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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Yifan Zhang
ENGL 200
Seattle Campus

Reading Literary Forms

Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

Becoming Us

What all humans have in common is actually what distinguishes them. How we define ourselves is ultimately not up to us because the thing we use for our self-definition – “identity” – is beyond our control. Exploring a variety of literary genres and forms, we will use the conception of identity as the tool to frame our comprehension and interpretation of the selected readings. We can see the concept of identity and identification change over the course of English and American literary history. What does identity/identification mean in literature that reflects the pre-capitalist era, imperial period, or late-capitalist times? Beginning with this fundamental question of identity, we are going to explore the multiplicity of identities of social subjects or objectified subjects which are socially, nationally, racially, and sexually constructed.

Novels include A Passage to India by E. M. Forster, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Fixer Chao by Han Ong, and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. We will also read a novella by Milton Murayama and see one film. Additional readings consist of articles by Stuart Hall, Lionel Trilling, Edward Said, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Stanley and Derald W. Sue, Toni Morrison, and Susan Najita.

Student learning goals

In this course, two learning outcomes have been set up for students: first, the ability to develop a reasonable interpretation of a literary text and to support that interpretation with evidence; second, the ability to develop more sophisticated discussion and composition skills in the interest of being better able to construct and defend their own arguments or interpretations.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Students should come to class with some basic writing skills and mechanics and certain knowledge of grammar that will produce complete sentences and organize paragraphs on a logical basis.

Class assignments and grading

As a “W” or writing class, this course will devote effort to writing about literature. The writing assignments will be partly formed by GoPosts. Moreover, you will be required to accomplish two 1~2-page singled-spaced proposals and two 5~7-page major papers. Only the major papers will be graded; but the proposals will be taken into consideration for your final grades.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Yifan Zhang
Date: 10/27/2010