English R1B

Skeletons in the Closet

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
17 Spring 2010 Knox, Marisa Palacios
Knox, Marisa
TTh 2-3:30 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey; Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto.


The plot of many works of fiction is often that of a secret being gradually revealed to the reader. This course will examine texts in which characters conceal things from each other, from the most mundane motives to the darkest Gothic sins of the past. We will also trace the methods in which a secret is uncovered, whether by accidental revelation or deliberate detection. Expanding our focus outward, we will examine the expectations of genre created by these texts in engaging the question of how the ability of protagonists to “read” certain clues is connected with the reader’s experience with and understanding of the narrative.

As we apply our own reading resources to analyzing texts built upon strategic obscurity, the class will continuously work on developing the ability to write with clear exposition and argumentation. In order to expand and integrate these arguments within a larger intellectual context, students will cultivate their own sleuthing skills in learning and deploying methods of research through periodic assignments. Students will ultimately apply these practices in writing and revising three papers of increasing length, ranging from three to ten pages.

Back to Semester List