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Puss in Boots

English 1A Course Syllabus

English 1A Fall 2018 Outline

Essays, the Research Paper, and Process Steps

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To modern audiences, the term “fairy tale” conjures up memories of Disney movies, including, singing mice, animated teapots and cups, and intrepid mermaids. However, the true history of fairy tales is much darker, including elements of murder, cannibalism, infanticide, and incest. Fairy tales and other folk tales have always been more than merely children’s stories; they are cultural artifacts that mirror the fears, hopes, social mores, and values of the cultures that create them. Even in an age as technological as our own, these tales continue to be told because of their universal nature and their reflections of societal attitudes. This class investigates these narratives in the context of their origins, longevity, and evolving roles in popular culture. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, including explorations of how fairy tales relate to sociological and historical issues, psychological issues, gender roles, and pedagogical and political uses and abuses of fairy tales. We will investigate the universal prevalence of specific tale types and trace their transformations from oral storytelling through print to film, television, and the stage.

We will also explore the evolution of the “literary fairy tale,” including stories by the pre-eminent post-modern literary creator of fairy tales, Angela Carter
, in her collection The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories.

We will read one full-length novel, Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose. Yolen took the motifs of the class fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” and created a novel about a young woman who travels from the U.S. to Europe to uncover her grandmother’s past. She learns about one of the darkest periods in modern history, the rise of the Third Reich and the Holocaust that it perpetrated.

Much of the course will be devoted to learning how to conduct serious research, including how to objectively evaluate sources. There will also be considerable emphasis on learning proper MLA format and on improving writing skills (clarity, appropriate register, punctuation, grammar, and style).