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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Maya Smorodinsky
ENGL 242
Seattle Campus

Reading Prose Fiction

Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.

Class description

English 242 (for Autumn 2011) endeavors to critically examine the popularized binary between fact and fiction, and between objective history and subjective experience. Our task will be to question the widely held belief that novels are simply works of personal or private imagination, whereas the writing of history pertains to true events. How do we know what is “true? or “objective?? Can novels be “real? or “true?? In fact, many scholars have argued that certain novels fill in or speak for what dominant history cannot account for, or what history silences. How and why does literature perform this task? How do literature and history tell stories? What kinds of stories are being told? How is storytelling a political act? Rather than perpetuate the truth vs. fiction binary, we will re-conceptualize these terms by tracing a connection between the writing of history and the writing of fiction. In order to address these questions, we will be reading Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony, along with various critical and theoretical articles. As this is a “W? course, there will be three major writing assignments throughout the quarter (each 5-6 pages in length), as well as in-class peer critiques and online discussion board assignments.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Maya Smorodinsky
Date: 08/04/2011