Listen to a conversation between a student and his English professor.
Hi, Bob. How is it going? Are you enjoying the Introduction to Literature class?
Yeah, it's great. Araby, that short story by James Joyce we read last week, it was awesome.
I'm glad you like it.
Most of Joyce's work is very complex. A lot of students say that he is hard to understand.
Normally, you wouldn't tackle Joyce in an Intro class, but I'd like to give my first year students a taste of his style, his psychological approach to literature, because... mainly because it influenced other writers.
I only wish we had more class time to discuss it.
Me too. So why did you pick Araby instead of some other story?
Well, um, first you should know that Araby is one of fifteen short stories by Joyce in a book called Dubliners.
Uh, all the stories are related to one another, and they are set in the same time period.
But Araby is the easiest one to follow.
Though all the stories in the collection are written in stream of consciousness, which as you know, means they are told through the narrator's thought, through an inner monologue, as opposed to dialogue or an objective description of events.
But Araby is easier because it's linear, the story unfold chronologically.
Still, I wish we could read whole novels by Joyce and discussed them in class.
That's what happens in my Master Writer Class.
Master Writer Class?
Yeah, I teach one on Joyce every spring.
It's such a privilege, spending an entire term diving into a single body of work.
And my students, they bring so much insight to the table that it's easy to forget who the professor is.
Oh, wow. That could actually solve my dilemma, uh, what I originally wanted to ask you...
Um, I am working on my schedule for next term, and I've got room for one more course, and I'd like to take more literature.
Could I take your Master Writer Class on Joyce?
I'm sorry. I should have mentioned.
Uh, Master Writer is an advanced seminar.
So students need to get a strong foundation in literary theory and criticism before I let them enroll.
But I have gotten really good grades on all my paper so far. I'm sure I can keep up.
Couldn't you make an exception?
Your grades are excellent.
But in our intro class, you are reviewing the basics, like plots, setting and character and getting your first real exposure to different literary styles.
But why do I have to study different styles to understand Joyce's novels?
There are a lot of little details involved in interpreting literature.
And like with Joyce. His novels have very unique structures.
The only way to appreciate how unique they are is by studying a variety of authors.
Oh, OK. So could you suggest a different literature class then?
Sure. There's doctor Clain's course on nineteenth-century novels.
It's more focused than the class you're in now.
But it will build on your current knowledge base and give you the background you need.
That, plus a couple more foundational classes, and you will definitely be ready for my seminar.