Goal: The main purpose of this course is to provide students with an
opportunity to develop their own answers to the question, "What makes a person
great?" It is hoped that giving students a chance to address this problem
while seeing its inter-connections with fundamental philosophical issues
will help them integrate their heroic visions into their own philosophies
of human existence and/or philosophic religious faith.
Requirements and grading
ABOUT THE SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENTS: You are to select and complete
five of the eight short writing assignments. A reading question is
given along with each assignment. Unless otherwise indicated, please answer
the reading question in less than one TYPED page (all assignments, except in-class writings, are to be typed). Make sure you are working with the current version of this syllabus.
STUDENT PRESENTATIONS: For every presentation, you will be required
to turn in an outline or abstract of your presentation, complete with
a list of all works used. Also, if you use any web pages, not only should
these be listed on the outline with the rest of your bibliography, but you
are also required to turn in a printout of all web pages used in preparing
the presentation. If your group divides the work into separate parts, each
member of the group will need to provide his or her own outline/abstract
and printouts. Outlines/abstracts, and printouts are to be given to me BEFORE the presentation. Failure to do so BEFORE
the presentation will result in a 30% deduction from the relevant presenter's
presentation grade. If the outline and printouts are not turned in by the
next class, there will be an additional 30% deduction. You may use up to but not more than 5 minutes of videotaped material for your presentation. If
the class is meeting in a room with a built-in VCR, make sure you know how
to use it. If you need to bring in a VCR for the presentation, you may order
one from AV by calling 445-4380 or on the web at http://www.lemoyne.edu/information_systems/audio_visual/class.htm
In the event of a technical glitch or delivery problem make sure you can present without the videotaped material.
STUDENT PRESENTATIONS ON READINGS: All students are expected to do all
readings and to share their understanding with one another in class discussions
by leading their own and participating in other students' presentations on
the various readings. Student presentations on readings begin the second
week of class, and will be scheduled during the first week. The subtopics
will be divided up into student groups whose size will be determined by the
class size. Remember: You have less
than an hour to present. Focus on the aspects your group finds most interesting
and important. Do not try to cover everything. Your presentation will be
improved if you make it easier for others to participate. (Please try to
help others' presentations by participating!) Please feel free to meet with
me to discuss your presentations. If you don't find me on campus, you are
welcome to call me at home before 8:00 PM. YOU CAN ALWAYS LEAVE A VOICE MAIL MESSAGE AT 445-4489.
THE PROJECT might involve further investigating the issue of human greatness
and heroism, a philosophical essay concerning some related issue of philosophical
interest in a work of literature, a creative literary work of the student's
own [e.g., a short story, 1st chapter of a novel, & c.], or a philosophical
analysis of some related issue present in one of the works we studied, detailing
the position[s] set forth in the work, and developing and defending one's
own philosophical response.
25% of the grade is based on participation, in-class
writings, and the optional journal and other optional writing assignments.
Since you are not participating when you don't attend class, you will need
to make up any absences with extra-credit assignments and journalling.
25% of the grade is based on the presentation on the readings.
25% for the five short writing assignments (the grade will be the average of the best four out of five).
25% is determined by the project and its presentation.
Grades are based on a 10 point scale as follows:
90-100 - 'A' range (97-100 = A+; 94-96=A; 90-93=A-).
80-89 - 'B' range (87-89 = B+; 84-86=B; 80-83=B-).
70-79 - 'C' range (77-79 = C+; 74-76=C; 70-73=C-).
60-69 - 'D' range (67-69 = D+; 64-66=D; 60-63=D-).
Below 60 - 'F'.
Failure to complete any of (1)-(4) can result in a failing grade. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade.
Required Reading List: (in approximate reading order)
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York:
King, Stephen. Different Seasons (also published as Shawshank Redemption).
Rand, Ayn. Anthem.
Butler, Octavia E. Bloodchild and Other Stories.
Haley, Alex, and Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
In coordination with the Academic Support Center (ASC),
reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified students with disabilities.
Please register with the ASC Office for disability verification and determination
of reasonable accommodations. After receiving your accommodation form from
the ASC, you will need to make an appointment with me to review the form
and discuss your needs. Please make every attempt to meet with me within
the first week of class so your accommodations can be provided in a timely
manner. You can either stop by the ASC, Library, 1st floor, or call (445-4118-voice
or 445-4104-TDD) to make an appointment.
IMPORTANT DATES No classes on the following dates: Mon.,
Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), Mar. 3-7 (Spring Break), Apr. 17 -21
(Easter Break). PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE Fri., Feb. 28. WRITTEN PROJECTS DUE: WED., Apr. 16. LAST DAY OF CLASS - May 5.
TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE AND SCHEDULE OF ASSIGNMENTS ['*' MARKS WEEKS IN WHICH STUDENTS PRESENT ON READINGS.]
#1 (Mon., Jan. 13) Introduce course, choose groups and schedule presentations on readings.
#2 (Wed., Jan. 15) -- In-class writing on childhood heroes.
#3 (Fri., Jan. 17) Discussion of heroic scripting. Mon., Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
#4 (Wed., Jan. 22) Instructor presents on "The Porcelain Salamander." Group work on "The Porcelain Salamander."
*#5 (Fri., Jan. 24) Students present on Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Who do you like most in the The Bluest Eye, and who least? Why?
#6 & #7 (Mon. Jan. 27 and Wed., Jan. 29) Self-deception
and bad faith. Instructor presents on Le Guin's "Those who walk away
from Omelas, " and Card's "The Best Day." The temptation to deny
the best and the worst.
*#8 (Fri ., Jan. 31) Students present on Night. SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE: Who, by the end of Night seems to learned the most important things? Why? (Note: You may write about one or more people.) *#9 (Mon., Feb. 3). SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE: What
are these children told about themselves? Do they believe it? Why or why
not? Students present on Stephen King's "The Body" (in Different Seasons).
#10 (Wed., Feb. 5) Instructor present's on Rand's philosophy.
* #11 (Fri., Feb. 7) Students present on Anthem. SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE: In
the world Rand describes, one's career is chosen by others at an early age
- Which characters in the book resist this choice? Does our society also put
some in a position that will keep them from hurting the status quo? If so,
how so? If not, why not?
#12 (Mon, Feb. 10) Lecture on problem of personal identity.
* #13 (Wed., Feb. 12) Short writing assignment due: Students present on Octavia Butler's "The Evening and the Morning, and the Night" (in the Bloodchild anthology) . SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT:
Who in your experience, is like the people in this story? Have they
chosen to do what they do best? Why or why not? Please
explain, using examples from the story.
#14 (Fri., Feb. 14) Lecture on "Becker, Childhood, and Scary Stories"
#15 ( Mon., Feb. 17) Instructor presents one way of reading King (and others).
* #16 ( Wed., Feb. 19) Students present on Stephen King's "The Breathing Method" (in Different Seasons). SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE: Who do you think are the more impressive people in this story? Why?
#17 (Fri., Feb. 21) Instructor presents on Heroic Myths (Campbell and Raffa) and the twice born.
* #18 (Mon., Feb. 24) SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE: In
the world Malcolm X describes, one's career is chosen by others at an early
age - How do different people in the book respond to this? What can we learn from
this? Students present on The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
#19 ( Wed., Feb. 26) Group work on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Lecture on racism and deception. *#20 (Fri., Feb. 28) PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE Fri., Feb. 28.
TWO PART SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENT DUE:
Write a brief description of a friend or a brief story in which the sex
of at least one major character is neither stated nor implied. THEN explain
which of the people described in the Symposium has a theory or
story about love you think is important, interesting, or true. Explain
why. Note: You are welcome to do this within one page if you can,
but, for this assignment, the page limit is 3 TYPED pages. Students present
on Symposium. Mar. 3-7 (Spring Break) #21 (Mon., Mar. 10) Lecture on "Sex and Gender."
#22 (Wed., Mar. 12) -Lecture on "Possibilities and Practice: The Heroic Task and Self Education." #23 (Fri. Mar. 14) - SCHEDULE PROJECT PRESENTATIONS. Buber's hasidut and Rebbe Nachman's "The Turkey Prince." (includes group work on Rebbe Nachman's story). #24 (Mon, Mar. 17) Instructor presentation on "Middle Woman" or "Gert Fram."
#25 (Wed, Mar. 19) In-class writing exercise on future autobiography.
#26 (Fri., Mar . 21) Class group work on Saki's "The Open Window."
#27 (Mon., Mar. 24) Bring Bloodchild to class. Presentation on "Positive Obsession."
#28 (Wed., Mar. 26) Bring Bloodchild to class. Presentation on "Furor Scribendi." NOTE: WRITTEN PROJECTS DUE: WED., Apr. 16. **#29 (Fri., March 28 through Friday, May 2 - Student presentations on projects (these
are to be between 20 and 50 minutes in length, depending on the size of the
class, and the number of students presenting). These will continue until
the end of semester. Students who are unable to do their individual presentations
at the scheduled time will need to schedule a make-up presentation. No classes Apr. 17-21 (Easter Break). Mon., May 5, TBA & Make-up presentations. LAST DAY OF CLASS.
SOME SUGGESTED WORKS FOR FINAL PROJECTS
Ajami, Fouad. The Dream Palace of the Arabs. (Pantheon Books, 1998).
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and the Last Great Lesson.
Amdur, Ellis. Dueling with O-Sensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage. Available from www.ellisamdur.com.
Alexie, Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. (The movie "Smoke Signals" is based on this.)
Becker, Ernest. The Birth and Death of Meaning, The Denial of Death, and other works.
Belenky, et al. Women's Ways of Knowing.
Berne, Eric. What Do You Say After You Say Hello? - The Psychology of Human Destiny, and other works.
Brown, Claude. Manchild in the Promised Land.
Brown, Christy. My Left Foot.
Bujold, Lois McMaster. Cordelia's Honor, and other works.
Butler, Octavia E. Parable of the Sower, and other works.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Second ed.
Card, Orson Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game, and other works.
Chandler, Raymond. The Simple Art of Murder, and other works.
Cross, Amanda. Death in a Tenured Position, and other works.
Davies, Robertson. The Deptford Trilogy : Fifth Business/the Manticore/World of Wonders, and other works.
DeWitt, Helen. The Last Samurai.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, Notes from the Underground, "The Crocodile, " and other works.
Elgin, Suzette Haden. Native Tongue, The Judas Rose, The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense and other works.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man.
Frankl, Viktor. Man's Search for Meaning. Pocket Books Washington Square Press printing, 1985.
Friedman, C.S. This Alien Shore, and other works..
Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers.
Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development.
Gilman, Dorothy The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, Tightrope Walker, Incident at Badamya, and other works.
Goldman, William. The Princess Bride. Goldstein, Lisa. Travellers in Magic (Tor Books, 1994).
Hammett, Dashiel. The Maltese Falcon (the book and the movie). You should look at his other novels as well.
Hargrove, Anne C. Getting Better: Conversations with myself and other friends while healing from breast cancer.
Heinlein, R. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Citizen of the Galaxy, Double Star and other works.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha, The Journey to the East, The Glass Bead Game, Steppenwolf, and other works.
Hoeg, Peter. Smilla's Sense of Snow, Borderliners.
Howatch, Susan. Glamorous Powers, and other works.
Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp.
Jarmusch, Jim. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
Kafka, Franz. "Penal Colony, " "Hunger Artist, " The Trial, The Castle, and other works.
Kagan, Michael . Educating Heroes (Durango, Colorado: Hollowbrook, 1994).
Kamenetz, Rodger. The Jew in the Lotus : A Poet's Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India, and Stalking Elijah: Adventures with Today's Jewish Mystical Masters.
Kaye, Ronnie. Spinning Straw into Gold.
King, Stephen. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts in Atlantis, Bag of Bones, and other works.
Kress, Nancy. Beggars in Spain, Maximum Light.
Leonard, George. Mastery (NewYork: Penguin/Plume, 1992).
Lowry, Dave. Autumn Lightning.
Le Guin, Ursula K. The Telling, Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe of Heaven, The Dispossessed, and other works.
Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted.
Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon, and other works.
Morrow, James. Towing Jehovah, Blameless in Abaddon, and other works.
Noddings, Nel. Caring.
McBride, James. The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother.
Oates, J. C. On Boxing.
Parker, Robert B. Mortal Stakes, and other works.
Plato. The Republic, and other works.
Polster, Miriam F. Eve's Daughters : The Forbidden Heroism of Women.
Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).
Raffa, Jean Benedict. The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth.
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, The Virtue of Selfishness.
Rollin, B. First, You Cry.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Russell, Mary Doria. The Sparrow, and Children of God.
Salmonson, Jessica Amanda. A Silver Thread of Madness, and other works.
Sapphire. Push: A Novel.
Silverberg, Robert. Lord Valentine's Castle.
Steiner, Claude M. Scripts People Live: Transactional Analysis of Life Scripts.
Suzuki, D.T. Zen and Japanese Culture.
Sturgeon, Theodore. More than Human, and other works.
Scriptures, religious tales and teachings of interest to the student, from
a variety of traditions (including, but not limited to, African, Buddhist,
Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Native American, Taoist, Vedic.)
Stout, Martha. The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club, The Hundred Secret Senses.
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and other works.
Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt. Mother Night, Slaughterhouse Five, and other works.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple.
Wachowski, Andy and Larry. The Matrix.
Wiesel, Elie. Dawn, The Accident, and other works.
Willis, Connie. Passages, Doomsday Book, Bellwether, and other works..
Zettel, Sarah. Fool's War.