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Reading Fiction 106-1 TTH 11:00-12:15
Spring 2024
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This is a "real time" syllabus that will be updated weekly to reflect our progress throughout the semester. You can easily check it from a mobile device or from any computer.

The syllabus consists of the Reading Schedule and Course Policies. You are responsible for understanding and following the reading schedule and the course policies, which are in effect from the first day of class. Read them carefully (and review them throughout the semester). Please see me if you have any questions.

Think of the syllabus as a flexible guide. It will structure our semester, but we will adjust it to fit our needs as the semester progresses. Not all assignments and quizzes are listed at the beginning of the semester; some will be added throughout the semester. It may also be necessary to finish some readings the following class period, in which case I will update the syllabus after each class.  Again, be sure to check the syllabus regularly.  The course is organized by themes:  The Individual and Society, The Extraordinary and Fantastic, Nature, and Terror and Violence.

You do not need to print the syllabus, but if you decide to, be sure to check the online syllabus regularly for new information, added assignments, or reading schedule changes. The print icon above is for print copies.

Our main vehicle this semester for course content will be the Course Website, but it is linked to Canvas, which we will use for some things, such as discussion posts or for accessing video. We will not use the Canvas Gradebook; instead, the Grade Sheet on our Course Notes page (on the course website) will help you track assignments and grades.

All readings are from Fiction 100 unless otherwise noted as a handout.  TIDM=The Island of Dr. MoreauIt will be useful to read the author biographies for each story we study. Helpful information and context for stories that are on the Course Notes page (Course Website) will be noted on the syllabus, e.g., "A Rose for Emily" (Course Notes).  This means you should read the Course Notes along with the assigned story.  You may find it helpful to preview the Course Notes material first, then read it again after you read the story. (Be careful of any spoiler info.)

Readings should be finished for the day assigned, e.g., "The Most Dangerous Game" should be completed for class on January 25.  Please bring the required books for each class meeting and be sure to use the Course Notes pages to prepare for class and to study outside of class.  TIDM should be completely finished by our first day of discussion.

Tuesday Thursday
23 Course Introduction

Reading literature: Introduction to "The Most Dangerous Game" (see link 1/25)
Review Course Website (Syllabus, Course Notes)/Canvas site

25 Review Course Website (Syllabus, Course Notes)/Canvas site

Reading and Interpreting Literature
**Plot & Characterization
**Bring Fiction 100 for the short story handbook

"The Most Dangerous Game" (Also available on Course Notes page).  Read this story online; you can bring your laptop/tablet to access the story along with your reading notes

30 Reading and Interpreting Literature
**Point of View, Theme
**Bring Fiction 100 for the short story handbook

"The Most Dangerous Game" (Also available on Course Notes page). 
Read this story online; you can bring your laptop/tablet to access the story along with your reading notes
01 See Below

Tuesday Thursday
30 See Above

01Finish "TMDG":  Game Playing

The Individual & Society

"A Rose for Emily" (Course Notes)
06 Finish "A Rose for Emily" (Course Notes)

"This Is What It Means to Say Phoeniz, Arizona"

08  Final Thoughts - "This Is What It Means to Say Phoeniz, Arizona"

"Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa"

13Finish "Shoeless Joe"

"The Lesson"

Course Notes--under "Outside Links": 1.) Great Migration link, bottom of page and 2.) article on Eight Mile Wall in Detroit]
15 Finish "The Lesson"


Quiz 1: "The Most Dangerous Game"; "A Rose for Emily"; "Shoeless Joe"
20 Finish "Saboteur"

"Two Questions"

In-class group work (5pts)

22 "Two Questions"
**Finish in-class group work - card due

The Extraordinary & Fantastic

TIDM (Study questions--Course Notes)
We will reference the critical introduction and notes to the Penguin edition

**The novella as a genre (Course Notes; Also see Poe's Review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales)
**Wells Biographical Note 
**Publication method/history (Note on the Text)
**Scientific romance (Critical intro - sections 3 & 4)

**The novella as a genre (Course Notes; Also see Poe's Review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales)
**Wells Biographical Note 
**Publication method/history (Note on the Text)
**Scientific romance (Critical intro - sections 3 & 4)

**Discuss study questions #1 & #3.  Focus on chpts 1-6, characters
Prendick, Montgomery, Captain, Dr. Moreau, "Men"

The Individual & Society - Final Thoughts
**How would you define this theme?
**How do the stories we have read so far fit this theme?
**Chpts 1-6; Chpts 14 & 15  (Study questions #s 1, 3, 4, 7)

Quiz 2: "Saboteur," "The Lesson," TIDM (chapters 1-6)

Tuesday Thursday
Chpt 14 (Huxley's lecture "Evolution & Ethics - Course Notes)

**Beast Folk  (Study Questions #s 5 & 6)
Discussion your assigned chapter (9, 11, 12, 15, 16)
**Beast Folk  (Study Questions #s 5 & 6)
Discussion your assigned chapter (9, 11, 12, 15, 16)

12 TIDM (Read Critical Introduction)

Brief Review of our discussion of the Beast Folk
**The Puma (Critical Intro, xxiii)
**Deaths of Moreau and Montgomery
Conclusion (Study Question # 2; chpt 22)

Review for midterm as time allows

14 Midterm Exam (No early or makeup exams)
19 Spring Break
21 Spring Break

**Film clips (movie TIDM, 1996)
**Critical Introduction
**Loose Ends/Final Thoughts

"The Cask of Amontillado" (Course Notes)
28 "The Cask of Amontillado" (Course Notes)

"The Signal Man" (Course Notes)
**pp 343-44: opening--descriptive details
**p 345: Signal-Man's box
**pp346-48: spectres--accidents/deaths
**p 349: affect on Signal-Man
**pp 350-51: Ending

Tuesday Thursday
02 "The Signal-Man" (Course Notes)--see 3/28

"The Speckled Band"

Read the story in Fiction 100, then look at the story in The Strand magazine (link below) as Victorian readers would have experienced it.

The Strand
includes the Sidney Paget illustrations


**Clip from BBC's Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) in class
**Induction & Deduction

04 "The Speckled Band" (See 4/2)

**Characterization: Holmes and Watson
**Dr Roylott's bkgrd (India)
** Crime--Motivation/Human Nature
**Consider text and illustrations (See 4/2)
**Ending--Holmes's statement?

Final Thoughts--"The Signal Man"

The Extraordinary & Fantastic - Final Thoughts


"Big Two-Hearted River" (Handout)

Hemingway bio (Fiction 100, p 1262-63)
**In Our Time--Nick Adams
**Writing Style
*Nick's desire for balance, to maintain equilibrium
through the actions (customs/rituals) of camping and fishing
**Role of nature

09 Finish "Big Two-Hearted River" (See 4/4)

"To Build a Fire" (Course Notes)

**Focus on paragraphs 1, 3, 6, 20, 40-1
**Literary Naturalism (Course Notes)/Short Story Handbook, pp 1302-03
11 Finish "To Build a Fire" (Course Notes)
(See 4/9)

"Them Old Cowboy Songs"

In-class grp work (5pts)

16 "Them Old Cowboy Songs"

In-class grp work - card due

Quiz 3
: "The Signal-Man"; "The Speckled Band"; "Big Two-Hearted River"
18 Finish "Them Old Cowboy Songs" (Grps - cards)

Nature - Final Thoughts

Terror & Violence

Video on the Armenian Genocide--access on Canvas
Watch video before class--take notes for class discussion

"Uncle Baghdasar" (Handout)
Historical Bkgrd/Begin discussing story

See related readings under "Outside Links" on our Course Notes page
23 Historical Bkgrd/Discussion of  "Uncle Baghdasar" (handout)

Begin "The Man Who Was Almost a Man"

25 "The Man Who Was Almost a Man"

"A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
30 "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
**Story's opening: trip to FL--Grandmother and family
**Stop at Red Sammy's
**Car accident--meeting the Misfit

Quiz 4: "To Build a Fire," "Uncle Baghdasar," "The Man Who Was Almost a Man"
02 See Below
Tuesday Thursday
30 See Above 02"A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
**Pgs 972-74
**Grandmother & the Misfit//reason, experience & religious faith

"Dracula's Guest"
**definition of "Gothic"--see Handbook, p 1299
**narrator's thoughts/feelings

07 Bring Fiction 100/TIDM

"Dracula's Guest"
**definition of "Gothic"--see Handbook, p 1299
**narrator's thoughts/feelings

Terror and Violence -  Final Thoughts

Review for final examination as time allows (Please, no early final exams.  See below)

Course Wrap up

Semester Review Discussion Posting - On Canvas (10pts): Due May 15, by 5pm
09 Reading/Study Day - No Class


Final Exam Week: May 13-17
Office Hrs during Finals Week: See Home Page

Semester Review Discussion Posting - On Canvas: Due May 15, Wed, by 5pm

Final Exam: May 14, Tues, 10:15am-12:15pm, in 214 CCC. No early exams, please

Course Grades Available on AccessPoint: TBA

Learning Outcomes and Course Description/Objectives
The General Education Program Learning Outcomes for Humanities (Human Cultures and Sciences Level) are as follows:
  • Read closely, think critically, and write effectively about texts or cultural artifacts that reflect on perennial questions concerning the human condition (such as the search for truth and meaning, the confrontation with suffering and mortality, or the struggle for justice, equality, and human dignity.
  • Investigate and thoughtfully respond to a variety of ideas, beliefs or values held by persons in situations other than one's own.
Course Description and Goals

In this course we will read and discuss short fiction, focusing on fundamentals such as plot, characterization, point of view, and theme.  Concentrating on four main course themes, we will also explore key social, philosophical, historical, political, and economic issues raised by our readings as well as questions about human nature and how individuals (including those different from ourselves) connect to their society.  A key concern will be how we read and what the act of interpretation entails. We will also read one novella--The Island of Dr. Moreau--that will also raise questions about what constitutes a "short story."

During the semester, we will work to

  • Read texts critically to understand plot and articulate questions, problems, and interpretations about the readings, both individually and during class discussions
  • Develop specific, thoughtful oral and written responses to the readings
  • Comprehend the historical, philosophical, political, and economic, and social contexts related to the literature studied
  • Understand literature as an imaginative expression of the human condition 

Text Rental

Pickering, James H. Fiction 100: An Anthology of Short Fiction. 13th ed.  Pearson, 2012.

Purchase at Bookstore (or from another vendor)

Wells, H. G. The Island of Dr. Moreau. Penguin Books, 2005. (ISBN: 978-0-14-144102-3)  Warning: If you choose not to use this Penguin edition, you will have trouble following our class discussions and noting page references. You will also not have textual notes and the critical introduction.


You should be prepared to discuss the reading assignments for the days they are scheduled. It is useful to mark key passages or scenes that point to central concerns or ideas in the works that are read. Take notes when you read outside of class and write down questions you have. The purpose of class discussion is not to give you answers; instead, class discussions will help you develop reading strategies, understand background/contexts, and raise questions that you will think about and answer. During class discussions we will focus on key issues, difficult passages, and questions you raise.  However, we cannot cover every line of every work.  You will be responsible for parts of works we do not have time to cover in class, using your notes and our discussions to guide your (re)reading/thinking. There will be several quizzes and some assignments as well as two examinations (a midterm and a final).

Please remember that your course grade will be based on the work that you complete, not simply the effort you make or my subjective opinion.

Course Grade %
Assignments/Quizzes** 25%
Midterm 35%
Final 40%
** Will be determined by point values (Approx Grades): 5pt Assignments: A/A-=5-4.5; B- =4; C- =3.5; D- =3; F=2.5-0
10pt Assignments
: A/A- =10-9; B/B- =8.5-8; C/C- =7.5-7; D/D- =6.5-6; F=5-0

Late Assignment Policy: Assignments due on a given day must be submitted at the beginning of the class period. An assignment that is finished but not printed out and ready to hand in is late. Late assignments will be accepted one day after the original due date (not the next class meeting), but will lose one letter grade or a minimum of one full point. After that, they will not be accepted. (Assignments due on Friday that are late must be turned in by 5pm.  They will not be accepted on Monday.)

Assignments due electronically must be received by the day and time specified. Late email assignments will be accepted 24hrs from the original due date. For any special circumstances, please contact me ahead of time. In-class assignments will be due at the end of class or sometimes by the next class period.

Essays submitted late will lose 1/3 of a letter grade each day they are late, including weekends (e.g., original grade B. Two days late, C+). For any special circumstances, please contact me ahead of time. It may not be possible to make up some quizzes or assignments.  If you miss an in-class assignment, it may not be possible to make it up.  No incompletes will given in the course.


Regular attendance is your responsibility and is essential for success in the course. See Attendance in the online UWSP Course Catalog (UWSP Course Catalog pgs 25-26),

For our course, there are no excused or unexcused absences.  The only relevant factor is your number of absences.  You have personal days to use and manage as needed for emergencies or illness: For three-days-a-week classes: 5.  For two-days-a-week classes: 3.

If you are absent and have not exceeded your absence limit, you do not need to email me to explain your absence. If you would like to find out about missed information or assignments, it is best to stop by during office hours or make an appointment to see me. You can also email me, but I may not be able to respond before our next class meeting. However, you should email about an absence ahead of the due date if an assignment is due.

If you miss a total of two weeks of class (six class meetings for classes meeting three times a week; four class meetings for classes meeting twice a week), you may fail the course.  However, if you have to quarrantine, are a member of a university sporting team, or have an extraordinary situation, then we will adjust your absence limit.  The attendance policy begins with the second class meeting. 

It may be possible to make up missed assignments/quizzes because of absences with my approval; therefore, it is your responsibility to contact me to determine work that needs to be completed and to follow up with all logistical requirements.  However, it may not be possible to make up some assignments or quizzes. If you are absent for a quiz, you must contact me the day of the quiz to make arrangements, if warranted, to take the quiz before the next class period. After that, you will receive a "0" for the quiz.

For an extended absence, do the following:  Follow the syllabus and keep up the best you can with readings/assignments; Stay in contact with me for information/resources/help; Look into getting notes from classmates (I can help with this); See me during office hours when you return to class.

Classroom Etiquette

During class meetings, we will discuss and debate issues about writing and literature.  It is fine to express your views passionately and debate others in class, but do so in a civil, constructive manner. 

Please do not use phones and mobile devices during class, even if you believe you are doing so quietly.  Not only is this rude, but also it distracts other students as well as your ablity to focus on and follow class instruction and discussion.  Also, please do not wear headphones. It is English Department policy that students cannot and should not record class lectures and discussion without permission from the intstructor. Also, please get a drink of water or use the washroom before or after class, not during class, so that our classroom does not become a bus station. Please see me if you need special accomodations.

Plagiarism (from the Latin "to Kidnap")

You will be expected to do your own work throughout the course. Intentionally or unintentionally passing off the ideas, words, or sentences of others (e.g., published authors, website authors, other students) as your own is plagiarism, which will result in failing the plagiarized assignment and possibly the course. Please review the University policy regarding plagiarism.

Anyone who is caught cheating during quizzes or exams (e.g., looking at someone else's paper or using a cell phone) will fail the quiz or exam and be reported to the Dean of Students Office.  For quizzes and exams taken online, you are on your honor to follow established guidelines:  No books, notes, printed or online materials, sharing information with others.