English

Literature Courses

With the help of our expert faculty, students in literature classes build critical reading and writing skills as they encounter the world's finest fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction. Through the lens of literature, students come to terms with fundamental questions about life and what it means to be human.

Why Study Literature at SFCC?

Song of Myself From Song of Myself, Walt Whitman
  • Many of our literature courses satisfy W (Writing Intensive), D (Diversity) and Humanities requirements for graduation.
  • For more information about each course, and for a list of this quarter's offerings, please click on the appropriate literature course listed on the left; for a quick view of all course titles, please click on the appropriate tab above.

By the completion of English 111, a student should be able to…

Students
  • Understand the conventions of the basic forms of literature: poetry, fiction, and/or drama
  • Identify and analyze such elements of literature as imagery, diction, figurative language, symbolism, point of view, setting, tone, and theme
  • Form individual interpretations of the literature and evaluate these interpretations (and those of classmates) for validity
  • Organize information to develop and support ideas gleaned from reading, discussing, and evaluating the literature
  • Clearly and logically synthesize and articulate individual positions on issues presented in the literature to others in both written and oral modes
  • Find appropriate methods of communicating disagreement regarding ideas about and interpretations of the literature without stereotyping or being ethnocentrically biased or offensive

When students complete English 112, they should be able to…

Books
  • Recognize and use the vocabulary of literary analysis (plot, setting, character, theme, point of view, style)
  • Apply vocabulary to familiar and new works of fiction
  • Talk comfortably and disagree in a small group about their understanding of fiction
  • Make inferences about fiction that rest on textual evidence and logical consistency
  • Converse about fiction from an earlier era or a foreign context orally or in writing

When students complete English 113, they should be able to…

Books
  • Identify and analyze such elements of poetry as imagery, diction, figurative language, symbolism, tone, and themet
  • Use the language and techniques of poetry analysis when discussing poetry
  • Explicate individual poems to explore meaning
  • Form individual interpretations of poems and evaluate these interpretations and those of classmates for validity
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how individual poems fit into the history of poetry
  • Develop an appreciation for the skill and creativity of individual poets
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When students complete English 114, they should be able to…

A Dolls House book cover illustration
  • Identify and analyze elements of dramatic literature such as character, plot, dialogue, symbolism, and staging.
  • Use the language and techniques of theatrical analysis when discussing plays.
  • Identify and discuss the complicated relationship between written text and performance.
  • Form individual interpretations of plays and evaluate these interpretations and those of classmates for validity.
  • Demonstrate awareness of how plays represent a collaboration between writers, actors, directors, and others, as well as how the staging of a play is itself an interpretive act.
  • Articulate the contribution of individual playwrights to the development of the dramatic genre.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of and appreciation for drama as literature.
  • Identify common or culturally specific themes in drama as literature by writers of different races, genders, and ethnic backgrounds.
Lysistrata book cover illustration Night Mother book cover illustration a raisin in the sun book cover illustration

When students complete English 208, they should be able to…

Books
Books
  • Understand the historical context surrounding literary works including the political, social, religious, and artistic milieu in which early British authors wrote (Anglo-Saxons to the Neo-Classicists)
  • Paraphrase and understand unfamiliar and difficult language
  • Identify elements of poetry such as basic rhythms, meters, and rhyme schemes; uses of metaphor; the conventions of the sonnet and other poetic forms
  • Identify the elements of prose genres (fiction, drama, satire): plot, setting, character, theme, irony, and argument
  • In classroom conversation, make inferences about literature that rest on textual evidence and logic
  • Articulate a critical position or interpretation; gather and use textual or critical evidence to support a particular interpretation
  • Appreciate the artistry of key early British writers
  • Understand the influences of a variety of cultures on the development of early British literature

Prerequisite: ENGL 099 or permission of instructor.

When students complete English 209, they should be able to…

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf James Joyce statue
James Joyce statue in
St. Stephens Green, Dublin
  • Understand the historical context surrounding literary works including the political, social, religious, and artistic milieu in which Romantic, Victorian, and modern British authors wrote (1795 – 1990s)
  • Paraphrase and understand unfamiliar and difficult language
  • Identify elements of poetry such as basic rhythms, meters, and rhyme schemes; uses of metaphor; the conventions of the sonnet and other poetic formsCompose effective business messages in various standard formats
  • Identify the elements of prose genres (fiction, drama, satire): plot, setting, character, theme, irony, and argument
  • In classroom conversation, make inferences about literature that rest on textual evidence and logic
  • Articulate a critical position or interpretation; gather and use textual or critical evidence to support a particular interpretation/li>
  • Appreciate the artistry of individual British authors writing between 1795 and the present
  • Understand how the expanse of the British Empire has helped create a lively postcolonial literature

When students complete English 220, they should be able to…

Shakespeares
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; 'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed
~ Othello: Act 3, Scene 3, 155–161
  • Develop strategies for understanding Shakespeare's language
  • Recognize blank verse; perform basic scansion
  • Recognize patterns of imagery and metaphor
  • Know the basic facts of Shakespeare's life
  • Understand the historical context of Shakespeare's works, including the political, social, religious, and artistic milieu in which Shakespeare wrote
  • Recognize the dramatic conventions that obtained in Elizabethan theatre
  • Know the details of theatre architecture and theatrical practice
  • Develop the ability to analyze plot, character, and theme through close reading of the texts
  • Make inferences about Shakespeare's view of human values, human nature, and the human condition
  • Articulate a critical position or an interpretation; gather and use textual and/or critical evidence to convincingly support the validity of a particular position or interpretation
  • Recognize the universal aspects of Shakespeare; see the connections between Shakespeare's world and ours

When students complete English 247, they should be able to…

Books
  • Use the language and techniques of literary criticism when analyzing contemporary multicultural American literature
  • Form individual interpretations of the literature and evaluate these interpretations (and those of classmates) for validity
  • Develop an appreciation of the skill and creativity of diverse authors of American literature
  • Draw justifiable inferences about other races or cultures without stereotyping or ethnocentric bias through the study of diverse authors of American literature
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the United States as a racially and culturally diverse society as expressed through its literature
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of other expressions of diversity such as class, gender, sexual orientation, or religion
  • Develop awareness of the influence of racially or culturally based assumptions on perception and behavior
  • Develop awareness of the implications of race or culture when looking at moral problems and societal conflicts in American literature
  • Listen to and understand individuals and respond respectfully to their points of view
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When students complete English 248, they should be able to…

Books
By night when others soundly slept/ And hath at once both ease and Rest,/ My waking eyes were open kept/ And so to lie I found it best.
-Anne Bradstreet
  • Demonstrate skill in analyzing elements of literature such as plot, character, setting, tone, point of view, symbol, irony and theme
  • Use the language and techniques of literary criticism when discussing American literature
  • Recognize and respect the diversity of individual and cultural values depicted in literature
  • Develop an appreciation for the skill and creativity of individual authors of American literature
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and development of American literature to 1865
  • Recognize the historical, social, and cultural contexts of American literature to 1865

When students complete English 249, they should be able to…

Books
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  • Use the language and techniques of literary criticism when analyzing American literature
  • Develop an appreciation of the skill and creativity of diverse authors of American literature
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and development of American literature from the Civil War to the present through historical, social, racial, and cultural contexts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of varying racial/cultural customs and values as depicted in American literature
  • Draw justifiable inferences about other races or cultures without stereotyping of ethnocentric bias through the study of diverse authors of American literature
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the United States as a racially and culturally diverse society as expressed through its literature
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of other expressions of diversity such as class, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religion in American literature
  • Develop awareness of the influence of racially or culturally based assumptions on perception and behavior
  • Develop awareness of the implications of race or culture when looking at moral problems and societal conflicts since 1860 in American literature
  • Listen to and understand individuals and respond respectfully to their points of view

When students complete English 259, they should be able to…

Books
  • Have a vocabulary and a repertoire of techniques for interpreting African American literature
  • Understand the achievement and influence of major African American writers
  • Understand the ways in which African American writers have responded to, and interpreted, their predecessors (both African American and not)
  • Situate African American literature in cultural and historical context
  • Identify, and take an informed position on, current issues and debates within the field of African American literature
  • Identify and analyze connections between African American literature and other fields of human activity such as music, art, and history
  • Identify ways in which attitudes about race, including racism, have shaped American literary history and American culture
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When students complete English 261, they should be able to…

Books
  • Describe the conventions of the novel as a literary form
  • Identify and analyze such elements of longer fiction as plot, sub-plot, symbolism, point of view, setting, tone, and theme
  • Form individual interpretations of the literature and evaluate these interpretations (and those of classmates) for validity
  • Organize information to develop and support ideas gleaned from reading, discussing, and evaluating the literature
  • Clearly and logically synthesize and articulate individual positions on issues presented in the literature to others in both written and oral modes
  • Find appropriate methods of communicating disagreement regarding ideas about and interpretations of the literature without stereotyping or being ethnocentrically biased or offensive
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When students complete English 271, they should be able to…

  • Write clear and thoughtful analyses of readings and cultural history
  • Discuss readings and contexts in small and large groups
  • Identify, locate, and access potential sources of information on authors, works, and cultures studied, including Ancient and Medieval Middle East and North Africa; Classical Mediterranean; Medieval and Renaissance Europe
  • Demonstrate responsibility for attendance, preparation for discussion of readings, regular completion of discussion papers
  • Identify similar and dissimilar values within works of varying cultures and periods
  • Discuss civilly the depictions of race and religion in the works studied
  • Articulate understanding and appreciation of achievements of competing cultural groups
  • Consider the past's influence on and relevance to contemporary beliefs, conflicts, and achievements
  • Demonstrate understanding and appreciation of seminal religious and literary texts of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean and European cultures
  • Use comparative literary and cultural analysis to understand and appreciate readings from many cultures
  • Demonstrate comprehension of elements of tradition and change within literature
  • Increase understanding of human condition
  • Encounter racial and cultural perspectives beyond the dominant culture of the US through reading literary works of many cultures over many centuries
  • Identify the influence of racially and culturally biased assumptions on the perceptions and behaviors of literary characters
  • Identify the influence of racially and culturally biased assumptions on authors
  • Discuss the implications of race and culture for the moral problems and societal conflicts reflected in the readings
  • Analyze the non-western foundations of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and European cultures
  • Illustrate the persistence of pre-western ethnic cultures in European literature
  • Discuss the importance of conflict with non-western cultures for the ongoing definition of European cultures, especially Christendom's conflicts with paganism, Judaism and Islam
  • Appreciate the vast range of differing cultural experiences based on race, class, sex, gender, sexuality and religion depicted in the readings
  • Demonstrate understanding of varying cultural customs and values reflected in the readings
  • Draw justifiable inferences about races and/or cultures studied without stereotyping or ethnocentric bias
  • Listen to and understand individuals and respond respectfully to their points of view
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When students complete English 272, they should be able to…

Books
Books
  • Show increased understanding of the global human condition, today and over the last 350 years
  • Demonstrate understanding and appreciation of landmark Western and Nonwestern texts
  • Recognize similar and dissimilar values within works of varying cultures and periods
  • Appreciate the abundance and diversity of literature within the Western tradition from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Centuries
  • Recognize the persistence of Nonwestern literary traditions during this period of European colonial dominance
  • Trace the emergence of a genuinely global literature during the Twentieth Century, The Post-Colonial Era
  • Appreciate the frequent mutual indebtedness of competing cultural groups
  • Discuss patterns of influence and conflict within and between literary traditions
  • Connect the literature studied to literary movements including Rationalism, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, Post-Colonialism, Post-Modernism
  • Discuss civilly the depictions of race, religion, class and gender in the works studied
  • Recognize the impact of racial bias on the literature and history of recent centuries and acknowledge efforts to overcome racial bias
  • Consider the global context of contemporary American culture and the impact of both the world on America and America on the world
  • Demonstrate responsibility for attendance, preparation for discussion of readings, and regular completion of writing assignments

When students complete English 278, they should be able to…

  • Demonstrate skill in analyzing elements of literature such as plot, character, setting, tone, point of view, symbol, irony and theme
  • Use the language and techniques of literary criticism when discussing literature by women
  • Recognize and respect the diversity of individual and cultural values depicted in literature by women
  • Develop an appreciation for the skill and creativity of individual women authors
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and development of literature written by women
  • Recognize the historical, social, and cultural contexts of literature written by women
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the artistic and intellectual contributions of women to literature
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Literature 295 class
Students analyze, discuss and write about the literature of a particular genre, author or period. The course content varies and may include the following: Classical mythology, contemporary novels, mystery or crime fiction, historical novels, Western fiction, women writers, and Black and Chicano literature. The emphasis of each course is understanding the themes, conventions and techniques of the writers within the genre. The aim is to assist students in recognizing the ways in which literature reflects and challenges the values of its audience. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics. Prerequisite: ENGL& 101, grade of 2.0 or above; or permission of instructor. SFCC only: Recommended minimum reading placement score: COMPASS 80, ASSET 40.


Looking for Answers regarding our literature courses?

Please direct questions regarding our literature courses to Ryan Simmons, Lead Literature Instructor or to Laura Read, the interim Lead Literature Instructor for Winter and Spring 2013.


Ryan Simmons
Email: Ryan.Simmons@sfcc.spokane.edu
Office: 5-159
Phone: 533-3614

Laura Read
Email: Laura.Read@sfcc.spokane.edu
Office: 24-312
Phone: 533-4173

AUTHOR FOCUS

ZORA NEALE HURSTON
Zora Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was one of the most vibrant, poetic, and controversial novelists in twentieth-century America. She also may be the most striking example of a writer whose reputation was rescued from obscurity after her death. During the “Harlem Renaissance” of the 1920s and ‘30s, Hurston (who was trained as an anthropologist) lovingly captured the poetic language and dramatic stories of the people of Eatonville, Florida, one of the nation's only all-black towns. She was determined to bring new voices and experiences into literature. Although her books were successful at first, by the 1950s they had gone out of print, and Hurston was reduced to working as a maid near the end of her life. In the 1970s and ‘80s, however, devoted fans, including the novelist Alice Walker, helped bring Hurston's writing back into the limelight. Today, her novels and stories are among the most frequently discussed in college classrooms and literary journals.

Starting Place: Their Eyes Were Watching God (novel, 1937)

Author focus

Quotable:“She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom, the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation” (Their Eyes Were Watching God).

To learn more:You can learn more about Hurston and other great American writers in courses like: English 249 (American Literature since 1865) and English 259 (African American Literature).

Class Credits
ENGL 249American Literature since 1865 5.0
ENGL 259African American Literature 5.0
Book art
Used under Creative Commons License, Ninha Morandini

LIT UP!

SFCC's Student Literature Club

If you like to read, Lit Up! is a place to meet like-minded people, have fun, and discuss good books. The club selects a new book for its Book Club at least once each quarter, as well as screening movies and attending literary and non-literary events. We also give back to the community by conducting an annual book drive for the Airway Heights Correctional Facility. We welcome those with interests in all styles and genres of writing.

Ryan Simmons