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Reading Fiction 106-2

TTH 11-12:15   
Fall 2019

This is a "real time" syllabus that, unlike a print syllabus, will always be up to date and reflect our progress throughout the semester.  You can easily check it from a mobile device or from any computer.  There is no need to print a copy of the syllabus, but if you decide to print a copy, be sure to check the online syllabus regularly for new information, added assignments, or reading schedule changes.  The print icon above is for print copies.

The syllabus consists of the Reading Schedule and Course Policies.  You are responsible for understanding and following the schedule and the course policies, which are in effect beginning the first day of class. Please read them carefully (more than once and throughout the semester).  See me if you have any questions.

Think of the syllabus as a flexible guide. It will structure our semester, but we will adjust it as needed to fit our needs as the semester progresses. Not all assignments (e.g., in-class work, quizzes) are listed at the beginning of the semester; some will be added throughout the semester. It may also be necessary to finish some readings the following class periods, in which case I will update the syllabus after each class. Again, be sure to check the syllabus regularly. 

All readings are from eFictions unless otherwise noted as a handout.  TIM=The Invisible Man.  It will be useful to read the introductions for each author we study.

Reading should be finished for the day assigned, e.g., "The Most Dangerous Game" should be completed for class on Sept 5. Please bring the required books for each class meeting and be sure to use the Course Notes pages (website) to prepare for class and to study outside of class.

03 Course Introduction
Review Course Syllabus/Website

05 Review Course Syllabus/Website

Reading and Interpreting Literature
Intro, 3-13

"The Most Dangerous Game" (Also available on Course Notes page)
(Read this story online; you can bring your laptop/tablet to access the story. Bring reading notes to class)
10 Finish Reading and Interpreting Literature

Card Due: Theme in "MDG" (5pts)

Individual and Society

"Bartleby the Scrivener" (Course Notes)
12 Finish "Bartleby"--page references and questions from class (9/10)

"A Rose for Emily" (Course Notes)

17 Finish "A Rose for Emily"

"Babylon Revisited" (Course Notes)
19 "The Lottery"

Quiz 1 ("Bartleby the Scrivener"; "A Rose for Emily"; "Babylon Revisited")
24 "American Dreams" 26 The Rocking-Horse Winner"
01 "The Lesson" (Course Notes)

03 The Extraordinary and Fantastic

Movie - The Invisible Man (1933)

08 TIM

Use study questions to take notes and think about the novella--Course Notes
10 TIM

Invisibility Experiment in Class!!
15  TIM

Quiz 2
17  Final Thoughts--TIM
22 "The Cask of Amontillado" (Course Notes)

Review for midterm as time allows
24 Midterm (No early exams, please)
29 "A Scandal in Bohemia" (Handout)
31 "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Also available on Course Notes page)

"The Open Boat"/Crane's newspaper account (Handout/Course Notes)
07 "To Build a Fire"

12 "Big Two-Hearted River" (Handout)

14 Terror/Violence

"Entropy" (Course Notes)
19 "In the Penal Colony" (Course Notes) 21 "The Destructors"
26 "The Guest"  28 Thanksgiving Break
03 Video on the Armenian Genocide
05"Uncle Baghdasar"

10 "56-0" (Handout)

12Review for the final exam as time allows

Course Wrap Up/Course Assessment

Final Exam Week: Dec 16-20
Final Exam: TBA
Essay (+ outline) Due: TBA

Office Hrs during Finals Week: See Home Page

Course Grades: TBA

The General Education Program Humanities Learning Outcomes

The humanities explore the fundamental ideas and values shaping cultures and civilization, in life and as represented in the written word, using scholarly approaches that are primarily analytical, critical, or interpretive. By introducing students to concepts and beliefs within and outside their own perspectives, courses in the humanities help students
to understand and critically engage a variety of worldviews and the ideas that give them meaning.

Upon completing this requirement, students will be able to

  • Demonstrate an ability to read carefully, speak clearly, think critically, or write persuasively about cultures and cultural works/artifacts (including texts, images, performances, and technologies, as well as other expressions of the human condition).
  • Identify and analyze how beliefs, values, languages, theories, or laws shape cultures and cultural works/artifacts.
  • Engage a variety of ideas and worldviews critically by formulating reflective and informed moral, ethical, or aesthetic  evaluations of cultures and cultural works/artifacts.
Course Description and Goals

In this course we will read and discuss short fiction (or short stories), focusing on fundamentals such as plot, characterization, point of view, and theme.  Focusing on four themes, we will also explore key social, philosophical, historical, political, and economic issues raised by our readings as well as questions about human nature and how individuals connect to their society.  A key concern will be how we read and what the act of interpretation entails. We will also read one novella--The Invisible Man--that will raise questions about what constitutes a "short story."

During the semester, we will work to

  • Read texts critically to understand plot and articulate questions, problems, and interpretations about the readings, both individually and during class discussions
  • Develop specific, thoughtful written responses to the readings
  • Learn the historical and social contexts related to the literature studied
  • Enjoy literature as an imaginative expression of the human condition 

Text Rental

Trimmer, Joseph F, et. al. eFictions. Boston, Heinle, 2002.

Purchase at Bookstore (or from another vendor)

Wells, H. G. The Invisible Man. Penguin. Warning: If you choose not to use this Penguin edition, you may have trouble following our class discussions and noting page references. You will also not have notes and the critical introduction unless you photocopy these from someone else's book.


During class discussions we will focus on key issues, difficult passages, and questions you raise.  However, we cannot cover every line or every work.  You will be responsible for parts of works we do not have time to cover in class, using your notes and our discussions to guide your (re)reading/thinking. You should be prepared to discuss the reading assignments for the days they are scheduled. It is useful to mark key passages or scenes that point to central concerns or ideas in the works that are read. Take notes when you read outside of class and write down questions you have. The purpose of class discussion is not to give you answers; instead, class discussions will help you develop reading strategies, understand background/contexts, and raise questions that you will think about and answer. There will be periodic quizzes, (announced and possibly unannounced), some assignments, and two examinations (a midterm and a final).

Please remember that your course grade will be based on the work that you complete, not simply the effort you make or my subjective opinion.

Course Grade %
Assignments/Quizzes** 20%
Midterm 35%
Final 40%
** Will be determined by point values: A=10-9; B=8; C=7; D=6; F=5-0

Assignments or quizzes due/given on a set day must be submitted/completed during the class period. Having an assignment finished but not printed out and ready to hand in is late. Late assignments will be accepted one day after the original due date, but will lose one letter grade or the point equivalent. After that, no credit will be given. Assignments due electronically must be received by the day and time specified. (Assignments due on Friday will not be accepted on Monday.) You cannot makeup missed exams unless there is an extraordinary situation.  Makeup quizzes and assignments, if feasible, must be arranged as soon as possible.  It is your responsiblity to see me and make arrangements; however, it may not be possible to make up missed assignments or quizzes.

For any special circumstances or problems, please contact me ahead of time. Also, no incompletes for the course will be given. Attendance

Regular attendance is your responsibility and is essential for success in the course. As stated in the online UWSP Course Catalog (UWSP Course Catalog), you cannot "cut" classes. There are no excused or unexcused absences. You have personal days to use and manage as needed.

If you miss a total of two weeks of class (six class meetings since we meet three times a week), you may fail the course. You may be able to make up missed assignments/quizzes with my approval; therefore, it is your responsibility to determine work that needs to be completed and to follow up with all logistical requirements. It may not be possible, however, to make up some assignments or quizzes.

If you are absent, you do not need to email me to explain your absence. If you would like to find out about missed information, it is best to stop by during office hours or make an appointment to see me. You can email me about missed information, but I may not be able to respond before our next class meeting.

However, if an assignment is due or there is a quiz, then you do need to email me before or the day of the assignment due date or quiz.  And you must have a legitimate reason for your absence.  You cannot just expect to be able to turn in a missed assignment or make up a quiz.

Classroom Etiquette

During class meetings, we will discuss and debate issues about writing and literature.  It is fine to express your views passionately and debate others in class, but do so in a civil, constructive manner. 

Please do not use phones and mobile devices during class, even if you believe you are doing so quietly.  Not only is this rude, but also it distracts other students as well as your ablity to focus on and follow class instruction and discussion.  Also, do not wear headphones. It is English Department policy that students cannot and should not record class lectures and discussion without permission from the intstructor. Also, please get drinks of water or use the washroom before or after class, not during class, so that our classroom does not become a bus station. Please see me if you need special accomodations.

Plagiarism (from the Latin "to Kidnap")

You will be expected to do your own work throughout the course. Intentionally or unintentionally passing off the ideas, words, or sentences of others (e.g., published authors, website authors, other students) as your own is plagiarism, which will result in failing the plagiarized assignment and possibly the course. Please review the University policy regarding plagiarism.