Zabelle Stodola
University of Arkansas, Little Rock

American Narrative Traditions:
Captivity Narratives, Slave Narratives, Romances

Required texts (all PB):

1) Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, ed. Neal Salisbury (Bedford).
2) Lydia Child, Hobomok (Rutgers Univ.).
3) Royal B. Stratton, The Captivity of the Oatman Girls, ed. Wilcomb Washburn (Univ.
     of  Nebraska).
4) Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative, ed. Robert J. Allison (Bedford).
5) The Confessions of Nat Turner and Related Documents, ed. Kenneth S. Greenberg (Bedford).
6) William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner (Bantam).
7) Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Jean F. Yellin (Harvard Univ.).
8) Toni Morrison, Beloved (Knopf).

Ground rules:

1) Regular attendance and reading are necessary. More than three unexplained class cuts will
    affect your final grade.
2) Please tell me in advance if you have to miss class.
3) If you have any difficulties with the course, please see me.
4) To successfully complete the course (get a final passing grade), you must attend regularly,
    read material carefully, involve yourself in class discussion, take both examinations, write
    any in-class response papers, do any oral presentations (informal), and write a passing final
5) I cannot accept late papers. Please type your paper. I  encourage you to use a word
    processor; there are labs on campus.
6) Examinations: There will be a midterm and a final. I do not give make-up exams. Midterm,
    Wed.  1 October; Final, Wed. 10 December, 1:30-3:30 (final is at the scheduled time
     during exam period).
7) Paper: Your final paper (15 pages or so) is due in week 14 on Wednesday 19 November.
    It requires some library research, although ideally it will also incorporate your own ideas.
    You must clear your paper topic with me before you begin work. I will be happy to help you
    find  a paper topic. I'll talk about the paper in more detail later in the course. I'll be happy to go
   over a draft with you. I'd like to go over a draft with you!!
8) If I give additional material in the form of handouts, I  will make clear whether or not it will be
    included in exams.  If I'm not clear, please ask!!
9) Please check the enclosed student disability statement and see me if it applies to you.


Week 1 (W 20 Aug)
Captivity narrative, slave narrative, romance

Week 2 (M 25 Aug)

Week 3 (M 1 Sep)
No class on Monday 2 September: LABOR DAY
Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

Week 4 (M 8 Sep)
Historical introduction, pp. 1-55
"The Preface to the Reader," pp. 63-68

Week 5 (M 15 Sep)
Discussion of romance, domestic frontier fiction, historical romance, sentimental novel
Child, Hobomok

Week 6 (M 22 Sep)
Stratton, The Captivity of the Oatman Girls

Week 7 (M 29 Sep)
Angela Carter, "Our Lady of the Massacre" (short story, handout; this will be included on the midterm)

MIDTERM #1 on Wednesday 1 October

Week 8 (M 6 Oct)
Equiano, The Interesting Narrative, and related readings from book (TBA)

Note: Tuesday 7 October is the last day to drop an individual class

Week 9 (M 13 Oct)

Week 10 (M 20 Oct)
Greenberg, ed. The Confessions of Nat Turner and Related Documents
"Text and Context," pp. 1-31
The Confessions of Nat Turner, pp. 38-58
Other readings (TBA)

Week 11 (M 27 Oct)
Begin Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner
Read Styron's "Afterword" to reissue of novel

Week 12 (M 3 Nov)
Continue Styron
Selected Readings:
The Confessions of Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond

Week 13 (M 10 Nov)
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Other readings from book (TBA)
Gender and the slave narrative

Week 14 (M 17 Nov)
Begin Morrison, Beloved

Week 15 (M 24 Nov)


Week 16 (M 1 Dec)
Course wrap-up

FINAL EXAM AT THE SCHEDULED TIME DURING EXAM PERIOD Wednesday 10 December 1997, 1:30-3:30 p.m.


In some ways this is the obvious question, but nonetheless I'll ask it. This is a take-home midterm, so obviously you have access to your texts and notes. To answer the question pretty fully, think in terms of at least 3 typed pages or so. Please hand this in on Monday 6 October at the beginning of class.

Referring to all the texts in chronological order-- Rowlandson's Sovereignty (1682); Mather's account of Hannah Dustan's story (1697-1702); Child's Hobomok (1824); Stratton's Captivity of the Oatman Girls (1857 & 1858); and Angela Carter's "Our Lady of the Massacre" (1986)--trace the evolution of as many different aspects as possible of the Indian captivity narrative.

Final Examination
American Narrative Traditions

The final is on Wednesday 10 December, 1:30 to 3:30. As you know, I will choose two of the following questions for you to write on. I'm expecting two well organized, well prepared, full essay answers supported by examples and illustrations.

1. We have discussed how the slave narrative blends fact (history) and fiction (story) and uses strategies from such existing literary forms as picaresque fiction, autobiography, sentimental fiction, spiritual autobiography, and adventure tales. Indicate how the following slave narratives do or do not use these genres and add any other literary forms that I have not mentioned if they apply: Equiano, Interesting Narrative; Jacobs, Incidents; and Morrison, Beloved.

2. Using the definitions I gave you on the romance and romanticism, and using your own ideas as well as class discussion, explore the ways in which two of the following novels can be seen as romances: Child, Hobomok; Styron, Confessions and Morrison, Beloved. Despite the editorialization, to what extent does each individual voice seem able to penetrate the text?

3. Discuss how the following works by women authors "gender" the Indian captivity narrative and the slave narrative (i.e. orient these forms toward women's concerns): Rowlandson, True History; Child, Hobomok; Carter, "Our Lady of the Massacre"; and Jacobs, Incidents.

4. Comment on the role, nature, and extent of editorial mediation in the following texts: Rowlandson, A True History; Stratton, Captivity of the Oatman Girls; and The Confessions of Nat Turner (the original one).

5. Compare and contrast in any ways that seem meaningful to you one fact-based Indian captivity narrative (Rowlandson or Stratton) and one fictional Indian captivity narrative (Child or Carter), as well as one fact-based slave narrative (Equiano, the original Confessions or Jacobs) and one fictional slave narrative (Styron or Morrison).