Reading Literature and Culture

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
ENGL 1102
Reading Literature and Culture
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours per week
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  1. Lecture/discussion
  2. Group work
  3. Peer editing
  4. Instructor feedback on students’ work
  5. Individual consultation
Course Description
In this course students will read, discuss and write about at least one major theme in literature and culture, such as crime and punishment, gender roles, immigrant experiences, or paradise lost. Works studied will include at least one of the major genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama), and at least one other type, drawn from another of the major genres or from less traditional sources, such as graphic novels, film or literary work in other media.
Course Content

All first-year English literature courses share the following features:  

  1. Students are instructed in the writing of critical essays on literary subjects.
  2. Students are taught to recognize and understand a variety of literary devices and textual elements, such as metaphor, symbolism, distinctions between author and narrator/narrating persona, and issues of language and of structure, as appropriate to the genres and texts studied.
  3. Readings and topics vary among sections of the same course, according to each instructor’s selection; however, all course materials are consistent with the objectives/outcomes for this course.

In English 1102, students will examine thematically-linkedworks in at least one of the following major genres:

  1. Fiction (novels, novellas and/or short stories)
  2. Poetry (dramatic, narrative or lyric, which may include song lyrics)
  3. Drama
  4. Non-fiction (personal essays, autobiography, memoir, journals/diaries, travel literature)

Additionally, students will examine works in one or more of the other major genres OR in one or more of the following:

  1. Graphic novel
  2. Film
  3. Literary work in other media (such as blogs, podcasts, zines, music videos)

Texts in any of the four major genres will account for at least 70% of course readings overall.

The majority of class-time will be spent in discussing and analyzing course materials.  Where film or works in other media are to be examined, students may be required to view some of these works outside of class time.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of any first-year English literature course, the successful student should be able to 

  1. read receptively and reflectively, with sensitivity to the subtleties of language;
  2. recognize and understand literary devices;
  3. practice writing as a process involving pre-writing, drafting, revising and editing;
  4. write an essay of literary analysis that develops an interpretive thesis supported by appropriate and correctly cited evidence; and
  5. give and receive constructive criticism about written work.

Upon completion of English 1102, the successful student should also be able to

  1. recognize and understand the elements of theme in literature;
  2. understand and analyze the relationship of theme to other literary elements, such as plot, character, setting, figurative language and irony; and
  3. recognize and appreciate connections between the theme(s) studied in the course and social issues.
Means of Assessment
  1. A minimum of two formal academic essays, with a combined value of at least 40% of the course grade.
  2. A minimum of 80% of the course grade will be based on writing assignments (essays, essay-based exams, journals, paragraphs).  A maximum of 20% of the course grade may be based on informal writing (quizzes, short answer tests); oral reports/presentations; participation/preparation grades; and/or other non writing-intensive assignments.
  3. A minimum of 15% of the course grade will be based on in-class writing (essay or exam).
Textbook Materials

Sample Reading Lists

A. Theme: Versions of Marriage

(Genres: fiction, drama, narrative poetry)                      

  • Chaucer, “Prologue to ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’”          
  • Ibsen, A Doll's House                                               
  • Ross, As for Me and My House                                          
  • Rule, Desert of the Heart                                                                                    
  • Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing                         
  • Shields/Howard, A Celibate Season                              

B. Theme:  From Adolescence to Adulthood

(Genres: fiction and film)                                                                           

  • MacInnes, Absolute Beginners                                                                           
  • Kureshi, The Buddha of Suburbia
  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic                                                                            

(graphic memoir)

  • Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
  • Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides (film)*
  • Erian, Towelhead
  • Clowes, Ghost World (graphic novel)
  • Zwigoff, Ghost World (film)*

*Films not shown in class may be available on reserve at the library.  Students may also be required to rent and view the film on their own.

  • Any College entrance Language Proficiency Requirement EXCEPT the Douglas College Course Options in ELLA or ENGU, OR
  • a minimum grade of C- in ELLA 0460, or a minimum grade of C- in both ELLA 0465 and 0475, OR
  • a minimum grade of C- in ENGU 0450 or ENGU 0455 or ENGU 0490
Which Prerequisite

In combination with another 1100-level English or CRWR course (as per College calendar requirements), this course may serve as a prerequisite for any 2nd year English course.