Monday, September 28, 2009

Notes on fiction unit test

The test will cover the following material:
  1. Lectures on Western literary canon
  2. Lectures & textbook assignments on character, irony, plot, point of view setting, symbol, theme, tone & style
  3. All stories we’ve read from all the various angles we’ve discussed (character, irony, plot, etc.)
  4. Head notes for all stories
  5. One five-point extra-credit question on “The Rich Brother” (87)
The test will be a mixture of multiple-choice, true-false, matching, fill-in-the-blank, and essay questions. Eighty percent of the test will be objective questions; two essay questions, graded holistically, will count 10 points each.

Vocabulary: banal, boisterous, decorous, dulcet, languor, puritanical, reprimand

And here, as a bonus, is a copy of my own (unedited) notes that I'll be using to compile the objective portion of the test:

“The Appointment in Samarra”
“The North Wind and the Sun”
“The Camel and His Friends”
“Godfather Death”
“A Rose for Emily”
“The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”
“Miss Brill”
“Greasy Lake”
“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”
“Barn Burning”
“The Gift of the Magi”
“Dead Men’s Path”
“The Parable of the Prodigal Son”
“Harrison Bergeron”
“The Lottery”
“The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
“The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”
“Young Goodman Brown”
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

Differences in fable, parable, tale, legend, myth

Character: epiphany, stock character, flat & round, static or dynamic
Irony: Verbal, dramatic, cosmic
Plot: protagonist, antagonist, conflict, foreshadowing, climax, flashback, coming-of-age or story of initiation
Point of View: all-knowing or omniscient, limited omniscient, reliable or unreliable narrator
Setting: Setting as metaphor or symbol
Symbol: symbol & allegory, symbolic act
Theme: nihilism, "moral of the story"
Tone & Style: be able to compare & describe differences in different stories

Western canon: two main streams of influences; examples of works from each; didactic & belletristic stories, lessons from each stream, early relationships of religion & art

Please don't assume that if you don't see a term written here, then you definitely won't see it on the test. Remember: anything we've read or discussed is fair game. But if you are thoroughly familiar with the works and words listed here, you should do well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Formatting your paper

You can find guidance on formatting your paper at the following sources:
  • syllabus,
  • LAI, pp. 1410-11,
  • Little, Brown Handbook.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Finding reliable critical resources online

This list is adapted from Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, p. 1474.

This site is often a good starting point. Wikipedia may be helpful for understanding a particular work of literature and for finding other reference sites. Bear in mind, however, that because literally anyone can edit Wikipedia, it is generally not a reliable source for referencing in your own paper.

Library of Congress’s literary criticism list
This collection of web links has been pre-screened by the Library of Congress.

Internet Public Library
This site is provided by the University of Michigan.

Voice of the Shuttle
You can find lots of good stuff here.

Library Spot
This site is a portal to thousands of libraries around the world.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Writing topics for essay due Thursday, 9/24/09

Choose one of the topics below for a 500 to 700-word essay.
  1. What social or political trends, grown to fruition in "Harrison Bergeron," have already begun to grow in American society today?
  2. Show how Sammy reveals both his maturity and immaturity in "A&P." Which one predominates at the story's conclusion?
  3. Compare and contrast how the authors use both foreshadowing and surprise in "The Lottery" and "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas."
  4. In what ways are both "The Lottery" and "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" true precisely because of their fanciful elements?
  5. In what ways can Americans in twenty-first century Warren County benefit from themes developed in "Dead Men's Path"?
  6. Compare and contrast writing styles used by Hemingway and Faulkner in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and "Barn Burning." What are the strengths and limitations of each approach?
  7. Discuss the symbolism in the names of three or more characters in short stories we have read. How does each name add richness to the story without drawing undue attention to itself?
  8. Discuss symbolism and irony in the characters of "Greasy Lake."
  9. What life lessons do both "Miss Brill" and "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" suggest to the reader?
  10. In what ways is Miss Emily a symbol for the Old South?
  11. Discuss symbolism and its significance in the closing paragraphs of "Barn Burning."
  12. Although today O. Henry is not widely regarded as a world-class "literary" author, make a case for his writing being on par or superior to that of Faulkner or Hemingway.
  13. Compare and contrast the role of denial in "A Rose for Emily" and "Barn Burning."
  14. Choose a story we have studied this semester and show how it effectively uses foreshadowing.
You may also choose one of the following options from your textbook for the topic of a 500 to 700-word essay.
  • Page 22: Writing Assignment on Plot or item no. 2
  • Page 73: no. 4
  • Page 83: no. 10
  • Page 142: Writing Assignment on Setting
  • Page 143: no. 1
  • Page 178: Writing Assignment on Tone and Style
  • Page 179: no. 2
  • Page 205: Writing Assignment on Theme, no. 1, or no. 3
  • Page 233: Writing Assignment on Symbols
Please choose a topic and write a tentative topic sentence before you come to class on Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vocabulary words for Thursday, 9/17/09

Please make sure you have a good understanding of these words before reading Thursday's assignments:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Assignments for Tuesday, 9/15/09

1. Read pp. 144-69 in the textbook.
2. Write one or more one-sentence summaries of a theme in each of these short stories:
"A Rose for Emily"
"Greasy Lake"
"The Jilting of Granny Weatherall"
"Miss Brill"
Parable of the prodigal son
"Harrison Bergeron"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Comments simplified

Starting this afternoon it's easier to comment on this blog. If you've had trouble leaving a comment in the past, it should be easier now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Influence of Judeo-Christian Bible on Western literature

As we discussed Tuesday, the Bible has had a profound influence on Western culture. At a purely superficial level, for example, here is a set of famous or well-known sayings from the Bible. Please do follow the link for your own information and edification, but don't worry about being tested over any of these sayings.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

About your instructor

I'm honored to be your teacher this semester. In case you're interested, you can find out more about me here:

Curriculum vitae
Short essays
Full list of publications
Shorter list of publications

Once again, I look forward to working with you this semester to help you grow in understanding and enjoyment of literature.



Instructor: Milton Stanley, M.F.A.W., M.Div.
Office hours: TR 8:30-9:20, TR 1:00-1:50, and by appointment

Required Materials
* Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, Fifth Edition
* The Little, Brown Handbook, Eleventh Edition
* College dictionary
* Notebook for free writing, written responses, and quizzes

Course Description
In this course students will read and be tested over works of fiction, poetry, and drama. Each student will also do a variety of creative and critical writing assignments. For a comprehensive list of course goals and objectives, see the ENGL 2030 Weblog.

Class Requirements
• Do all assigned readings in time for quizzes and class discussions.
• Always come to class ready to write about and discuss readings.
• Participate in class discussions.
• Complete and turn in all writing assignments on time.
• Turn in both printed and electronic copies of out-of-class essays (please talk to me if you do not have access to word processing and printing services).

Grades in this course will be assigned according to the following scale:
* A = 90-100
* B = 80-89
* C = 70-79
* D = 60-69
* F = 0-59
Remember that, according to academic convention, a C is an average grade. The grade of B indicates above-average work, and an A is given only for outstanding performance. I want you to make the best grade you honestly can. I’m willing to work individually with you through the semester to help you improve your grade. I urge you also to take advantage of a wide range of services offered by Motlow State. Late-term begging, however, is a very bad idea.

Your final grade will be determined according to the following formula:
* Unit tests (3) 30%
* Analytical papers (3) 30%
* Daily quizzes & writing 10%
* Class participation 10%
* Final examination 20%

Writing Format
For out-of-class papers, use a 12-point standard font. Double space your essays on plain white paper with one-inch margins. See The Little, Brown Handbook for manuscript guidelines. Please follow MLA format.

Major Error Policy
If you’re in this class, then you have already completed ENGL 1010 and 1020 or their equivalents. You’re expected, therefore, to be able to write a solid essay without any of the following errors:
* Fused sentence (FS)
* Dangling modifier (DM)
* Comma splice (CS)
* Lack of agreement between subject and verb (SVA)
* Sentence fragment (Frag)
Each instance of one of these errors in an essay will result in a one-half letter grade penalty.

Attendance Policy
You are expected to attend classes regularly, and attendance is sometimes critical for adding to class discussions. Please remember that quizzes and in-class writing assignments will be given almost every day and cannot be made up.

Classroom Deportment
Please keep in mind we’re all adults here. Texting, web browsing, making or taking cell phone calls during class is simply rude and shows disrespect to your teacher, your fellow students, and yourself.

Plagiarism is copying someone else's work without giving proper credit to the author. It's cheating and can cause you to fail the course if you're caught. Even inadvertent plagiarism, such as failing to cite a source, is a serious academic offense. Make sure you avoid plagiarism with everything you write. If you're not sure what plagiarism is or how to avoid it, review your Little, Brown Handbook. Use other resources as well, such as the Writing Center and the Turnitin online service. I am available to help you in person or by e-mail, provided you come to me before turning in your paper.

Assignments, helpful information, and special notices will be posted each day on the course weblog: http://mscc engl Be sure to check the site frequently for important information about the course. Please see me if regular Internet access is a problem for you.

Writing Centers and SmarThinking
You can get one-on-one help with your writing at one of the MSCC writing centers. The McMinnville Writing Center is located in MC 191. The center is open Mondays and Wednesdays noon-4:15 and Fridays 9-10 and 1-2. You also have the benefit of online tutorial help from the SmarThinking service at Please take advantage of both.

Other Information
I accept late work only in unusual circumstances. In no circumstance will I give make-ups for daily quizzes or in-class writing assignments. Late work will be lowered at least one letter grade. I do not accept very late work (e.g., wanting to make-up all three unit exams at the end of the semester).

In most cases, in-class writing will be graded pass/fail. For the in-class average, every passing essay will be averaged as a grade of 100 and every failing essay as a 50. A missed assignment is averaged as a 0. That said, the vicissitudes of life are sometimes outside our control, so I'll cut you some slack. I will drop your three lowest quiz grades and your three lowest in-class writing grades. For rewrites, I will accept only papers that have already been graded and returned.

Please see me if you need special accommodations in keeping with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

You’ve paid money for this course, and I want you to get what you’ve paid for. Should the McMinnville campus be closed due to a Swine Flu or other pandemic, we will, if possible, soldier on using the course weblog and other online resources.

This syllabus hits only the high points and cannot include everything you need to know during the semester. Stay tuned for more.

A Final Note
Don't let all these dos and don'ts get you down. I want you to do as well as you can in this course, and I'll do my best to help you. But remember that you're the one in charge of your education, so take the initiative in doing the work, asking questions, and seeking help when you need it. I hope you enjoy the richness of literature we read and study this semester.