Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Have a good summer!

Papers have been sent back to you, and the grades have been posted to the Registrar's Office.

Have a good summer!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Nonquiz" survey of works

Here are the results from the "nonquiz" you took on Tuesday. The information on the other questions varied quite a bit, so it isn't tabulated here.

1. Which of the authors from this semester had you read prior to enrolling in this class?

18__ Mark Twain
6__Edith Wharton
0__Charles W. Chesnutt
8__Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
7__Jack London
2___Wallace Stevens
7___Stephen Crane
17__Robert Frost
0___Paul Laurence Dunbar
9___Ernest Hemingway
13___Emily Dickinson

2. Which of these classic works from 1865-1940 have you read before taking this class?

7___ Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
4____Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
5___ Wharton, The House of Mirth
3___ Wharton, The Age of Innocence
1___ James, The Portrait of a Lady
1___ James, Daisy Miller
5___ Chopin, The Awakening
0___ Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars or The Marrow of Tradition
18___ Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
12___ Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
1___ Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night
3___ Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
0___ Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
13___ Frost, “Stopping by Woods,” “Fire and Ice,” “Birches,” (etc.)
9___ Dickinson, “Success is Counted Sweetest,” “I heard a fly buzz,” etc.

Did this theme (popular then/classic now) and more intensive focus on fewer authors work well for you, or would you have preferred a general survey?

2____Teach as survey (previous version)
17____Teach as theme (current version)

6. In the future, should the assignments in this course be as they were this semester or as they have been traditionally?

18_____ This semester: 2 short papers (3-4 pages) plus 1 optional short creative paper that allows dropping the lowest short paper grade; 1 longer paper/project that can be based on a short paper.

1_____Previous semesters: 1 medium-length paper (5-7 pages) and 1 longer paper (8-10 pages)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Papers and Skype

If you want to talk to me tomorrow, I will be on Skype from 10-12 and again after 3 p.m.

Some of you asked about extensions; if you have not yet taken an extension and would like to do so, please email me.

Final Presentations Schedule

Tuesday, April 24

Ashina Sipiora
Jessica Gober
Amanda Renslow
Chris Kiick
Alyssa Guyll
Talon Seiler
Bushra Zaman
Amy Nellis

Thursday, April 26
Melissa Juhnke
Stefanie Eggers
Stevie Morrow
Christine Sweet, Ryan Carli
Haley Hamilton
Samantha Summers
Carmen Nugent
Taylor Armstrong

Monday, April 16, 2012


Don't worry if you didn't do Paper 3 and see a 0 in that spot; it doesn't mean anything, since only the top 2 papers in that category will count. Angel requires that a numerical grade be listed, so that's why there might be a zero there.

The same holds true for other grades, too, where the lowest grade in the category will be dropped; a zero (if something is optional) is just a placeholder. It does not mean that you were penalized for not doing the blog option instead of the report or vice versa.

I haven't posted the report grades yet, but the other grades we've completed thus far should be in Angel.

Do NOT rely on Angel's calculations. As I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes it's impossible to get it to recognize the correct number of total points, as with the precis.

Extra Credit blog post due 4/19

This Thursday, 4/19, you have the opportunity to write an additional blog post or respond to the posts last week if you haven't done so already. A post or response by 4/19 will count as extra credit.

Note, though, that I will NOT be looking at your blogs after 4/19; I will only count whatever is posted by 9 p.m. on 4/19.

I'd like you to reflect on one of the following:

1) The Sun Also Rises


2) Your favorite work this semester (and why)


3) Did you feel that the blogging experience was helpful to you? Why or why not?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Exam 2 if you kept a blog and did a report

As stated on the syllabus, if you kept a blog and did the report, you don't have to take this exam and don't have to come to class tomorrow.

If you do decide to take the exam, I will drop the lowest of the three grades (blog/report/exam) when calculating your grades.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Study Guide for Exam 2 has been posted

The study guide for Exam 2 has been posted. You can get to it by clicking on Assignments in the sidebar or from this direct link:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Precis grades in Angel

For some reason, Angel is reporting the Precis grades as being out of a total of 100 points instead of 35 points (which is correct). I've tried to change this but can't.

Angel is apt to be highly inaccurate when reporting averages and so on, so always calculate these yourself using the percentages on the syllabus.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Precis is due tomorrow; Reports will be on Thursday

The precis assignment is due tomorrow. I've added a dropbox for the precis to Angel so that you can upload the assignment if you are using a link to a journal article rather than a photocopy. The same guidelines are in effect as for the papers: paper versions are due in class, and electronic versions are due by 9 p.m.

We will finish the group discussions of Summer tomorrow and move on to the Fitzgerald stories. As I mentioned in class, the reports have been moved to Thursday, April 5.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Paper 3

Thanks to all of you who turned in optional Paper 3. I should have those back to you by next Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Could you read the comments on your papers?

I've had a couple of people say that they either (1) didn't know where to get the graded papers or (2) couldn't read the comments on this set.

1. You can pick up your paper (e-version) in Angel. Go back to the Dropbox where you uploaded it originally and you will see a graded version.

2. You should be able to see the comments in Adobe or in Preview (for Mac users). Mouse over the yellow comment bubble and you will see the comments. In Adobe, you can also go to View -> Navigation Panels -> Comments to see all the comments at once. In Preview, click on View -> Show Notes.

If you try these tips and you still can't see the comments, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reports on 4/5, not 4/3

In order to hear from the last group on Summer, reports will be on 4/5, not 4/3 as on the syllabus. Bring your copy of the novel with you to class along with the Fitzgerald stories and your precis assignment.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Paper 2 is in Angel

The corrected versions of Paper 2 are now in Angel, for those who submitted electronic versions.
Please let me know if you have any trouble in opening them.

You'll need to consult the Key to Comments page (on sidebar) for information on the abbreviations used.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Correction from yesterday's class

I misspoke yesterday when talking about optional paper 3. If you complete it, only the two top grades for the short papers will be counted (best 2 of 3), but it can't substitute for an exam.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

After break: reports

We'll have reports after Spring Break:

Edith Wharton: early reputation Stefanie Eggers
Edith Wharton's Social World Kristen Parton
Edith Wharton's popularity today (Gossip Girl, "chick lit," etc.) Stevie Morrow
Open topic Brittany Hutchinson

Emily Dickinson parody

Here's the parody we discussed in class:
A gauzy Skein of Propylene --
That sways with slightest Breath --
This bag holds smocks -- and Bread and Milk --
But -- in its folds -- lies Death.
It sways and puffs -- this Thistledown, Balloonlike in its joy --
Each tiny mouth a perfect fit -- This bag is not a toy.

-- Emily Dickinson

(Jim Roy Wilson, Washington)

Washington Post Style Invitational:

Rewrite some banal instructions in the style of some famous writer¬Found=true

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Our popular then/classic now predictions for the future

Here's the list you all generated in class the other day about books that are popular now that may or may not become classic in the future. Please feel free to add others in the comments.

Popular now, classic in the future
Time-Traveler's Wife
Stephen King (It, King as best of genre)
The Help
Harry Potter
Cormac McCarthy
Game of Thrones
The Book Thief
Cyanide and Happiness (web comic)
A Child Called It (pain memoir/abuse memoir)

In the middle (might be classic in the future but maybe not)
Michael Crichton
Tom Clancy

Popular now, NOT classic in the future
Da Vinci Code
Hunger Games
Mortal Instruments
Nicholas Sparks (any novel)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Danielle Steele

Note: I've added an option that addresses this to the Paper 4 assignment: "In keeping with our "popular then/classic now" theme for the course, choose a current book that you think may become a classic in the future and write a serious, extended analysis of it explaining its literary qualities. You might want to choose to compare it with a book that we've read or discuss it as an example of a genre that we've discussed."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"To Build a Fire," 1902 version

Here's a link to the 1902 version of "To Build a Fire" that we looked at in class. There's no dog in this one. By the way, the site where this appears has a lot of good information about Jack London: You can find other good sites at our Jack London page,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Looking ahead to poetry

After we discuss Jack London this week, we'll be moving on to poetry--the "heirs of Emily Dickinson" (or are they?) portion of the course. I've added Stephen Crane's poetry to that of Frost and Stevens, and I will be giving you a handout with all three sets of poems. Be sure to bring your books, though, since one of the things we'll be doing is referring to Dickinson's poems when we read these other poets.

The poems are also available from our readings page:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Paper 1 assignment

Corrected versions of Paper 1 have been uploaded to Angel. Please read the comments carefully and consult the “Key to Comments” page at if you are not sure what the abbreviations mean.

This is the first of three short paper assignments. Since the third assignment is optional, if you complete all 3 of these papers, only the top 2 grades will be counted and the lowest grade will be dropped.

Exam 1 has been graded and will be returned on Tuesday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reports on 2/28

The following reports are scheduled for 2/28:
The Western novel (The Virginian, etc.) Amanda Renslow
Jack London in the marketplace Taylor Armstrong
Frost's contemporaries (Edwin Arlington Robinson, etc.) Ryan Carli
Oscar Micheaux (African American filmmaker and writer) Bushra Zaman

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meet in the MASC today

Don't forget--we're meeting in the MASC today for class. Go down the stairs in the library and you'll see it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Study Guide for Exam 1 and Assignment Pages for Papers 2 & 3

The Study Guide for Exam 1, Assignment Page for Paper 2, and Assignment Page for Paper 3 (optional paper) are now available. You can find links for all of them by clicking on Assignments in the sidebar.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Send questions on Chesnutt

Some of you have already sent your questions on Chesnutt's stories; if you haven't, please do so as soon as possible so that I can get them copied for tomorrow's class.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Change to Syllabus for 3/27/12 and 3/29/12

I'll announce this in class, too, but please note these changes to your syllabus:

3/27: Read ALL of Edith Wharton's Summer instead of just part of it.

3/29: No class. Paper 3 will still be due on this date, but you will need to upload it to Angel instead of turning in a paper copy. If you really want to turn in a paper copy, please do so on Tuesday, 3/27.

Laptop Day Tuesday, 2/14

Because the wireless wasn't working on our last Laptop Day, we will have another one on Tuesday, February 14, when we discuss the other Charles W. Chesnutt stories. We'll work on the MLA bibliography exercise from the other day and will also look for contextual sources for Chesnutt.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Questions from last Thursday's class

Here are the questions on "Old Woman Magoun," "The Long Arm," and "The Revolt of 'Mother.'"
Thanks to Kelsey for reminding me to post them!

Resources for writing papers

You can find the MLA Bibliography link on the sidebar, and the other resources are linked under Assignments.

Here's the document on thesis statements and topic sentences that I mentioned in class:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Next time: reports and then discussion of stories

We will have reports next time from Talon Seiler, Carmen Nugent, and Chris Kiick before we discuss the stories.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and blog comments

On Freeman:

Our Mary E. Wilkins Freeman page is here:

You can find all Freeman's stories at this site:

On blog comments: When you comment, please sign your entry with some form of your name (First name and initial or some variation) so I can credit you with making a comment.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Online texts for next week: Was it . . . MURDER?

One of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's stories for next week is online, so February 2 will be another laptop day so that you can access it. This is the relevant portion of the syllabus.

2/2 Was it . . . MURDER?

Freeman, "The Long Arm" (Note: Because this text is online and can't easily be printed, you can bring a laptop for referring to the text.)
Freeman, "Old Woman Magoun." I handed out a copy in class but it is also online here)
Laptop day: bring your laptop if you have one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Materials posted

The Dickinson and Twain lectures have been posted to Angel.
The assignment page for Paper 1 is available.

Here is the Emily Dickinson page, with links to the portrait we discussed:

Poem "299" should read "199"

Here are the correct poem numbers for the Dickinson assignment: 67, 124, 185, 199, 258, 409, 479, 591, 764. One of them was misstated on the syllabus, which has now been corrected. I know that you were going to read them all anyway, but I thought you would like to know.

You can find the materials we will be working with during today's class on our Emily Dickinson page,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just for fun: Mark Twain's ideal readers

If you have 2 minutes to spare: This is a 2-minute snippet by Twain on his ideal readers, read by John Lithgow, with quick line drawings .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WSU closed tomorrow--no class

As I'm sure you know, WSU is closed tomorrow, so there won't be any English 481 class. You can still post your first blog post, however.

We'll discuss the Emily Dickinson poems on Tuesday when we're back in class again.

Blogs and Angel

If you haven't sent me your blog link yet, please do so as soon as possible before tomorrow's blog post deadline.

Also, if you are using Angel to look at our web pages (most of the pages in Angel link out to our main site at, you will need to refresh your browser or clear the cache from time to time, since Angel holds onto pages for a long time. This means that you will get an old version of the page rather than the new one.
In Firefox: go to Tools -> Clear History
In Chrome: use the Tool icon (the wrench) to go to History and clear it.
In Safari: go to History -> Clear History

Monday, January 16, 2012

Send me your blog links

If you're planning to complete the blog option for the class, remember that you need to send the link to

the link to your blog tomorrow (Tuesday) by 9 p.m.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Report topics

The report topics and dates are now available at You'll be signing up for reports today in class if you want to choose this option instead of (or in addition to) keeping a weblog.