1st year K.C.L: 2nd Semester Part Three Fiction

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1st year K.C.L: 2nd Semester Part Three Fiction

Post by Rachid Amri on Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:17 pm

Fiction: Novella
The Red Badge of Courage

C. Description & Weekly Calendar
• This course will teach the students how to write a complete essay and express complete thoughts.
• The students will be required to read the novella, be prepared to discuss and write about it.
• The course will also provide materials and exercises designed to improve students' analytical writing skills, and their close reading skills.
• Students will be challenged to write analytical essays and research projects the advanced student of literature must master.
• Although much of our class time will be spent discussing the texts themselves and the issues they raise, we will also spend significant amounts of time working at improving your writing skills. Students' writing will be evaluated by the teachers who will provide extensive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses as analytical writers.

Week One:
Tutorial One:
Plot of ‘RBC’
The traditional plot progression of fiction, moves from exposition through a series of dramatic scenes to a climax which includes epiphany, and then to a closed-ended resolution. The story has little prolepsis or analepsis, using mainly a linear narrative sequence such as that found in folk tales and morality tales.
(passage depending on teacher preference)
Tutorial Two:
Characterization -- young Henry (the protagonist -- some might call him a hero; others, not), is presented entirely in a dramatic fashion, allowing the reader to form his own opinion of the character because of his actions. Other dramatis personae idem.
(passage depending on teacher preference)
Tutorial Three:
Literary Composition

Week Two:
Tutorial One

Conflict -- interesting dilemma between Henry's impulse to be a noble warrior in the nearly classical sense (I say "nearly" because the youth manages to conquer his natural fear, becoming in the process a genuine man of courage. Or does he?). However, he does have an inner weakness (hamartia?) that initially compels him to flee battle (can hamartia be overcome?). All sorts of areas for speculation here.
(passage depending on teacher preference)
Tutorial Two:
Epiphany and climax
(passage depending on teacher preference)
Tutorial Three:
Literary Composition

Week Three:
Tutorial One

Point of view -- very intriguing in this novella inasmuch as we initially posit an omniscient narrator, but it soon becomes apparent that in spite of the third person approach, the reader experiences events entirely from the perspective of Henry, much as though occupying a seat behind his eyes. Therefore, an introduction to Genette's much more nuanced notions of "focalization" would be perfect here; in any case, those who continue their studies of English will be forced to become intimately acquainted with all Genette's terminology and theory.
(passage depending on teacher preference)
Tutorial Two:
Symbolism -- the story is laden with all sorts of symbols and other tropes ranging from things in nature (forests, glades, birds, the sun) to colors (red, blue, yellow, black). It's a very impressionistic novel, in a nearly pictorial sense.
Allegory -- the story can be read as the itinerary of Man, a sort of Civil War Pilgrim's Progress.
(passage depending on teacher preference)
Tutorial Three:
Literary Composition

Week Four:
Tutorial One

RBC can be read as a pioneering venture into the terrain to be termed the absurd by thinkers such as Camus and Sartre. There are indications (at least more modern critics feel this way) that young Henry's itinerary is an illustration of the absurdity of existence, against a background of indifferent nature, out of sight of an uncaring or absent God.
(passage depending on teacher preference)
Tutorial Two:
The contextual elements of the RBC are extremely important -- everything connected to the War among States can be at least alluded to, incorporating thus elements of American civilization. This will bring the course into a more contemporary model of cultural studies.
(passage depending on teacher preference)
Tutorial Three:
Literary Composition


Last edited by Rachid Amri on Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:00 am; edited 2 times in total

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Tutorial 2 and 3

Post by Fatma Said-Kaabia on Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:14 pm

Kairouan April 2nd, 2008
The Red Badge of Courage
Tutorial 2 and 3


Tutorial 2:

Objective: Characterization

Young Henry the protagonist. Some consider him as a hero, some not, revealing an important issue to study: heroism in the epic/Homeric sense and heroism in the modern sense.
There is a kind of demoralization of the notion of heroism (a theme to study a part)

“Young Henry is presented in a dramatic fashion, allowing the reader to develop his own opinion according to the character’s actions”

Way of treating the subject

Choose an extract or different short extracts which reveal the development of the character, namely because Young Henry is following a long initiation process through which he changes considerably (state the extracts). For this session chapter one is chosen because it contains an introduction to the major characters. The reader proceeds to sketch them out later throughout the whole novella.

Same method with the other protagonists, namely: Jim Conklin, Wilson, the tattered soldier (chapter Cool, Henry’s mother chapter 1 (these latter characters are minor ones but hold an important symbolism).

*Focus will be laid on the romantic vision that young Henry has of the war. This reveals his lack of experience, his innocence/naivety. That’s why it would be preferable to draw the students’ attention (from the first session) to the initiation process as a progressive pattern from innocence to adulthood/maturity. Students should be aware that such a process will include a series of adventures both instructing and shocking contributing to the learning process of the protagonist and revealing real life as it is without any ornament. The reader is by the way learning with the protagonist. Studying the evolution of such an initiatory pattern will allow us (teacher and students) to study the evolution of the protagonist. We will come to decide at the end whether he is a hero or not.

*To start with, students will be asked to highlight the significance of some keywords that would enlarge the semantic fields of the text and get into the plot and the building up of characters: example: words like “youthful” and “youth” lead to a whole range of meanings: innocence, lack of experience, immaturity, lack of wisdom, etc. The beginning of the process of learning on the part of the main protagonist starts when he retreats from the group and needs to reflect deeply. “trance of astonishment” reveals his confused state of mind and the panic he is experiencing. The substantive “astonishment” is a key word. Don’t forget that astonishment is the beginning of philosophy, of deep thinking and serious questioning of evidences. That’s how the process of initiation starts with Young Henry. That’s how the reader gets to know better the psychological/moral make up of that character, etc.



Tutorial 3

Literary composition

Write a three-paragraph essay (an introduction, a body paragraph, and a conclusion) drawing a portrait of Young Henry as introduced in the first chapter. Pick up one of his major characteristics to analyse.

Fatma Said-Kaabia

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