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English 2310-Summer: The Short Story

Ambrose Bierce's Civil War Stories

Ed Tober, Assistant Professor
Department of English and Languages

Summer 2017: Sections 410 & 420

Office (OAG 335) Hours: M-F 1-2

Course Description

ENGLISH 2310 will introduce students to and rehearse them in textual and contextual strategies for thematically analyzing and interpreting short fiction--in this case, selected Civil War stories by Ambrose Bierce.

Course Requirements

Daily Grade: 50% (All Daily Assignments)

Daily assignments must be concluded on time and in class for credit--period--so do not give/send me any "excuses," as no class assignments are ever individually waived. Grades on daily assignments are, for the most part, quantitative; that is, a grade of  means that all aspects of the assignment were completed with a reasonable level of relevance and detail. A grade other than  reflects a relative level of incompleteness, and a zero means you were not present to do that day's classwork (since attendance is mandatory). If you should accrue five zeros on daily assignments, you will automatically fail the course, irrespective of circumstances. Your daily grade will be computed using the following rubric:

From the 100 at which your daily grade begins,
each 0 subtracts 10 points (but at five zeros your daily grade goes to zero, and you will fail the course),
each ½ subtracts 5 points,
- subtracts 3 points, and
subtracts 0 points.

Two Major Essays (One Formal Essay+One Essay Exam): 50% (25% each) 

A late submission for Major Essay 1 will be penalized ten points per day, beginning at the time due, but will not be accepted more than three calendar days late. If you do not submit ME1 by that time, you will receive a zero, irrespective of circumstances, and you will fail the course. Major Essay 2 is an exam--the Final Exam--so if you do not take ME2, you will fail the course.

In Fall 2015, Tarleton began differentiating between a failed grade in a class because a student never attended (F0 grade), stopped attending or stopped regularly submitting assignments at some point in the semester (FX grade), or because the student did not pass the course (F) but attended and submitted assignments the entire semester. These grades will be noted on the official transcript. Stopping or never attending class or submitting assignments can result in the student having to return aid monies received.  For more information see the Tarleton Financial Aid website.

Students are expected to be familiar with Tarleton's Academic Integrity and Academic Conduct policies on the Judicial Affairs website and should be aware that academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and will be punished severely. If I suspect that academic misconduct has occurred (plagiarism, copying from an unauthorized source, copying with another student, etc.), I reserve the right to examine a student on the content or any other facet of submitted work. Moreover, since there are no collaborative assignments in this course, I expect all submitted work to be done independently.

It is the policy of Tarleton State University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws. If you are a student with a disability seeking accommodations for this course, please contact the Center for Access and Academic Testing at 254.968.9400 or The office is located in Math 201. More information can be found at, in the University Catalog, or at Students are instructed to deliver their letters of accommodation during office hours or by appointment, not before or after class, to allow time for a conversation about the request.

The following breaches of academic decorum will not be tolerated: sleeping in class, rudeness to another student, private conversations, leaving class without notice (unless physically ill, of course), playing with/listening to electronic devices (cell phones must be out of sight), etc. Frankly, these are "common sense" conventions for classroom courtesy, and failure to comply will result in a zero for that day's class exercise.


Bierce, Ambrose. Civil War Stories. Dover Thrift, 1994.

Morris, Roy. Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company. Oxford UP, 1995. 

Owens, David M. The Devil’s Topographer: Ambrose Bierce and the American War Story. U Tennessee Press, 2006. 

Warren, Craig A. The Ambrose Bierce Project. Penn State University, Accessed 16 May 2017.           

Guide to MLA Documentation:

Purdue OWL. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide."

05-16 Hand out and Discuss Syllabus; Hand out ABP bio; Hand out Reading Preview for "What I Saw of Shiloh" (1-17); Handout and Documentary Notes for "Death and the Civil War" (and discuss)
05-17 Discuss Ambrose Bierce bio handout; Documentary Notes for Battle at Shiloh: The Devil's Own Two Days; Hand out Roy Morris excerpt (21-33) and Reading Preview for "A Horseman in the Sky"
05-18 Reading Preview for "What I Saw of Shiloh" (1-17) due for annotation; Hand out "A Little of Chickamauga" and Reading Preview for "Chickamauga"
05-19 Reading Preview for "A Horseman in the Sky" due for annotation; Discuss Morris excerpt and AB story
05-22 Documentary Notes for Battle of Chickamauga; Discuss "A Little of Chickamauga" (and the documentary); Hand out David Owens excerpt (116-118) and Reading Preview for "One of the Missing"
05-23 Reading Preview for "Chickamauga" due for annotation
05-24 Finish discussion/annotation of "Chickamauga" RP
05-25 Documentary Notes for The Civil War,"Valley of the Shadow of Death (1864)”; Hand out Prompt/Rhetorical Guide for Major Essay 1
05-26 Reading Preview for "One of the Missing" due for annotation; Discuss Owens excerpt (116-118) and AB story; Hand out Reading Preview for "The Story of a Conscience"
05-30 No Class--Work on ME 1
05-31 Major Essay 1 Q & A; Hand out David Owens excerpt (105-113) and Reading Preview for "Killed at Resaca"
06-01 Reading Preview for "The Story of a Conscience" due for annotation; Hand out Owens excerpt (81-85) and Reading Preview for "One Kind of Officer"
06-02 Major Essay 1 Due; Notes re film adaptation of "The Story of a Conscience"
06-05 Finish discussion/annotation of "The Story of a Conscience" RP
06-06 Reading Preview for "Killed at Resaca" due for annotation; Discuss Owens excerpt (105-113) and AB story
06-07 Notes re film adaptation of "One Kind of Officer"; Hand out Prompt/Rhetorical Guide for Final Exam/Major Essay 2
06-08 Reading Preview for "One Kind of Officer" due for annotation; Discuss Owens excerpt (81-85) and AB story
06-09 Final Exam (ME2) Q & A 
06-12 Notes re film adaptations of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
06-13 Final Exam (Major Essay 2)