21W.731-1 | Spring 2004 | Undergraduate
Writing and Experience: Exploring Self in Society

Calendar

Many of the listed readings in the table below refer to the following course texts:

Comley, Nancy R., et. al., eds. Fields of Reading: Motives for Writing. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2004. ISBN: 0312404719.

Bailey, Tom, ed. On Writing Short Stories. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN: 0195122720.

Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer: A Pocket Guide. Second Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2002. ISBN: 0312243480.

SES # TOPICS READINGS / VIEWINGS ASSIGNMENTS DUE IN CLASS ACTIVITY
1 Introduction to the Course: Why Write from Experience?    

Distribute syllabus, course information forms, and the following assignments: Exercise 1.1, Essay #1, Writer’s Letter, Reader/Writer Notebook assignment

Sample student writing

2 Crafting the Self: Experience and the Shaping of Identity

In Fields of Reading:

Walker, Alice. “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self.” pp. 42-49.

Cofer, Julia Ortiz. “The Story of My Body.” pp. 93-102.

Writer’s Letter, Exercise 1.1 (bring 6 copies), Notebook assignment on Alice Walker

Small Groups: Exercise 1.1

Sample student writing

Discuss Assigned Readings

3

Crafting the Self: Experience and the Shaping Of Identity

Writing as Process: Prewriting, Drafting, and Revising

In Fields of Reading:

“Reflecting.” pp. 25-30.

Orwell, George. “Shooting an Elephant.” (p. 114-120)

———. 1984. (Excerpt)

Notebook assignment: Comment on the connections between “Shooting an Elephant” and the 1984 excerpt Discuss Assigned Readings
4 Crafting the Self: Experience and the Shaping of Identity Diary/Journal as a Narrative form

In Fields of Reading:

Douglass, Frederick. “Learning to Read And Write.” pp. 62-67.

Frank, Anne. “At Home, In School, In Hiding.” pp. 171-180.

Hampl, Patricia. “The Whole Anne Frank.” pp. 22-24.

Notebook assignment on Frank reading

First Version, Essay #1 - Two copies with cover letter, Workshop Students: email essays as Word documents to class

Discuss Assigned Readings

Distribute/Review Workshop 
Instructions

5

The Craft Of Revision

Workshop: First Version, Essay #1

  Response Letters to Classmates

Workshop: First Version, Essay #1

Discussion of Student Essays

6-7 Self in Society: Language, Legitimacy and the Writer’s Craft

In Fields of Reading

Baldwin, James. “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” pp. 532-535.

Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” pp. 68-73.

Notebook assignment on Baldwin and Tan

Service Learning Proposals

Revision, Essay #1 - Two copies with cover letter and marked-up first version (and Exercise 1.1, if applicable)

Distribute Essay #2 Assignment Sheet

Discuss Assigned Readings

8 Self in Society: Learning, Schooling and Identity

In Fields of Reading

Angelou, Maya. “Graduation.” pp. 31-41.

Sizer, Theodore R. “What High School Is.” pp. 345-355.

Boufis, Christine. “Teaching Literature at the County Jail.” pp. 198-205.

Notebook assignment comparing styles of Angelou and Sizer Discuss Assigned Readings
9

Self in Society: Educational Experience and Privilege

Ethics of the Writer

Working With Secondary Sources

Mead, Rebecca. “Sophie’s World.” New Yorker 75, no. 31 (October 18/25, 1999): 184-93.

Witherspoon, Abigail. “This Pen for Hire: On Grinding Out Papers for College Students” Harpers 290 (June 1995): 49-57. (Handout)

Notebook assignment on Witherspoon Discuss Assigned Readings
10 The Self and the World of Work: Writing About Work and Work-Related Issues

In Fields of Reading

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. pp. 760-774.

Gornick, Vivian. “Working in the Catskills.” pp. 753-759.

Notebook assignment on Ehrenreich Discuss Assigned Readings
11

The Self and the World of Work

Working with Primary Sources

Interviewing

In Fields of Reading

Kamber, Michael. “Toil and Temptation.” pp. 205-216.

Mills, C. Wright. “White Collar Work.” pp. 731-752.

Schlosser, Eric, and Jon Lowenstein. “Making it Work.” pp. 775-783.

Notebook assignment comparing Schlosser and Lowenstein and Kamber

First Version, Essay #2 - Two copies with cover letter, email essays to workshop group members

Discuss Assigned Readings

Distribute/Review Workshop 
Instructions

Review Writer’s Methods: Interviewing

12 Workshop, First Version, Essay #2   Response Letters to Classmates Workshop, First Version, Essay #2
13

Writing about the Meaning of Work

Writing as Work

The Role of the Writer

“Writers on Writing” series, New York Times . (Distributed in class)

Quindlen, Anna. “The Eye of the Reporter, the Heart of The Novelist.” New York Times, Sept. 2, 2002.

Orwell, George. “Politics and the English Language.” pp. 536-547.

Sample Selections from WRITERS ON WRITING series

  Oral Presentations
14 Writing About the Ethics of Work

Mead, Rebecca. “Eggs for sale.” New Yorker 75, no. 22 (August 9, 1999): 56-65.

In Fields of Reading:

Schlosser, Eric. “Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good.” pp. 308-318.

Notebook assignment on Mead Discuss Assigned Readings
15 The Self and the Community: Experience and “Catalyst Writing”

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. 40th anniversary ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002. (Originally published in 1962.) (Excerpt)

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. (Excerpt - originally published in 1963)

Klein, Naomi. No Logo. New York: Picador: Distributed by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2002. (Excerpt)

Documentary Film Clip: No Logo.

Notebook Exercise on Carson, Friedan and Klein

Revision, Essay #2 - Include cover letter + marked-up first version

Discuss Assigned Readings
16 Catalyst Writing #2: Drawing upon Experience to Write about Social Change

In Fields of Reading:

King, Martin Luther Jr. “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” pp. 617-631.

Documentary Film Clip: Eyes On the Prize.

Notebook assignment on King Discuss Assigned Readings
17 Drawing Upon Experience to Create Fiction

In On Writing Short Stories:

Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.”

Notebook assignment on Baldwin

First Version, Essay #3, email essays for workshop

Discuss Assigned Readings
18 Drawing Upon Experience to Create Fiction (cont.)

In On Writing Short Stories:

Dubus, Andre. “A Father’s Story.” pp. 288-303.

———. “The Habit of Writing.” pp. 90-96.

Notebook assignment on Dubus

Discuss Assigned Readings

Distribute/Review Workshop 
Instructions

19 Workshop, First Version, Essay #3   Response Letters to Classmates Workshop, First Version, Essay #3
20 Drawing Upon Experience to Create Fiction (cont.)

In On Writing Short Stories:

Olsen, Tillie. “I Stand Here Ironing.” pp. 149-154.

Notebook assignment: One-page character sketch (for potential short story): Include a demographic profile of your character (age, race, gender, occupation, etc.) and a short sketch of your character in action

Revision, Essay #3

Discuss Assigned Readings
21 Drawing Upon Experience to Create Fiction (cont.)

In On Writing Short Stories:

O’Connor, Flannery. “Everything That Rises Must Converge.” pp. 171-182.

Steinbeck, John. “The Chrysanthemums.” pp. 163-170.

Notebook assignment on either story

Draw a “character web” of a fictional character in relationship to other characters. Write a short scene involving your character and at least two other characters in the web

Discuss Assigned Readings
22 Drawing Upon Experience to Create Fiction (cont.)

In On Writing Short Stories:

Wolff, Tobias. “Bullet in the Brain.” pp. 311-314.

Short Film. “Bullet in the Brain.”

Notebook assignment on Wolff

First Version Essay #4

Discuss Assigned Readings
23 Drawing Upon Experience to Create Fiction (cont.)

In On Writing Short Stories:

O’Brien, Tim. “The Things They Carried.”

Notebook assignment on O’Brien Distribute/Review Workshop 
Instructions
24 Workshop, First Version, Essay #4   Response Letters to Classmates Workshop, First Version, Essay #4
25

Publication Workshop

Course Evaluations

Student Readings

     
26 Last Class - Student Readings, Celebration   Final Portfolios with Revision Essay #4  

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