EN 340: Genre Studies: Folklore
MWF 9:30-12:00, CAS 211

 


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Instructor: Dr. Amie A. Doughty
Office: 301 KJS Library
Office Hours: MWF 9:00-9:30 and by appointment
Phone: 635-2378
E-mail: adoughty@lssu.edu
Web Address: http://www.lssu.edu/faculty/adoughty

Required Texts:
Datlow, Ellen, and Terri Windling, eds. Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears. New York: AvoNova, 1995.
McKinley, Robin. Rose Daughter. New York: Ace, 1997.
Zipes, Jack, ed. The Great Fairy Tale Tradition. New York: Norton, 2001.

Course Description and Goals:
Catalog Description: This course focuses on an understanding of the formal characteristics, critical interpretation, and the history and development of a single literary genre, including but not limited to the novel, the short story, drama, or poetry. Pre/Co-requisites: EN231/2 or EN233/4. Variable topics: may be repeated twice for credit.

Our Topic: The topic of this course is listed as folklore, though a more apt description might by folktales. We are going to examine folktales, primarily the European tradition of folktales, and how they have been shaped by writing, from their initial “compilers” (some would say authors) to modern interpretations and variations of these tales. The goals of this class are for you to understand what constitutes a folktale and its elements and for you to see how these elements have influenced not just modern revisions of the tales, but also elements of narrative as a whole.

Course Policies:

Attendance: This is a small class and absences will be more noticeable than in many classes. You are expected to attend class and to be prepared to discuss the literature you're reading. If you are unable to come to class, it is your responsibility to make up the work you missed and to get notes from a classmate. Because this class meets for six weeks only, missing even a single session will mean you miss a significant chunk of material.

Class Discussions: I firmly believe that the best learning comes from student-generated class discussions. Therefore, I expect you to come to class having read the materials and prepared to discuss them. If I call on you, I expect you to have something to say about the readings we're doing, even if it's a question about what was going on or your objections to what we've been saying about the text. It is OK to disagree with me and with your classmates, as long as you express your disagreement in a courteous manner. Because this class is small, it is important that everyone has something to say, so leave your discussion inhibitions at the door.

Assignments:

·         Journal (and Quizzes if necessary): (30%) Each week you will be required to submit a journal discussing one of the readings from the past week. The journals need to focus on analyzing the text you choose. DO NOT give a plot summary of the text. Rather, talk about its literary merit—character, narrative, historical importance, theme, etc. Be specific in your analysis, and bring in specific examples from the text to support your points. Each journal should be 2-3 pages long. In addition to the journals, you may be responsible for taking reading quizzes if I discover that you are not doing the readings. Quizzes may not be announced, so you should always be prepared to take one.

·         Paper: (30%): You will write a 4-6-page paper for this assignment about one of the sections of the Zipes text that we have not discussed in class. You may choose a single text for the paper or talk about the section as a whole. You will examine the motifs and other folktale elements of this text/section and compare it to other sections/texts that we have discussed in class. What types of conclusions can you reach about this text/section based on class discussions? How is the text/section unique? This paper is due on Friday, 18 July.

·         Final: (30%): You will write a 5-7-page paper for this assignment. For this assignment, you have 2 options:

·         You may choose a rewritten folktale that we have not discussed in class (it does not have to be in the Datlow & Windling text—see me if you’d like a list of other possible texts) and analyze how it adapts the original text in its new form. What effects do the alterations have on the original? Why might the text have been adapted in this way? You may also choose a film version to analyze.

·         You may choose a text or a film that is not explicitly a revision of a folktale and examine it for folktale elements. What expectations does the audience have of the text/film based on these elements? How have folktales affected the vision of the text/film?

For each of these options, you need to clear your text with me before you start working on it. If you’d like help choosing a text, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to offer suggestions. The final is due on Monday, 4 August. We will discuss your findings in class.

·         Participation: (10%): This aspect of your grade will be based on your attendance and participation in class discussions. You are expected to participate in the discussions (which you can only do if you attend class), and a lack of participation will pull your grade down.

Assignment Formatting: All assignments need to be prepared in MLA formatting. That means no cover page for papers. Include a Works Cited Page for each text that you discuss in you papers. Any good handbook will have MLA format in it. I will be happy to help you if you have any questions about the formatting.

Late Work: I will accept work no more than one week late. All late work will lose 10%. If you know that you won’t be able to get work in on time, see me before the due date, and we may be able to make arrangements for an extension.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the passing off of another's work (whether quoted, paraphrased or summarized) as your own without proper documentation and can result in serious repercussions, including expulsion from the university. Do your own work.