Introduction to Literature

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 129

       Course Name: Introduction to Literature

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces students to the study of literature through critical reading and analysis in multiple literary genres. Content includes terminology and methods for literary analysis and evaluation as well as discussion of social, intellectual, and historical influences on literary works.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the distinctive characteristics and conventions of  culturally diverse literary works by focusing on genre, literary technique and social context;
  2. Explain and evaluate the role and meaning of literature in diverse cultures;
  3. Demonstrate ability to discuss and debate multiple interpretations of literary works using the methods of shared inquiry;
  4. Engage in close readings of literary texts as support for literary interpretation in classroom discussion and written assignments;
  5. Interpret the formal elements of works, using the terminology appropriate to specific literary genres;
  6. Analyze works in the context of their literary, cultural, and historical backgrounds;
  7. Analyze the complexities of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity,  nationality, and/or class in literature;
  8. Distinguish and apply multiple critical approaches to the analysis of literary texts;

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Readings, reflecting culturally diverse texts, may be organized thematically; according to genre; or to explore a literary concept, like intertextuality, or several critical schools of thought. A thematic organization would group texts according to such common themes as nature, sexuality or death. A focus on genres would organize texts according to several literary genres, such as fiction, poetry, drama, or creative non-fiction; or several subgenres such as gothic literature, science fiction, and the graphic novel. A theoretical/critical organization would organize literature to illustrate and develop an understanding of an important literary concept, such as intertextuality, or to explore different schools of critical thought, such as feminism, Marxism, New Historicism, or Postcolonialism through representative works of literature.

Sample Outline: Ecoliterature and Ecocriticism

  1. Pastoralism and the Romanticism
    William Wordsworth, Preface and selected poems from Lyrical Ballads (poetry)
    Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (poetry)
    Thoreau, Walden (Creative Non-Fiction)
    Selections from Leo Marx, Machine in the Garden:Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America (Theory/Criticism)
    Charles Taylor, “Nature as Source,” from Sources of the Self (Theory/Criticism)
  2. Ecofeminism and literature
    Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of Pointed Firs (Novel)
    Audre Lorde, selected poetry (Poetry)
    Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters (Novel)
    Alice Walker, “In Search of Our Mother’s Garden” (Creative Non-Fiction)
    Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature (Theory/Criticism)
    Vandana Shiva and Maria Mies, Excerpts from Ecofeminism
  3. Nature and the “Non-Western” world
    Rabindranath Tagore, Red Oleander (Drama)
    Mahasweta Devi, “The Hunt”  (Short Story)
    Silko, Ceremony (Novel)
    Amitav Ghosh, Excerpts from The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable
    Vine Deloria, Excerpts from God is Red

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Primarily, lecture and discussion in class; reading assignments out of class.

Secondary methods may include presentations of activities such as guest speakers, films, and audio-visual presentations, written exercises and oral reading.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will write at least a total of twelve pages (or 3000 words) outside of class. Paper assignments should be guided by the course learning objectives.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Representative samples of fiction, drama, and poetry in individual books or in an anthology.

See the Chairperson for current list.

Appropriate films and audio-visual materials as selected by the instructor.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Written or oral examinations or quizzes on reading assignments, lectures and other material presented or discussed in class.

A minimum of four critical essays of at least 750 words each, written outside of class.

Participation in class discussions and other activities such as oral readings and reports, panels and group projects.

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance policy

For whatever information/procedures the instructor holds the student accountable.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.