English 208:
American Literature II

Joseph Stella Brooklyn Bridge

In English 208, we'll read and analyze classic short stories, novels, poetry, and plays of English Literature up to 1800. The reading will introduce you to a wide variety of literature and the analysis will improve your thinking and writing skills.

This course is fully transferable to UC and CSU.

General Nature of the Course

The online version of English 208 involves the same readings, writings, exercises and information as the traditional English 208 course; only the delivery system has changed. Instead of submitting hard copy essays which will be read, commented on, scored and returned, students will submit assignments and have them returned via e-mail; discussions will take place on a Message Board; lecture material, course deadlines, and assignment information are available via the Internet.

You will need to regularly keep track of assignment (reading and writing) due dates by referring to the Class Schedule. It is up to you to keep up with assignment deadlines, especially since late work will be penalized (see note under Assignments). Specific Writing Assignment instructions can be reached through the links on the Class Schedule. Read these instructions carefully, and always e-mail or phone or visit me with any questions you might have.

There is also a series of Lectures on topics related to your reading and writing. Be sure to read the lecture material for each week because this should help you to understand the readings, and will give you valuable information to help with the writing assignments. Lecture information can be reached through links in the Class Schedule, and in the Writing Assignments.

So it's up to you to keep up with the reading, to turn in assignments on time, to look at online lecture material and to ask questions when you don't understand what we're doing. I will read the written work and questions you e-mail to me, and I will respond (also via e-mail) with comments, corrections, discussion items, and (I hope) useful answers.

Required Texts

--Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, 2nd edition; ISBN number: 1-4165-3227-7.
--The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett; any edition will do, as long as it's unabridged.
--Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler; any edition will do, as long as it's unabridged.

Also, choose ONE of the following three novels:

--The Book of Illusions, Paul Auster; any edition will do, as long as it's unabridged.
--Thirteen Moons, Charles Frazier; any edition will do, as long as it's unabridged.
--The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Junot Diaz; any edition will do, as long as it's unabridged.

Buying Your Books

The texts can be found in the college bookstore under my name and the course title
you can buy your books online. For textbooks, there are several sites you can check out:

You can also comparison shop, by trying FetchBook.Info, a free service, which allows you to compare prices of any book among 70 bookstores (in the US and Canada), and find a price which is 30% - 80% off the market list price.

CampusBooks.com offers used textbooks and college textbooks price comparisons and shopping.

Similar services are

Another good service is Textbook Coupons, which provides information on discounts from online booksellers. This might save you even more.


(For more information about how and where to submit answers to the discussion questions, see the Discussion Questions page.)

At the end of the semester, your grades will be averaged to determine a final grade for the class. Writing assignments are due on the date assigned on the schedule. Late papers will be penalized 10 points, and will not be accepted at all after one week.


Plagiarism is using the words, ideas, or information of another without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism, in a college environment, is the equivalent of grand larceny, and as such, it is unacceptable behavior. Anyone caught plagiarizing will fail the class. Each student is responsible for knowing the rules of correct citation and documentation; for more information, see the following guidelines from The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University. These provide clear and complete information as to what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Grading Scale for Writing Assignments


How to submit your work

Your assignments will be submitted to me via e-mail. Save your file as a Word or RTF file, and attach the file to your message. When sending assignments, your e-mail message should include your name, the class number (English 208), and the name of the assignment which is attached. Use correct MLA format to set up your pages; for more information see The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University. Make sure that you eliminate spelling, grammar, and other mechanical errors from your writing. Send your e-mail to me at annw708@gmail.com.

NOTE: always keep copies of all of your assignments. If there is a problem with e-mail, you will need that copy to re-send for credit.

For more information, use the links at the top or bottom of the page to go to any of the Class pages you want to see.

About Wikipedia, SparkNotes, and Databases

DO NOT cite Wikipedia in academic essays. Since it is not edited by reputable experts, it often has errors and isn't reliable. It's okay to use it as a starting point for your own research, but go on and find other sources to verify the information, and cite those in your essay.

Also avoid SparkNotes, ENotes and similar sites. Teachers hate them since they provide only the most superficial analyses. Avoid citing them in academic papers; instead, go find analyses from more reputable academic sources: university and scholarly websites, peer-reviewed journals in library databases, and books. Don't be scared by that word "databases." The databases are just collected electronic versions of articles published in print magazines, journals, and newspapers. They also sometimes contain e-books. You can search them and find tons of good material. There's more about how to use the databases on the Writing About Literature page.

To get in touch with me, use my e-mail, call me the old-fashioned way, on the phone: (310) 233-4250, or come and see me in person at my office: NEA 297. My office hours are Monday through Thursday, 9-9:30 a.m., and by appointment.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize distinctive features of the major writers, literary works, movements, trends and genres in American Literature from 1865 to the present.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of these works in context, including, though not limited to, historical, philosophical, social, political, religious, psychological, biographical, artistic backgrounds.
  3. Employ critical thinking and college-level methods and terminology of literary analysis to reading and interpreting literature by producing well-developed, fluent writing that supports premises about literary works and which utilizes logical observations supported by textual examples.
  4. Demonstrate continued understanding of MLA conventions developing essays that integrate source material and incorporate standard documentation and format.
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