Introduction to English Studies

Catalog Description: Introduction to English Studies at UH Mânoa, including the purpose, practice, and potential of literary and rhetorical study of texts; consideration given to Hawaiian and/or Pacific texts in cultural and historical context.

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

This course, the only course required of all UHM English majors, is an introduction to the study of literary and cultural (including visual) texts: how we read them, interpret them, contextualize them, critique them, and imbibe them into our consciousness and identity. Our thematic focus will be on islands, which have exerted a powerful pull on the modern imagination through texts that have used the idea of islands to define experimental self-hood (“imagine yourself all alone on a desert island . . . ) and texts that question this isolationistic and individualistic concept, such as Epeli Hau’ofa’s seminal essay, “Our Sea of Islands.” Such imagery has been central to the development of the post-Enlightenment sense of self, shaped by encounters with the colonial “other” (for example, The Tempest’s Caliban/Ariel, Robinson Crusoe’s Friday) well as used by post- colonial writers to interrogate such ideology in their re-imagining of these “foundational” texts. Along the way we will gain an understanding of the development the various genres (drama, poetry, the novel, and film) within their historical contexts, as well as the various critical approaches used to encompass them. Because this is a writing intensive course, we will also focus on the conventions of writing and researching literary essays, including MLA style and documentation, as well as the appropriate use of quotations.

Major Texts (If purchased online, be sure you buy the Norton Critical Editions, which include additional works that will be assigned):

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Norton Critical Edition
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Norton Critical Edition
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, Norton Critical Edition
Sia Fiegel, Where We Once Belonged
Supplementary Readings will be posted in Laulima

Major Requirements
Two 4-5 page formal literary essays (15% each)
A 6-8 page research paper. Includes related assignment. (25%)
Homework: study questions, summaries, reading responses, working bibliographies, etc. (25%)
Oral Presentation on Author (10%)
Informal Presentations of Critical Articles and Research Project (5%)
Final exam (5%)
Attendance, Preparation, Participation