English Literature I

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2015
Prothro-Yeager Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

MWF 12 NOON-12:50 PM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


2nd ed. Liuzza Facing Page Translation
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Broadview; Ed. James Winny
The Canterbury Tales: 15 Tales and GP.
Norton 2nd Critical Edition; Ed: Kolve & Olson
The Tempest
Evans Shakespeare Edition; Ed: Grace Tiffany
Paradise Lost
Norton Critical Edition; Ed: Gordon Teskey
The Showings of Julian of Norwich
Norton Critical Edition; Ed: Denise Baker

Course Objectives

English Department Goals

GOAL 1. Critical Inquiry

Objective 1.1:  Student engages in an increasingly sophisticated discourse and demonstrates aesthetic and critical discernment through close textual analysis.

Objective 1.2:  Student evaluates secondary sources and applies skills in information gathering and management, and document design, using traditional sources and emerging technologies.

GOAL 2.  Knowledge of Language and Literature

Objective 2.1:  Student understands the usage and structure of the English language.

Objective 2.2:  Student recognizes the stylistic techniques that distinguish key literary texts relevant to subject and genre.

Objective 2.3:  Student is familiar with the legacy of important ideas and contexts associated with literary periods.

Objective 2.4:  Student is introduced to academic and professional publications in the field.

GOAL 3.  Writing as Process

Objective 3.1:  Student reflects on his or her arguments over multiple stages of development.

Objective 3.2:  Using traditional resources and emerging technologies, the student references and formats primary and secondary sources in MLA style.

GOAL 4.  Engagement

Objective 4.1:  Student is aware of a cultural context for his or her own values and those of his or her sources. 


Course Expectations


Objectives in Early English Literature

  • IN-CLASS BLUE BOOKS: Write thoughtful “argument” styled essays in a 50-minute time frame to support an argument that answers the question of a prompt.
  • Outside of class, develop a typed essay with a Works Cited and in-body citing that follows MLA (as modeled in this syllabus) and addresses Shakespeare’s The Tempest with a special emphasis on Miranda and her relationships to other characters in the story and drawing on secondary sources from our critical edition of the play.


Grading Standards



The Blue Books (including the final) are averaged together for a grade that counts 80 percent of the overall semester grade; the typed paper is worth 20 percent.

Final Exam

12/09/2015 3:30 - 5:30 PM

Submission Format Policy


Format for the Typed Out-of-class Paper

  • Must be 12 point Times New Roman and double-spaced.
  • For header and page number in the .5 default position: click on “insert,” then “page number,” “top of page,” and “plain number 3.” The cursor will show to the immediate left of the page number. Simply type your last name, and it will magically appear. Space once between name and number.
  • ONE INCH margins all around.
  • NOT A HEADER: On the first page of an essay, the student name, instructor name, course, and date should be in the upper left, double-spaced. These items do not appear on subsequent pages.
  • Follows MLA citing as indicated in the examples in this syllabus.


TYPED SIX PARAGRAPH PAPER PROMPT: What kind of person is Miranda? What does she want in life? What does her relationship to other characters tell us about her?


First Paragraph (followed by Block Quote): The introductory paragraph begins with the student’s argument: the case he or she is making in regard to Miranda’s personality. The argument’s rationale includes at least some of the key points which the rest of the essay will develop at length. The second half of the first paragraph should set the scene for the Block Quote which will follow. This part of the introductory paragraph should clarify who is speaking and all the needful plot and character points that we need to know in order to appreciate the Block Quote. The Block Quote is a long verbatim passage from the play (too long for quotation marks).


BLOCK QUOTE follows the first paragraph: Type in the verbatim passage normally. Then highlight with cursor, click on “Paragraph,” and select “hanging” under “Special.” Make it is double-spaced.


                                                        I must eat my dinner.

This island’s mine by Sycorax my mother,

Which thou tak’st from me. When thou cam’st first,

Thou strok’st me and made much of me; wouldst give me

Water with berries in’t; and teach me how

To name the bigger light, and how the less,

That burn by day and night; and then I loved thee

And showed thee all the qualities o’th’isle,

The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place and fertile.

Cursèd be I that did so! […] (1.2.331-339)


Parenthetical reference: (1.2.331-339) means act one, scene two, lines 331-339. Once we know the act and scene, we simply use the line numbers in parentheses.


The second paragraph finishes discussing the block quote and then brings in at least four short quotes which are not part of the Block Quote:


Before he learned about the universe and how to think and express himself in language, Caliban was a happy-go-lucky creature who delighted in being loved, not unlike a pet or a small child. Under Miranda’s tutelage, the universe opened up to him and he increased in understanding. He went from a witch’s gibbering young progeny “not honor’d with / A human shape” (284) to being a remarkably articulate, if rebellious rival to Prospero. Very importantly, as Caliban grew up with Miranda, she also imparted a sense of justice to him. The ironic result was that he increasingly felt that he had been robbed. Miranda reminds Caliban that before she taught him all things, he lacked the ability to reason and “wouldst gabble like / A thing most brutish” (356-57). The difference between who he was now and who he had been included the ability to form words: “I endow’d thy purposes,” she said, “With words that made them known” (357-58). But Caliban ironically resents the knowledge that gave him reason and language: “The red-plague rid you,” he says, “For learning me your language!” (363-64).The situation got completely out of hand when Caliban presumed he could press Miranda into copulating with him to fill “This isle with Calibans” (351). The parenthetical numbers are lines in Act One, Scene Two.

The third paragraph continues to support the student’s argument and utilizes four more (never before used) SQs.


“You do look my son, in a mov’d sort, / As if you were dismay’d; be cheerful, sir,” (4.1.146-47) said Prospero to Ferdinand in order to reassure him that nothing horrible was going to happen when the vision of Juno, Iris, and Ceres suddenly vanishes. 

LEAD WITH YOUR THOUGHT and follow with a quote: 

When Prospero realizes Caliban and his co-conspirators are close at hand, he angrily interrupts the magical wedding pageant of Juno, Ceres, and Iris. When Prospero notices that Ferdinand is frightened by the anger of a man who apparently controls the elements, he has mercy on him and speaks tenderly as a father might to his son but with a very respectful tone: “You do look, my son, in a mov’d sort, / As if you were dismay’d; be cheerful, sir” (4.1.146-47).

Notice the forward slash between lines. For poetry, verbatim passages shorter than four lines are NOT set off in a block quote—we use quotation marks instead.           

The fourth and fifth paragraphs bring in secondary sources from our critical edition. Attribution below is highlighted to demonstrate its importance:


Miranda loves her father, but she has trouble trusting him because he seems (in her view) to lack empathy. At the same time, he has the power of a god to control the elements. She’s not afraid for herself—she fears for the world. Therefore, she has come of age as a self-appointed counselor or advisor to her father, attempting through passionate appeal and carefully-argued, persistent advocacy to keep her demigod father in check. She seeks to balance his authority with her gushing compassion as when she bemoans the ship tossed by the miraculous storm: “O! I have suffered / With those that I saw suffer” (1.2.5-6). She must through much cajoling and lamenting save the world from her father. Grace Tiffany, the editor of our critical edition, argues that Prospero is a relentless control-freak with a “driving impulse to control all the beings of the island” (37). Tiffany sees Prospero as someone of tremendous power who nonetheless spends his life discovering and bumping up against the profound limits of his godhood. He can compel the spirits, but he cannot take the place of the biblical God who cares even for the fallen sparrow. Shakespeare’s 1610 audience—the Jacobeans, or subjects of King James—would be acutely attentive to the limits of humankind’s power to imitate or take the place of the biblical God: “But the Bible-literate Jacobeans would have understood the powers of both Prospero and Ariel to be allowed and, finally, circumscribed by God” (39). When quoting from prose (like the supplemental materials in our book), we do not set off verbatim language in a block quote unless it is five lines of our typing or longer.


IMPORTANT: In paragraphs four and five, bring in at least TWO secondary sources from our critical edition and quote from them. You can bring in as many secondary sources as you wish but only from our book, not anything from outside our book.

SIXTH PARAGRAPH: This paragraph does NOT feature new material. Instead, the final paragraph clarifies the student’s argument and goes into depth explaining it. No quoting is required. Do NOT underestimate the importance of paragraph six for explaining at length what the paper is trying to say.


(Sample) Works Cited (MLA cross reference model)

NOTE: All the items below are from the same book—our critical edition.


Abrams, Richard. “The Tempest and the Concept of the Machiavellian Playwright.” Tiffany 211-33.

Jameson, Anna. From Miranda. Tiffany 206-209.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Tiffany 73-143.

Slights, Jessica. “Rape and The Romanticization of Shakespeare’s Miranda.” Tiffany 257-77.

Tiffany, Grace. Introduction: “Some Meanings of the Play.” Tiffany 29-48.

---, ed. The Tempest. By William Shakespeare. Boston: Wadsworth, 2012. Print.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

Late Work

An assignment is late if submitted after the class period it is due. If late by one period, the assignment will be penalized 10 points. If late by two class periods, the essay is penalized 20 points (the penalty is capped at 20 points). All late work must be submitted IN PERSON.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

 Attendance Policy

No more than SIX absences allowed. SEVEN absences from class (excused or not) will result in an automatic F for the semester grade. Naturally, some of these seven absences may be due to unforeseen accident, car breakdown, natural disaster, illness (even documented illness), illness of a relative (including child or parent), court date (including for custody or to avoid jail), or university sanctioned event (sports, theatre, etc)—but the reason does NOT matter. SEVEN of any sort of absence (except official closing of the campus) means an F for the semester. NOTE: If sports or theatre require more than the allowed six, the dates must be documented by the relevant MSU authority according to MSU policy.

Other Policies

 Plagiarism and Proper Documentation

Any use of a non-documented source as if it were a student’s original work is considered plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Plagiarism can be of ideas; it can be of exact phrasing. In either or both cases, if the student has failed to acknowledge the source in the body of the essay and to document it in the Works Cited, the grade will be a “0” (no points) for the assignment even if the rest of the assignment is original and use of other sources properly documented. Upon being informed of the plagiarism, the student is no longer welcome in the class. The student may withdraw from the course with a penalty-free “W” if available; if not, the student must cease attending and the grade will be whatever points the student has accumulated minus the plagiarized document and any other tests or assignment as yet not completed (which are forfeit).  If the student continues to attend, the instructor will contact the Dean of Students or Student Conduct office and withdraw the student with a WF.

 Phrasing that is too close to the student’s own documented sources.

Students who reproduce the phrasing of their documented source(s) as if it were their own phrasing will be penalized for language that is too close to source. Students can use terminology they find in their documented sources, but four words in a row are too much without quoting. Verbatim use of a documented source must be confined to QUOTES set off with quotation marks or ten extra spaces on the left if the verbatim passage works out to be five or more lines of student typing or handwriting. All such quoting requires parenthetical page numbers if provided in the source. Even if page numbers are not provided, the language must be clearly attributed to the author and set off by quotation marks or an extra ten inches on the left. 

Writing Proficiency Requirement (as of 60 earned credit hours)

All students seeking a Bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they have successfully completed the Communication core requirements and earned 60 hours.  If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131. 

Classroom Policies

  • Except for emergencies, students shouldn’t text or talk on their “cells” during class. If something serious is at stake, students should take the call outside.
  • Students may go to the restroom as the need arises except when the instructor is explaining a detailed point to the whole class.
  • Students will be expected to answer questions and participate.
  • Students must have the instructor’s permission to leave class early.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140, if you need to file paperwork and request accommodations. This course complies with all requests on behalf of students made by Disability Support Services. 

Safe Zone Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor’s expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment. 

Contacting Instructors

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor’s phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

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Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at