The purpose of this course is to make literature approachable and enjoyable
by examining it from a variety of perspectives. We will read and discuss poetry,
short fiction, and drama by (mostly) British and American writers. The choice
and arrangement of texts will allow us to see how different writers, working
from different cultural and historical perspectives and in different genres,
have approached, reshaped, or responded to stories that other writers before
them have told.
Because this is a writing intensive course, you will be using writing as a way to discover and express your own response to the literature that we read.
My goals for this semester are to teach you to:
• Identify and understand the characteristics of three literary genres: fiction, poetry, and drama.
• Apply techniques of literary analysis to each of these genres.
• Enhance your understanding of a given literary work by seeing it in relation to other texts.
• Write about literature clearly, coherently, and effectively, especially after revising your work in response to feedback from other readers.
Retellings: A Thematic Literature Anthology, Edited by M.B. Clarke and A.G. Clarke. (McGraw Hill)
Requirements, Activities, and Grading:
You are responsible for studying the texts assigned for each day, and for coming to class prepared to discuss and/or ask questions about the material. Here are the components of your final grade:
Paper #1: comparison of two short stories, with required revision 20%
Paper #2: comparison of two poems, with required revision 20%
Paper #3: argument paper on Oedipus Rex 15%
Paper #4: “Retelling” of Darker Face of the Earth 15%
Paper #5: comparison of The Tempest and A Tempest 15%
Aggregate of all informal writing (Notebook Questions)* 15%
* There will be approximately 25 Notebook Questions on the syllabus, each
worth potentially 5, 4, or 3 points, depending on their quality. You are expected
to answer 20 of them and may do more for extra credit. To receive credit, your
responses must be typed and turned in at the beginning of class on the due
date (or on your return if you are absent). Usual length: one page.
Attendance and Class participation can add or subtract as many as three points from your final grade.
Three absences are permitted (for whatever reason) without penalty; four - six absences will affect your grade; a seventh absence will probably get you dropped from the class.
You are responsible for completing reading and writing assigned in your absence!
“Class participation” includes almost anything you do to show interest in the class -- getting here on time, contributing to class discussions, coming in for conferences, visiting the Writing Center,etc.
The Writing Center, located in 101 McIver, is a good place to go for reliable feedback on drafts and answers to questions you may have about writing. If you want to give yourself an edge when you are writing for this class or any other one, you should check it out. It’s open Sunday evenings, 5 - 8 p.m.; Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and Fridays 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. You can call 334-3125 for an appointment, or just drop in. For more information, visit www.uncg.edu/eng/writingcenter
How to find me: My office is in 103 McIver Building. I will announce regular office hours soon, but I am also happy for you to drop by or make an appointment to talk with me about the course anytime. Office phone: 334-3282; Home phone: 272-4996: email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Academic Integrity Policy is explained at http://studentconduct.uncg.edu/policy/academicintegrity/ Read all about it, paying particular attention to the section on plagiarism, since it is the most pertinent to this class. You need to write and sign the pledge (“I have abided by the UNCG Academic Integrity Policy on this assignment”) on all your papers.
Important Advice from Miss Manners: 1) Get to class on time. 2) Stay until
the bitter end. 3) If you carry a cell phone, pager, I-Pod, or any other such
device, please TURN IT OFF before entering the classroom!
Fall 2005 ENGLISH 104-05: TENTATIVE GAME PLAN Meyers
M 8/15 In class: Introduction
Assignment for 8/17: Refresh your memory of Walt Disney’s Cinderella (pp. 3-5) and read either the Brothers Grimm Cinderella (pp. 5-10) or Yeh-hsien (pp. 10-12). [If you can’t get your textbook by Wednesday, go on line and find a different variation of the Cinderella story to read and print.] PRACTICE NOTEBOOK QUESTION: For whichever one you read, write a brief plot summary and make a list of at least three similarities to the Disney version and at least three differences.
UNIT ONE: THE OUTSIDER
W 8/17 In class: Discuss “retellings” of the Cinderella story and their significance.
Assignment for 8/19: Study these poems: “Piercy, “Barbie Doll” (740-41) and Joseph, “Barbie’s Little Sister” (742-4).
F 8/19 In class: Compare and contrast Barbie poems, and discuss your first paper assignment (due 9/7).
Assignment for 8/22: Read Mansfield, “Her First Ball” (753-8) and Ihimaera, “His First Ball” (758-65). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #1: If Leila and Tutu had been at the same ball, do you think they would have gravitated towards each other as kindred spirits? Why or why not? (Cite evidence from the stories to support your opinion.)
M 8/22 In class: Discuss the “outsiders” in these two stories.
Assignment for 8/24: Read Bambara, “The Lesson” (783-8) and Updike, “A & P” (407-12). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #2: Choose one character from each story and write a paragraph for each on what motivates that person.
W 8/24 In class: Discuss two assigned stories.
Assignment for 8/26: Read Cather, “Paul’s Case” (788-802).
NOTEBOOK QUESTION #3:
Where does Paul belong?
F 8/26 In class: Discuss Paul and his problems.
Assignment for 8/29: Read Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily” (521-27). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #4: Is Miss Emily an “insider” or an “outsider”?
M 8/29 In class: Discuss “A Rose for Emily.”
Assignment for 8/31: Read Ellison, “Battle Royal” (802-12). (Warning: This is an extremely disturbing story.) NOTEBOOK QUESTION #5: (You may have to do a little research for this one): The nameless narrator in this story admires Booker T. Washington and quotes Washington’s Atlanta Exposition speech of 1895. How do his behavior and attitudes in this story reflect his admiration of this controversial black leader?
Assignment for 9/2: Read article from Newsweek, “My God, You’re Not Even Safe in Church” (891-6). Also bring in your topic and working thesis for Paper #1.
UNIT TWO: FACT AND FICTION
F 9/2 In class: Discuss facts of the Birmingham church bombing. We will also discuss some sample theses for your papers, and you can talk to others who are writing about the same stories as you.
M 9/5 LABOR DAY: NO CLASS
Assignment for 9/7: PAPER #1 DUE: 1,500 word comparative analysis of two stories we’ve discussed. No late papers accepted. (If you can’t make it to class, email your paper to me!)
W 9/7 In class: See excerpts from film, Four Little Girls.
Assignment for 9/9: Read poems by Randall (885), Patterson (886-7), Farina
(887-8), and Merton (890-91) . NOTEBOOK QUESTION #6: Which poem do you find
as a “retelling” of the church bombing story, and why?
F 9/9 In class: Discuss four assigned poems.
Assignment for 9/12: Read article by Moser, “The Pied Piper of Tuscon” (198-208).
M 9/12 In class: Papers will be returned, and we’ll talk abut revision. Also, discuss article and the various angles one could take in “retelling” it as fiction.
Assignment for 9/14: Read Oates, “Where Are You Going? Where Have You
-97). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #7: Look at the engraving “Death and the Maiden” (p. 210)
and answer the questions underneath the picture in your book.
W 9/14 In class: Discuss Oates story in relation to the article about the “pied piper.”
Assignment for 9/16: Study poems about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Dana
Ehrhardt (912), and Reidhammer-Basuto (915-16).
F 9/16 In class: Discuss different points of view as representations of reality of a visit to the Memorial
Assignment for 9/19: REVISION OF PAPER #1 DUE. Please return first version
Also read poems by McDonald (913-14) and Schultz (914).
M 9/19 In class: Discuss differences in tone and focus between two assigned poems.
Assignment for 9/21: Read Arnold, “Dover Beach” and Hecht, “Dover
Bitch” along with
commentary (pp. 21-24) and “Cultural Setting” (58-59).
UNIT THREE: POEMS THAT TALK TO EACH OTHER
W 9/21 In class: Discuss relationship of two poems, and your second paper assignment, due 10/5/
Assignment for 9/23: Study Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress” (handout).
QUESTION #8: Use index in your book to find commentaries that may be helpful to you, and
then write on how you would expect the “mistress” of this poem to respond to the speaker.
(Note: the word “mistress” in Marvell’s time was a term of respect or admiration for a woman –
not an indication that she was having an affair!!)
F 9/23 In class: Discuss Marvell poem.
Assignment for 9/26: Study Marlowe, “The Passionate Shepherd to His
Love” (428) and
Raleigh, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” (429). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #9:
Compare the persuasive strategies used by Marvell’s speaker and Marlowe’s shepherd. Does
Raleigh’s poem indicate that the shepherd was more or less successful than the other man?
M 9/26 In class: Discuss conventions of pastoral poetry and assigned poems.
Assignment for 9/28: Study Li Po, “Song of Chang-Kan” (434-5)
and Pound, “The River
Merchant’s Wife” (435-6). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #10: Both of these are translations of Li
Po’s Chinese poem. Don’t expect to find major differences between them, but write about any
subtle differences you notice that might make one of them more clear (or more effective) for
you as a reader – starting with the two titles.
W 9/28 In class: Discuss the way these two poems complement each other.
Assignment for 9/30: Read p. 255 (bottom) – p. 259, studying excerpt
from Homer and poem
by Tennyson. NOTEBOOK QUESTION #12: Homer tells this part of the story of Odysseus
from the point of view of one of the enemies that he killed. Tennyson’s poem uses Ulysses
(Odysseus) himself as a speaker, but at a much later point in his life. From these two poems
piece together your own portrait of Odysseus. What is he like?
F 9/30 In class: Discuss the different qualities of Odysseus brought out in two assigned poems.
Assignment for 10/3: Study “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus” by
Ovid (855-7) and the
painting by Breughel on p. 858 (color version on p. 4 of insert).
M 10/3 In class: Discuss the implications of the Icarus story and its “retelling” by Breughel.
Assignment for 10/5: PAPER #2 DUE. 3-4 page comparison of a poem we have
with one we haven’t. No late papers accepted! (If you can’t make it to class, email your paper
to me.) Be prepared to give a 2-minute summary of the essential points of comparison in your
W 10/5 In class: Quick oral summaries of the essential differences in the poems you compared.
F 10/7 CLASS CANCELLED
M 10/10 FALL BREAK!
Assignment for 10/12: Sophocles, Oedipus the King. Read Introduction and
continue up to the
entrance of Teiresias: pp. 1060 – top of 1071. NOTEBOOK QUESTION #13: What is your
impression so far of Oedipus?
UNIT FOUR: Oedipus and Some Retellings
Assignment for 10/12: Sophocles, Oedipus the King. Read Introduction and continue up to the
entrance of Teiresias: pp. 1060 – top of 1071. NOTEBOOK QUESTION #13: What is your
impression so far of Oedipus?
W 10/12 In class: First impressions of Oedipus: initial impressions. Also, discuss assignment for Paper #3 (due 10/28).
Assignment for 10/14: Read Oedipus, pp. 1071 – top of 1087. NOTEBOOK
How, if at all, have your feelings changed about Oedipus after reading this section?
F 10/14 In class: The plot thickens.
Assignment for 10/17: Finish reading Oedipus (pp, 1087-1104). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #15: Which of these two sayings do you think is best illustrated by this play: “Know Thyself” or “Ignorance is Bliss”?
M 10/17: In class: Finish discussing the text.
Assignment for 10/19: REVISION OF PAPER #2 IS DUE. Return your first version too.
W 10/19: In class: See portions of film of Oedipus Rex.
Assignment for 10/21: Read P.H. Vellacott, “The Guilt of Oedipus” (1117-25).
QUESTION #16: Write a summary of Vellacott’s argument. He takes up the question of whether or not Sophocles intends for us to see Oedipus as guilty – i,e., knowingly responsible for his actions. To write your summary, I suggest you answer these questions: 1) What is the “apparent” view or interpretation that Vellacott is answering? 2) What, in a nutshell, is his answer to that view (i.e., what is his thesis)? 3) Briefly, what are the main points of his argument – the major pieces of evidence from the play that he uses to support his claim?
F 10/21 In class: Discuss and debate Vellacott’s interpretation of the play.
Assignment for 10/24: Read E.R. Dodds, “On Misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex” (pp. 1125- 34). NOTEBOOK QUESTION # 17: Write a summary of the article. Dodds believes Oedipus is morally innocent of parricide and incest because there is no way he could have escaped the prophecy. He then goes on to argue that Oedipus is a noble or “great” figure. Why? Outline the major points leading to the conclusion of Dodds’s argument.
M 10/24 In class: Discuss and debate Dodds’s argument.
Assignment for 10/26: Study these poetic “retellings” of the Oedipus story: Muir, “Oedipus” (1107-9); Dennis, “Oedipus the King” (1110-11; Sheck, “Filming Jocasta” (1113-14).
W 10/26 In class: Discuss assigned poems.
Assignment for 10/28: PAPER #3 DUE. (No late papers accepted.)
F 10/28 In class: Some more poems, and discuss assignment for Paper #4 (due 11/8)
Assignment for 10/31: Read The Darker Face of the Earth, Prologue and Act I, scenes 1 and 2 (pp. 1135-top of 1151). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #18: Twenty years have elapsed from the end of the Prologue to the beginning of Act I. How has Amalia changed?
M 10/31 In class: Discuss Rita Dove’s “retelling” of the Oedipus story.
Assignment for 11/2: Read Scenes 3-8, Act I of Darker Face (pp. 1151-74).
W 11/2: In class: Discuss as much of Act I as we can.
Assignment for 11/4: Read all of Act II of Darker Face (1174-1206).
F 11/4: In class: Continue discussing the play.
No assignment except to work on Paper #4.
M 11/7 In class: Finish discussing the play. Grouptalk: previews of your “retelling.”
Assignment for 11/9: PAPER #4 DUE. (No late papers accepted.)
W 11/9 In class: Oral presentations (2 minutes) of your “retelling.”
UNIT FIVE: Tale of Two Tempests
Assignment for 11/11: Read Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act I (270-88). NOTEBOOK QUESTION # 19: Make a list of the things Prospero does in Act I that demonstrate he is a control freak.
F 11/11 In class: Discuss Act I of The Tempest: themes introduced
Assignment for 11/14: Read Act II (288-top of 303). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #20: IN scene ii of Act II, Stephano and Trinculo keep calling Caliban a monster. Do you think he is a monster? Why or why not? (Although Caliban does not appear in scene I of this act, you might keep that scene in mind as you answer this question.)
M 11/14 In class: Discuss Act II.
Assignment for 11/16: Read Act III (303-313). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #21: What thematic connection do you see between scene I and scene ii of Act III?
W 11/16 In class: Discuss Act III.
Assignment for 11/18: Read Act IV (313-22). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #22: This act is full of magical interventions and illusions. What purpose do they serve? How do they reinforce the play’s themes?
F 11/18 In class: Discuss Act IV.
Assignment for 11/21: Read Act V (322-32). NOTEBOOK QUESTION #23: What values and ideas are affirmed in the final act of this play?
M 11/21 In class: Finish discussing The Tempest. Some background for A Tempest, and discuss assignment for Paper #5 (due 12/5)
Assignment for 11/28: Read Cesaire, A Tempest, Acts I and II (pp. 343-56).
NOTEBOOK QUESTION #24: Focus on one incident or speech or action by a character
from this part of the play that echoes back to a parallel part of Shakespeare’s
play. Explain the similarities and/or differences, and write about what you
think Cesaire is suggesting through that comparison.
M 11/28 In class: Start discussing A Tempest.
Assignment for 11/30: Finish reading A Tempest (356-71). NOTEBOOK QUESTION
Same as Question #24 – but pick out something from Act III that has a parallel in Shakespeare.
W 11/30 In class: Continue discussing A Tempest.
No assignment except to work on Paper #5
F 12/2 In class: Finish discussing the play, and talk in small groups about
your plans for Paper #5.
Assignment for 12/5: PAPER #5 IS DUE. (I will accept late papers until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6. Bring them to my office: 103 McIver.)
M 12/5 In class: Wrapping up.