Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

ENGL 273 Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center – Fall 2012

English 273: 
Introduction to Fiction

Elizabeth Geoghegan


Hours:  By appointment; Room 102

Day/Time/Location:  Tues/3pm-530pm/TBD



COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This core course focuses on the understanding, appreciation, and criticism of prose fiction. Through the examination of superlative examples of 20th & 21st century fiction students will come to a better understanding of how to think, speak, and write about literature. The class will emphasize close readings of the texts to better understand the complexities of narrative language and the diverse points of view and traditions (or lack thereof) that inspire literary fiction. We will also analyze visual narratives and compare the ways in which film and literature inform one another.

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of fiction as a means of exploring human experience and understanding the creative process, and be able to use the technical vocabulary necessary for understanding fiction.


  Area(s) satisfied:

  Knowledge and Experience


  Thinking and Reading

  Skills – Written & Oral

  Requirement(s) satisfied:





The Great Gatsby (1925), F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941), Carson McCullers

Beloved (1987), Toni Morrison

The English Patient (1993), Michael Ondaatje

The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction (2008), Joyce Carol Oates, Ed. 


LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Through the careful analysis of representative texts, this class will deepen student knowledge of fiction and increase understanding of the human experience reflected in literature. 


Students will practice thinking and reading critically and improve critical skills by analyzing varied interpretations and assumptions connected to the texts. The
course will encourage students to develop their own hypotheses, theories, and interpretations of the literature covered.


Students will acquire the technical vocabulary for understanding works of fiction (plot, theme, etc.) and practice their descriptive, analytical, and argumentative skills in orally and in formal, written analyses. They will improve their ability to frame questions, present background information, analyze specific images, symbols, or passages and to present interpretations of literary work in both oral and written form.


The course will improve student ability to understand how multiple interpretations of literary works are possible, and how differing interpretations reflect
particular cultural and historical conditions that change over time. They will improve their ability to understand meaning in a historical context and to develop
a facility for using different critical approaches to produce different interpretations of the texts.




Through in-class discussions, writing assignments and oral presentations, students will learn to understand, paraphrase, summarize, and contextualize the meaning of assigned texts and develop their own ideas, hypotheses, theories, questions, and proposals about the works in question, synthesizing ideas to support their own arguments and analyses of the text(s).


LEARNING ACTIVITIES: Readings and discussions will provide information regarding the texts, placing them in an historical context and
providing avenues for critical analysis. Student(s) will be expected to read the materials in advance and be prepared to both ask and answer questions about the reading assignments. Discussion, homework assignments, written responses (of varied lengths), a midterm, an oral presentation, and a final paper will be used to assess literary knowledge, as well as writing and critical thinking and communication



Participation & Attendance                                          10%

Midterm Exam                                                           25%

Response Papers                                                        20%

Oral Presentation                                                       20%

Final Research Paper                                                  25%



All essays and take-home writing assignments should be typed, double-spaced with one inch margins, and prepared using a 12 point font size. Please note that in Italy we use A4 paper (not US Letter) and you should change your page set-up to reflect this.  Essay formatting should follow the MLA Style Handbook. You are also required to submit an electronic copy of any take-home writing assignment or paper. You should put your last name in the file name and save it as a “doc.” document (e.g. Smith-Midterm-Paper.doc). You should also put the name of the assignment and your surname and name in the subject line of the email (e.g. midterm paper for Smith, John). Electronic copies should be sent to: egeoghegan@luc.edu.  Late essays lose 10% if they are late. If essays are late more than a week, they will not be accepted and a grade of will be recorded for that assignment. Quizzes cannot be made up unless the student is absent on University business, religious observance, or as the result of a medical or family emergency.  Students who arrive late to class after a quiz has concluded will not be permitted to take the quiz.



Since our discussions (and your participation in them) are such a large component of this course, and we have fewer meetings than most courses, your attendance is mandatory.  Two (2) unexcused absences will result in the lowering of your final grade by one complete grade.  For example, a student with an A will drop to a B, a student with an A- will drop to a B- and so on.  More than three (3) unexcused absences may result in failure for the course. Absences (medical or otherwise) should be cleared with the JFRC Dean’s office. 


DISABILITY POLICY:  If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me within the first week of classes


ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:  Plagiarism is considered a serious offense, will be reported to the Dean of the Loyola Rome program, and could result in
expulsion.  Please see me if you have questions about how to do research, document and cite sources, or with any other questions you may have about papers and assignments. 



COURSE CALENDAR:  This schedule offers an overview of the readings. A detailed calendar with paper and other deadlines will be distributed in class.


One                    Intro to Reading Fiction & The Short Story

Two:                  Stories by Sherman Alexie, Jhumpa Lahiri, David Foster Wallace, et al

Three                 The Novel & The Early 20th Century Experience:  The Great Gatsby

Four:                 The Jazz Age & Modernism:  The Great Gatsby

Five:                   The So-Called Southern Novel:  Reflections in a Golden Eye

Six:                     The So-Called Gay Novel:  Reflections in a Golden Eye        

Seven:                 Midterm


Eight:                  Politics & War: The English Patient   

Nine:                   Identity & Borders:  The English Patient

Ten:                    Exploring Visual Narratives, Film TBA

Twelve:               Slavery & the South-North Migration: Beloved

Thirteen:             The Post-Modern Novel/Ghost Story: Beloved

Fourteen:             Course Wrap Up

Week:                 Final Papers Due