College Composition II ~ ENG 102— (Revised for spring 2014)
Dr. Jonathan Alexander
Office, Academic Center 317
609-894-9311 or 856-222-9311 (x1123)
Online syllabus:

Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry and Drama (DiYanni, 2008)
Hedda Gabler and Other Plays (Penguin Paperback, Ibsen)

B. COURSE OVERVIEW: The purpose of English 102 is to enhance the student’s skills as a writer and as a critical thinker. The course combines several teaching techniques: lecture, seminar, verbal communication, student collaboration, and testing. It will incorporate the reading and discussion of fiction, poetry, and drama with written essays and informal oral presentations. Essays will be based on class discussions and critical commentary, and most will be completed at home. Upon completion of English 102, the student should be capable of expressing thoughts logically, clearly and succinctly in writing. Successful students will effectively evaluate literature using various critical theories and the stages of the writing process learned in English 101. Critical literary interpretation—both oral and written—will be expected.

For additional information on literary analysis, visit Critical Reading: A Guide (

C. LEARNING OBJECTIVES ~ At the end of English 102, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate your ability to recognize and analyze the major elements of literature in fiction, poetry and drama;
  2. Write clear and coherent essays which analyze these literary elements;
  3. Identify the methods used by authors, poets and playwrights to achieve their desired outcomes, while evaluating these methods for effectiveness;
  4. Demonstrate through written and oral response your ability to participate actively in the reading process by asking and responding to questions; and
  5. Present your interpretations to the class in an informative manner.


Attendance: If the student is to profit from any course, he or she must attend class on a consistent basis.

Students must attend all classes for the full duration of each session. Should you need to miss a class for observance of religious holidays, jury duty, military duty, bereavement, or illness, you must notify the instructor by telephone or e-mail prior to or within 24 hours after the class. Without such communication, students forfeit the right to make up missed work. If such communication is made, students will be permitted to make up missed work at the beginning of the following class meeting. It is, therefore, the student’s responsibility to read the syllabus and be prepared for current as well as missed assignments.

Entering class late or leaving class early (without prior authorization) is considered disrespectful and will not be tolerated.

Academic Etiquette: Students will respect themselves, their peers and their instructors by considering the following:

Cell phones must be kept on silent. No calls are to be made or received during class. If you are expecting an important call during the class meeting time, notify me prior to class and quietly excuse yourself if the call is received. No text-messaging or game-playing will be tolerated.

Students who wish to use the restrooms may do so by quietly leaving and re-entering the room. If a student believes he or she will require an absence of more than a few minutes, it is his responsibility to notify me accordingly.

Communication: Many means of communication are available to the student including telephone, e-mail and mailbox.

If you leave a message on my office voice-mail (x1123), please remember to speak clearly and provide your name, course information, and phone number if you request a return call.

If you contact me via e-mail, it is expected that you use the BCC “Mymail” account provided to you by the College. Messages sent through any other email account may not be received or responded to.

Students who send me e-mail and do not receive a reply of any kind within 48 hours should assume it was never received. Such e-mails should be resent. If your message doesn’t present itself as urgent, I may reply quickly and briefly and ask to get back to you before long.

Students who send e-mails containing attachments must save these documents as one of the following types: DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, or PDF. Please do not send any ODT, WPS, or MAC “Pages” files. You may also choose to copy and paste the text of your assignment into the e-mail message itself, and always send a copy back to yourself  (or another email account) as a receipt to verify if the transmission fails to reach me.

Class Assignments:

All work written and submitted should utilize standard rules of grammar, sentence organization, paragraph organization, and diction.

All formal papers are to be typed, titled, double spaced, and carefully proofread. Documents are not to be held together by paperclips, alligator clips, or other creative measures. Papers will not be accepted unless they are stapled prior to arriving to class. Asking me to borrow a stapler will not place you in a positive light.

All assignments are due on the date specified on the syllabus. Assignments which are not submitted during the class session they are due will be penalized. If you happen to be absent for a particular class session and you wait to submit a paper until the next class meeting, it will lose 15% for each day it is late. NOTE: A “day” is a calendar day, not a class meeting. A paper which is received by email within two hours of the end of the assigned class session will be considered submitted on time (without a penalty for lateness). A paper which is received after two hours, but before 10pm, will incur a late penalty of 5%. All other papers received after 10pm on the assigned day will incur a 15% penalty per day.

If a student presents reasonable justification for an absence, this absence will not be counted against the student’s course grade; however, such an absence does not allow for more time to complete assignments. Since students are provided with all assignments and deadlines on the first day of the semester, excuses such as “crashed computers,” “misplaced data,” “misplaced flash drives,” or “empty printer ink cartridges” will not be accepted. There is no excuse for not saving all documents twice (hard drive and floppy/flash).

Plagiarism will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Be aware that plagiarism includes (but is not limited to) copying someone else’s words without crediting the source; paraphrasing someone else’s words without crediting the source; using someone else’s ideas without crediting the source (even if rephrased in your own words); using facts not universally known which are obtained from a source without crediting the source; asking someone else to write your paper, either in whole or in part; or obtaining a paper or portion thereof by any means and submitting it as an original document. The penalty for plagiarism is failure of the assignment and potentially failure of the course (at the instructor’s discretion), and it may result in suspension or expulsion from the College (at the discretion of the Student Affairs Committee). Please refer to the BCC Student Handbook for additional information regarding College regulations and the handling of plagiarism.

E. ASSIGNMENTS: Visit the grading rubric ( to see how writing is evaluated.

  • Literary Journals: Students will be expected to respond in writing to all scheduled assignments. Listed below each assigned short story and poem on the syllabus are questions to be answered PRIOR to the assigned class meeting. After reading each assignment, write a complete response for each question (minimum 100 words for each literary title). Students can expect to share their responses randomly in class (according to an assigned code) and have them checked periodically.
  • Quizzes on Fiction, Poetry and Drama (dates listed on the syllabus): Prior to the discussion of each day’s readings, a short quiz will be given to evaluate reading comprehension and literary analysis. These quizzes will contain a combination of multiple choice, true and false, and short answer questions. Quizzes will take place five minutes after the beginning of the class period and will often be graded in class to provide immediate feedback. Unless prior authorization has been granted, anyone arriving more than five minutes late for class for any reason may or may not be permitted to take the quiz (depending on time and reason). Due to communicated, excused absences as listed under Course Expectations above, quizzes may be made up during the following class meeting. Any quizzes not “made-up” will count as a zero.
  • Quizzes on Literary Terms (dates listed on the syllabus): These periodic quizzes will cover terms and strategies for literary analysis which will be used in class discussion. There will be ten quizzes of ten questions each. Questions will be of the “multiple choice” and “true or false” variety.  The list of terms is provided in the back of the syllabus and is also accessible here: 
    Due to communicated, excused absences as listed under Course Expectations above, quizzes may be made up during the following class meeting. Any quizzes not “made-up” will count as a zero.
  • 750-word Fiction Analysis (Session 13): Students will submit a typed, titled, double-spaced comparative essay using any two of the stories read in class. This essay should attempt to illustrate similarities or differences between two stories according to a common theme.  Sample topics include the following: Hawthorne/Updike (hypocrisy), Chopin/Updike (instant gratification), Poe/Gilman (narrative reliability), Chopin/Gilman (marriage/relationships), Poe/Joyce (goals/motivations), Hawthorne/Joyce (faith/religion), Updike/Joyce (adolescence). Be reminded that Hayden’s poem is not a story. Once a standard of comparison is established, this essay should attempt to make an argumentative statement either about similarities or differences between these two stories.
  • Poetic Recitation (Session 17): Students will select one of the four poems listed below and commit this to memory to be recited in front of the class. The act of memorization serves the student’s skills of reading lines carefully and making judgments about how particular passages can be read. To earn full credit, students may not add, delete, move, or change any words of the original:

For base 10-point credit, students will choose one of the following four poems:
Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” (20 lines)
Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror” (18 lines)
John Donne’s [Death, be not proud, though some have called thee] (14 lines)
William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 [When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes] (14 lines)

Students may choose one of the following extra credit options:
(1) Recite only William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming” (22 lines) and earn up to 12 points;
(2) Recite two of the four poems listed above (Frost, Plath, Donne and/or Shakespeare) and earn up to 15 points; or
(3) Recite one of the four poems listed above (Frost, Plath, Donne, and/or Shakespeare) and William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming” and earn up to 18 points.

  • Matching Poetry Exam (Session 18): Students will be given a selection of passages from all 12 poems covered in class. A “passage” may be a part of a line or a complete thought constituting more than one line. The task will be to match the given passage with the appropriate poem/poet. Participation in class, completion of the assigned readings, review of quizzes, and consistent consideration of journal questions will ensure success on this assignment.
  • Drama Character Analyses (TBD): For each play, students will be assigned a topic and a character. For each character, a 200-word analysis will be written to explain how the topic affects or influences the character assigned. Students can begin by identifying how the topic is impacted by the character’s flaws, subsequent actions or attitudes, the conflicts which arise, any relative punishments, and the degrees of justice served. Students should ultimately try to uncover the playwright’s message by considering what he wants readers to think about the topic, how the topic is delivered through the character, and what specific quotes, passages, events, or character relationships help to decipher the playwright’s message.
  • 1000-word Research Essay: (Session 27): Students will write a comparative research essay on the plays Othello and Hedda Gabler. The following topics should be considered for inclusion:

The deceptive and controlling qualities of Iago and Hedda

The gullibility of Roderigo and Tesman

The weakness and flaws of Cassio and Lovborg

The meek innocence of Desdemona and Mrs. Elvsted

The role of suicide of Othello and Hedda

Students must make reference to both plays equally and must also cite at least two critical secondary sources (found through the library’s online database using EBSCOHOST or JSTOR). Appropriate MLA style of documentation is required, including in-text citations and a works cited page.

  • Final Exam (TBA): This exam will require students to match key quotes to the stories and plays from which they derive.
  • Participation: I have great respect for students who do what they can to succeed and take their education seriously. If you make an effort to communicate and be respectful with me, I can be reasonably flexible about most situations; however, I cannot breech the integrity of the class by allowing some students leeway with course expectations, and I have little compassion for students who don’t have respect for themselves. Please take responsibility for your work and the commitment you have made to your education. I expect fulfillment of the requirements of all assignments, consistent attendance, appropriate conduct toward classmates, and an overall positive contribution to the class.

F. MAKE-UP EXAM POLICY: Because all assignment deadlines and scheduled exam dates are provided at the beginning of the semester, little latitude is given to those students who are not considerate of themselves or respectful of course expectations. The schedule of assignments and activities is a contract and, therefore, not open to negotiation. In the event that you must be absent the day an assignment is due (though it is strongly discouraged if preventable), utilize a form of electronic submission to turn in journal entries or other assignments the day they are due.

G. GRADING POLICY: All assignments have a specific point value. There are 200 total points worth of assignments and examinations.

Total Course
Points Earned

Final Percentages

Letter Grade


88.5 - 100



87.5 - 88



79.5 - 87



77.5 - 79



74.5 - 77



69.5 - 74



0 - 69








Literary Journal

1, 3, 4


18 pts


Quizzes on Fiction, Poetry and Drama (160 raw pts)

1, 2, 3


40 pts


Quizzes on Literary Terms (100 raw pts)

1, 3


25 pts


750-Word Fiction Analysis

1, 2, 3

Session 13

20 pts


Poetic Recitation


Session 17

10 pts


Matching Poetry Exam


Session 18

12 pts


Four 200-word Drama Character Analyses

1, 2, 3


12 pts


1000-word Research Essay (Othello/Hedda Gabler)

2, 3, 4

Session 27

20 pts


Final Exam (Fiction and Drama)

1, 2, 3


35 pts


Participation and Attendance

4, 5


8 pts





200 pts



All readings and journal responses must be completed before the date scheduled.

Session 1:__1-21________
Discussion of syllabus and general course expectations

Session 2: __1-23________
Detailed discussion of assignments

Session 3: __1-28________
Discussion of process of literary analysis

Session 4: __1-30________
►Sample quiz and poetic analysis of Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays” (p. 496)
Journal Topic: How does the poem illustrate the distance between speaker and father and the fact that there was little communication or warmth between them? How does the speaker illustrate that he feels he has not treated his father with as much love and respect as the father deserved? Does he wallow in guilt over this, or does he somehow find a deeper conclusion to draw about these experiences? How is it illustrated that love can be present, though communicated subtly? How is your appreciation of the poem influenced by the fact that Hayden was not actually raised by his real mother and father, but by their neighbors to whom he was given at the age of eighteen months?

Session 5: __2-4________
►Quiz on Edgar Allen Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado” (p. 144)
Journal Topic: According to the definition of revenge provided by Montresor at the beginning of the story [“A wrong is unredressed when….”], explain whether or not you think he achieves his goal. What is he really searching for? What does he ultimately get? Should he be satisfied? Would you be? What do we know of Fortunato’s actions toward Montresor? What do you think Fortunato is guilty of? Was his punishment warranted?

Session 6: __2-6________
►Quiz on Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown” (p. 391)
Journal Topic: If we are to believe that Brown’s entire journey into the woods was a dream [“Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting? . . .”], and only a product of his own imagination, what was he supposed to gain or learn from his experience? What are we supposed to learn from his experience? What role does religion play in Brown’s life? Is Brown as much a hypocrite as he believes the Deacon to be at the story’s end?

Session 7: __2-11________
►Quiz on Kate Chopin, “Story of an Hour” (p. 38)
Journal Topic: What is the “monstrous joy” Mrs. Mallard seems to experience? What is symbolic about the chair, the window, and the locked bedroom door? If Richards is supposed to beBrently’s friend, [“Her husband's friend Richards was there, too, near her….”] why, when Brently returns home, is Richards’ immediate reaction “to screen [Brently] from the view of his wife,” rather than to embrace his “friend” Brently whom he thought was dead? Is this a reaction any one of us would have? Is it instinctive or calculated?

Session 8: __2-13________
►Quiz on John Updike, “A&P” (p. 32)
Journal Topic: What is Sammy’s judgment of the customers? The manager? Stokesie? The girls? Why does Sammy think the world will be “hard” to him “hereafter”? What does Sammy say during his narrative that would lead us to believe he knew exactly how things would turn out?

Session 9: __2-18________
►Quiz on Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (p. 379)
Journal Topic: Would you argue that the story’s narrator displays herself as being legitimately psychotic, or do you think her “treatment” by her physician-husband has made her so? Discuss how the woman behind the paper can be considered a metaphor for the narrator. What similarities do they share? How are they different? What makes the narrator unreliable (difficult to believe or take seriously)? On the other hand, what makes her words quite reliable and full of integrity? How would you explain the narrator’s final actions at the story’s end?

Session 10: __2-20________
LITERARY TERMS QUIZ 3—Style and Character
►Quiz on James Joyce, “Araby” (p. 86)
Journal Topic: What seems to attract the narrator to the girl? Why is getting her a gift so important? Why does the narrator feel he has been “driven and derided by vanity”? What, if anything, do you think he has learned about himself and the people around him? Who or what finally makes the narrator feel “anguish and anger”? What is the purpose of the heavily-negative religious symbolism?

Session 11: __2-25________
►Quiz on Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken” (p. 539)
Journal Topic: What is the significance of line 15? Do you think the speaker’s “sigh” at the end suggests he is regretful of his decision, pleased with it, or ambivalent? What conclusion does the speaker come to regarding choices in our lives?
►Quiz on William Stafford, “Traveling Through the Dark” (p. 851)
Journal Topic: What do you think the speaker means by his “only swerving”? How are the narrator’s actions a metaphor for life and perspective? Why does the speaker feel that the “wilderness [is listening]” and watching his actions? What effect does this have on him?

Session 12: __2-27________
Quiz on A.E. Housman, “To An Athlete Dying Young” (p. 812)
Journal Topic: Why does the speaker think the “lad” is “smart” to have died at a young age? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such an early death? Is the narrator being cynical? sincere? What does it mean when the “name [dies] before the man”? What does the “laurel” signify in the poem? In life?
Quiz on John Updike, “Ex-Basketball Player” (IN SYLLABUS)
Journal Topic: What similarities do you see between Flick Webb and Sammy from “A&P”? What differences distinguish the two young men? How do the two men see themselves in their lives? How do others see them? How do you see them?

Session 13: __3-4________
►Quiz on Edwin Arlington Robinson, “Richard Cory” (p. 616)
Journal Topic: Why do you think Richard Cory took his own life? What are the townspeople/narrators supposed to learn from Richard Cory’s life? What are we supposed to learn from the townspeople? What exactly did the townspeople envy about Richard Cory? Was their envy justified?
Quiz on William Shakespeare, [When, in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes] (p. 848)
Journal Topic: What is the difference between what the speaker once thought important and what ultimately proved to be so?  What did the speaker envy? What conclusion does he draw about these feelings?

Session 14: __3-6________
►Quiz on D.H. Lawrence, “Piano” (p. 601)
Journal Topic: Who do you think is the woman “singing to” the speaker in line 1? What is the mood of the actions at the end of stanza one? What causes the “betrayal” in line 6? Why does the speaker specifically use the word “weep” twice in a poem about “manhood”? Why is this poem entitled “Piano” rather than something else like “Mother”?
Quiz on Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz” (p. 505)
Journal Topic: What evidence does the speaker give to suggest his father may be abusing him? What evidence is there to suggest he isn’t? How could this seemingly dysfunctional family be argued as quite functional? What is the meaning of the “waltz” itself? How would you interpret the (in)actions of the mother?

Session 15: __3-11________
►Quiz on Donald Justice, “Men at Forty” (IN SYLLABUS)
Journal Topic: How does this poem express how it can feel to be middle-aged? What is bittersweet about the speaker’s reflections? How can the present life we live be both stable and slippery? Does the speaker seem pleased about his reflections of the past or rather burdened (as did the speaker of “Piano”)?
Quiz on Sylvia Plath, “Mirror” (p. 579)
Journal Topic: Why does the lake condemn the candles and the moon as “liars”? What is this poem saying about appearances and perception? What role does “truth” play? What are the similarities and differences between the mirror and the lake?

Session 16: __3-13________
LITERARY TERMS QUIZ 6—Introduction to the Elements of Poetry
Quiz on Robert Frost, “Mending Wall” (p. 674)
Journal Topic: What do you see as the key difference between the speaker and his neighbor? Why does the neighbor resist change? Why does the narrator seek it? Can their conflict be resolved? According to the speaker’s neighbor, what is a “good neighbor”?
Quiz on Wilfred Owen, “Dulce Et Decorum Est” (p. 834)
Journal Topic: Why does the speaker say “we turned our backs” in line 3? Rephrase lines 15-16 to identify what the speaker means to say. What is the effect of the speaker referring directly to the reader/listener in line 17? To whom do you think the speaker is speaking? What point is he trying to make about the actual experience of war versus the telling of stories of war?

SPRING BREAK, March 17-21, 2014

Session 17: __3-25________

Session 18: __3-27________
POETIC RECITATIONS (continued if necessary)

Session 19: __4-1________
►Quiz on William Shakespeare, Othello (p. 1012)
Because of student presentations involving the four plays, anyone not coming to class with their completed character report will not be permitted to participate in that day’s exercise. Unless told otherwise, it will be assumed that an absence on a “drama” day is due to lack of assignment completion.) 

Session 20: __4-3________
LITERARY TERMS QUIZ 7—Metrical Structures
►William Shakespeare, Othello (Continued)

Session 21: __4-8________
►William Shakespeare, Othello (Continued)

Session 22: __4-10________
►Quiz on Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler (PAPERBACK)

Session 23: __4-15________
LITERARY TERMS QUIZ 9—Rhyme and Stanza Analysis
Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler (Continued)

Session 24: __4-17________
►Quiz on Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (p. 1425)

Session 25: __4-22________
LITERARY TERMS QUIZ 10—Figurative Language
►Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (Continued)

Session 26: __4-24________
►Quiz on Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie (p. 1160)

Session 27: __4-29________
►Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie (Continued)

Session 28: __5-1________

Session 29: __5-6________

John Updike

Ex-Basketball Player (1958)



Pearl Avenue runs past the high-school lot,


Bends with the trolley tracks, and stops, cut off


Before it has a chance to go two blocks,


At Colonel McComsky Plaza. Berth’s Garage


Is on the corner facing west, and there,


Most days, you’ll find Flick Webb, who helps Berth out.




Flick stands tall among the idiot pumps—


Five on a side, the old bubble-head style,


Their rubber elbows hanging loose and low,


One’s nostrils are two S’s, and his eyes


An E and O. And one is squat, without


A head at all—more of a football type.




Once Flick played for the high-school team, the Wizards.


He was good: in fact, the best. In ‘46


He bucketed three hundred ninety points.


A county record still. The ball loved Flick.


I saw him rack up thirty-eight or forty


In one home game. His hands were like wild birds.




He never learned a trade, he just sells gas,


Checks oil, and changes flats. Once in a while,


As a gag, he dribbles an inner tube,


But most of us remember anyway.


His hands are fine and nervous on the lug wrench.


It makes no difference to the lug wrench, though.




Off work, he hangs around Mae’s luncheonette.


Grease-gray and kind of coiled, he plays pinball,


Smokes those thin cigars, nurses lemon phosphates.


Flick seldom says a word to Mae, just nods


Beyond her face toward bright applauding tiers


Of Necco Wafers, Nibs, and Juju Beads.


Donald Justice 
Men At Forty (1967)


Men at forty

Learn to close softly

The doors to rooms they will not be

Coming back to.


At rest on a stair landing,

They feel it

Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,

Though the swell is gentle.


And deep in mirrors

They rediscover

The face of the boy as he practices tying

His father’s tie there in secret


And the face of that father,

Still warm with the mystery of lather.

They are more fathers than sons themselves now.

Something is filling them, something


That is like the twilight sound

Of the crickets, immense,

Filling the woods at the foot of the slope

Behind their mortgaged houses.


(Quiz 1) Point of view
 (direction from which story is told)

  • Narrator / speaker: the one responsible for the telling of the story; should not be confused with author
  • 1st person, “I”: story told by a speaker about him or herself self (i.e. “Cask of Amontillado”)
  • 3rd person, “She / He”: story told by a speaker about someone else (i.e. “Young Goodman Brown”)
  • Reliability: level of credibility of the information being narrated
  • Omniscient Narrator: A narrator who claims (unrealistically) to know the thoughts and feelings of all characters in a story; more likely to be found in science fiction or stories of fantasy
  • Limited Omniscient: narration of story about one character (the “protagonist”); the narrator is knowledgeable of intimate knowledge about the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings
  • Dramatic / Objective: narration of story without implying any intimate knowledge of thoughts or feelings about any character
  • Apostrophe: a direct address to something or someone not present (i.e. talking to God or someone deceased)
  • Soliloquy: when a speaker speaks as if he or she is alone; the reliability of the information is high
  • Dramatic monologue: when a speaker speaks to an unresponsive audience, often unwittingly revealing much of the speaker’s personality because he may fill uncomfortable silence with information
  • In medias res: Latin for “in the middle of things”; when stories begin in the middle of scenes or events, as opposed to telling every background detail first
  • Verisimilitude: the representation of lifelike events using natural language and familiar settings


(Quiz 2) Symbolism (things, people, events, or actions which have representative value beyond the literal)

  • Traditional / universal: items whose symbolic value has been used or seen in previous literature (i.e. flags symbolizing patriotism or allegiance to a group)
  • Original / unique: items whose symbolic value either has never been seen before or has never been used in this way (i.e. a family heirloom)
  • Simile: comparisons between unlike things using “like” or “as” (i.e. “She ran as fast as lightning”)
  • Metaphor: comparisons between unlike things without using “like” or “as” (i.e. “My life is one long roller coaster ride”)
  • Metonymy: representing a thing by referring to something associated with it (i.e. “the crown of England”; “another meeting with the suits”)
  • Synecdoche: representing a thing by referring to a smaller part of it (i.e. “nice wheels”)
  • Analogy: drawing a comparison between two unlike things to make one of them more recognizable
  • Allusion: making reference to something from the past as a means of establishing familiarity (i.e. literary, Biblical, religious, historical, biographical)
  • Allegory: a story which, in its entirety, has metaphoric value (i.e. “The Wizard of Oz”)
  • Parable: a shorter story or tale which is allegorical and contains a moral or message (i.e. “afterschool specials”)
  • Fable: a short allegorical story utilizing animals as characters (i.e. Aesop’s fables)
  • Fairy tale: an allegorical story containing fantastic events and unrealistic settings (i.e. “Pinocchio”)
  • Archetype: a character modeled after an established form (i.e. religious figures, parental figures)

(Quiz 3) Style (method or manner in which writers distinguish themselves)

  • Colloquialism: slang; conversational speech (i.e. “what’s up?”)
  • Dialect: speech patterns which represent geographical or cultural regions (i.e. Southern, urban)
  • Rhythm: fluid, patterned quality of speech, particularly in poetry
  • Denotation: universal or “dictionary” meaning of a word
  • Connotation: usage or interpretation of a word in a particular instance (based on context)
  • Ambiguity: when something appears to have more than one plausible meaning or interpretation
  • Vagueness: when not enough information is provided to establish any firm meaning

Character (individual in a story who assists in moving along the plot)

  • Hero: no longer used reference to character with wholly positive qualities
  • Villain: no longer used reference to character with wholly negative qualities
  • Protagonist: main character with whom the reader associates; individual who experiences the greatest struggles or conflicts; the focus of the narration
  • Antagonist: main cause (person, animal, climate, etc.) of the protagonist’s struggles or conflicts
  • Antihero: a protagonist who experiences conflict but who is not necessarily considered a positive individual (i.e. Holden Caulfield in Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye)
  • “static”: characters in a story who do not have the ability to change their beliefs or behaviors
  • “dynamic”: characters in a story who, because of experiences and events, have the ability to change their beliefs or behaviors, though they do not necessarily change
  • Stereotype / stock: recognizable, familiar, time-tested characters used as place-holders

(Quiz 4) Plot Elements (what happens in a story)

  • Exposition: first stage of traditional plot structure; introduces main characters; provides background information; sets scene; establishes potential for conflict
  • Rising action / Complication: second stage of plot; characters engage in conflicts; antagonism is heightened
  • Climax / crisis: third stage of plot; moment of greatest emotional intensity; turning point
  • Falling action: fourth stage of plot; immediate consequences of crisis
  • Resolution / Conclusion / Denouement: fifth stage of plot; unraveling of tensions; most questions answered; characters left to deal with consequences of conflicts
  • Conflict: struggle between or among characters or entities; how characters deal with conflict helps reader interpret or reconcile characters
  • Flashback: representation of past event as if it is happening in real time
  • Foreshadowing: subtle references to things such as symbols that will have significance later in the plot

(Quiz 5) Forms of Irony (contrast between what happens and what was expected or intended)

  • Verbal: contrast between what a speaker says and what he intended to say (i.e. sarcasm) or contrast between what a speaker says and what the listener expected him to say
  • Situational: contrast between what an individual does and what he intended to do or contrast between what an individual does and what someone else expected him to do
  • Dramatic: contrast between what a character believes and what the audience or readers know to be true
  • Cosmic: contrast between what a character hopes or wishes for and what uncontrollable fate causes or allows to happen

(Quiz 6) Introduction to the Elements of Poetry

  • Rhyme scheme: the pattern of end-rhymes in a poem
  • Line: words of a poem that end at the right margin of the paper
  • Stanza: a “paragraph” in poetry, identified by skipped blank lines
  • Meter: the pattern of beats or stressed syllables within a line of poetry
  • Scansion: the analysis of a poem’s meter
  • Foot: grouping of syllables or beats which together make a line of poetry
  • Refrain: words or lines that are repeated in poetry
  • Motif: sense of mood or atmosphere used to set a scene
  • End-stopped: when the ends of poetic lines correspond with the ends of thoughts
  • Enjambment: when complete thoughts run from one line of poetry into the next

(Quiz 7) Metrical Structures of Poetry

  • Anapest: poetic foot of three syllables with the meter (  –  –  ‘  ), two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable (“un der STAND”)
  • Dactyl: poetic foot of three syllables with the meter ( ‘  –  –  ), one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables (“CARE ful ly”)
  • Iambic: poetic foot of two syllables with the meter (  –  ‘  ), one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable (“be HOLD”)
  • Trochee: poetic foot of two syllables with the meter (  ‘  –  ), one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable (“HAM mer”)
  • Spondee: poetic foot of two syllables with the meter (  ‘  ‘  ), two stressed beats (“BATH ROBE”)
  • Iambic pentameter: popular meter used by Shakespeare; line of poetry containing 10 total syllables, 5 iambs ( - ‘ ) of two syllables each “my MIStress’ EYES areNOthing LIKE the SUN”

(Quiz 8) Poetic Forms

  • English sonnet: popular 14-line poetic form made famous by William Shakespeare with the following rhyme scheme (abab cdcd efef gg); contains 3 quatrains and a rhyming couplet
  • Italian sonnet: popular 14-line poetic form made famous by Petrarch with the following rhyme scheme (abba abba cdc dcd); contains an octave and a sestet
  • Villanelle: poetic form utilizing lines from the first stanza which are repeated at the ends of alternating stanzas
  • Haiku: short form poetry originating in Asia; containing three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third
  • Tanka: short form poetry originating in Asia; containing five lines with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, then five, seven, and seven
  • Cinquain: short form poetry originating in Asia; containing five lines with two syllables in the first line, four in the second, then six, eight, and two in the fifth line

(Quiz 9) Rhyme and Stanza in Poetry

  • Perfect rhyme: when two words have phonetically identical sounds (i.e. “heart” and “smart”)
  • Near rhyme: when two words have similar sounds (i.e. “on” and “moon”)
  • Sight rhyme: when two words look like they should rhyme perfectly but they don’t (“good” and “food”)
  • Blank verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter
  • Free verse: unrhymed, unmetered poetry
  • Couplet: poetic stanza of two lines; also used to represent the final two rhyming lines of a stanza
  • Tercet: poetic stanza of three lines
  • Quatrain: poetic stanza of four lines
  • Sestet: poetic stanza of six lines
  • Octave: poetic stanza of eight lines

(Quiz 10) Figurative Language in Poetry

  • Hyperbole: exaggeration to the point of the ridiculous (“I have a mountain of work to do.”)
  • Oxymoron: using two terms together which have opposing or conflicting meanings (“jumbo shrimp”)
  • Personification: attributing lifelike qualities to something not human
  • Onomatopoeia: words which signify the sounds they represent (i.e. “bark”)
  • Alliteration: when a series of words begin with a similar sound
  • Pun: a play on words
  • Assonance: when a series of words contain similar vowel sounds imbedded in them
  • Consonance: when a series of words contain similar consonant sounds imbedded in them


Sample character analysis


Goal                         (What is sought)

Motivation                (Why it is sought)

Decision/Action        (How it is sought)

“Character”              (Experiences and attitudes that form decisions/actions)

Outcome                   (Result of action)

Consequence            (Impact of action)

Judgment                  (Evaluation of character)


Goal                         (Dave wants a promotion)

Motivation                (Dave wants more money)

Decision/Action        (Dave chooses to sabotage a co-worker)

“Character”              (Dave thinks his boss doesn’t appreciate him, and he’s been harmed in the past for others’ gains)

Outcome                   (Dave fools his boss and receives the promotion)

Consequence            (Dave enjoys his position showing no remorse or regret)

Judgment                  (We think Dave is contemptible and disgraceful)


Goal                         (Sue wants a promotion)

Motivation                (Sue wants more money)

Decision/Action        (Sue chooses to work harder and take initiative)

“Character”              (Sue is gratified by her own work ethic; she has seen the benefit of hard work before)

Outcome                   (Sue is recognized as resourceful and gets the promotion)

Consequence            (Sue feels proud and worthy of her reward)

Judgment                  (We think Sue is a noble and virtuous)


Sources for literary argument:

1. Start with EVIDENCE FROM THE TEXT. Identify clues that any reasonable reader would see and use as support for argumentative claims.

2. Consider HUMAN NATURE AND BEHAVIOR. Think about in what ways the character’s attitudes or choices would seem universal.

3. Think about PERSONAL EXPERIENCES that you can use to relate to specific, unique or rare similarities with the character.


Value of argumentative claims:

1. State any CERTAINTIES that are present to establish a foundation for all readers to being making judgments. (“What do we know?”)

(Ex. Dave is going to try to acquire more money at his job.)

2. Begin to make ASSUMPTIONS that can be agreeable based on reasonable claims. (“What might most people agree with?”)

(Ex. Dave appears to be seeking revenge against anyone who may have caused him professional loss in the past.)

3. Consider occasional SPECULATIONS based on possible but less likely claims. (“What can be true that some people would accept?”)

(Ex. Dave may have suffered when a past co-worker lied and undervalued the amount of work Dave did on a project.)

4. Avoid CONSPIRACIES based on possibilities with no tangible evidence.

(Ex. Dave’s boss might have won the lottery and has decided eventually to give everyone a raise.)

5. Avoid FALSE STATEMENTS that can actually be proven false by textual evidence.

(Ex. Dave has always really only had positive lifetime experiences at work and is therefore unlikely to do anything unethical.)


Suggestions and Tips for Poetic Recitation


1. Read the poem to yourself at least five times to try to get a feeling for the rhythm. Since no two people will read a poem alike, take the time to recite it slowly and find out the most comfortable places to breathe. Remember, you don’t have to pause at the end of every line; instead, pause where it feels natural. Good reciters use pauses, emphases, and other nuances to show their understanding of a poem. Make sure you look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary.


TIP: It’s helpful to read through the poem right before you go to sleep. Our brains tend to remember whatever the last thing is that we read or hear at night, so make sure your poem is the last thought you have as you drift into sleep.


2. Now that you have a feel for the poem and have practice saying it out loud, take a break. Put it away for a little while. Go for a walk and see how much of the poem’s imagery you can remember. Don’t be surprised if only a few words or phrases float into your mind instead of entire lines, and don’t worry if you can’t remember anything.


TIP: Avoid setting expectations or deadlines for memorizing. These tend to frustrate the learner and impede the process.


3. Approach the poem as a challenge to be mastered, not as work. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to remember. Break the poem into parts. Consider that the poem is made up of complete thoughts (sometimes actual punctuated sentences, and sometimes sentence fragments). Don’t be concerned with where a line ends; instead, focus on where a thought ends. If there aren’t stanza breaks, break the poem up yourself every five or six lines. It will be much easier to memorize small pieces instead of the whole poem at once.


TIP: Studies show that you remember 30% more when you’re standing up. When trying to memorize a poem, recite it standing up.


4. Read the first stanza (or complete thought). Close your eyes and see how much you remember. Open your eyes and see how well you did. Try imagining pictures in your mind to go along with the poem. Visuals are very good reminders as you recite a poem. Let each complete thought have an image, which connects to the following thought and image. If you can’t remember the words, seeing the picture in your head may spark the words.


TIP: Your brain will recall better if you use all your senses. Try recopying the lines of poetry using different color ink.


5. Repeat this process until you can recite aloud the entire first stanza (or first complete thought). Don’t move on to the second until you are confident with the first.


TIP: If you must be prompted constantly, if you recite so quickly that the words blur into each other, or if you add, delete, move or change words, you will not receive much credit. Be precise.


6. Repeat the process for the second thought or stanza, just concentrating on it alone. Try covering the remaining parts of the poem with an index card so your eyes don’t range down the page and become distracted. Once you can say the second stanza aloud, recite the first and second together. No matter how far into the poem you get, always go back to the beginning when practicing.


TIP: Take small bites and don’t push yourself. If you’re tired or frustrated, rest your mind and body for a few moments. Of all tasks we have, memorization is not something that succeeds when we feel stress.


7. Repeat until you have the poem completely memorized.


TIP: Don’t limit yourself with declarations of inability. Don’t chastise or threaten yourself. Telling yourself that you’re incapable of the task will undermine the process. Negativity is counterproductive.


8. Recite the poem out loud.  Imagine standing in front of your class smiling and reciting and getting all the words correct. Recite the poem for family and friends. Although reciting the poem in the car or in the shower will be effective, live practice will feel different from when it’s just you. It may be helpful to concentrate on a spot on the wall behind your audience. Choose a clock or a window or a crack in the wall and recite your poem to it; if you look people in the eye you may get nervous or giggly and lose your concentration.


TIP: The best defense against anxiety or nervousness is preparation.


9. On the day of the recitation, before it’s your turn, take a last glimpse over the poem and cement it in your mind. If you know it, you know it.


TIP: Make sure you are well rested for your day’s recitation.


10. Have fun, and don’t forget to smile.
For each play, students will be assigned to write a 200-word analysis of a character from each of the four plays. They will each be expected to read their analyses the day the play is scheduled to be discussed. It should be considered that each individual in the plays has a flaw in his or her character (i.e. pride, naivete, selfishness, etc.). Focus your analyses on what your characters’ major flaws would be. How do the flaws affect their choices and actions? Do they ultimately recognize where they went wrong? Do they suggest any ownership of the consequences of their actions? Students should ultimately try to uncover what the playwright wants readers/viewers to think about the character, how the theme of the play is delivered through the character, and what specific quotes, passages, events, or relationships help to decipher the playwright’s message.

William Shakespeare: Characters and Themes
Othello, Iago, Cassio, Desdemona, Emilia, Brabantio, Roderigo

1.             Appearance vs. Reality

2.             Pride / Self-esteem

3.             Honesty / Morality

4.             Deception / Misrepresentation

5.             Race, Prejudice

6.             Jealousy / Envy

7.             Romantic Love / Brotherly Love

8.             Honor / Integrity / Reputation

Hedda Gabler: Characters and Themes
Hedda, Tesman, Loevborg, Mrs. Elvsted, Brack

1.            Class / Society / Elitism / Privilege

2.            Pride / Self-esteem

3.            Honesty / Morality

4.            Deception / Misrepresentation

5.            Jealousy / Envy

6.            Honor / Integrity / Reputation

7.            Hedda as a controller of others

8.            Hedda losing control / being controlled

Oscar Wilde: Satire, Puns, Irony, and Wit
Jack, Algernon, Gwendolyn, Cecily, Lady Bracknell, Prism

1.             Family Roles and Relationships

2.             Class Structure, Status and Society

3.             Love, Romance and Marriage

4.             Morality vs. Hypocrisy

5.             Food and Drink

6.             Fiction and Literature

7.             Education, Politics and Religion

8.             Life, Death, and Aging

Tennessee Williams: Themes and Motifs
Amanda, Tom, Laura, Jim

1.             Family Roles and Relationships

2.             Society and Class Status

3.             Love, Romance and Marriage

4.             Ethics (Independence vs. Responsibility)

5.             Perceptions (Illusion vs. Reality)

6.             Expectations (Satisfaction vs. Disappointment)

7.             Symbolism (fire escape, movies, coffin trick, etc)

8.             Education and Self-Improvement






















































































































































































































































Shakespeare Trivia               NAME___________________________   SCORE ________________


_____1. _________________ (30-year range)

_____2. _________________ (30-year range)

_____3. _________________ (30-year range)

_____4. _________________ (month)

_____5. _________________ (one, three, five)

_____6. _________________ (T/F)

_____7. _________________ (4-year range)

_____8. _________________ (London, Birmingham, Stratford, Manchester)

_____9. _________________ (T/F)

_____10. _________________ (“assassination”, “tempest”, “laugh it off”, “puke”)

_____11. _________________ (“bedroom,” “champion,” “dwindle,” “shrew”)

_____12. _________________ (“zany,” “freaky,” “madcap,” “gloomy”)

_____13. _________________ (6-play range)

_____14. _________________ (all, more than half, fewer than half, zero)

_____15. _________________ (suicide)

_____16. _________________ (suicide)

_____17. _________________ (suicide)

_____18. _________________ (King’s name)

_____19. _________________ (King’s name)

_____20. _________________ (King’s name)

_____21. _________________ (The Swan, The Globe, The Rose, The Old Vic)

_____22. _________________ (Elizabeth, Mary, Anne, Victoria)

_____23. _________________ (Charles, James, Henry, George)

_____24. _________________ (“I am glad at soul…”)

_____25. _________________ (“I will wear my heart upon my sleeve”)

_____26. _________________ (“I confess it is my shame…”)

_____27.  _________________ (“A guiltless death I die”)

_____28. _________________ (“I do think it is their husbands’ faults…”)

_____29. _________________ (“Oh that men should put…”)

_____30. _________________ (“enemy”)