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ENGL 242 A: Reading Prose Fiction

Meeting Time: 
TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
SMI 407
Close up of Laura Chrisman
Laura Chrisman

Syllabus Description:

 Prof. Laura Chrisman

Course location: Smith Hall 407 

Course time: T/Th 10.30am-12.20pm

Office hours: T: 1-2pm, in person; Th: online, by scheduled appointment. Office: Padelford B401


Teaching Assistant: Bitanya Getahun

TA Email:


Reading Prose Fiction:  Fictions of Africa

This class explores prose fiction from the  20th  and 21st  centuries. Its core texts include a contemporary novel by Imbolo Mbue, How Beautiful We Were, and an historical range of short stories that will be uploaded as pdfs to the Canvas class website. All of the fiction is concerned with African life, and illustrates different colonial, postcolonial and transnational experiences. These texts use a wide variety of narrative approaches, that include realism,  speculative fiction, satire, and myth. As this is a class meeting the Writing requirement, students undertake regular writing activities, that extend from traditional academic prose to more imaginative expression associated with right-brain practices. Students are also expected to keep up with an intensive reading schedule.

Class activities include short lecture, facilitated discussion, group and paired work, and individual in-class writing. The course focuses especially on discussion and group work. Students are evaluated based on class participation and a variety of writing exercises. Students are required to obtain and annotate a print copy of Imbolo Mbue's novel, How Beautiful We Were, on order through the University Bookstore.


Essential literary readings:

Novel: Imbolo Mbue, How Beautiful We Were (Canongate, 2021. ISBN: 1838851348)

You need to buy a paper copy. ELECTRONIC copies are NOT allowed.


Short stories:

Yvonne Vera, ‘Independence Day’ (1992)

Grace Ogot, ‘The Middle Door’ (1972)

Lesley Nneka Arimah, ‘Skinned’ (2019)

Nana Nkweti, ‘The Living Infinite’ (2021)

Nnedi Okorafor, ‘Spider the Artist’, 'The Popular Mechanic' (2008)


All prescribed short fiction and scholarly/theoretical, or archival readings will be available on Canvas.


Course Goals and Objectives.

  1. You are able to critically explore the issues covered in the course.
  2. You are able to perform competent close readings of literary texts.
  3. You use writing opportunities as a space to develop sound metacognitive practices and to critically reflect on your reading and learning practices through writing.
  4. You develop an awareness of literature’s ability to mediate social, political and economic issues.
  5. You practice assessing your own and your peers' work in relation to our specific writing criteria.
  6. You contribute to the development of a class community of learners and thinkers.

Course Policies         

  • All cell phones must be turned off and put away during class. Laptops, IPADs, tablets are permitted for class purposes. You are not permitted to use your cellphone as a substitute laptop or tablet.
  • Please submit all your assignments to Canvas, in Word or pdf
  • Please set your account to receive notifications from Canvas for this class, and check regularly
  • This course info and materials are found in Canvas “Syllabus” (set as homepage), “Files”, and “Announcements” (NOT in Canvas “Modules”); please customize your reading habits accordingly
  • Please acquire a notebook. You will use this for keeping notes on your readings, in-class writing activities, and as a journal log of your class experiences and responses to those experiences. You may be asked to show me this notebook. The notebook will be one of the sources for your “Growth Statement”, to be submitted when you submit your final paper.

Course Assignments will probably include text-merge; 4-column notebooks; metacognitive reflections; discussion posts; in-class writing; mid-term paper (rough and final drafts); peer review; final paper; growth statement, and may include other activities yet to be determined (that may include presentations and conferences).


Class Community Norms

Respect for Difference & Learning: For us to achieve the intellectual vibrancy diversity produces, we have to be open to learning how others see and move through the world, and we have to respect everyone's experiences. We should also recognize that some people's ways of seeing and experiencing the world have been privileged, while others have been marginalized, disparaged, and sometimes met with outright violence. We should attend to that in our written and oral commentary by engaging difference with openness to learning and awareness of power dynamics.  I expect each of us to help build a class community where racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and ableist language and action are not welcomed so that all members of our class can be welcomed.

Respect for Writing and Writers: This class is an inclusive learning community. Because of that—and because we learn from reading others’ writing—I may ask you to post your writing on our class discussion board. Please respect the parameters of our learning community and do not share your classmates’ writing with people outside the course. Some of our class time will be spent reading and responding to one another’s writing in progress. Treat everyone and everyone’s drafts in this class with respect. When we discuss informal writing or drafts, identify emerging or potential strengths as well as weaknesses.  


1) actively participating in class discussions, small group work (and possibly conferences with me);

2) providing timely, thoughtful, and engaged written feedback on peers’ drafts;

3) completing informal writing assignments on time; and

4) submitting all drafts and revisions of the major essays on the date they are due.

My Role: I will help you develop your writing, hone your critical reading skills, develop nascent ideas, analyze others’ arguments and ideas, and pursue your own ideas/arguments in conversation with your classmates, primary documents, and professional/scholarly texts.

Your Role: to grapple with the ideas in lectures and readings and in your peers’ writing and conversation. You should puzzle through the texts we read, not skim them; consistently demonstrate engaged, critical intelligence in your writing; and come to class and conferences fully prepared. You will need to reflect on your own writing and learning processes, and your peers’ writing, critically, and engage in revision of your own thinking and writing.

Assessment: In this course you will be assessed by a system of evaluation called “contract grading.” In a nutshell, that means I specify what you have to do to earn a particular course grade, and you decide what you’re willing and able to do and then sign up for the contract that works best for you. There are no surprises: if you fulfill the obligations of your contract, you get the grade you signed up for. Why a grade contract approach? Here are some expert views:

I have found that conventional grading often leads my students to think more about grades than about writing; to worry more about pleasing me or psyching me out than about figuring out what you really want to say or how you want to say it; to be reluctant to take risks with your writing.  Grading even makes some students feel they are working against me.  Therefore I am using a contract system for grading in this course. –Writing Studies Scholar Peter Elbow

The advantage of contract grading is that you, the student, decide how much work you wish to do this semester; if you complete that work on time and satisfactorily, you will receive the grade for which you contracted. This means planning ahead, thinking about all of your obligations and responsibilities this semester and also determining what grade you want or need in this course. The advantage of contract grading to the professor is no whining, no special pleading, on the student's part. If you complete the work you contracted for, you get the grade. Done. I respect the student who only needs a C, who has other obligations that preclude doing all of the requirements to earn an A in the course, and who contracts for the C and carries out the contract perfectly. (This is another one of those major life skills:  taking responsibility for your own workflow.) -- CUNY Professor Cathy Davidson

Grade Contract for English 242^J winter 2024.docx


On Reading:
You will need to read a text once for general comprehension, and then to read it again to engage with it more fully and analytically. When reading, take notes. In your class notebook, jot down page numbers, particular passages of interest, questions and reactions that you are having as you read. On the texts themselves, highlight, annotate, as you see fit.


Class AI Policy:

In this course, students may be permitted to use AI-based tools (such as ChatGPT) on some assignments. The instructions for those assignments will include information about how you may use AI-based tools to complete the assignment. All sources, including AI tools, must be properly cited. Use of AI in ways that are inconsistent with the parameters above will be considered academic misconduct and subject to investigation.

Please note that AI results can be biased and inaccurate. It is your responsibility to ensure that the information you use from AI is accurate. Additionally, pay attention to the privacy of your data. Many AI tools will incorporate and use any content you share, so be careful not to unintentionally share copyrighted materials, original work, or personal information.

Learning how to thoughtfully and strategically use AI-based tools may help you develop your skills, refine your work, and prepare you for your future career. If you have any questions about citation or about what constitutes academic integrity in this course or at the University of Washington, please feel free to contact me to discuss your concerns.


Useful scholarly and newspaper websites on African societies, politics, current affairs, culture:



Provisional Schedule.

Week 1: Intro.


Week 2.

Monday Jan 8, 12pm: course questionnaire due.

Jan 9:

Writing Assignment: Come to class with your notebook that contains completed Columns 1 and 2 of 4-Column Notebook on Yvonne Vera story.

Reading Pointers document on Vera and Ogot: Reader Pointers for Yvonne Vera and Grace Ogot stories.docx

Yvonne Vera, ‘Independence Day’ (1992): Yvonne Vera, Independence Day (1).pdf

4-Column Notebook using Speculative Starters: 

4 Column Notebook, outline and one example.docx

Speculative Starters.docx

optional pre-class preparation: documentary video for context on colonialism and decolonization in Zimbabwe: From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe: Links to an external site.

Jan 9, Photo or typed up version of complete 4-Column Notebook due, by 11.59pm 

Jan 11: 

Grace Ogot, ‘The Middle Door’ (1972): Grace Ogot, The Middle Door (1).pdf

Bookshy, 'Grace Ogot': Grace Ogot - bookshy.pdf


Week 3.  

Jan 16:

Nnedi Okorafor, ‘Spider the Artist’ (2008): Nnedi Okorafor, Spider the Artist (1) (1).pdf

Reading Pointers and Preparation document, on Okorafor:Reading Pointers and Preparation for Okorafor stories (2).docx

Jan 18:

Nnedi Okorafor, 'The Popular Mechanic' (2008): Nnedi Okorafor, The Popular Mechanic (1) (1) (1)-1.pdf


Week 4. 

Writing Assignment: Text Merge due Monday Jan 22, 12pm. Please follow the instructions in the syllabus (see further down) and please consult the Text Merge Examples (2).docx

Jan 23:

First, read this: Lesley Nneka Arimah, ‘Skinned’ (2019): Lesley Nneka Arimah, Skinned.pdf

Then read this Reading Pointers and Preparation document, on Arimah: Reading Pointers and Preparation for Arimah story.docx

Jan 24: Photo or typed up version of complete 4-Column Notebook due, by 11.59pm  

Mid term essay prompts: English 242 Mid-term paper prompts, winter 2024.docx

Jan 25:  Nana Nkweti, ‘The Living Infinite’ (2021): Nana Nkweti, The Living Infinite.pdf

Online exhibit on Mami Wata (please read all pages):    


Week 5.

Jan 30: Mid-term preparation: discussion of MLA formatting, rubric, sample mid term papers, etc

Come to class having read these two mid-term writing samples:Sample mid term paper (close reading) including prompt (3).docx .

sample short Houseboy Essay-1 (1).docx

As you read, use this rubric to assess their strengths and weaknesses:

Rubric for writing and assessing analytic papers (6).docx

Please note that these sample papers do not use MLA formatting;please disregard that part of the rubric when assessing these sample papers.

For an  example of how to use MLA format: see this: Sample MLA Paper alternate with explanations.pdf 

During this class you will be divided into peer review groups of three and will begin workshopping your mid term paper plans with your peers


Feb 1: in-class peer reviews of midterm drafts   

Feb 2: 11.59pm, written peer reviews of mid terms due


Week 6.


Feb 6: no class: work on final draft of mid-term

Feb 8: Final mid term essay due 11.59pm.

Feb 8: Student presentations


Week 7. In-person feedback on mid-term papers. Schedule for sessions:

Tuesday Feb 13:

10.30-10.50: Group 7 (Annika Miller, Kaleb Pang, Grace Petrie)

10.50-11.10: Group 5 (Cherry Huang, Mackenzie Handel, Marley Laws)

11.10-11.30: Group 4 (Charlotte Gray, Joseph Griffin, Adeline Hanhke)

11.30-11.50: Group 1 plus Surya Priya (Faith Bamba, Arshia Batra, Sean Burk + Surya Priya)

Thurs Feb 15:

10.30-10.50: Group 2 (Rowan Cooper, Sophie Dopp, Lilly Doughty)

10.50-11.10: Group 3 (Karisa Due, Ian Frye, Shuya Yang)

11.10-11.30: Group 6 (Emma Lee, Masey Milham, Ryder Yarbrough)

11.30-11.50: Group 8 (Rohan Gadamsetty, Joban Mand, Lucy Richardson)

11.50-12.10pm: Group 9 (Saniya Rahman, Alyssa Siron, Zixuan Wang)


Weeks 8-10: How Beautiful We Were.

Week 9.

Thurs Feb 29: bring plans for your final project to class and workshop your plan with peers.

Friday Mar 1: submit 100 word description of your final project by 10am for approval by Prof Chrisman.


Week 10.

Tues Mar 5: student presentations; possibly a class debate

Weds Mar 6: rough draft of your final project due, 5pm, Canvas; peer reviewers to read the drafts before class of Mar 7

Thurs Mar 7: in-class peer reviewing of final projects


Finals week:

Final paper and Growth statement due: Tuesday March 12, 11.59pm.


Class Assignments and Activities.

Generative Writing Prompts: Speculative Starters

These prompts to thinking in a speculative, generative way invite us to “think out loud” in our exploratory writing. They serve to spark thinking, and assist in “noticing sensations.”  They can be used to catalyze thinking by oneself, or responding to someone else in Column 2 in the 4-Column Notebook

Speculative Starters:

  1. I noticed. . .
  2. I wonder. . .
  3. I was reminded of. . .
  4. I’m surprised that. . .
  5. I’d like to know. . .
  6. I realized. . .
  7. If I were. . .
  8. Once consequence of ________could be________________
  9. If_____________, then. . . .
  10. Although it seems . . . .
  11. I’m struck by. . . . .
  12. I don’t understand. . . .
  13. I think. . . .
  14. I’m not sure. . . .

4-Column (Dialectical) Notebook:

Column 1: Choose and write down here a quotation from the text you want to think on in “conversation” with another reader of the same text.

 Column 2:  Fill this column with generative writing rising out of your selected quotation in column 1. Use Speculative Starters to coax and encourage your emergent thinking about the language you’ve chosen.

Column 3: Trade Notebooks with another student. Read each other’s Column 2, and record your response in Column 3 of their notebook. Again, use Speculative Starters to further your thoughts in relation to what they’ve written.

Column 4. In your own notebook, write on ‘What I am Thinking Now’, in response to the previous 3 columns.

4 Column Notebook, outline and one example.docx

Text merging:

This reveals what happens when one text is interrupted or disrupted by another text. It consists of combining language from two different texts into another creation, to produce a poem, prose, or nonsense piece. Always it seems to illuminate both texts in new and surprising ways.  Try combining distinctly different selections, both in form and/or content.

For this course’s text merge activities, choose a passage from one of the literary texts studied to date in the class, and choose a passage from a non-prescribed and non-fictional publication of your preference. It could be a news item; it could be a prayer; it could be a poem; it could be a sports commentary; it could be a scientific report (to give a few examples). Merge the language from both “word banks” into a new piece of writing. You don’t need to use all the words from each selected text. NB: you cannot add new words or change the tenses of the original.

Please provide the original passages/phrases on your first page and on the second page present the merge. The word minimum for the merge? 100 words.  

Write a Metacognitive Reflection (minimum 250 words) after completing your text merge in response to the following questions:

What were you aware of experiencing or noticing?

What was in your mind as you did this?

How did you make your choices?

What if anything happened to the first text extracts when disrupted by the second text?  To the second text when interrupted by the extracts from the first text?

You are required to post both your text merge and your metacognitive reflections on Canvas, together: please upload them as a single document.

Grading criteria (graded as complete or incomplete): you will be assessed on the basis of your adherence to the exercise instructions.

See the 'Text-merging' file for further instructions and examples.

Text Merge Examples (2).docx


Class Discussion Posts:

These assignments are opportunities for you to track your reading process and work through thoughts, reactions, and questions in informal, low-stakes writing. Your posts should be coherent and proofread, but you don’t need to have a fully formed thesis. In fact, you may find that you raise more questions than you answer. These papers may form the basis of your in-class contributions. 

Each discussion post should be 250 words minimum (not including quoted words) and quote directly from the text at least once, giving page number for the quotation. You should include the word count at the end of your post.

 Grading criteria (complete/incomplete): this comes from your adherence to the instructions above.


Writing and peer reviewing guidelines: see the Rubric for Writing and Assessing Analytic Papers.

Rubric for writing and assessing analytic papers.docx


Mid-term paper (1,200-1,500 words) and Reflection (250 words):

This is a close reading paper that explores two short stories. (Prompts to be supplied). All papers should be in 12 point Times New Roman, double spaced, each page numbered, 1” margins all  round.  You must use MLA paper formatting, and include a word count at the end. The word count includes quotations. You will be penalized for writing fewer than 1,200 words.

Mid-Term Paper Reflection: This is to be 250 words, telling me how this writing project went for you. I'm interested in your discoveries and obstacles at every stage. Some questions to address in your

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a piece of cake and 10 being mission impossible, how challenging was this assignment for you, and why?

2. Why did you choose the subject, title, approach that you chose?

3. What went well for you in the close reading and composing activities, and what was more difficult? Were any moments in the text you selected opaque to you? Did you have any epiphanies or smaller discoveries while reading/writing?

4. What is a moment--a paragraph, a section-- in this composition that you are proud of, and why?

5. Where in this paper can you show me development as a writer? For example, is there a place in this writing where you see yourself growing, perhaps in your close reading, perhaps in your paragraph construction? or complexity of argument?

6. Which part or aspect of this composition was the most challenging for you, and why?

7. If you had additional time to revise this piece, what would be your first priority, and why?

8. In terms of the paper rubric criteria, tell me where you think you most excelled and how?

9. How does your final draft incorporate or address the feedback given to you by your peer reviewers? Give examples.  



You have three options.

One: a traditional analytic paper of 2,100-2,400 words. It is to be on How Beautiful We Were.  It must include at least two items of scholarly research, consisting of at least one item that engages with/illuminates context(s) for the literature, and one item that engages with/illuminates critical/theoretical concept(s) for the literature. These must be the result of independent research (ie, not previously shared to the class as a pdf in the class Canvas website). Research here means the tracking down and effective use of scholarly literature (an article published in a peer-reviewed journal; a book or book chapter published by an academic press), and/or the tracking down and effective use of archival material (such as a newspaper, organizational report, book review) that provides information that illuminates the novel's concerns.

The paper should be in 12 point Times New Roman, double spaced, each page numbered, 1” margins all round.  You must use MLA paper formatting, and include a word count at the end. The word count includes quotations. You will be penalized for writing fewer than 2,100 words. You may write more than 2,400 words without penalty.

The topic and title are to be designed by you, and must be submitted to Canvas with an 100-word outline, before you start writing. Your paper must explore a topic that falls within the subject matter of this course.


Two: TIPS. 4 letters in total, addressed to materials from the texts from the course (excluding the texts that you have written about in your mid-term paper).

All letters should be in 12 point, double spaced, each page numbered, 1” margins all round, Times New Roman, and adhere to MLA formatting, with a word count stated at the end of each letter.  You are responsible for proof-reading. 

Each letter is 500 words minimum each. TIPS is an acronym for Thing, Idea, Person, Self. Your Thing, Idea, and Person letters should, respectively, cover writings by the writers included in this class. Ie, you may write about a text once only; each letter must engage with a different literary text (and no letter may engage with a text that you have written about in your mid-term). You choose which writer/text will receive the Thing letter, the Idea letter, the Person letter, the Self letter. You need to write, using the letter genre, in the first person and use the second person to address your selected Thing/Idea/Person/Self. You must quote from the literary text at least once in each letter.

 The 'Thing' letter is written by you to a 'Thing', defined as any inanimate object that makes an appearance in the literary text. The 'Idea' letter is written to what you identify as an idea contained in the literary text (through a character, a scene, a dialogue, a descriptive passage, the text itself as a complete entity, etc). The 'Person' to whom you address the letter can be any sentient being that makes an appearance in the literary text (includes plants and animals). The Self letter needs to explore some aspect of yourself in relation to the literary text; you might converse with an emotion that you felt while reading the text, for instance, or a perception that underwent some change as you read or reread the text, and so on. 

Writing guidelines and “completion” criteria for TIPS:  see the rubric file for details.

“Completion” requires your adherence to the exercise instructions, which include formatting, word count minimum, honoring letter-writing conventions, and writing on different literary texts. If you turn the letter into an essay, you depart from the conventions of the letter form and your grade will suffer. This is an imaginative writing exercise, not an analytic academic writing exercise. 

Your selected TIPS topics and text allocations must be submitted to Canvas with an 100-word outline, for approval, before you start writing.


Public Communication Paper option.

As with TIPS, you produce four short papers, of 500 words minimum each, with each paper focused on a different literary text from the course. You may not write about a text that you explored in your mid-term paper. You may use the same selected genre for all four, or choose different genres for some or all. The genres mentioned below are merely suggestions.


  • Is there another audience that would benefit from the ideas, concerns, and insights contained in this fictional material?
  • Into what format might you translate this literary material to reach that audience? In other words, how could you communicate an idea from the fiction  into a different genre — and which genre would you choose?

For instance,

  • What if you want to persuade a filmmaker to make a movie (tv, big screen) adaptation of the literary text?

… You might write a letter that makes a pitch, explaining the value of the text for a particular audience, why it is suited to cinematic treatment, etc. You might suggest potential actors, directors, scriptwriters. 

  • What if you want to persuade a high school curriculum board or educator to use a literary text from the course? 

… You might write a letter that explains the educational value of the literary text for a particular classroom/age group, a particular course of study, etc. You might suggest some classroom assignments that could be generated from the study of the text.

  • What if you want to reach community leaders or activists, to argue why this text is important for their communities?

… You might write a letter that makes a case for why the text is important to that particular community and how it might be introduced and circulated.

  • What if you want to reach the head of a government/state or the CEO of a corporation?

… You might write a letter, or a report, that explains the importance of this text for that particular government leader/country/corporation. 

The Rhetorical Triangle, is useful as a concept for shaping your composition. It helps you to understand where you fit in relation to your new audience, what specific message you want to convey and how your selected new genre is best suited to deliver that information.

This may also be a time to engage the challenges of writing for communities that you may not belong to. Will you write as yourself or as a community member? If you write as yourself, how will that shape your influence?

Your selected topics, text allocations, and proposed genres must be submitted to Canvas with an 100-word outline, for approval, before you start writing.

“Completion” requires your adherence to the exercise instructions, which include formatting, word count minimum, and writing on different literary texts. 

All final papers (be they option 1, 2 or 3) must include the following:

Paper Reflection: This is to be 250 words, telling me how this writing project went for you. I'm interested in your discoveries and obstacles at every stage. Some questions to address in your

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a piece of cake and 10 being mission impossible, how challenging was this assignment for you, and why?

2. Why did you choose the subject and approach that you chose?

3. What went well for you in the reading and composing activities, and what was more difficult? Did you have any epiphanies or smaller discoveries while reading/writing?

4.  Which part or aspect of this composition was the most challenging for you, and why?

5.  If you had additional time to revise this piece, what would be your first priority, and why?


Rubric for writing and assessing analytic papers.docx



Writing Guidelines (general).

On notetaking and journaling:

Here is a link to the MLA guidelines: to an external site.Links to an external site.Links to an external site.Links to an external site.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab is a useful resource on the mechanics of writing.

See in particular the sections and (left margin) subsections on

Paragraphs: to an external site.Links to an external site.Links to an external site.Links to an external site.

Writing Mechanics:

 Punctuation: to an external site.Links to an external site.Links to an external site.Links to an external site.


General tips, cautions, and requests on writing:

I like the use of the first person to present your argument. If you are uncomfortable using the first person, however, don’t do it: just be careful to write in a way that foregrounds your own argument and avoids the appearance of descriptiveness or derivativeness.

Please avoid any tendency to present sweeping generalizations about the history of the world, or the nature of human psychology, such as 'it is widely known that Western culture is essentially dominatory'. Instead, keep your comments precise, specific, and supported by scholarship and observation.

When giving empirical information please provide a scholarly source for that information. Documentation is your friend.

Keep paragraphs within a readable length: don’t make them as long as a double-spaced page. If your paragraph is that long, it will contain more than one primary topic; look for the point where you can divide the paragraph into two.

Always use the present tense when analyzing a text, not the past tense. That is, instead of ‘This author wrote/this character said’ write ‘This author writes/this character says’.

Remember that a fictional text consists of much more than its characters. Other elements of a text include: narrative structure; imagery; language; ideology; intertextual relationship to other texts.

In short: keep your emphasis on exploring the text—its ideas, its structure, and its style.


Missing class: More than two absences will affect your final grade (see Grade Contract for details). Please email me to let me know of any absences, in advance of the class in question. If you miss class, it’s a great idea to ask a fellow student for information on what you missed. NB: Do not ask me—I don’t repeat missed material!  

Office Hours:  This is a time where you and I can meet outside class to discuss assignments, questions about the reading, concerns about expectations, etc.  If my scheduled hours are inaccessible to you, please email me to make appointments for another time. 

Emailing: Do not e-mail me questions that are answered explicitly in the syllabus or elswhere on the Canvas site. I will delete these without replying…

Academic Honesty: It is essential that you properly cite other people’s ideas and language in your writing. Academic integrity is a fundamental university value. Through the honest completion of academic work, students sustain the integrity of the university while facilitating the university’s imperative for the transmission of knowledge and culture based upon the generation of new and innovative ideas.

When an instance of suspected or alleged academic dishonesty by a student arises, it shall be resolved according to the procedures standard at the University of Washington. These procedures are listed here: to an external site.Links to an external site.


English Department’s Statement of Values:

The UW English Department 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, faiths, genders, national origins, political views, and citizenship status; LGBQTIA+; those with disabilities; veterans; and anyone who has been targeted, abused, or disenfranchised.


Statement on Religious Accommodation:

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( to an external site.Links to an external site..

Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form ( to an external site.Links to an external site.



If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.


Writing Centers

Wherever you fall on the spectrum of writing in this course— whether you are struggling with a writing assignment or seeking to “reach the next level”— take advantage of the UW’s writing centers. You will receive feedback and guidance on your writing from me and from your classmates, but it’s also valuable to get the perspective of someone outside the course (especially someone with expertise in producing academic writing!). UW’s writing centers are free for students and provide individual attention from trained readers and writing coaches. This quarter they will offer remote writing appointments.

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process. You can consult with a writing tutor at any stage of the writing process, from the very beginning (when you are planning a paper) to near the end (when you are thinking about how to revise a draft to submit to your instructor). To make the best use of your time there, please bring a copy of your assignment with you and double-space any drafts you want to bring in. While OWRC writing consultants are eager to help you improve your writing, they will not proofread your paper. Available spots are limited, so book your appointments early! Reserve appointments online at .

You can also try out the CLUE Writing Center. CLUE is a first-come, first-served writing center located in the Gateway Center at the south end of the Mary Gates Hall Commons, but of course all virtual this quarter. To learn more, visit


Catalog Description: 
Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
October 18, 2023 - 5:54am