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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

ENGL 1031: Composition and Indigenous Literature in Canada II

This course is comparable to the second half of other first-year university English courses. Course requirements include reading: novels, a novel excerpt, one-act and full-length plays, and a wide range of poems. The six instructional units in this course cover a broad and exciting range and depth of literature written in English by Canadian Indigenous writers, beginning in the twentieth century. Students will develop an appreciation for both the significance of oral storytelling to contemporary Aboriginal writers as well as the diverse contributions of these writers to contemporary literature. Students will identify, analyze and discuss many literary conventions related to fiction, drama and poetry. In addition, students will receive further experience in composition and in writing critical essays, including a formal research paper.

Learning outcomes

  • Describe and analyze, with literary terminology, the components and basic structures of novels, plays, and poems, using specific examples from works studied in the course.
  • Identify the influence of the oral tradition on contemporary Aboriginal writers.
  • Respond to Native writing, with an awareness of cultural and historical contexts.
  • Identify and discuss literary patterns in a novel, play, or poem.
  • Identify and analyze the contribution to the work as a whole of important passages selected from the plays and poems studied in this course.
  • Write coherent and focused critical essays, including a formal research paper, on literary texts and topics.
  • Evaluate and compare different authorial treatments of particular themes and subjects in works of different genres.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Aboriginal Novels
  • Unit 2: One-Act Plays and Oral Storytelling
  • Unit 3: Major Full-Length, Multi-Cast Plays
  • Unit 4: Introduction to Native Poetry
  • Unit 5: Modern Poetry
  • Unit 6: Monkey Beach and the Literary Research Paper

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Ruffo, A. G. & Vermette, K. (Eds.). (2020). An Anthology of Indigenous Literatures in English: Voices from Canada. (5th ed.). Toronto, Oxford University Press Canada.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN-13: 9780199031719

    Note: This textbook is also used in ENGL 1021. Students who already own the required textbook, should deselect it upon registering for this course.
  1. King, Thomas. Medicine River (Penguin Modern Classics Edition). Penguin Group (Canada), 2014.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN 9780143191148

  2. Robinson, Eden. Monkey Beach. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN 9780676973228

  1. Dennis, Darrell. Two Plays: Tales of an Urban Indian/The Trickster of Third Avenue East. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2005.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN 9780887547720
  1. Highway, Tomson. The Rez Sisters. Calgary: Fifth House Limited, 1988.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN 9780920079447
  1. Clements, Marie. The Unnatural and Accidental Women. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2005.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN 9780889225213

Students will need to source the following on their own:

  1. Barnet, Sylvan. Reid, Gilbert. and William E. Cain. A Short Guide to Writing about Literature. 2nd Cdn. ed. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada, 2004.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN 9780321105691

Audiovisual Materials:

Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning. ENGL1031 USB - READINGS/POETRY 2e. Note: The USB is included only in the print version of the course; in the web version, the clips of the audio and video materials are provided online. 2009, REV. 2012.
Type: USB

Additional requirements

Print, self-paced students will need access to a computer to view a USB included in the course materials.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1 - Essay on Medicine River 10%
Assignment 2 - Essay on Drama 15%
Assignment 3 - Essay on Modern Poetry 15%
Assignment 4 - Research Essay on Monkey Beach 20%
Final Examination (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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