Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Please note the change to the readings for Wednesday, and think about how the O'Brien stories fit and undermine their particular genre, and the same thing for the Poe. You'll be asked to write on this at the beginning of class. The Thursday reading is changed as well.

Also, while we will talk about this Thursday's paper tomorrow in class, realize that the paper is essentially to give the same sort of analysis we did today to Purpose of this Creature Man, to a work of your own choosing. First show your reader how and where your work meets and deviates from the conventions of its genre. Then try to discuss to what degree can we determine, as Chandler suggested, what this says about the 'ideological concerns of the time in which (it is) popular.' To choose one example at random, first you might show how the Twilight books fit and break from the vampire/monster genre. Then you would try to discuss the following question: why (that is, what it says about us) the Twilight books are the vampire books of today, while Bram Stoker's was the vampire book of the late nineteenth century?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Stranger than Fiction

I'm not sure if this is where you want ideas for the class blog, but here goes...

In "Stranger than Fiction" (the film), the main character's (Harold Crick, played by Will Ferrell) life is narrated by an seemingly protagonist-omniscient voice who able to speak about Harold's life and adds color commentary. When Harold finally gets annoyed by this voice, he first consults a psychologist, then consults a professor of literature (played by Dustin Hoffman) who goes through 23 questions to decide what kind of story Harold's life has become.

I just thought that it was an interesting concept for a movie to play on a character knowing his own fate (in a way) and in a similar way to which we would guess the action and direction of a movie.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


(read this post in its entirety)

As the class site for EN 170W at Queens College, this site will be our primary means of general communication. Be sure to check it after every class, as much of the time this will be the only place to learn about the readings and assignments due for the next meeting (that is, don't assume that my not mentioning anything due next class means there isn't anything due the next class).

In addition, you will be required to post here a weekly short response of no less than (and not much more than) 500 words. These will be due by 6pm every Thursday, and are central to your grade. This cannot be stressed enough--if posts are not here by 6p.m., this portion of your grade will suffer. And if you cannot work that much writing into your schedule, you should consider another course.

You'll find a link to the syllabus to the right, and the provisional schedule to the right. It is here that I will make changes to your assignments, look there and to my postings for changes and adjustments to the course.

For Tuesday, read the first section of the Chandler on Genre ('The Problem of Definition'), and 'The Purpose of This Creature Man' by Lee K. Abbott. For class, be prepared to discuss how Abbott's story fits into expectations of its genre. Be able to write a few paragraphs why you think the work fits the genre (you'll be asked to do this in class). That is, what expectations of the genre does it meet, and in what was does the work seem to vary those expectations, do things we don't expect of a western? The more specifically you can discuss the work, the better. Remember to bring printed copies of all readings to class.

Post all responses as separate posts, not comments to my post.