Welcome to our Star of the Sea Collaboration!Here's what you should do to get started:
1. Acquaint yourself with Joseph O'Connor himself, the writer. At the left, click on the "Joseph O'Connor Background" and you'll find interviews, his website, and more.

2. If you are in Ms. Babine's class, click on the page that will give you an overview of postmodernism and what Dr. Duncan's class thinks we should know before we get going; if you're in Dr. Duncan's class, click on the page that will give you an overview of what Ms. Babine's fiction class thinks you should know.

3. Both Dr. Duncan and Ms. Babine will be giving an overview of the Famine and the historical aspects of the novel, but you'll find more on the History page.

4. Read the "Imagination and Knowledge" handout (below) that details how the project will work. Groups will contain students from both classes and will be assigned by the instructors.

Imagination and Knowledge

Overarching Question:

(Writers) What does Joseph O’Connor need to know in order to support the imaginative world he creates? How has he crafted the world of the novel?
(Readers) What does a reader need to know in order to understand the world O’Connor has created? How does knowledge change your response to the imagined world of the novel?


To help writers understand how craft affects the reading experience, and to help readers understand how writers make their authorial decisions.


Students from both Dawn Duncan’s class (ENG 346-Empire to Independence, Concordia College) and Karen Babine’s class (ENG 252-Intro to Fiction Writing, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln) will post their Think Pieces to our shared Wiki site. You will work in groups to illuminate and complicate the choices made and the effects of those choices. Cite the text when appropriate, craft in a way that demonstrates your own imagination and knowledge.

Topics to Consider:

(Choose one aspect upon which to focus your think pieces, though there may be some overlap. If you want to make a case for bringing in some other aspect to support your focus, feel free to do so.)

  • Perspective: Voice(s)/Point of View
  • Character(s): Direct/Indirect Characterization
  • Setting: Time, Place, Mood
  • Narrative Movement: Structure, Plot, Conflict

Overarching Goals:

  • Our cross-class goals are to complicate our reading and understanding of O'Connor's novel, to see how different perspectives on the novel lead to better understanding.
  • For Ms. Babine's class, an additional goal: to use this novel and our discussions as fodder for your craft analysis paper, which is due at the end of the semester (you are not required to use O'Connor, though you may if you wish).