Friday, March 25, 2011

Teaching Lit: Scaring the Crap Out of Students a Class at a Time

It's that time again! We've just changed over from one academic term to the next, which means I'm rolling out new literature to new batches of students. This past term, I taught a Literature and Film independent study. My two students were great, and we had a good time discussing film in general. We read some selections from Stephen King's Different Seasons and Reginald Rose's classic play, Twelve Angry Men.

This term is going to be even MORE fun as I'm teaching another independent study, this time over Science Fiction and Fantasy. I'm also teaching a general Introduction to Lit class, which is a whole section of students--not an independent study.

Wanna know what I've decided to terrorize my students with??! Check it out...

Introduction to Literature:

Short Stories and Essays:
  • "Coming to an Awareness of Language" by Malcolm X
  • "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury
  • "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin
  • "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates
  • "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor
  • "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker
  • "Today's Demon: Magic" by Lynda Barry (comic)
  • "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor
And WHOA, I'm seeing the male-writer-gap now. I still have some things to fill in, I just don't know what I'll use to flesh this out. Stay tuned!

Poetry for Intro to Lit:
  • The Second Coming” by W.B. Yeats
  • “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot
  • “Totem” by Ted Hughes
  • “Jilted” by Sylvia Plath
  • "Mad Girl's Love Song" by Sylvia Plath
  • “my old man” by Charles Bukowski
  • “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy
  • “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen
  • "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams
  • "In a Station of the Metro" by Ezra Pound
  • "Introduction to Poetry" by Billy Collins
  • Sonnet 130 by Shakespeare
  • "Tyger! Tyger!" by William Blake
  • "Howl" by Allen Ginsburg
And I'm sure I'll jam a few more in there somewhere.

Last, but certainly not least, I'm debating about the "drama" section of the course. The textbook has Antigone by Sophocles and A Doll's House by Ibsen. I've read both, I loved both, and I've taught A Doll's House to death. I would prefer to buy the class copies of Proof (probably can't afford it!). I'm also just not sure Antigone will "play" very well for this bunch. To be announced!

And for the Science Fiction and Fantasy class, we're reading a butt-load of fairy tales I won't list, but the short stories are:
--Excerpt from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
--Excerpt from We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
--"Mars is Heaven!" by Ray Bradbury
--"The Nine Billion Names of God" by Arthur C. Clarke
--"All You Zombies--" by Robert Heinlein
--"The Persistence of Vision" by John Varley
--"Bloodchild" by Octavia Butler
Honestly, I haven't read all of these yet. Most, but not all. I've taken some recommendations from a colleague who taught this course last term and is a heavy-duty sci-fi reader. I also have a bunch of others marked in the textbook like Geoff Ryman's "Dead Space for the Unexpected," but I plan to gather a bit more feedback and do a bit more of my own reading in the coming days.
If you were teaching your own Introduction to Literature or Science Fiction and Fantasy sections, what would you add to the reading list?

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