Composition I

Through reflecting on the complex connections between art and politics, we will learn to make
thoughtful rhetorical and linguistic choices as writers, as we explore the boundaries between
critical and creative composition in this class. In reverse order of the traditional freshman
writing course, which moves from personal to sociological writing, we will start with genres
of professional and college-level writing for formal audiences that develop critical thinking,
abstract reasoning, and information retrieval and source analysis skills. Thus, we will first
write an image analysis paper that defines and explores an important philosophical concept, and
next, a persuasive research paper that marshals evidence and argument to get readers to understand
a political position on a social issue. In the second half of the course, we will focus on personal
narrative, using tone, perspective, voice, dialect, characterological details, and world-building
techniques of the creative non-fiction and life writing genres to reflect upon the social dynamics
and moral lessons of your life (including a paper on your roles in a specific group or community
and another on a key incident that transformed your values and beliefs about society).

The schedule of class assignments will not only ‘frontload’ the more left-brain papers and
exercises in the beginning of the semester–leaving the latter half for relatively fun and
intuitive approaches to writing (as you focus on exams and papers for other classes)–but
move, in terms of genre, from expository to creative composition. This is a hybrid course,
so regular Internet access via Laulima and email checks are expected.

Please pick up these texts:

  • Buscemi, Santi V., and Charlotte Smith, eds. 75 READINGS: AN ANTHOLOGY, 11TH EDITION. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
  • Maimon, Elaine P., Janice H. Peritz, and Kathleen Blake Yancey, eds. THE BRIEF MCGRAW-HILL HANDBOOK WITH MLA UPDATE. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
  • Tonouchi, Lee, ed. BUSS LAUGH: STAND-UP POETRY FROM HAWAI‘I. Honolulu: Bess Press Publishing, 2009.