English 1102: English Composition II, Fall 2016

Section 03: TR 2:00-3:15PM, Arts & Sciences 345




Dr. Alex E. Blazer


Office Hours: TR 11:30-12:15PM and 5:00-5:30PM Arts & Sciences 330


Course Description


The undergraduate course catalog describes English 1102 as "a composition course that develops writing skills beyond the levels of proficiency required by ENGL 1101, emphasizes interpretation and evaluation of texts, and incorporates a variety of more advanced research methods." While 1101 practices critical, analytical writing through the reading of exemplary essays, 1102 develops analytical, interpretive writing through the reading of literature. We will learn how to closely read poems and key passages from fiction. In addition to interpreting individual poems and short stories, we will analyze a book of poetry, Imperfect Thirst by Galway Kinnell, and a novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Finally, we will examine one act plays and the full length dramas Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, the latter of which we will attend a performance. We will journey through the entire writing process, from initial response to a work of literature, an interpretive thesis, literary research, outlining, an initial draft of a paper, peer review, and revision. Assignments include a informal responses; peer responses; a drafted, peer reviewed, and revised close reading paper; a drafted, peer reviewed, and revised paper arguing a work of literature's significance; a group presentation on a work of literature; and a research paper.


This course's Academic Assessment page describes our topics:

as well as course outcomes:

Course Materials


required (Amazon or GCSU Bookstore)

Akhtar, Disgraced

Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad

McMahan, Literature and the Writing Process, 11th ed.

required (GeorgiaVIEW)

course packet

recommended (Amazon or GCSU Bookstore)

Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual, 2016 MLA Update Edition

Kinnell, Imperfect Thirst


Assignments and Grade Distribution


informal and peer responses, 5%

Informal responses will explore literature and and how it applies to life; and peer responses will review fellow student papers.

paper 1 close reading, 20%

The 4-5 page drafted, peer reviewed, and revised close reading will rigorously analyze either a 20 line poem or a short story paragraph.

paper 2 significance, 30%

Using textual analysis, this 5-6 page drafted, peer reviewed, and revised significance paper will argue a work of literature's personal or cultural.

paper 3 research, 35%

The 7-9 page drafted, peer reviewed, and revised research paper will research and interpret an issue in a work of literature.

group project, 10%

Groups of 3-4 will choose a work of literature, compile a 12-16 source annotated bibliography of literary criticism on the text, write a 4-6 page paper summarizing the literary debate on the text, and share their findings with the class in a 20 minute presentation. Here's how to calculate your final grade.


Course Policies



We will use the course site for the syllabus schedule and assignment prompts; supporting documents include an attendance record, a course grade calculation spreadsheet, FAQ, a GeorgiaVIEW walkthrough, a guide to literary analysis, a research methods guide, and paper templates. We will use GeorgiaVIEW for assignment submission and electronic course reserves. Check your university email for course-related messages. Use an online backup or cloud storage service such as Dropbox or Spideroak to not only save but also archive versions of your work in case of personal computer calamities.


Because this liberal arts course values contemporaneous discussion over fixed lecture, regular attendance is required. Any student who misses seven or more classes for any reason (excused or unexcused) will fail the course. There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every unexcused absence beyond three. I suggest you use your three days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and surfing the internet will be treated as absences. Unexcused absences include work, family obligations, and scheduled doctor's appointments. Excused absences include family emergency, medical emergency, religious observance, and participation in a college-sponsored activity. If you have a medical condition or an extracurricular activity that you anticipate will cause you to miss more than four days of class, I suggest you drop this section or risk failure. The university class attendance policy can be found here. You can check your attendance here.

MLA Style and Length Requirements

Part of writing in a discipline is adhering to the field's style guide. While other disciplines use APA or Chicago style, literature and composition follows MLA style. In-class exams, discussion board responses, informal/journal writing, and peer review may be informally formatted; however, formal assignments and take-home exams must employ MLA style. One-third of a letter grade will be deducted from a formal paper or take-home exam for problems in each of the following three categories, for a possible one letter grade deduction total: 1) margins, header, and heading, 2) font, font size, and line-spacing, and 3) quotation and citation format. A formal paper or take-home exam will be penalized one-third of a letter grade if it does not end at least halfway down on the minimum page length (not including Works Cited page) while implementing 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and 1" margins. Each additional page short of the minimum requirement will result in an a additional one-third letter grade penalty. It is your responsibility to learn how to control your word-processing program. Before you turn in a formal paper, make sure your work follows MLA style by referring to the FAQ handout and using the MLA style checklist. Feel free to use these templates that are preformatted to MLA style.

Late Assignments

We're all busy with multiple classes and commitments, and adhering to deadlines is critical for the smooth running of the course. There will be a one letter assignment grade deduction per day (not class period) for any assignment that is turned in late. I give short extensions if you request one for a valid need at least one day before the assignment is due. I will inform you via email if I cannot open an electronically submitted assignment; however, your assignment will be considered late until you submit it in a file I can open. Because your completion of this course's major learning outcomes depends on the completion of pertinent assignments, failing to submit an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within a five days of its due date will result in failure of the course. Failing to submit a final exam or final paper within two days of its due date will result in failure of the course.

Academic Honesty

The integrity of students and their written and oral work is a critical component of the academic process. The Honor Code defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work the words or ideas of an author or fellow student. Students should document quotes through quotation marks and footnotes or other accepted citation methods. Ignorance of these rules concerning plagiarism is not an excuse. When in doubt, students should seek clarification from the professor who made the assignment." The Undergraduate Catalog defines academic dishonesty as "Plagiarizing, including the submission of others’ ideas or papers (whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained) as one’s own When direct quotations are used in themes, essays, term papers, tests, book reviews, and other similar work, they must be indicated; and when the ideas of another are incorporated in any paper, they must be acknowledged, according to a style of documentation appropriate to the discipline" and "Submitting, if contrary to the rules of a course, work previously presented in another course," among other false representations. "As plagiarism is not tolerated at GCSU, "since the primary goal of education is to increase one's own knowledge," any student found guilty of substantial, willful plagiarism or dishonesty will fail the assignment and the course. Here is how I have dealt with plagiarists in the past. This course uses plagiarism prevention technology from TurnItIn. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

Passing or Failing of the Course

There are three ways to fail the course: failing to regularly attend class, plagiarizing, failing an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade, be it from poor quality, lateness of submission, or a combination of poor quality and lateness. By contrast, students who regularly attend class, complete their work with academic integrity, and submit assignments on time will pass the course.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a free service available to all members of the university community. Consultants assist writers in the writing process, from conception and organization of compositions to revision to documentation of research. Located in Library 228, the Center is open Monday through Friday. Call 445-3370 or email for more information.

Additional Policies

Additional statements regarding the Religious Observance Policy, Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability, Student Rating of Instruction Survey, Academic Honesty, and Fire Drills can be found here.


Course Schedule

Week 1

T, 8-16


Broder, "Last Sext" (GeorgiaVIEW)

R, 8-18

McMahan, "How Do I Read Short Fiction?" (McMahan 99-105)

McMahan, "Writing about Structure" (McMahan 106-23)

Joyce, "Araby" (McMahan 248-51)

Erdrich, "The Red Convertible" (McMahan 324-30)

Week 2

T, 8-23

McMahan, "How Do I Read Poetry?" (McMahan 393-7)

McMahan, "Writing about Persona and Tone" (McMahan 398-414)

Donne, "The Flea" (McMahan 490)

O'Hara, "Having a Coke with You" (McMahan 554-5)

Piercy, "Barbie Doll" (McMahan 560)

Lorde, "Hanging Fire" (McMahan 940)

Hemphill, "Commitments" (McMahan 944-5)

In Class Activity: Persona and Tone

R, 8-25

McMahan, "Writing about Imagery and Symbolism" (McMahan 124-45)

McMahan, "Writing about Point of View" (McMahan 146-58)

Boyle, "The Love of My Life" (McMahan 312-23)

Oates, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" (McMahan 193-204)

McMahan, "Critical Casebook: Joyce Carol Oates's 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'" (McMahan 205-9)

Informal Writing 1 Due

Week 3

T, 8-30

McMahan, "Writing about Poetic Language" (McMahan 415-31)

McMahan, "Writing about Poetic Form" (McMahan 432-54)

Yeats, "The Second Coming" (McMahan 517)

Stafford, "Traveling Through the Dark" (McMahan 547-8)

Olds, "Sex Without Love" (McMahan 561)

Cullen, "Incident" (McMahan 938)

Blanco, "América" (McMahan 946-8)

R, 9-1

McMahan, "Writing about Setting and Atmosphere" (McMahan 159-75)

McMahan, "Writing about Theme" (McMahan 176-92)

Achebe, "Dead Man's Path" (McMahan 910-3)

Dubus, "The Fat Girl" (McMahan 911-23)

Bambara, "The Lesson" (McMahan 924-30)

In Class Activity: Theme

Informal Writing 2 Due

Week 4

T, 9-6

McMahan, "The Prewriting Process" (McMahan 1-16)

Dickinson, "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" (McMahan 508-9)

Cummings, "pity this busy monster,manunkind" (McMahan 539)

Espada, "Bully" (McMahan 569-70)

Komunyakaa, "Facing It" (McMahan 611-2)

Beaumont, "Afraid So" (McMahan 622)

Developing Your Thesis

R, 9-8

McMahan, "The Writing Process" (McMahan 17-30)

Kinnell, Imperfect Thirst, I-III (Kinnell 1-41) (GeorgiaVIEW)

In Class Activity: Analyzing a Book of Poetry

MLA Style: Formatting and Quoting

Informal Writing 3 Due

Week 5

T, 9-13

McMahan, "Writing a Convincing Argument" (McMahan 30-45)

Kinnell, Imperfect Thirst, IV-VI (Kinnell 42-82) (GeorgiaVIEW)

Recommended: KCRW's Bookworm, "Galway Kinnell"

R, 9-15

Writing Day: Bring Your Laptops

Paper 1 Draft 1 Close Reading Due

Week 6

T, 9-20

McMahan, "The Rewriting Process" (McMahan 46-67)

Paper 1 Peer Response Groups 1-3

R, 9-22

McMahan, "The Rewriting Process" (McMahan 46-67)

Paper 1 Peer Response Groups 4-7

Week 7

T, 9-27

Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad (Egan 1-108)

In Class Activity: Analyzing a Book of Fiction

R, 9-29

Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad (Egan 109-207)

In Class Activity: The Significance of a Work of Fiction

Paper 1 Draft 2 Close Reading Due

Week 8

T, 10-4

Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (showing September 28-October 1 at 8 p.m. and October 2 at 2 p.m. in Russell Auditorium)

Informal Writing 4 Due

R, 10-6

Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad (Egan 208-340)

Recommended: National Book Awards, "Jennifer Egan"

Week 9

T, 10-11

No Class: Fall Break

R, 10-13

Writing Day: Bring Your Laptops

Paper 2 Draft 1 Significance Due

Week 10

T, 10-18

Group Project Sign Up

Paper 2 Peer Response

R, 10-20

McMahan, "How Do I Read a Play?" (McMahan 625-30)

Ibsen, A Doll's House, Acts 1-2 (McMahan 827-62)

Week 11

T, 10-25

McMahan, "Writing about Character" (McMahan 675-6, 718-21)

Ibsen, A Doll's House, Act 3 (McMahan 862-77)

Literary Research Methods

Paper 2 Draft 2 Significance Due

R, 10-27

McMahan, "Writing about Dramatic Structure" (McMahan 631-2, 664-74)

Martin, Beauty (McMahan 878-83)

Ives, Sure Thing (McMahan 883-92)

Group Topic Due

Week 12

T, 11-1

McMahan, "Research Writing" (McMahan 68-98)

Childress, Florence (McMahan 948-58)

Valdez, Los Vendidos (McMahan 958-66)

Group Working Bibliography and Plan of Action Due

R, 11-3

No Class: Professor at Conference

Week 13

T, 11-8

Akhtar, Disgraced (Akhtar 1-96)

In Class Activity: Character, Conflict, and Confrontation

R, 11-10

McMahan, "Critical Approaches to Interpreting Literature" (McMahan 894-900)

Neel, "Muslim is the New Black in Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Recommended: American Theatre's Offscript, "Ayad Akhtar" (24:00)

In Class Activity: Critical Approaches to Literature

Informal Writing 5 Due

Week 14

T, 11-15

Group Conferences 1-3

R, 11-17

Group Conferences 4-6

Week 15

T, 11-22

Paper 3 Research Thesis, Outline, Peer Response Due

Group Presentations 1-2 Due

R, 11-24

No Class: Thanksgiving Holidays

Week 16

T, 11-29

Paper 3 Research Optional Draft Due

Group Presentations 3-4 Due

R, 12-1

Group Presentations 5-6 Due


R, 12-8

Paper 3 Research Due