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

Topics and Patterns

One of the things that I'm sure you will have noticed about our class discussions--even this early in the semester--has been the need to balance attending closely to the text at hand and drawing connections between it and other texts that we've read in the semester. I'm sure, too, that many of you share my awareness of the difficulty of doing this balancing act in a completely satisfying way within the limits of a fifty-minute discussion period. Some days it may seem that we spend all our time focusing on an individual story, and other days it might seem that we've only skimmed the surface of the assigned reading because we've needed to step back and look at the bigger picture.

To help put our discussions in a larger context, and to remind you of where they have taken us, I've decided to create this page. You'll find in it a range of terms, issues, and questions that have taken "center stage" in our discussions, along with my own observations on the structure of the course, the organization of the readings, and connections between texts in a given unit. Hopefully this page can help you orient yourself if you feel lost, refamiliarize yourself with a story if you are considering possible subjects for critical response essays or studying for the mid-term examination--not to mention give you a better sense of the goals of the course and the skills I expect you to develop over the course of the semester. Please let me know how I can make this page more useful to you--and feel free to send me content to incorporate into the page if you wish.

Telling Ghost Stories

In this unit, we move from relatively simple to relatively complex texts, all of which focus on the process of telling ghost stories--they are "metafictional" in that they are fictions about fiction, stories about storytelling. Most of them are clearly derived from local traditions or folklore (from a variety of locales and cultures, of course), and while some of them stick very closely to the style and sound of oral storytelling, most explore the possibilities of the print medium by using such literary techniques as multiple narrators, symbolism, ambiguity, and allegory.

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: 2/4/99, 11:32 pm
Last modified: 2/24/99, 3:30 pm