Sample Syllabus: ENGL 211, Depictions of Violence in Narrative

Academic Writing About Literature: Depictions of Violence in Narrative
ENGL 211x
Instructor: Eric Notaro
TR 3:40-5:10pm; Gruening 203
Office Hours: TR 2:30-3:30pm and by appointment.
Prerequisites: ENGL 111x or its equivalent.
Recommended: Sophomore Standing.
Please note that this document is subject to change as deemed necessary by the instructor.

Course Description
This section of 21 Ix will introduce students to literary analysis by focusing on the role of violence in written and
other forms of narrative. From the slaying of Humbaba in the  Epic of Gilgamesh, to the stories of Greek myth,
acts of force pervade some of the oldest incarnations of western literature. What drives storytellers and poets co
these depictions? In modern times, violence is often a driving force for conflict in contemporary plots as is evident
by the proliferation of gritty crime-scene investigation television dramas and gory horror movies. The class will
explore and examine different approaches and styles behind these depictions from classical ancient: texts, to more
contemporary authors. Class readings will range from various fiction genres, poetry, drama and other literary
sources. Students ‘will also have the opportunity to draw on representations of violence from other media such as
photography, fine arts, video games, movies and television to analyze the role of violence in modern narrative.
Some questions we’ll be asking: What is considered violent? What are the cultural and historic boundaries of such
depictions? What is the role of violence in the literary arts or any art form? What does our reaction (or lack
thereof) to depictions of violence suggest about society and humanity as a whole?

Note: As the class focus suggests, we’ll be examining material that delves into violent and sometimes grotesque
depictions. We are examining these depictions to better understand the role of violence in our society. I expect
everyone who enrolls in this course is able to handle both the intensity of content and the ability to examine and
analyze such content in a scholarly manner.

Required Material
Camus, Albert.  The Stranger.  Vintage, 1989. Prim.
Various handouts and other assigned texts
Notebook and Pen/Pencil

Every class is cumulative. While this class doesn’t require information to memorize for exams, the nature of our
discussions and activities in class requires every student to be present. Typically, students that show up on time
every class tend to do much better overall. In fact, the attendance policy tends to typically align with the grade the
student receives anyway.

Three (3) tardies are counted as an absence. Tardy by more than ten (10) minutes without prior notice is marked
as an automatic absence. Contact me if you know you will be late. I will only excuse a tardy under extraordinary
circumstances and only if I am contacted as soon as possible.

More than two (2) absences will affect your grade. Please avoid missing class unless it is absolutely necessary.
These two free absences are provided to acknowledge that complications beyond your control sometimes occur.
Starting with the third absence, your highest-possible grade starts to cap by one letter grade. Three (3) absences
means a B is the highest grade possible. Four (4) absences results in a cap at C. Five or more absences results in a
D, hence too low to pass a core X class. If there is an extraordinary circumstance resulting in the fifth absence,
such as one requiring an emergency hospital visit, J will consider excusing it if I am told as soon as possible and
am given some form of official documentation. Regardless of circumstances. six (6) or more absences will result in

Below is official composition program policy concerning attendance:
“Writing classes taught at Fairbanks require mandatory attendance. Because writing courses depend on class discussion and peer review of writing, in addition to lecture and presentations, our classes share a baseline attendance policy. Students enrolled in writing classes must attend 80% of the class in order to receive a passing grade.”

Ten percent of your overall grade is in-class participation. This grade is determined as a whole at the end of the
semester. A student that participates in discussion every class. keeps their cell phone away. and is respectful of the
instructor and their fellow classmates can expect to earn full credit. A student who sleeps in class, is disrespectful,
never participates in a discussion, and spends the class playing Angry Birds on their phone can expect to get
virtually no credit.

Reading Responses and Other Assignments:
A minimum I 1/2 page reading response must be turned in on any day on the syllabus that includes a discussion
of a reading assignment. These reading responses should be your reaction and analysis of the reading. Don’t
summarize the work and don’t evaluate whether you “liked” or “hated” the reading. These responses provide a
means to formulate your thoughts prior to our class discussion and could potentially be the starting point for an

There will be a number of assignments that are neither responses nor full essays. Some will be short write-ups,
others will merely involve bringing in something to use in a class activity or discussion. I will provide instruction
and due dates for these assignments as the semester progresses. Instead of a typical letter grade, I will give a check +,
, check, or check – to reflect the quality of the writing. A response or assignment that is thorough. clear and well organized
is more likely to be given a higher quality rating. At the end of the semester, I will tally your overall
quality marks to determine your overall Responses/Assignment grade. A higher number of , check+ marks will result
in full or near full-credit for this portion of your grade. A higher number of check marks will result in an 75-85%
for this section of your grade. A higher number of check- marks will result in 50-70% for this section. Responses
that are late or not handed in will drag down your grade, regardless of the quality of your on-time responses.

Essays and Assignments
All essays and assignments (such as reading responses) should be typed and in MLA style: double-spaced. Times
New Roman (or equivalent). size 12 font. one-inch margins and printed on 8.5×1 I” paper. All essays should be
stapled and with proper page numbers. I do not accept essays by email unless under extenuating circumstances that
I have agreed to prior to the due-date. You must fill up at least ‘/. of the page for it to count toward a page-count.
Works Cited pages do not count toward page length. Your name, class name/number, assignment and date should
be on the top left hand side of the first page.

As this is an ENGL 211 class. I expect that all of you have at least a fundamental grasp of MLA format and
citation. Mistakes are acceptable but a paper that shows fundamental lack of MLA will not be accepted. Please see
me immediately if you are completely unfamiliar with MLA format.

Late Work:
Essays are due at the start of class on the date given. Any essay handed in late will be marked down
late by one day becomes a B by default. If you are absent from class the day an assignment is due, email an
attachment to me on the day it is due and drop off a physical copy to me during my office hours or my
department mailbox. If these options are not possible or the nature of your absence has less than 24-hour notice,
please contact me before class-time of the date due. If a paper is late by mote than five (5) days, regardless of
circumstances, it will receive an automatic zero. I also reserve the right to reject a paper if it is incomplete or
otherwise deemed inappropriate.

Plagiarism is the use someone else1s work without attributing the original source-intentionally or
otherwise. Please make sure you properly cite any outside sources in your ‘York. If you are uncertain if what you
are doing constitutes as plagiarisn1, please don’t be afraid to ask. Additional help can be found with the tutors at
the Writing Center (Gruening 801) as well as online at the Purdue Owl writing lab:

Portfolio Project
Your final project for the end of the semester ‘will be a revision of two of your prior essays and a reflective essay.
The portfolio essay will analyze the path you took in the original draft and revision. It will also present concrete
ways you could further expand your essays. A more detailed prompt will be handed out we near the end of the

Outside Assistance
Writing Center: The writing center offers one-on-one tutoring for any written assignment. In addition, the
computer lab is available for anyone to use and provides free printing up to 25 pages. The writing center is located
in Gruening 801. Email:  frwrc@uaF.cdu  Phone #: (907) 474-5314

Students with Disabilities: From the UAF website: “The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials.”
I will work in coordination with the Office of Disabilities Services to provide reasonable accommodation to any
student with disabilities. The office is located in Whitaker Building room 208. Phone # (907) 474-5655;
Website:  disability/

Rural Student Services: Any student from an Alaskan rural or native community can utilize UAF’s Rural Student
Services for help in academic and other matters. The office is located in Brooks Building room 202. Phone #:
(907) 474-787I; email:;Website:

Grade Breakdown
10% (100 Points) Participation
10% (I 00 Points) Responses and Assignments
20% (200 Points) Essay 1: Violence and Aesthetic Choice
20% (200 Points) Essay 2: Narrative Violence and Culture
20% (200 Points) Essay 3: Academic Discourse Paper
20% (200 Points) Portfolio Project
100% (1000 Points) Total

A 940-1000
A- 900-939
B+ 870 – 899
B 830 – 869
B- 800 – 829
C+ 770- 799
C 730 – 769
C- 700 -729
D+ 670 – 699 F less than 600
D 630-669
D- 600 – 629

Thursday, 1/17 Syllabus, Introductions

Course Schedule
Subject to Change
Tuesday, 1/22 Discuss YA Lit Violence Op-Eds. “Why Violence?” Writing Activity.
Thursday I/24 Assign “Violence and Aesthetic Choice” Essay. Too much/Too Little” activity.

Tuesday, 1/29 Discuss O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard To Find” Close Reading activity.
Thursday, 1/31 Symbolism Discussion.

Tuesday, 2/5 Discuss Ancient Texts excerpts packet.
Thursday 2/7

Tuesday 2/12 “Violence and Aesthetic Choice” Essay Due.
Thursday 2/14 Assign “Narrative Violence and Culture” Essay. Literary Analysis Discussion. Scholarly Article

Tuesday 2/19 Discuss Ambrose Bierce Short Stories
Thursday 2/21 Depictions of War Discussion

Tuesday 2/26 Discuss Tim O’Brien’s stories from  The Things They Carried
Thursday 2/28 Peer Workshop Day

Tuesday 3/5: “Narrative Violence and Culture” Essay Due. Film/Text comparison Part 1.
Thursday 3/7: Assign ‘Academic Discourse Paper” Film/Text comparison Part 2.

Spring Break:. No Class.

Tuesday 3/19: Discuss Albert Camus’  The Stranger  Part I
Thursday 3/21

Tuesday 3/26 Discuss Albert Camus’  The Stranger  Part 2
Thursday 3/28

Tuesday 4/2 Discuss Donald Ray Pollock’s stories from  Knockernstiff
Thursday 4/4

Tuesday 4/9: “Academic Discourse Paper” Due.
Thursday 4/II: Assign Portfolio Project.

Tuesday 4/I6 Alice Munro “Royal Beatings”
Thursday 4/18

Tuesday 4/23 Reading TBA Discussion
Thursday 4/25

Tuesday 4/30 Reading TBA Discussion
Thursday 5/2

Thursday, May 9 (3:15 – 5:15 p.m.): Portfolio Project due.