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English 2310: The Short Story

The US Civil War in Short Fiction

Ed Tober, Assistant Professor
Department of English and Languages

Fall 2016: Section 110 (TR 9:25, OAG 113)

Office Hours: Mon-Thurs 8-9 (and by appointment)

Course Description

Professor Tober's ENGLISH 2310 will introduce students to and rehearse them in textual and contextual strategies for thematically analyzing and interpreting 19th and 20th century short fiction with US Civil War settings and themes.

Course Requirements

Daily Grade: 50% (All Daily Assignments)

Daily assignments must be concluded on time and in class for full credit--period. 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. Your daily average will be computed using the following rubric:

From the 100 at which your daily average begins,
each 0 subtracts 7 points,
each ½ subtracts 4 points,
- subtracts 2 points,
subtracts 0 points, and
each + adds 2 points (so your Daily Grade could exceed 100).

Three Major Essays (2 Papers + Final Exam): 50% (Best 2 @ 25% each) 

A late paper 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 one by that time, you will receive a zero, irrespective of circumstances. Major Essay 1 is mandatory (i.e., you cannot pass the course if you do not submit it or otherwise make a zero on it). However, a student may opt out of Major Paper 2 or the Final Exam since I will drop one major essay grade. I strongly recommend that students not opt out of Major Essay 2, though, since the Major Essay 1 grade (unless it is a zero) can only be dropped if both Major Essay 2 and the Final Exam are submitted.

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.

BOOKS (to purchase).

Bierce, Ambrose. Civil War Stories. New York: Dover Thrift, 1994. Print.

Foote, Shelby. Shiloh: A Novel. New York: Vintage, 1952. Print.


Swaim, Don. "Ambrose Bierce Chronology." The Ambrose Bierce Site. Web. 19 Aug. 2015 <>.

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

Owens, David M. The Devil’s Topographer: Ambrose Bierce and the American War Story. Knoxville:

            U Tennessee Press, 2006. Print. 

Guide to MLA Documentation:

Purdue OWL. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide."

08-30 Hand out and Discuss Syllabus; Hand out and Discuss/Hightlight Swaim's "Ambrose Bierce Chronology"; Hand out Morris, Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company (21-39), and KISO
09-01 Documentary Notes: American Experience, "Death and the Civil War"; Hand out Bierce, "What I Saw of Shiloh" (1-17) Reading Preview
09-06 Morris (21-39) KISO DUE; Documentary Notes: Shiloh: Fiery Trial (National Park Service documentary)
09-08 Bierce, "What I Saw of Shiloh" (1-17) Reading Preview DUE; Hand out Reading Previews 1 & 2 for Foote, Shiloh
09-13 Reading Preview 1 for Foote, Shiloh (3-30) DUE; Hand out Reading Preview 3 for Foote, Shiloh
09-15 Reading Preview 2 for Foote, Shiloh (33-60) DUE; Hand out Reading Preview 4 for Foote, Shiloh
09-20 Reading Preview 3 for Foote, Shiloh (63-93) DUE; Hand out Reading Preview 5 for Foote, Shiloh
09-22 Reading Preview 4 for Foote, Shiloh (97-126) DUE; Hand out Reading Preview 6 for Foote, Shiloh
09-27 Reading Preview 5 for Foote, Shiloh (129-159) DUE; Hand out Reading Preview 7 for Foote, Shiloh
09-29 Reading Preview 6 for Foote, Shiloh (163-192) DUE; Hand out Prompt/Rhetorical Guide for Major Essay 1; Hand out Bierce, "A Horseman in the Sky" (27-32) Reading Preview
10-04 Reading Preview 7 for Foote, Shiloh (195-222) DUE
10-06 Bierce, "A Horseman in the Sky" (27-32) Reading Preview DUE; Hand out Bierce, "A Little of Chickamauga," and Bierce, "Chickamauga" (41-46) Reading Preview
10-11 Finish Bierce, "A Horseman in the Sky" (27-32) Reading Preview; Chickamauga Documentary (20 minutes)
10-13 READ Bierce, "A Little of Chickamauga" for Annotation/Discussion; Bierce, "Chickamauga" (41-46) Reading Preview DUE
10-18 Major Essay 1 DUE; Hand out Bierce, "The Story of a Conscience" (99-104) Reading Preview
10-20 Finish Bierce, "Chickamauga" (41-46) Reading Preview
10-25 Video Notes: Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories, "The Story of a Conscience"; Hand out Prompt/Rhetorical Guide for Major Essay 2
10-27 Bierce, "The Story of a Conscience" (99-104) Reading Preview DUE; Hand out Bierce, One Kind of Officer" (105-113) Reading Preview and Owens, The Devil's Topographer (81-86)
11-01 Video Notes: Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories, "One Kind of Officer"
11-03 Bierce, One Kind of Officer" (105-113) Reading Preview DUE
11-08 Finish Bierce, One Kind of Officer" (105-113) Reading Preview; Hand out Bierce, "One of the Missing" (53-62) Reading Preview and Owens, The Devil's Topographer (115-118)
11-15 Major Essay 2 DUE; Documentary Notes re The Civil War in 1864
11-17 Bierce, "One of the Missing" (53-62) Reading Preview DUE
11-22 Finish Bierce, "One of the Missing" (53-62) Reading Preview; Hand out Bierce, "Killed at Resaca" (63-68) Reading Preview and Owens, The Devil's Topographer (107-113)
11-24 NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Holiday)
11-29 Bierce, "Killed at Resaca" (63-68) Reading Preview DUE
12-01 Finish Bierce, "Killed at Resaca" (63-68) Reading PreviewHand out Prompt/Rhetorical Guide for Major Essay 3 (Final Exam)
12-06 Return ME 2; Daily Grade; Final Exam (ME 3) logistics
12-10 FINAL EXAM: 8-10:30 (Yes, this is a SATURDAY.)