M A I N * N E W S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S


EN 209: NOVELS AND TALES
Fall 1998
Section 9: Jewett 220, TTh 9:30-10:50
Section 10: Fenton 154, TTh 2-3:20
Office: Fenton 240; W 10-12, 1-5, F 2-3, and by appointment; 673-3859
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon


HOW TO DO THINGS WITH GHOSTS


Course Description/Goals


This course is designed to give us the opportunity to read and compare works that employ haunting or spirit possession as a central motif. In it, we'll consider how and to what ends storytellers from a variety of cultures and historical periods use ghosts in their narratives. Doing this well will require us to foster skills and habits of reading closely and attentively, thinking critically and analytically, listening actively and carefully, speaking thoughtfully and concisely, and writing clearly and engagingly. This course fulfills the Part IIB requirement of the GCP and is a core course for students in the English major.


Texts. There are five books and a xeroxed course reader in the bookstore for you to purchase:


Course Requirements/Expectations


There are several components to my evaluation of you in this course.

Reading Responses (20%). We will have a course listserv, ghostlist@ait.fredonia.edu, which will include all students in my two sections of 209. This listserv will be your space; I will keep my own input to a bare minimum (hence, announcements and handouts will be available on this web page rather than being posted to the listserv).

Although you may use the listserv in any number of ways, you must use it in the following way: by 5 pm every Monday during the semester, you must post to the listserv a brief "reading response," in which you offer a paragraph or more of reflections on the readings for Tuesday's class and raise 3-5 questions that you would like to see discussed in class or on the listserv. You are then responsible for examining everyone else's reading responses and, by 5 pm Wednesday, posting to the listserv a brief "student response," in which you respond to a classmate's question or observation, preferably by relating it to one of the readings for Thursday.

Reading responses are graded pass/fail; if you have read the material, you are very unlikely to fail a reading response. Your grade will be determined by how many on-time, passing responses you post to the course listserv. Since there are thirteen Mondays and Wednesdays when responses are due in the semester, and since you are allowed two free weeks without penalty, 11 or more reading responses=A; 10=B+; 9=B; 8=C+; 7=C, 6=D; 5 or less=F (for 10% of your base grade). Student responses (worth 10% of your base grade) will be graded in precisely the same way.

Critical Response Essays (30%). You must turn in two one-to-three-page critical response essays (each worth 15% of your base grade). With my permission, you may substitute a creative response paper for one of the critical response papers.

Mid-Term Exam/Final Essay (50%). I will provide detailed information on both the mid-term exam and the five-to-seven-page final essay (each worth 25% of your base grade) later in the semester. We will also arrange for a mandatory individual conference on your final paper that will take place either just before or just after Thanksgiving break.

Attendance/Preparation/Participation. Regular attendance is crucial to your happiness and success in this course. If there is absolutely no way for you to avoid missing a class, you must make every effort to contact me ahead of time, for unexcused absences will hurt your final grade. As a rule, more than four absences (whether excused or unexcused) will lead to a course grade of F.

Just as important as showing up on time, of course, is coming to class prepared and focused. I will expect you to have read what has been assigned for a given date at least once (and preferably more than that!) by the time we begin to discuss it in class. After all, this is a discussion rather than a lecture course, and you can't discuss a work well if you haven't read it carefully.

Hence, although I will provide some context and background for our reading, the bulk of class time will be spent in small or large group discussions. Because discussion is so important to this course, strong class participation will definitely raise your base grade, sometimes significantly; the same goes for exceptional contributions to the course listserv.

Schedule of Assignments

T, 8/25: Introduction

Part I: Ghosts--Classic, Modern, and Contemporary


Th, 8/27: Shakespeare, from Hamlet and Macbeth; Leone, "Allen's Opera House" (to be handed out)


M, 8/31: reading response 1 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 9/1: James, The Turn of the Screw
W, 9/2: student response 1 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 9/3: The Turn of the Screw, continued


M, 9/7: reading response 2 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 9/8: Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia" (to be handed out); Joyce, "The Dead"
W, 9/9: student response 2 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 9/10: "The Dead," part deux;


M, 9/14: reading response 3 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 9/15: Mukherjee, "The Management of Grief"; Devi, "The Children" (to be handed out); Marquez, "The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship" (to be handed out)
W, 9/16: student response 3 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 9/17: Cisneros, "My Tocaya"; Atwood, "Death by Landscape"; Oates, "Haunted"

Part II: Ghosts of History


M, 9/21: reading response 4 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 9/22: Kingston, The Woman Warrior, 1-53
W, 9/23: student response 4 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 9/24: The Woman Warrior, 54-109; "The Ballad of Mulan" (to be handed out)


T, 9/29: The Woman Warrior, 110-160; Yuan Mei, "Ghosts Have Only Three Tricks," "Ghosts Hate Poverty," and "Poor Ghosts Haunt, Rich Ghosts Don't Bother"


M, 10/5: reading response 5 due to listserv by 5 pm; first critical response essay due at Fenton 240 by 5 pm
T, 10/6: The Woman Warrior, 161-209; Kingston, "Cultural Mis-readings by American Reviewers"
W, 10/7: student response 5 due to listserv by 5 pm; see the news page for special instructions.
Th, 10/8: wrap up Kingston (autobiography and essay); advice on mid-term exam


M, 10/12: reading response 6 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 10/13: Hurston, "Spunk"; advice on mid-term exam
W, 10/14: student response 6 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 10/15: Mid-Term Exam (in-class)


M, 10/19: reading response 7 due to listserv by 5 pm.
T, 10/20: Stowe, "The Stratagem" and "An Authentic Ghost Story," from Uncle Tom's Cabin; Morrison, Beloved, 1-55
W, 10/21: student response 7 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 10/22: Beloved, 56-105; Ellison, from Invisible Man (to be handed out)


M, 10/26: reading response 8 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 10/27: Beloved, 106-165; Caruth, "Introduction" (to be handed out)
W, 10/28: student response 8 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 10/29: Beloved, 166-235


M, 11/2: reading response 9 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 11/3: Beloved, 236-275; Caruth, "Introduction"
W, 11/4: student response 9 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 11/5: wrap up Morrison; Chesnutt, "Po' Sandy"


M, 11/9: reading response 10 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 11/10: Erdrich, Tracks, 1-31; Mowatt, "The Snow Walker"
W, 11/11: student response 10 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 11/12: Tracks, 32-95
F, 11/13: rewrites of the first critical response paper due, if you want comments back before break


M, 11/16: TALK by DuWayne Bowen, at 5 pm in Tower Lounge of Reed Library--if more than 40 of you come to this talk, attendance for this Thursday's class will be optional, and we will carry over discussion of Erdrich's novel to the T, 12/1 class; reading response 11 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 11/17: Tracks, 96-164; DuWayne Bowen, "The Great Swamp," "The Power Line," "One More Story" (to be handed out)
W, 11/18: student response 11 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 11/19: Tracks, 165-226
F, 11/20: rewrites of the first critical response paper due at Fenton 240 by 3 pm; rewrites will not be accepted after this time

Part III: Variations on a Ghost


M, 11/30: reading response 12 due to listserv by 5 pm; second critical response essay due at Fenton 240 by 5 pm
T, 12/1: Silko, "The Return of the Buffalo" (on reserve); Leone, "Daniel Kenton" (to be handed out); Bruchac, "Bone Girl" (on reserve)
W, 12/2: student response 12 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 12/3: Pu Songling, "A Fox Dream" and "Ghost-Girl Xiaoxie"; Yuan Mei, "Butterfingered Scholar Wu"


M, 12/7: reading response 13 due to listserv by 5 pm
T, 12/8: Butler, "A Ghost Story"; Cisneros, "Woman Hollering Creek"; fill out course evaluations
W, 12/9: student response 13 due to listserv by 5 pm
Th, 12/10: wrap up course


F, 12/18: Final Paper due at Fenton 240 by 5 pm

M A I N * N E W S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S


EN 209: Novels and Tales, Fall 1998
Last modified: 12/2/98, 5:15 pm