English 365/DL/MWF

Instructor: Dr. Ruth Hsu

Contact Dr. Ruth Hsu ( for additional information. 

Description, goals, organization:

This class delves into the most common characteristics of “fiction” and the tools used to create these texts by primarily focusing on short stories, a novella, and two novels. We will then undertake an overview of the ways that fiction in the western canon has evolved by reading brief excerpts from narratives that scholars have pointed to as precursors of the modern novel. From there, we will explore characteristics of fiction that can be found in the following forms of narrative: film, memoir, social media platforms, among others. A few of the questions to keep in mind throughout this class: who composes fiction? Is fiction a literary and cultural textual genre or a frame of mind?

This class will consist primarily of small-group discussions on the reading assignments and not lectures. Please thoroughly read assigned readings (including films) before attending class.

Short stories: Chekov, “The Lady with the Toy Dog,” Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths,” Helen Oyeyemi, “Sorry Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea.” 

Novel: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby;

Graphic Novel: Bechdel, Fun Home

Theory: H. Porter Abbott, The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative

Film: Tykwer, Run Lola Run

Social Media Platforms: TBA

Writing Assignments include: short bi-weekly response papers; one 5-10 minute class presentation; comprehensive multiple-choice and short answers final exam