Composition I

Aloha mai kākou and welcome to English 100. In this course, we will learn how to write effectively for a variety of audiences and in a variety of forms so that you will be better prepared to identify and work across the writing contexts that you’ll encounter in your college courses and, even, outside of them (e.g., in your job). We will learn how to identify and effectively address an audience, to conduct research and engage with source material, as well as planning and revision strategies. We will begin with an introspective take on the life of the student (you) via a personal narrative and how you make meaning within a given place, particularly through your experiences and explorations of Oʻahu. We will then build on this foundation by investigating and consciously thinking and talking about larger social issues, such as those related to community, colonialism, and culture, issues that affect people’s lived experiences in daily life. We will explore these issues (and maybe others) in response to Folks You Meet in Longs and Other Stories, by Lee Cataluna. You will then set out to work in researching the issue of your choice with the exception of a few topics, such as: abortion, gun control, and topics of that nature. I will discuss what constitutes as an appropriate research topic in class as we work our way through the semester. Don’t worry: I will support your efforts at each step. In the end, you will produce a researched-based, persuasive paper in which you construct a conversation about the issue you have chosen, and you will weigh in on that conversation in informed ways, eventually calling readers to respond in a particular way to the issue.


In total, you will have produce 5,000 words of finished prose.


Required Text:

  • Folks You Meet in Longs and Other Stories (2005), by Lee Cataluna (Available for purchase at the UH Mānoa Bookstore)
  • Any supplemental materials/readings will be distributed in-class and/or be made available for download as a PDF via UH email or through Laulima.

Course Assignments: (100 point system)


The completion of all assignments is mandatory in order to receive a passing grade. Failure to complete all assignments will result in an automatic failing grade (F) for the course.


  1. In-class work/participation (15 pts) (group work/discussion, quizzes, free writes):
  • In every class, you will be asked to participate in class discussion, in group work, respond to a writing prompt, and/or take a pop quiz. To earn full credit, you must be present and participate in all of the activities included in class and out of class. You cannot participate inside class if you do not do the work outside of class. I will keep a record of your participation. You cannot make up in-class work, pop quizzes, and discussion points if you are absent from or late to class. Once a week, we will do “check-ins” with each other to build our relationship with each other and perpetuate the art of learning stories—those that are ours and those that are shared.


  1. Mapping Our Story (10 pts): 1,000-word
  • This our first formal assignment asks you to critically analyze place in-relation to yourself. You are asked to think about the significance of a “place” and your relation to it. This essay will be a 1,000-word narrative drawn from your own experience about a place here in Hawaiʻi whether you focus on your birth place (hānau) and your genealogy (mo‘okū‘auhau), a place you frequent often that means something to you, or a place that sparks your current interest. This essay will focus on engaging with tangible sensory details, creating your positionality and voice, and utilizing other mechanical devices. In doing so, we can begin to get a sense of how place effects/affects us and how we effect/affect it.
  • Meta-commentary
  • More details and rubric forthcoming.


  1. Rhetorical Analysis (15 pts): 1,250-words
  • Our next major assignment asks you to critically and rhetorically analyze a text (e.g. poem, short story, song lyrics, etc.), an advertisement (e.g. T.V., newspapers, billboards, at the mall, etc.), or a picture/art (e.g. books covers, murals, post cards, etc.). Because language is everywhere, this assignment asks you to carefully examine how a text is composed to argue for a particular purpose and for a specific audience. In this sense, you will be asked to think about brainstorming questions, such as: what the image/text is saying? What does this particular image mean to certain individuals? How is the text working? Is the text effective and successful? Why or why not? The main objective of this essay, is for you to analyze what kind of rhetorical devices the author/creator/artist is using to persuade their viewer/reader.
  • Meta-commentary
  • More details and rubric forthcoming.


  1. Proposal (5 pts): 1-2 pages
  • This assignment is meant to be a pre-writing exercise your final research paper. A prospectus helps you get started thinking about your paper and figuring out what you want to say. Additionally, a proposal can help you organize the way you want to write your final paper. You will work on constructing a working thesis, explaining why this topic is significant to you and your readers, elaborating on the sources that you will be incorporating into your work, and how these sources support your thesis. In this sense, this short paper is an overview and a guideline of what you want to argue for your research project and it will help you focus on your targeted audience. The main point here is to start figuring out the “so what?” about your choice issue; why does this issue matter to you and why should it matter to your audience? This will be a 1-2 page assignment.



  1. Annotated Bibliography (20 pts): 1,250-words
  • This assignment asks you to compose a list of sources of scholarly work and summarize each work in your own words in a paragraph or two under each citation. The material for this organized list can include, but is not limited to: books, videos, articles, web sites, and any other credible material. You will need to find sources that support your claims, which may even include sources that do not support your claim to see how these scholars are in conversation with one another, and where the gaps are in the scholarship for your intervention. This paper will help you practice proper MLA citation format and will help you further develop your ethos by showing your readers the type of research you have done. This assignment also enhances your ability to parcel through dense material by identifying and analyzing the way in which authors use rhetoric and compose their arguments.
  • Meta-commentary
  • More details and rubric forthcoming


  1. Final Research/Argument Essay (25 pts): 1,500-words


  • For our last formal assignment you will critically research and approach an issue of your interest, and make an argument using a minimum of five scholarly sources, one of which needs to be in opposition to your claim. In this sense, your goal in this essay is to persuade your reader(s). We will be spending some class time focusing on how to conduct research, integrate sources, provide correct citations, and going through the writing process. Throughout this writing process, I’d like you to keep in mind that the way you construct your argument depends on the specific audience that you are trying to reach. This is a research paper project, so I will expect to see ethical engagement with outside sources, including the correct use of in-text citations, accurate presentations of source content, and a complete works cited rendered in consistent and correct format. I will provide more information on the project throughout the course of the semester.
  • At least ONE conference with me is MANDATORY. I will provide you with a list of particular dates and times for conferences, but you are welcome to set up a conference with me at any point in the semester. To prepare for a conference, please bring a copy of the draft/assignment we are discussing, as well as copies of any other work/materials that you have questions about. We’ll talk about your work and then you will be provided with an opportunity to ask additional questions.
  • Meta-commentary
  • More details and rubric forthcoming.


  1. Meta-Commentaries (4 / 2.5 pts. each): 300 words

Due with each major paper, placed after your Work Cited page. The word count for your meta-commentaries are not to be included in the Word Count for the particular essay you are writing.

  • For each formal assignment you are required to provide at least a 300-word (no longer than 500-word) meta-commentary that explains your process of writing. In this sense, you are able to reflect on why you chose to do something (e.g. selecting a particular text, photo, topic, etc.). You are also able to reflect on where you think your paper is the strongest or weakest and why, or elaborate where you had difficulties in your paper (e.g. research, writing, sources, ideas, etc.). Writing out your thoughts, though seemingly pointless, can provide an array of insights and ideas that may be beneficial to you as a writer. We will collaboratively go over this in class.