Instructor: David Bowen
Office: 126 McIver
Hours: TR 1:50-2:20 (and by appointment)
Whether it takes the form of a poem or a novel, a song or a memoir, a story is something that can move us to understand ourselves and the world around us. In this class, we’ll examine how stories are told, and why their power has been so pervasive in different times and places. We’ll also study the techniques of different narrative forms, analyzing the various characteristics of each and comparing their effects.
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York: Vintage Books USA, 1990.
Oates, Joyce Carol, ed. Telling Stories: An Anthology for Writers. New York: W.W.Norton & Co., 1998.
Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dell Publishing, 1991.
Also: A music CD that I shall provide. (It’ll cost you one dollar.)
Course Requirements and Grading
Your final grade will be determined as follows:
Midterm One 15%
Paper One 10%
Midterm Two 15%
Paper Two 15%
Final Exam 20%
The midterms will be mostly fill-in-the-blank, and you’ll see an example before the first exam. The first paper will be shorter and less formal than the second, and you’ll have the opportunity to revise both of them for higher grades. The final exam will be like the other two exams, but longer. “Participation” will consist mostly of daily quizzes and weekly journals; it receives so much weight because it’s what we’ll be doing the most.
Attendance: This course will require you to read the material carefully, but
places even greater import on the careful interpretation of what you read.
A large part of this interpretation process is to be actively involved in class
discussions, which you are unable to do if you are not present in class. You
have three free absences; each subsequent absence will lower your participation
grade by one full letter (from A to B, B to C, etc). Also: daily quizzes cannot
be made up. Several missed quizzes can quickly impact your participation grade
Academic Misconduct: This means using other people’s words and passing them off as your own—plagiarism. Depending on the severity of the infraction, students might receive a failing grade or even be expelled. Check your student handbook for all the grisly details. If you’re not sure you’re citing a source correctly, ask. Most plagiarism is probably unintentional, but it can still get folks in trouble.
Course Schedule: Please read assigned material before class and be prepared to discuss it (numbers in parentheses refer to Telling Stories). Readings may change, in which case you’ll receive ample notice.
WEEK DATE READINGS ASSIGNMENTS / WRITING WELL TOPICS DUE DATES
1 17-Aug Meet and greet / introduce syllabus
19-Aug “Why We Write, Why We Read” (xiii); Chekhov, “The Student” (7); and Bloom, “Why
2 24-Aug “Early Stories” (87); Hemingway, “Indian Camp” (102); and Carver, “Why Don’t You
26-Aug Cheever, “Goodbye, My Brother” (122)
3 31-Aug Ford, “Communist” (529); Kincaid, “My Mother” (602); and Frazier, “Dating Your Mom”
2-Sept Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
4 7-Sept Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
9-Sept Borges, “Borges and I” (277) and “Tl?n, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” (handout)
5 14-Sept Kafka, “The Judgment” (93) and Calvino, “Cities & the Dead” and “Continuous Cities”
16-Sept Moore, “Amahl and the Night Visitors: A Guide to the Tenor of Love” (147) and Barthelme,
“The Balloon” (475)
6 21-Sept Exam One
23-Sept “Genre: Horror” (385) and Lovecraft, “The Rats in the Walls” (389)
7 28-Sept King, “The Man in the Black Suit” (405)
30-Sept Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five Intro Paper One
8 5-Oct Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
7-Oct Vonnegut, “Harrison Bergeron” (handout) Workshop One
9 12-Oct Fall Break—No Classes
14-Oct “Dramatic Monologues” (67); Oates, “Lethal” (71); Mann, “Still Life” (81); and Paley,
“Anxiety” (472) Paper One due
10 19-Oct “Miniature Narratives” (3); Tallent, “No One’s a Mystery” (54); Williams, “The Use of
Force” (12); Rhys, “I Used to Live Here Once” (24); and Ames, “Portrait of a Father” (173)
21-Oct “Re-Visions: Reappropriations” (201); Genesis 19 (203); Ostriker, “The Cave” (206); Ovid,
“The Story of Daedalus and Icarus” (218); and Ellison, “Fever” (221)
11 26-Oct Grimm’s, “Little Red-Cap” (222); Carter, “The Werewolf” (225); Grimm’s “Little Snow-
White” (227); and Sexton, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (235)
28-Oct Exam Two
12 2-Nov Child Ballads (TBA) Intro Paper Two
4-Nov Songs (TBA)
13 9-Nov Songs (TBA) Workshop Two
11-Nov Poetry (TBA) Paper Two due
14 16-Nov Poetry (TBA)
18-Nov Poetry (TBA)
15 23-Nov Poetry (TBA)
25-Dec Thanksgiving Break—No Classes
16 30-Nov FILM (TBA)
2-Dec FILM (TBA)
FINAL EXAM THURS
9-Dec 3:30-6:30 PM McIver 135