Boris Karloff

English 25:
     Our Monsters,

Bella Lugosi
Click here for:


Mary Shelley
Eric Sonstroem
Office: WPC 137 Phone: 946-2619  
Office Hours: 2-3 MW
Section 5, MWF 12:30-1:45 WPC 122
Fall, 2013

Please include "ENGL25" in subject heading.

Required Texts:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
World War Z

Mary Shelley. Frankenstein. Norton (Second edition). ISBN: 0393927938.

Bram Stoker. Dracula. Norton Critical Edition  ISBN: 0393970124. Philip K. Dick. Bladerunner. DelRay. ISBN:0345350472. Max Brooks. World War Z. Three Rivers Press. ISBN:0307346617.
All supplemental readings are available online. Links to these readings are available from the "Schedule of Readings and Assignments." Click here to go there. You are responsible for printing these out and bringing them to class as required.

from Fuseli The Nightmare
Course Description:

It was a dark and stormy night...  As long as we've told stories, we've tried to frighten ourselves.   How come?  What makes monsters so terrifying, but monster stories so appealing?  Why do all human cultures need to tell themselves stories about monsters?  Why do we call some people monsters, and what does it say about us?  What good is a monster for a culture? 

We will be studying the role of monsters in our culture.  We will find stories about monsters in novels, in movies, on television, on the web, ... wherever there are stories.  Monsters are often situated at the very edges of culture.  As such they can provide insights that would be hard to come by otherwise.  By banishing monsters, we reaffirm who we are.  By talking about monsters, we can challenge accepted views of who we are.  So be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Course Policies:

You will notice that there is a web page for the class, which you are reading now.  The address is   This more or less takes the place of both a syllabus and a coursepack.  You will be required to access this webpage throughout the semester, for readings, assignments and other material.  Computer access is therefore vital to the class.

Reading assignments from the web need to be printed out and brought to class.  In other words, you cannot bring your computer to class and access them from there.  This is cheaper than if I'd assembled a coursepack for you to buy.

Written work will be submitted to me electronically.  Any hard-copy assignments should be printed on white paper, in a standard 12-point font, with one inch margins. Your papers should be double spaced, and should contain my name, your name, the course number, the date, and a title.  Instigations can be single-spaced, and should be a paragraph or two.

Late papers will be marked down 1/3 of a letter grade for each calendar day they are late.  I will consider giving short extensions on assignments if you contact me ahead of the due date and you have a good reason for wanting the extension.  All assigned work must be completed to pass the course.

Attendance is required.  You may miss three "personal days" for any reason (and I don't want to know the reason).  After that, your final grade will drop 1/3 of a letter grade for each additional day missed.  If you have a valid, pre-existing, documented reason for needing to miss more classes (e.g., a valid medical reason) talk to me about that early in the course. Chronic or extreme lateness will also not be tolerated, and may count as absences as well.  The same applies to failure to participate in classroom discussion or activities.  Cell phones, smart phones, or other texting and recording devices, as well as computers, must be turned off for class.


Please refer to your Student Handbook (Tiger Lore) for a complete statement of the University Honor Code, an essential element in the academic integrity of our campus community.  If I believe you to be in violation of the University Honor Code I will refer the matter to the Office of Student Life.  Penalties for violating the Honor Code can include suspension from the University.  In other words, if you plagiarize in this class, I will probably catch you, and you will probably end up in serious trouble.

Plagiarism is the attempt to pass off someone else's text or ideas as your own. If you copy or paraphrase from any outside source, even another student, and fail to formally acknowledge this in your text, you are guilty of plagiarism. If someone else writes a paper for you, or even part of a paper for you, you are guilty of plagiarism. If you are found guilty of plagiarism, you will receive an F for the assignment, an F for the course, and a letter will be sent to your dean. There are no exceptions.

I think this course will be a lot of fun, but you should not take this class if you:


1)      Don't like disturbing (monster) stories/movies. (Containing violence, sexual issues, etc)

2)      Are unwilling to do the reading & participate in the class.

Students with Disabilities:

If you are a student with a disability, who requires accommodations, please contact Mr. Daniel Nuss, Coordinator of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities in Bannister Hall, room 101, for information on  how to obtain an Accommodation Request Letter.  Contact: or (209) 946-2879.  Then please schedule a meeting with me during office hours or some mutually convenient time to arrange the accommodation(s).

Please notify me about any special needs during the first week of the semester.  Those students needing accommodations due to a disability should arrange a meeting with me during office hours and provide an accommodations request letter obtained from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities in Bannister Hall Room 101 

The bulk of your grade will be determined by three five-page papers, two exams, and one presentation.   There will also be a number of unannounced reading quizzes, which will be no problem if you have kept up with the reading. 

Since discussion will be an important part of class, it will also be an important part of your grade.  Students who contribute thoughtfully to discussion, and who listen respectfully to their classmates, will be rewarded.  Students who don't contribute, or who attempt to dominate discussions at the expense of their classmates, will not be rewarded.  Here's how to prepare for discussion:

To help get the discussions started, students will be divided into five groups of "discussion instigators" at the beginning of the semester.  On a rotating basis, members of these groups will prepare a short (one or two paragraph) response to that day's reading, which raises some kind of question or discussion issue about the reading.  You will be responsible for five instigations throughout the course of the semester.  Be prepared to turn these in on your instigation day.

Papers----- 35%
Exams----- 25%
Presentation----- 15%
Reading Quizzes----- 10%
Participation & Instigations----- 15%
Total----- 100%

Tentative Schedule of Readings and Assignments:

Please notice the word "tentative" above.  I reserve the right to change some things around to better suit the needs of this class.  I won't dramatically change the workload.

Instigation numbers (1-5) are in red.

Week 1 Begins August 26
M   Welcome.  Monsters, monsters, monsters.
W  1 Hesiod, Works and Days  lines 42-108 

Bullfinch on Prometheus and Pandora)

F  2 Byron, "Fragment of a Novel"; Polidori, "The Vampyre


Week 2 Begins September 2
M   No Class:  Labor Day
W  3 Frankenstein: Hunter's "Introduction" (p. ix-xvii) ,  Percey Shelley's "Preface" (p. 5-6), Mary Shelley's "Introduction" (p. 165-169).

Carroll "Horror and Ideology" (On Sakai)

F  4 Frankenstein  Volume I (p. 7-60) 


Week 3 Begins September 9
M  5 Frankenstein Volume II (p. 61-105)
W  1 Frankenstein Volume III (p. 107-161) and essay, Poovey, "'My Hideous Progeny': The Lady and the Monster"(p. 344-355)
F   Movie: Kenneth Branagh's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein


Week 4 Begins September 16
M   Paper 1 Drafts--Bring to class for peer review session.
W   Paper 1 due.
F 2
Nathaniel  Hawthorne "The Birthmark"


Week 5 Begins September 23
M  3 selection from H. P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West--Reanimator"
W  4 Stephen King, "Home Delivery" (On Sakai)
F   Roddy Doyle, "Blood" (On Sakai)  :)=


Week 6 Begins September 30
M  5 Dracula  (chapters 1-5)
W  1 Dracula (chapters 6-9)
F   No Class: Fall Student Break


Week 7 Begins October 7
M  2 Dracula (chapters 10-13)
W  3 Dracula (chapters 14-18)
F  4 Dracula (chapters 19-22)


Week 8 Begins October 14
M  5 Dracula (chapters 23-end)
W   Midterm Exam--In Class

Movie: Frances Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula  


Week 9 Begins October 21
M  1 Trombetta, "The Horror! The Horror!", featuring "Dungeon of Doom!" (On Sakai)  NOTE:  There is no need to print out this reading if you don't want to.  It will be easier to read on the screen anyway.

Due in class:  Draft of paper 2 for Peer Editing

F   Paper 2 Due.
Movie: Night of the Living Dead (with a bit of I Walked with a Zombie)


Week 10 Begins October 28
M   Movie: Finish Night of the Living Dead (with a bit of Dawn of the Dead)


Movie:  Shaun of the Dead
 2 Leah A. Murray, "When They Aren't Eating Us, they Bring Us Together: Zombies and the American Social Contract"


Week 11 Begins November 4
M  3 Androids, chapters 1-6.
W  4 Androids, chapters 7-12.
F  5 Androids, chapters 13-22.


Week 12 Begins November 11
M    Due In Class:  Draft of Paper 3 for Peer Editing
W   Paper 3 Due.
F  1 World War Z pages 1-59


Week 13 Begins November 18
M  2 World War Z pages 59-116
W  3 World War Z pages 116-186
F  4 World War Z pages 187-255


Week 14 Begins November 25
M  5 World War Z pages 255-342

No Classes-- Killer Cyborg Turkey wishes you a Terrifying Thanksgiving Break


Week 15 Begins December 2
M   Student Presentations  Stephanie, Brittney, Siena, Jennifer, Joy, Thoren
W   Student Presentations  Thomas, Danish, Vanessa, David S., Gill, Emily
F   Student Presentations  David M., Brian, Chris, Kevin, Mario, Ashni


Final Exam will be held in the classroom during our scheduled final exam period:  Noon on Monday, December 9.

The format of the final exam will be an essay prompt.  I will give you a choice of essay questions to answer.  The essay questions will involve World War Z in some capacity.  You will be allowed to have the book (World War Z) with you during the exam, but you will be allowed no other sources, or electronics, etc.

This web-based syllabus is copyright 2013 by Eric Sonstroem.