English 104:15 Composition and Literature (PDF Version)
Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.
T Th 2 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. MC 346
Spring Semester, 2010
Office: MC 533; Phone: 796-3485; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours: T Th 9 a.m. to 12 noon (By Appointment)
In this course we will explore the following themes as they appear in American Westerns and American Vietnam literature: (1) the definition of "frontier" and the role the frontier plays in shaping an American identity in literature, and how this identity extends to the Vietnam War and other global conflicts; (2) the distinction between the West as a place or landscape and the West as a symbol; (3) the mythic western hero and the roles he and she play in the formation of American values, and how those American values are re-configured in frontier literature; (4) the defining and re-defining of "masculinity" and "femininity" as those cultural terms are used in the movement west; (5) the different voices (discourse) in American Westerns and Vietnam literature; (6) the evolution of Western myths and the significance of those cultural myths today.
In this course we will continue the study and practice of composition.
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- Thinking—Students engage in the critical and creative thinking
- Ethical Decision Making—Students respond to ethical issues
- Communication—Students communicate effectively orally and in writing
- Aesthetic Sensitivity—Students engage in artistic experiences and reflect critically upon them
- Cultural Sensitivity—Students demonstrate a respect for the diversity of the human experience
- Community Involvement—Students demonstrate responsible citizenship
Student Learning Outcomes for English 104:
- You will comprehend poetry, fiction, and essays on a literal level.
- You will develop and support in written language a convincing thematic interpretation of poetry, fiction, and essays. This goal will be measured by your papers and revisions.
You will compose original and valid written arguments, support them with sufficient evidence, organize them to convince a specific audience, and use stylistically and grammatically appropriate language to convey those ideas. These skills will be measured by your papers and revisions.
Research and document effectively
You will formulate, effectively research, and accurately document an argument on a topic relevant to our course using fiction and non-fiction sources, including scholarly print and electronic sources. This goal will be measured by your papers and revisions.
Understand literary classifications
You will demonstrate an understanding of two literary genres (poetry and fiction). This skill will be measured by your literary analysis papers.
English Department Student Learning Outcomes:
Links related to English Department Student Learning Outcomes:
- Thinking—The students will engage in critical thinking when they explicate or “close read” literary texts; when they identify formal elements such as point of view, literary language, symbolism, imagery; when they consider texts and authors in relation to historical, cultural, ideological, and theoretical contexts; when they compare what they are reading with what they have read previously; when they relate what they are reading to the wider world and to universal issues of human life. Click here for a Critical Thinking Web Page. Click here for a Logical Fallacies Web Page.
- Communication—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their interpretations, insights, analyses, and evaluations of the assigned literature. Click here for the English Department’s Home Page on Writing a Critical Analysis of Literature.
- Aesthetic—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their understanding of the elements of a “masterpiece” of young adult literature. The students will evaluate the lasting quality of literature from the formal and contextual elements embedded in the literature.
- Ethics—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their responses to the ethical questions and dilemmas posed in the assigned readings. Ethics is generally defined as the principles of conduct governing an individual or group; concerns for what is right or wrong, good or bad. The students will not plagiarize. Click here for the Viterbo University plagiarism statement. Click here for the Viterbo University Institute of Ethics in Leadership Web Page.
- Cultural Sensitivity—The students will read various texts by diverse authors. The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their understanding of life values represented in different texts in relation to their own. Individual projects are designed to give the students an opportunity to move outside of their own culture and to study and interact with a new culture. Click here for the Viterbo University sexual harassment statement.
Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic
“Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx
Deliverance by James Dickey
Into the Wild by Ron Krakauer
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Shane by Jack Schaefer
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
- Attendance: Students who have three or fewer absences during the semester will receive 100 points. Students who have four to six absences will receive 60 points. Any student who has more than six absences will be asked to withdraw from the course.
- Respond to each reading assignment: Each writing assignment is worth 100 points.
Week One: January 18
Introduction to American Western Literature
Power Point Presentation: Great American Westerns
Read: The Significance of the Frontier in American History
Read: Begin reading Little House on the Prairie
Click here for John Gast's painting, American Progress
Week Two: January 25
Discussion: Little House on the Prairie
Reading: Begin reading Shane
Click here for discussion questions on Shane
Writing Assignment: Summary of The Significance of the Frontier in American History
Week Three: February 1
Reading: Begin reading “Brokeback Mountain”
Week Four: February 8
Discussion: “Brokeback Mountain”
Click here for discussion questions for “Brokeback Mountain” and other Proulx short stories. Click here for Brokeback Mountain criticism
Begin reading Born on the Fourth of July
Week Five: February 15
Discussion: Born on the Fourth of July
Writing Assignment: Description Essay
Week Six: February 22
Continue Discussion: Born on the Fourth of July
Reading Assignment: War Poetry (on reserve)
Power Point Presentation: Whitman and Viet Nam Poets
Week Seven: March 1
Discussion: War Poetry
Reading Assignment: Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (on reserve); “Evidence,” (on reserve) “Bob Kerrey’s When I Was a Young Man (on reserve)
Week Eight: March 8 (Spring Break)
Week Nine: March 15
Continue Discussion: Non-fiction
Writing Assignment: Letter
Week Ten: March 22
Reading Assignment: “Civil Disobedience” (on reserve), “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (on reserve), “Cato” (on reserve)
Click here for discussion questions on "Economy"
Click here for discussion questions on "Civil Disobedience."
Click here for Reader Response Questions on "Civil Disobedience."
Click here for a quiz on "Peacemakers."
Click here for the full text of Crito
Week Eleven: March 29 (Easter Break, April 1– April 5)
Continue Discussion: Civil Disobedience
Discussion: How to View a Film
Writing Assignment: Film Review
Week Twelve: April 7
Begin Reading: Deliverance
Discussion: How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay
Week Thirteen: April 12
Click here for discussion questions on Deliverance
Continue Library Research
Week Fourteen: April 19
Continue Discussion: Deliverance
Continue Library Research
Begin Reading: Into the Wild
Week Fifteen: April 26
Discussion: Into the Wild
Click here for discussion questions for Into the Wild.
Click here for a review of Into the Wild.
Click here for a student's journal response to Into the Wild.
Click here for a student's formal essay on Into the Wild.
Power Point Presentation: Walden
Week Sixteen: May 3
Continue Discussion: Into the Wild
Writing Assignment: Literary Analysis
Week Seventeen: May 10
Final Exam Thursday, May 13, 9:50–11:50 a.m.