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Ethics in Literature studies poems, short stories, drama and novels with the intention of probing both their literary merit and the ethical questions embedded within them. Students apply literary terminology and basic principles of ethics in order to understand and appreciate these works. The course emphasizes close and perceptive reading, thoughtful discussion and reflection. This course is writing intensive.

Dr. Barbara Graham Cooper
DH 231
(443) 518-4851

Statement on General Education and Liberal Learning

A liberal education prepares students to lead ethical, productive, and creative lives and to understand how the pursuit of lifelong learning and critical thinking fosters good citizenship. General education courses form the core of a liberal education within the higher education curriculum and provide a coherent intellectual experience for all students by introducing the fundamental concepts and methods of inquiry in the areas of mathematics, the physical and natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts and the humanities, and composition. This course is part of the general education core experience at Howard Community College.

Overall Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to do the following:

1. Recognize literary terms, concepts, critical strategies and stylistic characters in the texts studied;

2. Demonstrate critical and independent thinking in the interpretation of texts;

3. Write analytically about literary works, using appropriate research and documentation;

4. Demonstrate an understanding of ways the literature studied reflects its intellectual, social, historical, and cultural contexts;

5. Evaluate the power of literature to address personal values and goals and to challenge human endeavors;

6. Discuss specific principles of ethics relevant to each author's work.

Major Topics

1. Classical principles of ethics, concerning the following: 1) the distinct function of human beings; the nature of the good; intellectual virtue; moral virtue; natural law; moral reasoning; conscience. 

2. Literary terminology.

3. Literary criticism.

4. Student critical essays.

5. Student reflective essays.

6. Literature selected for artistry and ethical questions: short stories, poems, drama, n.ovels

Course Requirements

Grading procedures will be determined by the individual faculty member but may include exams, papers and class participation. Specific writing assignments will require at least 2,500 words of formal academic writing, as well as informal in-class assignments to explore ideas and respond to class materials.

Other Course Information

This course is a Literature and Humanities core course and a Humanities, English, and Arts and Sciences elective.

Course Format
  • Not self paced.
  • Does not require real-time chats.


This course does not have a face-to-face orientation.

Course Requirments

  • Review the "What you should know before you register" section of the eLearning Homepage.
  • The general rule in college is three hours of preparation time per week for every credit received.  Plan on allocating eight to nine hours a week preparing, participating, and writing for this course. 

Textbook Information

To access the HCC bookstore's online sales site, please visit and follow the instructions for selecting textbooks.

Student Profile - Maribel