CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE
Instructor: Ryan Simmons
Office: ED 10a
Phone: 863-6290 (x6290)
Office hours: MWF 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., T/Th 10:00-11:00 a.m., or by appt.
Alexie, Sherman. Indian Killer. New York: Warner Books, 1996.
Chesnutt, Charles. The Marrow of Tradition. 1901. New York: Penguin, 1993.
Fern, Fanny. Ruth Hall and Other Writings. 1855. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1986..
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Herland. 1915. New York: Pantheon, 1979.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. New York: Perennial, 1998.
Ozeki, Ruth. My Year of Meats. New York: Penguin, 1998.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. 1939. New York: Penguin, 1992.
Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 1885. New York: Ivy, 1997.
"All literature is political" is a recent literary-critical truism, and it makes sense: Novelists would hardly bother writing, and we would have little reason to read their works, if some vision of change were not implied. Yet how novels are political is a more elusive question, and our only way of working toward an answer is to read and discuss the novels themselves, with an eye toward cultural context and social and political significance. That is what we will do in this course. our agenda is to understand works of literature and their possibilities more completely; all points of view are invited, especially when they are brought forward in a spirit of mutual respect. Open-mindedness, a willingness to talk and listen, and a desire to read some challenging, often tricky, always engaging novels--these qualities will help ensure a successful course. The novels address a wide array of issues, ranging from women's rights to slavery and racism to poverty to animal rights. Three central questions are of particular interest: Why might novels be regarded by their writers (and readers) as especially useful tools toward political reform? In what ways do novels account for, even give voice to, competing points of view? And how might novels, and more generally literature, shape our political vision?
Essays (60%): Four essays, each worth 15% of the final grade, are due periodically during the course. The essays should offer polished, original, substantial and persuasive analyses of literary texts. One essay is expected on each of the following four pairings: (1)Ruth Hall/Herland, (2) Huckleberry Finn/The Marrow of Tradition, (3) The Grapes of Wrath/Their Eyes Were Watching God, and (4) Indian Killer/My Year of Meats. You may examine one novel from each pair or write a comparative analysis of both; if you wish to develop an alternative topic relevant to the course, see me.
Online Journal (20%): At least once a week, you are expected to contribute a journal response to readings we are about to discuss; these journal entries must be submitted online at a WebCT site that has been developed for our course. (Submitting your journal electronically requires you to have a UVSC network ID and access to the Internet, both of which are automatically available to you as an enrolled student. If you need help with this, let me know and I'll point you in the right direction.) I will provide instructions for accessing our WebCT site in class, and will also be available to guide you through the process individually if you'd like. Journal entries should be analytical in nature--raising questions, advancing theories, exploring implications, etc. Because all participants' entries will be visible online to everyone else in the class, the entries should also be dialogic--that is, you should read and, as appropriate, respond to each others' ideas, thoughts, and questions.
Course Participation (20%): This is a discussion-oriented course, and for this reason each participant's active involvement is integral to our success. Attendance is critical, and you may expect that missing more than a week's worth of class will have a significant impact on your grade. Making thoughtful, analytical comments on a consistent basis will help you excel in this portion of your grade, as will respectful engagement with others' points of view. In evaluating your contribution to the course's day-to-day success, I will consider quality as well as quantity.
The four late days are provided to allow for normal problems such as printer failure, forgotten notebooks, competing deadlines in other courses, etc. Once they are used up, no additional late days will be granted, regardless of the reason for being late, and any subsequent late papers will receive no credit.
(NOTE: Essay Four must be submitted by Thursday, April 25 to receive credit, regardless of how many late days you have retained.)
Any course work that is found to violate UVSC's standards of academic honesty will be dealt with as laid out in the College Catalog. Please read these standards, and the consequences for violating them, carefully, noting that the repercussions are always severe. In particular, be aware that plagiarism (meaning that a source is used without correct attribution) is a severe violation of both college policy and the policy of this course.
Any work that is plagiarized, even unintentionally, cannot receive a passing grade. Any submitted work (including drafts) represented as your own but found to be copied, in whole or in part, from an outside source is a particularly serious infraction. You may expect, in such a case, that I will report the infraction to the UVSC Academic Affairs committee, and will instruct you to drop the course.
If you have a disability that may influence your ability to meet the requirements of this course, please contact the UVSC Accessibility Service Department (Room BU145) as soon as possible. Any necessary accommodations, as arranged by the Accessibility Service Department, will be made.
|F 1/4||Introduction to cousre|
|M 1/7||The novel as a genre and its history in the U.S.|
|W 1/9||Ruth Hall, pp. 13-60 (chs. 1-29)|
|F 1/11||Ruth Hall, pp. 60-112 (chs. 30-54)|
|M 1/14||Ruth Hall, pp. 112-166 (chs. 55-75)|
|W 1/16||Ruth Hall, pp. 167-211 (chs. 76-90) and selected "Other Writings"|
|F 1/18||Herland, pp. 1-48 (chs. 1-4)|
|M 1/21||Martin Luther King Day--no class|
|W 1/23||Herland, pp. 49-108 (chs. 5-9)|
|F 1/25||Herland, pp. 109-146 (chs. 10-12) and "Domestic Economy" (handout)|
|M 1/28||Huckleberry Finn, pp. 1-49 (chs. 1-8)|
|W 1/30||Huckleberry Finn, pp. 50-94 (chs. 9-15)|
|F 2/1||Huckleberry Finn, pp. 94-159 (chs. 16-20); Essay One due|
|M 2/4||Huckleberry Finn, pp. 159-212 (chs. 21-27)|
|W 2/6||Huckleberry Finn, pp. 212-274 (chs. 28-35)|
|F 2/8||Huckleberry Finn, pp. 274-324 (chs. 36-43) and Jane Smiley, "Say It Ain't So, Huck" (handout)|
|M 2/11||Marrow of Tradition, pp. 1-62 (chs. 1-5)|
|W 2/13||Marrow of Tradition, pp. 63-131 (chs. 6-14)|
|F 2/15||Marrow of Tradition, pp. 132-186 (chs. 15-21)|
|M 2/18||Presidents Day--no class|
|W 2/20||Marrow of Tradition, pp. 187-253 (chs. 22-29)|
|F 2/22||Marrow of Tradition, pp. 254-229 (chs. 30-37)|
|M 2/25||Grapes of Wrath, pp. 3-116 (chs. 1-8)/td>|
|W 2/27||Grapes of Wrath, pp. 117-207 (chs. 9-14)|
|F 3/1||Grapes of Wrath, pp. 208-273 (chs. 15-17); Essay Two due|
|M 3/4||Grapes of Wrath, pp. 274-388 (chs. 18-21)|
|W 3/6||Grapes of Wrath, pp. 389-472 (chs. 22-24)|
|F 3/8||Grapes of Wrath, pp. 473-553 (chs. 25-26)|
|M 3/11||Grapes of Wrath, pp. 554-619 (chs. 27-30)|
|W 3/13||Their Eyes, pp. 1-50 (chs. 1-5)|
|F 3/15||Their Eyes, pp. 51-99 (chs. 6-11)|
|M 3/18||Their Eyes, pp. 100-153 (chs. 12-17)|
|W 3/20||Their Eyes, pp. 154-193 (chs. 18-20)|
|F 3/22||Indian Killer, pp. 3-82|
|M 3/25||Indian Killer, pp. 83-153; Essay Three due|
|W 3/27||Spring Break--no class|
|F 3/29||Spring Break--no class|
|M 4/1||Indian Killer, pp. 155-243|
|W 4/3||Indian Killer, pp. 245-321|
|F 4/5||Indian Killer, pp. 323-420|
|M 4/8||My Year of Meats, pp. 1-83|
|W 4/10||My Year of Meats, pp. 85-197|
|F 4/12||My Year of Meats, pp. 199-284|
|M 4/15||My Year of Meats, pp. 285-366|
|W 4/17||Course wrap-up|
|F 4/19||Study Day--no class|
|M 4/22||Essay Four due at 11:00 a.m.|