Wisdom 504

Perelandra College Syllabus

Class title:   Fiction Truer than Fact (Wisdom 504, 3 credits)

Class Schedule:   Self-paced, recommend 10 weeks

Class Location/Times:  On-line. This course is asynchronous, meaning that assignments can be completed and submitted at any time within the limits specified in the college catalog.

Class Description and Objectives: The textbooks for this class are not only captivating fiction. They also engage with themes Christians and all thoughtful readers should consider. They are books that can possibly change our world view and give us direction. By reading closely and responding to them with our insights and written meditaitons, we can grow in both intellect and spirit. 

Classs Materials:


Fyodor Dostoyevski, Crime and Punishment (any edition translated by Constance Garnet)
Flannery O’Connor, Collected Stories
Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

Professor’s Name, Telephone, E-mail Address, Availability:

Ken Kuhlken

Prefer email. Please no phone calls evenings or weekends unless a matter is urgent.

Professor’s  Bio:

Ken Kuhlken’s stories have appeared in Esquire and dozens of other magazines and anthologies, been honorably mentioned in Best American Short Stories, and earned a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He has been a frequent contributor and a columnist for the San Diego Reader.

With Alan Russell, in Road Kill and No Cats, No Chocolate, he has chronicled the madness of book tours.

His novels are Midheaven, a finalist for the Ernest Hemingway Award for best first novel, The Loud Adios (Private Eye Writers of America Best First Novel), The Venus Deal, The Angel Gang, The Do-Re-Mi (a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel), The Vagabond Virgins, The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles, (San Diego Book Awards Best Mystery), and The Good Know Nothing, (runner-up for the Los Angeles Book Festival best mystery)

In Writing and the Spirit, he offers a wealth of advice to writers and everyone looking for inspiration.

He has taught creative writing at the University of Arizona, California State University, Chico, San Diego State University, and Christian Heritage College.

Ken resides online at: www.kenkuhlken.net

The writing  assignments:

Each writing assignment should be at least around 500 words and all together, the writing in the class should total around 5000 words or more. Although you response can be a fictional story, at least two of the responses should be essays.

Class Evaluation Criteria
This is a competency based class. In order to receive credit, students must demonstrate the evidence of competency given for each lesson.

Grading is CR (credit) or NR (no record). At the conclusion of the class, the professor provides a summary appraisal of the student’s work and progress toward meeting his or her writing goals.

Lesson 1: Read Crime and Punishment:

A major philosophical dispute of the 19th century centered around the question of whether extraordinary people might not be morally or ethically subject to the laws that lesser folks were called by society or God to obey. In light of the novel and your own observations, take a side and argue this issue.

Lesson 2: In Flannery O’Connor’s Collected Stories, read as many as you want but don’t miss “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, “Parker’s Back”, or “Revelation.” stories; write about your vision of Christianity vs. O’Connor’s portrayal of “Christian” people.

Lesson 3:

Read: Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory;

Write: In the context of the novel, answer the question, what does it mean to be Christlike. Green’s “whiskey priest”, as he is often calleed, may be viewed as a Christ figure because he stays true to his calling no matter the danger. In fact, Greene just may have viewed Christ as a human being every bit as flawed as the whiskey priest. Write your own vision of the whiskey priest and his journey as heroic or however you see it. 

J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey; explain in light of your own experience and meditations, Zooey’s assertion the fat lady is Christ.