Tolkien, Lewis, and Pullman

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2016
Bea Wood Hall
Classroom Number
BW 226: Jim Hoggard Rm
Days & Times

Wednesday 6:30-9:20 PM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
HarperCollins One Volume Editon
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Houghton Mifflin One Volume Edition
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Vol. III of His Dark Materials

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.

 The Nature of the Graduate Research Project in Tolkien, Lewis, and Pullman

The first stage of the Graduate Research Project is a relatively modest essay, but it culminates in a fully developed research paper. Between the modest essay and the final project, graduate students will reconsider their initial judgments and reflect more deeply on their inquiry, and develop over time their own synthesis of the disparate materials. The two phases of the graduate research project comprise an unusual opportunity to analyze, explore, question, reconsider, and synthesize secondary sources.


C.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia. One Volume Edition. HarperCollins, 2001.                            ISBN 978-006623850-1

J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings. One Volume Edition. Houghton Mifflin, 2002.                      ISBN 978-0-618-26025-0

Philip Pullman. The Amber Spyglass. His Dark Materials. Book III. Dell Yearling Book. 2000.              ISBN 978-0-440-41856-6

Course Expectations

Presentations, THREE Six Paragraph Essays, and a GRADUATE RESEARCH PROJECT

  • Participate in discussion by writing beforehand a presentation and presenting it during class. The presentation provides a Block Quote (BQ, i.e., a verbatim passage of five or more lines from the primary text) followed by a paragraph written by the student which addresses the BQ for relevant insights. Below is a sample presentation.

SAMPLE: Student Name: Some Thoughts on Lady Eowyn in The Return of the King: 

Then the heart of Eowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.

“I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun,” she said; “and behold! The shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.” (943) 

Before she had been a noble warrior, a “shieldmaiden,” but hanging onto that identity keeps Eowyn an invalid, a melancholy patient forever convalescing in the House of Healing. On the battlefield, she could “vie with the great Riders,” but there is a deeper, more profound principle steadily growing within Eowyn, to the point that “at last” she felt that “she understood it.” The effect of this realization is a birth of tender feeling and an appreciation for life itself—that which is not “barren.” Standing in the “Tower of the Sun,” she evinces her old sense of personal courage and authority, but now that powerful will of hers embodies spring. She blossoms as a flower does once “winter” passes away. Her assertive but spontaneous “behold!” is both confident and supremely alive to everything a warrior doesn’t necessarily notice or care about. Before she had taken “joy” in the “songs of slaying,” but now she belongs to life. The new Middle Earth claims her by becoming her.

  • Write three six paragraph essays, each one based on a required passage in our reading list.
  • Start a SIX paragraph essay with a BQ from the primary text.
  • The first paragraph that students actually write in their own words is paragraph two, which follows the BQ. In paragraph two, students mine the BQ for relevant ideas they express in their own words. A PRESENTATION COULD BE THE BEGINNING OF A SIX PARAGRAPH ESSAY.
  • Discuss character in paragraph three, utilizing four Short Quotes (SQs) from elsewhere in the primary text and/or any of our required titles in this course, and/or related primary text(s) like The Silmarillion or a Narnia title we’re not officially reading, etc. A SQ may be as long as four lines of your typing or as short as one word. SQs may come from anywhere in the primary text—but not from the BQ.

SAMPLE PAR 3: Eowyn is one of Tolkien’s disobedient heroes. She realizes her destiny only when she resists the will of those putatively in authority over her, including her brother, Eomer, and Theoden himself. Fatefully, she comes to stand between the dying king and the Lord of the Nazgul, who sneers, “No living man may hinder me!” (823). She counters with the revelation of her gender: “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman, Eowyn I am” (823). She falls wounded in this encounter, but her role will prove inspirational. When Eomer discovers her wounded form, he taps into a vein of cold fury that will stead him well in battle: “A fey mood took him” (826)—a surge of dauntless vigor that has no need of hope, only vengeance. “Death!” proclaims Eomer, “Ride, ride to ruin and the world’s ending!” (826). Conversely, when Faramir gazes upon the convalescing Eowyn, he feels his terror and despair begin to ebb: “a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!” (941). However, it is not Eowyn’s nature to follow any prerogative but her own: “Alas,” she protests, “not me, lord! […] Shadow lies on me still. Look not to me for healing! I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle” (939).

  • Discuss the character’s relationship to Middle-Earth as a whole in paragraph four, utilizing four more SQs from elsewhere in the primary text and/or any of our required titles in this course, and/or related primary text(s) like The Silmarillion or a Narnia title we’re not officially reading, etc.

SAMPLE PAR 4: The hope of a reborn Middle-Earth depends, in part, on new feelings stirring within Eowyn’s heart. The healing of her own being is dependent on her inclining to a new Middle-Earth—and, in turn, the growth and vitality of Middle-Earth is itself dependent on her changing the character of her will and attitude. One of the seeds of a new Middle-Earth is the consciousness of Eowyn herself. To her surprise, as she feels a change within her—a shift of priorities—she realizes her true consort must be Faramir, himself not a king, but rather the king’s minister—his steward. Together they both become stewards of a world, long blasted and stunted, but which longs to live again. “No longer,” confesses Eowyn, “do I desire to be a queen” (943). Faramir, of course, is delighted that the “White Lady of Rohan” has found it in her heart to be his consort, and affirms her new role as healer: “then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes” (944-45). Her newfound identity is also a healing of her own sickness of heart, as Faramir announces to the Warden of the Houses: “Here is the Lady Eowyn of Rohan, and now she is healed” (944). Proof of her new commitment lies in her choice to remain for awhile among the healers: “For this House,” she says solemnly, “has become to me of all dwellings the most blessed” (944). The warrior has forsaken the battlefield and now thrives within its antithesis—a house of healing.

  • Critical Review: Make a sustained point in paragraph FIVE based a scholarly secondary source. At least one substantive quote from the source should reinforce the discussion. The secondary source is ideally a book from Moffett stacks or an article from Academic Search Complete (or other Moffett-supported database), or an item approved by the instructor or our faculty partner, Ryan Samuelson.
  • For paragraph six (final paragraph) support the thesis at length and in-depth (no new quotes). Do not skimp on this paragraph.
  • For paragraph one start with a summary of the essay’s rationale—the clearest possible expression of the student’s thesis and related sub-points (e.g., five to seven sentences). The rest of paragraph one (as many sentences as necessary) provides a context (summary of relevant plot-points) for the BQ.
  • For the Final Exam, students write in class a FIVE paragraph Blue Book essay. There is no introductory paragraph. It begins with a pre-entered Block Quote. Otherwise, the format is the same as the SIX paragraph essay.
  • Demonstrate correct written English. Grammar and phrasing problems will affect the grade.

The Graduate Research Project 

  • Students choose ONE of the three six-paragraph essays as the foundation upon which to build their research project for this course.
  • Students re-approach the critical review. Instead of one paragraph, it must be expanded to FIVE paragraphs (i.e., pars. 5-9) and bring in a total of FIVE secondary sources. 
  • Each paragraph in the critical review focuses in-depth on one secondary source. The paragraph begins by introducing the source: author(s), book title, or essay title and name of journal. The paragraph sustains a significant idea from the source and quotes a substantive passage from the source. If not from the Moffett databases or library book stacks, you need approval for a source from the instructor or our faculty partner, Ryan Samuelson.
  • Students provide a REVISED introductory paragraph prior to the BQ as well as a REVISED final paragraph following the critical review in which the graduate student reconsiders the original thesis in light of the expanded review.
  • Students submit a final research project of TEN paragraphs and an expanded Works Cited. 

NOTE: Be sure to introduce a secondary source: e.g., According to or As Jordan Smith observes in title of book or title of essay in/for name of the journal or anthology. Students need to sustain the relevant point in their own words for a whole paragraph and at intervals further acknowledge the author(s): e.g., Smith adds or Smith also points out. Students should quote at least once from each source and that quote should be substantive (but this quote does not have to be more than four lines of typing, which would be a block quote).

Final Exam (20 percent of overall grade)

Students may pre-enter the Block Quote in their Blue Book. They may already have an outline with bullet points on the inside Blue Book covers. The Blue Book is open-book and students may have their highlighted secondary source with them during the test. There is NO introductory paragraph, but otherwise everything is the same including proper MLA in-body citing. Works Cited can be pre-entered. STUDENTS MAY OPT TO WRITE THEIR IN-CLASS BLUE BOOK ON THEIR LAPTOP. In that case, the WORD document for their bullet point outline may be expanded into their Blue Book (all quotes may be pre-entered; the Works Cited may be pre-entered). Students then e-mail their WORD document by attachment at the end of the test period to the instructor. BUT DO NOT PRE-WRITE THE ESSAY. IT MUST BE DRAFTED IN-CLASS DURING THE FINAL EXAM PERIOD.

Grading Standards


Grading and In-class Participation

The three six-paragraph essays are worth 30 percent (10 percent each) of the semester grade, while the Blue Book Final Exam is worth 20 percent. The presentations are worth 10 percent. The Graduate Project is worth 40 percent of the final grade. Students read aloud from presentations in class and discuss them.

Final Exam

12/14/2016 8:00-10:00 PM

Submission Format Policy

 Proper Format and Submission of all Work (note: presentations can be SINGLE-SPACED)

  • All work must be typed (12 point Times New Roman or Garamond), double-spaced (except for presentations), with a header for the student’s last name (in the default .5 setting in upper right corner), page numbers inserted (upper right, .5 setting), and MLA format for citing, including the Works Cited. Margins are one inch all around.
  • On the first page of an essay, the student name, instructor name, course, and date should be in the upper left, double-spaced (NOT as a header).
  • Students must submit their work in person (from their hands into the instructor’s hands), not by surrogate, e-mail attachment, left on a table or desk, or slid under the instructor’s office door.
  • For the GRADUATE RESEARCH PROJECT, students submit their work in a folder with brads in this order: presentations (BQ & Paragraph), three six-paragraph essays, and then (last item in the brads) the graduate research paper.
  • The final bluebook is separate (handwritten or typed on laptop) during final period.

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 Penalties and Illness

An assignment is late if submitted after the class period it is due and penalized 10 points. If late by two class periods, the essay is penalized 20 points. Late work may avoid penalty for late submission by obtaining documentation from a relevant professional.

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

FIVE absences from class (excused or not) will result in a penalty of 10 points (10 percent) from the overall semester grade. All absences count as absences except for official campus closure. If students have special circumstances that require missing more than four classes, they need to provide relevant documentation.

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 assignments 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 without using quotation marks, but NOT whole phrases or clauses. 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

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