"There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California." - Edward Abbey

To register for this class...
This class is offered through Los Angeles Harbor College. For more information about the college, or to register for classes, click here:

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English 209

California Literature

California MissionWelcome!

In English 209, we'll look at the literature of California. from its beginnings to the present day. The reading will introduce you to a wide variety of literature and the analysis will improve your thinking and writing skills.

This course is transferable to UC and CSU.

How to Proceed

This course is offered fully online. Lecture material, course deadlines, and assignment information are available via the Internet. There will be weekly discussions on a class message board; participation is required. You will also submit writing assignments every few weeks and have them returned via e-mail.

  • The Class Schedule tells you what will be covered and what is due each week. I strongly suggest that you bookmark it and print it out. This will help you keep track of reading and writing assignment due dates. It is up to you to keep up with assignment deadlines, especially since late work will be penalized.
  • Writing Assignments will be due every few weeks. Assigned topics and instructions can be reached through links on the Class Schedule or the Writing Assignments link at the left side of this page. Read these instructions carefully, and always e-mail, phone or visit me with any questions you might have.
  • There is also a series of Lectures on topics related to your reading and writing. Be sure to read the lecture material for each week because this will help you to understand the readings, and will give you valuable information to help with the writing assignments. Lecture information can be reached through links in the Class Schedule and the link at the left side of this page.
  • Discussion Questions will be due each week, as well. You must post an answer to the class message board and respond to other people's answers to get the full points for each discussion question. Discussion Question information can be reached through links in the Class Schedule and the link at the left side of this page. Read these instructions carefully, and always e-mail, phone or visit me with any questions you might have.

So it's up to you to keep up with the reading, to turn in assignments on time, to look at online lecture material and to ask questions when you don't understand what we're doing. I will read the written work and questions you e-mail to me, and I will respond (also via e-mail) with comments, corrections, discussion items, and (I hope) useful answers.

Required Texts

  • Tortilla Flat, Steinbeck
  • Ask the Dust, Fante
  • Day of the Locust, West
  • The White Album, Didion
  • Donald Duk, Chin
  • Under the Feet of Jesus, Viramontes
  • Tortilla Curtain, Boyle
  • Devil in a Blue Dress, Mosley

Buying your books

All texts can be found in the college bookstore under my name and the course title
you can buy your books online. The novels and the play you can get on Amazon.com or any other online book vendor. For textbooks, there are several sites you can check out:

You can also comparison shop, by trying FetchBook.Info, a free service, which allows you to compare prices of any book among 70 bookstores (in the US and Canada), and find a price which is 30% - 80% off the market list price.

CampusBooks.com offers used textbooks and college textbooks price comparisons and shopping.

Similar services are

Another good service is Textbook Coupons, which provides information on discounts from online booksellers. This might save you even more.


  • 3 essays: 100 points each
  • Final exam: 100 points
  • Discussion questions: 20 points each.
    (For more information about how and where to submit answers to the discussion questions, see the Discussion Questions page.)

At the end of the semester, your grades will be averaged to determine a final grade for the class. Writing assignments are due on the date assigned on the schedule. Late papers will be penalized 10 points, and will not be accepted at all after one week.


Plagiarism is using the words, ideas, or information of another without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism, in a college environment, is the equivalent of grand larceny, and as such, it is unacceptable behavior. Anyone caught plagiarizing will fail the class. Each student is responsible for knowing the rules of correct citation and documentation; for more information, see the following guidelines from The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University. These provide clear and complete information as to what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Grading Scale for Writing Assignments

  • 100-90=A
  • 89-80=B
  • 79-70=C
  • 69-60=D
  • 59-0=F

How to submit your work

Your writing assignments will be submitted to me via e-mail.

  • Save your file as a Word or RTF file, and attach the file to your e-mail message.
  • When sending assignments, your e-mail message should include your name, the class number (English 209), and the name of the assignment which is attached.
  • Use correct MLA format to set up your pages; for more information see The Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University.
  • Make sure that you eliminate spelling, grammar, and other mechanical errors from your writing.
  • Send your e-mail to me at annw708@earthlink.net.

NOTE: Always keep copies of all of your assignments. If there is a problem with e-mail, you will need that copy to re-send for credit.

About Wikipedia

Avoid citing Wikipedia in academic essays. Since it is not edited by reputable experts, it often has errors and isn't reliable. It's okay to use it as a starting point for your own research, but go on and find other sources to verify the information, and cite those in your essay.

Contact Information

To get in touch with me, use my e-mail, call me the old-fashioned way, on the phone: (310) 233-4247, or come and see me in person at my office: NEA 273. My office hours are Monday through Thursday 9-9:30 a.m., and at other times by appointment.

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Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize distinctive features of the major writers, literary works, movements, trends, and genres in California Literature from its beginnings to the present.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of these works in context including, though not limited to, historical, philosophical, social, political, religious, psychological, biographical, artistic backgrounds.
  3. Employ critical thinking and college-level methods and terminology of literary analysis to reading and interpreting literature by producing well-developed, fluent writing that supports premises about literary works and which utilizes logical observations supported by textual examples.
  4. Demonstrate continued understanding of MLA conventions developing essays that integrate source material and incorporate standard documentation and format.


Nobody can tell about this California climate. One minute it's hot and the next minute it's cold, so a person never knows what to hock. ~Anita Loos