100-Level Courses

ENG 101: College Composition

Course typically offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

The Department of English offers multiple sections of ENG 101, College Composition, each semester. This is the only course required of all University students for graduation and also the only course with an elevated grade requirement. To fulfill the University’s ENG 101 requirement, students must earn the grade of C or above. Throughout the semester, students work to develop reading and writing practices essential to their university careers. They also work to develop a reflective understanding of those practices that will enable redirection and repurposing throughout their academic and professional lives. Success in the course depends on completion of all assignments and the receipt of a positive assessment on a portfolio of work submitted at the end of the semester. To satisfy the General Education Writing Competency Requirement students must earn a minimum grade of “C”.  [The Portfolio Assessment Rubric is available by clicking here.]


Most University students fulfill the ENG 101 graduation requirement by taking ENG 101 during either the Fall or Spring semester of their first year on campus. Students who have earned the grade of 3 or above on AP exams in high school will have credit for ENG 101 already on their transcripts. Students enrolled in the two-semester Honors sequence (Honors 111 and 112) have the option of counting those courses as fulfilling the ENG 101 requirement. Students who enter the University with extensive writing experience may attempt to challenge the ENG 101 requirement. Information about the Challenge Exam process is distributed during the first class meeting of all ENG 101 sections.

Alternative Versions:

ENG 100/106 “Stretch.” Students differ greatly in the amount of time they need or want to spend becoming familiar with academic reading and writing practices. Those who prefer to proceed deliberately may sign up for the two-semester, “Stretch,” version of ENG 101. These students take ENG 100 in the Fall of their first year on campus and ENG 106 in the Spring. They work toward the same outcomes as students in regular sections but spend more time revising and reflecting on their work. In the four years during which the “Stretch” version has been available, enrolled students have had a better success rate with the end-of-year portfolio review than have students in regular sections; they have also been more likely to return to campus after their first year. [A comparison of Stretch and regular sections of the course is available here.]

The Translingual Section. This section is reserved for students who have a personal or professional interest in language difference and who want to prepare for the rapidly globalizing workplaces which will need people who can negotiate productively across languages. Half of the seats in these sections are reserved for native speakers of English and half for native speakers of other languages. These sections fill early. Anyone interested in enrolling should contact Paige Mitchell  (Paige.Mitchell@Maine.edu) for permission.

ENG 100/106: College Comp Stretch Part 1/Part 2

Course typically offered: Spring

ENG 100 (Part 1):  This course provides intense practice with habits of reading, writing, thinking, and revising essential to postsecondary academic work. Designed for students who want to create a strong foundation for themselves in academic reading and writing. Available only during fall semester. Students must complete both ENG 100 and ENG 106 with a grade of C or better in each course to satisfy the General Education College Composition requirement.  Neither course taken alone will satisfy the requirement.

ENG 106 (Part 2): This course provides intense practice with habits of reading, writing, thinking, and revising essential to postsecondary academic work. Designed for students who want to create a strong foundation for themselves in academic reading and writing. Available only during spring semester. Sections of 106 will be scheduled at the same time of day during spring semester as sections of 100 were in the fall semester. We expect that cohorts will continue from fall to spring. Students must complete both ENG 100 and ENG 106 with a grade of C or better in each course to satisfy the General Education College Composition requirement. Neither course taken alone will satisfy the requirement.

ENG 129: Topics in English, First Year Seminar

Prerequisites: First-year students only; may be taken before or after ENG 101 or concurrently with permission.

Satisfies the general education requirement: Writing Intensive

Course typically offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Recent offerings:

Shakespeare in the Snow (Fazzino)

Spend three weeks with the Bard. This winter, bundle up as we embark upon an in-depth exploration of one of William Shakespeare’s best loved comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and one of his most gripping tragedies, King Lear. We will keep warm with an emphasis on close reading as we chart the complexities of Shakespeare’s syntax, diction, and meter. Course readings will draw from a vast body of critical work on the two plays, and we will also consider the many adaptations they have inspired over the centuries. Themes include love, madness, truth and illusion, the nature of power, family dynamics, class conflict, and gender norms.

Scandalous Women in Literature (Le)

Non-conformity and social disgrace!When empowered women challenge social mores they often are deemed scandalous — but why? Whether a woman has gained knowledge through mysterious wisdom or has had a sexual awakening, she no longer fits into the imposed social order. But who creates such standards? This course examines women in British and American literature who caused a stir in their social sphere and were forevermore depicted as immoral. Students will discuss and analyze the literature within a feminist critical context, as well as the contexts in which the texts were written. By examining the political, social, cultural, and religious history of the period, we seek to better understand the women, or characters, whose “eccentricities” ostracized them from their communities.

Gender in Fable, Fairy, and Folk Tales (Tkacs)

This class will examine some favorite childhood stories and the original tales that inspired them. Students will evaluate the ways in which representation influences the uptake of traditional gender roles through class discussion, examination of course texts. Students will identify and articulate the ways in which these forms of literature contribute to reinforcing gender roles and the ways in which modern retellings are impacting this influence. Students will critique social institutions, organizations, and practices in relation to these media and will demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which the cultural influences in these stories alter the presentation of gender norms.

ENG 131: The Nature of Story

Prerequisite: None.

Satisfies the general education requirement(s): Western Cultural Tradition and Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives

Course typically offered: Fall & Spring

English 131 explores the fundamental activity of why and how we create, tell and read/listen to stories. Readings may include selections from folk tale and myth, saga and epic, drama and novel, film and song, poetry and essay–from the ancient world to the modern, from the western cultural tradition and from a variety of other cultures. The main goal of this division of ENG 131 is to help each student acquire and develop creative and constructive reading practices. Creative reading means to engage with literature as if one is the instrument of the text, not the other way around, in order to be able to release the energy of the story through its language. This practice of creative reading has many practical consequences, which we will take up in our class work. To read constructively means to learn to build an understanding of a story reflectively and in critical conversation with others: fellow students, teachers, and scholars.  We will be reading a variety of texts/films, both fiction and non-fiction, including fairy tales, sudden fictions (short, short stories), novels and film.

ENG 170: Foundations of Literary Analysis

Prerequisite(s): ENG 101 is strongly recommended for all sections. ENG 170 is a required course for all English majors.

Course typically offered: Fall & Spring

This course is designed as a close reading of literary texts for students preparing to become English majors. We will explore how conventions of genre, form and style work in literature and develop a vocabulary for understanding and communicating ideas about literature. We will write regularly throughout the semester to practice the critical discourse expected of English majors.

Course description: English 170, Foundations of Literary Analysis, introduces students to concepts and practices that are foundational to the discipline of English and commonly encountered in other disciplines in the humanities. The focus is twofold. We engage in close reading, a practice that includes paying careful attention to the formal and stylistic features of a literary text as well as its thematic content and generic conventions. We also develop a vocabulary to discuss the methods, practice, and politics of literary analysis. For example, a foundational concept for this course is that every time we respond to a literary text, we construct a “reading” of it. While there may be a multiplicity of possible readings of a literary text, this course stresses that for a reading to be convincing or illuminating, it must be well-supported by textual (and often contextual) evidence. To this end, English 170 teaches students how to produce specific readings that are as well-articulated as they are well-supported. This includes tracing motifs and themes in the texts we read, as well as learning how to recognize and explicitly articulate the perspectives and values that guide what we notice (and/or overlook) as a reader. Through regular reading, writing, and research assignments; active, well-informed participation in class discussion; and periodic one-on-one tutorials, students prepare themselves to excel in the English Major and throughout their wider course of university-level study.

Porter Abbott’s Cambridge Introduction to Narrative (2nd ed.), supplemented by excerpts from Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin’s edited volume Critical Terms for Literary Study (2nd ed.), is the central theoretical text for this course. Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style, James Joyce’s Dubliners, and Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way are the principal literary texts.