English 4106-01W Studies in Genre:Fiction
Dr. Randy Hendricks
Fall 2010
TR  11:00-12:15  Humanities 209
Office TLC 2237
 
Contact Jonette Larrew for appointment
678-839-6512

rhendric@westga.edu

Course Overview

Using both practical and theoretical approaches to the interpretation of prose fiction, and with attention to the history and evolution of fictional forms to the extent that such knowledge enhances interpretation, we will devote the semester to reading, discussing, and writing about several short stories and one  novel. Our range will run the ground of well established classic short stories, and there will be opportunities for studying short stories published as recently as the past decade or so. Students can expect to learn the terms associated with close analysis of fiction and to become familiar with some of the more important theoretical statements that have defined and shaped fiction. Detailed written responses to reading assignments will help students prepare for class and lead to more formal writing assignments.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Students will learn about the distinguishing characteristics of fiction and develop an appreciation of how fiction evolves into many diverse forms.

2. Students will develop an advanced critical facility in the formal analysis of fiction.

3. Students will be able to identify and use some of the most significant theories and methods that shape the contemporary study of fiction.

4. Students will read and analyze works of fiction written during different historical eras and from different national or cultural perspectives.

5. Students will demonstrate in both oral and written work a discipline-specific critical facility through convincing and well-supported analysis of related material.

6. Students will demonstrate their command of academic English and the tenets of sound composition by means of thesis-driven analytical prose.

7. Students will learn to use discipline-specific computer technologies related to the study of language such as listservs, word processing, and internet research.
 

<>Texts:
Bohner, Charles, and Lyman Grant.  Short Fiction:  Classic and Contemporary Sixth Edition
Brontë, Emily.  Wuthering Heights  Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism.  Second Edition.  Edited by Linda H. Peterson.  Must have this edition.

Requirements:  a reading notebook, three short essays, and research paper.
 

Some Policies, Expectations, and Other Important Information

Expectations:  The professional relationship between an instructor and a student is not that of vendor and consumer.  One does not buy learning the way one
buys a car, a sound system, or a hamburger.  Tuition and state funding buy professional direction and assistance to your own study as well as a fair and careful assessment of
your progress.  They never buys the right not to attend class, to fail to complete assigned work on time, or to practice a radical individualism that distracts the instructor
and classmates with impunity.  By agreeing to teach the class, I agree to provide the direction, assistance, and assessment.  By enrolling in the class, you have
created obligations for yourself.  If you do not meet them, you will not succeed.

My basic assumption is that students are adults preparing to be professionals.  They should understand that the way they conduct business has a direct
influence on their success in the class and other tangible if longer-term results (For example, you are not only completing the requirements for the courses you
are currently taking, you are developing professional relationships with your instructors, who will in due course serve as your primary references as you seek
admission to graduate schools, employment, or other types of professional or educational opportunities).

To be more specific, I expect students to come to each class meeting on time, prepared and ready to concentrate on the tasks at hand.  I further expect
students to prepare all assignments with scrupulous attention to detail and directions by the stipulated deadlines.  And I tolerate no unprofessional distractions
such as gum chewing, sleeping in class, using beepers or cell phones (either for incoming or outgoing calls).  Students who create such distractions will leave the
class.

Deadline for Withdrawal:  The deadline for withdrawing from any class with a grade of W is October 6.  Students may withdraw from a class after that date only
in the case of hardship.  Hardship withdrawals are determined in the office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, not by instructors or department
chairs.  Students who are granted hardship withdrawals must withdraw from all their classes.

Compliance with Act regarding disabilities:
The instructor will make accommodations to meet special needs of students with documented disabilities.  It is the responsibility of the student to inform the
instructor of any such need and to provide the appropriate documentation.

Department of English and Philosophy Plagiarism Policy
The Department of English and Philosophy defines plagiarism as taking personal credit for the words and ideas of others as they are presented in electronic,
print, and verbal sources.  The Department expects that students will accurately credit sources in all assignments.  Plagiarism is grounds for failing the course.

Other Policies
    * Campus e-mail (myUWG) will be the official method for all communication by e-mail
    * No extra credit will be allowed in this course
    * Work done for another course may be accepted to satisfy requirements in this course, provided both instructors agree to accept such work.  Students
should keep in mind, however, that the same work might be evaluated according to different criteria, given the different outcomes.

Grades:

Participation and Reading Notebook 20%
Three Short Essays 50%
Research Paper 30%

Writing Assignments:

Reading Notebook:  Beginning with the assignments for August 26, you will respond to the questions on this rubric to prepare for class.  Use a loose-leaf binder.  I will sometimes take up the assignments.  Reading Rubric.  A model is also provided.  Other entries in the Reading Notebook will be abstracts of critical articles assigned on Wuthering Heights.  Use the example below as a model (your abstract may need to be longer depending on the density of the argument in the article).  Prepare an abstract for on either Wion's "The Absent Mother in Wuthering Heights" or  Eagleton's "Myths of Power:  A Marxist Study on Wuthering Heights."  Be prepared to turn the abstract in on October 21 .  Then write a second abstract on any of the remaining articles in the text to turn in with your reading notebook on November 30.


Mathison, John K.  "Nelly Dean and the Power of Wuthering Heights."  Nineteenth-Century Fiction 11.  106-29.  Rpt. in
    Wuthering  Heights:  An Anthology of Criticism.  Ed. Alastair Everitt.  New York:  Barnes & Noble, 1967.  84-110.
 

Mathison argues that  the power of the novel derives from the fact that the narrator, Nelly Dean, is too "normal" and "healthy" to comprehend the exorbitant passions and actions of characters such as Heathcliff and Catherine.  The powerful effect on readers occur as they realize the inadequacy of the "normal" to interpret the deeper and truer feelings of the main characters and are forced to become active advocates for Heathcliff and Catherine in ways that could not occur with an omniscient narrator or a less admirable first-person narrator.  It is in this power that Brontë has created a genuine work of art.


First Two Essays

Third Essay

Research Paper Assignment


Schedule
August     12     Introductions
                17     Warren, Robert Penn, "Why Do We Read Fiction" (essay distributed by email);   Joyce, "Araby" (598)
                19     No Class (I'm out of town)              
                24     Bohner, "Introduction to Short Fiction" (1) & "Reading Short Fiction" (30)
                26     Bambara, "The Lesson" (115); Bohner "Approaching Short Fiction Critically" (1326)
                31     Melville, "Bartleby the Scrivener" (795);  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6AXySuIFUs
Sept           2     Cheever, "The Swimmer" (215); O'Connor "A Good Man is Hard to Find" (904) "A Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable" (1287)
                  7      Kincaid "Girl" (673); Klass "Not a Good Girl" (675)  First Essay Due
                  9      Jackson "The Lottery" (562), "Biography of a Story" (1254):  No Class Meeting (We'll discuss Jackson with Hawthorne and Poe on the 14th)
                14      Hawthorne "The Birthmark" (528); Poe "The Brief Prose Tale" (1293)
                16      Poe "The Cask of Amontillado" (935) "The Fall of the House of Usher" (941)
                23      Welty "Petrified Man" (1139) "A Worn Path" (1149) "Is Phoenix Jackson's Grandson Really Dead?" (1319); Walker "Interview with Eudora Welty" (1308)
                28      Waking Ned Devine (film, viewed in class)  Second Essay Due
                30      Waking Ned Devine;  Welty, Eudora, "Place in Fiction"  (essay distributed by email)
October     5      Discuss Ned Devine; begin Wuthering Heights
                  7      Wuthering Heights
                12      Wuthering Heights
               
14      Fall Break
                19      WH   "Cultural Documents and Illustrations";  "A Critical History of Wuthering Heights"<>
                21     WH   "Psychoanalytic Criticism and Wuthering Heights""Marxist Criticism and Wuthering Heights"
                26     WH   "Feminist Criticism and Wuthering Heights"; "Combining Perspectives on Wuthering Heights"Mar           
                28     Mahfouz "Half a Day" (746)
Nov           2     Achebe "Dead Men's Path (42);   Essay Three Due
                  4     No Class (I'm at a conference)              
                  9     Fuentes "Chac-Mool" (448)
                11     Mukherjee "A Father" (837);  Draft of Research Papers Due     
                16     Faulkner "A Rose for Emily" (494) 
                18     Research Paper Review and Workshop   
                23     Individual conferences in my office as needed
                25     Thanksgiving break
                30     Wrap Up.  Reading Notebooks Due            
Dec           7     Research Paper Due

   GRADING CRITERIA FOR ALL ENGLISH ESSAY ASSIGNMENTS 2000-LEVEL AND ABOVE

Note: A passing grade on any assignment first assumes competence in the mechanics of standard written English.

C     To earn a “C,” a student must
• Respond to the constraints of the assignment.
• Focus on the topic.
• Provide a clear thesis.
• Maintain a tone appropriate for a scholarly audience.
• Order essay logically, from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, idea to idea.
• Provide sufficient evidence and detail throughout the essay.
• Have sufficient control of standard written English and MLA guidelines such that errors, including any in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting, if present, do not cause serious confusion and/or distraction.
• Provide adequate, reliable, and relevant secondary documentation, where applicable.
• Demonstrate an understanding of context and purpose in relating secondary sources to paper’s claims/ideas.
• Exhibit nearly error-free incorporation of documentation into the body of the essay.

 B To earn a “B,” a student must meet the minimum requirements for a “C” essay plus
• Provide a well-framed and insightful thesis.
• Recognize complexities and show evidence of serious consideration of the topic.
• Support most points with appropriate, well-analyzed examples and intelligent arguments.
• Show logical development and organization throughout.
• Offer writing that is relatively free of grammatical and technical errors.
• Provide substantive and relevant documentation, where applicable, in support of most claims/ideas.
• Demonstrate a thorough understanding of context and purpose in relating secondary sources to paper’s claims/ideas where applicable.
• Exhibit error-free and varied incorporation of documentation into the body of the essay.
 A     To earn an “A,” a student must meet the minimum requirements for a “B” essay plus:
• Provide a sophisticated thesis that demonstrates independent thinking.
• Support all claims/ideas with appropriate, fully analyzed examples and compelling, insightful arguments.
• Show persuasive logical development and organization throughout.
• Maintain a distinctive voice and consistent viewpoint that incorporates interesting and varied style.
• Provide secondary sources, where applicable, that demonstrate independent research in the field.
• Enter into meaningful dialogue with secondary sources, such that the student is not just proving someone else’s point but developing original ideas in relation to research material.

 D A “D” grade results from
• Failing to respond clearly to the assignment, or
• A lack of qualities listed under the minimum requirements for a “C,” or
• Insufficient control of standard written English, resulting in substantial errors that cause confusion or incoherence.

 F          An “F” grade results from
• Two or more of the faults listed in “D” above.