R230X Phone: (425) 564-3084 (Also available by appointment)
Required Materials: The Story and Its Writer, (Compact Sixth Edition) Ann Charters
Jennifer Governemnt, Max Barry
Storytelling represents a way of making sense of experience while trying to reveal to the reader (and, many will argue, the writer as well) the significance of some aspect of existence. As with science and religion, storytelling, at its best, seeks to articulate a type of “truth.” This course will introduce you to means by which you can look at and analyze various types of fiction and determine what truth the author of each might be trying to convey, the relationship of that story to your world, and finally, what, if any, value it (and ultimately all fiction) holds for you.
This course will be an introduction to the careful and critical reading of fiction. As we learn how to read fiction (and determine the characteristics that distinguish it from other types of writing), we will also learn how to offer thoughtful responses, in a variety of contexts, to the stories we have read.
This work will be conducted in an informal, workshop atmosphere. We will work in both small groups and as a whole class, using discussion, group presentations and various peer response strategies to become careful, critical readers of fiction. By quarter’s end, you will have a more intimate understanding of what fiction is made of and what it’s good for.
It can’t simply be learned;
It must be participated in. –Barry Lopez
As many of you pursue an education to better prepare yourselves for a successful professional life, think of this class as rehearsal for meeting professional responsibilities. As your “supervisor,” I expect you to be engaged and committed to your work, courteous and helpful to those you work with, and regular and prompt in your attendance.
This is not a “Warm Body” class – one of those classes for which you simply show up, take the occasional note and leave. Expect to be challenged, expect to contribute regularly, expect to labor hard to develop your understanding of the material. As with most courses, we’ll be trying to do too much in too little time, so we’ll need to divide the workload equally, every student responsible for more than simply his or her own success or failure. You will spend a majority of your class time doing “hands-on” activities and group work, both seeking and giving assistance. If you, for whatever reason, aren’t prepared or able to be an active, responsible member of this learning community, then another class may more suit your needs. What follows are our course policies.
As in the professional world, all assignments are due in class on the specified date.
Seminar Papers are due IN CLASS on the days assigned. I will accept seminar papers only on those days and only if you’re in class. Please do not ask me to review and grade seminar paper that doesn’t meet the above conditions.
Your Formal Paper is due no later than (see calendar for due date).
Any exception to the above must be negotiated with me well before due date. All work that misses assignment deadlines will receive no credit.
Our class begins at . Because, quite often, the first five or ten minutes of class are crucial to work that follows; and because groups need your prompt attendance to function properly, let’s begin class on time with all members present. You’re late if you walk into class more than 5 minutes after its scheduled starting time. Walk into class late 5 times, and you’ll receive no credit for the course. I’m certain, however, that out of respect for your peers, you will do all in your power to see that we make the most out of our daily meetings.
Students who miss fifty minutes or more of a single class meeting receive an absence.
Miss the first week of class: no credit for course.
Students with fewer than 5 absences receive a bonus on their final participation grade.
TEN ABSENCES (OR FIVE FULL CLASS MEETINGS), NO CREDIT.
Those who feel they have exceptional circumstances that prevent prompt, regular attendance should speak to me in person BEFORE those circumstances interfere with your work in this class.
Participation/Preparedness - 50%
Seminar Papers: 20%
Contributions to discussions: 15%
Mid-term (take home) - 25%
Final (in-class) essays - 25%
Those of you who miss few or no classes, display obvious commitment to our work and who regularly offer outstanding and original insights that consistently advance/deepen our understanding and appreciation of the reading will receive an “A.” Those of you who meet the above criterion on a less regular basis and display a sincere commitment to our work (as reflected in your class participation) may earn a “B,” (above average but not exceptional work). “C” work represents a satisfactory understanding of the material with few original or notable contributions to our work. Also, please remember that it’s not uncommon to see the most intense, sincere and exhaustive effort producing satisfactory but average work. I suggest that forget the grade; rather, cultivate your understanding of the material, take some risks, be original, enjoy yourself.
Preparedness/Participation: This is primarily a discussion class. Your goal is to offer other members in the class insights that lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the stories under consideration. With few exceptions, this period will consist of you voicing your thoughts on the material at hand. Therefore, the quality of this class depends upon how prepared you are and the degree to which you participate. 50% of your overall grade depends on it. An important element of your participation grade will be seminars papers. Students who attend class on time and turn in all Seminar papers and actively contribute to class discussions will receive full credit in this area. Those who miss fewer than five classes will receive EXTRA CREDIT. Students who occasionally show up, turn in few seminar papers and offer nothing of significance to this class, have little chance of receiving any credit in this area, and, in turn, little chance of passing the course. Any student who fails to turn in five seminar papers can expect NO CREDIT for this course.
Please keep in mind that you are responsible for material that you may have missed due to an absence.
Mid-term and Final (50% of Final Grade): Details to be outlined in class.
Should you use another's words
or ideas and represent them as your own, you are plagiarizing. Should you get
help with your writing to such a degree that it, in any part, is no longer your
own; then, too, are you plagiarizing. Plagiarism is grounds for failing the
course, and possibly for dismissal from school. Also be advised that
If you require accommodation based on a documented
disability, have emergency medical information to share, or need special
arrangements in case of an emergency evacuation,
please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. If you like to inquire
about becoming a DSS student you may call 564-2498 or go in person to the DSS
(Disability Support Services) reception area in the
A FINAL NOTE: There are no formulas for understanding stories, no facts to memorize. While some things may seem closer to truth than others, no one, especially me, is the keeper of correct answers. I invite spirited discussion about the stories we read. Quite often this comes through the questioning the claims and analysis of others, and through active support of your own positions. I encourage everyone to take some chances, say some potentially ridiculous things. There are no bad or wasted ideas. True growth comes from risk and discovery, from making mistakes.
Your responsibilities are outlined above. My responsibilities are to guide and evaluate your work. Outside of the classroom, my schedule permitting, I’ll assist you in any way I can. If you’re having difficulty, speak to me about it, and I’ll see what I can do to help. If something suddenly interferes (or threatens to interfere) in some substantial way with your responsibilities to this class, let me know as soon as you can. It will make a difference. If you show me that you’re concerned with meeting your commitments and doing good work in this class, I’ll do what I can to help you around the obstacles. Communication is the key here. Keep me informed of your circumstances, and you should do fine. Talk to me after things fall apart, and there will be little more that I can offer than my sympathy.