CQUniversity Unit Profile
LITR11043 The Short Story
The Short Story
All details in this unit profile for LITR11043 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student).
The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.
General Information

Overview

A short story contains multiple points of view and myriad narrative strategies. Moreover, as Patricia Hampl notes, the short story is 'acknowledged to be the most exquisite kind of prose fiction, requiring the perfect craft, the form in which the smallest slip can bring the whole contraption—plot, character, narration—down in a crash. A delicate business'. The aim of this unit is to provide students with an opportunity to explore the complexity and delicacy of the short story while developing their text-based interpretative and analytical techniques.

Details

Career Level: Undergraduate
Unit Level: Level 1
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 7
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

There are no requisites for this unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 2 - 2020

Online
Rockhampton

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Class and Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Written Assessment
Weighting: 20%
2. Written Assessment
Weighting: 40%
3. Written Assessment
Weighting: 40%

Assessment Grading

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback from Unit Evaluation

Feedback

We studied the writing techniques of short story authors but we did not explore writing our own short stories.

Recommendation

Although this is not a creative writing unit, an assessment item could be developed that enables students to write their own short story.

Feedback from Unit Evaluation

Feedback

I feel that the lecture notes were not very easy to understand.

Recommendation

The lectures will be revised to maximize their clarity.

Feedback from Unit Evaluation

Feedback

Online quizzes should be more clear.

Recommendation

The online quiz will be adjusted to remove ambiguity and potential confusion.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. interpret, analyse and evaluate selected short stories from the nineteenth and twentieth century using a variety of advanced text-based interpretative and analytical techniques;
  2. analyse and compare selected short stories within a framework of issues such as ideology, gender, race and the politics of literature;

N/A

Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2
1 - Written Assessment - 20%
2 - Written Assessment - 40%
3 - Written Assessment - 40%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
9 - Social Innovation

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Written Assessment - 20%
2 - Written Assessment - 40%
3 - Written Assessment - 40%
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

There are no required textbooks.

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
Referencing Style

All submissions for this unit must use the referencing style: Harvard (author-date)

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
Stephen Butler Unit Coordinator
s.butler@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1 Begin Date: 13 Jul 2020

Module/Topic

Introduction and Overview

Chapter

John Updike, 'Leaves'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 2 Begin Date: 20 Jul 2020

Module/Topic

Analysing the short story

Chapter

Kate Chopin, 'Desiree's baby'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 3 Begin Date: 27 Jul 2020

Module/Topic

The 19th Century American Short Story

Chapter

Edgar Allen Poe, 'The oval portrait'; Ambrose Bierce, 'An occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 4 Begin Date: 03 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

The 19th century continental short story

Chapter

Nikolai Gogol, 'The overcoat'; Guy de Maupassant, 'A country outing'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Particpation & Quiz Due: Week 4 Friday (7 Aug 2020) 11:59 pm AEST
Week 5 Begin Date: 10 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

The 19th century British short story

Chapter

Charles Dickens, 'The signalman'; Joseph Conrad, 'An outpost of progress'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Vacation Week Begin Date: 17 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 6 Begin Date: 24 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

British modernism

Chapter

James Joyce, 'A painful case'; Katherine Mansfield, 'The garden party'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 7 Begin Date: 31 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

Continental Modernism

Chapter

Franz Kafka, 'A hunger artist'; Thomas Mann, 'Mario and the magician'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 8 Begin Date: 07 Sep 2020

Module/Topic

American modernism

Chapter

Ernest Hemingway, 'Hills like white elephants'; Katherine Porter, 'The grave', 

Events and Submissions/Topic

Short Answer Journal Due: Week 8 Friday (11 Sept 2020) 11:59 pm AEST
Week 9 Begin Date: 14 Sep 2020

Module/Topic

American modernism to postmodernism

Chapter

John Cheever, 'The country husband'; Donald Barthelme, 'At the end of the mechanical age'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 10 Begin Date: 21 Sep 2020

Module/Topic

Continental postmodernism

Chapter

Alain Robbe-Grillet, 'The shore'; Thomasso Landolfi, 'Gogol's wife'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 11 Begin Date: 28 Sep 2020

Module/Topic

Latin American postmodernism

Chapter

Jorge Louis Borges, 'Borges and I', 'Everything and nothing'; Julio Cortazar, 'Axolotl'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 12 Begin Date: 05 Oct 2020

Module/Topic

Review and preview

Chapter

 Fredric Brown, 'Solipsist'

Events and Submissions/Topic

Research Essay Due: Week 12 Friday (9 Oct 2020) 11:59 pm AEST
Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 12 Oct 2020

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Exam Week Begin Date: 19 Oct 2020

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Particpation & Quiz

Task Description

This assessment has two components: participation in the discussion forum and Zoom sessions (10%), and the taking of a quiz (10%). The first part is ongoing from Week 1 until Week 4, the Quiz becomes becomes available in Week 3.
1. Participation
The basic discussion topic is: Discuss a set story applying some relevant literary concepts.
Each forum post can range from 50 to 150 words. You are encouraged to enter into conversation with other students There are no complex topics for discussion, simply an opportunity to offer your thoughts on the story at your own level of interest and understanding. The exchange of ideas will enhance your learning and confidence.

2. The Quiz tests your understanding of critical concepts required to analyze a short story. The information needed to answer the questions can be found in the unit resources from Weeks 1-3. The quiz is located in the Week 4 learning module but can be taken any time between weeks 3 and 4.


Assessment Due Date

Week 4 Friday (7 Aug 2020) 11:59 pm AEST

Students are expected to post on a weekly basis from Week 1 through to Week 4


Return Date to Students

The Quiz will be marked automatically on completion.


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

Participation will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Quantity and quality of contributions to the weekly discussion forum;
  2. Willingness to converse with other students;
  3. The extent to which your contributions reflect an interest and understanding of unit content.
  • NOTE: A grade (only) is assigned by the marker; students provide their own feedback as part of the process.

The Quiz will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. The ability to correctly answer the questions;
  2. The ability to use the Moodle interface to complete the quiz;
  3. Demonstrate understanding of key literary terms for analysis of short stories.
  • NOTE: The Quiz is automatically marked on completion.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • interpret, analyse and evaluate selected short stories from the nineteenth and twentieth century using a variety of advanced text-based interpretative and analytical techniques;
  • analyse and compare selected short stories within a framework of issues such as ideology, gender, race and the politics of literature;


Graduate Attributes
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking

2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Short Answer Journal

Task Description

Answer five of the questions listed below

Students are expected to keep a journal of their short answer responses, which requires answering 5 (five) of the weekly discussion questions listed below. Each answer should be 150-200 words long and take the form of a well constructed paragraph including a "thesis statement". Information modelling the format is provided on Moodle. The journal should be submitted on the due date as a Word doc through the Moodle online submission system. Students are encouraged to post their answers to the discussion board on a weekly basis in order to generate constructive dialogue. Further guidelines for the assessment item are available on the Moodle website.

Length: 750-1000 words.

NB. Stories used for this assessment may not be used for Assessment Item 3.

Week 3

1. 'The oval portrait' by Edgar Allen Poe has all the elements of a gothic folk-tale but as an example of "ekphrasis" it also makes a comment on romantic artistic practice. Discuss these ideas with particular emphasis on the symmetrical relation of content and form.

2. In Bierce’s ‘An occurrence at Owl Creek bridge’, Peyton Farquhar resists his death with an elaborate fantasy. What is the broader significance of this fantasy in relation to traditional beliefs about the “afterlife” and how does the style of language throughout the story reflect his evolving mental state?


Week 4

1. Assuming ‘The overcoat’ by Gogol is an allegorical social comment on life in Czarist Russia what is the significance of the modal shift from realism into fantasy in the resolution of the story? 

2. How does desire function in de Maupassant's ‘A country outing’? Analyse symbols, metaphors, and motifs associated with the story's setting and characters in your response. Is the reader positioned to endorse or condemn the actions of Henri and Henriette?


Week 5

1. According to Rosemary Jackson (1981, p. 2), ‘fantasy characteristically attempts to compensate for a lack resulting from cultural constraints: it is a literature of desire, which seeks that which is experienced as absence and loss’. Test this theory by applying it to ‘The signalman’ by Charles Dickens.

2. Is Kipling’s ‘At the end of the passage’ just a "ripping yarn" ghost story or is something more subtle and critical evident? How do the story's fantastic elements challenge notions of literary realism and the ideologies of scientific rationalism and western imperialism?


Week 6.

1. In 'A painful case' Joyce writes naturalistically, with ‘scrupulous meanness’ (Stone 1983, p. 299) insofar as ‘language mirrors subject matter’. Yet he also developed modernist techniques such as the epiphany and intertextuality. Consider the combination of conventional naturalism and experimentation in relation to how Mr Duffy personifies social changes in Ireland at the time.

2. Mansfield’s ‘The garden party’ is clearly a “coming of age” story. Develop an argument on the significance of the story by analysing the motif of the hat and the use of ellipsis. Given the story's title, what is conspicuous by its absence from the story and what theme can be thereby discerned?


Week 7

1. Some critics read ‘The hunger artist’ as a religious allegory; others see it as a comment on the role of the artist in modern society. Research modernism in the arts and develop an interpretation that considers the story's potentially contradictory multiple meanings.

2. ‘Mario and the magician’ is viewed as an allegory of the rise of fascism in Italy before WW2 but in what ways can it also be read as a critique of humanism? Consider this question by focusing on the length of this "short story", the narrator’s discursive style and 'high-brow' tone of voice. 


Week 8

1. The striking formal elements in Hemingway’s ‘Hills like white elephants’ are the direct observer point of view, symbolic description of the setting, and dialogical style of the narrative. How do these devices affect our understanding of the story’s themes and issues? 

2. According to Stone (1983, p. 5) a short story is ‘compressed within a short (usually continuous) time frame and space'. Porter’s ‘The grave’ clearly breaks this 'rule'. Consider the implications of this subversion together with the story’s detailed focus on the psychology of the protagonist.


Week 9

1. In Cheever’s ‘A country husband’, the suburb of Shady Hill and its characters are described in affectionate detail. But as the setting's name implies, the story is a critique of American society. After a brush with death, middle class protagonist Francis Weed exploits a working class girl and assaults his wife. In the light of his misadventures, what is the significance of the enigmatic last sentence: ‘Then it is dark; it is a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains’?

2. Jean Baudrillard describes postmodernism as ‘playing with the pieces’; J.F. Lyotard speaks of ‘incredulity towards meta-narratives’; while for Jameson pastiche is its key attribute. How are these theories exemplified in Barthelme’s ‘At the end of the mechanical age’? Develop an argument focusing on the tone of the narrative and the characters’ use of language.


Week 10

1. Alain Robbe-Grillet's story 'The shore' has a camera-like direct observer point of view, and there is little action or character development. But it can be said to conform to the typical short story plot structure. Explain what effect this creates on the story's significance, its meanings and effects.

2. 'Gogol's wife' is clearly absurd but its dark satire conceals a serious agenda relating to the treatment of women in "reality" and literature. Assuming that 'Caracas' is a pun on characters, what does this suggest about characterization general? What techniques does Landolfi use to trick the reader into believing the story about Gogol?


Week 11

1. Explore the implications of Borges’ blurring of first and third person narrative modes in ‘Borges and I’ in terms of Barthes’ concept of “the death of the author”. Alternatively, consider ‘Everything and Nothing’ as a debate between essentialist and constructivist notions of identity. Consider the implications of the short, plot-less and essay-like form of both stories in relation to the idea that reality is a linguistic construct.

2. ‘Axolotl’ plays with the idea that identity is not fixed, that we can think ourselves into another state of being. Imagine this radical scenario were true (virtual reality suggests that it may soon be possible). What would we learn form the experience of becoming “other”, and what would it mean for society and the world? Consider too, how easily readers can be tricked into suspending disbelief by good writing.


Assessment Due Date

Week 8 Friday (11 Sept 2020) 11:59 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Journal will be marked and returned as soon as possible.


Weighting
40%

Assessment Criteria

  1. Establish a clear argument in response to the topic based on textual analysis and recommended critical concepts;
  2. Express yourself clearly (including spelling and grammar); and,
  3. Acknowledge all your sources using the Harvard (author-date) referencing style.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
See instructions above.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • interpret, analyse and evaluate selected short stories from the nineteenth and twentieth century using a variety of advanced text-based interpretative and analytical techniques;
  • analyse and compare selected short stories within a framework of issues such as ideology, gender, race and the politics of literature;


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Technology Competence

3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Research Essay

Task Description

Answer one of the the following questions 

  • Rohrberger (1979, p. 14) argues that ‘The short story writer makes symbols of objects, characters, events, settings, plots in an effort to move beyond surface levels and to suggest complex meanings.' Discuss this statement using textual analysis of two or three set short stories to support your case.
  • Terry Eagleton (2007, p. 50) says: ‘The meaning of a narrative is not just the “end” of it, but the process of narration itself.’ In other words, for the literary critic, the formal structures and devices of a text are just as important as what happens to the characters. Discuss this in relation to a small selection of set short stories.

  • Trace the evolution of views on personal identity (considering aspects such as class, gender, race, and sexuality) through analysis of a selection of set short stories from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 
  • Choose at least three set short stories and show how they exemplify literary aspects of traditional realism, modernism and/or postmodernism.
  • According to Terry Eagleton (2007, p. 14), 'the mark of modernist thought is the belief that human existence is contingent – that it has no ground, goal, direction or necessity ... no unimpeachable foundation for what we are and what we do’. This may be seen as liberating or threatening (or both). He goes on to say that: ‘This may make our finest moments even more precious or it may serve to drastically devalue them.’ Discuss these issues with reference to several set short stories.  

    Length: 1200-1500 words

    Note: You must not choose a story that you have already written on for Assessment 2 (although you can refer to it in passing).


Assessment Due Date

Week 12 Friday (9 Oct 2020) 11:59 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Essays will be returned as soon as practicable after the end of term.


Weighting
40%

Assessment Criteria

This assignment will be evaluated on your ability to:

  1. Establish a clear argument which is supported with relevant textual analysis and critical comment (minimum 3 scholarly sources);
  2. Express yourself clearly (including spelling and grammar); and,
  3. Acknowledge all your sources using the Harvard (author-date) referencing style.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • interpret, analyse and evaluate selected short stories from the nineteenth and twentieth century using a variety of advanced text-based interpretative and analytical techniques;
  • analyse and compare selected short stories within a framework of issues such as ideology, gender, race and the politics of literature;


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Cross Cultural Competence
  • Ethical practice

Academic Integrity Statement

As a CQUniversity student you are expected to act honestly in all aspects of your academic work.

Any assessable work undertaken or submitted for review or assessment must be your own work. Assessable work is any type of work you do to meet the assessment requirements in the unit, including draft work submitted for review and feedback and final work to be assessed.

When you use the ideas, words or data of others in your assessment, you must thoroughly and clearly acknowledge the source of this information by using the correct referencing style for your unit. Using others’ work without proper acknowledgement may be considered a form of intellectual dishonesty.

Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in your university study ensures the CQUniversity qualification you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.

As a student, you are responsible for reading and following CQUniversity’s policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. This policy sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of you to act with integrity, examples of academic integrity breaches to avoid, the processes used to address alleged breaches of academic integrity, and potential penalties.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity includes but is not limited to plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, cheating, contract cheating, and academic misconduct. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure defines what these terms mean and gives examples.

Why is academic integrity important?

A breach of academic integrity may result in one or more penalties, including suspension or even expulsion from the University. It can also have negative implications for student visas and future enrolment at CQUniversity or elsewhere. Students who engage in contract cheating also risk being blackmailed by contract cheating services.

Where can I get assistance?

For academic advice and guidance, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) can support you in becoming confident in completing assessments with integrity and of high standard.

What can you do to act with integrity?