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Introduction to Reading & Writing about Literature

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2018
Bea Wood Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

ENGL 1153 203 TR 9:30-10:50 AM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


LB Brief
6th ed. with 2016 MLA Updates
The Tempest
Arden Shakespeare/Bloomsbury Revised Edition
Course Objectives

 Apply knowledge of rhetoric to make decisions about written communication

  • Engage in a writing process that includes invention, drafting, and revision
  • Write thesis-based academic arguments that provide strong support and specific details
  • Find, evaluate, and synthesize credible sources in support of a research paper
  • Use sources ethically and in contextually appropriate ways and follow a designated style guide
  • Demonstrate proficient use of Standard Written English

Additional information about course objectives can be found on the department webpage,

PROMPT FOR JOURNAL ENTRIES. Journal entries should be one substantial paragraph (approx. 300 words), not to exceed one page. Students should build the paragraph around at least three significant quotes (each one a complete or near-complete thought), not counting one or two-word quotes. We are following MLA in-body citing for format. Submit and keep journal entries hole-punched and fixed in the brads of a normal folder with clasps. Use 12 point Times New Roman and double-space. SEE SAMPLE ENTRY (left-hand margin is an inch and a quarter). 

QUOTES: A quote is the verbatim (word-for-word) use of a source. For each journal entry, quote at least three times from a text and pivot from a key passage in it. You can have shorter quotes as well, but you need three that are more than a few words and provide a complete thought (see the three shaded quotes in sample entry). POETRY needs forward slashes between lines. 

PARENTHETICAL NUMBERS: The quote is immediately followed by a parenthetical number, indicating line number(s) if poetry—or page numbers if prose (anything that is not a poem). Make sure the first citation indicates act and scene as well: e.g., (1.2.332-33) means Act 1, Scene 2, lines 332-33. 

BRACKETED ELLIPSIS […]: Indicates the quoted material is not a complete sentence—something from the original text is missing from the beginning, middle, or end. 

DESCRIPTION & KEY PASSAGE: A good journal entry sets the scene with your own descriptive details regarding character, action, and situation. You can quote from anywhere in the text but pivot from a key passage. 

SUPPORTING POINTS: What is the meaning of a quote? Express that meaning in your own words prior to the quote. This meaning or explanation is a supporting point. Do not lead with a quote. Instead, lead with the supporting point. 

YOU NEED TO CLEARLY STATE A CONTROLLING IDEA, THOUGHT, OR FEELING. Your supporting points should provide the frame for, or lead to, a central theme or controlling idea that ties together the whole paragraph (which is really a mini-essay). This governing idea or overall position can kick off the paragraph (like a topic sentence), emerge part-way, or conclude the essay—but the over-all idea or feeling should be reasonably clear.

Student’s Name

Dr. Fields

ENGL 1153-203

February 1, 2018

JOURNAL ENTRY 1: The Tempest 1.2.261-375. 

In Shakespeare, love and learning have something in common: they both change us and make us more like our beloved who is also our teacher. Caliban in our play was servile as a youngster. Now human tutelage has given him a keen sense of justice. Caliban used to be a happy-go-lucky creature who delighted only in loving and being loved by Prospero, not unlike a pet or a small child: “When thou cam’st first / Thou strok’st me and made much of me” (1.2.332-33). Caliban gave back unconditional affection: “And then I loved thee” (336). Caliban had taken Prospero on a tour of the island, showing him its most lovely features like fresh water springs and bounteous fruit-giving trees and shrubs—all the wonders of an island that calls to people with otherworldly voices and seems to usher back the Golden Age or Garden of Eden. Under Miranda’s instruction (though she was some 12 years younger than he), Caliban went from being nothing more than a witch’s gibbering young progeny “not honor’d with / A human shape” (284) to being a remarkably articulate, if rebellious rival to Prospero. Before Miranda, Caliban didn’t make sense and “wouldst gabble like / A thing most brutish” (356-57). Now Caliban is capable of fierce debate and bitter invective: “I endow’d thy purposes,” Miranda said, “With words that made them known” (357-58). But Caliban ironically resents such knowledge, including speech: “The red-plague rid you,” he says, “For learning me your language!” (363-64). The situation gets completely out of hand when Caliban’s procreative urge settles on Miranda. He presumes he can press her into copulating with him to fill “This isle with Calibans” (351). The education of Caliban, ironically, has made him hate the teachers whom he once loved in ignorance.

Course Expectations




  • Five journal entries (The Tempest).
  • Three critical reviews of a secondary source relevant to The Tempest.
  • Final Essay making an argument based on secondary sources in the three critical reviews.
  • Presentation for Journal Entries.
  • Presentation for Critical Reviews.
  • All submitted work must have proper MLA format as indicated in the syllabus examples. Grammar is part of the grade..     

Writing assignments, taken together, count for 100 % of the final grade.

Here is an example of how you might write a CRITICAL REVIEW: 

The scholarly conversation about Shakespeare’s The Tempest seems interested in this question: how does the magical, dream-like world of Prospero help us understand the importance of forgiveness? One interesting aspect of this question is the biblical implication.  According to Brian Sutton, in his article “‘Virtue rather than Vengeance’: Genesis and Shakespeare’s The Tempest” for Explicator, Shakespeare seems to have in mind the story of the great dreamer, Joseph. Like Joseph, Duke Prospero is a dreamer—a visionary—undone by sibling rivalry (225-226). In Sutton’s view, what’s crucial here is that the dreamer does not take vengeance. The dreamer’s forgiveness restores everyone to God’s favor, going well beyond the conflict of one set of brothers. Sutton explains that the dreamer’s grace means the possibility of heaven’s providence for ages to come: “Last, in their entire experience with betrayal, exile, redemption, and reconciliation, Joseph and Prospero are instruments of a divine plan to save not only the current generation, but also its descendants” (227). The ultimate power lies not in capturing or holding, but in graciously setting our brothers free. In The Tempest, Prospero sets everyone free and then turns to the audience, asking that they do the same for him: “Let your indulgence set me free” (Epilogue 20). 

Here is an example of citing for The Tempest:

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” (1.2.284) 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). 


“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

Grading Standards


This class will not use the plus/minus grading system. In this class, the following numerical equivalents for final grades are used: A = 100-90%; B = 89-80%; C = 79-70%; D = 69-60%; F = 59-0%. 

According to MSU’s Undergraduate Catalogue, “letter grades have the following significance:

  • A indicates excellent work
  • B indicates good work
  • C indicates satisfactory work
  • D indicates passing work
  • F indicates failing work.”

Consequently, essays that meet the basic requirements earn a C, not an A or B.  If you wish to earn As and Bs, you will have to work harder to produce better than satisfactory, or average, writing.

 Grading and Evaluation

  • Journal entries (5) (10 percent each)
  • Critical Reviews (3) (10 percent each)
  • Final Essay (20 percent)



Final Exam 05/08/2018 Tuesday 8:00 AM
Submission Format Policy

 PROPER FORMAT (Submit revised essays hole-punched, fixed in the brads of a folder):

  • All typed documents must be 12 point Times New Roman 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.
  • Top, right, and bottom margins should be set at no more than one inch; the left margin should be an inch and a quarter to accommodate the folder. 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.
  • Students must submit their work in person (from their hands into the instructor’s hands).
  • Students must hole-punch their typed assignments and fix them in the brads of an ordinary folder with brads and pockets. The essay that needs to be graded is always the last item in the brads. Printouts of sources and graded rubrics are in the pockets.
  • Work submitted apart from these guidelines will not be evaluated and must be resubmitted (correctly) and penalized for lateness.
  • By enrolling in this class, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.
  • Dr. Fields reserves the right to ask students to send him a computer file of their research project and/other work by e-mail attachment for archival purposes.
  • 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.

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

 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 work must be submitted in person (not by e-mail or surrogate).

If students are too ill to submit their work personally, they should submit it when they return to class. They may avoid penalty for late submission by obtaining documentation from a relevant professional in a timely fashion (e.g., a doctor, clinic, officer of the court, or the Dean of Students’ office). If they are ill but nevertheless submit it in class on the day it is due, they can be excused from the rest of that class period. 

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

 Students are allowed THREE unexcused absences. Always email the instructor if you are going to miss class. As much as possible, keep him in the loop. After a FOURTH unexcused absence, the instructor will warn the student that all future absences must be documented or agreed-upon with the instructor. If problem continues, the student is warned by the Dean of Students. If absenteeism continues to occur, the student will be removed with a WF. An alternative in these cases would be the instructor signing a penalty-free withdrawal slip from the registrar, which he is happy to do if the student brings the slip to him in a timely fashion.


Other Policies



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.

 Classroom Policies Students should avoid being late on a consistent basis. If you miss attendance, you are considered late. Alert the instructor to mark you present.

  • Students should stay off their personal electronics.
  • Students must have the instructor’s permission to leave class.
  • Students should follow along in their own copies of their book, highlighting passages, and taking notes.

WARNING: Students with consistent lateness and problems following-along in class will be warned by email. If the problem continues, the student is warned by the Dean of Student’s office. If to no avail, then the student will be removed with WF. The instructor is willing to sign a penalty-free withdrawal slip if brought to him in timely fashion.



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.

Calendar Attachment

ENGL 1153 203 & 204 TR Spring 2018 Syllabus & Schedule-20180116-193628.doc

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