ENGL 123 introduction to fiction

GREENLAW 222; MWF 1:25pm-2:15pm; FALL 2019; SECTION 03


“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” —Ursula LeGuin
“Story is a yearning meeting an obstacle.” —Robert Olen Butler



Photo credit: Sarah Boyd
  • Email: paulblom@live.unc.edu
  • Office: Greenlaw 509
  • Office Hours: Wednesdays (10:00am-1:00pm) & by appointment (Confirm by appointment; please note that you are welcome to visit me during office hours unannounced, but due to the high volume of student visits, it's best if you set up an appointment with me in advance.)
  • Mail: Greenlaw Hall, CB #3520, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520
  • UNC profile page: https://englishcomplit.unc.edu/grad-student/paul-blom/
  • Professional website: https://pauleblom.com/
  • Full texts of all required reading materials, either printed or downloaded to your device (available as .pdfs on Sakai course site under “Resources”)
  • Your fully charged laptop (equipped with Microsoft Word or Google Docs; Pages is NOT an acceptable format for this class). (Current UNC students can access the Microsoft Office suite for free at https://office365.unc.edu/.)

Welcome to Introduction to Fiction (ENGL 123)! In this course, we will focus on the genre of short fiction. This is a 100-level course with no prerequisites, aimed primarily at non-majors, and for this reason, this course is designed as a kind of survey, introducing students to various pieces of fiction from a variety of sociohistorical contexts. The selected texts come from a variety of times, places, voices, and cultures, and we will be reading these texts while keeping in mind the cultures and literary antecedents that influence their production and reception.

You will be asked to deeply engage with each text, not just to understand the plot and characters but to critically examine the ways in which various authors craft their language to create a desired effect upon a reader. In this course, we will carefully consider genre, media, methodology, and craft. Throughout this course we will constantly ask—and attempt to answer—the following questions: What does it mean for a text to be “fiction”? What is the role or function of fiction? What makes a “good” piece of fiction? Can such a concept be defined? How can a work of fiction be both a product of its context and influence culture or society? How does one interpret fiction and craft an argument to support that interpretation?

This class is designed to improve your knowledge of and appreciation for short fiction and even for fiction in general, empowering you to engage with such materials on a deeper, more critical level. The course, however, aims to do much more than that; our work should improve your critical thinking and analytical skills in general, enhancing your abilities to read all texts—and the world around you—closely and carefully, empowering you to form your own interpretations, opinions, decisions, and arguments. These are tools you will continue to use throughout your college career and beyond.


During this course, students will learn to:

  • Identify and question the nature and role of fiction
  • Read works of short fiction analytically through “close reading”
  • Situate each text within its particular historical, social, and cultural context
  • Analyze the works using a comparative approach to better understand connections between texts of different genres, cultures, and times
  • Interpret and craft unique arguments about works of fiction
  • Engage critically with the concepts of plot, characterization, character development, dialogue, point of view, setting, style, narrative structure, diction, syntax, themes, and genres

The course will be organized around the following principles:

Student-centered: My instruction will emphasize process: how to read, write, analyze, interpret, understand, and create oral, written, or multimedia texts. My role in this class is not that of a traditional teacher who stands at the front of the room and lectures. Rather, I am someone who offers structure, motivation, support, perspective, and feedback as YOU engage with your classmates and the course texts. While I will ultimately evaluate your work, my main focus is on empowering you to make decisions about how you read, interpret, discuss, and write about our course texts.

Discussion-based: This class will be largely discussion-based, which means that you must complete the assigned readings for this course to be successful, both for you and your classmates. In order to have productive discussions, you need to be prepared and come with questions/topics you want to discuss. The texts for this course are challenging, complex, and thought-provoking. The more time you spend reading, re-reading, and reflecting, the more rewarding the texts—and our subsequent discussions—will be.


This course will function on a simple point grading system. Further details and assignment handouts will be provided via Sakai for the essays, final project, etc. listed below.

  • Daily Posts (brief responses to the assigned readings, due before each class): 15%
  • First Essay (an original close-reading of a passage from a short story, 3-5 pages, due Fri. Sept. 20): 15%
  • Second Essay (an original close-reading of a passage from a short story, 3-5 pages, due Fri. Oct. 25): 15%
  • Final Project (an original close-reading of a short story OR an analytical comparison between multiple short stories OR a justification for the value of reading/studying fiction OR some other comparable project that has received my prior approval, 6-10 pages, due Wed. Dec. 4): 25%
  • Final Exam, Mon. Dec. 9 (multiple-choice, short answer, extended answer; no notes allowed): 20%
  • Note: The course final exam is given in compliance with the university final exam policy and according to the UNC Final Exam calendar (https://registrar.unc.edu/academic-calendar/final-examination-schedule-fall/).
  • Class Participation & Engagement: 10%

To calculate your overall participation grade, I record a daily participation grade for each student for every single class session based on the following criteria:

  • Attended all class sessions and conferences
  • Arrived on time and fully prepared
  • Engaged during class discussions and other activities
  • Actively participated in group/partner work
  • Completed all peer review activities
  • Displayed significant investment in the revision process
  • Note: If I notice you are not fully engaged or are engaged with non-class activities, your participation grade for the day will be severely lowered. Additionally, being absent or being disruptive earns an automatic participation grade of 0 for the day.

Whether we are doing group work, peer editing, having a class discussion, or taking a trip to the library, you should be alert and willing to participate in all activities. Not being on task, checking social media, failing to engage with the day’s material, or failing to bring a draft to class will significantly lower your participation grade. Participation grades may also be lowered for inappropriate or disruptive behavior during class. Attendance is expected. Missing class will impact your participation grade. Disruptive behavior or an absence from class will earn you a 0 for your daily participation grade, unless your absence is excused by the Dean of Students. Contact me ahead of time if you are experiencing an issue that might affect your ability to attend class, and we will discuss your options. For more information about the University attendance policies (and what to do if you feel you have extenuating circumstances regarding your absence), see https://catalog.unc.edu/policies-procedures/attendance-grading-examination/#text.

Final letter grades are determined based on the following scale:

  • A (93-100)
  • A- (90-92)
  • B+ (87-89)
  • B (83-86)
  • B- (80-82)
  • C+ (77-79)
  • C (73-76)
  • C- (70-72)
  • D+ (67-69)
  • D (63-66)
  • F (below 63)

I will use traditional rounding to determine grades that fall between whole values. Any mixed number with a decimal value of five tenths or higher will round up to the next whole number. (For example, 92.5 will round up to an A as a 93, but 92.4 will not.)

Late Assignments

Each assignment should be completed and prepared in the correct format for submission on the day it is due. This includes homework, drafts, presentations, and larger written projects. Unless otherwise specified, daily homework assignments and larger projects will typically be due before class begins on that due date. Late submissions of daily homework post assignments will significantly affect your grade for your daily posts. Regarding larger graded assignments such as your essays, I will typically not accept late submissions. Plan ahead to prepare for potential conflicts or submission/technical issues so you can avoid them. If your assignment is late or is going to be late, however, I urge you to communicate with me immediately and attempt to submit the assignment as soon as possible to see if we can determine a work-around to potentially minimize how much it hurts your grade.

Most assignments will be submitted electronically, and it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your assignment was posted/submitted successfully. I will not accept excuses involving “technical glitches” or “uploading errors.” It is your job to upload or submit your assignment and then click to double-check and confirm that the correct document was submitted and that it was submitted successfully. I will simply grade based on the document available from your submission.

Despite all of the above, I do recognize that life happens, and sometimes, extenuating circumstances may prevent you from completing an assignment by the deadline. If you feel you cannot complete an assignment by the deadline, speak with me, and we might be able to work out a reasonable timeline that accommodates you. I will consider granting extensions on assignments up to 48 hours before the due date. Do NOT contact me the night before the assignment is due and expect an extension. I will only consider granting extensions for reasons I consider valid.

  • Attend all class sessions. This is a discussion-based course, which means your participation is vital to the overall success of the course, both for you and your peers. You can’t participate if you’re not here, both physically and mentally present. I expect you to attend every single class session. Failure to do so will affect your participation grade. Note that missing student-instructor conferences will count as an absence. UNC policy states that there is no such thing as an excused absence except for missing a class session in order to participate in a mandatory university-sponsored activity or if approved by the Dean of Students due to extenuating circumstances. Being sick, family trips, and doctor visits are not excused absences and will affect your participation grade. If you miss a class session, it is your responsibility to reach out to me or your classmates to find out what information you missed, including upcoming assignments, changes in the schedule, etc. Ideally, you should contact me ahead of time if you think you may need to miss a class. I do not want to know the reason for your absence; if you feel your absence involves extenuating circumstances, please contact the Dean of Students who will make a determination and, if necessary, contact me to excuse your absence, at which point I will adjust your participation grade for the day(s) missed. Please note that the Honor Code also applies to such requests made to the Dean of Students. See the University attendance policy at https://catalog.unc.edu/policies-procedures/attendance-grading-examination/#text.
  • Arrive on time. Class begins strictly at 1:25pm, at which point you should already be in your seat, ready to engage with the day’s material. Tardiness will affect your participation grade.
  • Be prepared daily with assignments, drafts, readings, etc. If you show up to class without your assignments, rough drafts, or laptop or not having completed the assigned readings, you will be unable to engage with the material for the day and unable to contribute to class in a meaningful way, which will inevitably affect your participation grade.
  • Engage actively in all in-class exercises, discussions, writing workshops, and activities. Participate intensively and diligently with your peers. Collaborate with your classmates by offering consistently thoughtful questions, reactions, feedback, and discussion related to their work and ideas. By closely engaging with your peers’ work, both you and your classmates will grow as readers and writers, and we will all learn and benefit from a collectively engaged community.
  • Complete every assignment thoroughly, thoughtfully, and punctually. I expect your best effort and attention to all reading, writing, and day-to-day activities in the course. Please note that absence does not excuse you from completing any missed assignments. It is your responsibility to figure out what assignments you have missed and to work out an appropriate timeline with me for making them up or for turning them in before you miss a class. (Most, if not all, assignments will be submitted electronically. If an assignment is due for a class session you miss, you are still responsible for submitting that assignment on time.)
  • Give thoughtful peer feedback during class or group discussions or workshops, and work faithfully with your group or partner on other collaborative tasks (such as sharing papers, commenting on drafts, peer editing, online discussion boards, answering peer questions, etc.).
  • Sustain effort and investment on each draft of all assignments.
  • Make substantive revisions when the assignment is to revise, extending or changing the thinking or the organization, not just editing or touching up. While you do not have to make every change suggested by your readers, final drafts should show growth from original drafts and evidence of your thoughtful engagement with peer and instructor feedback.
  • Copy-edit successfully all final revisions of assignments so they conform to the conventions of edited American English. While we will prioritize higher-order concerns (ideas) over lower-order ones (sentence-level issues), your attention to detail reflects your level of professionalism. The same standard for print projects applies equally to multimedia projects.
  • Be consistent. All assignments, unless otherwise specified, are to be completed and submitted in standard academic format: Microsoft Word, one-inch margins on all sides, double-spaced in size 12 Times New Roman black font, with a header in the top-right corner that consists of page numbers accompanied by student’s last name (such as Blom 1, Blom 2, etc.).
  • Tues. Aug. 20: FDOC (first day of classes)
  • Wed. Aug. 21: ENGL 123 meets for our first class
  • Mon. Sept. 2: Labor Day (no classes held)
  • Thurs. Oct. 17: Fall Break begins (no classes held; we will not meet on Oct. 18)
  • Mon. Oct. 21: Fall Break ends (we will meet for class on Oct. 21)
  • Wed. Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Break begins (no classes held; we will not meet on Nov. 27, 29)
  • Mon. Dec. 2: Thanksgiving Break ends (we will meet for class on Dec. 2)
  • Wed. Dec. 4: LDOC (last day of classes; we will meet for class on Dec. 4)
  • Mon. Dec. 9: ENGL 123 Final Exam, 12:00pm, Greenlaw 222
  • Thurs. Dec. 12: ENGL 123 final course grades reported

For UNC's various calendars and dates, see https://registrar.unc.edu/academic-calendar/.

  • First Essay: Fri. Sept. 20
  • Second Essay: Fri. Oct. 25
  • Final Project: Wed. Dec. 4
  • Final Exam: Mon. Dec. 9, 12:00pm, Greenlaw 222

Note: Typically, all assignments will be submitted electronically. The due dates listed above are for the final drafts of each of these assignments. You will be expected to complete and turn in earlier drafts of all of these assignments throughout the semester. Unless otherwise specified, all assignments and drafts are due before class begins on the given due date. Late submission of drafts will severely affect your grades.


Please remember that the syllabus functions as a contract between the instructor and the students. You are responsible for knowing and abiding by these policies. Everyone has an “off” day now and then, but when you are here, you need to be present, both physically and mentally.


The Honor Code applies to everything that we do at this university, including our use of outside sources in our research and writing. Our work in this class will conform to the principles and procedures defined in the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance (http://instrument.unc.edu/). The research that we do this semester, whether primary or secondary, print or online, formal or informal, will require careful documentation on your part. We will review citation guidelines early and often throughout the semester. The need to cite your sources applies to all of your work, including drafts as well as final versions of your comments, discussion posts, and projects. When in doubt: CITE.

If I suspect you of plagiarizing all or part of a paper, even unintentionally, I am required to report the offense to the Honor Court. If you think you are running into trouble with an assignment, PLEASE come and speak with me. To learn more about plagiarism, see the UNC Writing Center’s page (https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/plagiarism/) or the tutorial from the UNC Libraries (https://guides.lib.unc.edu/plagiarism).

You are free to discuss your daily posts, larger essays, and final project with your classmates, peers, etc. and even solicit feedback. All written work, however, should be yours and yours alone, with the obvious exception of including words or ideas from your primary and secondary sources AS LONG AS YOU CITE THOSE SOURCES. Remember that including someone else’s ideas in your own words is still plagiarism and intellectual theft if you fail to cite that individual.

You will not be allowed to access your notes, books, or other materials during the final exam.


There is a common saying that if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not learning or growing. Although I aspire to make my students intellectually “uncomfortable” by challenging (and hopefully expanding) the ways in which they deconstruct texts (and the world around them), I most definitely do NOT wish to make my students uncomfortable in that they feel attacked, exploited, mistreated, or neglected. I encourage an “uncomfortable” classroom (both our physical class space and our digital class space on Sakai or other similar media) in an aspiration for intellectual stimulation and growth via exposure to new perspectives, texts, ideas, and voices. In contrast to that interest in expanding one’s perspectives, I certainly do not wish to create and will not tolerate a learning environment that is hostile, cruel, or exploitative.

We can never guarantee that a classroom will be a completely “safe” space. However, I believe that our classroom should be a sacred space where students can share their thoughts and ideas without fear. We are here to collaborate, to learn with and from each other. I value a free exchange of ideas as long as that exchange prioritizes mutual respect, inclusivity, and assumptions of good faith.

During our coursework, we will engage with texts that involve intense content, content some may find emotionally triggering, upsetting, or controversial. This means that our discussions may be equally difficult and potentially intense. I will do my best to be sensitive to such potential reactions, and I expect all of you to do the same. In that same vein, a few of our texts include language many find offensive, including lines of dialogue containing hate speech or slurs. It can be difficult to confront and discuss such texts, but we cannot simply ignore texts because of the presence of speech we find deplorable. To do so, I argue, would be to empower the very words we wish to challenge and overcome. Instead, I encourage each of you to confront such texts, and I expect everyone to treat such material responsibly and appropriately as we discuss them. I also ask that within our classroom community, we approach such discussions with an assumption that we are all approaching these texts and this class in good faith and with good intentions, that we are here to analyze works of fiction rather than harness fictional texts as tools for continued linguistic violence.

Additionally, we will share and comment on each other’s interpretations, daily posts, papers, and other projects. We will engage in difficult discussions and provide comments and feedback on each other’s work both within the classroom and via other forms of communication such as the Sakai discussion forums or dropbox, etc. Again, some of our discussions or interactions may be especially challenging. During all of our interactions, however, we will always maintain an environment of inclusiveness and mutual respect.

If you have concerns about any aspects of our class environment, please communicate them directly to me immediately, so I have a chance to address those concerns and, if necessary, make appropriate changes or adjustments. I sincerely welcome your feedback.


  • Computers: Please bring your computer to class every day. Be sure that it is fully charged because our classroom has limited and inconveniently placed outlets. Remember that use of your computer for activities not related to class will harm your participation grade.
  • Cell Phones: You can use your cell phone as a classroom tool to take pictures of the board or print materials, record short lectures, navigate Sakai, view our readings, etc. However, cell phones should not be used for endeavors unrelated to class during class sessions.
  • Other Devices: Tablets and any other devices are welcome as long as you are using them for work related to this course.

In this class, we will use Sakai (https://sakai.unc.edu/welcome/), UNC’s online course management system, for a number of course assignments. If you have difficulty accessing our Sakai page, please let me know ASAP.

Remember: Just because you have access to the internet during class does not mean that you should be using our class time to post on social media, check your email, etc. If I notice that your participation is suffering due to technological distractions, I will ask you to come in for a conference so that we can discuss a plan of action.

Finally, it is important that you check your UNC email and our course Sakai site daily for messages and updates, as these will be our primary forms of communication inside and outside of class. Please keep all correspondence courteous and professional. I aim to respond to email within 48 hours during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm). Note: Before you email me with a question about the course, please review the syllabus and specific assignment prompts carefully to see if the answer is readily available there.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment and to ensuring that educational and employment decisions are based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications. Consistent with these principles and applicable laws, it is therefore the University’s policy not to discriminate on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status as consistent with the University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct. No person, on the basis of protected status, shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation under any University program or activity, including with respect to employment terms and conditions. Such a policy ensures that only relevant factors are considered and that equitable and consistent standards of conduct and performance are applied.

Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and support applied to offenses against other protected categories. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, I encourage you to investigate these resources:

• SAFE at UNC: https://safe.unc.edu/

• Know Your IX: http://knowyourix.org/

Accessibility Statement

Disabilities can be visible and invisible, and I am dedicated to ensuring that all students succeed in my course. If there are circumstances that may affect your performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible, so that we can work together to develop strategies for adapting assignments to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course. If you have information you wish to share with me about a disability, disorder, or neurodiversity issue, if you have emergency medical information you think I should know about, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please set up an appointment with me to discuss this during office hours.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ensures that no qualified person shall by reason of a disability be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the University. In compliance with UNC policy and federal law, qualified students with psychological, physical, and other disabilities are eligible to receive “reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to education opportunities, programs, and activities” (https://ars.unc.edu/about-ars/policies). If you anticipate such accommodations and/or have concerns that should be discussed, please notify me as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Additionally, you may seek out student support services at the Accessibility Resources and Services Office (ARS). UNC-Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations for students with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health struggles, chronic medical conditions, temporary disability, or pregnancy complications, all of which can impair student success. See the ARS website for contact and registration information: https://ars.unc.edu/about-ars/contact-us or https://accessibility.unc.edu/students.

Other student support services are available through the Learning Center (http://learningcenter.unc.edu/) and through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). CAPS is strongly committed to addressing the mental health needs of a diverse student body through timely access to consultation and connection to clinically appropriate services, whether for short- or long-term needs. Go to their website (https://caps.unc.edu) or visit their facilities on the third floor of the Campus Health Services building for a walk-in evaluation to learn more.


In addition to various handouts or other resources I will post to our Sakai course site or have mentioned above, there are a wide variety of resources to help you succeed in this class and beyond.

The UNC Writing Center, located in SASB North and in Greenlaw Hall, Room 221 (right next to our class!), offers free tutoring services for students. You may visit the Writing Center to ask for help with a specific written assignment, whether you are concerned with developing ideas and content, organizing your assignment, or working on style issues. To make an appointment, browse the Writing Center’s online resources, or send a draft online, please go to http://writingcenter.unc.edu/. To make the best use of your time there, please bring a copy of both your assignment sheet and your draft with you. The Writing Center will not proofread papers or discuss grades with you. The Writing Center also has an excellent array of tips and tools at http://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/.

Additionally, the Purdue Online Writing Lab (https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html) is a fantastic resource for learning more about mechanics, style, grammar, and citations. I’d also be happy to recommend other useful style guides, tools, reference materials, etc. if you ask.

The sister organization to the UNC Writing Center is the UNC Learning Center, which offers valuable resources for all other learning-related issues or needs, including tips for adjusting to college life, study strategies, time-management skills, etc.: http://learningcenter.unc.edu/.

The UNC Libraries also have amazing resources and dedicated, knowledgeable individuals who will assist you with your research: http://library.unc.edu/. This includes one-on-one consultations with a librarian who can assist you in forming or executing a research plan.


I cannot stress enough the need for clear communication. It is your responsibility to check your email and our course Sakai page for updates and announcements. If you miss a class session, it is your responsibility to reach out to me or your classmates to find out what information you missed, including upcoming assignments, changes to the syllabus, etc.

Additionally, if you are experiencing larger issues that are affecting your performance as a student or your college life in general, please feel free to reach out to me directly or to contact various on-campus resources that can assist you, including the resources mentioned above in the “Policies” or “Resources” section of this syllabus as well as the Dean of Students, Campus Health Services, and the Office of Campus Safety. These resources can offer assistance and support and, at your discretion, can communicate your situation to your instructors through an official capacity. UNC is a very supportive academic environment; we all genuinely want each of you to succeed, but no one can help you if you don’t reach out, to me or to those other resources.

If you need help, ASK! If you are falling behind or need extra help or have concerns about our classroom environment, please let me know. We can discuss brief concerns before or after class, and we can have an extended conversation and/or writing conference during my office hours. To schedule an appointment, please email me at paulblom@live.unc.edu.


Week 1

  • Aug. 21: Introduction to the course, syllabus overview
  • Aug. 23: Ehrlich and Fu, “Why Read Fiction?” (2015); Fassler, “Why Write Fiction in 2017?” (2017); Frankman, “The Importance of Reading Fiction” (2017); Paul, “The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction” (2012); Quentin, “Why Reading (and Writing) Fiction is Important” (2018)

Week 2

  • Aug. 26: Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown” (1835)
  • Aug. 28: Poe, “The Man That Was Used Up” (1839); Poe, “The Black Cat” (1843)
  • Aug. 30: Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892); Chopin, “The Story of an Hour” (1894)

Week 3

  • Sept. 2: Labor Day (we will not meet for class)
  • Sept. 4: Crane, “The Blue Hotel” (1898); Lamott, “Shitty First Drafts” (1994)
  • Sept. 6: Workshop #1 for first essay (post draft before class)

Week 4

  • Sept. 9: French, “Beyond the Limit” (1903)
  • Sept. 11: Dreiser, “Nigger Jeff” (1918)
  • Sept. 13: Workshop #2 for first essay (post draft before class)

Week 5

  • Sept. 16: Fitzgerald, “Head and Shoulders” (1920)
  • Sept. 18: Hemingway, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” (1926)
  • Sept. 20: First essay due before class begins

Week 6

  • Sept. 23: Hughes, “Father and Son” (1934)
  • Sept. 25: Faulkner, “Barn Burning” (1939)
  • Sept. 27: Continue discussing materials from 9/23 & 9/25

Week 7

  • Sept. 30: Sartre, “The Wall” (1939)
  • Oct. 2: Nabokov, “Symbols and Signs” (1948)
  • Oct. 4: Continue discussing materials from 9/30 & 10/2

Week 8

  • Oct. 7: O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (1953); O'Connor, "Good Country People" (1955)
  • Oct. 9: Workshop #1 for second essay (post draft before class)
  • Oct. 11: Continue discussing materials from 10/7 & 10/9

Week 9

  • Oct. 14: Márquez, “The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow” (1976)
  • Oct. 16: Workshop #2 for second essay (post draft before class)
  • Oct. 18: Fall Break (we will not meet for class)

Week 10

  • Oct. 21: Walker, “Everyday Use” (1973)
  • Oct. 23: Butler, “Speech Sounds” (1983)
  • Oct. 25: Second essay due before class begins (possibility for a "digital class")

Week 11

  • Oct. 28: Carver, “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love” (1981)
  • Oct. 30: O’Brien, “How to Tell a True War Story” (1990)
  • Nov. 1: Continue discussing materials from 10/28 & 10/30

Week 12

  • Nov. 4: Moore, “People Like that Are the Only People Here” (1988)
  • Nov. 6: Wideman, “newborn thrown in trash and dies” (1990)
  • Nov. 8: Continue discussing materials from 11/4 & 11/6

Week 13

  • Nov. 11: Nguyen, “I’d Love You to Want Me” (2007)
  • Nov. 13: Unnikrishnan, “Glossary” (2017); Wolff, “Bullet in the Brain” (2013)
  • Nov. 15: Workshop #1 for final project (post draft before class)

Week 14

  • Nov. 18: McNamara, “Cryptozoology” (2018)
  • Nov. 20: Merino, “The Teacher” (2019)
  • Nov. 22: Continue discussing materials from 11/18 & 11/20

Week 15

  • Nov. 25: Workshop #2 for final project (post draft before class)
  • Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Break (we will not meet for class)
  • Nov. 29: Thanksgiving Break (we will not meet for class)

Week 16

  • Dec. 2: Final exam review (post your questions before class)
  • Dec. 4: Final projects due before class begins; last day of classes (we will meet for class)

Final Exam: Dec. 9: ENGL 123 Final Exam, 12:00pm, Greenlaw 222

Grades: Dec. 12: ENGL 123 final course grades reported

Please Note: I reserve the right to make changes to this syllabus as needed, including assignment due dates, test or exam dates, or reading assignments as listed in the above Course Schedule. It is very likely that small secondary readings will be added to various days listed above. These changes will be announced and shared with the entire class as early as possible.


Note: This site is the unofficial version of the course syllabus for Section 03 of ENGL 123, Fall 2019, taught by Paul Blom. The official syllabus has been formally submitted to the University and is also available as a Word document on our Sakai course site under "Resources."

Note: The syllabus for this course was revised in Sept. 2019 based on student feedback and instructor concerns. The revised version of this syllabus has been made available to all students via Sakai, has been announced in class, and has been announced via email to the class. The above online version of the syllabus has been updated as well to reflect these revisions. The following upcoming texts were cut from the course schedule to make more room for in-class discussion of the texts: Matheson’s “Mad House” (1952), Pohl’s “The Tunnel Under the World” (1955), O’Connor’s “The Lame Shall Enter First” (1962), Márquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” (1955), and Morrison’s “Recitatif” (1983). One new text, not originally included, has also been added: O’Connor’s “Good Country People” (1955). Additionally, the due date for the final, graded draft of the Second Essay has been moved from Wed. Oct. 23 to Fri. Oct. 25.

Created By
Paul Blom


Created with images by Roman Kraft - "untitled image" • Patrick Tomasso - "untitled image" • Geronimo Giqueaux - "untitled image" • Foundry - "library books education" • Susan Yin - "untitled image" • Aaron Burden - "untitled image" • Peter Lewicki - "untitled image" • Nick Hillier - "untitled image" • webandi - "calendar wall calendar days" • Christa Dodoo - "untitled image" • rawpixel - "achievement agreement business" • Jay Heike - "untitled image" • Matthew Henry - "untitled image" • Jason Leung - "untitled image" • Alexas_Fotos - "smartphone finger tap" • DariuszSankowski - "knowledge book library"