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Model for Evaluation of Student Writing
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“Everyone who sees films based on novels feels able to comment, at levels ranging from the gossipy to the erudite, on the nature and success of the adaptation involved. That is, the interest in adaptation [...] ranges backwards and forwards from those who talk of novels as being ’betrayed’ by boorish film-makers to those who regard the practice of comparing film and novel a waste of time.”
Novel to Film
“Horror has become so pervasive that we don’t even notice how thoroughly it has entered the public consciousness. It’s on television, in the movies, and in the show that goes on in our minds when we go to bed at night. The modern horror movie has not only established a vocabulary for us to articulate our fears. It has taught us what to be scared of.”
This course compares different techniques and effects of literature and film. Students explore genre, form, structure, symbolism, myth, and convention in both media. Writing is an integral component of the course.
Prerequisites: ENG 102 or ENG 109.
This course explores the complex interplay between film and literature. Selected novels, short stories and plays are analyzed in relation to film versions of the same works in order to gain an understanding of the possibilities—and problems—involved in the transposition to film. As this is a course in literature and film analysis, students do not need to have taken other film courses before taking this course. However, it is assumed that students have successfully completed the prerequisites for this course, ENG 101 and ENG 102 (or their equivalent). Therefore, students are expected to have the necessary background and experience in analyzing, discussing, and responding to literature, as well as the ability to conduct independent research and to write correctly documented research essays using MLA format. Students are cautioned that this course requires extensive reading and writing in addition to viewing films and taking part in class discussions. Students not prepared to read (up to 150 pages/week), to write on a regular basis, and to take an active part in class discussions should not consider taking this course.
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OBJECTIVES: Students will
Enhance their ability to understand, appreciate, and discuss works of literature through extensive reading and discussion of short stories, novels and plays.
Analyze works of fiction and drama for plot structure, setting, characterization, theme, and narrative point of view.
Develop an understanding of critical analysis of film through careful examination of cinematic adaptations of literary texts, focusing on character development, dramatic structure, and performance.
Learn and utilize the terminology of film analysis, both those terms shared with literary discussion (character, plot, theme, setting) and those specific to cinema (lighting, montage, special effects, etc.).
Demonstrate an understanding of the possibilities and problems involved in the transposition of literature to film, applying terminology and critical skills acquired during the semester to analyze a cinematic adaptation of a text not discussed in class.
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The choice of texts and films cannot in any sense be considered an exhaustive or even seriously representative one. Instead, the aim has been to select sufficiently diverse literary texts, including both novels and short stories, to allow the study of a number of different approaches within the horror genre ( as well as to provide sufficient examples of cinematic adaptation, including multiple versions—or visions—of a text, and modernizations or adaptations of classic works of literature.
All of the following texts will be available at the Nassau Community College bookstore. Although I have ordered specific editions, these texts are all widely available in several different mass market editions; almost any edition that you find will be acceptable, so check school or public libraries and used bookstores. Prices listed at Amazon.com (below) do not include shipping, and are accurate as of posting date only; no guarantees of prices or availability are express or implied§.
King, Steven. Carrie. New York: Anchor, 2013. ISBN 9780345805874. (Available used starting at $0.82 at Amazon.com)
Levin, Ira. Rosemary's Baby. New York: Norton (Pegasus), 2014. ISBN 9781605981109. (Available used starting at $3.18 at Amazon.com)
Matheson, Richard. I Am Legend. New York: Tor, 2007. ISBN 9780765357151. (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com)
Additional required readings will also be assigned and made available as photocopies or as links, including:
Campbell, John W. “Who Goes There?”
Langelaan, George. “The Fly.” (also here)
Matheson, Richard. “Prey.” (included in I Am Legend)
Hacker, Diana and Nancy
Rules for Writers, 7 ed. Boston:
Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012,
or another current college-level handbook including 2009 MLA updates.
Note: The sixth edition of Rules for Writers with 2009 MLA Updates is also available, and quite a bit less expensive (Available used starting at $14.00 at Amazon.com).
Hutchings, Peter. The Horror Film. London: Routledge, 2004. (Available used starting at $21.60 at Amazon.com)
Monaco, James. How to Read a Film: Movies, Media, and Beyond, Revised 9 ed.. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. (Available used starting at $9.00 at Amazon.com)
Zinoman, Jason. Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror. New York: Penguin, 2011. (Available used starting at $2.82 at Amazon.com)
A good college-level dictionary (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com).
Additional recommended readings, predominantly critical essays or background information, will be indicated on the schedule (see Outline, below) with an asterisk (*).
Recommended additional texts:**
On Grammar, Writing, and Language:
Casagrande, June. Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite. New York: Penguin, 2006. (Available starting at $3.94 at Amazon.com)
---. Mortal Syntax: 101 Language Choices That Will Get You Clobbered by the Grammar Snobs—Even If You’re Right. New York: Penguin, 2008 (Available used starting at $6.61 at Amazon.com).
Cathcart, Thomas and Daniel Klein. "Logic." Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes. New York: Abrams Image, 2006. 27-49. (Available used starting at $6.73 at Amazon.com)
---. Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak through Through Philosophy and Jokes. New York: Abrams Image, 2007. 27-49 (Available used starting at $10.85 at Amazon.com).
Crystal, David. Words, Words, Words. New York: Oxford U P, 2006 (Available used starting at $9.28 at Amazon.com)
Lederer, Richard. Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language. Charleston, SC: Wyrick & Company, 1987 (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com).
---. More Anguished English: An Expose of Embarrassing Excruciating, and Egregious Errors in English. New York: Dell, 1994 (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com).
Truss, Lynne. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. New York: Gotham Books, 2004 (Available used starting at $2.70 at Amazon.com).
On Film and Adaptations:
Cahir, Linda Costanzo. Literature into Film: Theory And Practical Approaches. [New York?]: McFarland, 2006.(Available used starting at $21.84 at Amazon.com) †
Corrigan, Timothy, ed. Film and Literature: An Introduction and Reader. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. 340-356. (Available starting at $11.00 at Amazon.com)
---. Film and Literature: An Introductionn and Reader, 2 ed. [New York?]: Routledge, 2011. (Available used starting at $32.10 at Amazon.com) †
Desmond, John M. Adaptation: Studying Film and Literature. Boston/New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005. (Available used starting at $23.00 at Amazon.com) †
Giannetti, Louis. Understanding Movies, 10 ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005. (Available starting at $54.00 at Amazon.com)
Harrison, Stephanie. Adaptations: From Short Story to Big Screen: 35 Great Stories That Have Inspired Great Films. [New York?]: Three Rivers P, 2005. (Available used starting at $8.50 at Amazon.com)
McFarlane, Brian. Novel to Film: An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. (Available used starting at $9.99 at Amazon.com)
Mendelsohn, Daniel and Zoe Heller. “What Are We Meant to Get Out of Movies Based on Short Stories and Novels?” New York Times Sunday Book Review 29 Dec. 2013.
Monaco, James. How to Read a Film: Movies, Media and Beyond. New York: Oxford, 2009. (Available used starting at $11.14 at Amazon.com)†
Seger, Linda. The Art of Adaptation: Turning Fact And Fiction Into Film. [New York?]: Owl Books, 1992. (Available starting at $1.25 at Amazon.com )†
Vankin, Jonathan. Based on a True Story: Fact and Fantasy in 100 Favorite Movies. Chicago: Chicago Review P, 2005. (Available starting at $4.99at Amazon.com)†
On Reading, Literature, and Specific Texts:
Bloom, Harold. How to Read and Why. New York: Scribner, 2000. (Available starting at $1.00 at Amazon.com)
Denby, David. Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. (Available starting at $0.29 at Amazon.com).
Dirda, Michael. Classics for Pleasure. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2007. (Available starting at $1.49 at Amazon.com)
Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor. [New York: Harper, 2008 ?]. (Available used starting at $3.21 at Amazon.com)†
---. How to Read Novels Like a Professor. New York: Harper, 2008. (Available used starting at $4.51 at Amazon.com)
King, Stephen. “Why We Crave Horror Movies.” from Danse Macabre. New York: Doubleday, 1981. Reprinted Gallery Books, 2010.(Available used starting at $4.24 at Amazon.com)
Gould, Stephen Jay. “The Monster’s Human Nature.” Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History. New York: Harmony, 1995. 53-62. (Available starting at $1.70 at Amazon.com)
Hoobler, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler. The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein. New York: Little, Brown, 2006. (Available starting at $0.99 at Amazon.com)
LaValley, Albert J. "The Stage and Film Children of Frankenstein: A Survey." The Endurance of Frankenstein. Eds. George Levine and U. C. Knoepflmacher. Berkeley: U of California P, 1979. 243-248. (Available starting at $39.95 at Amazon.com)
Niles, Steve and Richard Matheson. I Am Legend. Illus. Elman Brown. San Diego, CA: IDW Publisihing, 2005. (Available starting at $8.95 at Amazon.com)
* Note that all major reading selections for the semester are available online, as indicated by links (see Schedule, below). However, students must have a copy of the appropriate text(s) with them for each class session, whether they have purchased the textbooks, obtained paperback versions or library copies. or printed out hardcopy from the Internet; no excuses about computer or printer problems will be accepted.
** Recommended additional texts are not required purchases, and have not been ordered for the course; however, they provide—depending on the course— alternative readings, historical and cultural backgrounds, criticism, personal literary responses, or entertaining (irreverent, possibly sacrilegious) revisions. Students who find themselves becoming deeply interested in one or more of the required readings may find these interesting and/or useful. When indicated with a dagger (†), texts are only provisionally recommended, as I have not read these works yet, although they have received excellent reviews or recommendations.
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Excessive absences or latenesses will affect your grade; students missing more than four classes will fail the course. Students unable to attend class should contact the instructor regarding their absence in advance or as soon as they return to school.
Plagiarism and Cheating:
Plagiarism includes copying or paraphrasing another’s words, ideas, or facts without crediting the source; submitting a paper written by someone else, either in whole or in part, as one’s own work; or submitting work previously submitted for another course or instructor. Plagiarism, cheating, or other forms of academic dishonesty on any assignment will result in failure (a grade of zero) for that assignment and may result in further disciplinary action, including but not limited to failure for the course and expulsion from the college. See the Nassau Community College “Policy on Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism” (page 18 in the college catalog).
All writing assignments must be received by the instructor on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period, as indicated on the schedule, below. Essays submitted by email or otherwise submitted late will not be accepted; see below. All at-home work must be typed (in 12-point Times New Roman), double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and stapled when submitted. In-class work must be neatly printed in blue or black ink on loose-leaf composition paper or in bluebooks provided by the instructor and double-spaced§. All essays must also include a proper heading (see Purdue Online Writing Lab's Formatting and Style Guide), including Word Count; have an appropriate, original title; contain a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined); and (unless otherwise indicated) avoid use of I or you throughout. Finally, all work should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation, and will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing. Please refer to the Paragraph Outline or Essay Outline and Revising and Editing Checklist for additional assistance.
§ On format, handwriting, and neatness, see Chase, Clinton I. “Essay Test Scoring: Interaction of Relevant Variables.” Journal of Educational Measurement 23.1 (1986): 33-41; and Marshall, Jon C. and Jerry M. Powers. “Writing Neatness, Composition Errors, and Essay Grades.” Journal of Educational Measurement 6.2 (1988): 306-324.
All failing essays may be revised and resubmitted by the due dates announced when the graded essays are returned.
Essays receiving a passing grade may also be revised and resubmitted, but only after the student has met with the instructor during office hours (by appointment only) to discuss revisions.
Revisions must be substantially revised, not merely “corrected” versions of the original essay (revisions should be based upon the Revising and Editing Checklist and relevant information from class and the textbooks), and must be submitted with the original graded essay and/or draft(s) attached. Evidence of substantial revision may result in a better grade for the assignment.
If you did not submit a completed essay on time, you will receive a grade of 0 and may not submit a “revision.”
Make-up Exams/Late Work:
All assignment deadlines and scheduled exam dates are provided at the beginning of the semester; therefore, late papers will not be accepted nor will make-up opportunities be offered, except under extraordinary circumstances with appropriate documentation; work submitted after deadlines will receive a grade reduction of 10% for each day it is late. Excuses such as “crashed computers,” “lost flash drives,” or “empty printer ink cartridges” will not be accepted; therefore, all essays or work should be saved both on your computer’s hard drive and again on removable storage device, and students should keep backup copies of all work submitted.
If you have a physical, psychological, medical, or learning disability that may impact your ability to carry out assigned course work, I urge that you contact the Center for Students with Disabilities(CSD), Building U.(516 572-7241). The counselors at CSD will review your concerns and determine reasonable accommodations you are entitled to by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. All information and documentation of disability remain confidential.
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AND PARTICIPATION (10%):
As this class will combine both lecture and discussion, students are expected both to attend every session and to take an active part in class—joining in discussions and raising questions. Discussion is one of the best ways to clarify your understandings and to test your conclusions. Open discussion always involves personal exposure, and thus the taking of risks: your ideas may not be the same as your fellow students’ or even the instructor’s. Yet as long as your points are honest and supportable, they need to be respected by all of us in the classroom. Questions, discussion, disagreement, and laughter are all encouraged in this class. (However, ridicule or scoffing is never tolerated.)
With the exception of the first day, class may begin with a short (five- to ten-minute) quiz or response paper on the reading(s) for the day, at the instructor’s discretion. Quizzes cannot be made up; if you miss a quiz due to absence or lateness, that grade will be regarded as a 0. At the end of the semester, the lowest quiz grade will be dropped. Total number of quizzes during the semester will determine the point value of each; that is, if 11 quizzes are given (lowest quiz grade will be dropped), each quiz is worth up to one full point.
RESPONSE PAPERS (5 @ 8%):
Students will complete at least five short essays during the semester, on topics to be assigned (see Response Paper Topics, below). Essays must be at least 2-3 pages long (500-750 words), typed, double-spaced, grammatically correct, and submitted on or before the due date indicated on the schedule, below. Essays will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing. Please refer to the Essay Outline and Revision and Editing Checklist.
RESEARCH PAPER (30% total)
Students will also complete an argumentative (persuasive) Research Essay of at least seven to twelve pages (a minimum of 1500-2500 words), using a minimum of five to seven primary or secondary sources (secondary sources must be reliable: scholarly criticism or analysis, not summaries, reviews, or “analysis” from sites such as e-Notes, SparkNotes, Wikipedia*, 123HelpMe, or Gradesaver.com), correctly documented utilizing MLA format (see also Documenting Films in MLA Style), with a cover page and Works Cited page (cover page and Works Cited do not count toward the seven-page requirement). Topics should be selected from a list of suggestions provided (see Research Paper Topics, below), or developed in consultation with the instructor. The research essay will be completed in stages during the semester; points will accrue as follows:
Topic Selection (5 %):
Before beginning the research essay assignment, students will develop and submit a clear, well-written, one-page explanation of the topic chosen from the list provided and the reason for selection. This proposal should include a preliminary idea of the plan of the paper, its intention or research question, and a preliminary thesis.
Annotated Bibliography (5 %):
Students will develop and submit an annotated bibliography for the research essay assignment, with a minimum of five to seven sources, correctly documented according to MLA format.
Research Paper: Final Draft (20
The final draft of the research paper must be submitted in a folder, including copies of all sources used and all of the above assignments associated with the research paper.
FINAL EXAM (10%):
Students will complete a final exam during the official final exam period, evaluating students’ recognition and comprehension of material studied during the previous weeks. This exam will cover specific texts and films, as well as the principles of cinematic adaptation and critical analysis, and may combine objective questions and short essay answers. Students may be allowed to use notes or textbooks for the essay portion of the exams only.
CREDIT (possibly various opportunities, at 1–2
Note: As a general rule, extra credit only helps if you have already completed all of the assigned work, and will not make up for missing an essay (or two, or three). Extra credit opportunities for Fall 2013 will be announced in class, and they will also be posted here as well as on the class Announcements page, so do not ask at the end of the semester for extra credit to bring your average up.
Extra credit opportunities to date:
Writing Center Grammar Review Workshops (1 point each)
Sentence Building and Avoiding Run-Ons, Comma Splices, and Fragments
Using Correct Punctuation: Commas, Semicolons, and Colons
Subject-Verb Agreement, Verb Formation, and Tense
Tuesday Club Hour Series
11:30 am to 12:45 pm, Bradley Hall Ballroom
October 7: Sentence Building and Boundaries
October 21: Subject-Verb Agreement
November 4: The Verb Phrase
Wednesday Afternoon Series
2:00 pm to 3:15 pm, Bradley Hall Ballroom
October 1: Sentence Building and Boundaries
October 18: Subject-Verb Agreement
October 29: The Verb Phrase
Thursday Club Hour Series
11:30 am to 12:45 pm, L233A
October 2: Sentence Building and Boundaries
October 23: Using Correct Punctuation
October 30: Tense Usage
Tuesday and Thursday Evening Series
Tuesday, September 30, 8:30-9:50 pm in CCB: Sentence Building and Boundaries
Thursday, October 23, 7:00-8:20 pm in L233A: : Using Correct Punctuation
Tuesday, October 28, 7:00-8:20 8pm in CCB: : Tense Usage
To reserve a seat at these workshops, please stop by or call:
The Writing Center in Bradley Hall (Bldg. Y) at 572-7195
The Writing Center Annex on 2nd floor of Library, room L233 at 572-3595
See updated flyer with revised information here.
NCC’s First Year Experience
Presented in unison with FYE’s Common Reading, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:
1980s Film Festival
Star Wars at 9:30 am
Tron at 12:30 pm
The Goonies at 3:30 pm
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
11:00 AM to 12:15 PM
Administrators, faculty, students, classes, and staff are welcome and encouraged to attend.
See poster, here.
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Final average will be calculated as follows:
Final average will determine the grade received for the course, as follows:
Note:Percentages ending in .5 or greater are rounded up. Therefore, 79.5 rounds to 80, a B, but 79.4 rounds to 79, a C+.
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SCHEDULE AND PROJECTED OUTLINE:
Important Dates: FALL SEMESTER 2014
|Mon., 1 Sep.||Labor Day: College Holiday|
|Tue., 2 Sep.||Day, Evening & Distance Education classes begin|
|Fri., 5 Sep.||Weekend College classes begin|
|Mon., 8 Sep.||Last day to Add/Drop|
|Mon., 22 Sep.||Last day to Drop|
|Wed., 24 Sep.||
Evening classes do not meet (classes beginning after 5:01 p.m.)
|Thu., 25 Sep.||
Rosh Hashanah: College Holiday
|Fri., 26 Sep.||
Day classes do not meet; Evening classes (beginning after 5:01 p.m.) follow a regular schedule
|Tue., 30 Sep.||
Evening Activity Hour: 8:30 p.m. class will not meet; all other classes follow a regular schedule
|Fri., 3 Oct.||Evening classes (beginning after 5:01 p.m.) do not meet|
|Sat., 4 Oct.||
Yom Kippur: classes do not meet
|Mon., 13 Oct.||
Classes do not meet
|Fri., 7 Nov.||
Last day automatic W
|Mon., 10 Nov.||Evening classes (beginning after 5:01 p.m.) do not meet|
|Tue., 11 Nov.||Veterans’ Day: College Holiday|
|Tue., 18 Nov.||Evening Activity Hour: 5:30 p.m. classes will not meet; all other classes follow a regular schedule|
|Mon., 24 Nov.||Day classes meet on a Thursday schedule|
|Wed., 26 Nov.||
Day classes meet on a Friday schedule; Evening classes do not meet
|Thu., 27 Nov.||Thanksgiving: College Holiday|
|Fri., 28 Nov.||Thanksgiving Recess: College Holiday|
|Sat., 29 Nov.||Classes do not meet|
|Sun., 30 Nov.||Classes do not meet|
|Mon., 15 Dec.||Evening classes extended by 5 minutes for final exams|
|Tue., 16 Dec.||Evening classes extended by 5 minutes for final exams|
|Wed., 17 Dec.||Evening classes extended by 5 minutes for final exams|
|Thu., 18 Dec.||Evening classes extended by 5 minutes for final exams; Evening classes end|
|Sun., 21 Dec.||Weekend College classes end|
|Mon., 22 Dec.||Day & Distance Education classes end|
Note: All dates subject to change;
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Projected Schedule of Readings and Assignments
Note: All readings below are required, and must be completed by the day indicated; the only exceptions are those indicated with an asterisk (*), which are recommended additional readings or resources.
Red text indicates due dates or links to assignments; Blue text indicates links to assignments, resources, or online versions of texts (Note: While every effort is made to verify the accuracy and usefulness of these links and their contents, no guarantees are made. Please notify me of any broken or outdated links at bmurphy@Brian-T-Murphy.com).
Note: This schedule is subject to revision according to the instructor’s discretion, the Academic Calendar for the semester, school closings due to inclement weather or other reasons, and the progress of the class. Additions or changes will be announced in class, and they will also be posted here as well as on the class Announcements page.
NOTE: ONLY FIFTEEN SESSIONS!
|Mon., 1 Sep.||Labor Day: College Closed|
|Tues., 2 Sep.||Day, Evening & Distance Education (online) Classes Begin|
|Thu., 4 Sep.||
Syllabus, texts, policies, assignments
Problems and Possibilities of Cinematic Adaptation;
What is “Horror”?
*See also, Clasen, Mathias. “The Horror! The Horror! ” The Evolutionary Review 1.1 (2010): 112-119. Academia.edu 2014.
King, Stephen. “Why We Crave Horror Movies.” from Danse Macabre. New York: Doubleday, 1981. Reprinted Gallery Books, 2010.
|Mon., 8 Sep.||Last Day for Drop/Add|
|Thu., 11 Sep.|
|Thu., 18 Sep.||
Research Topic Due
|Mon., 22 Sep.||Last Day to Drop|
|Thu., 25 Sep.||Rosh Hashanah - College Holiday|
|Thu., 2 Oct.||
I Am Legend Parts One and Two (Chapters 1–14)
Response Paper 3 due
|Thu., 9 Oct.||
I Am Legend Parts Three and Four (Chapters 15–21)
Response Paper 4 due
|Thu., 16 Oct.|
|Thu., 23 Oct.||
Viewing:The Fly (1986)
Response Paper 6 due
|Thu., 30 Oct.||Viewing: TBA|
|Thu., 6 Nov.||
Trilogy of Terror
Response Paper 7 due
|Fri., 7 Nov.||Last Day for Automatic W|
|Thu., 13 Nov.||
Reading: Levin, Ira.Rosemary's Baby Part One
Viewing: Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Response Paper 8 due
|Thu., 20 Nov.||
Reading: Levin, Ira.Rosemary's Baby Parts Two and Three
Viewing: Rosemary's Baby (TV 2014)
Response Paper 9 due
|Mon., 24 Nov.||Day classes meet on a Thursday schedule|
|Thu., 27 Nov.||Thanksgiving - College Holiday|
|Thu., 4 Dec.||
Response Paper 11 due
*See also, Derr, Holly L. “A Feminist Guide to Horror Movies, Part 5: The Blood of 'Carrie'.” Ms. Magazine.com 28 Oct. 2013.
“Illusory Superiority (a.k.a. The Lake Wobegone Effect).” Wikipedia.org.
“The Legend of the Pink Monkey,” also here and here; note especially the context(s) in which references appear!
|Thu., 11 Dec.||
Parts Two and Three:
Viewing: Carrie (1976) and Carrie (2013)
Response Paper 12 due
Research Paper returned
|Thu., 18 Dec.||
Research Paper Revisions Due, as discussed
|Mon., 22 Dec.||Day & Distance Education classes end|
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Response Paper Topics:
For each week, a question or topic will be provided. You may complete any five response papers, but your response must be on the assigned topic for the week it is submitted, and must be submitted on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period, or it will receive a zero (0). Late work will not be accepted. Students may complete more than five response papers for extra credit: only the best five scores will be utilized in determining final grades.
Instructions: Respond to each question or topic in a brief, well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay of at least two to three pages (500-750 words). Your essay should include independent analysis and demonstrate careful thought, but no research is necessary, nor should any secondary sources be used. This is not a research essay; the only sources utilized or quoted should be the texts themselves. Use of secondary sources, whether credited or not, will be considered grounds for failure. Although these are personal responses, and therefore there is no "correct" answer, remember that they are still formal essays: in your analyses, formulate a clear, explicit, assertive (persuasive), objectively-worded thesis statement, and avoid use of "I" or "you" throughout. Do not attempt to address all aspects of the text, but carefully focus your topic, and avoid merely paraphrasing or summarizing the work. Be sure to support your answers with specific references to the work. Essays must be typed, double-spaced, and grammatically correct; essays will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing.
1) Due Thursday, 11 September:
In “Who Goes There? "Real Men Only’” (The Free Library. 2005 Extrapolation 03 Sep. 2014), the author suggests that a central concern of John W. Campbell's story is the boundary between self and other, between human and non-human, and the precariousness of this boundary. The article asserts, “the thing challenges our ideas of human self in two ways: first, it challenges the idea that self is unique and contained given that the thing can imitate any self and that its 'self' only grows by taking over and becoming others; second, the thing challenges our idea of the human as something defined through its differences from animals, as the thing becomes either with equal ease.” Explore the concept of selfhood and individuality as expressed in Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” How might this concern reflect elements of the culture of the late 1930s? You might consider demographic, sociological, or even political changes in the period.
1.1) Additional response paper topic Due
Thursday, 18 September:
How does the 1951 movie The Thing from Another World differ from the original “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, and why? How do the two versions of the same story differ in terms of plot, characters, theme, and so on? Consider especially social, political, scientific, or cultural changes in the nearly fifteen years between the two works.
2) Due Thursday, 18 September:
In The Thing from Another World (1951), the fear and paranoia created by the presence of the alien invader may be read as a metaphor for Communism and the Red Scare. In The Thing (1982), however, the fear takes a different form: not Communism, but contagion. How is American society, or the world, different three decades after the first film, and how does this difference inform the interpretations of “The Thing” in each film?
2.1) Additional response paper topic Due
Thursday, 2 October:
How does Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing differ from Christian Nyby's 1951 The Thing from Another World, and why? Consider not just advances in technology, changes in film production, and shifts in audience reception during the intervening thirty years, but significant social, political, scientific, or cultural changes in the three decades between the two films. Elements to consider in your analysis include textual fidelity, theme, the creature itself, characters and characterization (especially MacReady), effects, and—perhaps most important—blood and “body horror” in the context of the early eighties.
3) Due Thursday, 2 October:
While Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend is clearly a precursor to many of today's vampire and zombie films, it is also squarely within the traditional literary genre of survival narratives, from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (and the story of Alexander Selkirk from which it derives) through The Swiss Family Robinson, Castaway starring Tom Hanks, and even in some ways Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road. Discuss I Am Legend [the novel, not the movie] in terms of the protagonist's struggle to survive, with reference to the basic needs of food, shelter, and so on. How is more akin to say, Robinson Crusoe than to Dracula, The Walking Dead, or other similar horror novels, movies, and programs?
4) Due Thursday, 9 October:
Richard Matheson has said, in an interview originally published in Cemetery Dance, “I was disappointed in , even though they more or less followed my story.” Why—in terms of 1964, when the movie was released, not in terms of today's movie conventions, technology, and audiences—might he have been disappointed?
5) Due Thursday, 16 October:
Consider the novella I Am Legend (1954), the film
5.1) Due Thursday, 16 October:
George Langellan’s “The Fly” employs several layers of narration: the entire story is told as Francois’s first-person account, but within the story is embedded Helene's written “confession”; embedded within the confession, in turn, is Andre’s own account of his accident with the transporter. (This technique of nested narratives is quite similar to Mary Shelley’s original Frankenstein, by the way.) Why does Langellan present his story this way? What is his purpose, and what is the effect on the reader? That is, does it heighten or lessen the suspense, the horror, the plausibility?
6) Due Thursday, 23 October:
In one of the original trailers for the 1958 film The Fly (here), Vincent Price refers to “that laboratory where a man actually dared to play God.” Consider both Langellan’s “The Fly” and the 1958 film (as well as the 1986 remake, if you are familiar with that movie, too): is the story or the film merely about the dangers of science, or the arrogance of “playing God”? In what way does each present the idea that, as the science fiction cliché has it, “there are things man was not meant to know”? Is this merely a reductive, simplistic, or facile reading? That is, do the story and the movie have a more complicated message?
6.1) Due Thursday, 30 October:
In-class writing assignment (counts as a response paper)
6.2) Due Thursday, 30 October:
Contrast Kurt Neumann's The Fly with David Cronenburg's 1986 remake, focusing on one of these two ideas:
a. Character: Andre Delambre versus Seth Brundle.
Who is each character, what is he like, in terms of personality, background, motivation? What does this difference suggest about science, scientists, and their role(s) in society?
b. The Role of the Female: Helene versus Veronica.
An obvious, reductive reading of The Fly (1958) and The Fly (1986) would present Geena Davis, in the role of Veronica, a "modern" woman, as strong, active, and "empowered"; it would also see Helene as a “traditional housewife” (whatever that means). However, in what ways is Veronica—or the movie itself—also a reactionary depiction of women? Is Veronica somehow regressive, traditional? How and why?
7) Due Thursday, 6 November:
Is “Prey” by Richard Matheson an anti-feminist text? Despite the first-person narration—and the fact that we never meet Amelia's mother or Arthur, Amelia's boyfriend—Amelia is dominated by her mother, by Arthur, and by “He Who Kills.” Contrast Amelia with Laurie Strode, from Halloween: both are pursued by killers who seek to murder/stab/penetrate, but while Laurie fights back (semi-) successfully, Amelia “succumbs” to her attacker. Is this a reactionary message?
7.1) Due Thursday, 6 November:
In-class writing assignment (counts as a response paper):
In Trilogy of Terror we are presented with several different versions of femininity or contrasting ideas of “woman”—whatever that means. “Julie,” “Millicent and Therese,” and “Amelia” present images ranging from the [apparently] prudish, passive, or repressed to sexually active, from victim (or “prey”) to monstrous predator, perhaps from good to evil. How are Matheson's women portrayed in these selections; that is, how do these women differ, and why?
8) Due Thursday, 13 November:
In “The Power of Hunger: Demonism and Maggie Tolliver” (Nineteenth Century Fiction 30.2 (Sep. 1975): 150-171), Nina Auerbach refers to Rosemary's Baby as a “pristine antifertility [myth] in which the [woman]'s hunger to reproduce threatens all the norms we are supposed to cherish.” She continues, “Once she has been supernaturally infected, the 'natural' woman casts the most dangerous shadow of all, for she is able to breed within her the germ of a new death” (169-170). Is what Auerbach suggests true, and if so, how? Is Rosemary's desire for a child somehow “wrong”? Outside of the reality (?) of Rosemary's impregnation by Satan, is pregnancy itself, or the desire to become pregnant, somehow presented as monstrous in the novel?
9) Due Thursday, 20 November:
According to Sharon Marcus, in “Placing Rosemary's Baby” (differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 5.3 (Fall 1993): 121+.), “Marriage and pregnancy transform Rosemary from a quasi-single girl for whom the city is a place of opportunity into an unhappy quasi-suburban married woman who suffers from a version of 'the problem with no name,' the housewife's syndrome whose symptoms included agoraphobia, depression, extreme weight loss, anxiety, and inexplicable physical ailments.” Is the horror of this novel then the psychological portrait of Rosemary, and not the Satanic element? Can Rosemary's pregnancy be read as representative of a woman's experience of pregnancy, “confinement” (in more than one sense), and perhaps subjugation to the demands of her body, her unborn child, or her family? How does the novel represent Rosemary—and, by extension, any woman—as a victim of her pregnancy, her husband, and even perhaps her [patriarchal] society? Is this reading more or less likely when one considers the novel's publication date, and its author?
10) Due Monday, 24 November:
In her New York Times review, “Wanting a Child in the Worst Way: Rosemary's Baby Is Remade into a Mini-series,” Alessandra Stanley writes, “Because [Rosemary] is a newcomer in Paris, her naïveté and dependency make sense: She is an American with few friends and almost no French, marooned in a city where everyone seems to share a glamorous secret no outsider could begin to understand.” Compare her situation in this version to that of Rosemary in the novel and the original 1968 film; the “original” Rosemary is also, in some ways, naïve, dependent, and isolated, but for different reasons. How are these different interpretations of the protagonist herself similar, and how do they differ? How do their individual situations differ, and why? Be sure to consider the d
11) Due Thursday, 4 December:
Carrie by Stephen King is written in a semi-epistolary format. That is, unlike true epistolary novels such as Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson or Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, King uses a combination of excerpts from letters, newspaper and magazine articles, and books, as well as traditional third-person narrative. This is an approach more like that employed by, say, Bram Stoker or Michael Crichton, and a very different way of telling a story than many readers are used to. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach, and how does it enhance—or diminish—the impact of the novel on the reader?
12) Due Thursday, 11 December:
In Danse Macabre, Stephen King writes,
Carrie is largely about how women find their own channels of power, but also what men fear about women and women’s sexuality. Writing the book in 1973 and only three years out of college, I was fully aware of what Women’s Liberation implied for me and others of my sex. Carrie is woman feeling her powers for the first time and, like Samson, pulling down the temple on everyone in sight at the end of the book. (qtd. in Derr)
In contrast, Holly Derr, in “A Feminist Guide to Horror Movies, Part 5: The Blood of 'Carrie',” states that “Carrie is as much an articulation of a feminist nightmare as it is of a patriarchal one, with neither party coming out on top.”
Consider King's depiction of Carrie White in the novel, and her transformation from victim to violent avenger, as well as her eventual end. In what ways is the novel feminist, or perhaps anti-feminist? Progressive or reactionary? Does it reflect, as King seems to suggest, male fears (possibly unconscious) of female empowerment and/or sexuality?
Research Paper: Due in stages (see
* On use of Wikipedia in college-level research, see Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on PBS NewsHour, here: “I don't think at a university level it makes sense to cite any encyclopedia in an academic paper. That's just not what an encyclopedia's role is in the research process. Maybe if you're in junior high, you know? If some kid out there is twelve years old and they wrote something and they put in a footnote, we should be thrilled, right? That's his first start on the idea of crediting other people with ideas and things like that, but at the university level? No, it's a bit junior high to cite an encyclopedia.”
Please refer to the following as well:
Formatting and Style Guide (Purdue Online Writing Lab)
Incorporating Sources (class handout)
Class Plagiarism Policy (on syllabus), as well as the Nassau Community College Policy on Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism (page 63 in the college catalog).
You might also find the following additional resources useful:
Works Cited page (Instructions & Sample) (Microsoft Word document)
Avoiding Plagiarism (Houghton-Mifflin web site)
Practice Incorporating Sources into Your Work (Houghton-Mifflin web site)
MLA format (Purdue university's Online Writing Lab)
You must establish a plan and a clear thesis before you can begin to put together a focused, well-organized, and purposeful research essay. Therefore, as your first step in the research essay assignment, you must develop and submit a clear, well-written, one-page explanation of the topic you have chosen, your reason for the selection, your focus and opinion, and a clear, well-written, explicit, and assertive preliminary thesis. This proposal may also include a preliminary idea of the plan of the paper, its intention or research question. Note: Choose your topic carefully. You will not be allowed to change your topic once you have made your selection, although you may change your position on the particular issue and will, presumably, modify your thesis during the process of research and writing.
Topic Selection and Preliminary Thesis: Due Thursday, 18 Sep.
Your work should take the following
Topic: the topic selected from the list provided.
Rationale: why you have chosen to research and write about this particular topic.
Focus: a narrowed form of the subject, and the issue or debate involved.
Opinion: your subjective opinion on the debate or issue.
Thesis: your opinion, worded objectively.
Topic: Multiple adaptations of I Am Legend (Note: this is not a real topic choice!)
Rationale: I selected this topic because I saw the film version with Will Smith, and I am curious how other versions differ and why.
Focus: How do The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and I Am Legend with Will Smith (2007) differ in terms of textual fidelity and audience appreciation?
Opinion: I think that while all three movies are okay, is the most interesting for contemporary audiences.
Thesis: While Ubaldo Ragona’s The Last Man on Earth is largely faithful to the text and Boris Sagal’s The Omega Man is at least innovative and interesting for its time, Francis Lawrence’s I Am Legend captures the major conflicts and issues of the novel in an entertaining, realistic, and commercially successful manner.
1) A large number of works of horror, in addition to those discussed in class, have been filmed more than once. Choose one such text, other than those on the syllabus, and analyze at least two different film versions (see Sample Introduction). How does each version adapt, revise, or alter the story? What is changed or left out, and why? How do all of these individual changes contribute to a different interpretation of the text; that is, what is the significant difference between the versions? And, finally, how does the socio-cultural milieu of each film inform these differences? Some suggested works (see me if you have others in mind):
Robert Bloch, Psycho (the original 1960 version and the 1998 remake)
Stephen King, The Shining (Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic, and the 1997 television miniseries directed by Mick Garris)
J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Carmilla (also here) (as Blood and Roses. 1960, Crypt of the Vampire, 1964, The Vampire Lovers, 1970, Lust for a Vampire, 1971, The Blood Spattered Bride, 1972, Alucarda, 1977, and so on....)
Fritz Leiber, Conjure Wife (as Weird Woman, 1944, Burn, Witch, Burn, 1962, and Witches' Brew, 1980)
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Seriously, hundreds, at least, including the classic 1931 James Whale version and Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 version, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Bram Stoker, Dracula (I mean, c’mon, how many versions are there? Like hundreds? and remember, as Homer Simpson says, “Vampires are imaginary—like elves, gremlins, and Eskimos.”)
John Wyndham, The Midwich Cuckoos into the classic 1960 Village of the Damned (parodied on The Simpsons as The Bloodening), the Spanish-language Pueblo de Malditos, and the 1995 John Carpenter remake.
and more to come, as I think of them.....
2) Many familiar tropes, ideas, or themes appear over and over again in horror, either in literature, in film, or both. For example, all of the texts and films for this course fall into one or more of the following categories:
Bad Science and Man-Made Monsters (“There are things man was not meant to know.”)
Creepy Dolls and Homicidal Puppets
Vampires and Ghouls and Zombies (oh, my)
When Animals Attack
Select a recurrent horror trope such as one of these, and analyze how it features in at least three texts and/or films from at least three different decades, not including those on the syllabus. For example, “When Animals Attack” can range from Daphne du Maurier’s “The Birds” (filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1963) to Them! (1954) to Night of the Lepus (1972), Jaws (1975) and countless others. As above, your discussion should focus on the significant difference between the interpretations, how (and why) the socio-cultural milieu of each film creates and reveals these differences.
*Note: Students must obtain prior approval for independent topics; speak to me before or after class or email me to set up an appointment during my office hours.
Annotated Preliminary Bibliography: Due Thursday, 23 Oct.
You must submit an annotated preliminary bibliography with a minimum of five to seven sources, correctly cited according to MLA style. This may include up to three primary sources and a minimum of three to five secondary sources; secondary sources must be scholarly criticism or analysis, not summaries, reviews, or “analysis” from sites such as e-Notes, SparkNotes, Wikipedia*, 123HelpMe, or Gradesaver.com; instead, use the library resources, including the available electronic databases such as Academic Search Complete, InfoTrac General OneFile, Lexis-Nexis Academic, Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Points of View Reference Center, and CQ Researcher, to locate appropriate sources. To access the databases from home, click on the individual database link. Then, when prompted, enter your username (N #) and password (PIN).
In addition to a correct citation for each source, you must include a description or summary of the source, at least one paragraph long, and an explanation of how you foresee incorporating it into your essay. For additional information on Annotated Bibliographies, see the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)’s Annotated Bibliographies, as well as “Sample Annotated Bibilography” and Ebel, Kimberly, “Class and Gender in Cinderella: Annotated Bibliography.”
You might also find the following additional resources useful:
MLA Documentation of Films: Works Cited and In-Text Citations
Works Cited page (Instructions & Sample) (Microsoft Word document)
MLA format (Purdue university's Online Writing Lab)
Research Paper: Due Thursday, 4 Dec.
Final Exam: Thursday, 18 Dec.
To be announced
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Last Revised: Thursday, 11 December 2014
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