English 246

Twentieth-Century American Literature

Instructor:  Shusmita Sen Office:   Old Main 211R
Phone # 533-7367
Office Hours:   Texts:   
1. The American Tradition in Literature, Volume II, Ninth Edition,
by George Perkins and Barbara Perkins
 2. Any Handbook of your choice (optional but preferred)
Supplies: 81/2 x 11 loose-leaf, ruled papers for all in-class writing

Course Description:

This course is designed to introduce you to recent American authors and their works. The time span will cover roughly from 1850’s to the present. Course content will include not only literature, but also history, philosophy, science, religion, and social movements including racial, labor, political, and legal issues. No particular belief will be exempt from scrutiny. Even though this is not a writing-intensive course, it will help sharpen your skills as a writer as you will discuss and write about literature and the various elements that helped shape the literature. I hope that by the end of the quarter, you will have learned more than just the "facts’ of literature, but also something about yourselves and how literature can affect your lives.


A.  Through assigned readings in all three genres—fiction, poetry, and drama, you will learn

  • to appreciate and analyze the works of major authors during the19th and 20th centuries
  • to discover the connections between the imaginary and the real world
  • to isolate the themes and central ideas of literary pieces
  • to critically review the content and the style of a written work

B.  Through assigned writing, you will learn

  • to explore your understanding of literature and life
  • to research the cultural contexts surrounding a piece of writing
  • to discover the connections between an author and his/her writing
  • to intelligibly critique what you read

Outline of the Course:

The course material will be learned through the following components:

  • Lectures: On literary terms, significant elements and characteristics of the various genres, writing formats, etc. Other aids include films, videos, and guest lectures
  • Class discussions:
    • On literary themes, plot structures, characterization, symbolism, style, and tone (based on the reading) and how the works relate to life
    • You will be expected to contribute actively and in a meaningful way, so being prepared with the reading is a key to success in this course.
  • Weekly writing assignments:
    • You will write (both in and out of class) short expressive responses to assigned readings
    • Out-of-class papers need to be typed and handed in on due dates
    • You will also learn to synthesize quotations from the text and other sources with documentation according to the MLA (Modern Language Association) format.
  • Pop quizzes:
    Will be occasionally given, unannounced, on the reading assignments.
  • Mastery-Learning Exams:
    • Three times during the quarter, you will take a mastery-learning exam to demonstrate your understanding of the elements of the various genres.
    • These short tests will include both objective (multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks) and essay-type questions (short paragraphs and essays etc.)
  • Group presentations: You may be asked to work in groups of five/six to do one of the following:
    • Present a writer and his works to the class.
    • You will use the library resources to help you with this project and present it to the class preferably in a unique and interesting way.
    • The group project would demand hard work, extra time, and commitment. If you take the group activities seriously, enjoy them, and be creative, you efforts will help you tremendously in the learning process.
    • A responsible group leader will be appointed for each group to organize, supervise, and evaluate the process; as a member of a group, you will be expected to accept his/her leadership.

Student Learning Outcomes:

    The Student Learning Outcomes Initiatives at Spokane Community College is committed to enriching the educational environment so that the power and growth of learning are valued by all members of the college. We are dedicated to seeing our students demonstrate . . . critical Student Learning Abilities as they relate to our institution and the larger community. (SCC Outcomes Mission Statement)

The final grade for overall performance in this class will include assessment of the four SCC Outcomes Abilities:

Responsibility: You will be graded on your ability to manage your time, keep up with your educational commitments, set priorities, work individually and in groups, and turn in acceptable, college-level work.

Communication: You will learn to present/offer your point of view (written and verbal) clearly, freely, and effectively—with logical reasoning strategies and adequate evidences to support your claim—so that others in the class can understand the materials being presented.

Problem Solving: You will be accountable for synthesizing necessary information (facts, evidences, and expert opinions) in your writing assignments, learning to ask the right questions for clarification, demonstrating your knowledge of analytical methods and the ability to arrive at reasonable conclusions/solutions, and recognizing the connections between what you learn, your learning styles, and real-life skills.

Global Awareness: You will be expected to demonstrate your awareness of and respect for human diversity and differences of opinion in class, keeping your mind open to fresh/new perspectives and displaying the willingness to listen to other view points

Note: Your performance on these learning outcomes will be assessed through regular self-analysis, group evaluation, and instructor-generated evaluation methods.

Attendance and Late-Work Policies:

Because so much of what you learn and receive credit for must be completed within the class hour, your attendance is important. Being late for class or leaving early is disruptive, so please be on time and in class for the scheduled class periods.

  • Papers and assignments are due at the beginning of the class period, unless otherwise directed. If you miss a class, please make sure to give your assignment(s) to a friend or to me on or before the due date. Late papers are not "excused" due to absences.
  • You are responsible for all information covered during class during your absence. Please do not expect me to cover the information given in class. Choose a classmate from whom you can get the missed notes, assignments and handouts.
  • Your contribution to the class will enhance the learning environment for you and your classmates. If your behavior disrupts others or the learning environment, you will be asked to leave, and you will not receive credit for that day’s work or attendance.
  • As a rule, you should expect to spend two hours of additional time on studying and skill development per hour in class, per night. This is a standard college course expectation.
  • I will encourage you to take responsibility for your attendance, behavior, and work.
  • Make-up work is not an option under any circumstances

Note: If you miss the in-class writing activities or a test, the maximum points you can earn will be 50% of the total points possible for that assignment. (For example, if the assignment is worth 50 points and you miss either of the workshops, you will receive 25 points maximum.)

Grading Policy:

Your grade will be based on the total points earned on the activities you choose to complete. As indicated above, it can also be affected by your attendance. Keep these guidelines in mind:

  • The grading system for this course is included at the end of this syllabus. Refer to it for information on conversions from percentages to letter grades and grade point averages.
  • Homework (with the exception of the reading assignments) and in-class activities cannot be made up.
  • No time extensions will be given for in-class work done for credit or for certain assignments specified by the instructor during the quarter.
  • As a rule, extra-credit work is not assigned. If an exception is made, it will be an opportunity allowed the entire class, not for individual cases.
  • An approximate idea of the possible points is as follows:



Short weekly papers (8 approx.)

200 approx.

Mastery Learning Exams (total 3)

100 total

Pop Quizzes

50 approx.

Group Presentation

50 possible*

Outcomes Assessment

50 possible

Other Miscellaneous Activities

50 total

Total Points Possible                500

*For the Group Presentations, group members may receive different grades based on their contributions.

SCC Grading Scale: Your final course grade may be based on a slightly different scale.

Numeric Grades Letter Grade Equivalent Grading Scale
3.8-4.0 A (Superior achievement) 95-100
3.5-3.7 A- 89-94
3.2-3.4 B+ 83-88
2.9-3.1 B (Above average achievement) 79-82
2.6-2.8 B- 76-78
2.3-2.5 C+ 73-75
2.0-2.2 C (Average achievement) 70-72
1.6-1.9 C- 66-69
1.3-1.5 D+ 63-65
1.0-1.2 D (minimum achievement) 60-62
0.7-0.9 D- 57-59
0.0-0.6 F  

Withdrawals and "Z" Grades:

It is recommended that you see your instructor and /or advisor if you consider withdrawing from this class. In the event you stop attending, have not formally withdrawn, and do not complete the course, you will receive a grade of 0.0 (F).

  • A grade of "Z" or "I" (Incomplete) may be given, when requested by the student, under justifiable circumstances and solely at the instructor’s discretion.
  • An "I" will only be considered under the following circumstances:
    • Passing work must have been achieved prior to the student not being able to complete the course and
    • The student is not able to complete the course due to circumstances beyond his/her control.

Other Considerations:

  • The American with Disabilities Act is designed to ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to access academic programs and successfully complete their educational goals. Spokane Community College is committed to providing accessibility to all students. Any students with disabilities who have accommodation needs must contact Disability Support Services located in the Learning Resources Center (Library) or call Laura at 533-8872 to make an appointment to complete the intake process. This information will remain strictly confidential.
  • Classroom Visitors: Washington Administration Code 131, 12.010 Section 3 specifies that children are not allowed in classes with a parent. Because of this regulation, please make other arrangements if school schedules or illnesses are a problem.
  • Cheating: WAC 132Q-04-060
    • Any student who, for the purpose of fulfilling an assignment or task required by the faculty as part of the student’s program of instruction, shall knowingly tender any work product that the student fraudulently represents to the faculty as the student’s work product, shall be deemed to have cheated. Cheating shall be cause for disciplinary action.
    • Any student who aids or abets the accomplishment of cheating as defined in subsection (1) of this section shall also be subject to disciplinary action.
  • Plagiarism Policy: WAC 132Q-04-061

Please review this SCC English Department Plagiarism Policy:

Plagiarism (from the Latin word for "kidnapper") is the presentation of someone else’s ideas or words as your own. You plagiarize deliberately if you copy a sentence from a book and pass if off as your writing, if you summarize or paraphrase someone else’s ideas without acknowledging your debt, or if you buy a term paper to hand in as your own. You plagiarize accidentally if you carelessly forget quotation marks around another’s idea because you are unaware of the need to acknowledge the idea. Whether deliberate or accidental, plagiarism is a serious and often punishable offense.*

* Fowler, H. Ramsey. Little, Brown Handbook, 3rd ed. (Boston: Little, 1986). 570.

To encourage academic excellence and honesty, we have established the following policy:

Penalties for Deliberate Plagiarism or Cheating:

First Offense: Automatic failure of the paper or test and possible failure of the course.
Second Offense: Automatic failure of the course.

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Contents within this site are copyrighted by both the author of essays and/or Mita Sen
(email msen@scc.spokane.edu)
The contents within these pages are solely those of the author and S.C.C.
should not be held responsible.  2005 and 2006
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