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


Required Books

Students should buy new editions of these texts and bring Fields of Reading or On Writing Short Stories with them to class as required. Students should also have on hand a college dictionary and thesaurus. For a general writing reference, also see Easy Writer.

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, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780312412579.

Bailey, Tom, ed. On Writing Short Stories. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780195122725.

Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer: A Pocket Guide. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780312243487.


Introduction to the Course: Why Write From Experience?

Distribute: Syllabi; Course Information Forms

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.


Crafting the Self: Experience and the Shaping Of Identity

Writing as Process: Prewriting, Drafting, Revising

In Fields of Reading:

“Reflecting.” pp. 25-30.

Orwell, George. “Shooting an Elephant.”

———. 1984. (Excerpt) (Distributed in class)

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.


Workshop: First Version, Essay #1

Discussion of Student Essays

The Craft Of Revision


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

Distribute: Essay #2 Assignment Sheet  

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.

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.


Self in Society: Educational Experience and Privileged

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)

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.


The Self and the World of Work

Working with Primary Sources


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.

12 Workshop, First Version #2  

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.

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.

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)

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

Documentary Film Clip: No Logo.

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.

17 Drawing Upon Experience to Create Fiction

In On Writing Short Stories:

Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.”

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.

19 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.

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.

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.”

23 Drawing Upon Expierence to Create Fiction (cont.)

In On Writing Short Stories:

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

24 Workshop, First Version #4  

Publication Workshop

Course Evaluations

Student Readings

26 Last Class – Student Readings, Celebration  

Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2004
Learning Resource Types
assignment Written Assignments
assignment Presentation Assignments