Monday, December 1, 2014

Assignment: Representing Mormon Experience in Fiction

What happens when one attempts to represent Mormon experience in a fictional form? This is the main question I wish my students to explore in a blog post due Tuesday, December 2nd. As a class we have been reading Douglas Thayer's new novel, Will Wonders Never Cease, and this gives us a way into that question. Thayer is an established author of Mormon fiction, and his latest novel can serve as a test case for my students in thinking this through.

A related question which they could also consider is the issue of candor or honesty. This is a main theme in many of Thayer's fictional works. How can one achieve an authentic representation of one's life or beliefs in literary form? Can fiction do this in ways nonfiction cannot, or vice versa?

In a blog post of about 300 words, my students are to make an observation or short argument about representing LDS experience, and to do so with reference to Doug Thayer's novel (and, if they wish, to other Mormon fiction). They may also consider the question of how fiction differs from representing (LDS) experience through the nonfictional genre of the personal essay.

Hopefully, my students will not just give an opinion in response to reading this novel, but they will engage this broader topic, and one another, in their posts.

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