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CCOG for ENG 214 Summer 2022

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Course Number:
ENG 214
Course Title:
Literature of the Northwest
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Studies fictional, factual, and poetic works by Northwest writers from before the arrival of Euro-Americans to the present. Emphasizes relationship between Northwest writing and Northwest social, cultural, and physical environment. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Define "Northwest literature" in relation to the physical and multicultural environments which have produced it and which are often its focus.

  2. Trace the social and environmental histories of the Northwest through its literature.

  3. Connect the literature of the Northwest to other arts practiced in the Northwest and to other literature produced in the rest of the United States at comparable periods.

  4. Write clear, focused, coherent essays about literature for an academic audience, using standard English conventions of grammar and style.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

English and Writing courses align with the PCC General Education philosophy by providing an appreciation of writing and literature from global and personal perspectives. Students in English courses engage the imagination, critical inquiry and self‐reflection, and in the process of doing so, cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s), linguistic/communication practices, and perspectives in relation to others. Because the literary arts lie at the heart of most human cultures, they are essential for understanding each other and navigating our differences. In literature classes, students explore significant texts from diverse cultures and periods in history. Students look closely at texts from a range of genres, articulating the way elements of writing, content, form, and style are interrelated, and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time and through different theoretical lenses. Students engage texts through critical analysis and creative response, learning to use evidence to support their interpretations and to navigate critical conversations. Students explore literature both as an art form designed to provoke thought and challenge social norms, and as an expression of human experience. Writing and Literature courses foster a stronger sense of engagement with history, culture, and society. Writing and Literature students develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers in a global world, and an enlarged understanding of the relationships between language, identity, ideas, scholarship, communication, and transformation.

Course Activities and Design

Class meeting time consists of lecture, group discussion, and various other activities--small group discussion, in-class writings, and perhaps some guest speakers and viewing and listening to videotape and audio recordings.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Instructors vary on methods of assessment, but generally instructors employ some combination of quizzes, exams, essays, and reading notebooks.  The final grade is generally based upon the quality and extent of students' understanding of the course readings and discussions, as demonstrated in writings, discussion in class, and conferences

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

ENG 214 begins with the question "Is there an identifiable Northwest literature?" The course then addresses related questions: What are the characteristics of Northwest literature? What, then, must be the characteristics of the Northwest culture which has produced the literature? What are the major accomplishments of Northwest literature? What are the minor, often neglected or excluded accomplishments of Northwest literature? What are the relationships of Northwest literature to other Northwest arts--dance, theatre, music, film, architecture, sculpture, painting, photography? To what extent is Northwest literature similar to other literatures of North America? To what extent is Northwest literature unique? What is the relationship of Northwest literature to the Northwest's physical environment--climate, weather, geography, flora and fauna, landscape?

In considering answers to these questions, ENG 214 inevitably encompasses such issues as gender, ethnicity, social equality, racism, environmental degradation, private property rights, provincialism, and many others. Like most literature courses, ENG 214 ventures into the territory of many other disciplines, such as history, sociology, ethics, biology, geography, political science, psychology, folklore, religion, and anthropology. The theoretical means to arriving at some answers are equally disparate: The course employs, often invisibly, the techniques of new historicism, ecocriticism, semiotics, new criticism, reader-response theory, feminist criticism, Marxist criticism, and genre criticism.


Texts may be designated by the instructor based on the objectives outlined in this course content guide. The reading list should attempt to represent the Northwest's variety of geographical regions, ethnic groups, and historical eras; it should include a variety of literary genres; and it should fairly represent women's writing as well as men's. The following items are intended as descriptions of instructors' choices of texts in the past as an aid to choosing texts in the future. This is not intended as a prescribed or recommended list of texts. Some of the hundreds of possibilities:


Collections of poems by William Stafford, Carolyn Kizer, David Wagoner, Tess Gallagher, Chris Howell, Sam Hamill, Dorianne Laux, Kenneth O. Hansen, Vern Rutsala, Primus St. John, Barbara Drake, Richard Hugo, Theodore Roethke, and many others.



Alexie, Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

Berry, Don. Trask.

Erdrich, Louise. Tracks.

Fisher, Vardis. Dark Bridwell.

Gloss, Molly. The Jump-Off Creek.

Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars.

Guthrie, A. B. The Big Sky.

Jones, Nard. Oregon Detour.

Kesey, Ken. Sometimes a Great Notion.

Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping.

Literary Nonfiction Blew, Mary Clearman. All But the Waltz.

Cantwell, Robert. The Hidden Northwest.

DeVoto, Bernard, ed. The Journals of Lewis and Clark.

Doig, This House of Sky.

Egan, Timothy. The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest.

Lopez, Barry. Crossing Open Ground.

Maclean, Norman. A River Runs Through It.

Moore, Kathleen Dean. Riverwalking.

Tisdale, Sally. Stepping Westward.

Venn, George. Marking the Magic Circle: An Intimate Geography.

Pyle, Robert Michael. The Thunder Tree.


Strelow, Michael, ed. Anthology of Northwest Writing: 1900-1950.

Venn, George. The Oregon Literature Series.

Instructors new to the course should contact the campus literature chair, writing and literature SACC chair, faculty department chair, or administrative support person for further information. Other faculty members who have taught the course are also valuable sources of information.

The primary purpose of the Course Content and Outcome Guide is to provide

faculty a SAC approved outline of the course. It is not intended to replace

the Course Syllabus, which details course content and requirements for students.