Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, or, American Psychosis
English 367.02 (07919-1): The U.S. Experience as Reflected in Literature
Autumn 2000, M/W: 1:30 - 3:18 PM, Denney Hall 266
I am but mad north-north-west: when the
southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
This course will explore the conciousness of the American male through literature
by American men. We'll examine different males' feelings regarding topics
as diverse as war and work, relationships and race, with particular focus placed
upon how the desires and alienations engendered by the American Dream.
We'll investigate what causes some men to become disillusioned with the American
Dream and, further, what provokes disenchantment to turn into neurosis, or worse,
psychosis. As we read the poetry, play, novels, and the film, we'll develop
critical thinking skills that allow us to not only appreciate but also interrogate
this literature and its experience of male consciousness. The goal is
not merely to understand these writings' themes and theses, but rather to question
them in order to know and to (re)define ourselves. To accomplish these
important tasks, we must practice argumentation; we must articulate ourselves
in open class discussion, and—perhaps more importantly—in writing. Besides
constant class participation, we'll submit short response papers to the course
web-based discussion page, write weekly quizzes that explain significant passages
of the literature we're reading, and delve deeply into one work in a four-page
paper. In order to further our studies and raise our own arguments' credibility,
we'll incorporate what others have written about theses piece of literature—cursively
in an annotated bibliography and fully in a research paper that will be shared
with the class as an oral presentation.
required (available at SBX)
Fitgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby
Rice, Elmer: The Adding Machine
Salinger, J. D.: The Catcher in the Rye
Wright, Richard: Native Son
recommended (available at SBX and Main Library Reserves)
Griffith, Kelley: Writing Essays about Literature,
reserved (at Main Library Reserves)
various short stories, poetry, and criticism
Assignments and Grade Distribution
2 web-discussion responses (on the web, 250 words each), 10%
The first step in writing about literature is to
think critically about what you've just read. To that end, sign
up to write 2 papers which respond to particular reading assignments.
These semi-formal papers should 1) report theses, issues, and contexts of the
work, 2) respond critically to the work, and 3) ask two questions or
identify two issues for class discussion. One will be on a primary text
(a work of literature) and one will be on a secondary text (a work of criticism).
Those for Monday's discussion must be submitted to the course web-based
discussion page by noon Saturday, those for Wednesday's by noon Monday.
a four-page paper (typed, double-spaced, 1000 words), 20%
The next step in writing about literature is developing
a sustained and supportable interpretation. Drawing from class discussions
and your initial response to the text as well as quoting the text itself to
support your argument, in this paper you should develop a critical understanding
of an assigned reading by either 1) interpreting a character, image,
setting, symbol, or theme within one work or 2) comparing/contrasting
one such element between two assigned readings. More instructions to come.
a preliminary bibliography (20 sources), ungraded
The next step in a full investigation of a piece
of literature is determining what scholars have said about the work. Pick any
work of or issue in American literature (relevant to what we're discussing in
class and subject to my approval) that you want to research and determine a
topic. The preliminary bibliography is a list of approximately 20 critical
sources that might be helpful in your research paper. If your search strategy
can't find 20 secondary sources on your topic, we should work together to find
more or determine an appropriate topic for the research paper.
an annotated bibliography (10 sources plus other information), 10%
The next step in the research process is the reading
of the research. From the preliminary bibliography (and the bibliographies
of the secondary sources you've found), compile and evaluate about the 10 most
valuable sources for your research. Annotations should summarize theses
or controlling ideas and discuss the validity of the text's argument.
See Annotated Bibliography Assignment and Format for more instructions.
a research paper presentation, 10%
Before writing the research paper, it's a good idea
to formulate your thoughts and test them. To that end, the final days
of the quarter will be spent reading abstracts of and hearing presentations
on individual research papers. The abstract is a 250 word summary of your
research-in-progress, submitted 2 days before your presentation. Likewise,
the 5-10 minute (no more than 10 please!) oral report should give your peers
and me a good idea of what issues your final paper is going to explore.
In both, provide us with your thesis (however tentative) and what evidence (primary
and secondary) you base that theory upon, and we'll provide you with some feedback
about the soundness of your arguments and quality of your research. More
instructions to come.
an eight-page final research paper (typed, double-spaced, 2000 words),
The final step is, of course, the research paper
itself. The paper should either 1) extend a conversation regarding
an assigned reading by researching others' interpretations of the work and/or
comparing it with selections of the author's other work, 2) read and research
another work by an American writer (subject to my approval), or 3) research
a topic or issue initiated in class conversation. Your paper's first and
foremost priority is constructing your argumentative interpretation of the text
or issue, and in order to do that you need to not only use the appropriate primary
texts, but also incorporate and quote at least 4-5 secondary sources.
More instructions to come.
quizzes, peer response, class participation, 20%
This grade is determined by both class participation
and the peer responses for first drafts of the explanatory annotation paper
and the research paper. Peer responses, of approximately 150 words, should
be critical yet sensitive in their evaluation of the form (thesis, support,
style, voice, organization) and content (thesis, argument, use of evidence)
of their peers' first drafts. See Peer Response
Papers for particular questions to address. Class participation is
vital in illuminating the multiple perspectives of the controversial issues
and the divergent interpretations of the assigned readings that we'll be discussing.
In order to participate in class, you must have read the assignments.
To get the conversation started, approximately every other class we'll have
a brief quiz and two or three students will be selected at random to read their
quizzes in an effort to get the conversation started.
The best way to learn how to argue and how to analyze
is by learning from others and practicing yourself. You'll be practicing
in writing, of course; however, to learn from others, you must hear their voices.
To that end, we all must raise questions and respond to issues. There
are no stupid questions; no voice is invalid. This is your class and for
you to get the most from it, we all must participate.
Drafting and Revision
We'll be completing at least two drafts of the two
major papers. The first will be responded to by your peers and I; the
second will receive a grade. You may do a third draft of Paper 1 for a
chance to improve your grade if and only if you meet with me to discuss revision
strategies. Each draft of Paper 1 and the Research Paper must be turned
in on time and meet the word limit, otherwise the final grade on the paper will
be reduced one-letter grade for each day any and all of the drafts are
turned in late as well as one-letter grade for any and all drafts that
do not meet the word limit.
Come to class on time. Any unexcused absence
beyond two will reduce your final grade by two-thirds of a letter for each day.
Five unexcused absences mandates your failure of the course. Bring valid
written excuses in writing within one week of your return or the excuse will
be considered invalid. Two tardies count as an absence; arriving more
than 15 minutes late or leaving more than 15 minutes early counts as an absence.
After you receive your grade on the second draft
of the first paper, we will have an individual conference to talk about your
work. Attendance will be mandatory and the attendance policy will be in
effect. Though no more individual conferences are required, I encourage
you to see me during my office hours or by appointment to talk about your progress
in the course.
Turn in all assignments on time. There will
be a one letter grade deduction per day (24 hours, not class period)
for all major assignments (drafts of the 4-page paper, the annotated bibliography,
drafts of the research paper) that are turned in late, and there will be a two
letter grade deduction per day for web-based discussion responses. An
extension may be given if absolutely necessary and warranted.
Don't do it. Using someone else's words, ideas,
or work without proper citation and representing it as your own is the most
serious of academic offenses. All cases of suspected plagiarism will be
reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct.
The Ombud is a resource for students and teachers
of English 110 and 367. If you have any concerns about the course but
feel you cannot speak with me, please feel free to consult with the Ombud.
All conversations are confidential.
|Ombud: Keith Manecke
||Office Hours: M/W 12:00-3:30
|Office: Denney Hall 363
|| T/R 8:30-1:00 and by appt.
|Office Phone: 292-5778
Office of Disability Services
If you have any specific needs or concerns, please
feel free to discuss the issue with me during office hours. Students with
disabilities who need accommodations should be registered at the Office for
Disability Services (292-3307).
The staff of the Writing Center serve as readers
and responders to writing for English 110, English 367 and other university
disciplines. Besides giving feedback, these English graduate students
can help with other writing issues such as topic development, organization,
coherence, clarity, and self-editing. To make an appointment, call 292-5607
or stop by 485 Mendenhall Labs M/W 8:30-5:30, T/R 8:30-7:30, and F 8:30-1:30.
The following websites have information and handouts
valuable for students of first-year writing in a computer section: Center
for the Study and Teaching of Writing, Computers
in Composition and Literature, and Modern Language
On the Monday after finals week, I will have your
final papers ready for you to pick up. Make arrangements with me to retrieve
your work, or I will discard it after two quarters.
This schedule is subject to change, so listen in class and check online for possible revisions.
Introductions; Syllabus Concerns
Writing Topic: Effective Reading Strategies
Reading and Writing
Hemingway, "The End of Something"
"Soldier's Home" from In Our Time
Salinger, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" from Nine Stories
(short stories available at Main Library Reserves)
Writing Topic: Effective Reading Strategies — continued
Griffith, Ch 2 (4th ed.) or Ch 1 (5th ed.)
Rice, The Adding Machine
Writing Topic: Effective Reading Strategies — continued
Griffith, Ch 3 (4th ed.) or Ch 2 (5th ed.)
Rice — continued
Writing Topic: Reading and Writing about Drama
Griffith, Ch5 (4th ed.) or Ch4 (5th ed.)
Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Writing Topic: Writing an Interpretive Essay
Griffith, Ch10 (both 4th and 5th eds.)
Paper 1 Prompt
Fitzgerald — continued
Writing Topic: Writing an Interpretive Essay — continued
Fitgerald — continued
Fitgerald criticism (at Main Library Reserves; see Schedule)
Writing Topic: Writing a Peer Response Paper
Peer Response Questions
Paper 1, Draft 1 Due
Wright, Native Son
Writing Topic: Peer Response Discussions
Written Peer Response Due
Wright — continued
Writing Topic: Reading and Writing about Fiction
Griffith, Ch4 (4th ed.) or Ch3 (5th ed.)
Wright — continued
Wright criticism (at Main Library Reserves; see Schedule)
Writing Topic: Evaluating Secondary Sources
Paper 1, Draft 2 Due
poems by Andrews, Baraka, Berryman, Eliot, Ginsberg, Lowell,
McKay, and Watten (at Main Library Reserves)
Writing Topic: Reading and Writing about Poetry
Griffith, Ch6 (4th ed.) or Ch5 (5th ed.)
||No Class (class to select makeup day for T, W, or R night)
Annotated Bibliography Prompt
***meet in Denney Hall 316
Writing Topic: Finding Sources for a Research Paper
Handout: Annotated Bibliography
CCL Handout: On-Line
||Preliminary Bibliography Due
Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Writing Topic: Writing a Research Paper
Griffith, Ch 11 (both 4th and 5th ed.)
CSTW Handouts: MLA
Documentation Style: References
Documentation Style: In-Text Citations
Salinger — continued
Salinger criticism (at Main Library Reserves; see Schedule)
Writing an Abstract
Film: American Psycho
***meet in Lord Hall 19
Annotated Bibliography Due
||Research Paper Presentations
||Research Paper Presentations — continued
||No Class: Thanksgiving
Research Paper Presentations — continued
Research Paper, Draft 1 Due
Writeen Peer Response Due
||Research Paper, Draft 2 Due by 5 PM