Thursday, December 9, 2010

Readings this semester

According to my notes, here are the pages we read this semester from Literature: an Introduction.

6-20, 23-36
75-87, 102
105-08, 114-21
138-62, 170-71
189-91, 208-19
"Secret City" (handout)


Death of a Salesman
"Tragedy and the Common Man"
Headnote on Arthur Miller

Monday, November 1, 2010

No class this Tuesday, either

Well, scholars, I have a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning in Tullahoma, so we're going to miss our Tuesday class yet again. I apologize for the late notice. Once again, we'll simply do Tuesday's work on Thursday and move up our schedule accordingly. That means, for example, that your poetry unit exam is now scheduled for next Thursday, November 11. I regret that my health hassles are cutting into our class time, but we should have enough margin built into the schedule to cover all the work this semester. I hope you make good use of your time off, and I hope to see you again Thursday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

No class Tuesday

I'm feeling pretty ill this evening, and the way this sickness has been building, I won't be coming to class on Tuesday. I suppose it's possible that I'll wake up well and re-energized, so it might not hurt to check this page first thing Tuesday morning. But unless you hear otherwise from me, Tuesday's class is canceled. One thing I've learned this semester is not to come to work when I'm too sick to do my job.

In short, my sickness is your respite. We'll simply do Tuesday's class on Thursday. I hope to see you then.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Paper topics ("Secret City")

Choose either one of the topics from the critical essay list for a 500-word essay or one of the topics from the creative work list for at least a three-page work of fiction.

Critical Essay Topics
1. Explore the role of the shovel in "Secret City." Be sure to take into account symbolism and foreshadowing.
2. Compare and contrast Sherb McKinney and Abner Snopes. Be sure to examine their attitudes toward their sons and how they were shaped by their war experiences.
3. Assuming that "Secret City" is the opening chapter of a novel, explore how Sherb McKinney already has the markings of a tragic character. Make sure to base your essay on the literary definition of tragedy (not the same as the common, everyday usage). Include in your essay an explanation of what a tragic character is in fiction.
4. What is one or more main theme of "Secret City"? What life lessons does the story suggest for a present-day reader?

Creative Paper Topics
1. Assuming "Secret City" is the first chapter of a novel, write the next chapter.
2. Assuming "Secret City" is the first chapter of a novel, write the final chapter.

Your papers are due at the beginning of class on Thursday, October 14, 2010. Be sure to send me an electronic copy of your paper by email.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This weblog is for Motlow State Community College students in Milton Stanley's ENGL 2030 class, meeting in McMinnville. Be sure to check back here daily for important course information. Please keep in touch, and may your work this semester be fruitful, rewarding, and enriching.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Last call for electronic copies

I still don't have all three electronic essay copies from four class members. I hope you don't let your work go to waste. Remember: without an electronic copy, I won't give you credit for the essay (even if I marked a grade on the hardcopy).

Notes on rewrites

Just so we're clear, here are the rules for rewrites:

1. Turn in your original, graded copy with your new version.
2. I won't grade a rewrite without an electronic copy of the original essay.
3. I don't need an electronic copy of the revised essay.
4. I will not accept any rewrites after the final is over.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No class today

I encourage you to be doing all the things you need to do to finish up the semester, such as finishing your DoaS essays, working on your rewrites, and reviewing for the final exam.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writing topics--Death of a Salesman

Choose one of the topics below for a 500-word essay. I encourage you to use secondary sources, and if you do, then be extremely careful and diligent in making sure you don't plagiarize. If you cite sources, be sure to follow MLA format. Papers are due at the beginning of class Thursday, April 29, 2010. As always, you'll need to send me an electronic copy of your paper.

1. There is a “kid” motif in DoaS. Many characters call each other “kid” or “boy”: Howard to Willy, Bernard to Willy, Willy to Bernard, Charley to Bernard, Charley to Willy, Linda to Biff, Biff and Happy to each other, etc. Assuming this usage is more than simply 1940s slang, what significance might it have for the play? Find specific examples and evaluate them for possible significance.

2. In what ways is Ben like a god to Willy? Be specific and use particular examples to support your position.

3. Is consumerism and the “American Dream” taking the place of a father for Willy? Why or why not? Give specific examples to support your position.

4. Support or defend this statement: The problem with the Lomans is that there really is no man in the house (I’ll give you a hint: It’s probably much more interesting to support).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reading assignment for Tuesday, 4/13/10

"Tragedy and the Common Man," LAI, pp. 1281-83

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poetry essay topics, due April 6, 2010

Choose one of the topics below for an 800-word essay, due at the beginning of class Tuesday, April 6, 2010. You're not required to use secondary sources, but they should help you with your paper if you consult them before you begin writing. And, if you want to earn an A for your paper, you will need at least three secondary sources.

  • Demonstrate how the duke's character is progressively revealed in "My Last Duchess" and evaluate how the speaker's voice is different from the poet's.
  • Compare and contrast tone and theme in Whitman's "To a Locomotive in Winter" and Dickinson's "I like to see it lap the miles."
  • Compare and contrast Saenz's "To the Desert" and Donne's "Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you."
  • Paraphrase Kees's "For My Daughter," describe the poem's tone and major theme, and write a personal response to the poem.
  • Explore and evaluate symbolism and double-meanings in "White Lies." Explain how double-meaning is central to the poem's theme.
  • Develop a plausible interpretation of "Luke Havergal." Would you advise Luke to follow the speaker's advice? Why or why not?
  • Analyze the meaning of "God's Grandeur." Based on the poet's life, in what ways might the poem reflect Hopkins's own views on God and creation?
  • Compare and contrast themes and tone in "My Father's Waltz" and "For My Daughter."
  • Make a case for why short poems such as "I Shoot the Hippopotamus," "On my boat on lake Cayuga," and "On the imprint of the first English edition of The Works of Max Beerbohm" are aesthetically superior to longer, more "serious" poems.
I encourage you to choose a topic and see what the library has available to help you with your essay. Stay optimistic, and see me if you need any assistance.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Assignments for Thursday, March 4, 2010

  • Read pp. 438-54 in the textbook
  • Answer question 1 on p. 444 and questions 1 & 2 on p. 455. Be prepared both to discuss your answers and to turn them in.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Call for electronic copies

Scholars, several of you have not yet sent me an electronic copy of your fiction unit essay. Don't let your work go to waste; remember that you must give me an electronic copy to receive a grade on your essay. If you haven't given me an electronic copy yet, you would do well to send me one now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Note on "Piano" paraphrases

We didn't go over your "Piano" paraphrases in class on Tuesday, so please have them ready to discuss and turn in on Thursday.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Assignments for Tuesday, February 23, 2010

  • Be ready to turn in answers to questions on p. 437
  • Write a 1-3 paragraph paraphrase of "Piano," p. 428
  • Read pp. 558-68
  • Be prepared for a quiz over all poems we've read so far

Unable to access email

Well, I'm still unable to access my email from the Motlow computers, but I'll see if I can't do better from my laptop.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Assignments for Thursday, February 18, 2010

  • Turn in fiction essay
  • Read pp. 419-37 in Literature: An Introduction
  • Answer items 1 & 3 on p. 437 in writing, but limit your answer to #3 to less than one page

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Notes on fiction unit test

The test will cover the following material:

Lectures on Western literary canon
Lectures & textbook assignments on character, irony, plot, point of view setting, symbol, theme, tone & style
All stories we’ve read from all the various angles we’ve discussed (character, irony, plot, etc.)
Head notes for all stories
All assigned vocabulary words
The test will be a mixture of multiple-choice, true-false, matching, and fill-in-the-blank questions.

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”
“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, February 10, 2010

Email offline

For some reason I haven't been able to access my Motlow email account this week.

Update: I'm up and running again, at least on my home computer.

Reading assignments for Thursday, 2/11/10

For quiz & discussion
  • “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” 377-89
  • “Young Goodman Brown” 341-51
  • “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the Word” 329-33
For helping you with your paper
  • Look over 1471-1501
  • Read over LBH 626-35

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Online resources for writing about literature

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 a reference in your own paper.

Library of Congress’s literary criticism list
These sites have been more or less pre-screened by the Library of Congress.

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

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

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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Other assignments for Tuesday, 2/2/10

  • Five to ten specific examples of how Faulkner uses desciptions that paint Abner Snopes in an inhuman light
  • Hemingway on writing (177-78)
  • Symbol (206-08)
  • "The Lottery" (216-22)
  • "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" (225-30)
  • Vocabulary words (see below)

Vocabulary words for quiz on Tuesday, 2/2/10


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vocabulary words for Thursday, January 28, 2010

For best results, familiarize yourself with the meanings of these words before reading "Barn Burning."


Update: An alert student pointed out that the third word on this list was originally misspelled. It stings my pride to see the mistake, but that student earned a blue star (and my thanks) for bringing the error to my attention.

Assignments for Thursday, January 28, 2010

1. Know the vocabulary words listed above well enough to recognize their meanings on a quiz. Again, it's best to familiarize yourself with these words before doing the reading assignment.
2. Read pp. 144-64 in LAI. Please pay particular attention to "Barn Burning."
3. In one sentence each, describe themes of "A&P," "A Rose for Emily," "Greasy Lake," "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," and "Miss Brill."

In case you're interested. . .

"Harrison Bergeron" has now been made into a movie.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vocabulary words for next time

Here are the words you'll be quizzed over this coming Tuesday:


Please familiarize yourself with these words before doing the reading assignments.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Tuesday & Thursday, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Instructor: Milton Stanley, M.F.A.W., M.Div.
Office hours: TR 9:20-12:20 and by appointment
Phone: 931.409.5436

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 (grade-killers)
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:
  • Comma splice (CS)
  • Dangling modifier (DM)
  • Sentence fragment (Frag)
  • Fused sentence (FS)
  • Lack of agreement between subject and verb (SVA)
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, and getting up to leave before class ends 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 a single instance of flagrant plagiarism will 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. 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. You’ll also be allowed to rewrite one of your unit essays for a new grade. 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 unforeseen circumstances, we will, if possible, soldier on using the course weblog and other online resources.

The final exam for this course will be given in accordance with the MSCC exam schedule.

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.

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 weblog is for Motlow State Community College students in Milton Stanley's ENGL 2030 class, meeting in McMinnville. Be sure to check back here daily for important course information. Please keep in touch, and may your work this semester be fruitful, rewarding, and enriching.