English R1B

Reading and Composition: (Ab)Normal Bodies

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
17 Spring 2005 Rebekah Edwards
T TH 3:30-5 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Carson McCullers, Ballad of the Sad Caf�

Manual Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman

Shani Mootoo, Cereus Blooms at Night

Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"


"The novels and short stories we will read for this class revolve around characters who are perceived by their community as being physically 'abnormal.' We will read these texts in conversation with a series of essays on the history and/or social construction of the body and of the development of the concept of 'normality.' Some of the questions we will explore are what are the various metaphoric and narrative roles abnormal bodies perform in these texts; what does it mean to have a narrator or main character who is consider 'abnormal' and what kind of point of view do they offer us; who decides and how do we define what it means to be human; if there is a relationship between the structure of a text and the story it tells what kinds of textual strategies are needed to present a story about abnormal bodies; do monstrosity and/or bodily difference (gendered, sexual, racial, and/or physical ability) in these texts become an exploration of 'universal' human experience; what does the abnormal body tell us about social/historical ideas about sameness, difference and notions of 'truth'?

As a student in English 1B, you will be expected to develop skills in critical reading, analytical writing and developing a research paper. You will write two short papers and a longer research paper. As revision is a key component to writing a strong paper we will go over revision strategies and work together in class on revising your papers. Extensive revision will be required for the second and third papers. This course (if taken for a letter grade) fulfills the second part of the undergraduate reading and composition requirement. "

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