This blog has been established for the participants in English 275, "Cormac McCarthy and the West," Summer Quarter, 2009 at the Ohio State University at Marion. On it, we will post contributions to the intellectual life of the class in a relatively informal way. Each of you will required to post, at minimum, once a week, but I would encourage you to post more often than that. You are also required to reply to one post written by a classmate each week, but again, I would encourage you to do better than that. As with all online forums, it will be what you make of it. I'll post relatively frequently, but as there are eighteen of you and there is only one of me, the majority of the discussion will be between you.
While the forum is informal and you may post anything you like here, I'd like for us to observe two simple rules. The first is that we are respectful of one another as human beings and holders of opinions. If you don't have something nice to say about someone, do it in person. Second, I want to see some actual thought put into the things you write here--postings written in a distracted state or solely to get credit for the bare minimum, once-per-week requirement will be recognized as such and will likely not get credit. Writing "I don't understand Blood Meridian" does not contribute to the intellectual life of the class; trying to understand or pointing out specific incomprehesible points would be much more productive. Writing "Pretty Horses is boring" doesn't contribute to the intellectual life of the class, but explaining what sorts of reference points one might use to show that the novel is boring or that boredom is a textual effect being created by specific techniques in the novel would be interesting to discuss. This is a place for you to press yourself to say interesting things about things you find interesting. You may suggest readings of scenes or characters, interpret symbols or figurative language, work out ideas for your response,critical or influence papers, raise questions, try to answer them, pursue ideas we leave short in class, raise new ideas or avenues of discussion--whatever you like. So long as there's thought behind what you write, pretty much everything is permitted--even allusions to Raskolnikov. Have a good time.