Part 1: Why literature?
What is literature, and what does it have to do with people today—especially those of you who are studying at a “technical” university? When many think of literature, they envision old, dusty, leather-bound books written about people in ages past who spoke strangely (“Hark! Who goest there?”) and wore corsets or top hats. But literature is arguably more relevant today in our bustling 21st century than ever before, and reading it can be a fun, meaningful endeavor. So open your textbook, your mind, and your heart, and experience the joy and inspiration of reading stories, poems, and plays as never before.

  1. Define literature in your own words.
  2. In what ways do you suppose reading literature might benefit people personally and professionally?
  3. What is the best piece of fiction that you have ever read? (Fiction includes stories, novels, or poems, and not biographies, factual accounts, or how-to books.)
  4. What did you like about the this story?

Part 2: Your Values 

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
? Mahatma Gandhi

In this course, you are studying literature, but you are also exploring human values. Woven throughout the fiction, poetry, and drama you will be reading are considerations such asWhat is right? What is wrong? and What makes our lives meaningful? One way to think about values is to ask yourself, “What in my life is most important to me? Who or what do I value?”
In 1–2 paragraphs, list 5 of your core values (e.g., family, work, health, creativity, honesty, fun, spirituality, freedom, beauty, loyalty, and so on), and explain how these values have shaped who you are now and how you feel they will continue to, as Gandhi said, “shape your destiny.”