Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

William H. Green

Second Advisor

Paul S. Brantley

Third Advisor

Delmer Davis


In this study I describe the context and environment in which students in three undergraduate literature classrooms in a mid-western parochial university "acquired a sense of literature," as well as the role played by their teachers in the process. As qualitative research, the study seeks to provide additional insight and understanding of the process of acquiring literary competence. While participant observation and interview were the principal methods used in gathering data, the data also included the use of documents. I examined course syllabi, students' journals, students' written work, and school documents. I also observed each of the three classes at least ten class periods. Each of the three teacher sand one student from each class were interviewed several times. The teacher interviews elicited information that placed such elements as teacher's theoretical framework and pedagogical practices in perspective. Interviews with the students, among other things, sought their views and opinions about literary theory and competence, and their expectations about the class. The study points out several factors that appeared to influence how students develop a sense of literary competence. These include the class environment, class size, the pedagogical method adopted by the teacher, and the text used for the class. Other specific ways in which teachers affected the acculturation process are also discussed. The study concludes by raising some concerns that emerged from the study about the teaching of literature.

Subject Area

Literature--Study and teaching, Influence (Literary, artistic, etc.).


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