course we will examine works of fiction—short story and novel—specifically in
an effort to discover how they operate.
We consider why authors choose the genre and structural forms that they
do. Most important, we will look to
narrative strategies as a way of recognizing how writers develop
character and plot and how they incorporate ethical positions and
thematic ideas into their works. We will
investigate how the fiction reflects, promotes, or refutes cultural and
political values of its time. We also explore ways in which the text interacts
with the contemporary reader; in other words, we consider how the fiction
elicits a response that prompts the reader to create new meanings for the
text. Readings include Daniel Defoe’s
MOLL FLANDERS, F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE GREAT GATSBY, Tim O’Brien’s THE THINGS
THEY CARRIED , Alice Walker’s THE COLOR PURPLE,Maxine Hong Kingston’s WOMAN WARRIOR, Ian McEwan’s ATONEMENT, and
Mark Haddon’s THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.
focus is on ideas of fiction as genre, rather than varied interpretations of
individual works, there will be no papers assigned for this course. Instead there will be a series of three-part
exams. The first two parts will be
IDENTIFICATION, which primarily involves the students responding in paragraph
form to selected passages from the reading, and the third will be ESSAY where
students will bring in works of their own choosing from the material studied in
response to a comprehensive question about the period.