Introduction to Narrative
English 105, Section 4
M-W 2:00-3:15 Cury 241
Instructor: Todd McKinney
English Department: 334-5311
Mailbox: McIver 132A, English Department Office
Office: McIver 334-G
Office Hours: MWF: 9:00-10:30; TR: 4:00-5:00, & by appointment
Office Phone: 256-0482
"To plot is to live," he said.
I looked at him. I studied his face, his hands.
"We start our lives in chaos, in babble. As we surge up into the world, we try to devise a shape, a plan. There is dignity in this. Your whole life is a plot, a scheme, a diagram. It is a failed scheme but that
"Are you sure?" I said.
"To plot, to take aim at something, to shape time and space. This is how we advance the art of human consciousness."
--fromWhite Noise by Don DeLillo
While it is bland, the title of this class (Introduction to Narrative) is fitting. But it is interesting that the university would offer a class introducing you to the idea of narrative. Why would they do that? How is it going to benefit you? Well, narratives surround us, always. Stories are valuable to us. They help define us, as individuals, families, communities, cultures. We tell and retell them for many reasons. So, it
The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter.
Fiction: A Longman Pocket Anthology edited by R.S. Gwynn.
One of the following for the Book Club:
Required Materials & Supplies
1) Read texts with careful attention.
2) Understand what a narrative is, how it is used in society, and how it affects, and is affected by, society.
3) Understand how different mediums (television, music, poetry, short stories, novels) use narrative structures.
4) Understand how narrative structure has evolved over time.
5) Recognize and explain the various elements and techniques of narrative structures.
6) Understand how authors and readers create meaning in a text, and be able to articulate that understanding.
Because you enrolled in this class, you are expected to be an active part of it. This means you need to be prepared to discuss the readings in both small groups and as a whole class and to respond to the readings in in-class writings. It also means that you need to listen attentively. Participation counts for ten percent (10%) of your final grade.
Over the course of the semester, you will be required to write three original essays responding to a given prompt. Each essay assignment will be handed out individually and will provide the details necessary in order to be completed. Each essay will be worth twenty percent (20%) of your final grade. Added together, that equals sixty percent (60%) of your final grade.
This assignment requires that you work in a small group to present a selected book to the class at the end of the semester. Your small group work will consist of discussing the book, planning a presentation and executing that plan, and writing a short reflection on your work. This assignment is worth twenty percent (20%) of your final grade.
At the end of the semester, you will complete a final exam. It is worth ten percent (10%) of your final grade.
Because this class is designed around what happens in class, it is important that you be present and active during class meeting. I assume you will attend class regularly, but you have three (3) free absences for illness, car trouble, funerals, hospital visits, and other various emergencies. If you are absent more than three times, then a letter grade will be deducted from your final grade at the end of the semester. If you are absent more than five times, two letter grades will be deducted you
Always be prepared for class so that you can actively contribute to discussion. If you are not prepared for reading assignments, essays, or group work, I will count you absent.
Walking into class late is disruptive and annoying. Class starts at 2:00 and I assume everyone has put that in their schedules. If you are more than five minutes late to class, I will count you absent. Two lates equals an absence and carries the same consequences stated under the "Attendance" section.
Before class starts, please turn off beepers, cell phones, and any other noise-making devices. Also, please refrain from eating, reading the newspaper, doing other homework, chatting with neighbors, and/or sleeping during class. The same goes for thoughtless and hurtful speech or behavior. I reserve the right to ask students to leave class at any time and to drop students from the course.
Late work will not be accepted.
Plagiarism (using another person
Advice & Aid
The Writing Center
The Writing Center is a wonderful resource available to you, and I encourage you take advantage of it. There, you can learn more about writing and sharpen the skills you already have. It is located in McIver 101 and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment at the Writing Center, call 334-3125.
The library on campus is another wonderful learning resource. And, just so you know, it is also what the majority of your tuition supports. But it is not the only library available to you; with the help of the librarians there, you can also borrow materials from other university libraries.
These labs are located all across the campus. They contain both IBM and Macintosh compatible computers on which you can find all kinds of cool software, including Microsoft Word, and they provide access to the Internet as well as your email account.
If you have a disability that can or will affect your performance in this class or for which you need accommodating, please let me know and/or contact Disability Services at 334-5440. This information will remain confidential, and I will do all that I can to help you meet your needs.
I am here to help you and, should you have any questions about your writing or the readings, I encourage you to visit me during my office hours or set up an appointment so that we can talk about answers.