Reading Fiction — Syllabus

This course features the reading of short stories (which are supplied to the class), and a novel in the final week (which students must procure).

Gotham has two separate programs for Reading Fiction. They complement each other, and many students take both programs, but it makes no difference which one is taken first. If you take one program, then enroll again for Reading Fiction, Gotham will make sure you are placed in the other program.

The topics covered in one program (x):

Spheres


The Confessional Story:
The reader as confidant. Public self, private self. Why the lie? Why the truth?

Story analyzed: ZZ Packer's “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere"

The Humorous Story: Making people laugh. A premise that tickles. Exaggeration and other techniques. Taking humor seriously.

Story analyzed: TC Boyle's “Rapture of the Deep"

The Romantic Story: An air of drama. A romantic world. Dramatis Personae. The hand of the storyteller.

Story analyzed: Lauren Groff's “L. Debard and Aliette"

The Realistic Story: A reflection of life. A realistic world. Real people. What's it all about?

Story analyzed: Raymond Carver's “So Much Water So Close to Home"

The Surrealistic Story: Make believe. Rules of the road. Taking us there. Why surreal?

Story analyzed: Kelly Link's “Travels With the Snow Queen"

The Spheres: Which truth to tell? Elasticity of the spheres. Overlapping of the spheres.

Novel analyzed: a recent novel that varies

And the topics covered in the other program (y):

View and Voice


First Person Point of View:
First person POV explored. Using voice in first person. Why it works for this story.

Story analyzed: Tania James's “Escape Key"

First Person Peripheral/Unreliable Point of View: First person (peripheral/unreliable) POV explored. Using voice in this type of first person. Why it works for this story.

Story analyzed: P.G. Wodehouse's “Comrade Bingo"

Third Person Limited Point of View: Third person limited POV explored. Using voice in this type of third person. Why it works for this story.

Story analyzed: Mary Gaitskill's “Tiny Smiling Daddy"

Third Person Serial Point of View: Third person serial POV explored. Using voice in this type of third person. Why it works for this story.

Story analyzed: George Saunders's “The Tenth of December"

Omniscient Point of View: Omniscient POV explored. Using voice in this type of third person. Why it works for this story.

Story analyzed: Tomiko M. Breland's “Rosalee Carrasco"

View and Voice: Other points of view. Considerations when choosing POV. Finding the right voice for a story.

Novel analyzed: a recent novel that varies

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.