ENG 033-02 Intro to Critical Methods: Narratology by 2QUDZ7PE



ENGLISH 033-02 Introduction to Critical Methods–Narratology
Patricia E. O'Connor 202 687 7622 oconnorp@georgetown.edu
Office: 312 New North
Office Hours: 2-4 p.m Tuesdays and by appt.
Class Meets: T & R 8:40a.m-10:05a.m Location: ICC 120

(For those needing a Writing Concentration course to complete the old major, this class
resembles Intro to Writing 105. This course also fulfills 3 credits of the General Education
requirement for Literature and suffices as a pre-requisite to English Department electives.
You need to have taken only one gateway to get into an English elective.)
This Gateway course introduces the study of literature and the English major through
examination of one its most prevalent forms–the narrative, using “narratology”-- the study of
narrative as its theoretical thrust. In particular we will note structuralist, deconstructivist, and
reader-response theories as we read closely, critique, and craft three major genres which
employ narrative: autobiography, historical fiction and the short story.
        Early in the course, students will explore personal autobiographical experiences and
learn how to do discourse analysis to locate and analyze spoken narratives in everyday
speech following methods of linguists William Labov, Michael Toolan and Deborah Tannen.
Students will tape, transcribe, and analyze sample conversations for their narrative thrust.
Students will read the brief autobiography of Eudora Welty --One Writer’s Beginnings; the
historical fiction novel (written as a series of poems) by Karen Hesse -- Out of the Dust and
the Short Stories of Breece Pancake. Students will explore the uses of time, space and
focalization in these texts using On Narratology by Mieke Bal and Michael Toolan’s text on
Narrative and concepts of reader-response theory by Wolfgang Iser. In the course we will
move from a structuralist understanding into a variety of deconstructive positionings as we
examine the narrative choices made by the authors, paying particular attention to matters of
external and /or internal narration, focalization, and manipulation of time, place, and space as
we analyze texts in final major course paper.

Requirements: writer’s portfolio (two pocket folder and paper), two creative papers, one
short, but formal, analysis of a collected oral narrative, one long analytic paper, and an oral
presentation on your understanding of critical methods used in analyzing both the writerly
and the readerly acts in literature. Students will use Diane Hacker’s Pocket Style Manual as
a resource for MLA citation and for settling various matters of grammar and style in writing.
For the historical fiction and autobiographical pieces, please provide an MLA style list of
useful historical resources, both primary and secondary.
For both analytical papers: Use MLA in-the-text citation style. Provide a works cited list.

For All papers and presentations: Carefully craft your work; number and staple your
pages. Pay close attention to the notes here on editing, style and proofreading. Please be sure
to craft and revise your work to eliminate redundancies, wordiness, empty clauses (“it is
important to note that,” “there are many reasons,” etc.) weak sentence structures, dependence
on passive voice, tired cliches, spelling errors, non-parallel phrasings, and other infelicities of
prose that ultimately weaken the reader’s opinion of you as a writer and thinker. [For
assistance in your process, read Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” and consult

this website for succinct examples to help you craft your writing:
http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/catalogue.html ]. The Georgetown University Writing Center
tutors will happily work with you as you form ideas and craft your papers:
See http://www.georgetown.edu/departments/english/writing/wcenter.htm and visit the
Writing Center in 217-A Lauinger Library. A regular session with a writing advisor helps
you make swift progress in the craft.

Eudora Welty --One Writer’s Beginnings
Karen Hesse -- Out of the Dust
Breece Pancake – Short Stories of Breece Pancake
Mieke Bal– On Narratology
Culler, Jonathan– Literary Theory–excerpts provided
Michael Toolan --Narrative: Critical Linguistic Introduction
Wolfgang Iser—Prospecting –excerpts provided
Diana Hacker – A Pocket Style Manual

Attendance: As this is an interactive class, one in which knowledge is made in concert, all
students are expected to attend all classes. Absences beyond three will result in grade
reductions. For example upon the fourth absence, a grade of A would become an A-; at the
fifth absence it would become a B+, etc. Persistent lateness will be treated as absence. If you
must be absent, please e-mail/phone the professor as it may interfere with the plan for work
in class and adjustments will need to be made. University holidays begin at the hour and on
the day designated in the Registrar’s calendar, NOT the day before. Students who travel to
represent the University in music, sport, forensics, etc., must have their coach/sponsor let
me know in advance in writing of any absences due to these events. Work due during that
time should be done in advance.

Honor Code: Please be sure that you are in compliance with the University Honor
Code. See http://www.georgetown.edu/honor/ for details on the Honor Code and a copy of
the handbook. Be sure to cite all sources for direct quotations and for paraphrased

Audiotaping Permissions: You and those whom you audiotape must sign an agreement to
allow tape recording and to maintain confidentiality.

Grading: Paper 1 Autobiographical Story: 10%; Paper 2 Analysis of Conversational
Narrative--10%; Paper 3 Historical Fiction-- 20%; Paper 4—Critical Analysis of Pancake’s
Oral Presentations—10%
Class Participation and Blackboard postings 20%.

ENG 033-02 Intro to Critical Methods: Narratology                  Spring 2005

Week 1:        Th     Jan. 13        What is narratology?
                                     Stories we love to tell/cannot tell/must tell (prep for
                                     autobio vignette)
                                     Everyday stories: Were do we find them besides in our
                                     own lives?
                                     Assignment: Collect oral narrative on tape and read
                                     “Narrative” chapter from Culler and Welty’s One
                                     Writer’s Beginnings
                                     Handouts: Oral Narrative Permission Forms
Week 2:        T      Jan. 18        Discuss Culler on “Narrative”
                                     Discuss part 1 of Eudora Welty and One Writer’s
                                     Beginnings, pp. 1-42
              TH     (no class)
Conferences on autobiographical vignette
Week 3:       T      Jan. 25        Discuss Welty One Writer’s Beginnings pp. 43-104
              Th     Jan. 27        Autobiographical vignette: Draft due in class (3 copies)
              F      Jan. 28        Autobio Paper Final version due at 4p.m. in 312 NN
Week 4:       T      Feb 1          Toolan/Labov Narrative as Socially situated
                                    O’Connor Audiotape of Narratives shown
                                    Samples of transcription
              Th     Feb. 3         Transcripts of conversation due (2 copies)
Week 5:       T      Feb. 8         Draft of analysis of everyday narratives (3 copies)
              Th     Feb 10         Using sources, creating Works Cited lists
              F      Feb 11         Paper 2 due 4 p.m. 312 New North
Week 6        T      Feb 15         Finding historical resources on Dust Bowl era
                                    Karen Hesse Out of the Dust
              Th     Feb 17         Newspaper and photo archive materials on Dust Bowl
                                    Karen Hesse Out of the Dust
Week 7        T      Feb 22         Creating Historical ficiton–Plots/characters,
                                    time & place
              Th     Feb. 24        Library presentation on historical fiction resources
Week 8        T      Mar 1          Creating Historical fiction--
                                    Applying techniques from Labov and Welty
              Mar 1, 2 & 3          Conferences on h.f. papers
                                    No class on Mar 3, but time will be used then for

Spring Break

Week 9         T      Mar 15         Draft due historical fiction
               Th     Mar 17         Writer’s groups on h.f.
               F      Mar 18         Historical fiction pieces due 4 p.m. 312 NN

Week 10        T         Mar 22    Bal Narratology intro, preface, conclusion, & “text”
                                   Begin Stories of Breece Pancake “Room Forever” in
                                   class. Begin Blackboard postings on narrative terms
Easter Break Read Stories of Breece Pancake
Week 11        T      Mar 29       Pancake, “Trilobites” & “Honored Dead”
                                   Who narrates? Who focalizes?
               Th     Mar 31       Bal terms posted & applied to Pancake
Week 12        T      Ap 5         Discuss Bal “story” : terms as seen in Pancake stories
               Th     Ap 7         Bal terms posted & applied to Pancake & own papers
Week 13        T      Ap 12        Final paper topics
               Th     Ap 14        Reader-response theory Iser excerpt from Prospecting
**Writing Groups meet to plan presesentations on how your members’ writing shows the
narrative terminology at work
Week 14        T      Ap 19        Iser terms posted & applied to Pancake & own papers
                                   Apply terms to final papers
               Th     Ap 21        Review
Week 15        T      Ap 26        Writing groups: Powerpoint Presentations (Groups 1-6)
               Th     Ap 28        Writing Grps: Powerpoint Presentations (Grps 7-10)
                                   Course evals

Final Paper due: Monday May 9 by 4p.m. in 312 New North
*****************************Assignments Explained***********************
Preparation for Autobiographical Vignette:
In class make three lists of “titles only” for stories you could draw upon from your own
personal experience. Try to have at least 15 possible total stories.
Put them in these three categories:

Stories I Love to Tell

Stories I Cannot Tell

Stories that Must be Told

Choose one of the stories you love to tell and tell it to a classmate.
Assignment: Write up one of the stories on any of your lists. You may be most comfortable
using stories from the “Love to Tell” list as we get to know each other in the class, but you
are certainly free to choose form any of the titles. Try to make this story as engaging as the
storytelling we heard in the classroom on the first day. This story may vary in length for each
person in the class, but should be a minimum of 4 pages. Draft due in class TH Jan. 27. Final
version due Friday Jan. 28 4p.m. in 312 New North.

Preparation for Oral Narrative analysis: Get permission and then audiotape a conversation
with a friend. Listen to your tape several times. Isolate a section that includes a narrative. Be
sure to put a contextualizing headnote on the transcription describing who is speaking on the
tape and what has been the general situation and flow of the conversation up to the point
where the narrative takes off. Transcribe the narrative portion of the tape word for word,
including pauses, and remembering to give pseudonyms to all names. (See models from
class.) Be sure to transcribe a few lines of the conversation before and after the narrative
takes off so we can see how it is situated in the longer stretch of conversation. Be sure to put
a contextualizing headnote on the transcription describing who is speaking on the tape and
what has been the general situation and flow of the conversation up to the point where the
narrative takes off.

Annotate the transcript with Labov’s terms (found in Toolan)
Bring the annotated transcript to class on Feb. 3
Bring the narrative analysis of your transcription to class on Feb 8. Bring 3 copies.

Paper 3: Historical Fiction Assignment

Select an historical event and craft a short piece (6-8) pages typed, double spaced, plus a
bibliography of resources) that situates fictional people in that event. You may be embedding
a story within a story, i.e. a narrative within the larger historical narrative as you saw Hesse
do with several smaller narratives of struggle (birthing a baby in a schoolhouse or catching a
freight train to run away --both during the larger event of the dust storms and droughts in the
1930's). The work must offer to a modern reader, provocative material that deals with
abiding concerns of that time that still resonate today. Attach a bibliography of sources
consulted. [ See 127-137 in Hacker A Pocket Style Manual].

Paper 4 Assignment: Analytical Essay

Using ideas in course readings from theorists Bloom, Bal, Toolan, Iser, and Welty, develop
an argument for an analytical essay about narration and focalization and their effects in
delivering the fabula in three of Pancake’s stories, two of which must be stories other than
“A Room Forever” or “Hollow” and “Trilobites.” Please type, double-space, number and
staple your piece: 8-10 pages. Draft due for conferences: week of April 25 Final paper due
Monday May 9 at 4 p.m. Carefully read over all comments on old papers so that you do not
continue to make the same annoying errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling. Read and
apply pp. 106 -141 on MLA style in Hacker’s manual. This paper counts as 30% of your
course grade.

Preparation for this Assignment:

1. Consider your interests in Pancake’s stories. What do you notice most about the
characters, the plots, the settings? What effects do the stories have on you as a reader? How
did Pancake’s writing set up those effects. How did his writing engage the reader?
From this questioning, develop a tight thesis that you can explore so that you can then
succinctly tell us what your paper proposes to do.

2) Develop a thesis/proposition: Narration (or focalization) [or both] DO WHAT or have
WHAT EFFECT on readers of Pancake’s short stories (X, Y, Z).
 3) Locate 2 scholarly articles to use in your paper. These articles should deal with matters of
narrative pertinent to your paper’s argument. You may also use articles on Breece Pancake’s
life and work as additional sources.
4) Bring a polished draft to conference the week of April 25-29.

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