ENGL 320:  Introduction to the Short Story
Spring 1999; Lyman Baker, Instructor
Course Schedule:
Readings, Writing Assignments, and Exams
Part 1:  Assignments for the First Two Weeks of the Course

[Jump immediately to assignments.]

Note:  If you plan to print this document in one of the KSU public computer labs, you should first go into the File menu, choose "Page Setup" and click on "Black Type."  This will ensure that colored text (like this) will print out.  Otherwise, you will get blank spaces in place of colored text.

All regular class sessions meet in Eisenhower 224.  Section B meets at 10:30 MWF, and Section C at 11:30 MWF.  The Final Examination takes place in the same room, but at the time indicated at the end of Part 3 this schedule (and on the general page on examinations).

Writing assignments are due on the date cited at the beginning of class.  For an explanation of the purpose of these assignments and the format in which they are to be submitted, see the instructions for Writing Assignments. Even when you elect not to write on a given assignment, you should read the writing assignment carefully and reflect upon it before coming to class discussion. 

Class sessions cannot be productive - or even intelligible - unless students bring to them a genuine familiarity with the readings under discussion.  
  • Expect to be called on to participate in class discussion.  In other words, the readings in the schedule that follows are to be done before you come to class on the day specified.  At the same time, this is a course in intensive rather than extensive reading.  The syllabus of readings has been cut to a mere 2 dozen or so stories for the entire semester in order to enable you to practice close reading by repetition.  You should arrange to rehearse the reading of each story. Figure on giving each piece at least 3 full readings.
  • It is also essential to come to class with the text of the required readings in hand.  We will constantly be engaged in close readings of our texts.  It will be impossible for you to follow what is being said if you have left these at home.

Unless otherwise noted (for example, by blue highlighting, indicating a web link), readings listed in the following schedule are to be found in our text, Ann Charter's The Story and Its Writer:  An Introduction to Short Fiction (Bedford/St. Martin's), 5th Edition.

Schedule of Assignments for the first 2 weeks

15 Jan (F):  Introduction to the course.  

18 Jan (M):  NO CLASS -- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

20 Jan (W):  Print off a copy of each of the following mini-stories (except for item 5, all are on the web).  Give them some thought.  Don't forget to bring them with you to class.

(1) Aesop (legendary:  6th C. BC?), "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse""The Man and the Serpent", and "The Ass and the Lapdog"

(2) Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95),"The Donkey and the Lapdog" and "The Oak and the Reed" (from Fables choisis mises en vers [Selected Fables Set into Verse], 12 volumes, 1668-94);

(3) Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), "The Moral Principle and the Material Interest" (from Fantastic Fables);

(4) the Brothers Grimm, "The Turnip" (transcribed, mid-19th Century in Hesse, Germany);

(4) an English tale:  "Tattercoats";

(4) a story from Haiti:  "The Story of Owl";

(5) James Thurber (1894-1961), "The Owl Who Was God" (handout).

[As a sidepath, here's a riddle:  "What do owls mean?"  (Why is that a weird question?)  The German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) once said, "When philosophy paints its gray in gray, then has an age grown old....  The Owl of Minerva takes flight only at the close of day."  (What would we need to know in order to be able to make sense out of this cryptic remark?)]

(6) Franz Kafka, "Couriers".

22 Jan (F):  Review the the fables and fairy tales we read for Wednesday.  Then work through the lead entry in our on-line glossary of critical concepts on the concept of psychological repression.  (Follow up by tracing out Freud's analogy for explaining his concept of repression, and his parable on alternatives to it.)  Be sure to print these off and bring them with you to class.  What similarities do you notice between the way Freud's illustrative stories "mean" and the ways that some of the stories we read for Wednesday go about "meaning" what they do?

25 Jan (M):  Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour".  (If you already have our textbook, you'll find this story in it, on p. 333.  [Don't forget to read the biographical sketch on p. 328.]  Otherwise you'll need to print it off from the web link just given.)  Work through the story in the light of our Study Guide for it.

27 Jan (W):  Work through the description of the Goals and Methods of the course, and reflected on whether this is a course that suits your needs and interests, and proceeds from assumptions you are willing to grant.

29 Jan (F):  Have read the remarks on Reason and Objectivity in InterpretationWriting Assignment #1 (5 points) is due at the beginning of class.  (This Writing Assignment is required of everyone.)

    Return to the Course Home Page (English 320:  Introduction to the Short Story).
    Go to Course Schedule 2, for remaining assignments up to the Mid-Term Exam.
    Go to Course Schedule 3, for assignments between the Mid-Term and Final Exam.

  Suggestions are welcome.  Please send your comments to lyman@ksu.edu .

   Contents copyright 1999 by Lyman A. Baker

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.

  This page last updated 27 January 1999.