English 110N: First-Year English Composition
Summer 1998, T/R: 7:30-9:18, Derby Hall 24
The Pressures of Systems:
Informal Response to Rich, Citizen Ruth, or Bulworth
- If you decide to respond to Rich, then answer these questions:
- Describe the heterosexual "system" as Rich sees it.
- How, according to Rich, does it compel people toward heterosexuality,
or at the very least, how does it affect people, their behavior and attitudes
- If Citizen Ruth, then:
- According to the movie, to what logic, emotion, and/or worldview does
pro-life rhetoric appeal? Pro-choice?
- Imagine and describe, according to the movie, America (or even the world)
as it would be if pro-choice rhetoric was the only standpoint in social,
spiritual, and intellectual power. If pro-choice was?
- Which group/rhetoric do you feel/believe the movie favors?
- and/or, how does—on what grounds—the movie critique the
pro-life rhetoric and the pro-choice rhetoric?
- If Bulworth, then:
- Describe the political system that the movie critiques. How and in what
ways does it affect the politicians? the constituency?
- How is the system perpetuated and how can it be stopped? Do you believe
the solution that the movie portrays practical? Explain. Do you think that
the movie’s storyteller(s) find the movie’s solution accomplishable?
Essay 1: Personal Literacy
In the next two weeks, we'll be looking at other people's comings
into literacy. They'll detail their journeys, and we'll analyze their stories,
their definitions, and, consequently, their identities. Douglass, Eigner, O'Brien
and the other authors in Writing Lives will stimulate much class discussion
on what it means to be literate.
You'll hear your peers talk toward the subject; you'll read authors write toward
the subject. The first formal paper, however, is the time for your own substantive,
developed, and critical reflection. In this paper you will write toward the
subject. Now you have your opportunity to tell your community 1) what literacy
means to you (a personal definition) and 2) why it is significant (what's at
stake with this issue).
Your paper may be as creative in structure and content as you wish. You may,
for example, take the personal essay form, as Mellix does; the personal narrative
form, as Douglass does; or the fictional form, as O'Brien does. You may even
construct your own method and organization. Because any form your paper takes
must still at some point elucidate and advocate a definition of literacy, make
certain that the demands of the genre you take coincide witheven complementthe
rigors of the required content. Keep in mind that I and your fellow classmates
expect your composition to work toward a personal definition of literacy by
1) describing in effective yet economic detail a situation or history of events
in which you, another, or fictional person either experienced or exhibited literacy,
and 2) commenting on (analyzing, advocating) why and how, in your informed and
reflective opinion, this constitutes an act of literacy that is important, even
paramount to you. Note finally that although depiction and illustration, much
like plot summary, is a necessary starting point for analysis, your paper's
paramount attention should be paid to the critical theorizing of your conception
of and feelings toward literacy.
Length: 4-6 typed pages (of approximately 1000 words) in the prescribed
First Draft Due: Tuesday, July 7, 1998 (Bring 5 copies)
Second Draft Due: Thursday, July 16, 1998 (Bring only a copy for
me as well as responses to Draft 1)
Third Draft Due: Your choice (if you choose to do a third draft),
but no later than one week after we have our mandatory conference
Essay 2: Academic Literacy
You've experienced college for three quarters, if not longer. I've no doubt
that you've developed impressions and opinions about your classesthe texts,
the atmospheres, the disciplines they represent; as a fellow student, I know
I have. And you've compared them to previous educational experiences and the
pedagogical debates in Writing Lives as well. You have (re)commenced your journey
into academic literacy, or awareness of the scholastic discourses' conventions.
The last essay asked you to analyze some aspect of your personal literacy,
or self-awareness. This essay calls for you to formally (dare I write, academically?)
apply the conversations which begin in Writing Lives (Hughes, Moraga, Eliot,
Stafford, Freire, Levine, Anyon, Hirsch, Barberyes, it's acceptable to
read ahead) and continue in class discussion. In class, we'll describe various
educational situations and discuss their implications, personal and academic.
Now, on your ownbut informed by the authors and this academic communityyou
must develop your own critical, reflective analysis of an academic, educational
"text" or set of texts, be it text (literally), course, physical space,
instructor, class practices, system, standard, or pedagogy, to name but a few.
Inquire how each text functions and presents itself; evaluate how well it achieves
its educational goals. Feel free to reconcile the personal and academic by discussing
how the "text" personally affects you; but make sure it's relevant
to your critical evaluation. For more ideas about the textual analysis expected
of this essay, refer to page 317 of Writing Lives, Further Suggestions for Writing,
A compositional/rhetorical note: Be a credible authority. Support your logical
analysis with appropriate evidence and careful organization as discussed in
class and in Toward a Well-Structured, Argumentative
Length: 4-6 typed pages (of approximately 1000 words) in the prescribed
First Draft Due: Thursday, July 23, 1998 (Bring 4 copies)
Second Draft Due: Tuesday, August 4, 1998 (Bring only a copy for
me as well as all copies of Draft 1my response as well as your peers')
Third Draft Due: No later than two weeks after I return Draft 2,
accompanied by Drafts 1 and 2 that I've responded to (Also, we must conference
if you choose this option)
Essay 3: Public Stuff
Introduction: Thus far in the course, you've analyzed aspects of your
own literacy and your understanding of academic discourse and discipline. And
you've been inspired by class discussion and readings to do so.
Directions: Not surprisingly, in this essay you will analyze and evaluate
a public "text" or set of texts, be it public spaces and architecture,
social institution, artwork, book, music, television or radio program, film,
advertisement, or even the rhetoric regarding a certain issue. Interpret the
functions that a specific "text" serves not only for the author but
also for the audience. (Note that if you choose to analyze and then evaluate
a particular position of a controversial issue you should discuss how and on
what grounds the participants create their rhetorical arguments rather than
simply proposing the arguments yourself.) Investigate the relationships among
author, text, and audience. Explore the meanings of the text in terms of intended
audience (who is this public?), intended message (what/how does the text speak
and/or appeal to this public?), and successful (or unsuccessful) communication
of this message to this audience (what does this text do to/for individuals?
society? how does this text affect its audience?)
Alternative Prompts: If you require more guidelines to commence your
thinking (or if you don't like and/or understand this prompt), refer to Further
Suggestions for Writing 1. Analyzing Public Literacy (WL 453). 2. Taking Part
in Public Discourse (454) also applies, but be certain to analyze the assumptions
of audience and message that inform the position. As usual, your authoritative,
argumentative examination should be well organized, convincing, and critical
with a focused and evaluative thesis that pays heed to counterarguments..
Revision and Peer Response: As I've mentioned before, I will not collect
either Draft 1 or Draft 2, though I'm happy to peruse works in progress (and
I do suggest that you at least make me aware of your thesis and blueprint before
handing in Draft 3 so that we can make sure your argument is both manageable
and appropriate). Though no formal grade penalty will be imposed if you choose
not to complete Drafts 1 and 2, I suspect that your paper will be of a better
caliber (and thus merit a higher grade) if its enjoys peer response and multiple
revisions. Therefore, peer responders should be especially critical. At both
the local (in terms of sentence argument and organization) and global (in terms
of paragraph and entire essay thesis, support, and structure) offer constructive
advice and point out specifically where and how the paper is weak and could
be improved upon.
Lastly: I encourage you to bring up in class any questions or concerns
about this paper or talk with me about them outside of class (you know my office
hours, email, and home phone).
Length: 5-7 typed pages in the prescribed format
First Draft Due: Tuesday, August 18, 1998 (Bring 4 copies just for
Second Draft Due: Thursday, August 27, 1998 (Bring 1 copy to share
amongst your group)
Third Draft Due: Tuesday, September 1, 1998 (Turn in to Denney 525
by 8:30 P.M., accompanied by your peers' responses to Draft 1)