Here is the syllabus for 201


The City University of New York

Department of English


3 Credits/3 Hours

Section 0909, Wednesdays 930-1045, Fridays 930-1045

70 Murray M1115 , Main Building N794

Professor Dr. Leigh Gold

Office Hours: by appointment

Mailbox in English Department

Email:leighdaragold@gmail.com, ldgold@bmcc.cuny.edu

Class Description

Welcome to the class! English 201 is a continuation of English 101. In English 201, you will have the opportunity to further practice and develop reading and writing skills. You will explore a variety of literary genres including the short story, poetry, and drama. You will be able to use close reading to consider new ideas and discuss these ideas in class. Through reading, analyzing, and writing about literature, your critical thinking, reading, and writing skills will be strengthened. You will be able to apply these various skills to the writing of a research essay which uses library and Web sources. English 201 will prepare you for the analytical and research-based writing required in upper-level courses across the curriculum, as well as for advanced courses in literature. In this class, we will explore a wide range of literary texts that ask us to confront our own identities, society, our relationships, and the future.


Successful completion of English 101 or the equivalent from another college.

Required Materials

This is a Zero Cost Class. We will be using texts that are both from online sources as well as handed out in class.

We will also be using Open Educational Resource Writing Guides: specific assignments will be given throughout the semester.

Here are links for two writing sources that we will be using:



You willbe given links for readings and will be asked to sign up for Commonlit.org, a free resource that the class will use: details will be posted as well as explained in class.

Other Resources

Essays should be formatted according to MLA guidelines. These guidelines will be reviewed in class. You can also consult Purdue’s Online Writing Lab available at https://owl.english.purdue.eduas a guide. Another resource for MLA guidelines can be found on the MLA site at https://style.mla.org. We will also be using Writing Commons and Excelsior Owl, links above.

The BMCC Learning Resource Center, 199 Chambers st, Room S510 offers both online and in person tutoring. They can be contacted at 212 220 1383.

Course Learning Outcomes (After successfully completing this course, you can expect to be able to…) Measurements (means of assessment for learning outcomes listed in first column)
1. Acquire a critical appreciation of the nuances and complexities of a variety of literary texts. 1. Graded essays, class discussions, homework assignments.
2. Define and apply literary terms to analyses of texts within several literary genres. 2. Graded essays, class discussions, homework assignments.
3. Write at least four well-developed, thesis-driven argument and analysis essays that use evidence from literary texts and incorporate research, and are comprised of clear, grammatically-correct, effective sentences in well-organized paragraphs. 3. Graded essays.
4. Frame research questions; plan research strategies; find and evaluate sources using the BMCC Library and the BMCC Library Website; and present the results of research. 4. Graded research paper, including drafts and revision.
5. Correctly use the conventions of MLA documentation and citation, including a “Works Cited” page. 5. Graded research paper.

Below are the college’s general education goals that students who successfully complete this course can expect to have achieved:

General Education Learning Outcomes Measurements (means of assessment for general education goals listed in first column)
Communication Skills- Students will be able to write, read, listen and speak critically and effectively. Graded essays, class discussions.
Arts & Humanities – Students will be able to develop knowledge and understanding of the arts and literature through critiques of works of art, music, theatre or literature. Graded essays, class discussions.
Values- Students will be able to make informed choices based on an understanding of personal values, human diversity, multicultural awareness and social responsibility. Graded essays in response to assigned topics, class discussions, class conduct.

Course Requirements

4 essays, including a draft and revision of a research essay that uses library and Web resources. Two of these essays will be shorter in length and will come out of class work and homework assignments. The third and fourth essays will be the rough and then final draft of your research essay.

Writing exercises and/or quizzes to accompany reading assignments. Reading is an important part of this class and coming to class prepared will allow you to be fully involved in discussions. In order to help you better prepare for class discussion, there will be short writing exercises and/or quizzes on most readings assigned: these will either be assigned as homework or as in-class writings.

Active participation in class discussions: Your opinions matter and the more we are involved in class, the more we can get out of it.

Course Policies

Attendance and Punctuality: You are expected to attend class regularly and on time. If you are going to be absent, please be sure to find out about what you missed; assignments are cumulative, so if you miss classes, you will miss important steps in assignments. Lateness is disruptive; if you must arrive late, please seat yourself quietly. Please feel free to contact me if you know that you will be absent.

You are responsible for any work assigned during an absence. If you miss class, you may contact me via email or ask another student what you have missed. **Please be sure to have at least one other student’s contact information.

You must be professional, attentive, and courteous in class. Participation is part of your grade—this means being an active part of class discussions.

No cell phone usage. Remove headphones before entering class.

No recording devices allowed.

Arriving late is disruptive and we often miss essential parts of lessons: please make an effort to get to class on time. Repeated lateness also impacts your participation.

Academic Adjustments for Students with Disabilities.Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments for this course must contact the Office of Accessibility. BMCC is committed to providing equal access to all programs and curricula to all students.

BMCC Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity Statement. Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s ideas, words or artistic, scientific or technical work as one’s own creation. Using the idea or work of another is permissible only when the original author is identified. Paraphrasing and summarizing, as well as direct quotations, require citations to the original source. Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional. Lack of dishonest intent does not necessarily absolve a student of responsibility for plagiarism. Students who are unsure how and when to provide documentation are advised to consult with their instructors. The library has guides designed to help students to appropriately identify a cited work. The full policy can be found on BMCC’s web site, www.bmcc.cuny.edu.

Learning Outcomes

Required Core (12 credits)
A. English Composition: Six credits

A course in this area must meet all the learning outcomes in the right column. A student will:

Students will write thesis driven papers, research papers, informal response papers and other low-stakes writing assignments that identify arguments and major assumptions and evaluate supporting evidence and contexts in texts by a variety of authors. Read and listen critically and analytically, including identifying

an argument’s major assumptions and assertions and evaluating

its supporting evidence.

Students will write thesis driven papers, research papers, and informal response papers. Students will produce multiple drafts of formal essay assignments. Students will engage in proof-reading class activities. Write clearly and coherently in varied, academic formats (such

as formal essays, research papers, and

reports) using standard

English and appropriate technology to critique and improve

one’s own and others’ texts.

Students will consult primary and secondary sources using the library and college on-line databases. Students will write research papers that synthesize the primary and secondary sources they gathered and evaluated. Demonstrate research skills using appropriate technology,

including gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing primary and

secondary sources.

Students will write thesis driven papers that support a thesis with well-reasoned arguments using research and utilizing various technologies to support a persuasive argument. Support a thesis with well reasoned arguments, and

communicate persuasively across a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media.

Students will write a thesis driven research paper that supports an original thesis about a text/s covered in the course. Students will support their arguments using documented and cited primary and secondary sources, utilizing conventions of MLA ethical attribution and citation. Formulate original ideas and relate them to the ideas of others by employing the conventions of ethical attribution and



Short Essays 40%

Research Essay 20%

Writing Exercises, Homework, Quizzes 25%

Class Participation and online responses 15%

I want you to succeed in the class, so please come speak with me, send me an email, or set up an appointment if you have any questions about any of the work we will be doing this semester. I am here to help you. Please also be sure to let me know in advance if you would like to discuss an assignment or one of the texts that we are reading before an assignment is due—please don’t wait until after an assignment is already due.


Note: this schedule is subject to changes based on our class’s needs. Please be sure to be aware of changes or updates in assignments.

Note that Grammarwill becovered based on the predominant needs of the class. Grammar assignments will be given as needed and therefore added to our schedule as we go along.

Readings on writing practices and skills from online writing handbooks will be assigned throughout the semester and added to the schedule.

**For one of our class sessions, we will be going to the library for a library research session which will be conducted by a BMCC librarian. Date to be announced.

Wednesday, August 28th:

First Class: Introductions and review of syllabus. How are writing and reading practices connected? Reflections on reading and writing. Excerpt from Toni Morrison’s Foreword to Song of Solomon.

HW: read article about impact of literature on our lives: Pam Belluck’s “For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov.” Read Anton Chekhov’s “The Bet”: how can we think about a text that challenges our expectations?

Friday, August 30th:

Continue to discuss concepts of reading and writing, respond further to famous quotes on writing and reading. Discuss Belluck’s article on literature and Chekhov’s text. Reading strategies: annotation, close reading.

HW: Read “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin. Prepare questions for class.

Wednesday, September 4th:

Begin discussing Baldwin’s text. How do we respond to a narrative? What type of text are we reading? Strategies for analysis. What is a summary? Discuss writing strategies.

HW: Making connections: Baldwin text continued: select text examples for discussion.

Friday, September 6th:

Baldwin continued: themes and motifs. Music’s role in the text. Langston Hughes and Baldwin: how can a poem be read alongside the narrative?

HW: Reflections and responses to handout on “Sonny’s Blues” Selected poems on handout and quotes on poetry and examples for class discussion. Associations to poetry.

Wednesday, September 11th:

Baldwin continued. Begin discussion of poetry: what is poetry? Types of poems.

HW: Poetry handout. Respond to questions and what do we need to do to interpret a poem?

Friday, September 13th:

Discuss responses and reflections. Discuss selected poems and handout. Types of poetry and poetic terms. What can help with interpreting a poem? Why is poetry important?

HW: Reflections on poems. Read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48860/the-raven

Wednesday, September 18th:

Reflections and discussions of poems. Discuss “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe: poetry as narrative. Connections between types of writing. Discuss symbolism, metaphor, and other literary tools.

HW: Read Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt”: https://www.commonlit.org/en/texts/the-veldt?search_id=1239954.

Friday, September 20th:

Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt”. Discussing genre and dystopian texts.

HW: “The Veldt” continued. Connections to our everyday lives.

Wednesday, September 25th:

The Veldt” continued. Connections to our everyday lives: reflections on technology and society.

HW: Dystopian texts: Bradbury and Octavia Butler’s “Speech Sounds”.

Friday, September 27th:

Discuss Butler’s text “Speech Sounds”. Dystopian and utopian texts as social commentary.

HW: comparisons and envisioning our own utopias or dystopias. Continue with Butler’s “Speech Sounds”. Read excerpt from Sherry Turkle on technology.

Wednesday, October 2nd:

Butler’s “Speech Sounds”. How does the text comment on our society today?

HW: Read excerpts from Sherry Turkle on technology. Connecting and comparisons: prepare for in-class writing.

Friday, October 4th :

In-class writing.

HW: Reading the drama: Alice Gerstenberg’s “Fourteen.”

Wednesday, October 9th: NO CLASSES

Friday, October 11th:

Gerstenberg’s “Fourteen”. How do we approach a play: interpretations and reflections. Use “Fourteen” to connect literature to historical context: how does a text critique and question social norms?

HW: Read Edwidge Dandicat’s “Testimonial.”

Wednesday, October 16th: NO CLASSES: classes follow Monday schedule

Friday, October 18th:

Discuss “Testimonial” by Edwidge Dandicat. What can help us to understand the narrative? How does the text comment on history?

HW: “Testimonial” continued.

Wednesday, October 23rd:

How to interpret the narrative: what elements and ideas can help us to write about a text. Writing workshop: Finding sources. Discussion of secondary sources. How can sources help our interpretations. What kind of interpretation is it? Using quotes to support a claim.

HW: Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour”.

Friday, October 25th:

Story of an Hour”: how does the narrative help us to interpret the text? Biography and context questions. Read the poem “Self in 1958” by Anne Sexton: connections between the poem and Chopin’s text.

HW: interpreting selected citations and how to incorporate quotations in writing. Chopin continued.

Wednesday, October 30th:

How can literary criticism help us to read the text and how can we apply these approaches. Chopin and excerpts from Roxane Gay: intersections and connections to present day society.

HW: Political writings: excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:


Friday, November 1st:

Discussion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s writings. Writings on political and social change. Poems by Amiri Baraka, Audre Lorde, and Joy Harjo.

HW: Excerpt from Friedrich Nietzsche “On the Doctrine of the Feeling of Power”. Excerpts from Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself”.

Wednesday, November 6th:

Nietzsche’s text excerpt: connections between literature and philosophy. Excerpts from Ralph Waldo Emerson. How do philosophical texts help us to look at our own experiences? Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: poetry as philosophy of life.

HW: Reflections and responses. Handout on literary theories. Read Toni Morrison excerpt from essay on memory and writing.

Friday, November 8th:

Student Conferences.

HW: Morrison’s excerpts from essay on memory and writing.

Wednesday, November 13th:

Student conferences continued.

HW: Begin reading EM Forester’s “The Machine Stops”.

Friday, November 15th:

Discuss Toni Morrison excerpt: a writer reflects on memory and writing. Begin discussing EM Forester’s “The Machine Stops”. What does fiction show us about our own realities? Use the text to make observations about our current society. Connections to other texts.

HW: EM Forester’s “The Machine Stops” continued.

Wednesday, November 20th:

EM Forester’s “The Machine Stops”. What does fiction show us about our own realities? Use the text to make observations about our current society. Connections to other texts.

HW: “The Machine Stops” continued. Prepare for peer review/essay due.

Friday, November 22nd:

The Machine Stops” continued. Discuss Egan’s text: how can identity be understood in a complex narrative? Connections between quotations: synthesizing connections between texts. Find quotations for in class work with quotations.

HW: Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box”. How does the text’s structure impact our reading? How can we use literary theories to help us to read the text?

Wednesday, November 27th:

Rough draft of research essay due: peer review. Reflections on your own writing.

HW: Reflections on themes and writing.

Friday, November 29th: NO CLASSES, Thanksgiving Break

Wednesday, November 4th:

Reflections on writing. Comparing and reflecting on themes: how can literature help us in our everyday lives or society? Revision strategies.

HW: Prepare short presentation on essays.

Friday, December 6th:

Short presentations on essays.

HW: Final draft of essay due.

Wednesday, December 11th:

Presentations on essays continued. Conclusions and Connections.


Friday, December 13th:

Last class: reflections on the semester.

Have a great break!!

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