, "Araby" (395)

Old Love

Louise Erdrich, excerpt from Love Medicine (284)

Week 4--Thursday, Sept. 26 [Short stories]


Kate Chopin, "The Story of an Hour" (403)

Margaret Atwood, "Happy Endings" (20)

Lorrie Moore, "How" (78)

*Introduction to feminist analysis

9/26--Due: First paper drafts to Web CT groups by 11:30pm

Week 5--Tuesday, Oct. 1 & Thursday, Oct. 3 [Drama]


William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (1222)

*Introduction to Marxist/Materialist analysis

9/29-- Due (Sunday night): Responses to first draft papers on Web CT by 11:30pm

10/2--Wednesday night film screening of A Midsummer Night's Dream, 7:00pm

10/3--Due: Specific texts for student teaching projects (3-4 poems, 2-3 short stories)

Week 6--Tuesday, Oct. 8


Agha Shahid Ali, "Postcard from Kashmir" (637)

Jimmy Santiago Baca, "Green Chile" (638)

Jhumpa Lahiri, "Interpreter of Maladies" (236)

*Introduction to Race/Ethnicity/Post-Colonial analysis

Week 6--Thursday, Oct. 10

Loss of Love

WH Auden "[Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone]" (615)

Robert Browning, "My Last Duchess" (915)

Ernest Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants" (75)

*Introduction to Queer and Gender analysis

*Explanation of Paper #2--Character Analysis

10/10--Due: Paper #1-- Analysis of symbolism/figurative language in any text (3-4 pages)

Week 7--Tuesday

Founder's Day holiday -- NO CLASSES

Week 7--Thursday, Oct. 17


Week 8--Tuesday, Oct. 22 & Thursday, Oct. 24 [Novel]

Old Love

Jane Austen, Persuasion

10/22--Tues: Chapters 1-12                           10/24--Thurs: Chapters 13-16

*Explanation of Final Paper #3

Week 9--Tuesday, Oct. 29 & Thursday, Oct. 31

Jane Austen, Persuasion

10/29--Tues: Chapters 17-21                         10/31--Thurs: Chapters 22-end

10/31--Due: Draft of second paper to Web CT group by 11:30pm

Week 10--Tuesday Nov. 5 & Thursday, Nov. 7

Student Projects

11/3--Due (Sunday night): Responses to Paper #2 posted to Web CT group by 11:30pm

Week 11--Tuesday, Nov. 12 & Thursday, Nov. 14

Student Projects

11/12--Due: Paper #2--Minor character analysis in Antigone or A Midsummer Night's Dream

Week 12--Tuesday, Nov. 19 & Thursday, Nov. 21

Student Projects

Week 13--Tuesday, Nov. 26


Week 13--Thursday, Nov. 28

Thanksgiving Holiday--NO CLASSES

Week 14--Tuesday, Dec. 3 & Thursday Dec. 5 [Novel]

Love of Family

Toni Morrison, Beloved

12/3--Tues: Part I                                          

12/5--Thurs: Part II

Week 14--Tuesday, Dec. 10 & Thursday, Dec. 12

Toni Morrison, Beloved & end of semester wrap-up

12/10--Tues: Part III

Due Thursday, December 19--12:00pm (Noon) Paper #3 (final exam)

Three Choices: (7-8 pages)
(a) Comparison of film version of Beloved, Persuasion, Antigone, or A Midsummer Night's Dream with the text version
(b) Comparison of different types of love featured in texts
(c) Application of Theory--choose a theory described in Donald Hall's Literary and Cultural Theory (on reserve) and apply a mode of analysis to one of the texts.  [Note:  This option should ONLY be used after consultation/approval of instructor]

*Draft copies and responses for the third paper are optional but strongly encouraged; groups or interested friends should set their own schedules, but I would recommend the following:

Due: Tuesday, Dec. 10, draft copy of final paper #3

Due: Saturday, Dec. 14, responses to final paper #3