Gordon College logo

English Courses

Requirements

Students with a major or minor in English must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all coursework in the major or minor.

Historical Courses

Literary Studies Courses

4 credits are required from each of the following categories.

    Literature before 1800

    British Literature after 1800

    American Literature after 1800

    ENG 347 may count towards American Literature after 1800 or Representational Ethics, but not both.

    Representational Ethics

    ENG 347 may count towards American Literature after 1800 or Representational Ethics, but not both.

    Writing and Rhetoric Courses

    8 credits required.   Only one of  COM 217 or  COM 317 can count toward the Writing and Rhetoric requirements and/or the Creative Writing Concentration.  ENG 419 can count towards Writing and Rhetoric or the Senior Capstone, but not both.

    Vocation/Internship Courses

    2 credits required.

    Senior Capstone Courses

    4 credits required. ENG 419 can count towards Writing and Rhetoric or the Senior Capstone, but not both.


    ENG 140 Course Descriptions (Spring 2018)

    ENG 140A: Negotiating Constraint 
    This course will consider how people navigate the complicated relationship between agency and constraint—the choices we make and the choices that are made for us. We will read explicitly religious accounts of this question (Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Milton’s Paradise Lost), as well as texts that consider the possibility of meaningful dissent, under the constraints of political dictatorships (1984 and The Land of Green Plums). We will also watch films—The Matrix and The Truman Show—that ask about when and how an individual’s own perception of freedom might become, from a different perspective, meaningless. Our final novel, Never Let Me Go, considers how technology might introduce new complications and concerns about constraint and freedom.

    ENG140B: Contemporary Nobel Authors and Their Peers
    In this course, we’ll be looking closely at a wide range of literature from many countries, including Canada, China, Egypt, Poland, Russia, South Africa and the U.S.  We’ll be looking at literature that deals with themes crucial to the present as well as the past, from racism to suffering to identity.  We’ll work hard to gain a deeper understanding of how to read and respond to fiction and poetry.  As readers who are both part of contemporary U.S. culture and a particular Christian sub-culture, we’ll also seek to gain a deeper understanding of the many cultural contexts that impact literature. Short response writings and class discussions will allow you to consider the works as we read them, and oral presentations will help you to build your knowledge of the authors’ worlds.  A final essay will challenge you to consider two of the authors’ work in greater depth, but we’ll break the essay down into a step-by-step process to build your confidence in writing essays. For students on the pre-2016 core, this course fulfills the core literature requirement and the Global Understanding requirement of the thematic core.

    ENG140C: Nobel Literature 
    First awarded in 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature represents the acme of literary artistry, and, in the words of Alfred Nobel, is given to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”  Considering not a particular text but a writer’s oeuvre (a writer’s work regarded collectively), the awarding committee, the Swedish Academy, bestows this honor for the tremendous contributions which the writer has made to the world of literature and which also have “conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.”  In this course, we will study texts by authors from several different countries and continents, with the aim of developing both an appreciation for their respective texts and represented cultures and also an understanding of how literature can enable us to transcend our own borders.  Course texts will include the genres of poetry, drama, short fiction, and the novel. For students on the pre-2016 core, this course fulfills the core literature requirement and the Global Understanding requirement of the thematic core.

    ENG140D: Women’s Literature 
    How is a person’s vision of the world shaped by her gender? We will raise this question and others as we study the vision of contemporary women writers and their experience (in the case of memoir) or that of their characters. Ideally, their depiction of life will open us up to people whose cultures and experiences are different from ours and sensitize us to difficult moral and intellectual struggles. We will pay attention to the power of images in the novels, variations of values and voice, and to the development of meaning in the lives of the characters. We will also look at what threatens meaning, such as vanity and numbing conventionality to political and domestic violence, considering the damage done by our assumptions of personal, cultural, or racial superiority that can lead to massive cruelty. Reading these books well calls us to compassion toward those whose lives we are not living. For students on the pre-2016 core, this course fulfills the core literature requirement and the Human Person requirement of the thematic core.

    ENG140E: The Sacred and the Profane in Western and Middle Eastern Literature
    In all world cultures, we find literature which honors the supremacy of God, and literature which celebrates life, in this world, at this moment. These two literary traditions--often referred to as the sacred and the profane-- ask two interrelated questions: What is the transformative power of honoring God? What is the transformative power of honoring human existence apart from God? In this course we will study selected works from two global cultures with a rich history of cultural cross-currents-- Euro-centric/Christian and Middle Eastern/Islamic. In class discussion and critical essays our principal method will be close examinations of the texts in order to comparatively consider the sacred and profane traditions in the literature of both cultures. For students on the pre-2016 core, this course fulfills the core literature requirement and the Global Understanding requirement of the thematic core.

    ENG 140F: Cast-offs and Castaways: Fictional Tales of Survival (2 credits) 
    From Robinson Crusoe to Life of Pi, castaway narratives and other tales of survival have long captured readers’ imaginations. In addition to feeding our desire for adventure, such stories raise important questions about human nature, good and evil, our relationship to the natural world, and our confrontations with the “other.” Through an examination of fictional narratives of cast-offs and castaways from around the globe, this course will explore the evolution of the survival fiction genre, its differing perspectives on human motivation, and its historical role in both perpetuating and challenging various political and cultural ideologies. We will also consider how these stories of survival reflect and respond to their authors’ distinctive cultural contexts.

    Seniors who maintain at least a 3.50 GPA in the major (with no grade lower than a B) and a 3.0 GPA overall may apply to graduate with honors in English Language and Literature upon completion of major requirements. Students work with a faculty advisor to develop an independent study with a substantial research project in literature or creative writing, culminating in a written honors thesis delivered to the departmental faculty and students in the fall or spring of the senior year. See the department chair for further details.

    With departmental advice non-majors may design a 20-credit English minor with courses selected from 200- through 400-level English courses. ENG 202 and ENG 203 are required for the minor. Students with a minor in English must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all coursework in the minor.