Welcome to English 220-09: Introduction to Writing about Literature!

General Info:

English 220-09, Fall 2019; Tuesday & Friday: 8:10am-9:25am, room 207 Hunter West

Filipa Calado (; Office hours: Tuesdays, 9:30-10:30 (or by email), 1432 Hunter West;

Learning Objectives:

With an emphasis on close reading and analytical writing, English 220 is intended to develop in students the analytical and interpretive skills necessary for both written and verbal critical response to literature that is firmly grounded in the text. It also establishes a common knowledge base, however minimal, in literature in English, and it equips students with the vocabulary and techniques for describing and analyzing literary works, with an emphasis on developing critical writing skills specific to literary analysis. In addition, the course develops in students an appreciation and understanding of the aesthetic qualities of literature, as well as an awareness that literature is part of a larger ongoing cultural, social, and historical dialogue that informs, influences, and inspires our experience. By the end of the semester, students should be able to:

  1. Write thesis-driven analytical essays on all three genres (Poetry, fiction, drama) that incorporate evidence from the literary texts and demonstrates close reading skills.
  2. Write an analytical research paper of 6-8 pages that demonstrates close reading skills and the appropriate use of evidence from literary texts; the ability to create a clear thesis statement; and the ability to incorporate and engage scholarly critical sources as part of a well-organized, thesis-driven argument.
  3. Discuss fiction, poetry, and Shakespearean drama verbally through the use of close reading skills and, where appropriate, basic literary terminology
  4. Demonstrate some familiarity with literary criticism in class discussion or writing, or both.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to compare and/or contrast literary works.

Required Texts:

  • As You Like it, by William Shakespeare, ed. Mowat and Werstine; Folger Shakespeare Library, Mass Market Paperback, Simon & Schuster; ISBN-10: 074348486X; Price: $5.39 on Amazon (subject to change).
  • Orlando: A Biography, by Virginia Woolf (Annotated Edition); ed. Mark Hussey; Harcourt, ISBN-10: 0156031515; Price: $10.81 on Amazon (subject to change).

*All other texts will be provided online in PDF version.

Assignments and Grade Distributions:

  • Final Exam: 5%
  • Close-reading essay (4-5 pages): 15%
  • Annotation papers (1-2 pages): 15%
  • Participation (attendance, homework, and class discussion): 25%
  • Research Paper (6-8 pages): 40%

Online Course Management:

The Course Website ( OR will be the main resource for all course materials, including readings and assignments. Early on in the semester, you will join the website as a group member. Blackboard will only be used to post a department copy of the syllabus. Throughout the semester, we will be using (a digital annotation tool), accessible through the course website, for online homework assignments and in-class practice of close reading.

Attendance and Homework:

Prompt attendance is crucial in English 220. You should come to class, and be on time. Certainly, issues come up—unexpected and unavoidable things. In that case, be sure to keep me informed of any special circumstances. The same goes for late work: I will deduct points for work that is late, but I’ll do my best to be accommodate those who reach out at least a few days before an assignment is due.

For most classes, you will have a short homework assignment, usually a brief response to a prompt about the reading, which will be posted on the Course Website under “Homework Prompts”. These assignments will require you to explain your comprehension of the text or answer a question using textual evidence. You can type these up or you can write them out by hand. I will collect them at the start of each class session. The point of the homework is to get you thinking about the text and prepared for class discussion, as well as to give you material for your more formal papers. They will be graded on a complete/incomplete basis.

If you are repeatedly late or absent to class, your participation grade will reflect that lack of engagement.


Your participation grade will reflect how much you participate vocally (in class discussion) and verbally (in homework) throughout the semester.

Your vocal participation is encouraged in this class—an environment that welcomes all voices and perspectives. Most of what we do will be discussing, summarizing, and analyzing in a group environment. With that in mind, it will be important to do the readings, to come to class, and to offer your opinion. Your participation grade will reflect on your initiative and willingness to join class discussion. About half of the final participation grade (25%) is based on in-class participation.

The best way to contribute to class discussion is to prepare. Preparing begins with active reading. Rather than just skimming, you should be taking notes, marking quotes, documenting moments of surprise or frustration, and preparing to engage with others about the texts. In class, have your book and your notes available, and contribute your comments and observations as much as you can. Your homework assignments should also offer material for class discussion, and you are always encouraged to share what you wrote.

Besides discussion, you are expected to participate in class through writing “free-writes”. Like the homework responses, these free-writes will be short, low-stakes responses to a prompt. The point is to get you to think freely, brainstorm, and work through ideas, not to be grammatically correct. I will collect the free-writes at the end of class, will grade these for completion, as the second half of your participation grade. Additionally, we will also be peer-reviewing your research papers in small groups, which will factor into your daily participation grade.

Writing Papers:

Over the course of the semester, you will write some short (1 page) essays, one 4-5 page essay, and one 6-8 page research paper. Class discussion, your homework, and in-class free-writes will help generate and build ideas for these papers.

For the close reading and research paper, you will be required to turn in drafting materials, such as thesis statements, lists of quotes, and outlines. These written assignments take the place of homework assignments for that day, however, instead of counting toward your participation, they count toward the paper grade. If you neglect to turn in one of these materials, your grade for the paper will be deducted by 5%. For example, if you don’t turn in an outline when it’s due, the highest grade you can get on that paper is 95%.  For some of these preparatory materials, you will need to bring copies (either handwritten, printed, or digital) to class for review and workshopping. Check the syllabus to see the required format. On the final days of peer review for the close reading and research papers, you will be required to bring hard-copies to class.

Submitting Papers:

All assignments will be submitted on the Course Website. You can be submit your work by filling the form at the bottom of the relevant assignment page. The assignment pages are under the “Assignments” drop-down menu (on the main menu bar).

In your filename, include the title of the assignment in the subject heading, and your last name. Please remember to put your name in the file name, otherwise I will have a hard time keeping track of all your papers. Also, remember to keep a copy of the paper saved for your records.

A paper’s grade will drop by one letter grade every day it is late. (An A, for example, will drop to a B on next day, then a C on the third day, etc.). If you have any issues with the deadlines, reach out to me in advance, and I will try to be accommodating.

Formatting Papers:

Papers should be formatted according to MLA guidelines. Please look up these guidelines before submitting your papers. You can also see a sample MLA-formatted paper here, and an explanation of in-text citations here and here.

E-Mail Policy:

Email is the easiest way to reach me with questions, comments, and emergencies. Keep in mind that emails sent to instructors are professional correspondence, and should be addressed and styled as if you were addressing an employer.

Do not email me with questions that require more than a quick answer. Questions that require any kind of discussion should be resolved in-person or over the phone. You can email me to set up a meeting (in-person or over the phone) to discuss these kinds of questions. Having an actual conversation is much less time-consuming and more informative for everybody involved. And for future reference, professors appreciate it when students try to set up a meeting rather than ask questions over email.

Classroom Etiquette:

I understand that many of you have demanding schedules and do your reading/writing digitally. Miscellaneous items such as snacks and beverages, recording devices, computers, phones, and tablets are all permitted, as long as they don’t become a distraction.

The most important etiquette is respect. You should feel as though your voice is being heard, though others may respectfully disagree with you.  If this is not the case, if you don’t feel you are being heard or understood, even by me, please come talk to me as soon as possible. It’s vital to experience learning as a collective activity, one in which we’re all invested in one another’s concerns and ideas.

Writing Center:

Free Tutoring is available in the Reading/Writing Center (located in the seventh floor of the library). I encourage you to take advantage of this resource, especially when drafting and building the research paper. The Writing Center exists in large part to help you generate and develop questions and jumping-off points for papers-in-progress. Often it is from these conversations that significant, arguable, and surprising claims may begin emerging.

Academic Integrity:

Hunter College regards acts of academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism, cheating on examinations, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents) as serious offenses against the values of intellectual dishonesty. The college is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to the Hunter College Academic Integrity Procedures.


In compliance with the American Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Hunter College is committed to ensuring educational parity and accommodations for all students with documented disabilities (Emotional, Medical, Physical, and/or Learning) consult the Office of AccessABILITY located in Room E1124 to secure necessary academic accommodations. For further information and assistance please call (212-772-4857)/TTY (212-650-3230).

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help make this classroom more accessible for you.

Sexual Misconduct:

In compliance with the CUNY Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Hunter College reaffirms the prohibition of any sexual misconduct, which includes sexual violence, sexual harassment, and gender-based harassment retaliation against students, employees, or visitors, as well as certain intimate relationships. Students who have experienced any form of sexual violence on or off campus (including CUNY-sponsored trips and events) are entitled to the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights for Hunter College.

In incidents with sexual violence, students are strongly encouraged to immediately report the incident by calling 911, contacting NYPD Special Victims Division Hotline (646-610-7272) or their local police precinct, or contacting the College’s Public Safety Office (212-772-4444).

For all other forms of sexual misconduct, students are also encouraged to contact the College’s Title IX Campus Coordinator, Dean John Rose ( or 212-650-3262) or Colleen Barry ( or 212-772-4534) and seek complimentary services through the Counseling and Wellness Services Office, Hunter East 1123.