Special Topic: Young Adult Fantasy

Course Details

Course Number: 3723  Section Number: 301

Summer I 2011

Location: Bea Wood Hall

Classroom Number: 210

Days & Times:

MTWR 12:20 PM to 2:20 PM



Course Attachments

Young Adult Fantasy Syllabus & Schedule  ENGL 3723 YAF Summer 2011 FINAL.doc

Schedule  ENGL 3723 YAF Summer 2011 Schedule-20120402-142054.doc

Textbooks

Saving the Appearances
Owen Barfield 2nd edition
  ISBN: 0-8195-6205-x

The Amber Spyglass
Philip Pullman His Dark Materials Book III
  ISBN: 978-0-440-41856-6

The Annotated Alice
Lewis Carroll Ed. Martin Gardner
  ISBN: 978-0-393-04847-6

The Chronicles of Narnia
C. S. Lewis
  ISBN: 0-06-623850-1

The Fallen
Thomas E. Sniegoski Vol. 1 The Fallen & Leviathan
  ISBN: 978-1-4424-0862-3

The Fallen
Thomas E. Sniegoski Vol. 2 Aerie & Reckoning
  ISBN: 978-1-4424-0863-0

MSU Faculty Member
Dr. Peter Fields   
view Profile »

Course Objectives

Lewis Carroll, J. M. Barrie, L. Frank Baum, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis, among others, set in motion a form of young people’s fantasy that expanded on traditional fairy folklore, laying the groundwork for the Young Adult Fantasy (YAF) of Rowling, Meyer, Sniegoski, and Pullman today. In YAF the youthful protagonist experiences an extraordinary “other” world which reflects something profound about our own and which challenges preconceived notions. This experience offers the protagonist a chance at some level of mastery over dynamic forces associated with that remarkable world. In this course, Owen Barfield (a friend of Tolkien and Lewis) offers us a template for the role of the imagination, including key terms like “participation” (including “original” and “final” participation) and “directionally creator <span class="scayt-misspell" data-scayt_word="relation." "="" data-scaytid="1">relation.” According to Barfield, we are active participants in the nature of what we perceive. The imagination is a conduit for, and witness to, the way in which we shape and influence our reality.

 In our course we will be on the alert for the level, and type of, of creator agency available to the protagonist. In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice speculates on the epistemological rules of a looking-glass world and then enters that world, discovering a universe that arises from her own intuitive vision. One of her first acts is to write impulsively in the White King’s notebook. The White King cannot understand why he wrote this statement about the White Knight: He balances very badly. When (at the end) Alice feels compassion on the unbalanced White Knight who keeps falling off his horse, the reader realizes that his problem is Alice’s own creation—she unthinkingly made him that way and he ironically takes pride in his constant falls. The situation becomes even more playful—and even more participative in that Barfield sense—when we suspect that Lewis Carroll has cast himself as the White Knight, implying that Alice is the true creator of her own creator (and author).

 Not surprisingly in regard to creator agency, this genre teaches accountability. The YAF protagonist may seem, at first, to be utterly inconsequential, even alienated and rebellious. But we ultimately discover the protagonist to be unusually sensitive to the human dilemma. In her Adventures in Wonderland, Alice falls for a long time down the rabbit hole, but she refuses to drop a marmalade jar for fear it might hurt someone down below. The YAF protagonist is someone inclined to take on responsibility. She or he is on a learning curve to becoming a savior-figure. Towards this end, the youthful protagonists are privy to unusual knowledge, a revelatory experience regarding the innermost mystery of a remarkable world. This experience usually signals that the protagonist has graduated to a new level of understanding: a level of knowledge that imparts not only power but also greater responsibility for the good of all concerned.

 Checklist for YAF Dynamics

  • The YAF protagonist seems alienated in some way but feels a deep sense of responsibility.
  • The YAF protagonist craves “normal” things but learns to accept the extraordinary to the point of transformation of self and world.
  • The YAF protagonist is privy to the unusual knowledge of a mystery at the heart of an extraordinary “other” world.
  • The YAF protagonist discovers that conventional knowledge is flawed and that pre-conceived notions about the nature of reality must give way to a more comprehensive knowledge of what is possible or not possible. When we speak of what is possible (or not) in a given world, we are speaking of epistemology (e.g., the reversed principles of a looking-glass world).
  • The YAF protagonist over the course of the story develops mastery of his or her extraordinary world.
  • The YAF protagonist takes responsibility for the extraordinary world to the point of becoming its savior.
  • One way of talking about how the protagonist shapes and affects the nature of his/her extraordinary world is to use the term creator agency.
  • There are limits on the protagonist’s creator agency even if mastery is possible. The “rules” of a given world are another way of talking about its epistemology.
  • We never escape the sense that the protagonist in some way influences the epistemology of the extraordinary world.
  • The YAF genre is a modern genre (not unlike science fiction, psychological thrillers, detective mysteries, or supernatural horror) that challenges, or puts into question, some prevailing notion of modern culture and posits a meaningful alternative. YAF has an ironic, even satirical relationship to technology and privileges the old and clunky (dusty and forgotten) over the new and shiny.
  • Both Lewis and Tolkien, for instance, rejected the “machine” of 20th century technology (the tanks and machine guns of WWI were on their minds) in favor of the creative role of human imagination (see esp. Tolkien’s preface to the 2nd edition of The Silmarillion).
  • In Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Tom Bombadil is that character whose dancing, singing, and creative relationship to the old forest highlights what Barfield means by “participative.” Frodo himself seems to be a conduit of creation, overcoming time and space, when he encounters Lothlórien for the first time. Upon entering the realm of the Elves, he feels as if what he perceives is coming into being through his own awareness. Paradoxically, he seems to be creating—or feeling the creation of—everything including time and eternity: “All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever” (341).  
  • However, YAF is disturbing and troubling precisely because it is “participative.” YAF privileges the “make believe” possibilities of how young people experience the world. Instead of saying there’s nothing under the bed or in the closet, YAF says that indeed there might be. Instead of reassuring young people that they are safe and everything is going to be “o.k.,” YAF suggests that one world (the “normal) is giving way to another (anything but “normal”) world.
  • YAF, for instance, subversively suggests that in the extraordinary world of The Fallen Lucifer Morningstar is no longer the true adversary of God, that in The Amber Spyglass the protagonist can change the nature of the afterlife (to the point of harrowing hell), and that the “dreamish kind of wakefulness” (369) of Lucy Pevensie in Prince Caspian is not delusion but a reverie that reveals the true nature of Narnia. Lucy and Narnia must remember each other before Aslan will bring Narnia back to life.
  • Writers as different as C. S. Lewis and Philip Pullman have something in common: they posit a universe where young protagonists have what Barfield would call a “directionally creator relation” with the underlying dynamic of reality; an extraordinary world comes into being through these characters and their relationship to what they perceive is malleable and subject to their influence (what we mean by creator agency).
  • An increased sense of possibility makes this genre by nature metaphysical (portents of a larger spiritual universe) and transformational (exceeding normal terms of what it means to be human), whether we are talking about the protagonist or the world around the protagonist.

English Department Goals

GOAL 1. Critical Inquiry

Objective 1.1:  Student engages in an increasingly sophisticated discourse and demonstrates aesthetic and critical discernment through close textual analysis.

Objective 1.2:  Student evaluates secondary sources and applies skills in information gathering and management, and document design, using traditional sources and emerging technologies.

GOAL 2.  Knowledge of Language and Literature

Objective 2.1:  Student understands the usage and structure of the English language.

Objective 2.2:  Student recognizes the stylistic techniques that distinguish key literary texts relevant to subject and genre.

Objective 2.3:  Student is familiar with the legacy of important ideas and contexts associated with literary periods.

Objective 2.4:  Student is introduced to academic and professional publications in the field.

GOAL 3.  Writing as Process

Objective 3.1:  Student reflects on his or her arguments over multiple stages of development.

Objective 3.2:  Using traditional resources and emerging technologies, the student references and formats primary and secondary sources in MLA style.

GOAL 4.  Engagement

Objective 4.1:  Student is aware of a cultural context for his or her own values and those of his or her sources.


Course Expectations

 

Students are required to do the following:

  • Participate in discussion by presenting an early draft of a seven paragraph essay based on a title in our reading list. That draft may be a short story in the case of one of the required papers.
  • Write three seven paragraph (five and a half page typed) essays: the first on The Fallen or The Amber Spyglass, the second on Narnia, the third (the Blue Book Final) must address The Annotated Alice. The Blue Book may be handwritten in class or typed on a laptop in class.
  • Students may substitute their own original short story for one of the first two essays (but not for the Blue Book).
  • This original story would incorporate and demonstrate key YAF dynamics (see checklist).
  • The story need not have complete plotline. It can end on a cliff-hanger, so to speak. It could be just one episode in a larger implied story.
  • In the seven paragraph essays include a critical review (pars. 5-6).
  • In paragraph five of the critical review, compare the primary text (the subject of pars. 2-4) to another title in our course which you have not written about as yet. When you make a point, provide the page numbers from the comparison text in parentheses. Directly quote the comparison text at least once.
  • In paragraph five, conclude on a relevant point in Barfield’s Saving the Appearances (and directly quote from it).
  • In paragraph six, bring to bear a sustained idea from an outside source (not required in our list). When you make a point, provide the page numbers from the outside source in parentheses. Directly quote from it at least once. The source could be a scholarly article (or more than one article) from a Moffett-supported online database like Academic Search Complete. It could also be a relevant book (or more than one book). ONE outside source is SUFFICIENT. But if you would like to use more than one, you are free to do so.
  • For paragraph six, print out the relevant online source, highlight the relevant passages, and provide it in one of the pockets of your folder. If utilizing a book, please photo-copy relevant pages and highlight them, and provide them in one of the folder pockets—unless the instructor already owns the book(s) in question.
  • Throughout the essay, support, demonstrate, and stay within sight of a thesis that is clearly stated at the beginning of the first paragraph of the essay. YOU MIGHT WANT TO WRITE THE FIRST PARAGRAPH LAST.
  • In the seventh paragraph, offer the thesis and key sub-points in your own words. There is no quoting in this paragraph.
  • Provide a Block Quote (BQ) from the primary text immediately following the first paragraph.
  • In paragraph two, mine the BQ for ideas (but no new quoting from the primary text).
  • In paragraph three, address character in regard to key attributes of YAF. Paragraph three requires four Short Quotes (SQs) from the primary text (same text as BQ).
  • In paragraph four, address irony in regard to key attributes of YAF. Requires 4 more SQs (again from the same primary text as the BQ).
  • For the Final Exam, write in class a six paragraph Blue Book essay on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and/or Through the Looking Glass as your primary text. The essay begins with the Block Quote. The paragraphs that follow the BQ are the same format as the seven paragraph model (but without the introductory paragraph and without need of an outside source).
  • For paragraph five of the Blue Book, compare one of the required titles you have not addressed as yet (and quote from it). Conclude on a point (and quote) from Owen Barfield.
  • For paragraph six of the Blue Book, discuss relevant points from Martin Gardner’s annotation or prefatory material. Use Martin Gardner instead of an outside source.
  • For all assignments, write clearly with standard punctuation and grammar. Grammar and phrasing problems will affect the grade.
  • Provide a Works Cited that fulfills MLA standards.

Final Exam

Thursday, June 30th, 12:20–2:20 PM. Students may pre-enter the Block Quote in their Blue Book. They may already have an outline with bullet points on the inside Blue Book covers. The Blue Book is open-book (you may have your Martina Gardner text with you). The Works Cited may also be pre-entered in the Blue Book. There is NO introductory paragraph, but otherwise everything is the same including proper MLA in-body citing.

 


Grading Standards

 

Grading

Each of the three essays is one third of the total semester grade. The semester grade will be the average of the three writing assignments.


Final Exam6/30/2011  12:20 PM

Submission Format Policy

 

Proper Submission of Student Writing

  • All writing must be typed (12 point Times New Roman), double-spaced, with a header for the student’s last name (in the default .5 setting in upper right corner), page numbers inserted (upper right, .5 setting), and MLA format for citing, including the Works Cited. However, while the top, right, and bottom margins should be set at one inch, the left margin should be an inch and a quarter to accommodate the folder.On the first page of an essay, the student name, instructor name, course, and date should be in the upper left, double-spaced.
  • Students must submit, and retain, all their typed hole-punched assignments in the clasps (i.e., “brads”) of a folder (which has both brads and pockets) in the order that they were assigned. The photocopy or printout of the relevant outside source must be in the left pocket (highlighted for the relevant passages). The most recent assignment that needs to be graded is always the last item (hole-punched and fixed in the brads).
  • Students must submit their work in person (from their hands into the instructor’s hands). Submission for a due-date is never by e-mail attachment or under the office door, or left on a desk, or by surrogate (classmate or relative). Late work also must be submitted in person.
  • Work submitted apart from the guidelines of this syllabus will not be evaluated and must be resubmitted and penalized for lateness.


Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

 Late Penalties and Illness

An assignment is late if submitted after the class period it is due and penalized 10 points. If late by two class periods, the essay is penalized 20 points. No late work may be submitted after the last official class period, Dec. 3rd. A class period is officially over when the instructor dismisses it.All late work must be submitted IN PERSON.

If students are too ill to submit their work personally, they should submit it when they return to class. They may avoid penalty for late submission by obtaining documentation from a relevant professional in a timely fashion (e.g., a doctor or the Dean of Students’ office). Absence for the sake of others requires similar documentation.


Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

 Attendance Policy

Roll is taken right away as soon as class begins. The instructor is not obliged to count people present who arrive late. A student with three unexcused absences receives a warning from the instructor. As of the fourth unexcused absence, the instructor reserves the right to notify the Dean of Students and to initiate removal of the student from the course. Students who anticipate being late or absent on a given day (or days) should work out an individual plan with the instructor for due dates and keeping up.


Other Policies

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT POLICY: Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")—whether you use that material in a quotation, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

  Plagiarism and Proper Documentation

Any use of a source’s words as your own is plagiarism, even if most of the essay is original. It does not matter if you provide partial documentation (for instance, mention of the source in your Works Cited). Lack of proper acknowledgement and citing of sources—whether in the body of the essay or the Works Cited—can result in a failing grade and/or the charge of plagiarism and may require being reported to the university.

 Remember: Any use of a source requires in-body attribution—e.g., “according to [name of author(s)] in his or her article [title of article] for the journal [name of journal]—and then a page number in parentheses when you’re finished explaining a given point. Each time you finish making a point from the source you need to provide a parenthetical page at the end of the point’s final sentence. You need in-body attribution and a parenthetical page number even if you’re not directly quoting.

 Any verbatim use of a source must be distinguished clearly from the student’s own language: i.e., set off on the left by an extra 10 spaces (i.e., Block Quotes) or enclosed by quotation marks (for shorter passages), immediately followed by the parenthetical reference.

Disabilities Act: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zone: The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor’s expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Writing Tutors: I encourage you to begin drafting papers as early as possible and to take advantage of the MSU Writing Labs located in 224 Bea Wood and RC246 Moffett Library.  Writing tutors will not edit your papers for you, but they will provide you with specific suggestions for improving your writing. 

Writing Proficiency Exam after 60 earned credits: All students seeking a Bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they have 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours.  You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113.  Please keep in mind that, once you have earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit-hour course.  If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at http://academics.mwsu.edu/wpr, or call 397-4131.


Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at http://academics.mwsu.edu/wpr, or call 397-4131.