McIver 323, MWF 11:00-11:50 a.m.
Office hours: 02 Petty, MWF 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Phone: 334-3294 (office hours only), 218-0429 (home)
“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
--John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley
“Midway along the journey of our life I woke to find myself in a dark wood, for I had wandered off from the straight path . . .”
--Dante Aligieri, The Divine Comedy
Why do we read stories? How are stories relevant to everyday life? How do stories affect who we are as human beings? What makes a good story, and why have the best stories stuck around for so long? These and other important questions about literature will be the focus of inquiry in this course. Our approach to the study of narrative will be to read and study several novels (or novel-length works) as well as short stories and poems written in different time periods and literary styles. In addition, all the works we will read are centered around a journey of some type: an epic voyage, an inward journey of self-discovery, a heroic quest. The Journey has always been a popular narrative motif that incorporates growth, adventure, search for identity, escape, and other issues significant to the human experience.
Besides reading the works themselves, we will study methods of reading and responding to literature in ways that are meaningful and relevant, as well as intellectually sound. I hope that we can interact with the texts and each other in ways that are honest, thought-provoking, and perhaps even fun.
All assignments and activities in this course will be an effort to meet one or more of the following student learning goals:
· Students will be able to identify and understand varied characteristics of literature.
· Students will apply techniques of literary analysis to texts.
· Students will use literary study to develop skills in careful reading and clear writing.
· Students will demonstrate understanding of the diverse social and historical contexts in which literary texts have been written and interpreted.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston. Harper Perennial.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkein.
E-Reserve: “The Tale of the Sangreal” from Le Morte D’Arthur, Thomas Malory.
Because so much will be going on in this class, it is vital that you attend all sessions. Any absences after FOUR will lower your final grade by a third of a letter grade. The four absences allowed should be enough to cover illnesses, emergencies, school-sponsored activities, etc. If you accumulate more than eight absences, you will be dropped from the class. If you have two or fewer absences for the term, I will add points to your grade. Frequent tardies may also have a negative effect.
If you do miss class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed. Talk to me beforehand, e-mail me, come by during office hours, check the website (http://bb.uncg.edu), or talk to another student before the next class. Be sure to come prepared to the next class period.
Participation: During this course I will emphasize regular participation in class. Because we learn better when we interact with a text in both written and oral ways, you will be expected to share your ideas with your classmates in verbal discussion, in order to explore together ways of interpreting the texts. Your participation, with other considerations like preparation for class and completed homework, will be 20% of your final grade.
Reading Response Journal: We will also engage in frequent, informal written response, often in class, sometimes out of class. At times I will give you suggested topics, other times you will be free to choose your own. All journal entries will be in response to material we will be reading. The journal will constitute 20% of the grade.
Analysis Paper: I will give more details on the analysis paper as the time comes closer. This paper, essentially in lieu of a midterm exam, will count for 20% of your grade.
Oral Presentation: In pairs, you will choose a topic from my list and prepare an oral report on that topic. This will include telling the class about your research, along with a visual (handout, PowerPoint, etc.) presenting any information you feel is relevant to the chosen topic. The Oral Presentation will comprise 15% of your final grade.
Final Exam: The final exam, most likely a combination of objective and essay questions, will be worth 25% of your grade.
Warning: I strongly suggest you do NOT take this class if: a) you do not like to read or are unwilling to try reading new kinds of literature, b) you don’t like to talk in class, or c) you have a propensity for frequent absences.
Plagiarism will not be tolerated.
Late work will not be accepted.