ENGL 277 A: Introduction to Children's and Young Adult Literature

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 9:10am - 11:20am
CMU 226
Joint Sections: 
C LIT 250 B
Hee Eun Lee

Syllabus Description:



Image result for Alice in Wonderland Illustration


CLIT 250/ ENGL 277: “Between Man and Animal in Children’s Literature and Film”


Summer A 2019                                                                                         Hee Eun Helen Lee

MTWTh 9:10-11:20; CMU 226                                                                    Office: PDL B534

E-mail: hlee921@uw.edu                                                             Office Hours: W11:30-12:30




This course explores how the fantastical imagination of children’s literature shapes the childhood as separate from and subordinate to adulthood along with the larger cultural, historical, psychological and philosophical perspectives of society. At the same time, this course aims to identify how the literary and visual spaces grant a better ground for elucidating subverted issues. By investigating the motifs of children’s literature across borders, beginning with the nineteenth-century Golden Age of Children’s Literature to more contemporary works that have reaped unprecedented levels of success today, this course surveys the underlying discourse that resonates across national borders, human and non-human communications, the real and the sublime, space and time. Readings will be drawn from transnational traditions, transcultural retellings of fairy tale legacies, as well as Disney adaptations such as Alice in WonderlandPeter Pan,The Nut Cracker and others. 


Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, (Oxford, ISBN:978-019537839)

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, (Bantam Classic, ISBN: 978-0553213454)

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (Dover Thrift Editions ISBN-13: 978-0486282114)

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson(Dover Thrift Editions ISBN-13: 978-0486266886)



This is not a textbook course, and the ideas that we will discuss are not ideas that one can figure out alone in one's room with a compass and protractor. Rather, the course concerns the evolution of cultural ideas, and I wish to give each of you ample opportunity to share your ideas about art and culture. (Don't worry if you feel like you don't have any such ideas to share; as we progress you will find that you have plenty!) Accordingly, I reward with high participation marks those who contribute to the classroom learning experience as a whole.

            Since the class is built around student participation, I allow for only two absences during the quarter. After two absences (i.e. one week of class in the regular quarter system), your participation grade will diminish. Kindly let me know in advance if you'll miss a class but do not feel compelled to relate to me any reason behind a given absence. I trust your judgment, and I do not wish to be the arbiter of legitimate and illegitimate excuses. Simply remember that your participation points at the end of the term depend upon your contribution to the class. If you will be absent on a day that you are to submit a version of a paper, it is your responsibility to get that paper to me in a prompt and congenial manner. Lastly, to get good marks in participation, you will need to appear at class on time.

            I assign periodic in-class writings, which will help you to get into the habit of writing, and will help me to assess how well you're understanding the materials. These will not be individually graded, though I do take them into consideration when assessing participation.


Papers: You will write one 5 page paper and several in-class and online responses over the course of the term.  Papers must be word-processed, double-spaced, and printed in "Times New Roman" 12-point font (or, in a pinch, "Times"). Late papers (both first and final submissions) are reduced 1/2 letter grade per weekday late. I do not accept email attachments.


Reading Responses: Writing is a process, not a product, and as such, it requires a balance between accountability and flexibility. Learning to read texts from an alert “literary” perspective is a skill that we can also bring to bear on non-literary, not reducible to word text but to all other kinds of texts. We “read” every day, meaning, elements of narrative structures, features such as imagery, allegory, tone and other elements typical of literary texts are everywhere to serve rhetorical purposes. To practise “reading” these elements perceptively, you will be writing on a regular class, sometimes in class, often before and/or after a given class. That writing will provide me with one key measure of your engagement in the course and your active reading of the texts we will be covering.


Discussion Leading: In addition to these reading responses, you will also engage with one of the texts of your choice in a more self-led way for the rest of the class. I will circulate a sign-up sheet in the first week of our class, and you will be responsible for responding to one of the texts in the single day’s reading. Introduce the text, share your reading with the class and come up with three discussion questions you would like the class to discuss. What is the text saying? How do you see the argument being made? What part of the text is crucial? What part of the text stands out to you? What are some aspects you would like your peers to think about in depth? This should be about 30-40 minutes.



Attendance and Work Expectations  

Grade Distribution:

Attendance                                                               15%

Class Discussion Leading                                  15%

Reading Responses                                               25%

Paper                                                                             20%

Final Project                                                             25%


A Brief Explanation of Paper Grades: 

What follows are some basic interpretative notes on paper grades as I use them in all my courses. In them, I borrow directly from the grading policies of fellow instructors in the department. What follows thus represents a fair sample of UW instructors. It is also the best representation I can give you of how I measure your writing in this class.

An "A" (9) paper explores a literary or critical issue in a manner that is both lucid and elegant. It represents an intellectual problem or critical stance, and shows how that problem or stance is best resolved. The A paper illuminates its subject in a fashion that surprises the casual reader, and calls him or her to reconsider the issue in light of the essay's claims. The A paper takes intellectual risks: its topic is challenging, and its treatment thorough and insightful. It is virtually free of errors, and it goes beyond issues that we have discussed in class, or casts new light on those issues. The thesis in A papers will be clear, complex, and immediately engaging.

A "B" (8) paper is most characterized by good organization and depth of analysis. It makes a worthwhile point about a particular text through careful analysis. It separates the different levels of an argument, and shows how those levels underlie, support, and limit one another. It is marked by smooth transitions, close readings, and quotations from relevant passages. The argument is strong enough to withstand the most obvious opposition, and the paper responds to potential counter-arguments. The essay shows a good, strong understanding of the text. It is for the most part well written. Although there may be grammatical errors, there are none that obscure the writer's intention. The B paper does not achieve the level of elegance or the depth of insight found in the A paper, but it nevertheless represents a fine achievement.

A "C" (7) essay demonstrates a generally good grasp of the text, and a generally workable idea, but its analysis may be weakened by problems with expression, or else it is well written but misses significant points in its interpretation, or else its articulation of the idea is too vague to be captivating. In other words, the paper's argument may be theoretically good but superficially rendered. The paper makes good points and demonstrates an understanding of the text or subject, but it is not well organized or backed up by a close examination of that subject. It tends to present summary in the place of analysis. The author may not have accounted for obvious counter-arguments. The grammar occasionally obscures the author's intention, or interrupts reading. It shows a want of careful proofreading. Absence of a thesis will invariably keep a critical paper in the C, or more likely, the D range. The C grade is not an indictment, but it is an indication that the writer ought to revise and develop the essay more thoroughly.

A "D" (6) essay attempts to address a reasonable subject but lacks a sophisticated thesis (or any thesis at all). The paper thus does not have a clear point to make, and the reader will be confused about what the essay is trying to accomplish. In the absence of an organizing argument, the paper will be hard to follow in a number of places. It may entail misreading the text, or grammatical errors that obscure meaning. Like the C paper, it tends to present summary in the place of analysis, and it shows a want of careful proofreading.

The "E" paper does not fulfil the assignment in a reasonable or competent fashion.


Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the act of presenting another’s work as your own. The University of Washington takes a very dim view of plagiarism – please consult the Faculty Resource on Grading Website if you have any questions about this: <http://depts.washington.edu/grading/



On Laptop Computers and Other Wireless Electronic DevicesPlease be advised that I frown upon the use of laptops during class discussion or lecture, and that I prefer your using paper books to e-readers. I realise that some students prefer to take notes on laptops, but this convenience is counterbalanced by the fact that they distract others. They also tempt users to multi-task (further distracting others). Before class, then, please put away your laptop (likewise your cell phone, etc.). Students found texting during class will receive poor participation marks.


On UW Values:

            The UW aims to help students become more incisive thinkers, effective communicators, and imaginative writers by acknowledging that language and its use is powerful and holds the potential to empower individuals and communities; to provide the means to engage in meaningful conversation and collaboration across differences and with those with whom we disagree; and to offer methods for exploring, understanding, problem solving, and responding to the many pressing collective issues we face in our world—skills that align with and support the University of Washington’s mission to educate “a diverse student body to become responsible global citizens and future leaders through a challenging learning environment informed by cutting-edge scholarship.”

            As a department, we begin with the conviction that language and texts play crucial roles in the constitution of cultures and communities. Our disciplinary commitments to the study of language, literature, and culture require of us a willingness to engage openly and critically with questions of power and difference. As such, in our teaching, service, and scholarship we frequently initiate and encourage conversations about topics such as race, immigration, gender, sexuality, and class. These topics are fundamental to the inquiry we pursue. We are proud of this fact, and we are committed to creating an environment in which our faculty and students can do so confidently and securely, knowing that they have the backing of the department.

            Towards that aim, we value the inherent dignity and uniqueness of individuals and communities. We aspire to be a place where human rights are respected and where any of us can seek support. This includes people of all ethnicities, genders, national origins, political views, and citizenship status; of all faiths or none; LGBQTIA+; those with disabilities; veterans; and anyone who has been targeted, abused, or disenfranchised.




 * =handout or Canvas PDF

Week 1: The Imaginary and the Fantastical

Mon, June 24 Different Genres, Different Readings, How to Read

Tues, June 25 Blake, Wordsworth, Smith, Rossetti 

Wed, June 26: *Bettelheim. “The Struggle for Meaning,” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan Act 1-3

Thurs, June 27: Peter PanContd. Act 4-5


Week 2: Human and Non-human

Mon, July 1: Cohen's Essay, Mary Shelley, Frankenstein I Chp. 1-6

Tues, July 2 Frankenstein 7-16

Wed, July 3 Frankenstein 17-24

Thurs, July 4 NO CLASS – Independence Day


Week 3: The Sublime and the Uncanny

Mon, July 8 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Tues, July 9 Special Collections with Sandra Kroupa

Wed, July 10 Individual Conferences 

Thurs, July 11 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ; Writing Workshop – Peer Review

Paper 1 Due Friday 12th5pm


Week 4: Anthropomorphism

Mon, July 15 Carroll. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chp. I-VI Alice

Tues, July 16 Alice Contd.; Chp. VII-XII

Wed, July 17 * Introduction to Cinematography; Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (watch individually)

Thurs, July 18  Labyrinth of Pan (in class screening)




 Week 5: Anthropomorphism Contd.  

Mon, July 22 “The Parallelism of the Fantastic and the Real”; Labyrinth of Pan Discussion 

Tues, July 23 Roundtable discussion 

Weds, July 24 No Class, Helen is off to a conference

Final Project Due Friday 26th, 5pm


[i] This schedule is as of now my best approximation of how the class ought to move along. I have attempted to negotiate between assigning too much reading and giving you insufficient amounts of material to write on. I reserve the right to change the order of works as seems best to suit our needs as a learning community. HL







Catalog Description: 
Introduction to creative works written for children and young adults, with emphasis on historical, cultural, institutional, and industrial contexts of production and reception. Also examines changing assumptions about the social and educational function of children's and young adult literature.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 10:40pm