M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S


EN 209: NOVELS AND TALES
Spring 1999
Section 5: Dods 102, MWF 11
Section 6: Dods 102, MWF 12
Office: Fenton 240; T 10-12, 1-3, W 2-4, and by appointment; 673-3859
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon


HOW TO DO THINGS WITH GHOSTS


About the Course Web Pages


These web pages are designed to help you get as much out of this course as possible--you can use it to find out how you will be graded, what reading and writing assignments are due and when, how to subscribe to the course listserv for your section, what books are on reserve for your use in Reed Library, what the mid-term exam will look like, and how to use the world-wide web for research. Please take the time over the weekend after the first day of classes to read this page carefully and to familiarize yourself with the other pages for this course. Please get in the habit of checking back to these pages to keep track of changes to the syllabus, advice on papers and the mid-term exam, and to surf the ever-expanding list of links to interesting web pages related to the course. And please contact me anytime (see above for my coordinates) if you have ideas about how to improve these pages or the course as a whole. I hope you enjoy taking this course as much as I enjoy teaching it!

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 seven books and a xeroxed course reader in the bookstore for you to purchase:

We will also view the Disney film Mulan.

Course Requirements/Expectations


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

Reading Responses/Discussion Questions (20%). There will be a course listserv for each section (en20905@ait.fredonia.edu for Section 5 and en20906@ait.fredonia.edu for Section 6). 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 ways: no later than 7 pm Tuesday of every week, you must post a "reading response" to the course listserv in which you make a paragraph or more of observations on one or more of the readings for the week, and ask 3-5 questions that you believe would spark class discussion. Individual reading responses are graded +/0/-/F; the only way to fail a reading response is to fail to ask questions. Your grade for this segment of the course will be determined by the number of on-time, passing responses you post to the course listserv. Since there are fourteen weeks when responses are due in the semester, and since you are allowed two free weeks without penalty, 12 or more reading responses=A; 11=B+; 10=B; 9=C+; 8=C, 7=D; 6 or less=E (worth 10% of your base grade). The quality (+'s vs. -'s) of your reading responses will figure into your class participation grade.

We will also set up six reading groups during the first week of classes. Each group will be responsible for setting the agenda for a Friday class twice during the semester. In a given week, members of a group are responsible for exchanging emails among themselves in which they select the most interesting questions from among those asked in reading responses for that week and add questions of their own. Each group must post an email to the listserv by 3 pm Thursday in which they announce the questions for discussion on the Friday class. Each group will be given a grade based on the quality of the questions they ask (each set is worth 5% of the base grade).

Critical/Creative Response Papers (30%). You must turn in three short critical response essays, each of which should be an analytical or persuasive essay (each worth 10% of your base grade). With my permission, you may substitute a creative response paper for one of the critical response papers. Specific assignments will be posted on the web well in advance of the due date.

Mid-Term Exam/Final Essay (40%). I will provide detailed information on both the mid-term exam and the five-to-eight-page final essay (each worth 20% of your base grade) later in the semester. We will arrange for a mandatory individual conference on your final paper topic after spring break.

Attendance/Preparation/Participation (10%). 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, please contact me ahead of time or soon after your absence. 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, and to bring the assigned reading for that day to class so that you can refer to specific passages 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 or don't have it in front of you. 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.

Your grade for this segment of the course will be based on a combination of your attendance and my judgment of your preparation/participation in class and on the listserv. As a rule, more than three absences (whether excused or unexcused) will hurt your participation grade, and more than five absences (whether excused or unexcused) will lead to a course grade of F.

Schedule of Assignments


F, 1/22: Introduction

Telling Ghost Stories


M, 1/25: Introduction, continued
T, 1/26: Reading response #1 due before 7 pm
W, 1/27: Leone, "Daniel Kenton," in Chautauqua Ghosts
Th, 1/28: Group I posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 1/29: Leone, Chautauqua Ghosts, concluded


M, 2/1: Chesnutt, "Po' Sandy"
T, 2/2: Reading response #2 due before 7 pm
W, 2/3: Bruchac, "Bone Girl" (to be handed out)
Th, 2/4: Group II posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 2/5: Butler, "A Ghost Story"


M, 2/8: Hawthorne, "Alice Doane's Appeal" (to be handed out); CRITICAL RESPONSE ESSAY #1 DUE
T, 2/9: Reading response #3 due before 7 pm
W, 2/10: Hawthorne, "Alice Doane's Appeal," continued; James, The Turn of the Screw, 1-13
Th, 2/11: Group III posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 2/12: NO CLASS: READING DAY (continue with James, The Turn of the Screw)


M, 2/15: finish James, The Turn of the Screw (we will use Group III's questions in this class, which should focus on the first 12 chapters of the novella)
T, 2/16: Reading response #4 due before 7 pm
W, 2/17: James, The Turn of the Screw, continued (we will focus on what the "evil" is at Bly and our judgments of the governess's interpretation/narration in class)
Th, 2/18: Group IV posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 2/19: James, The Turn of the Screw, concluded; Oates, "Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly" (we will compare and contrast Oates's and James's versions in class)


M, 2/22: Kingston, The Woman Warrior, 1-16
T, 2/23: Reading response #5 due before 7 pm
W, 2/24: Kingston, The Woman Warrior, 17-53; "The Ballad of Mulan" (two versions); VIEWING of Mulan, 4 pm, Jewett 101
Th, 2/25: Group V posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 2/26: Kingston, The Woman Warrior, 54-109


M, 3/1: Kingston, The Woman Warrior, 110-209
T, 3/2: Reading response #6 due before 7 pm: doing your response early will help Group VI come up with Part III questions; Group VI posts suggested mid-term exam take-home questions to the listserv by 10 pm
W, 3/3: Kingston, "Cultural Mis-readings by American Reviewers"
F, 3/5: MID-TERM EXAM (in-class with take-home essay)

What Ghosts Want


M, 3/8: wrap up previous section; take-home essay from mid-term exam due in class
T, 3/9: Reading response #7 due before 7 pm
W, 3/10: Shakespeare, from Hamlet; Bohannan, "Shakespeare in the Bush" (to be handed out)
Th, 3/11: Group I posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 3/12: Pu Songling, "Ghost Girl Xiaoxie"; Yuan Mei, "Butterfingered Scholar Wu"


M, 3/15: Hurston, "Spunk" (to be handed out); continue discussion of cultural assumptions about what ghosts are and what they want from Shakespeare, Pu Songling, and Yuan Mei
T, 3/16: Reading response #8 due before 7 pm
W, 3/17: Mukherjee, "The Management of Grief"
Th, 3/18: Group II posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 3/19: Cisneros, "Woman Hollering Creek"


M, 3/22: Morrison, Beloved, 1-63; Caruth, "Introduction"
T, 3/23: Reading response #9 due before 7 pm
W, 3/24: Morrison, Beloved, 50-85; CRITICAL RESPONSE ESSAY #2 DUE
F, 3/26: NO CLASS--Spring Break [Note: it is in your best interest to finish Beloved over the break, so that you can be rereading the sections under discussion for each upcoming class period. We are losing two classes to the extended spring break that normally would have been devoted to this difficult novel; you are likely to be lost if you don't finish it over spring break.]


M, 4/5: NO CLASS--Spring Break
T, 4/6: Reading response #10 due before 7 pm
W, 4/7: Morrison, Beloved, 74-147
Th, 4/8: Group III posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 4/9: Morrison, Beloved, 135-199


M, 4/12: Morrison, Beloved, 165-217
T, 4/13: Reading response #11 due before 7 pm
W, 4/14: Morrison, Beloved, 200-235; VIEWING of Beloved, 3:30 pm, Jewett 101
Th, 4/15: Group IV posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 4/16: Morrison, Beloved, 236-275

Ambiguous Hauntings


M, 4/19: Marquez, "The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship"; CRITICAL RESPONSE ESSAY #3 DUE
T, 4/20: Reading response #12 due before 7 pm
W, 4/21: Devi, "The Children"
Th, 4/22: Group V posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 4/23: Joyce, "The Dead"


M, 4/26: Erdrich, Tracks, 1-95; Bowen, "Preface," "The Blind Man and the Deaf Man," "The Giant Deer," "The Devil," "The Card Players," "Talking to Animals," and "The Peeker," from One More Story
T, 4/27: Reading response #13 due before 7 pm
W, 4/28: Erdrich, Tracks, 96-130; Bowen, "The Skeleton in the Sky" and "The Lights," from One More Story
Th, 4/29: Group VI posts discussion questions to the listserv by 3 pm
F, 4/30: Erdrich, Tracks, 131-191; Bowen, "The Ghost on the Bridge" and "The Car Wreck," from One More Story


M, 5/3: Erdrich, Tracks, 192-226; Bowen, "The Great Swamp," "The Power Line," and "One More Story," from One More Story
T, 5/4: Reading response #14 due before 7 pm
W, 5/5: PRESENTATION by DuWayne Bowen, Seneca writer, 11 am -1 pm (in class)
F, 5/7: course evaluations; wrap up course; pizza and soda


W, 5/12: FINAL PAPER DUE


M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S



EN 209: Novels and Tales, Spring 1999
Created: 1/15/99, 7:03 pm
Last modified: 4/23/99, 1:13 pm
Check out the Fall 1998 apparition of this course.