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

Fall 1999
Section 4: Thompson E-316, MWF 11-11:50
Section 7: Thompson E-120, MWF 2-2:50
Office: Fenton 240; MW 3-4, Th 1-5, and by appointment; 673-3859
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon


About the Course Web Pages

This web site is 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 and advice on papers and the mid-term exam, as well as 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 will give us the opportunity to read and compare works that employ haunting or spirit possession as a central motif. In it, we will 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. You may choose to take this course for honors credit as part of the new Honors Program in the English Department. If you are interested in doing this, please come to my office hours during the first two weeks of classes for more information.

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

Course Requirements/Expectations

There are several components to your grade in this course: preparation/participation (15%); weekly discussion questions (15%); two critical response essays (15% each); a mid-term examination (20%); and a final essay (20%).

Attendance/Preparation/Participation (15%). Regular attendance and thoughtful participation are crucial to your enjoyment of 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, preferably by email. More important than showing up on time, of course, is coming to class prepared and focused. I expect you to 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. This is a discussion rather than a lecture course, after all; 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. Since it's difficult to make good contributions to discussions about a literary work if you haven't read it carefully or thought about it extensively, how well you budget your time outside of class will to a large degree determine how well you do in this class in general and how well you do on this portion of your course grade in particular.

Your grade for this segment of the course will be based on a combination of your attendance and your preparation/participation in class and on the class listserv (described below). As there is no final examination in this course, think of my evaluation of your preparation/participation as a different but equally important method of assessing your performance in the course. As a rule, more than two unexcused absences will hurt your preparation/participation grade and each absence after the fifth will lower your final course grade by one-third of a grade (e.g., with six absences a B+ will become a B; with eight, it will become a C+).

Course Listserv/Discussion Questions (15%). There will be a course listserv for each section (en20904@ait.fredonia.edu for Section 4 and en20907@ait.fredonia.edu for Section 7). 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: no later than 6 pm Tuesday of every week, you must post to the course listserv at least four questions that you believe would spark discussion for that Wednesday's or Friday's class meetings (or for Monday's meeting if you wish to post your questions Sunday night). In general, your questions should "look ahead" to the next class's discussion, not recycle the previous class's discussion. However, you may ask questions that "look backward" in the sense that they make connections between past and future issues or discussions. Click here for further advice on generating discussion questions.

Your grade for this segment of the course will be determined by the number of on-time sets of questions you post to the course listserv. Since there are thirteen weeks when discussion questions are due in the semester, and since you are allowed three missed weeks without penalty, 10 or more sets of questions=A; 9=B+; 8=B; 7=C+; 6=C, 5=D; 4 or less=E. The quality of your discussion questions will be factored into your preparation/participation grade (see above).

Critical/Creative Response Papers (30%). You must turn in two short critical response essays, each of which should be a thesis-driven analytical or persuasive essay (each worth 15% 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 six-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.

Schedule of Assignments

Note: stories in "quotes" in your course pack unless otherwise noted.

F 1/21 Introductions

Telling Ghost Stories

M 1/24 DuWayne Bowen, One More Story
T 1/25 discussion questions due no later than 8 pm
W 1/26 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I
F 1/28 Laura Bohannan, "Shakespeare in the Bush" [on reserve in xeroxed pack]

M 1/31 Joseph Bruchac, "Bone Girl" [on reserve]
T 2/1 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 2/2 Robert Olen Butler, "A Ghost Story"
F 2/4 Charles Chesnutt, "Po' Sandy" [if copy in course pack is illegible, you can pick up a copy outside my office door or go to the links page for an e-text version of the story]

M 2/7 Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, Ch. 0-7 (pp. 1-32 in Dover edition; pp. 3-40 in Bantam edition)
T 2/8 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 2/9 Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, Ch. 8-16 (pp. 33-60 [Dover]; pp. 40-72 [Bantam])
F 2/11 Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, Ch. 17-24 (pp. 61-87 [Dover]; pp. 72-103 [Bantam])

M 2/14 Joyce Carol Oates, "Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly"; CRITICAL RESPONSE PAPER #1 due by 5 pm
T 2/15 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 2/16 Louise Erdrich, Tracks, pp. 1-9
F 2/18 Louise Erdrich, Tracks, pp. 10-61

M 2/21 Louise Erdrich, Tracks, 61-130
T 2/22 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 2/23 Louise Erdrich, Tracks, 131-164
F 2/25 Louise Erdrich, Tracks, 165-226

M 2/28 Louise Erdrich, Tracks; prepare for mid-term exam; 2 pm section: guest appearance by Samuel Delany
T 2/29 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 3/1 Louise Erdrich, Tracks; prepare for mid-term exam
F 3/3 MID-TERM EXAM (in-class with take-home essay); 5 pm: talk by Wahneema Lubiano (Duke U.) on Toni Morrison, S-104 Williams Center

Reading Hauntings

M 3/6 Pu Songling, "Ghost Girl Xiaoxie"; take-home essay for mid-term exam due in class
T 3/7 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 3/8 Yuan Mei, "Butterfingered Scholar Wu"
F 3/10 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship"

M 3/13 Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1-49
T 3/14 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 3/15 Toni Morrison, Beloved, 50-85
F 3/17 Toni Morrison, Beloved, 74-117

M 3/20-F 3/24 NO CLASSES: Spring Break [Note: it is in your best interest to either read ahead in or reread Beloved over the break]

M 3/27 Toni Morrison, Beloved, 118-165
T 3/28 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 3/29 Toni Morrison, Beloved, 166-199
F 3/31 Toni Morrison, Beloved, 200-217

M 4/3 Toni Morrison, Beloved, 200-235
T 4/4 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 4/5 Toni Morrison, Beloved, 236-275
F 4/7 Peer-review WORKSHOPS on drafts for second critical response paper [attendance optional]

M 4/10 Sandra Cisneros, "Woman Hollering Creek" [on reserve, in xerox form and also in Cisneros's Woman Hollering Creek]
T 4/11 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 4/12 Bharati Mukherjee, "The Management of Grief" [on reserve, in xerox form and also in Mukherjee's The Middleman and Other Stories]
F 4/14 Mahasweta Devi, "The Children"; CRITICAL RESPONSE PAPER #2 due no later than 5 pm

M 4/17 Nora Okja Keller, Comfort Woman, 1-41; be prepared to discuss 1-23
T 4/18 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 4/19 Nora Okja Keller, Comfort Woman, 42-89; be prepared to discuss 14-62
F 4/21 Nora Okja Keller, Comfort Woman, 90-113; be prepared to discuss 53-97

T 4/25 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 4/26 Nora Okja Keller, Comfort Woman, 114-141; be prepared to discuss 98-141
F 4/28 Nora Okja Keller, Comfort Woman 142-173; be prepared to discuss 115-173

M 5/1 Nora Okja Keller, Comfort Woman, 174-213; be prepared to discuss 155-213 and novel as a whole
T 5/2 discussion questions due no later than 6 pm
W 5/3 James Joyce, "The Dead"; 3 pm: DuWayne Bowen talk, Fenton 127 [attendance+e-mail response=extra credit]
F 5/5 James Joyce, "The Dead"; wrap up course

M 5/8 - Th 5/11 meet for writing conferences
F 5/12 FINAL PAPER due by 5 pm

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 2000
Created: 1/21/00, 10:03 am
Last modified: 5/4/00, 2:21 pm
Check out the Fall 1998, Spring 1999, and Fall 1999 apparitions of this course.