Welcome to Studies in Narrative.

This is the home base for Studies in Narrative Section 8 (EN13308) taught by Richard Ford Burley at Boston College in the Spring Semester of 2014. Using the links on the left (or the menu button at the top left on mobile devices) you can navigate to any other part of the site. Home will bring you back here; Texts provides an overview of the major texts we're covering this semester; the Syllabus will tell you all about the details of the course, its goals and expectations, and the ever-important policies; the Assignments section provides short links to coursework as it is assigned; and the Discussion section provides instructions and a link to the site's bulletin board, where we'll hold our semi-weekly online discussions. If you're a member of the class and you have a question (or even if you're not) you can contact me using the Contact link.


There are four texts you must purchase for this course, as well as a series of shorter works that are available for download. You must purchase these specific editions of the texts (which are available in the bookstore as well as online): The Cheese Monkeys (ISBN: 978-0061452482), Fight Club (ISBN: 978-0393327342), In the Skin of a Lion (ISBN: 978-00679772668), and The Metamorphosis and Other Stories (ISBN: 978-0199238552). All other texts will be available here.

A note regarding video material: we will be watching two video texts this semester: the 1999 film Fight Club, and the episode of Doctor Who entitled "Blink" (from Season 3). Both are widely available: Fight Club is available in the O'Neill Library, and is roughly $6-10 for a copy from Amazon; "Blink" is available from both Netflix and Hulu Plus, and can also be seen for $1.99 from Amazon Instant Video (among other sources). I will try to arrange common viewings for both, but it is ultimately your responsibility to see these in time to discuss them in class.

fight club

Fight Club

In the Skin of a Lion

Umberto Eco (image from http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00227/96646453_ECO_227805c.jpg

Umberto Eco

The Cheese Monkeys

Time Travel Narratives

A Good Man is Hard to Find

The Metamorphosis

The Love of a Good Woman

The Aleph


The central focus of this course is, as the title implies, the study of narrative -- primarily novels, novellas, and short stories, but also a little film. Its central aim is to teach you how to interact critically with narratives on a scholarly level: how we can derive meaning from a work not only through careful study of the text itself (on its own, and in comparison with other texts), but also through dialogue with secondary criticism, what we call a critical discourse. The syllabus includes a more detailed explanation of the goals and expectations for the course, as well as a detailed, class-by-class schedule. Click the button below to download the syllabus.


There are four major written assignments in this course: two 4/5-page close reading assignments, one 4/5-page critical reading assignment, and one 7/8 page critical research assignment. Links to detailed instructions for the assignments will be posted below as they are assigned.

Assignment #1

Assignment #2

Assignment #3

Assignment #4


In addition to the four written assignments for the course, there will also be a bi-weekly discussion prompt. If you already know what you're doing, click the link below marked "Go To Discussion," if not, click "Teach Me How" to learn more.


I can be found during my office hours (Thursday 12-1pm) in Stokes South cube 470D (take a left at the front desk, walk 30 feet or so, take another left, walk another 30 feet or so, and I'm on the left). Otherwise you can e-mail me at richard dot burley at bc dot edu, or by clicking on the button below.