Composition I

In this course you’re going to read, write, think, analyze, and argue. You’re going to become a better writer, a closer reader, a deeper thinker, and a wiser person. You’re going to read great literature. You’re going to think seriously, rigorously, and passionately about each and every word you read, and you’re going to learn to express your ideas, feelings, and thoughts—on the page, and out loud, and in your mind—with clarity and conviction, force and focus, energy and personality. You’re going to ask questions. You’re going to answer questions. You’re going to question yourself and question one another and question the readings. If you take this class, you’re going to find yourself, every day, in the midst of enormous, exhilarating, complex debates that never lead to absolute conclusions. In class, and in your mind, you’re going to examine, discuss, and write about issues such as identity and existence, meaning and purpose, right and wrong. You’ll see, once you start doing the work, how all of these issues arise naturally from the reading and the writing assignments. You’ll write five essays (3-5 pages each): a personal narrative, an exploratory research essay, a classical argument, and two interpretive analytical essays. Plus, you’ll take a few in-class quizzes. In class and for homework, you’ll write informal critical responses to the readings. If you’re not satisfied with your grades, you’re free to re-write the essays, re-take the quizzes, and re-do the homework; you’ll keep working until you get the grade you want to deserve. Be ready to read a lot: two books, one play, and a handful of articles; and you’ll watch at least one movie in class. If you’re not prepared to work hard, write often, read every page assigned, complete every assignment, and commit yourself—heart and soul—to becoming a better writer, reader, and thinker, then you really shouldn’t enroll in this course. But remember that the assignments are going to be so exciting and meaningful that they really won’t feel like work. You don’t need to worry too much about grades: If you do the assignments and attend regularly, you’ll do well. More important, you’ll emerge from the course with the kind of knowledge that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.


Available at Campus Bookstore:

  • INTO THE WILD, Jon Krakauer
  • WAITING FOR GODOT, Samuel Beckett
  • A novel – to be announced
  • A reading packet
    (available at Campus Copy)