Throughout the semester we’ll be primarily doing three things: reading and discussing essays and writing essays of our own. The subject matter of the essays the students will write will often be related to the essays we have been reading. Expectations include correctness in spelling, punctuation and grammar. The essays the students will write will also be expected to be clear in their purpose, content, and development. The papers will be expected to be about 500 words in length, though several of the assignments will need a fuller sense of development than that basic length.
Regular class attendance is expected, and more than three unexcused absences may well have a negative effect on one’s final grade for the course. Papers that are late in being turned in may also have a negative effect on one’s progress in the course.
The aim of the writing assignments is to help develop and refine the student’s skills in presenting appropriately descriptive matter, effectively developed argumentation, and sharpness of sustained focus. At the same time, I recognize that writers often consider their writing as a process of discovery more than an articulation of what they have already decided to say before the actual writing begins, and I honor that approach.
The final examination will be an in-class theme that will count double; I do that to emphasize the worth of improvement in one’s writing, which means that when I make out grades, I’ll pay attention to any notable sense of improvement shown by the student during the semester; that means the final grade will, when appropriate, include meditative thinking about the student’s progress and not simply attention to arithmetical averaging.
Required texts: Eight Modern Essayists. Ed. William Smart. 6th ed..
LB Brief. Jane E. Aaron. 4th ed.
Aug. 23 Introduction; in-class writing
25 “The Death of the Moth,” ff
30 In-class writing
Sep. 1 “Shakespeare’s Sister,” 7 ff
6 “Professions For Women,” 16 ff
8 “Shooting An Elephant,” 35 ff
13 “Shooting” cont.
15 In-class writing
20 “A Hanging” 41 ff
22 “Marrakech” 45 ff
27 “Marrakech” cont.
29 In-class writing
Oct. 4 In-class revision
6 Writing samples from “Politics …” 51, 52, 56
11 “Once More to the Lake” 74 ff
13 “Once More” cont.
Oct. 18 “Death of a Pig” 79 ff
20 “The Ring of Time” 92 ff
25 In-class writing
27 “On Going Home” 173 ff
Nov. 1 “On Morality” 175 ff
3 In-class writing
8 “On Natural Death” 326 ff
10 In-class writing
15 In-class writing
17 In-class revision
22 “My Brothers and Sisters” 265 ff
24 THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
29 “In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens” 275 ff
Dec. 1 Wrap-up
Final Examination: Sat. Dec. 3, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Room to be announced