Ryerson University

Dept. of English English 108: The Nature of Narrative I Fall 2007 Prof. Jonathan Rollins Office: JOR 525A Email: jrollins@arts.ryerson.ca Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday 10:30 – 11:30am, or by appointment 1. Calendar Description ENG 108: The Nature of Narrative I
Life without stories? Inconceivable. The moment we ask, “Who am I?” or “Where did I come from?” narrative steps in, giving shape to our identity and experience. This foundational course introduces students to fictional forms across a variety of historical periods and media in order to examine the underlying mechanisms of storytelling: narrative’s goals, inner structures, strategies, and rhetorical effects. Texts may include stories, novels, poetry, and drama as well as cinematic and digital texts. Lect. 3hrs. Anti-requisite: ENG 18A.

2. Detailed Description This introductory course examines the many ways that narrative defines and structures our experience as human beings. Serving as a gateway course for English Majors in BACS and English Minors in RTA and Journalism, ENG 108: The Nature of Narrative I offers an introduction to fictional genres, narrative modes of discourse, and rhetorical strategies across time, space and media, in order to examine the underlying mechanisms of storytelling such as narrative’s goals, inner structures, strategies, and rhetorical effects. This course is designed as a foundation course for further work in literary and cultural studies. It aims to develop students’ analytical and expository skills in both reading and writing. In it, students will be exposed to a range of fictional forms and genres including lyric and narrative poetry, the novel, the short story, drama, folk and fairy tales, and film. They will build a critical vocabulary of concepts that will help them to perceive, describe, and analyse the inner workings of literary practices. Through a comparison of literary works across time, they will develop an understanding of the forces shaping literary history, and an awareness of how cultural context, genre, and medium contribute to meaning in specific literary texts. Students will also gain skills in essay-writing, learning how to analyse literary texts critically and effectively, how to produce clear thesis statements, how to use good rhetorical structure to formulate logical arguments, and how to

introduce evidence in support of the argument. They will develop their research skills by learning how to locate, identify, and effectively use secondary material from the library’s books, and journal collections. They will learn how to use the MLA bibliographic format. Finally, through discussion and debate in the lecture and the tutorials, students will develop their oral communication skills. 3. Delivery Mode: 2 hours lecture + 1 hour seminar This course is delivered through weekly large-group lectures and discussions led by the professor and small-group seminar sessions led by teaching assistants. At the start of the term, students will be assigned to a seminar group that will meet weekly throughout the term. The seminars will involve group discussions on course topics, as well as reading and writing exercises, and students’ participation will count towards their final grade. 4. Required Texts Available at the Ryerson Bookstore at the beginning of the semester 1. William Shakespeare. Hamlet, Arden edition. ISBN 0-415-02683-0. $14.00 2. Mary Shelley. Frankenstein. Boston: Bedford/St Martin's. ISBN 0 312 19126 X 3. Anne Carson. Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse. NY: Vintage Contemporaries, 1998. ISBN 0 375 70129 X 4. DVD: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1991). Dir. Tom Stoppard. With Gary Oldman and Tim Roth. Image Entertainment. ASIN: B000777I88 Note: This film can be purchased at the bookstore, rented at a local quality video club, or viewed at the Ryerson library. 5. Course package available for purchase in the Ryerson Bookstore (be sure to purchase the correct reading package as there are 3 professors teaching different sections of this course). 5. On-line Resources Students will be expected to consult the course pages on my.ryerson.ca (Blackboard) for relevant assigned readings and assignments pertaining to the lecture and the seminar on a weekly basis.

6. Classroom Policy on Technology Unless arrangement is made with the professor in writing in advance (i.e., at the beginning of the semester), no computers, ipods, MP3 players, cell phones, audio or video recorders, or other electronic devices are to be used during lectures or seminars as they are distracting to other students. Students disregarding this rule or abusing their written permission will be asked to leave the lecture. 7. Assignment Guidelines & Percentages Students are responsible for being aware of any changes to assignments or their due dates discussed in class and/or posted on Blackboard. Assignment Reading quizzes in lecture Seminar attendance & participation (consistent, constructive contributions to the class), including completion of assigned homework, quizzes, and tutorials Essay I (written in class, topic handed out ahead of time) Edited Essay I (edited at home after editing seminar; handed in to seminar) Essay II (5 pages, plus secondary sources, questions provided by professor) Final Exam 1. comparative essay 2. short answer questions (vocabulary definitions) 3. Sight poem with 3 questions Due Date Ongoing (not
announced ahead of time)

Value 10% 10%


Week 4 in Seminar Week 6 Week 11 Exam Period as posted by the University

10% 10% 30% 30%

Faculty Course Survey will be administered online through the my.ryerson.ca (Blackboard) portal November 10-25 (11th and 12th week of the course) Note on Essays: Students are responsible for keeping copies of their preparatory notes, drafts, and electronic as well as hard copy backups of their final essays until after the course’s final grades are posted. 8. Policy on Absences, Missed Quizzes & Exams: Lectures: Missed in-class quizzes cannot be made up and will receive a zero Seminars: Policies relating to all other assignments conform to Ryerson’s policies on accommodations, reiterated below.

Policies on Other Accommodations: Students shall inform instructors, in advance, when they will be missing an exam, test or assignment deadline for medical or compassionate reasons. When circumstances do not permit this, the student must inform the instructor as soon as reasonably possible. The student and instructor will discuss alternate arrangements which may include the setting of a make-up test, transferring the weight of a missed assignment to the final examination or extending a deadline. Accommodation for Medical Reasons: In the case of illness, a Ryerson Medical Certificate, or a letter on letterhead from a physician with the student declaration portion of the Ryerson Medical Certificate attached, is essential for an appeal based on Medical grounds. The Ryerson Medical Certificate and guidelines can be found in the Student Guide and at the Registrar’s Office and Senate websites. The University may seek verification of medical claims. Accommodation on Compassionate Grounds: Students should present as much documentation as possible to support the request. For example, a death certificate or notice from a funeral home would be appropriate documentation in the case of a death, or a note from a counsellor, medical doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, in the case of stress. Religious Observance: Students must have filed the necessary forms for accommodation of religious observance at the beginning of the term, or for final exams, as soon as the exam schedule is posted. Accommodation for Disability: Students who wish to utilize Access Centre accommodations must present Access Centre documentation to the professor and seminar TA at the beginning of the semester. 9. LECTURES: WEEKLY BREAKDOWN 11Because these course materials reward active and engaged study, attendance and preparedness are essential. I expect all students to arrive on time and attend the entire class, ready to participate constructively in our discussions based on the week’s assigned readings. Students who anticipate or find themselves in situations that make attendance, punctuality, or attention in class difficult should discuss their circumstances with me to see whether other arrangements are at all possible. Any changes to the reading schedule will be announced in class and posted on Backboard (my.ryerson.ca)

Please note that I do not give out my lecture notes. Students are expected to take notes throughout the lectures. Everything said in class is fair game at the final exam. If you miss a class, please ask your colleagues for copies of their notes, and make sure that you return their originals.

Weekly Schedule for Lectures Week Topic Assigned Reading to be Discussed Source Week Introduction to Syllabus Handout in class 1 Course Management: -Expectations -Grading scheme General intro to narrative; Introduction to Fairy tales Week Folk and fairy 1. Anon. folk tale, “Story of Course Pack 2 tales Grandmother” (oral tradition) 2. Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood” (1697) 3. Grimm Brothers’ “Little Red Cap” (1812) 4. Angela Carter’s “Werewolf” from The Bloody Chamber (1979) Week Short story 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Novel Novel Poetry Narrative Poetry Narrative Angela Carter’s “The Company of Wolves” from The Bloody Chamber (1979) Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818) THIS IS THE WEEK THE IN-CLASS ESSAY IS WRITTEN (10%) Shelley, Frankenstein Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red (1998) Carson, Autobiography of Red THIS IS THE WEEK THE EDITED ESSAY IS DUE IN BLACKBOARD (10%) Course pack bookstore


Week Poetry 8 Lyric

Selected Love lyrics 1. Sir Thomas “Descriptions of the Contrarious Passions in a Lover” (1557) 2. Christopher Marlowe, “The Passionate Shepherd” (1599), 3. Sir Walter Raleigh “The Nymph’s Reply” (1600) 4. C. Day Lewis “Song” (1938)

Course pack

Week Poetry 9 Lyric

Selected Love lyrics Course pack 5. Shakespeare Sonnets 18, 130 (1609) 6. Aphra Behn, “A Thousand Martyrs I Have Made” (1688) 7. Anne Finch, “The Unequal Fetters” (1713) Shakespeare, Hamlet (1603) Hamlet THIS IS THE WEEK THE FINAL ESSAY IS DUE IN BLACKBOARD (30%) Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1996) Hamlet and R&G FINAL EXAM 30% bookstore

Week Drama 10 Week 11 Week Film 12 Week 13 EXAM period

rented DVD

10. SEMINARS: WEEKLY BREAKDOWN Note: Based on the kinds of assistance students require with grammar and composition, TAs will assign supplementary and mandatory on-line and takehome quizzes, exercises and readings. Students are asked to pay close attention to their own TA for details about these assignments as they are not detailed on the syllabus. Weekly Schedule for Seminars and Assignments Wee Topic Readings k

Assignments (enter what your TA assigns as a reminder here)

Week 1


Week 2 Week 3

Narrative Workshop: Comparisoncontrast essay; formulating thesis statements ESSAY I

Discussion of the nature of narrative: 1. Russell Edson, “father, father, what have you done?” 2. Enrique Anderson Imbert “taboo” (handout) 1. “Introduction to Fiction” (course package) Handouts/overheads in class Prepare questions for in-class essay

Week 4

Week 5 Week 6 Week 7

Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11

In Class Essay I (10%) Students will write an essay (triple spaced) in class (50 minutes) based on questions prepared the previous week. Workshop: Principles of editing; avoiding Editing common mistakes Handout/overheads in class Metaphor Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Revise your paper Red to hand in Handout/overheads in class EDITED ESSAY Submit Typed and Edited Essay I I with a copy of original essay 1 Workshop: (10%) researching in library and online, MLA format Workshop: Sight How to write an essay on a poem poem you’ve just encountered. Intertextuality 1. “Intertextuality” (course package) Love’s literary conventions Handout/overheads in class Workshop: Handout/overheads in class Introducing Evidence, logic and transitions Adaptation Submit Essay II to Blackboard (30%)

Week 12 Week 13

Appropriation Other topic/ Reviewing for exam

1. “Adaptation” (course package) Film versions of Hamlet 1. “Appropriation” (course package) Rosencrantz & Guildenstern and other examples

Ryerson University
ENG 108/ENG 208 Essay Grading Criteria A (80-100%)—Excellent to Outstanding Performance -Clear definition of a specific and challenging thesis -Logical development of convincing argument in support of thesis, with proper paragraphs -Attentiveness both to specific learning goals and requirements of assignment/topic, and to the wider context of course -Sentence structure correct, with full range of sentence types (compound, complex, and compound-complex), with full range of punctuation (including semicolons, colons, dashes, parentheses) -Graceful style, neither pompous nor breezy, with no wordiness or repetitiveness, and virtually no errors -Detailed reference to appropriate secondary sources, with evidence of individual response -Quotations well integrated into text, with proper documentation and adherence to MLA conventions -Capacity to analyze and synthesize, with sound critical evaluations -Superior grasp of subject matter; evidence of extensive knowledge base -Ability not only to expound subject but to see around it—subtleties and ambiguities, qualifications and concessions, relations to other subjects, etc. B (70-79%)—Very Good to Good Performance -Clear definition of a specific thesis -Logical development of convincing argument in support of thesis, with proper paragraphs -Attentiveness to requirements of assignment/topic and to the wider context of the course -Sentence structure correct, with reasonable range of sentence types and full range of punctuation (see above) -Style not too wordy, with errors relatively few and minor -Adequately detailed reference to secondary sources (at lower end of “B” range, may lean uncritically on sources) -Quotations well integrated into text, with proper documentation and adherence to MLA conventions -Evidence of grasp of subject matter; some ability to analyze, synthesize, and criticize material (at lower end of “B” range, may oversimplify topic) -Ability to expound reasonably sophisticated ideas with clarity C (60-69%)—Average to Satisfactory Performance -Some logical development of a recognizable thesis, with proper paragraphs (at lower end of “C” range, the thesis is unclear or stated but then abandoned)

-Sentence structure correct, but perhaps overly simple, with tendency to avoid punctuation besides period and comma -Errors relatively few, but occasionally serious, with evident misunderstanding of some point of elementary grammar (comma splices, semicolon errors, sentence fragments, subject-verb disagreements, poorly integrated quotations) -Effort to support points with references to the text, with reasonable effort at documentation (at lower end of “C” range, references to texts are not logically tied to the essay’s argument) -Understanding of subject matter and ability to develop solutions to simple problems in the material -Basic ability to expound ideas, though problems with expression occasionally hamper clarity D (50-59)—Acceptable to Minimally Acceptable Performance -Some evidence of understanding of subject matter -Some evidence that critical and analytical skills have been developed -Inadequacy at one of the following levels: 1. Difficulty with paragraphing or consecutive thought 2. Errors of grammar or diction frequent enough to interfere with clarity 3. Ideas inchoate and/or clouded by weak expression 4. Overgeneralization with inadequate support, or with examples that run to lengthy, irrelevant paraphrase of text F (49 and down)—Unacceptable Performance -Inadequacy on several levels at once (see points under “D” range, above) -Ideas too simple for level of course -Critically or analytically weak -Approach not appropriate for discipline of English (e.g, essay reads like a newspaper review, commentary or short story) -Superficial or vague understanding of material; misreading of essay question or assigned topic -Content largely “borrowed” from sources with poor distillation/integration, but some effort at documentation 0 (Report to Office of Academic Integrity) -Essay contains plagiarized material

Additional Notes to Students: Essay grades are about communication between student and instructor. And just as each instructor may have several different methods of facilitating this communication, not all instructors will use marks and comments in the same way to communicate with you. Often students look first at the mark and then ignore the comments completely; or students might read all of the comments through the lens of the mark they've been given, interpreting even positive comments about their work in a negative light, or conversely, if the mark is a good one, ignoring critical comments and suggestions for improvement. Whatever method your instructor chooses, try to avoid reducing the complex act your writing is to a single mark. Here are some simple guidelines to follow: 1. Read through all of your instructor’s remarks, comment by comment, copyedit by copyedit, making sure you understand each one. Read through them in order because your instructor may have intentionally written comments to build on each other. Pay particular attention to concluding remarks at the end of the paper where the instructor may emphasize what you should focus on to improve your work in the future. Note any questions you have on a separate sheet of paper. If you meet with your TA or instructor about your essay, take this sheet of paper with you to guide the discussion. 2. Never assume that your instructor has marked every error or made every possible suggestion for improvement on an essay. Your instructor looks for patterns of error, to single out a few major skills you need to learn to improve your paper the most and bring it to the next level. Don't be discouraged if on the next paper, completely different difficulties are mentioned: such a result probably means you have managed to eliminate or at least have gained more control over the problems that tripped you up before. Questions in the margin probably are meant to make you realize gaps in your logic or ways your sentence could be misconstrued. The location of each comment is crucial: useful instructor commenting is text specific, which means each comment is written in response to a particular word or phrase or sentence or paragraph of yours. As you read the comment, look closely at and reread the part of your essay next to it. Make sure you figure out which part of your text the comment is connected to and how it is asking you to reflect on and perhaps rewrite that passage. 3. Finally, take at least 24 hours to read through their comments carefully before coming to see them to discuss a particular paper and its mark. Doing so gives you a chance to understand fully what all the comments mean and gives both you and the instructor some distance on the paper itself. Make sure to come to the meeting equipped with specific questions and/or concerns about how the essay was evaluated. Complaining that you think a mark is “too harsh” or that an instructor “doesn’t get” your argument will not lead to an effective discussion! Most course policies also stipulate that you wait no more than 10 working days to contact the instructor with questions or concerns about an essay. This is to ensure that the assignment is fresh in

both your own and the instructor’s mind, and to prevent you from showing up at the end of term simply to beg for a higher mark, when the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve your writing skills has already passed. Please note: Your instructor's course syllabus was distributed along with Ryerson University’s policy about plagiarism and/or multiple submissions of the same paper to different instructors. Since papers in violation of that policy are customarily denied grades and marginal commentary, none of the above handout applies to such papers.