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Course : Contemporary Literature: Stephen King DOCTOR SLEEP

Course Number
ENGL 4953
Section Number
Fall 2022
Days & Times
Final Exam Day/Time
Monday, November 28, 2022 12:01 am

Dr. Peter Fields, assoc. professor of English        Office [Bea Wood 230 in PY] Ph: 940-397-4246


OFFICE HOURS: MTWRF 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM. If you can, let me know by email that you are dropping by. Also: I can make in-person and ZOOM appointments. Afternoons are best for me.


Course goals

           Read Stephen King’s novel Doctor Sleep.

           Engage in a writing process that includes invention, drafting, and revision.

Utilize credible supporting sources in our essays according to MLA citing.

Demonstrate proficient use of Standard Written English.



I take attendance through D2l’s login history and class progress. Be sure to log into our course at your earliest opportunity and click on our modules. That way you will be counted PRESENT.



The THREE essays may be submitted to their drop box after the due date and time. The late penalty is capped at 10 points out of 100.



Note: the DROP BOX will mark the ESSAYS late after 11:59 PM the night of the due date. Threads must be posted before 11:59 PM of the date specified. I will reply to late threads, but they cannot receive point value.

D2L Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 50                                   Monday Sept 12

D2L Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 60                                   Monday September 19

D2L Submit RELATIONSHIPS essay to DROP BOX – 20%            Monday October 3

D2L Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 70                                   Monday October 10

D2L Post rough draft as THREAD – for an 80                                 Monday October 17

D2L Submit MEANT TO BE essay to DROP BOX – 30%                Monday October 31

D2L Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 90                                   Monday November 14

D2L Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 100                                  Monday November 21

D2L Submit SHINING essay to DROP BOX – 40%                        Monday December 5

D2L THREADS – 10% (1 is worth the grade of 50; 2 = 60; 3 = 70; 4 = 80; 5 = 90; 6 = 100).


Required Text:

Stephen King, Doctor Sleep. 2013. Scribner (Simon & Schuster), 2013.

This is the original hardback edition.

ISBN 978-1-4767-2765-3.


CITING MODEL: When we cite pages from a novel, we need to indicate more than page number just in case we have different editions:


Dick Hallorann did more than come to Danny’s rescue. He alerted Danny to his place in the scheme of things—to his purpose. We are part of larger system. We each owe a debt to someone coming after us: “The world,” Dick explained, “has a way of keeping things in balance. I believe that. There’s a saying: When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear” (10; “Lockbox” sec. 6). Part of the purposefulness in King’s universe is teacher/student. The student necessitates the teacher. There cannot be a student who lacks a teacher. The truth about the shining in Doctor Sleep is something passed down—a secret thread through time and space and via the human psyche. The mentor must take responsibility by answering the call. The baby birds, so to speak—the pupils—must do their role and cry for help. But then they must listen in order to be fed. Danny tries to bat away Hallorann’s stories; he gets rebuked: “Shut your mouth,” orders Hallorann, “and open your ears. Take some instruction” (11). Stephen King’s word choice is telling: he has Hallorann establish the purpose of story itself which is to instruct. Perhaps King’s own story is to instruct us and we need to be alert to outcomes, developments, consequence, and revelations as more than plot points to advance a storyline. We are supposed to be learning something about how everything in the shining universe works.


Dan Torrance believes he was meant to come to Abra’s aid. The sign—the proof—of this fate or destiny is the discovery of their blood relation. He is her actual uncle, not just metaphorically-speaking. Abra’s father is disbelieving: “This is coincidence beyond coincidence” (425; ch. 16, sec 7). Dan responded at once with his conviction that the two of them—uncle and niece, he and Abra—were supposed to join forces. He rules out chance: “It’s the farthest thing in the world from coincidence” (425). We are supposed to see in Dan’s and Abra’s relationship something fateful. When we learn the truth about their blood relation, we are supposed to see the rightness of it—as if we should have known all along. We should have guessed that Dan’s role was familial: “My father,” Dan says to Abra’s mother, “was your father, Lucy. I’m your half brother” (424).






Stephen King has remarked (in ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT) that he is SITUATIONAL. Yes, he is deep into his characters. But he only learns about them by putting them in a situation. The type of situation that most concerns us is the RELATIONSHIP the characters have with one another including ANTAGONISTIC relationships and/or relationships with minor characters or even a vague public-at-large. This essay should be THREE pages. Prompt: What dynamic or principle brings people together in Doctor Sleep? [The only source is Doctor Sleep.]



In Doctor Sleep, Stephen King--compared to his early books from the 70's--is very immersed in the motif of THINGS MEANT TO BE. A word we might use is FATE. In other words, at every turn in DOCTOR SLEEP what seems like random chance may not actually be random chance. Everything seems to happen for a reason and those reasons may be manifold. This paper should be FIVE pages. Prompt: What purpose or principle--and we are doubtless talking about more than one dynamic--motivates or instigates the unfolding of events in Doctor Sleep? [Needs ONE source in addition to Doctor Sleep.]


The SHINING in DOCTOR SLEEP (40 percent):

The most important thing in DOCTOR SLEEP is how this thing--the SHINING--works in people's lives. I almost said "people's fates" because the SHINING is a supernatural gift that ANTICIPATES what is going to happen to people (and not just the person who possesses the gift). The SHINING is a dynamic force of super nature. This undergraduate paper should be SEVEN pages with TWO sources besides DOCTOR SLEEP. The GRADUATE paper should be TEN pages with four sources besides DOCTOR SLEEP. Prompt: How does the shining work in Doctor Sleep? [Needs FOUR sources besides Doctor Sleep.]

ESSAYS should be DOUBLE spaced or 1.5 spaced. They should have a readable 11 point or 12 point font. 

THREADS (10 Percent):

THREADS are a great opportunity to rack up points towards 10 percent of the semester grade being a 100. There are SIX opportunities. Students are posting an incomplete rough draft of their upcoming essay—they do so TWICE before the essay is due revised and finished in the DROP BOX. The THREAD postings are NOT awarded points on the basis of their current polish or quality. Students receive the points simply for posting something irrespective of its present stage of development. If students don’t participate by posting their work-in-progress in THREADs, they risk a low grade for 10 percent of the semester grade. If they post nothing the whole semester, that’s a “0” for 10 percent of the semester grade.


DROP BOX due dates

Once the THREE In order for the THREE essays to count and be graded, they need to be submitted to the drop box. Click on ASSESSMENTS; then click on ASSIGNMENTS—you will see the drop box.


GRADES ARE NOT ROUNDED UP - D2L Final Calculated Grade is the semester grade.

Here is are the numeric-letter values: 100-90 (A), 89-80 (B), 79-70 (C), 69-60 (D), 59-0 (F). NOTE: An 89.9 is a B; 79.9 is a C; 69.9 is a D; and 59.9 is an F.



The THREE ESSAYS should make good use of specific description in the student’s own words. As much as possible paint a picture, use action words, and otherwise immerse us in the experience:


Dick Hallorann brought a gift with him for Danny. It was a green metal tool box from a hardware store. This is the 1980’s so it had a push button combination (versus the padlock on the metal box Gramma Rose had presented to a young Hallorann once upon a time—for the same special purpose). Hallorann encouraged Danny to get to know his metal box—intimately. He should know its scent. He needs to put himself inside it in his imagination and become deeply acquainted with its every nook and cranny: “Because,” Hallorann said, “you’re going to put another one just like it in your mind” (18; “Lockbox,” sec. 8).



The FIRST essay only uses Doctor Sleep—that’s all. The second essay uses ONE other source. The third essay uses TW0 sources besides Doctor Sleep. The GRADUATE third essay should use FOUR sources besides DOCTOR SLEEP.



Use other stories or books by Stephen King.

Use stories by OTHER authors, which relate to Stephen King.

Use books or articles ABOUT Stephen King or fantasy, horror, mythology, or science fiction.

Dialogue/narration from movie, videogame, or YouTube video ABOUT a videogame.



Acknowledge the OTHER work. Set the relevant scene and briefly describe it. Explain your point—your INSIGHT. Close your thought with a significant quote:


Citing OTHER stories by Stephen King:


Abra Stone is one of the fortunate and lucky girls in Stephen King’s universe. She is accepted by her peers at school and is not persecuted by any one. Stephen King’s first breakthrough as a writer was Carrie, whose title character was very much persecuted as a way of life by her peer group culminating in getting her period while taking a shower in the women’s locker room. The other teenage girls let loose upon Carrie when they realized she didn’t know what was happening to her: “Then the laughter, disgusted, contemptuous, horrified, seemed to rise and bloom into something jagged and ugly, and the girls were bombarding her with tampons and sanitary napkins, some from purses, some from the broken dispenser on the wall” (8, “Blood Sport”). The rain of tampons and sanitary napkins was a barrage that never seemed to let up. The girls were in unison. They had become moblike and chanted the same thing over and over: “Plug it up, plug it up, plug it up” (8).


Citing a story by ANOTHER author:


 Stephen King gives us a doubting Dan Torrance as an adult in his 20’s and 30’s. He does not doubt the shining of course—his curse and gift. He doubts his ability to function without the escape valve of alcohol. In some ways, Doctor Sleep’s Dan Torrance is always the 5-year-old Danny who never stopped loving the parent (Jack Torrance) who totally failed—and in this case nearly killed—his child (Danny) while possessed by the Overlook Hotel, a timberline repository of restless ghosts in the Rocky Mountains, jump-started into spiritual overdrive by Danny’s own powerful talent (his shining). Fr. Damien Karras—the priest in William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist—is broken-hearted over the loss of his mother who, for a time, was confined to a public psychiatric ward. She went home at last to her tenement but died alone. His faith—the faith he was supposed to have as a priest—deserts him even as he speaks the words of consecration over the host. When he gets to the place where he supposed to intone “say but the word and my soul shall be healed,” Fr. Karras feels nothing but doubt. He feels inadequate both in his role as priest and as counselor to priests: “Against all reason, against all knowledge, he prayed there was Someone to hear his prayer” (103; Part 2). His education as a psychiatrist (provided to him at Church expense) ironically left no room for hope. Did God hear his prayer? “He did not think so” (103).



Citing a book or article ABOUT fantasy, horror, mythology, or science fiction:


According to Nora McGreevy in her essay “Why So Many Mythological Monsters are Female” for the Smithsonian Magazine, the most compelling (and enduring) examples of classical monsters are insatiable, alluring, irresistible—and (above all) female. In McGreevy’s view, Greek and Roman antecedents for female monsters have always informed our sense of the horrific and dreamlike because our patriarchal culture deeply fears female power that cannot be controlled. Or, put another way, the most dynamic and fearsome opponent would be a female entity—like Rose the Hat—who can delude men and use their foibles and vices (like drunkenness, anger, and violence) against them. Medusa makes a point of turning men into stone; the living whirlpool Charybdis sucked wayward ships to the bottom of the sea: “Medusa,” McGreevy writes, “struck fear into ancient hearts because she was both deceptively beautiful and hideously ugly; Charybdis terrified Odysseus and his men because she represented a churning pit of bottomless anger.” [This article was online, so it does not have a page number.]


Citing Stephen King’s autobiographical book on writing:


Stephen King’s autobiographical On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is revelatory about his coming of age as a writer and his rebirth so-to-speak following his run-in with a wayward van while he was reading and walking beside a rural road in the summer of 1999. King avoids plotting out his stories ahead of time. He lets them unfold. He is not writing character studies, but he puts his characters in situations and then tries to keep up with them as their interactions drive the story. Both protagonist and antagonist enjoy the same benefit of the doubt. The story accommodates the characters, not the other way around:


Sometimes villains feel self-doubt (as Greg Stillson does); sometimes they feel pity (as Annie Wilkes does). And sometimes the good guy tries to run away from doing the right thing, as Johnny Smith does… as Jesus Christ himself did, if you think about that prayer (“take this cup from my lips”) in the Garden of Gethsemane. And if you do your job, your characters come to life and start doing stuff on their own. (195)


Any use of a non-documented source as if it were a student’s original work is academic dishonesty. The grade will be a “0” (no points) for the assignment and the student can no longer attend the course. The course grade is F. The student will be removed with a WF; offenders will be reported to the Chair of the Department. NOTE: Students have the right to appeal an alleged incident of Academic Dishonesty. More information about this policy and appeal procedure can be found on page 55 of the Student Handbook


Language too close to source

Students sometimes borrow the phrasing of the play or their scholarly sources as if it were their own. Students certainly can use key words from their sources, but they must use their own phrasing—not the source’s.


Readability & Originality

The rubric has a category devoted to legibility and originality. Student writing must be readable and original. Students should NOT adapt material from either the instructor’s models or the paragraphs other students submit in a THREAD.


Students with disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees reasonable accommodation. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.


Writing Proficiency Requirement: All students seeking a Bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they have 1) completed 6 hours of Communication Core and 2) earned 60 hours. Students may meet this requirement by passing the Writing Proficiency Exam, passing two Writing Intensive courses, or passing English 2113. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website or call 397-4131.


Works Cited Model (alphabetical by last name)


How to do Hanging Indent for longer citations: Type the citation as if it were any other paragraph. However, when you are done, highlight the citation with your cursor and click on PARAGRAPH on your ribbon (menu bar). Then select double-spacing and under SPECIAL, select HANGING INDENT.


Blatty, William Peter. The Exorcist. Bantam, 1971.

King, Stephen. Carrie. Signet (New American Library, 1974.

---. Doctor Sleep. Scribner (Simon & Schuster), 2013.

---. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Scribner (Simon & Schuster), 2000. Twentieth Century Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King, 2020.

McGreevy, Nora. “Why So Many Mythological Monsters are Female.” Smithsonian Magazine, 31 March 2021, utm_source=emailsynd&utm_medium=social. Accessed 15 August 2022.



Reading Schedule with Due Dates


WEEK 1 August 22 – 26: Read Doctor Sleep. Prefatory Matters.


WEEK 2 August 29 – September 2: Read Part One: Abra – Chs. 1 – 6.


WEEK 3 September 5 – 9: Read Part Two: Empty Devils – Chs. 7 – 12.

Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 50 Monday Sept 12


WEEK 4 September 12 – 16: Read Part Three: Matters of Life and Death – Chs. 13 – 17.

               Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 60 Monday September 19


WEEK 5 September 19 – 23: Read Part Four: Roof o’ the World – Chs. 18 – 20. Until You Sleep.


WEEK 6 September 26 – 30: Make final revisions to RELATIONSHIPS essay.

Submit RELATIONSHIPS essay to DROP BOX – 20% Monday October 3


WEEK 7 October 3 – 7: Find ANOTHER source besides Doctor Sleep & start THINGS MEANT TO BE essay.

           Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 70 Monday October 10


WEEK 8 October 10 – 14: Work on THINGS MEANT TO BE essay.

           Post rough draft as THREAD – for an 80 Monday October 17


WEEK 9 October 17 – 21: Make final revisions to THINGS MEANT TO BE essay.


WEEK 10 October 24 – 28: Make final revisions to THINGS MEANT TO BE essay.

Submit MEANT TO BE essay to DROP BOX – 30% Monday October 31


WEEK 11 Oct 31: Find FOUR other sources besides Doctor Sleep.


WEEK 12 November 7 – November 11: Work on the SHINING essay.

           Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 90 Monday November 14


WEEK 13 Nov 14 – Nov 18: Work on the SHINING essay.

               Post rough draft as THREAD – for a 100 Monday November 21


WEEK 14 November 21:

           Revise the SHINING essay.

Wed-Friday: HOLIDAY. Campus closed.


WEEK 15 Nov 28 – Dec 2: Revise the SHINING essay.

           Fri: ESSAY - LAST DAY OF CLASSES.


FINALS WEEK: Submit SHINING essay to DROP BOX – 40% Monday December 5



Even if drop box assignments are late, please submit them to the drop box. The late penalty is capped at minus 10 points from 100. THREADS CANNOT BE MADE UP.



I take attendance through D2l’s login history and class progress. Be sure to log into our course at your earliest opportunity and click on our modules. That way you will be counted PRESENT.


Even if drop box assignments are late, please submit them to the drop box. The late penalty is capped at minus 10 points from 100. THREADS CANNOT BE MADE UP.



Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

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As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MSUTexas e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and 2) earned 60 hours. Students may meet this requirement in one of three ways: by passing the Writing Proficiency Exam, passing two Writing Intensive Courses (only one can be in the core), or passing English 2113. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

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