Alex E. Blazer Course Site Assignments Description
Materials Assignments Policies Schedule


Analytical Thinking and Writing

English 110C: First-Year English Composition

Summer 2000, M/W: 9:30 - 11:18 AM, Denney Hall 312


Instructor: Alex E. Blazer Office: 525 Denney Hall
Mailbox: 421 Denney Hall Office Hours: M/W: 11:30-1:00
Email: Office Phone: 292-1790
Web: Departmental Phone: 292-6065


Course Description


This course focuses on the analytical process in thinking and in writing.  To that end we will commence the course by looking critically at various issues on the American scene.  We will put numerous assumptions of the American worldview—family, gender, class, race—to rigorous critique using Rereading America as our touchstone.  We will then apply our critique first to the worldview of a particular group, the so-called Generation X, and then to the workings of a particular ethos, consumer culture as illustrated in White Noise.  Ultimately, these issues exist merely as intellectual fodder for the primary goal of the class—the honing of our analytical skills.  Through class discussion and peer response, but especially through reading journals and revision of formal papers, and with the aid of the course rhetoric, Works in Progress, and supplementary handouts we will learn to articulate our own points of view with analytical argument.


Course Materials




Colombo, ed., et al: Rereading America, 4th ed.  (SBX and 2-hour Main Library Reserves)

Coupland: Generation X (SBX and Charvat Collection)

DeLillo: White Noise (SBX and 2-hour Main Library Reserves)

Ede: Works in Progress (SBX and 2-hour Main Library Reserves)


2 IBM-formatted disks

an active email account


Assignments and Grade Distribution


Essay 1, 20%

Essay 2, 25%

Essay 3, 30%

Reading Journal, 10%

Participation and Peer Response, 15%


Course Policies


Class Participation

The best way to learn how to argue and how to analyze is by learning from others and practicing yourself.  You'll be practicing in writing, of course; however, to learn from others, you must hear their voices.  To that end, we all must raise questions and respond to issues.  There are no stupid questions; no voice is invalid.  This is your class and for you to get the most from it, we all must participate.

Drafting and Revision

We'll be completing at least two drafts of each essay.  The first will be responded to by your peers and I; the second will receive a grade.  You may do a third draft of Essays 1 and 2 for a chance to improve your grade if and only if you meet with me to discuss revision strategies.  Each draft must be turned in on time and meet the word limit, otherwise the final grade on the paper will be reduced one-letter grade for each day any and all of the drafts are turned in late as well as one-letter grade for any and all drafts that do not meet the word limit.


Come to class on time.  Any unexcused absence beyond two will reduce your final grade by two-thirds of a letter for each day.  Five unexcused absences mandates your failure of the course.  Bring valid written excuses in writing within one week of your return or the excuse will be considered invalid.  Two tardies count as an absence; arriving more than 15 minutes late or leaving more than 15 minutes early counts as an absence.


At least once this quarter, we will have an individual conference to talk about your work.  Attendance will be mandatory and the attendance policy will be in effect.  Though no more individual conferences are required, I encourage you to see me during my office hours or by appointment to talk about your progress in the course.

Late Assignments

Turn in all assignments on time.  There will be a one letter grade deduction per day (24 hours, not class period) for all essay drafts that are turned in late.  If a reading journal is not turned in on time, it will be marked "E."  An extension may be given if absolutely necessary and warranted.


Don't do it.  Using someone else's words, ideas, or work without proper citation and representing it as your own is the most serious of academic offenses.  All cases of suspected plagiarism will be reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct.


The Ombud is a resource for students and teachers of English 110 and 367.  If you have any concerns about the course but feel you cannot speak with me, please feel free to consult with the Ombud.  All conversations are confidential.
Ombud: Edgar Singleton Office Phone: 2-8792
Office: Denney Hall 421 Email:
Office Hours: TBA  

Office of Disability Services

If you have any specific needs or concerns, please feel free to discuss the issue with me during office hours.  Students with disabilities who need accommodations should be registered at the Office for Disability Services (292-3307).

Writing Center

The staff of the Writing Center serve as readers and responders to writing for English 110, English 367 and other university disciplines.  Besides giving feedback, these English graduate students can help with other writing issues such as topic development, organization, coherence, clarity, and self-editing.  To make an appointment, call 292-5607 or stop by 485 Mendenhall Labs M/W 8:30-5:30, T/R 8:30-7:30, and F 8:30-1:30.

Online Resources

The following websites have information and handouts valuable for students of first-year writing in a computer section: Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, Computers in Composition and Literature, and Modern Language Association

Student Work

On the Monday after finals week, I will have your final papers ready for you to pick up.  Make arrangements with me to retrieve your work, or I will discard it after two quarters.


Course Schedule


This schedule is subject to change, so listen in class and check online for possible revisions.

Week 1
Introductions, First-Day Essay

Analyzing the Myth of the Model Family

Rereading America: Rockwell, A Family Tree; Freedom from Want; Freedom from Fear (21-5)

Gillis, "Myths of Family Past" (25-41)

Coontz, "What We Really Miss about the 1950s" (55-71)

Writing Topic: Reasons and Rhetoric of Writing

    Works in Progress, 3rd ed.: Ch1 (1-27); 4th ed.: Chs1-2 (1-44)

Reading Journal 1 (in class)

Week 2

Analyzing the Myth of Gender, Part I

Rereading America: de Tocqueville, "How the Americans Understand the Equality of the Sexes" (414-8)

Devor, "Becoming Members of Society: Learning the Social Meaning of Gender" (421-30)

hooks, "Sexism and Misogyny: Who Takes The Rap?" (483-91)

Writing Topic: Conventions of Academic Writing

    Works in Progress, 3rd ed.: Ch4 (83-102); 4th ed.: Ch4 (66-83)

Reading Journal 2 (outside of class)


Analyzing the Myth of Gender, Part II

Rereading America: Cofer, "The Story of My Body" (436-45)

Katz, "Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity" (458-67)

Nelson, "Boys Will Be Boys and Girls Will Not" (468-82)

Writing Topic: The Rhetoric of the Personal Narraive in the Classroom

Works in Progress: 3rd ed.: Ch3 (58-82); 4th ed.: Ch3 (45-65)

Writing Topic: The Format of a Formal Academic Paper

Handout: Formal Paper Format

Essay 1 Prompt

Reading Journal 3 (in class)

Week 3
No Class: Independence Day observed

Analyzing the Myth of Individual Opportunity, Part I

Rereading America: Alger, from Ragged Dick (306-14)

Blue and Naden, from Colin Powell: Straight to the Top (314-20)

Turkel, "Stephen Cruz" (326-31)

Writing Topic, Part I: Invention and Drafting

    Works in Progress: 3rd ed.: Chs5-6 (105-156); 4th ed.: Chs6-7 (111-154)

Writing Topic, Part II: Peer Response

Handout: Written Peer Response

Essay 1, Draft 1 due

Week 4
Peer Response Groups

Analyzing the Myth of Individual Opportunity, Part II

Rereading America: Mantsios, "Rewards and Opportunities" (331-48)

Bambara, "The Lesson" (348-56)

Bartlett and Steele, from America: What Went Wrong (356-66)

Writing Topic: Revising

Works in Progress: 3rd ed.: Chs7-8 (158-211); 4th ed.: Chs8-9 (155-200)

Handout: Revision and Evaluation

Reading Journal 4 (in class)

Week 5

Genaration X, Part I (1-64)

Writing Topic: The Academic Essay

    Works in Progress: 3rd ed.: Chs10-11 (249-283); 4th ed.: Chs12-13 (261-284)

    Handout: Organization of an Argumentative Paper

Essay 1, Draft 2 due


Generation X, Part II (65-130)

Writing Topic: Composing the Introduction

Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing Handouts: Introductions

Quick Ideas for Introductions and Conclusions

Essay 2 Prompt

Reading Journal 5 (outside of class)

Week 6

Generation X, Part III (131-183)

Writing Topic: Composing Body Paragraphs

CSTW Handout: Paragraphs

Reading Journal 6 (outside of class)


Main Library Reserves: Rereading America, 2nd ed.

Solomon, "Masters of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising" (602-16)

Rapping, "Local News: Reality as Soap Opera" (616-34)

Writing Topic: Composing the Conclusion

CSTW Handout: Conclusions

Essay 2, Draft 1 due

Reading Journal 7 (in class)

Week 7
Peer Response Groups

Analyzing the Myth of Science and Technology

Main Library Paper Reserves: Week 7

Shelley, from Frankenstein (230-35)

Thomas, "Humanities and Science" (236-42)

Kelly (243-54)

Writing Topic: MLA Style

Handout: Works Cited

CSTW Handouts: MLA Documentation Style: References

MLA Documentation Style: In-Text Citations

Citing Electronic Resources

MLA Style Quoting

Mechanics of Quoting

Week 8

***meet in Lord Hall Room 19

Movie: American Beauty

Essay 2, Draft 2 due


White Noise, Part I (1-106)

Writing Topic: Research

CCL Handout: On-Line Resources

Reading Journal 8 (in class)

Week 9

White Noise, Part II (107-164)

Writing Topic: Evaluating Sources

CCL Handout: Evaluating Web Pages: For Students

CSTW Handout: Checklist for Analyzing Research Materials

Essay 3 Prompt

Reading Journal 9 (outside of class)


White Noise, Part III (165-326)

Reading Journal 10 (in class)

Week 10
Essay 3, Draft 1 due

Conclusions, Evaluations

Peer Response Groups

Essay 3, Draft 2 due by noon