Myth, Folktale, and Legend
Instructor: Steve Yarborough
Office: R230 R
Phone: (425) 564-3095
Myth and Knowing, Leonard ISBN 076741957X
Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Wolkstein and Kramer ISBN 006014713X
The Raven Steals the Light, Reid and Bringhurst ISBN 0295975245
Gilgamesh, Ferry ISBN 0374523835
It is important that you get the correct versions of these texts as they each important introductions and end material. Yes, we will be reading almost every page of these texts.
By the end of the course, you should be able to:
· Write discussion papers and exam essays with some ease
· Discuss your ideas with your classmates and build upon their ideas
· Understand and use the terminology, assumptions, and critical concepts of myth studies
· Recognize and use the defining characteristics of myth, folktale, and legend
· Describe the relationship between myth and ritual
· Relate the characteristics of a myth to the world view of the culture from which it came
· Describe some of the functions of myth in our own modern culture
To receive credit for this course you must complete ALL assignments. There will be no exceptions to this.
Reading Journal (100 points: 10 points per week)
You will need to keep a written record of your thoughts while reading. This should be in a notebook of some sort. If you wish to write your reading notes on a computer, just print them out and stick them in a small 3-ring binder. I will collect and evaluate your journal every Friday. I expect to see to at least two (2) pages (single spaced) handwritten or one (1) page word processed (single spaced, 12-point font).
These notes should include the surface level of information that will be useful on the quizzes (the Reading Quizzes below). However, it should also include a deeper level of examination of the text. I will not be looking at how “correct” your writing is; rather, I
will be looking at depth of thought. Use this as an opportunity to have a dialogue with your texts. Try to answer some of the following questions:
What did I read?
What does it mean?
How does it relate to other things we have read?
How does it relate to our discussions?
Does the reading bring up interesting questions?
Are there any parallels to other myths?
Are there any parallels to our current culture?
Quizzes (100 points: 10 points each)
I’ll give ten short reading quizzes. These quizzes will cover only the myth itself, not the accompanying articles, lectures, and commentaries. Each quiz will consist of five questions about the literal level of the myth (what happened). There will be no trick questions. If you’ve done the reading then you should be able to pass the quiz.
For most people, the ideal reading strategy is to read the assignment quickly and jot down information (in your reading journal) about the plot and characters—who, what, where, when, and why. Mark parts of the story that seem especially significant or confusing. Go back to these later and read them and think about them with more care. The first step should get you past the quiz, and the second should provide you with substantial material for discussions.
Individual quizzes cannot be made up, but during the quarter, I'll give at least one extra optional quiz. You may substitute your grades on these quizzes for those of quizzes you missed or did poorly on.
Short Essays (100 points: 20 points each)
You will be writing five short essays. These will be one to pages and you will be able to choose your own topics. I expect that these topics will come directly from your reading journal or from class discussions. Each paper will need to have a single, narrow focus that addresses a significant aspect of the class material. As this is a 200-level course, I expect at least English 101 level writing.
Exams (150 points: 50 points for Midterm, 100 points for Final)
There will be a midterm and a final exam. The final exam will be comprehensive and will require you to relate readings/discussions from the first half of the quarter to the last half.
Daily Discussions/Participation (250 points: 20 per week, 50 group work)
This is a discussion oriented class and the participation of each student is required. Since I run this class as a seminar, almost every day will have a significant discussion component. Attendance will be checked at the beginning of class so that it will be easy to track who is participating.
Participating in class discussions is the best way to succeed in this course. Most of the class discussions will be based upon the daily reading so participating will reinforce your understanding as well as prepare you for the quizzes, papers, and tests. Talking about the topics with your classmates is also a great way to gain perspective on the underlying meaning of myths and how they affect our worldviews. Besides, it’s fun!
Reading Journal 100
Discussion Papers 100
Here's the grade scale I'll use:
Unless otherwise instructed, all assignments are to be typed or printed in black ink. Use a standard 12-point font (Courier, Times, or Ariel) with a one-inch margin at the top, bottom, and sides. In the upper left hand corner of the first page, please include:
Name of the assignment (Essay #1, etc.)
Assignments are due by noon on the due date. All late assignments will be reduced one full grade (the equivalent of ten percentage points) for each day late. Assignments submitted after the beginning of class on the due date may be turned into the Arts and Humanities office (R230). Be sure to include the date and time that you turned in the assignment
1. I expect respect. All discussions will be handled in a way that is not judgmental, degrading, or derogatory. Even though we may disagree with the interpretations of others, please use some self-restraint and compassion in dealing with these issues. Logical and questioning responses are encouraged. Choose your words and the tone of your response with utmost care. I also expect tolerance for others' abilities and learning styles.
2. I expect honesty. I expect that you will neither do work for others nor use work done by others. Cheating and/or plagiarizing will not be tolerated. Plagiarizing is cheating, as is copying answers on a test, glancing at nearby test papers, swapping papers, buying papers, using ideas from other sources without proper documentation, writing papers for others, or having them written for you. I spot check almost 100% of essays for signs of plagiarism. If you cheat or plagiarize, the following actions may be taken:
· A grade of "0" on the work.
· A failing grade for the course.
· A report of the incident filed in the Dean of Students' Office. This report may become part of your permanent record or the Dean may choose to pursue further disciplinary action.
3. I expect communication. It is the student's responsibility, not the instructor's, to initiate communication about progress or concerns with the course. Instructors are under no obligation to inform students that work is overdue, to nag students to complete assignments, to call students who fail to attend class. Similarly, students need to keep themselves informed about syllabus changes that may have been made in class. I suggest finding a partner the first week of classes and keeping each other up to date if one is absent.
4. I expect maturity. Essential to a liberal arts education is an open-minded tolerance for ideas and modes of expression which might conflict with one’s personal values. By being exposed to such ideas or expressions, you are not expected to endorse or adopt them but rather to understand that they are part of the free flow of information upon which higher education depends. To this end, you may find that certain books, films, or other materials are assigned which may, in whole or in part, offend you. These materials are equivalent to required texts and are essential to the course content. If you decline to view or read material you consider offensive, you may still be required to respond to its content, and you may not be able to fully participate in required class discussions, exams, or assignments.
5. More information about student expectations can be found on the Arts and Humanities web site at http://www.bcc.ctc.edu/artshum/policy.html.