Introduction to Literature
The American Gothic: An Exploration of Fear
I taught introduction to literature: The American Gothic in the Fall of 2013. Teaching this course required the approval of the Director of Composition as well as the completion of the three hour credit graduate course, literature pedagogy.
For this class, I used Joyce Carol Oates, anthology, American Gothic Tales as well as Ray Bradbury's SomethingWicked This Way Comes and Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
As you will see on my syllabus, provided below, I assigned a wide range of projects, a mix of both traditional and nontraditional writing. I had my students blog about the short stories and novels, putting the stories in context with the culture in a variety of ways: comparing it to movies, creating a playlist for the story, relating it to a personal life experience, rating the story according to the use of tropes, and comparing it to a real life news event. I also had the students write a traditional research paper over a story or novel of their choice. In addition, I asked students to create a meme and work with a group to create a remix trailer using concepts we discussed in class like gothic tropes. I find that students have varied interests as well as strengths and weaknesses. Those that are poor writers might really shine at new media composition. I want to give all students a chance to succeed in the classroom and to demonstrate to me that they understand the material.
Click on the pictures below to view additional materials like the class syllabus, blog, and student work.
Students created a meme series using a specific motif from Gothic literature and applying it to a character, an author, a text, or a range of texts in order to make an argument about the topic. Students were placed in groups of five and each student contributed to the meme mini series (1 per student). They were graded on the following things: use of a common element, use of a distinctive feature, connection to the motif, and connection to the text(s).
To the left you will see a series created by some of my students to reflect the idea of the damsel in distress in William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily." More of these projects from my class are featured on TCU's New Media Writing Studio's gallery of student work.
Students will demonstrate an understanding of literature as it impacts and/or reflects society and the individual.
Students demonstrated their understanding of the texts by dissecting a particular character, scene, or motif in order to examine an argument made by the author, character, or text in meme form. As seen by these memes, the student group felt Miss Emily was both a repulsive and sympathetic character, constantly “playing the victim.”
Interact with the text culturally and communally through various mediums: blogs, memes, and youtube.
I believe when students make personal connections with the text, they remember it longer. Creating memes out of the text brings the story into the present and allows them to grapple with the ideas of motifs in a new way.