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Reading Fiction 106-2 MW 3:30-4:45
Fall 2021
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This is a "real time" syllabus that will be regularly updated to reflect our progress throughout the semester. You can easily check it from a mobile device or from any computer.

The syllabus consists of the Reading Schedule and Course Policies. You are responsible for understanding and following the reading schedule and the course policies, which are in effect from the first day of class. Please read them carefully (and review them throughout the semester). Please 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 to fit our needs as the semester progresses. Not all assignments and 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 period, 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:  The Individual and Society, The Extraordinary and Fantastic, Nature, and Terror and Violence.

Our main vehicle this semester for course content will be the Course Website, but it is linked to Canvas, which we will use for some things, such as discussion posts or for accessing video. We will not use the Canvas Gradebook; instead, the Grade Sheet on our Course Notes page (on the course website) will help you track assignments and grades.

All readings are from Fiction 100 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 (Course Website) will be noted on the syllabus, e.g., "A Rose for Emily" (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 September 13. Please bring the required books for each class meeting and be sure to use the Course Notes pages to prepare for class and to study outside of class.  TIM should be completely finished by our first day of discussion.

06 Labor Day

08 Course Introduction
Review Course Website (Syllabus, Course Notes)/Canvas site

13 Reading and Interpreting Literature
Intro: Plot & Characterization
**You might bring Fiction 100 for the short story handbook

"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
15 Reading and Interpreting Literature
Intro: Point of View, Theme
**You might bring Fiction 100 for the short story handbook

"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
20  "The Most Dangerous Game - Themes/Final Thoughts

The Individual & Society

"A Rose for Emily" (Course Notes)
22 Finish "A Rose for Emily"
**Miss Emily as an individual vs "fallen monument"
**study question #6

"This Is What It Means to Say Phoeniz, Arizona"

Grp Work in Class--Card Due (Theme)

27 "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa"

29  "The Lesson"

[Course Notes--under "Outside Links": 1.) Great Migration link, bottom of page and 2.) article on Fourteen Mile Wall in Detroit]

Quiz 1: "MFG" (Plot (Setting), Characterization, Pt of View, Theme), "A Rose for Emily," "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa"
04 "Saboteur"

06 "Two Questions"

The Individual & Society - Final Thoughts

11 The Extraordinary & Fantastic

TIM (Study questions--Course Notes)

**Brief lecture - the short story as a genre
**Publication method/history
**Introduction/Bkgrd (We will reference the critical introduction to the Penguin edition, which you should read.)

Watch movie The Invisible Man (1933)--available on Canvas.  Watch by 10/24.  Use movie/novella comparison chart (handout)

13  TIM

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

Invisibility Experiment in Class!!

Griffin's narrative; index of refraction--see
chapter 19 and textual notes. (Chpts 19-23)

Quiz 2
18 TIM

**Griffin: characterization/drawbacks to invisibility (Chpts 19-23)
**Scientific Method; Wickstead murder (Chpts 1-4; 26)
**Literature and Science (Science Fiction)

Review for midterm (see study guide) as time allows: Bring TIM & eFictions

20 Midterm (No early exams, please)
25 TIM

**Griffin's background (hereditary class system)
**Thomas Marvel (Chpts 9-16, Epilogue), Kemp (Chpts 15-18, 24-28)
**Discuss excerpt from Plato's Republic (handout)

Discuss movie adaptation TIM/comparisons to the novella.  Bring movie/novella notes - comparison chart (handout)

27 TIM

**Game playing references in the novel
**Colonel Adye (Chpts 24-28)

Discuss movie adaptation TIM/comparisons to the novella.  Bring movie/novella notes - comparison chart (handout)

Loose Ends/Final Thoughts

01 "The Cask of Amontillado" (Course Notes)

03 "The Signal-Man"

08 "The Speckled Band"

**Consider text and illustrations
**Clip from BBC's Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) in class

The Extraordinary & Fantastic - Final Thoughts
10 Nature

"The Big Two-Hearted River" (Handout)

**Context: In Our Time/Nick Adams/landscape
**Writing Style

15"To Build a Fire"

17 "Them Old Cowboy Songs"

Nature - Final Thoughts
22 Terror & Violence

"Uncle Baghdasar" (Handout; Course Notes--under "Outside Links")

Historical Bkgrd/Discuss story

Video on the Armenian Genocide--access on Canvas
Watch video before class--take notes for class discussion

24 Thanksgiving Break
29 "Uncle Baghdasar"

01DECEMBER - Look Below
29 NOVEMBER - Look Above
01 "The Man Who Was Almost a Man"

06 "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"

08 Course Wrap up

Semester Review Card (10pts): Due Dec 13.  See below


Final Exam Week: May 13-17
Office Hrs during Finals Week: See Home Page

Semester Review Card Due: Mon, Dec 13, 2-5pm, drop off at my office--bin on my office door

Final Exam: Dec 16, TH, 12:30-2:30, in our usual classroom. No early exams, please

Course Grades Available on AccessPoint: TBA

Face Covering Policy

Because of the rise coronavirus cases, at all UW-Stevens Point campus locations the wearing of face coverings is mandatory in all buildings, including classrooms, laboratories, studios, and other instructional spaces. Any student with a condition that impacts his or her use of a face covering must contact the Disability and Assistive Technology Center to discuss accommodations in classes.  Any exemptions from the mask policy must be granted by the DATC.  This is university policy and not up to the discretion of individual instructors. Failure to adhere to this requirement could result in formal withdrawal from the course.  The UWSP website has information pertaining to the mandatory mask policy and Covid-19.

Note: There are no online or Zoom options of any kind for this course.  See the attendance policy for information about class absences.

Learning Outcomes and Course Description/Objectives

The General Education Program Learning Outcomes for Humanities (Human Cultures and Sciences Level) are as follows:
  • Read closely, think critically, and write effectively about texts or cultural artifacts that reflect on perennial questions concerning the human condition (such as the search for truth and meaning, the confrontation with suffering and mortality, or the struggle for justice, equality, and human dignity.
  • Investigate and thoughtfully respond to a variety of ideas, beliefs or values held by persons in situations other than one's own.
Course Description and Goals

In this course we will read and discuss short fiction, focusing on fundamentals such as plot, characterization, point of view, and theme.  Concentrating on four main course 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 (including those different from ourselves) 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 also 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
  • Comprehend the historical and social contexts related to the literature studied
  • Understand literature as an imaginative expression of the human condition 

Text Rental

Pickering, James H. Fiction 100: An Anthology of Short Fiction. 13th ed.  Pearson, 2012.

Purchase at Bookstore (or from another vendor)

Wells, H. G. The Invisible Man. Penguin Books, 2005. (ISBN: 9780141439983)  Warning: If you choose not to use this Penguin edition, you will have trouble following our class discussions and noting page references. You will also not have textual notes and the critical introduction.


During class discussions we will focus on key issues, difficult passages, and questions you raise.  However, we cannot cover every line of 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** 25%
Midterm 35%
Final 40%
** Will be determined by point values (Approx Grades): 5pt Assignments: A/A-=5-4.5; B- =4; C- =3.5; D- =3; F=2.5-0
10pt Assignments
: A/A- =10-9; B/B- =8.5-8; C/C- =7.5-7; D/D- =6.5-6; F=5-0

Late Assignment Policy: Assignments due on a given day must be submitted at the beginning of the class period. An assignment that is finished but not printed out and ready to hand in is late. Late assignments will be accepted one day after the original due date (not the next class meeting), but will lose one letter grade or a minimum of one full point. After that, they will not be accepted. (Assignments due on Friday that are late must be turned in by 5pm.  They will not be accepted on Monday.) Assignments due electronically must be received by the day and time specified. Late email assignments will be accepted 24hrs from the original due date. For any special circumstances, please contact me ahead of time. No incompletes will given in the course.

Essays submitted late will lose 1/3 of a letter grade each day they are late, including weekends (e.g., original grade B. Two days late, C+). For any special circumstances, please contact me ahead of time. It may not be possible to make up some quizzes or assignments.


Regular attendance is your responsibility and is essential for success in the course. As stated in the online UWSP Course Catalog (UWSP Course Catalog pgs 25-26), you cannot "cut" classes.

There are no excused or unexcused absences.  The only relevant factor is your number of absences.  You have personal days to use and manage as needed: For three-days-a-week classes: 5.  For two-days-a-week classes: 3.

If you miss a total of two weeks of class (six class meetings for classes meeting three times a week; four class meetings for classes meeting twice a week), you may fail the course.  However, if you have to quarrantine, are a member of a university sporting team, or have an extraordinary situation, then we will adjust your absence limit.  The attendance policy begins with the second class meeting. 

It may be possible to make up missed assignments/quizzes with my approval; therefore, it is your responsibility to contact me to determine work that needs to be completed and to follow up with all logistical requirements.  However, it may not be possible to make up some assignments or quizzes.

If you are absent and have not exceeded your absence limit, you do not need to email me to explain your absence. If you would like to find out about missed information or assignments, it is best to stop by during office hours or make an appointment to see me. You can also email me, but I may not be able to respond before our next class meeting. However, you should email about an absence ahead of the due date if an assignment is due.

For an extended absence, do the following:  Follow the syllabus and keep up with readings/assignments; Stay in contact with me for information/resources/help; Look into getting notes from classmates (I can help with this); See me during office hours when you return to class.

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, please 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.