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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.  The course is organized by themes:  Individual and Society, Extraordinary and Fantastic, Nature, and Terror and Violence.

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. Helpful information and context for stories that are on the Course Notes page will be noted on the syllabus, e.g., "Barleby the Scrivener" (Course Notes).  This means you should read the Course Notes along with the assigned story.  You may find it helpful to preview the Course Notes material first, then read it again after you read the story. (Be careful of any spoiler info.)

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.  TIM should be completely finished by our first day of discussion, Oct 8.

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)

In-class card: groups (5pts)
19 Quiz 1 ("Bartleby the Scrivener"; "A Rose for Emily"; "Babylon Revisited")

Finish "Babylon Revisited" - groups present (card) 9/17
In-class card due

24 Final Thoughts "Babylon Revisited"

"The Lottery"

"American Dreams"
26 Watch a very short film adaptation of "The Lottery"

Finish "American Dreams"
**narrator/Mr. Gleason--connections to "Bartleby"?
**Father vs narrator's view of Mr. Gleason's purpose

"The Rocking-Horse Winner"
01 Finish "The Rocking-Horse Winner"
Read website link info: 1. commodity 2. commodity fetishism (Marx module)

(Directions given in class.)

"The Lesson" (Course Notes)

Final Thoughts - Individual and Society theme

03 The Extraordinary and Fantastic

In-class screening of the movie - The Invisible Man (1933)

Use note sheet (handout in class)

08 Brief lecture - the short story as a genre

TIM (novella): We'll discuss both the novella and movie

For all class discussions, bring
**Bring note sheet from movie screening
**Study questions notes--Course Notes
**Text notes for the novella (handout)


Chpts 1-4 (Deduction, Induction--Course Notes)

10 TIM

Invisibility Experiment in Class!!

Chpts 19-23 (Griffin's narrative; index of refraction--see
the chapter and text notes; problems with being invisible)
15  TIM

IM, Dr. Kemp, Colonel Adye (Chpts 17-18, 24-28)
**violence (see intro)
**scientific method (Wicksteed murder)
**game playing--refs in the novella

Thomas Marvel (Chpts 9-16, Epilogue)

17  TIM

Each table will present topic assigned Tues (bring movie notes)

Quiz 2 ("The Rocking-Horse Winner," "American Dreams," TIM--entire novella is in play)
22 Bring both books: TIM & eFictions


**Thomas Marvel, game playing, role of humor
**Final Thoughts

"The Cask of Amontillado"--Not on the midterm
(Course Notes)

Review for midterm as time allows:
**"The Lesson" (See Course Notes--Great Migration link, bottom of page)
24 Midterm (No early exams, please)
29 Bring eFictions and the handout

Finish "The Cask of Amontillado" (Course Notes) + Par 75 to the story's conclusion

"Silver Blaze" (Handout)
**Film Clip:  BBC Sherlock, "A Study in Pink"
31 Finish "Silver Blaze"
**denouement--pp 299-301
**Watson as narrator/relationship of Holmes and Watson
**crime: murder//gambling (horse racing)--greed

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Also available on Course Notes page)
**Bring your laptop or tablet to class

In-class group assign (5pts)
05 Finish "Benjamin Button" (Bring laptops/tablets)

In-class group card due


"The Open Boat"/Crane's newspaper account (Handout/Course Notes)
07 Finish "The Open Boat"/Crane's newspaper account (Handout/Course Notes)
**Passage we ended Tues's class with: indifference of nature
**Discuss the four characters
**Objective point of view (narration)--See glossary at back of eFictions
**Structural/Organizational differences between news account and short story??

"To Build a Fire"

12 Finish "To Build a Fire" (eFictions)
Think about the good questions we formulated in class.  Go to the story:
**First three opening paragraphs
**Pars 6, 13, 16, 32, 41 (final par)

"Big Two-Hearted River" (Handout)

Final Thoughts: The Extraordinary and Fantastic & Nature
(See Course Notes--Course Themes)

14 Finish "To Build a Fire & "Big Two-Hearted River: Final Thoughts  (Nature theme)

Terror and Violence

"Entropy" (Course Notes)

In-class card (5pts)
19 Finish "Entropy" (Course Notes)

In-class card due

"In the Penal Colony" (Course Notes)
21 Continue "In the Penal Colony" (Course Notes)

"The Destructors"

Quiz 3: "Sliver Blaze," "The Open Boat," "Big Two-Hearted River"
26 Finish "In the Penal Colony" (Course Notes)
**Review previous ideas--pp 570-71//opening par, pp 567-8
**Explorer, p 575/Officer, pp 573-4, 576
**p 584--conclusion (Explorer/Old Commandant)

"The Guest" 
**Look up "existentialism"
28 Thanksgiving Break
03 Video on the Armenian Genocide
Bkgrd for "Uncle Baghdasar"  (Course Notes--under "Outside Links")
05"Uncle Baghdasar" (Handout; Course Notes--under "Outside Links")

Set up for group presentations: "56-0"
Have notes for the story: at least one page

Quiz 4: "IPC"; "TD"; "TG"

10 "56-0" (Handout)

Group Presentations (10-11mins) about the story (10pts)
(No makeups)

12 Bring eFictions, story handouts, and TIM

Final Thoughts: "56-0"

Final Thoughts: Violence & Terror theme

Review for the final exam as time allows
**"The Lesson"
**"The Guest"
**"Uncle Baghdasar"

Semester Review Card (10pts): Due Tues, Dec 17, by 4pm, in the bin on my office door.

Course Wrap Up/Course Assessment

Final Exam Week: Dec 16-20
Final Exam: TH, Dec 19, 10:15-12:15am, in our usual classroom (No early exams, please)
Office Hrs during Finals Week: See Home Page
Course Grades Posted: Jan 2, 2020

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 45%
** Will be determined by point values (Approx Grades): 5pt Assignments: A=5-4.5; B=4; C=3.5; D=3; F=2.5-0//10pt Assignments: A=10-9; B=8.5-8; C=7.5-7; D=6.5-6; 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 if we meet three times a week, four class meetings if we meet twice 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.