Hey, everyone. (Our first order of business is to come up with a cool name for me to call you all. Ghostbusters is a bit off, and ghostreaders is a bit boring. Extra credit to someone who can come up with a better tag.) From now on, I'll be putting announcements on this page having to do with course requirements, changes in these web pages, and other matters. I recommend looking here every time you visit the course ghostpages--at least once a week.
I've updated and expanded the links page, and added suggestions on individual authors to the final essay page. I hope you find them useful as you compose and revise your essays. Good luck during finals week!
I've put up some additions to the final essay page--some general suggestions for possible topics and approaches to coming up with a topic. Soon to come: possible topics based on individual works. But don't wait for me to propose a topic that interests you. Schedule that meeting or send me that email with your ideas and/or questions.
Also, I wanted to note here that you may revise your second critical response essay and hand it in along with your final essay if you have the time and inclination to do so. Revisions should be substantial--a reconsideration of your argument, organization, and use of evidence, as well as how you open and close the paper--and not just result in a cleaned-up version of the original draft.
I'll be adding to the final essay page often between now and Sunday, so keep checking the web pages periodically. Don't forget to schedule a real or virtual meeting with me for next week to discuss your ideas for the final paper.
Welcome back. I hope everyone had a great break. I'm about to put up the web page that gives the assignment sheet for the final essay (sorry, didn't post it until 12/2!). Remember that you must either schedule a face-to-face appointment to discuss your ideas for the final paper with me or send me over e-mail an area of interest or a question that you are considering writing on before the end of classes. Although I give sample topics, I prefer you pursue a topic of your own devising for the final paper.
First off, the bad news. Not enough people came to Mr. Bowen's talk for me to cancel Thursday's class. Sorry!
Now the good news. I've added several new web pages in the past few days. Pay particular attention to the link off the title of the course, "How to Do Things with Ghosts"; there are lots of excellent quotations from literary critics on ghost stories, on literary hauntings, and on literary ghosts there. (There are a couple other ways to get to this page besides this link). You should also check out the revised mid-term exam, which now has an active link to my comments on patterns in your answers to exam questions at the very end. I'll be adding to this page in the coming days. It will have some advice on the skills from Part II that may be very useful to you as you consider how to support the arguments you'll be making in your second critical response paper and your final paper. I've also revised the "assignment sheet" web page on critical response essays, which is also worth reviewing before you leave for break. Finally, I've put up a "links" page, which contains some links to web pages on several authors that we're reading in this course. I'll be adding to this page in the weeks ahead; if you ever find interesting web pages, please let me know so I can add them to the list of links.
Please note the changes to the syllabus posted today. I've added three very short stories by DuWayne Bowen, who will be speaking here next Monday at Tower Lounge in Reed Library at 5 pm. His talk is specially geared for our class, although it will be open to the public under the auspices of Native American Heritage Month. This is your chance to hear a writer talk about his craft and his goals, and to ask him questions. To sweeten the pot, if I see more than 40 of you at the talk next Monday, we will make the last class before Thanksgiving break optional. So be there!
I've put up changes on the main page, rewritten and restructured the mid-term exam page, and added a link to a new page off of it that has comments on patterns in your answers to the exam. So definitely check those out.
Thanks to those (few) who came to hear Paul Leone tell three of his stories from Chautauqua Ghosts. Those who came heard a slightly different version of "Allen's Opera House," which we read back at the end of August, and got a great preview of "Daniel Kenton," which we'll be reading the first week of December, after Thanksgiving break.
We have a chance to hear DuWayne Bowen, a local Native American storyteller and writer with a national reputation, share with us the reasons and strategies by which he tells stories, as well as address the politics of stories by Native Americans that feature ghosts and spirits. He can only come in on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but is otherwise flexible. We need to decide quickly what date and time we should invite him to speak, so please email me as soon as possible and let me know what times are best for you and what times are terrible for you. It is an incredible honor that Mr. Bowen has agreed to meet with us, and I want to choose a time that most of us can attend. So get back to me quickly. Thanks. And Happy Halloween!
The final version of the mid-term exam web page went up at 6:46 pm. Good luck and get plenty of sleep tonight. It's way more important to be rested and alert tomorrow morning than to have the security blanket of staying up till 3 or 4. Try to get 8 hours or more; I'll make a bet that those who do this will do better on the exam than those who got only 4 or 5 or less.
OK, folks, I've put up a draft of the instructions that will appear on the mid-term Thursday. You can reach it off the main page or by clicking here--it's a revised version of the page I accounced on 10/6 and had previously revised on 10/9 around 2:45 pm (shamefully without announcing those changes!). Please let me know if anything is unclear and I will try to make it clearer. Also let me know if you think the format for Part II solves the time issue we discussed in class and on the listserv.
I have revised the syllabus to reflect the fact that the Disney film Mulan will not be out on video until after the end of the semester, and to reflect changes in the scheduling of readings. Please note these changes in your copy of the syllabus.
Hey everyone, I've just put up a very rough outline of the structure and purposes of the mid-term exam. You can access it by clicking here, or by clicking on the appropriate link on the main page. I will be adding examples to it to help flesh out the outline and help you prepare for the exam. I will even post sample questions on that page in a few days. So be sure to check it out! You may propose essay questions for the mid-term in your student response for this week and reading response for next week
For your student responses on The Woman Warrior for this coming Thursday, I want you to do do two things: 1) respond to Kingston's essay; and 2) discuss how the main title of the work ("the woman warrior") relates to the subtitle ("girlhood among ghosts"). In class Thursday we will consider the following questions: What does each part mean alone, and what do they mean together? Where in the text can you find support for your answer?
Finally, be sure to fill out the student questionnaire (see below, 9/15, for the text).
I've put up a list of books that I asked to be put on reserve at Reed Library. Just click above on "R E S E R V E S" to get to the list, and check at the Circulation Desk to see what's actually in as of today. I've also revised the critical response essay page in light of the questions that people have asked me. Don't forget to print off a copy of this page to take with you on break if you don't think you'll have easy web access while you're away.
Remember, as the syllabus says, there are no reading or student responses due this week.
If you haven't emailed me by 11 pm with the question you're considering for your critical response essay, why you're asking it, and how you think you'll approach answering it, I can't guarantee I'll get comments back to you before you or I leave campus for break. You don't need to get my approval, but it can't hurt to get some free advice. Particularly if you're not used to asking questions about literature or distinguishing questions that might work well for discussion from those that would be fruitful for a short paper.
I'm just now going to put up advice on how to write good reading responses. You can get to it off the main course page, or by clicking here. Let me know if it's helpful and how it can be made helpful if it's not, or not enough.
Also, given that break starts next week and I won't even be here on Wednesday for my regular office hours, here are my revised office hours for the last few days before our well-deserved October break!
I hope to see you there--or hear from you over email--so that I can give you some preliminary feedback on the questions you're considering writing your first critical response essay on!
OK, folks, I've finally got the assignment sheet for the critical response paper up. There's a link off the main menu, or you can click here to go straight to it. It's up to you if you want to print this off for future reference or look it up on the web when you need a reminder. Please take special note the part of the assignment that calls on you to email me a thumbnail sketch of your idea a week before you hand it in (next Monday at the latest).
Also, not many people have gotten back their student questionnaires to me (see below, 9/15) or contacted me about their absences (if they've had more than 2; see below, 9/17). Both are very important, so make sure and take care of them!
A few important announcements on a variety of topics:
Well, the second part of the course pack was in this afternoon, so let's plan to discuss the works in it in class tomorrow. Remember, one of the topics of discussion should be the difference differences of gender, ethnicity, nationality, and class make to the ghost story--so it's perfectly legitimate to allude back to the stories from earlier in the week, too.
11 pm: Well, the Copy Center has had some equipment troubles, but they promise the EN209 Course Pack #2 will be in the bookstore tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. If it's not there by Wednesday afternoon, we'll continue to discuss the stories from Tuesday's class. But if it is there, we'll be focusing on the stories by Oates, Atwood, and Cisneros. If you have time to make your student responses address some aspect of these stories, that's great, but feel free to continue our discussion of the stories by Devi, Marquez, and Mukherjee on the listserv, as you may not be able to finish reading the stories for Thursday in time to post a relatively punctual student response tomorrow.
8 am: My email address is finally working, bug-free. You can now email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and be confident I will receive it! Also, when you dial 3859 you no longer get Dr. Shokoff--our phone lines had been scrambled, and now they're not.
All right, folks, here's the student questionnaire. Please copy into an email message, address it to me, answer the questions, and send it out ASAP.
5 pm: Well, the pages are up but not fully done and the course pack is in the bookstore but not complete. In fact, it's missing two of the three stories due for class discussion on Tuesday. So I've changed the syllabus and mentioned the changes on the ghostlist. We'll discuss Marquez, Mukherjee, and Devi on Tuesday, and then, when you've bought the course pack (part deux) that same day, we'll save Oates, Atwood, and Cisneros for discussion on Thursday.
8 am: The web pages are up! The course pack is ready! Could life really be any better?
Seriously, watch this space for student questionnaire and early course evaluation forms for you to copy, fill out, and send to me at email@example.com.