Literature of Diverse Voices: FANTASY

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2017
Bea Wood Hall
Classroom Number
Jim Hoggard RM BW 226
Days & Times

MW 11:00 AM-12:20 PM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition
By Lewis Carroll/Ed. Martin Gardner
The Lord of the Rings
One volume edition (recommended)
Prince Caspian
Full-Color HarperTrophy
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
By Ransom Riggs/Movie Tie-in edition

Course Objectives



J. R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Suggested: One Volume edition. The old ISBN for the one volume is ISBN 9-780-618-26025-0; our book store has the current in-print one volume edition, ISBN9-780-54400341-5. 

C.S. Lewis. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia [The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 4]. Illustrations by Pauline Baynes. HarperTrophy. ISBN: 978-0-06-440944-5. 

Ransom Riggs. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Quirk. ISBN: 978-1-59474-952-0. 

Martin Gardner, ed. The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition: Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Norton. ISBN: 978-0-393-04847-6. 


Critical Inquiry

  • Students engage in an increasingly sophisticated discourse and demonstrate aesthetic and critical discernment through close textual analysis.
  • Students evaluate secondary sources and apply skills in information gathering and management, and document design, using traditional sources and emerging technologies.

Knowledge of Language and Literature

  • Students understand the usage and structure of the English language.
  • Students recognize the stylistic techniques that distinguish key literary texts relevant to subject and genre.
  • Students are familiar with the legacy of important ideas and contexts associated with literary periods.
  • Students are introduced to academic and professional publications in the field.

Writing as Process

  • Students reflect on their arguments over multiple stages of development.
  • Using traditional resources and emerging technologies, students utilize and format their primary and secondary sources in MLA style.


  • Student is aware of a cultural context for his or her own values and those of his or her sources.


Course Expectations

 A ONE-PARAGRAPH response for each title (The Lord of the Rings comprises THREE separate titles). The paragraph makes an observation about the story supported by quotes. Students READ their paragraph aloud in class. If too shy, the instructor will read it for the student.

  • Ideally, students prepare enough copies of their ONE-PARAGRAPH response so everyone can read and follow along. Dr. Fields must have a copy and he will return each student’s collection of responses at the end of the course for one average grade (5 percent of the semester grade).
  • ONE Three-paragraph paper (5 percent of semester grade). The three-paragraph essay continues the discussion begun by one of the one-paragraph responses. A Works Cited is not necessary. But in-body citing should follow standard MLA format for quotes and parenthetical page numbers.
  • ONE Five-paragraph paper (10 percent of semester grade). The five-paragraph essay continues the discussion begun by one of the one-paragraph responses. A Works Cited is not necessary. But in-body citing should follow standard MLA format for quotes and parenthetical page numbers.
  • ONE Seven-paragraph paper (20 percent of semester grade). The five-paragraph essay continues the discussion begun by one of the one-paragraph responses. A Works Cited is not necessary. But in-body citing should follow standard MLA format for quotes and parenthetical page numbers.
  • ONE Research Paper on FANTASY topic (40 percent of semester grade). Students write on any topic related to our required books or fantasy literature in general, including television or film titles. The paper requires use of FOUR secondary sources. If the sources are not from the Moffett book stacks or Moffett-supported databases, they may be perfect for the job-at-hand, but they should be approved (prior to submission of the paper) by Dr. Fields. Works Cited page is required. The Research Paper is at least SEVEN paragraphs (but it can be longer).

FINAL Blue Book Essay (for 20 percent of semester grade). Students write FIVE PARAGRAPHS pertaining to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Students should utilize at least TWO of Martin Gardner’s annotated remarks. No Works Cited required.

Grading Standards

This class will not use the plus/minus grading system. In this class, the following numerical equivalents for final grades are used: A = 100-90%; B = 89-80%; C = 79-70%; D = 69-60%; F = 59-0%.

 According to MSU’s Undergraduate Catalogue, “letter grades have the following significance:

  • A indicates excellent work
  • B indicates good work
  • C indicates satisfactory work
  • D indicates passing work
  • F indicates failing work.” 

Consequently, essays that meet the basic requirements earn a C, not an A or B.  If you wish to earn As and Bs, you will have to work harder to produce better than satisfactory, or average, writing.

The average grade of the one-paragraph responses is 5 percent of the overall semester grade; the first paper is 5 percent, the second 10 percent, and the third 20; the research paper is 40 percent, and the final Blue Book is 20 percent.

Final Exam

05/08/2017 10:30 AM-12:30 PM

Submission Format Policy

Acknowledge author and title, and let the quote come after or at the end of your point in order to let the quote serve to prove, finish, or reinforce what you were already saying in your own words.

In Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs is systematically inducting the protagonist by stages into an alternative world, beginning with the strange, unnerving photographs the protagonist’s grandfather has preserved of his upbringing at a Welsh orphanage where the children had extraordinary gifts like flying or levitating or lifting heavy boulders. As a sixteen year old, Jacob Portman will travel to the Welsh island where the orphanage was located. When he ascends a misty hillside on the island, he feels that he is crossing from a mundane into an extraordinary world, and he alludes to the Old Testament story of Moses and his standoff with the Pharaoh who persecuted the Hebrews as slave labor. We do not see any actual Egyptian features on the island or on the hillside. The impression is entirely supplied by the musings of Jacob Portman who is really seeing nothing, only a haze upon which he projects significant features of his own identity: “At the top hovered an embankment of rolling, snaking fog so dense it was like stepping into another world. It was truly biblical; a fog I could imagine God, in one of his lesser wraths, cursing the Egyptians with” (81). The revelatory moment of stepping into a remarkable world steeped in “truly biblical” significance is foreshadowing with many earlier allusions to Jacob’s lineage and Jewish background. Grandpa Portman had talked much of peculiar children and could be especially vivid about monsters that preyed upon them: in the case of one type,  “a pack of squirming tentacles lurked inside their mouths and could whip out in an instant and pull you into their powerful jaws” (13). But as Jacob grew older he attributed the “peculiar” nature of Grandpa’s upbringing to his family’s status as targeted-minority in Nazi-occupied Poland. The refugee children who fled to the orphanage on Cairnholm Island were not “peculiar” because they had strange talents: “The peculiarity for which they’d been hunted was simply their Jewishness. They were orphans of war, washed up on that little island in a tide of blood. What made them amazing wasn’t that they had miraculous powers; that they had escaped the ghettos and gas chambers was miracle enough” (21). The crossing over into a remarkable world reflects and fulfills a growing sense of who the protagonist is in the world. Jacob is crossing into a mystery at the heart of something unique and peculiar about his heritage. 

When quotes are longer, set them off 10 spaces on the left once they exceed four lines:

Riggs’s approach to things “peculiar” in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is to allude to, hint at, then reveal abruptly, a remarkable world that centers on something extraordinary about the protagonist, but which the character had not taken seriously or fully understood or embraced. When Jacob discovers his grandfather mortally wounded behind the man’s home, he is astounded and horrified by a glimpse of a monster his grandfather had described but which Jacob had ceased to believe could be real:  

There was no moon and no movement in the undergrowth but our own, and yet somehow I knew just when to raise my flashlight and just where to aim it, and for an instant in that narrow cut of light I saw a face that seemed to have been transplanted directly from the nightmares of my childhood. It stared back with eyes that swam in dark liquid, furrowed trenches of carbon-black flesh loose on its hunched frame, its mouth hinged open grotesquely so that a mass o long eel-like tongues could wriggle out. (37)

NOTE: A Block quote does NOT count as a paragraph.

In the longer essays (three paragraphs or more), students can compare primary texts:

In J. R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo crosses over into an extraordinary other world as well. Certainly, the Old Forest had its wonders as when Tom Bombadil had to persuade Old Man Willow not to consume Frodo’s fellow-hobbits, Merry and Pippin. Bombadil’s relationship to the living things of the Old Forest is dynamic and creative. Similarly, when Frodo enters the realm of Cerin Amroth, the heart of the ancient world of Lothlorien, Frodo feels something extraordinary in his perceptions, as if he were experiencing this world as it came into being: “All that he saw was shapely but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever” (341; Ch. 6). In a word, Frodo’s perception is the same as that of a creator. This crossing over into Lothlorien is a coming into being of a world that in its entirety—even its vast and venerable age—requires the sensibility of the protagonist in order to manifest in all its glory, power, and mystery.  In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, the characters in Alice’s remarkable world are not aware that its constituent parts are arranged according to principles informed by her imagination. Talking to her cat, Alice prattles and speculates on her looking-glass world, taking in its elements even as she designs them: “Now if you’ll only attend, Kitty, and not talk so much, I’ll tell you all my ideas about Looking-glass house” (141; Ch. 1). She is creating her remarkable world. In Through the Looking Glass, the White King begins to write of his horrific experience of being held in the air by an invisible force (really, by Alice), but to his consternation he is not able to write what he intended, which is another intervention by Alice: “A sudden thought struck her, and she took hold of the end of the pencil, which came some way over his shoulder, and began writing for him” (147; Ch. 1). Alice’s crossing over is really the coming-into-being of her own conception of things and her entrance upon that world is reminiscent of Jacob Portman ascending the misty hillside: “Let’s pretend,” says Carroll’s Alice to her kitty, “the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get through. Why, it’s turning into a sort of mist now, I declare!” (143: Ch. 1). Crossing over in these stories is to encounter a world that arises from the depths of the protagonist. 

Citing a secondary source from a scholarly journal (as found on a Moffett database) and citing from an introduction to one of our required texts:

According to Monden Masafumi in her article “Being Alice in Japan: Performing a Cute, ‘Girlish’ Revolt” for the journal Japan Forum, Japanese music videos have seized upon the independence of Lewis Carroll’s Alice as a way for the female superstar to escape constraints, especially the necessity to be erotic or sexy or otherwise attractive to men. The joy of being the “girl”—as Alice is a girl—is that she is forceful, confident, imaginative, creative, and risk-taking. She is also exquisitely, perfectly, and completely female. She is a girl who can take charge of her world and still be a girl who delights in being a girl: “Emphasizing sweetness, demureness, and femininity without hinting at sexual allure or seeking the objectifying male gaze serves to repudiate the stereotyped representation of femininity as passive, compliant and powerless against the sexual objectification of women” (282). In Japanese popular culture, taking on the persona of Alice immerses the artist in a world where femininity is not reduced to helplessness. Alice is the author and finisher of her looking-glass world and free of the demands of adult sexuality. If Martin Gardner is correct in his Introduction to The Annotated Alice, the ethos of the “girl” in Carroll’s universe is freedom from sexual demands:

Of late Carroll has been compared with Humber Humbert, the narrator of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita. It is true that both had a passion for little girls, but their goals were exactly opposite. Humbert Humbert’s “nymphets” were creatures to be used carnally. Carroll’s little girls appealed to him precisely because he felt sexually safe with them. The thing that distinguishes Carroll from other writers who lived sexless lives (Thoreau, Henry James …) and from writers who were strongly drawn to little girls (Poe, Ernest Dowson …) was his curious combination, almost unique in literary history, of complete sexual innocence with a passion that can only be described as thoroughly heterosexual. (xix)

Today, we have a hard time believing in “sexless” interest in girls on the part of a middle-aged man. [NOTICE: The paragraph that began prior to the block quote is still NOT over.] Gardner is nonplussed by Carroll’s sketching and photographing of young girls, sometimes posed in the nude, and insists that Carroll never crossed the line into sexuality: “he was a fussy, prim, fastidious, cranky, kind, gentle bachelor whose life was sexless, uneventful, and happy” (xvi). Whatever our misgivings today, Gardner’s point is germane to Monden’s observations in “Being Alice in Japan” of Japanese music videos which dip into the “girl” mystique—shōjo is the Japanese term (271-74)—to find refuge from adult sexuality: “That is, such a seemingly demure, youthful aesthetic, as exemplified by their “little girl dresses” can be perceived as a form of autonomy rather than endorsing link between feminine passivity and derogation” (268). Monden acknowledges how much Japanese popular culture has also gone down the much different road of “Alice Japan” (273), which is fully eroticized and even pornographic. The more literary analysis sees in Alice a “young girl implicated in sadomasochistic eroticism and an incestuous relationship” (269). But more literate treatments make the same point as shōjo music videos. Monden notes, for instance, that Yagawa Sumiko, who translates Carroll’s work in Japanese, subscribes to the standard shōjo “interpretation of Alice as a symbol of the loneliness that often accompanies autonomy and indicates that this reading is also shared in Japanese culture” (269).


Works Cited

Caroll, Lewis. Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Gardner, pp. 133-271

Gardner, Martin, ed. The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Alice.  New York, Norton, 2000.

---. Introduction. Gardner, pp. xiii-xxii.

Monden, Masafumi. “Being Alice in Japan: Performing a Cute, ‘Girlish’ Revolt.” Japan Forum, vol. 26, no. 2, 2014, pp. 265-85. DOI: 10.1080/0955803.2014.900511. Accessed 16 Jan. 2017. Brown, John. “The Monster’s Heart.” Card, Ender’s World, pp. 17-37.

Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Philadelphia: Quirk, 2016.

Tolkien, J. R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring. Tolkien, pp. 21-209.

---. The Lord of the Rings. One volume edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

---. Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, Tolkien, pp. 1032-38.

---. Númenor, Tolkien, pp. 1009-1013.

NOTE: hyphens---mean the author is the same as the prior item’s author.

HANGING INDENT: To create the hanging indent, students should highlight the entry, then on the toolbar click on PARAGRAPH, and then under Special, click on Hanging, and make sure By is set at the default for “0.5” and Spacing is double; all boxes on the left side (left, right, before, & after) should be “0.”



  • All typed documents must be 12 point Times New Roman or Garamond double-spaced.
  • TYPED documents: For header and page number in the .5 default position: click on “insert,” then “page number,” “top of page,” and “plain number 3.” The cursor will show to the immediate left of the page number. Simply type your last name, and it will magically appear.
  • TYPED documents: Top, right, and bottom margins should be set at one inch; the left margin should be an inch and a quarter in the case of the RESEARCH PAPER in order to accommodate the brads of the folder.
  • NOT A HEADER (first page only): Your name, instructor, course, and date (double-spaced, upper left corner.
  • FOLDER & RESEARCH PAPER (hole-punched, fixed in the brads): complete print-outs (with highlighted passages) of database sources or photocopies (with highlighted passages) of book chapters or key pages from Moffett books are provided in the front/back pockets of the folder.
  • By enrolling in this class, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.
  • Dr. Fields reserves the right to ask students to send him a computer file of their research project and/other work by e-mail attachment for archival purposes.
  • Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

If late by one period, the assignment will be penalized 10 points. If late by two class periods, the essay is penalized 20 points (the penalty is capped at 20 points). The penalty for late submission is forgiven if valid documentation is provided.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Students who miss class can expect lower grades than those who attend regularly and benefit from what they learn in class. Students will be held responsible for what is discussed in class. E-MAIL the instructor when you miss a class even if you aren’t going to be able to document the absence—keep him in the loop! 

WARNING: Students who do not bring their books to class on a regular basis and have them open, following along, can expect to be withdrawn. CHRONIC absenteeism (averaging or approaching an average of missing class once a week), CHRONIC lateness (most class periods), and/or persistent lack of participation (i.e., not following along in the books) may incur a warning and then removal with a “WF.” Problematic students may avoid the worst by bringing the instructor a withdrawal form from the registrar’s office prior to the end of the last day for a penalty-free “W.”



Other Policies

Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument without appropriate acknowledgement and MLA documentation—it is NOT tolerated and violates the student honor code. 

Plagiarism and Proper Documentation

Any use of a non-documented source as if it were a student’s original work is considered plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Plagiarism can be of ideas; it can be of exact phrasing. In either or both cases, if the student has failed to acknowledge the source in the body of the essay and to document it in the Works Cited, the grade will be a “0” (no points) for the assignment even if the rest of the assignment is original and use of other sources properly documented. Upon being informed of the plagiarism, the student is no longer welcome in the class. The student may withdraw from the course with a penalty-free “W” if available; if not, the student must cease attending and the grade will be whatever points the student has accumulated minus the plagiarized document and any other tests or assignment as yet not completed (which are forfeit).  If the student continues to attend, the instructor will contact the Dean of Students or Student Conduct office and withdraw the student with a WF. 

Phrasing that is too close to the student’s own documented sources.

Students who reproduce the phrasing of their own documented source(s) as if it were their own phrasing will be penalized for language that is too close to source. Students can use terminology they find in their documented sources, but four words in a row are too much without quoting and attribution.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

>Calendar Attachment

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at