NEW Literature Seminar led by Richard Stone

Richard Stone studied literature, political economy, language, and literary translation in Olympia, Washington, USA. He has worked editing novels and scripts in Los Angeles, California. He has completed his TEFL English teaching certification and has been teaching in Mexico City for the past year. He is very interested in linguistics and the historical context of language in general.

Info and registration:

Seminar Content

Proposed list of authors

Each short story will have a specific linguistic focus or thematic (social) application, i.e. “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson raises thematic questions about social traditions, blind faith, and what forms of violence are acceptable in society.

Proposed authors include:

Jamaica Kincaid

Langston Hughes (poetry)

Shirley Jackson

Kurt Vonnegut

Franz Kafka

J.D. Salinger

Luisa Valenzuela

Raymond Carver

Margaret Atwood

Italo Calvino

Julio Cortázar

Jorge Luis Borges

Raymond Chandler

Patricia Highsmith

Classical mythology – Grimm’s tales, Calvino folktales, Angela Carter

Course Structure

Each seminar will focus on:

-Concrete language and story elements such as narrative anatomy, structure, and form.

- And response: opinions, inference, analysis of literary devices, personal response, allegory, and social and political application.

Methodology & Activities

Methods and activities to be used include:

Story grammar approach – Students will learn to analyze structural elements of the text (including setting, characters, conflict, action, resolution, theme, genre, point of view) for the purpose of:

  • Focusing on information gathering and reading comprehension (for improved recall)

  • Discerning between narrative and exposition

  • Students will focus on internal narrative and structural elements and the ways in which they interact (i.e. how conflict furthers plot, character development, etc.)

Exercises measuring students’ capacity for information recall and reading comprehension include summary and thematic analysis. Understanding the structural elements of narrative, as well as the common conventions of storytelling and genre will enable students to anticipate and speculate on the narrative arc.

Activities include: character mapping, summary, defining concrete elements of plot (major events, conflict etc.). Language focus for summary will be reported speech (3rd person); recounting past events, including simple past + continuous, past perfect + continuous, as well as vocabulary, idioms and colloquial speech, sentence structure, phrasal verbs etc.

This structural analysis of texts will focus on extracting meaning based on common conventions and concrete analysis, rather than inference or personal interpretation.

Reader response approach – Linking form (structure) to response. Students will focus on their own response to the text, allowing them to:

  • Formulate opinions about characters and events by relating the story to their own experiences

  • Evaluate narrative techniques and author ability (What is the writer doing, and why?)

  • Anticipate and reflect on narrative events in a more critical way

Through response reading the students will bring their own experiences, assumptions, opinions, and expectations to the text and actively construct and infer meaning through analysis and interpretation. The focus here is on multiple interpretations and critical thinking, differentiating between fiction and reality, and between their own values and the values of the author/characters represented in the text. Students will be able to discuss cultural values contained within the text in a larger social and historical context.

Literary and analytical devices for observation and discussion include: allusion, analogy, allegory, inference, context, foreshadowing, tone, suspense, satire, irony, symbolism, identifying historical context, dialect, and the use of persuasive language.

Activities are seminar-focused: open interpretation and debate, semantic debate, expressing opinion and posing abstract questions, relating text to experience and history. Language focus will build on the language targets of SGA, with the addition of speculative language, abstract nouns, formulating and defending opinions (debate language).

Info and registration:

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