ENGL 102.068: Composition and Literature
Spring 2000, MW 3:00-4:15 p.m.
Schedule of Classes | Web Resources | Bulletin Board
Professor Karin Westman
74 George Street, #101
Office Hours: T, R 12:30- 2 pm, W 11 am -12 noon; and by app't
Office: 953-5658
Email: westmank@cofc.edu
Required Texts
Sophocles, Antigone (Oxford UP)
Wilder, Three Plays (HarperCollins)
Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (Signet)
Fugard, "Master Harold"...and the Boys
Meyer, ed. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, 5th edition
Hacker, The Bedford Handbook for Writers, 5th edition

This course is designed to help you write confidently, deliberately, and appropriately for your various college courses by introducing you to expository and argumentative writing. In our study of drama and poetry, we will focus intently on critical reading, critical thinking, and argumentation. We will talk about writing in class, through peer reviews, and individually in conference.

Requirements and General Expectations
Readings: You are expected to complete each reading assignment before coming to class. You are further expected to think carefully about what you read and to make notes in your book prior to each class meeting. Bring the appropriate book or xeroxes to class each day and additionally mark passages that we discuss; this process will help you understand, remember, and review.

Papers: During the semester you will write six papers of 700-800 words, three of which will be written in class. You are expected to bring drafts of the other three papers to class, as noted on the syllabus. Failure to produce a good faith effort on a draft (or any draft at all) will result in a grade penalty of one letter grade (i.e.: A to B) on the final version. Upon consultation with me, you may choose to revise any paper for which you receive lower than a "C-" grade. Grades for revisions will be counted as another paper grade, not substituted for or averaged with the grade received for the first revision.
Papers must be typed, double-spaced with one-inch margins (one page=a page of approximately 250 words, double spaced); the pages should be numbered, stapled or paper-clipped together, spell-checked, and proof-read, and placed in a folder (see "Essay Format," in A Guide to Freshman English, p.3). Keep all your papers in a folder clearly marked with your name and section number, and hand in this folder each time you hand in a new paper. Any paper not meeting the above requirements will not be accepted.
Papers are due at class time or by the time and date listed on the syllabus. I do not accept late papers. However, you have one extension to use at your discretion during the semester; you must notify me in advance of the paper's due date that you wish to use your extension.

Corrections: I will mark your papers for argument, grammar, and style, and I will refer to you The Bedford Handbook as necessary. Following the "Correction Guide" in A Guide to Freshman English (p.4), you must complete all of the grammar and style corrections, and attach them to the marked essay. Corrections must be handed in when you turn in your next paper. If they are not satisfactory, I will drop the paper's grade by one letter grade (i.e.: B to C).

Sources and Plagarism: Use the MLA method for documenting sources. When you turn in a paper, you pledge that the work is your own and that you have faithfully abided by the guidelines for documenting sources. The College's Honor Code obliges you to cite the source of any idea that is not your own. If you quote, paraphrase, or use another's ideas, you must give credit to the person whose ideas you are using. Both A Guide to Freshman English and The Bedford Handbook for Writers provide guidelines for MLA documentation. If you have any questions, please ask. If you do plagiarize, you will fail this course.

Response Papers: Response papers are intended to help to prepare you for class discussion, improve your writing, and generate ideas for longer papers.
For each play we read during the first half of the semester, you will hand in at the beginning of class a typed, double-spaced response paper (1-2 pages). Responses are due the first day of our discussion of each play. For your response paper, select a short passage (no more than 2-3 sentences), or even a phrase from the play; type your selection out in full, and then write a commentary in which you aim to articulate why your selection strikes you as important or significant to your reading of the play. In other words, use your selection to explore the play's theme(s) and form. Your response should not be a summary of the play's action; instead, you should discuss a critical aspect of the play which interested or perplexed you. These short papers should be no less than one and no more than two double-spaced, typed pages.
For each week during the second half of the semester, you will hand in at the beginning of class a typed, double-spaced response paper (1-2 pages) for one of the poems assigned for that class session. For your response paper, select one or two lines, a phrase, or even word from the poem; type your selection out in full, and then write a commentary in which you aim to articulate why your selection strikes you as important or significant to a reading of the poem. In other words, use your selected lines or word(s) to explore the poem's theme(s) and form. Your response paper may also include your personal response to the poem, or perhaps how the poem relates to other reading we have discussed in class. In your response, you should engage closely with the chosen line(s) or word(s) and offer specific reasons in support of your response. Your response should not be a paraphrase of the poem; instead, you should articulate your reading of it through your selection.

Response papers will be graded individually, on a scale of 1 to 5 points: 5=A, 4=B, 3=C, 2=D, 1=F. At the end of the semester, I will average the results, dividing by the number of response papers you are expected to write. Response papers are due the day we discuss the reading; I do not accept late response papers. Extra credit options during the semester will give you the opportunity to make up missed or poor response paper grades.

Class Participation: Attendance and class participation are required. More than three unexcused absences will be reflected in your final grade for the course; these three excused absences should be reserved for unexpected illnesses or family emergencies. Each absence over the allotted unexcused absences will lower your final course grade by one grade increment (e.g., B+ to B).
You are expected to have read and to be prepared to discuss the readings assigned for each class session. Your class participation grade will be determined by your ability to engage in productive class discussion. You must be present and be an active presence in class discussion and peer review groups. If necessary, any in-class quizzes will be part of your class participation grade.
If you miss class, it is your responsibility to discover what we covered. While I appreciate your offering explanations for absences, the only way to excuse an absence is to provide me with an official letter from your dean, the Undergraduate Studies office, or Student Health Services.
Computing: Over the course of the semester we will make use of the computers here in the lab and an Electronic Bulletin Board (see below). In particular, you will participate in various activities using the Daedalus Integrated Writing Program (DIWE or Daedalus, for short). These sessions are designed to improve your writing skills and communication skills, especially for an increasingly technological world. Your preparation for and participation in Daedalus sessions should follow the guidelines noted above for "Reading" and "Class Participation."
If you do not yet have an email account, I encourage you to activate your C of C account. (If you need help establishing an email account, please visit Academic Computing in the J. C. Long building.) Although I will not require you to use email, I highly recommend it as a way of touching base with me about your writing. You can send me queries, your thesis statement for an essay, or anything else that could be handled with a quick exchange of messages. I check my email in the morning before classes, in the afternoon, and in the evening.

Electronic Bulletin Board Discussion: During the semester, you are required to post a weekly contribution to the Electronic Bulletin Board for our class in response to my question prompts or another student's question prompt. Your posting should be a paragraph-length comment about the materials we're studying in class. I will monitor these discussions and assess a grade (at the end of the semester) based on the thoughtfulness of your comments, their ability to foster discussion among your classmates, and their responsiveness both to our readings and to your classmates' comments in class and on the list. Your postings do not need to be long; however, they need to be substantive: they must be long enough to convey clearly the problem you are taking up and your point of view, responding to the question prompts or connecting your comment to others' comments, as appropriate. I will offer models of helpful comments early in the semester.
To generate discussion questions, for one week during the semester in place of your weekly posting, each of you (working in pairs or groups of three) will post two or three discussion questions about our readings to initiate our bulletin board discussion. This activity has three goals: to provide another way for you to contribute to our discussions, to encourage you to ask questions and pursue them towards an analysis of others' ideas and writing, and to improve your communication skills in an electronic forum.
Before the day you must post your questions, you will need to do the following:
1. Talk to the others in your group and choose a specific passage or theme as a focus for your questions. Note: while your questions can (and should) lead us to other areas in the reading, select a specific place as a launching point.

2. Develop two or three discussion questions on some issues or ideas you think we should address. Discussion questions should have more than one possible answer, and should lead to other questions. For example, the question "What is the setting of this play?" is not a discussion question; the question "How does the setting of the play contribute to its theme?" is a discussion question. Note: While your discussion questions should point us towards a reading of the play or poem, your questions can certainly be ones to which you do not yet have complete answers. For example, you may wonder why a poet uses the first-person; your question for the class might address this issue by calling our attention to the poet's use of "I" in a particular line, asking us how the poet's style affects our perspective on the poem's themes.

3. Email me your proposed questions or show them to me in class or in office hours. NOTE: Your proposed questions need to reach me 24 hours in advance, so plan accordingly. If you email them, I will reply to confirm receipt and to offer suggestions, if necessary. Then, you're ready to post your questions for discussion!

Conferences: I want you to succeed in this course, and I am happy to meet with you about your writing and progress. I strongly encourage you to meet with me after your first or second paper, and I am available for conferences to discuss your work at any stage in the writing process. Please feel free to stop by during office hours (T, R 12:30-2 pm; W 11 am -12 noon), or contact me by phone or email to arrange a more convenient time to meet.

50% Papers
10% Response Papers
10% Class Participation
10% Electronic Bulletin Board Discussion
10% Mid-Term Exam
10% Final Exam
Schedule of Classes (Subject to Change)
[Unless otherwise indicated by [X] for xerox,
readings are found in the anthology [Meyer] or a required book.]

When you watch movies you are so wrapped in the dark that you can be persuaded to believe
almost any nonsense. It's part of the fun of movies.... Live theatre is something very different.
There is all that light coming from the stage. You are never unaware of surrounding members
of the audience, or of the fact that you are observing actors impersonate other people. The
result is that you develop bifocal vision, which allows you to appreciate both the fiction
taking place on the stage and the skills of the people making it possible.
-- Vincent Canby, NYT theater critic

M 17
Introduction: What is a Play?
W 19
F 21
Reading Drama: Meyer 941-942, 974-976, 981-987;
Sophocles, Antigone (20-72)
Pick up graded response papers outside my office after 12 noon.
M 24
W 26
Paper #1 Due (written in class)
Modern Drama: Meyer 1137-1141; Ibsen, A Doll House
M 31
W 2
A Doll House; "A Nineteenth-Century Husband's Letter to His
Wife" (1194-1195); Witham and Lutterbie, "A Marxist
Approach to A Doll House" (1196-1198); and Templeton, "Is
A Doll House a Feminist Text?" (1200-1204)
Writing Workshop: Sample Paper & Writing Strategies; Draft
of Paper #2 Due
M 7
W 9
R 10
Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth (115-247) and "Preface"
The Skin of Our Teeth
Paper # 2 Due to my office by 12 noon.
M 14
W 16
Ives, The Sure Thing (1448-1455)
Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (12-142)
M 21
W 23
A Streetcar Named Desire
Fugard, "Master Harold"...and the Boys (1-60)
M 28
W 1
"Master Harold"...and the Boys
Mid-Term Essay Exam (Paper #3 -- written in class)
SPRING BREAK -- March 4th to March 12th
    The living part of a poem is the intonation entangled somehow in the syntax, idiom,
    and meaning of a sentence.... Words exist in the mouth not books.
    -- Robert Frost
M 13
W 15
What is a Poem?: Reading Poetry: 531-537, 549-552,
563-565; Tone and Diction: 570-573, 576; Atwood, "You Fit
into Me" (619); Jonson, "Still to Be Neat" (697); Swift, "A
Description of the Morning" [X]
Imagery and Figurative Language: 600-601, 617-626,
635-644; Pound, "In a Station of the Metro" (614); Keats,
"To Autumn" [X]; Hayden, "Those Winter Sundays" (532-533)
Sound, Rhyme, and Meter: 662-667, 668, 687-691; Blake,
"London" (609); Roethke, "My Papa's Waltz" (701-702)
M 20
W 22
Poetic Form: The Sonnet: 706-707, 709, 711; Shakespeare,
Sonnet #18 ("Shall I compare thee...) (711); Shakespeare,
Sonnet #130 ("My mistress' eyes...) (712); Rossetti, "In an
Artist's Studio" [X]; Collins, "Sonnet" [X]
...and variations: Frost, "Design" (798-799) and "In White"
(802-803); Hollander, "Swan and Shadow" [X]
M 27
W 29
R 30
Writing Workshop: Sample Paper; Draft of Paper #4 Due
Poems on Poetry: Moore, "Poetry" (897-898); Williams,
"Excuse Me" (563); Yeats, "Adam's Curse" (912-913); Atwood, "Variations on theWord Love" [X]
Paper #4 Due to my office by 12 noon.
M 3
W 5
Love and Desire: Herrick, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of
Time" (580); Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress" (581-582);
Donne, "Elegy XIX. To His Mistress Going to Bed" [X]
No Class -- Work on Paper #5 & read ahead
M 10
W 12
Frost, "Home Burial" (792-794); Trilling, "On Frost as a
Terrifying Poet" (807-808); Poirier, "On Emotional
Suffocation in 'Home Burial'" (812); Kearns, "On the
Symbolic Setting of 'Home Burial'" (813-814);
Memory: Frost, "Birches" (795-796)
America: "The American Dream" from The United States of
Poetry [X]
M 17
W 19
R 20
Writing Workshop: Draft of Paper #5 Due
Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" (815-816); "Harlem"
(832-833); "Theme for English B" (830-831); Gibson, "The
Essential Optimism of Hughes and Whitman" (837-838)
Paper #5 Due to my office by 12 noon.
M 24
W 26
Whitman, from "I Sing the Body Electric" (730-731);
cummings, "next to of course god america i" (643); Wagoner,
"Breath Test" [X]
Levine, "What Work Is" [X]; Sandburg, "Chicago" [X]
Review for Final Exam (Paper #6)
Sa 6
Final Exam (Short Answer Questions & Paper #6): 8 - 11 am

Web Resources


Home | Previous Courses | Women's Studies Links | Literary Links
Department of English | College of Charleston
Email: westmank@cofc.edu
Last updated 29 March 2000