Contemporary Issues & Literature



January 24 T
Scrambled text
Layered text from "The Pardoner"
Hills Like White Elephants


Here is an example of an associative outline for a story. Note how the associative connections lead back inward in a torroidal pattern. The story itself is a very "constrained" story (i.e., it has many compulsory requirements of it due to its genre), but its deep structure was created by the natural associations.

The story that comes from this diagram can be read HERE if you are curious. (You don't have to read it, but if you do, note how its "apparent" story works.)

Read "Hills Like White Elephants" in the link above and come to class Friday prepared to discuss the story in detail. Pay special attention to prominent words and images.

1. read once at your natural speed (do not mark it up at this point)
2. take a few moments to remember the story and note its emotional effect on you
3. read again, this time marking things that caused you to have the responses you remember
4. read again, and at each marking, find an explanation of how and why that particular trope was used.
5. note questions
Since the story is short, it shouldn't take long to do the multiple readings, but it will take you a while to investigate the use of tropes. Identifying the central trope(s) will be the key to having a coherent explanation for all of the tropes you find.

January 27 F
We wrap up Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" and examine the approach of "Writing by Ommission" or, more commonly, THE ICEBERG THEORY and begin discussion of Bell's approaches to structure.
After the "Iceberg Theory" link, read this more light-hearted explanation by a writer of genre fiction as well as "A Clean, Well Lighted Place".
Consider the relationship between "depth" and "layering."

January 31 T
Read Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" in DropBox and email me your response paragraph
We will watch the film version of "Hills Like White Elephants" in class and wrap up our discussion of the story. Do you notice any odd qualities about the narration?


February 3 F
Read Chekov's "Sleepy" and email me your response paragraph.
A good example essay on this story:HERE



February 7 T
Read "Life After High School" by Joyce Carol Oates.


February 10 F
Read "Indian Camp" by Hemingway.

Read An essay about "Indian Camp"

February 14 T
We will be discussing "Three Shots," which I handed out last time (so send in your paragraphs before class). If you need the text, it's in DropBox.
Also read this excerpt from Madison Bell's NARRATIVE DESIGN (pages 25-32). We will be discussing the introduction to this book later.

February 17 F
Read "Suicide" by Justin Hubbell.
Justin's WEBSITE
There are also two comics by Robert Crumb: "Psychopathia Sexualis" and "The Religious Experience of PKD" -- Read these but you don't have to comment on them. One of the pdf files has a weird size change from the cover to p.1, so you will need to hit your (+) button or enlarge it.

February 21 T YES, WE HAVE CLASS!
Read Julia Wertz's "Drinking at the Movies" excerpt in DropBox and send in your paragraph.
Read my essay "Tales of Fathers and Sons" in the JOMA archive. This is a discussion of some of the themes that come up in Hemingway and in patriarchy in general, and it will be relevant to our discussion of "Patriotism."

February 24 F
Read "Patriotism" by Yukio Mishima.
An excerpt from the film (it's pretty gruesome, so don't watch it if you're squeamish about movies like Saw

A short documentary on Mishima

February 28 T
Read the instructions for your first paper in DropBox and send me your prospectus describing your plans.
We will postpone the Native American stories until next time. Since we've been talking about other cultures and the connection between fiction and reality, read the following essay instead (and see if you can come up with parallel examples from your own experience):
Storytelling and Healing

March 3 F
March 7T
March 10 F
March 147
March 17 F
March 28T
March 31 F

April 4 T
April 7 F
April 11 T - NO CLASS
April 14 F
April 18 T
April 21 F
April 25 T
April 28 F

May 2 T
May 5 F

FINAL EXAM - May 16 12:30-2:30

The opening page of Christopher Isherwood's "Berlin Stories" collection. Pay special attention to parallelism as a trope.

Proofreading text

Watch this music video for "Hero" and consider its economy. It has the entire content of a typical Hollywood movie condensed into its use of subtext. Take some notes and identify some of those subtexts (ranging from entire genres to specific films).

Nomen est omen
The physiognomy of names in "real" life

WATCH (for additional review):

You can get a whole semester's worth of University of Potsdam MOOCs HERE.

New explication - for extra credit

Also look at this passage from Toni Morrison's SULA and see if you can find the primary tropes that contribute to the layered themes. (What are they?)