Updated Syllabus





Hello, I’m Professor Adam Freeman and welcome to 19th and  20th Century English Literature.

It’s come to my attention that there are rumors about this course being tremendously difficult (71% of students who have taken this course have failed, according to some dodgy statistics), and even worse, that I’m very strict and unforgiving. I don’t know where those rumors started. Would a strict professor bring you free coffee and donuts to every lecture? Would a difficult professor give you all the answers to the exams (for instance, on Version 4 of the exam, Waldo can be found on the lower left behind the elephant)? Would an unforgiving professor completely understand that it’s perfectly normal for someone to have six grandmothers who all die within the span of 18 weeks?

Of interest, I’d like to point out that I’m married to a wonderful wife and we have three children, all of whom depend on me financially to support them. Speaking of finances, I make very little money. I’m told Chancellor Hawthorne – who lives near campus – is someone you might call wealthy.

The key to passing my course is always attending class, completing all homework correctly and on time, and being prepared for all tests and exams. I’ve outlined the general guidelines for this course below. If you don’t mind, please read this carefully.


I am available for consultation in my office Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM. My office is Room 306 in the Building A5, which has armed security guards working the main entrances.

I keep all of my valuables in the upper left drawer of my desk. My wallet will be on top of the desk within easy reach. The framed pictures of the woman and children on my office wall are people that I do not know. They are of no consequence to me and would certainly not be worth taking as hostages.

I’m available during this time to answer any questions you might have about the course material. If my answers are insufficient or unsatisfactory, please provide me with the answers you would be happiest hearing. Remember, the job of a professor is to bring you happiness. And donuts.


If you have 3 or more unexcused absences in the semester, you will automatically fail this course. I am not flexible with this issue. An unexcused absence is any absence without documentation excusing you from class because of A) a medical emergency or B) an academic scheduling conflict. If you have either documentation, it is your responsibility to show it to me the next time you attend class. All homework, tests, and quizzes, given during your absence are your responsibility. Find out what you missed from someone else in the class, see me during my consultation hours, or send me an e-mail. If you miss a test or quiz, you will be allowed to take it the next time you attend class only with an excused absence.

While class begins at 7:30 AM, I completely understand that you’re probably tired. It’s super early. I did not choose this hour (as a matter of fact, this was decided by that monster Dr. Andrew Carmichael, head of the English Department) and if I had my way, I’d be teaching much later in the day at a “cool” hour. If you want to sleep in or not come to class at all, I would never protest.

If it’s your birthday, you can skip class. I will never require verification that it’s your birthday. I trust you – especially on your birthday!

If you are late 15 minutes or more for my class, do not enter my classroom. Whenever you get to class is when you get to class. If I look annoyed that you arrived really late, please remember that I am not silently judging you. I’m just really happy you showed up. Help yourself to a donut.


All homework must be typed and complete, and ready for me to collect at the beginning of the class. If your homework is not ready when I collect it, I will not accept it later. If I’m unable to understand your homework (damaged paper, sloppy handwriting, etc), I will consider the homework to be incomplete.

While I may occasionally make suggestions for things you can do outside of class, I would never give you homework.


I give two exams each semester; one in the middle of the semester and one at the end. I typically give several quizzes every semester. In most cases you will not know that a quiz will be given in class. Please attend every class with the understanding that you could be quizzed on the previous week’s material.

Pop quizzes are, of course, optional.

There will be four versions of each exam. You will be allowed to choose from the following: 1) Multiple Choice with Essay; 2) Unscramble the Words; 3) List 10 Things that Make You Happy; or 4) Find Waldo.

For the essay, correct spelling and grammar, and forming coherent arguments are no longer required.


91%-100% = A+

81%-90% = A-

71%-80% = B+

61%-70% = B-

51%-60% = C+

0%-50% = C-

All final grades are negotiable.


Cheating is not tolerated in my classroom. If you are caught cheating, your paper will be taken and you will automatically receive a fail grade for that assignment. There will be no chance to retake that particular assignment and you will be given no extra assignment to make up the grade. Plagiarism the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship of someone else’s written or creative work, in whole or in part, into one’s own without adequate acknowledgement. If you are caught plagiarizing, you automatically receive a fail grade for the assignment and serious consideration will be taken to dismiss you from the entire course.

I trust you and I believe in you. Don’t ever forget that. Cut and paste in peace.


All cell phones must be turned off in my classroom. If you send an SMS, tweet, update Facebook or answer a phone in the classroom, you will be dismissed from the course. 

Keeping up with your friends is important, especially during class. According to a study, you could potentially miss out on over 20 new pictures of kittens posted online during the 90 minutes you were spending in class. That is simply unacceptable.

I pride myself on being on the cutting edge of technology. Follow me on the MySpace and the Livejournal.


Lord of the Flies, William Golding

American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo

To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee

Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller

Death in the Afternoon, Ernest Hemingway

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

The Quiet American, Graham Greene

Advanced Gun Safety, Fredrick Forrester

The Art of Happiness: Dalai Lama

The Miracle of Optimism, Kevin Touhey

The Dynamics of Nonviolent Action, Gene Sharp

The Professor is Like a Best Friend, Adam Freeman


– You’ve just read “An Updated Syllabus For a Course at a Pennsylvania University Where Students Can Now Carry Guns” which was written by Christian A. Dumais. Thanks.


  1. Rebecca Barrett-Fox

    I fear that my institution’s heavy reliance on student satisfaction surveys has already got us halfway to this…

  2. Charles Euchner

    I noticed that you are teaching Truman Capote in your classes.

    I am a longtime fan of Capote’s work — especially In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s — and thought you might be interested in my ebook “In Cold Type” (

    The book explores the literary tricks that Capote uses in “In Cold Blood.” While this “nonfiction novel” gets a lot of attention for Capote’s prodigious research, I believe it would be just another pulp page-turner without Capote’s exquisite mastery of style.

    Take a book and tell me what you think.

    All the best,

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