Jessica Baldanzi

8:55a-10:10a D (25 students) 3 cr.


TOPIC: “Reality Check”

This course is designed to help you develop your skills in reading, discussing, and writing about fiction. Since this is an intensive writing course, much of our reading and discussion will be geared toward written expression. We will also focus on learning how to read and write with an analytical eye.

The works on the reading list explore the definitions of and boundaries among truth, fantasy, story, and reality—all pertinent topics in this age of “reality” media. Some of the questions we’ll be asking over the course of the semester are: How fantastical can a good story get? How much reality should a story contain to make it effective and believable? Is it possible for a story to be too real? What does fantasy help an author accomplish that more realistic storytelling does not? Can a story ever portray “truth” exactly? How often is truth really stranger than fiction? By the same token, are there times when fiction becomes more real than reality? We will address these and other questions to determine the place and meaning of stories—whether tall tales, true stories, or something in between—in current culture as well as across the course of human history.

Tentative Reading List:
Ann Charters, ed., The Story and Its Writer, Compact 6th Edition
selected authors may include Washington Irving, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut, John Edgar Wideman, Joyce Carol Oates, Grace Paley, Shirley Jackson, Ambrose Bierce, Franz Kafka, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Paul Auster, City of Glass
Dan Clowes, Ghost World
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried