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 3: Thompson W246, TR 9:30-10:50
Section 7: Fenton 179, TR 12:30-1:50
Office: Fenton 240; M 1-5, W 9-12, 1:30-4:30, 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 week 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 my evaluation of you in this course.

Attendance/Preparation/Participation (15%). 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. 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.

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 listserv. As a rule, more than three absences (whether excused or unexcused) will hurt your participation grade, and more than six absences (whether excused or unexcused) will lead to a course grade of E.

Reading Responses/Discussion Questions (15%). There will be a course listserv for each section (en20903@ait.fredonia.edu for Section 3 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).

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/-/E; 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 thirteen weeks when responses are due in the semester, and since you are allowed three free weeks without penalty, 10 or more reading responses=A; 9=B+; 8=B; 7=C+; 6=C, 5=D; 4 or less=E. The quality (+'s vs. 's) of your reading responses will figure into your class participation grade.

Critical/Creative Response Papers (30%). You must turn in two short critical response essays, each of which should be an 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 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 October break.

Schedule of Assignments

What Makes a Ghost Story?

T 8/24: Introductions
Th 8/26: Bowen, One More Story

T 8/31: Erdrich, Tracks, 1-61 (chs. 1-3); reading response #1 due before 7 pm
Th 9/2: Erdrich, Tracks, 62-95 (ch. 4)

T 9/7: Erdrich, Tracks, 96-191 (chs. 5-7); reading response #2 due before 7 pm
Th 9/9: Erdrich, Tracks, 192-227 (chs. 8 and 9)

T 9/14: Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I [in mini-course pack on sale at bookstore and in complete course pack on reserve at library]; Bohannan, "Shakespeare in the Bush" [in course pack on reserve at library]; reading response #3 due before 7 pm
Th 9/16: Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, cont.; Pu Songling, "Ghost Girl Xiaoxie" [on reserve]; Yuan Mei, "Butterfingered Scholar Wu" [on reserve]

T 9/21: Joyce, "The Dead" (in Dubliners); reading response #4 due before 7 pm
Th 9/23: Marquez, "The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship" [on reserve]
F 9/24: CRITICAL RESPONSE PAPER #1 due at 3 pm

Haunted Fictions

T 9/28: Mukherjee, "The Management of Grief" [on sale at bookstore and on reserve]; Cisneros, "Woman Hollering Creek" [on reserve]; reading response #5 due before 7 pm
Th 9/30: Devi, "The Children" [on sale and on reserve]; MID-TERM EXAM TAKE-HOME ESSAY OPTIONS POSTED TO WEB SITE, 4 PM

T 10/5: MIDTERM EXAM (in-class; take-home essay due at beginning of exam)
Th 10/7: NO CLASS (October Break)

T 10/12: Keller, Comfort Woman, 1-62; reading response #6 due before 7 pm
Th 10/14: Keller, Comfort Woman, 63-97

T 10/19: Keller, Comfort Woman, 98-173; reading response #7 due before 7 pm
Th 10/21: Keller, Comfort Woman, 174-213

T 10/26: Morrison, Beloved, 1-56; reading response #8 due before 7 pm
Th 10/28: Morrison, Beloved, 57-105

T 11/2: Morrison, Beloved, 106-165; reading response #9 due before 7 pm
Th 11/4: Morrison, Beloved, 166-199

T 11/9: Morrison, Beloved, 200-235; reading response #10 due before 7 pm
Th 11/11: Morrison, Beloved, 236-275

Telling Ghost Stories

T 11/16: Bruchac, "Bone Girl"; Butler, "A Ghost Story"; reading response #11 due before 7 pm
W 11/17: 4 pm: Presentation by DuWayne Bowen, author of One More Story, Fenton 127 (English Reading Room)
Th 11/18: Chesnutt, "Po' Sandy"
F 11/19: CRITICAL RESPONSE PAPER #2 due at 3 pm

T 11/23: NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Break)
Th 11/25: NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Break)

T 11/30: James, The Turn of the Screw; reading response #12 due before 7 pm
Th 12/2: James, The Turn of the Screw

T 12/7: James, The Turn of the Screw; reading response #13 due before 7 pm
Th 12/9: Oates, "Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly"; wrap up course
M 12/13: FINAL PAPER due by 4 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, Fall 1999
Created: 8/20/99, 4:15 pm
Last modified: 12/14/99, 4:58 pm
Check out the Fall 1998 and Spring 1999 apparitions of this course.