LLT 180: The Heroic Quest - Katabatic Journeys
Instructor: Dr. Joseph Hughes
Fall Semester 2019
Office: 113 Siceluff Hall; Office Hours: 11:00 am-12:15 pm MWF
Section 001: MWF 12:20-1:10 pm, STRO 0202
Phone: 836-6601 (messages 836-5122)

E-mail: JosephHughes AT MissouriState.edu

Course Texts

Course Description and Objectives (per previous General Education Program)

This course is an exercise in the telling, retelling, and explication of ancient and modern stories involving a katabasis, or round-trip visit to the underworld. Further detail on course objectives can be found on the Course Objective Page.

Course Description

The literary pattern of the “heroic quest,” in which a protagonist journeys to far-off lands in pursuit of an important goal, is literally the oldest story known to humankind, dating back to the Gilgamesh Epic of 2500 BCE. Beginning from a scarcely literate world with no mass media, stories about the “heroic quest” have instructed individuals and civilizations alike for millennia upon important topics such as cultural awareness, the boundaries of ethical conduct, and the necessity for leading a good life. Stories about the “heroic quest” continue to entertain and inform down to our own times. Through close study of the context and content of several such “heroic quest” stories, selected from a wide range of civilizations and time periods, students will develop an awareness of their own inherited identity of culture and language, and to address the challenge of leading an ethical and civically engaged life.

General Education Goals

As part of the Missouri State University General Education program, LLT 180: The Heroic Quest fulfills a Public Affairs requirement. As detailed below, the LLT 180 Course Objectives directly address the Specific Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for General Goal 13 (Cultural Competence) and General Goal 14 (Ethical Leadership).

General Goal 13 (Cultural Competence): Students will be able to recognize and consider multiple perspectives and cultures.
General Goal 14 (Ethical Leadership): Students will be able to articulate their value systems, understand the ethical implications of their actions based on these values, and develop skills consistent with having a positive impact on individuals, groups, or communities.

Course Policy

Students are required to show up for every class, on time, with all assignments completed and fully prepared to participate in an active learning experience. Since class discussion is important to the student's mastery of course material, attendance and participation are crucial. The student is solely responsible for obtaining any notes, assignments, or other information given in a class which he or she has missed.   Students with a handicap should notify the instructor at once, so that arrangements may be made. Make-up exams will be allowed only in case of documented emergency (or through the Learning Diagnostic Center; see below).

Letter grades will be assigned on the standard Missouri State University curve: 90-100%= A; 80-89%= B; 70-79%= C; 60-69%= D; 59%-below= F.

Course Grading

There will be a midterm exam and a final exam over the course of the semester, each worth 50% of your final grade. Both will be worth 100 points. 70% of the score will be based on objective questions (identification, short-answer, matching), and 30% will be based on the essay question. The final exam will focus primarily on material covered since the midterm exam, but not completely.

Nondiscrimination Policy:

Missouri State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution, and maintains a grievance procedure available to any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against. At all times, it is your right to address inquiries or concerns about possible discrimination to the Office for Equity and Diversity, Park Central Office Building, 117 Park Central Square, Suite 111, (417) 836-4252. Other types of concerns (i.e., concerns of an academic nature) should be discussed directly with your instructor and can also be brought to the attention of your instructor’s Department Head. Please visit the OED website at http://www.missouristate.edu/equity.

Disability Accommodation Policy:

To request academic accommodations for a disability, contact the Director of Disability Services, Plaster Student Union, Suite 405, (417) 836-4192 or (417) 836-6792 (TTY), http://www.missouristate.edu/disability.  Students are required to provide documentation of disability to Disability Services prior to receiving accommodations. Disability Services refers some types of accommodation requests to the Learning Diagnostic Clinic, which also provides diagnostic testing for learning and psychological disabilities. For information about testing, contact the Director of the Learning Diagnostic Clinic at (417) 836-4787.

Academic Dishonesty Policy:

Missouri State University is a community of scholars committed to developing educated persons who accept the responsibility to practice personal and academic integrity.  You are responsible for knowing and following the university’s student honor code, Student Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures, available at the University Academic Integrity website and also available at the Reserves Desk in Meyer Library.  Any student participating in any form of academic dishonesty will be subject to sanctions as described in this policy


Aug 21
Hughes, Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Aug 23
Gilgamesh (study guide)

Aug  26 Gilgamesh
Aug 28

Labor Day Holiday - no classes
Sep 04
Homer, Odyssey XI (study guide)
Sep 06
Homer, Odyssey XI

Sep 09
Homer, Odyssey XI
Sep 11
Aristophanes, Frogs (study guide)
Sep 13
Aristophanes, Frogs

Sep 16 Apuleius, Cupid and Psyche (study guide)
Sep 18
Apuleius, The Golden Ass
Sep 20
Apuleius, The Golden Ass

Sep 23 O Brother, Where Art Thou (study guide)
Sep 25 O Brother, Where Art Thou 
Sep 27
O Brother, Where Art Thou

30 O Brother, Where Art Thou
Oct 02
Review for Test One (study guide)
Oct 04

Oct 07
Sophocles, Antigone (study guide)
Oct 09
Sophocles, Antigone
Oct 11 Fall Holiday - no classes

Oct 14
Sophocles, Antigone
Oct 16 Plato, Myth of Er (study guide)
Oct 18
Plato, Myth of Er

Vergil, Aeneid VI (study guide)
Oct 23
Vergil, Aeneid VI
Oct 25
Vergil, Aeneid VI

Oct 28
Dante, Inferno (study guide)
Dante, Inferno
Nov 01
Dante, Inferno

Nov 04
Gogol, Nose
Nov 06
Gogol, Nose
Nov 08
Gogol, Nose

Nov 11
Fight Club Introduction
Nov 13
Fight Club (class does not meet; watch movie on your own time)
Nov 15
Fight Club (class does not meet; watch movie on your own time)
Nov 18
Fight Club Discussion
Nov 20
Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
Nov 22
Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

Nov 25
Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
Nov 27
Thanksgiving Holiday
Nov 29
Thanksgiving Holiday

02 Review for Final Exam
Dec 04 No Classes

Dec 09
Final Exam: 11:00 am-1:00 pm in STRO 0202