Course Policies, Requirements, and Evaluation Procedures

English 200:
Introduction to Literature

Instructor: Mr. John B. Padgett
Office: 204 Somerville
Telephone: 232-7718 (O)
Office Hours: 2:30-3:30 TTh
Other hours by appt.

Section 21
Fall 1998
The University of Mississippi
Department of English

Course Objectives:

The purpose of English 200 is to introduce students to literature and to the methods and terminology of literary study. Among the specific goals students are expected to achieve in this course are the following:

  • to read a wide range of literary selections,
  • to gain practical experience in reading and interpreting critically,
  • to become acquainted with the characteristics of various genres of literature,
  • to collaborate with other students in the study of literature,
  • to improve your ability to articulate ideas and responses,
  • to learn how to write intelligently about literature,
  • to practice skills that will enable you to read other literary works thoughtfully.

Students enrolled in English 200 are expected to be proficient in basic composition and to have an adequate working knowledge of the rules of grammar and mechanics. Students who demonstrate a lack of such skills may be required to complete additional work to correct those deficiencies.

Required Text:

Kennedy and Gioia, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, 6th Edition (1995)

Other texts may be assigned from on-line (World Wide Web) sources.


You are required to attend and be prepared for class. You will be allowed four penalty-free absences. For each absence after the fourth, your final course grade will be lowered by one-half letter grade. In addition, you will not be allowed to make up daily work (pop quizzes, in-class assignments, etc.) missed because of absence, regardless of the reason(s) for the absence.

Be on time. Not only is it rude to enter class five or ten minutes late, late arrivals also are likely to miss any pop quizzes or other graded class work.


Your grade in English 200 will be calculated according to the following percentages:

Two 3- to 5-page Essays 20%
Daily Work/Writing 20%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 30%

Both the midterm and the cumulative final exam will include a variety of short answer, identification, and/or multiple choice questions, and each will require you to write an in-class essay. Daily work will include pop quizzes, group work, and other short essay writings done in class, as well as regular participation in SOPHLIT, the on-line E-mail discussion group created for this class. (See "Computers" below.) Daily work also is a gauge of students' participation in class and on-line discussions. All written work, including SOPHLIT entries, must be done during the week in which it is due (i.e., you cannot make up entries due last week). I will give no make-ups for quizzes you miss.

Students will come up with their own topics for the two essays from their posts to SOPHLIT and in consultation with the instructor. Both essays must be typed and double-spaced.


Each student in this class is required to participate in SOPHLIT, an E-mail discussion group, unless doing so would impose severe hardships to the student. Students should send E-mail to SOPHLIT on various topics relevant to the course readings as well as to literature in general a minimum of once each week. For students who do not own a computer, microcomputers in Weir Hall, the University Writing Center (Basement of Bondurant Hall), and other locations on campus allow first-come, first-serve access to E-mail, the World Wide Web and other Internet activities as well as word processing and other computer programs.

Students who cannot participate in SOPHLIT for hardship reasons (long-distance commuter students, for instance) must give me a signed, written statement detailing their reasons on or before September 1, 1998. After September 1, all students who have not submitted such a statement should be active participants in the on-line discussion. Students not on SOPHLIT must satisfy their daily work requirements by giving me a typed reading journal each week. Each journal typically should be one full page.

Students must first subscribe to SOPHLIT to send and receive messages. To subscribe, send E-mail to containing the single-line message

subscribe sophlit

E-mail messages meant to be read by other SOPHLIT members should be sent to

Other resources available to students on-line will include this policy statement and various other handouts, including your syllabus, at my home page on the World Wide Web. The URL (Universal Resource Locator) used to access my home page is listed in the information box on the first page.

Getting an E-mail account:

Students who do not yet have an E-mail account may obtain one at the Help Desk in Powers Hall. Other locations may also be set up on campus to accommodate students. You will need your student ID card (a photocopy of it will be made), and you will need to read and sign an appropriate use policy. If you need IBM or Macintosh software, take a 3.5-inch floppy disk with you.

For additional guidance on how to use computers on campus, call the Help Desk at 232-5222.

Posting to SOPHLIT

Students should plan to spend at least one hour each week reading and responding to SOPHLIT. To receive credit, students must post at least one message each week, either an original message or a response to a classmate's post, consisting of no less than 300 original, non-quoted words. Though the minimum is one post per week, I strongly encourage you to respond more often. Entries will not be graded for content, but students whose posts consistently are well-thought-out, demonstrate the student's interactivity and response to classmates' posts, and exceed the minimum number and length of posts will receive a higher grade.

By design, there are few limitations in subject matter for SOPHLIT posts. Obviously, you should read your classmates' posts. Some of what you post to SOPHLIT will form the basis for the two out-of-class essays, so you should keep that in consideration as well. In general, posts should represent some response to literature as a whole, though at least one post per week should respond to that week's course readings. Also, you should use detailed and descriptive subject headers to identify your posts.

To give you some ideas for posting to SOPHLIT, consider the following broad categories:

  1. Author-based issues
    • Intent
    • Biographical
    • Ideological
    • Presence/Absence

  2. Text-based issues
    • Formal
    • Genre
    • Historical/Cultural
    • Sociological
    • Intertextual
    • Mimetic
    • Audience

  3. Reader-based issues
    • Comparative
    • Interpretive
    • Theoretical
    • Cultural
    • Social
    • Contextual
    • Moral

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