UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Summer 2015

R1B - 001 | Session A | CCN: 48205

The Craft of Writing - Myths, Legends, Storytelling

Katherine Guerra

MTuW 10-1230P, 109 DWINELLE

4 Units

Human beings have been sharing stories and passing down oral tales since they began living together in societies. Myths and legends predate the written word. Our goal is to interrogate why almost every people on earth has some history of perpetuating culturally specific tales of the fantastic and fearsome. Do they make life lessons easier to digest? Glorify a shared and distant past? Outline the ideals which are held up as exemplary and exceptional in a given culture? What is immortalized in the act of “telling” in a given story and what is left “unsaid?” We will spend our time teasing out the implications of the kinds of storytelling introduced in class, from ancient Scandinavian oral legends to contemporary American urban legends, as well as examples of lore and storytelling in contemporary horror and fantasy films. On a formal level, we will endeavor to develop our analytical writing skills at the college level, with a special concentration on writing the research paper. We will employ methods as diverse as individual summary reactions to take home “journals,” to peer reviews to improve our writing skills while delving deep into the world of “stories” and legends to achieve a sophisticated understanding of the human desire to “tell the tale.”