Office hours: F 12:30-2:00, Butler G122;  T 4-4:30 Ballston 2043
W by appointment, Butler G122  Ph. 703/526-6805


This course provides a study of narrative strategies on film, looking both at adaptations of narrative from print to film, and among film genres themselves. Films will be examined from a literary perspective, including an introduction to the vocabulary of film studies from various theoretical backgrounds including feminism, genre studies, and multiculturalism. Special attention will be given to how the choice of media affects storytelling, and how visual narratives differ from, or derive from, textual narratives. The course will apply paradigms of traditional textual study to media texts. It will introduce film studies through focused examination of specific cinematic narratives, connecting these narratives to literary traditions, as well as other disciplines. By studying various film adaptations, students will be able to examine how texts affect each other; how factors like historical situation, gender, and culture affect textual interpretation, and how film itself conveys narrative.

The course will introduce you to some pivotal time periods in literature through their adaptation to film. Modernist stream-of-consciousness and postmodern pastiche will be explored, as will graphic novels and suspense novels. Major movements in cinema like film noir, classicism, formalism and realism will be explored as well. Finally, we will ask how does the concept of “author” apply to cinematic form?


Liberal Arts Core Outcomes (general and discipline-specific)
Introductory Literature Objectives:
Students will recognize literature as an expression of the human condition by identifying themes, movements, and texts that constitute American literary, cinematic and cultural traditions.

Students will demonstrate skills in close reading and interpretation by applying the conventions and vocabulary of literary analysis.

Students will examine the historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts that inform American literary and cinematic discourse.

Course-Specific Outcomes
Students will also…

  • apply narrative terminology to cinema in exams and presentations
  • analyze and discuss major genres and developments in cinema on exams
  • describe the various historical positions critics have taken toward film studies
  • evaluate film texts as primary documents reflecting social and cultural trends in class discussion and projects
  • identify significant terms, characters and passages from the works studied in class and explain their importance in concise, effective and structured essays and presentations
  • develop appreciation for film as a  public art
  • revise and present their ideas to the class


The course will be student centered, expecting significant discussion in class.  These objectives will be met through the use of lectures, online discussions, a film critique and revision, research presented orally and in annotated bibliographies, a final  reflection, and in class participation (Blackboard postings, attendance).

4.     GRADING POLICY  (i.e., number of graded assignments, weight given to each)
A = 90-100% B = 80-89% C = 70-79% D = 60-69% F = 0-59%
Plus and minus grades fall within a 3% range at either end of a particular grade scale.

See Assignments and Canvas Assignments for individual assignment details.

Attendance/Tardy Policy: You are expected to be here on time, every day. This is a student-centered course, depending upon you for quality discussion and workshops. Each student will be allowed 4 personal days with only a minor penalty (if we have an in-class quiz or presentation, these cannot be made up). Personal days can be compensated by strong Blackboard postings and extra credit. If you must be absent, make sure you let me know. Tardiness of more than 10 minutes equals an absence. Your final grade will reflect a 10 point deduction from your participation grade for every absence beyond the fourth. On viewing days, class will be held in the auditorium and will begin at 11:30am to accommodate the length of the films—you will not be penalized for only coming for regularly scheduled class time.

Written Assignments:  Keep all written assignments in a separate folder or computer file for this course.  Do not throw away or delete essays or drafts until after the completion of the course.  Bring a hard copy of all work to any conferences with the instructor.

Digital Copies of Work: Some work in this course will be submitted electronically via Blackboard.  Use MS Word software if you plan to submit work as an attachment on Blackboard. Sometimes, due to software incompatibility, your MS word document may not open for others on Blackboard. If this is the case, I will email you at your MU email to ask you to cut & paste your text into the posting. Work on Blackboard may be submitted to anti-plagiarism software like Turnitin.com and Safe Assign.

Develop a Reading Strategy: Look up words you don’t know, take notes, underline things, ask questions, and engage your reading assignments actively, critically, and closely. Print out or use annotation software like Notability for articles on Blackboard in order to highlight them. Your participation in the class is largely contingent upon your ability to discuss the readings effectively.

Develop a Viewing Strategy: During the first half of the course, you will be assigned several movies for Home Viewing over the weekend. Like required reading, the required viewing means you need to access the material and review it. All films are available for rental or live streaming via Netflix or Amazon. IMDB also frequently lists upcoming t.v. broadcasts for recording. DVD’s can also be accessed on 2 hour reserve from the Marymount Library. Rebecca may only be available on DVD for rental or sale, not download or live stream. Touch of Evil is, however, on Amazon on Demand. Most DVD’s cost less than $10 to purchase. PLAN AHEAD and have the film ready for viewing in advance in whatever medium you prefer or is available; viewing with others from class is also a good idea.

Wikipedia and the Web: If you don’t feel you have a basic grasp of readings, feel free to browse the web (or skim the resources in the Literature Resource Center, the Dictionary of Literary Biography or other general library reference sources). However, anything that you find on the web in this way is a starting point, rather than an end point. Cite any source you use from the web—even in a Blackboard posting–and carefully consider its credibility. Wikipedia is just a random set of people, like those you’d meet on the metro or the grocery store. Their answers to questions are those of a general crowd, not an expert, and they are often wrong. Follow up on ideas you locate on the web by checking them against sources pulled from library databases and peer-reviewed (expertly edited) sources.

Essay Format: Since this is an English course, written work determines the bulk of your grade.  Since this is not a course in grammar, you should use a writing handbook or website like Purdue OWL to review use of clear sentences and words as well as format. Make sure you know how to cite sources correctly whenever you refer to them in any project.

Although each written assignment has its own format, all should have a cover sheet attached with the following information in the upper left hand corner, 1” from top of page:
Your Name / Instructor’s name EN 220
• 12″ font, double spaced     • 1” margins
This format applies to work submitted in Canvas assignments (not to Canvas postings).

Quizzes: In-class quizzes will be given to ensure you are completing and understanding reading assignments.

Email Communication and /Canvas: Write all your electronic correspondence with care and thought—after all, this is a form of writing, and this class is concerned with teaching writing and critical analysis. In all your online postings, respond honestly and concisely to your peers, and cite any sources used.  Electronic communication models courtesy, civic behavior, and personal responsibility.

Plagiarism  Any written work with your name on it signifies that you are the author–that the wording and the major ideas are yours, with exceptions indicated by quotation marks and citations. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of others’ materials (words and ideas). Evidence of plagiarism will result in a report filed with Academic Integrity Committee and the possibility of a failing grade for the assignment and/ or an F in the course.

Late Work Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the day they are due. They will lose 10 points for each class session they are late. If you become ill or the victim of an emergency situation, contact me as soon as possible to make alternate arrangements.  Absence is no excuse for failing either to turn in an assignment or to get instructions for a new assignment.  Plan ahead or make arrangements with a fellow student whom you trust.  Computer problems explain, but do not excuse, late work.

Resources: All writing, however strong, can benefit from a careful reader’s response. In addition to feedback from your instructor and your classmates, writing assistance is available from peer tutors in the CTL. CTL tutors can help at any stage of the writing process – from getting started to final editing. They can help you figure out an assignment, overcome “writer’s block,” or discover your thesis. Remember, however, that tutors are not allowed to revise or edit students’ papers for them. All changes, revisions, or corrections must be your work. In addition, you should already be familiar with the Reinsch Library and its resources. If you are not, self-tours and research guides are available at the library.

Conference with Instructor You may stop by my office during scheduled office hours to discuss any aspect of the course. Please let me know that you are coming beforehand, if possible. To make an appointment at another time, see me after class or contact me through e-mail. I do not use Starfish to schedule appointments, so email me directly.

See Schedule link

See Required Texts and Bibliography Link

7. University Statements
Students not officially enrolled in a course offered by the university may not attend class according to university policy. Faculty are responsible for upholding this policy and may not add students to a class roster in Canvas.
By accepting this syllabus, you pledge to uphold the principles of Academic Integrity expressed by the Marymount University community. You agree to observe these principles yourself and to defend them against abuse by others. Items submitted for this course may be submitted to TurnItIn.com for analysis.
For the benefit of current and future students, work in this course may be used for educational critique, demonstrations, samples, presentations, and verification. Outside of these uses, work shall not be sold, copied, broadcast, or distributed for profit without student consent.
If you are seeking accommodations (class/course adjustments) for a disability, here are the steps to take:
Register as a student with a disability with Student Access Services (SAS) in the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). This process takes time, so engage with SAS as early as possible.
Once registered with SAS, you may be approved for accommodations by SAS. Approved accommodations will be listed on a “Faculty Contact Sheet” (FCS), and you will receive a copy of this FCS from SAS.
Meet with each of your instructors as soon as possible to review your accommodations as per the FCS, and have them sign the FCS. This document will help you and your instructors develop a plan for providing the approved accommodations.
Let SAS know if you have any concerns about how your accommodations are being implemented in the classroom.

Please remember that:
The steps above are required in order to be granted reasonable accommodations for disabling conditions.
Accommodations cannot be implemented retroactively. That is, accommodations can only be applied to a course after they have been approved by SAS, and after you have discussed your accommodations with your instructor and the instructor has signed the FCS.
Appointments with SAS staff are scheduled through the Starfish “Success Network” tab (you can access Starfish through Canvas). For more information, check the SAS website, e-mail access@marymount.edu, or call 703-284-1538.
Temporary Challenges
Temporary challenges due to accident, illness, etc. that may result in missing class or navigating general campus access do not necessarily fall under the purview of SAS. If you experience something of this nature, please start by alerting your instructors. The Dean of Student Success may be involved in alerting instructors in extreme cases.
When students are absent due to a crisis situation or unexpected, serious illness and unable to contact their individual instructors directly, the Division of Student Affairs can send out an Emergency Notification. To initiate an Emergency Notification, students should contact the Division of Student Affairs 703-284-1615 or student.affairs@marymount.edu. Emergency Notifications are NOT appropriate for non-emergency situations (e.g. car problems, planned absences, minor illnesses, or a past absence); are NOT a request or mandate to excuse an absence, which is at the sole discretion of the instructor; and are NOT a requirement for student absences. If a student contacts instructors about an emergency situation directly, it is not necessary to involve the Division of Student Affairs as arrangements are made to resolve the absence.
For non-emergency absences, students should inform their instructors directly.
Copies of your work in this course including copies of any submitted papers and your portfolios may be kept on file for institutional research, assessment and accreditation purposes. All work used for these purposes will be submitted confidentially.
Weather and Emergency closings are announced on Marymount’s web site: www.marymount.edu, through MUAlerts, area radio stations, and TV stations. You may also call the Weather and Emergency Hotline at (703) 526-6888 for current status. Unless otherwise advised by local media or by official bulletins listed above, students are expected to report for class as near normal time as possible on days when weather conditions are adverse. Decisions as to inclement closing or delayed opening are not generally made before 6:00 AM and by 3:00 PM for evening classes of the working day. Emergency closing could occur at any time making MUAlerts the most timely announcement mechanism. Students are expected to attend class if the University is not officially closed. If the University is closed, course content and assignments will still be covered as directed by the course instructor. Please look for communication from course instructor (e.g., Canvas) for information on course work during periods in which the University is closed.

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