Even though it seems early to be thinking about Spring semester, the call has already gone out asking for proposals for topics to teach ENGL 220: Expository Writing. Last year at PCAS/ACAS Robin Nicks presented on how to integrate fairy tales into first year composition, and I've been dying to adapt her ideas.
Usually, you can only submit a proposal for the class if you're a third semester grad student, but I got permission to submit as a first semester.
I'm not sure when they make a decision, but fingers crossed. This is the type of class I'd like to teach, and I'd like to see how it goes.
Proposal for ENGL 202: Folktales and Fairy Tales
Originally, fairy tales were not intended for children but throughout much of their history were told among adult audiences for entertainment and instruction. During Romanticism, fairy tales were understood as tales sending a strong moral and didactic message. The basic structure and narrative conventions are provided through magic, supernatural elements and happy endings. Many of the revisions, and the tales themselves, appear to current readers as “wrong” or “inauthentic” as they veer from the Disney sanctioned versions that most people are familiar with. Throughout this course, students will use fairy tales, and folklore as a critical lens to view and analyze the historical and cultural contexts of the original literary versions, as well as the adaptations and revisions. Students will make comparisons between the original tales and adaptations/revisions, conduct ethnographic research on local folktales, and complete a literary analysis of an adaptation/revision.
This course will focus on the original literary versions of fairy tales and 19th, 20th, and 21st century revisions. We will re-read the classics Beauty and the Beast, Bluebeard, Little Red Riding hood, Puss-in-Boots, and Sleeping Beauty from a contemporary author's perspective, starting with Apuleius, Straparola, Basile, Perrault, and the Grimm Brothers. We will then compare their versions to 20th-century re-tellings by British author Angela Carter.
- Jack Zipes The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World
- Benson (2012). Rhetoric of Inquiry -3rd Edition-University of Tennessee, Knoxville edition Paperback
- Angela Carter. The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories
- supplemental scholarly articles
Assignment 1: Compare and Contrast a Disney Adaptation with Original, Literary Tale
You will craft a cohesive comparison and contrast between the literary versions of a tale and Disney’s animated version, or another animated version marketed to an audience of children. Your purpose is to explain how the movies have adapted the tales, the similarities among the different versions, as well as the differences. You may want to choose to focus on one of the literary versions in your comparison, but you’ll want to be sure you’ve chosen the one that serves as the “source” for the movie.
Some questions you might want to consider:
- what is the message of the literary version?
- how is the literary story reflective of the original culture?
- what has become of the story’s message in the animated version?
- how are the differences reflective of the period in which the movie was produced?
- what do the different versions say about their original audiences?
Assignment 2: Ethnographic Research
Choose a folktale that is either local, or familiar to you. For this paper you will provide a brief history of the tale, conduct at least two interviews with people familiar with the tale, discuss the historical and cultural context of the tale, analyze the motifs in the tale, and the implications of the tale (either the story itself, or the variations).
Some questions you might want to consider:
- what was the original historical and cultural context of the tale?
- what variations are there in the tale and what are the different possible analyses of these variations?
- How are gender roles, class, race, religion reflected in the tale?
Assignment 3: Literary Analysis of Adaptation or Revision
You will choose an adaptation or revision of a fairy tale. The text you analyze must be one that we have not read in this course. Your text could be a movie, TV show, short story, or a novel. Your analysis must include a close reading (even of a movie or TV show) and must include outside research.