English R1A

Reading and Composition: California Stories

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Fall 2011 Hausman, Blake M.
Hausman, Blake
MWF 2-3 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

•    John Rollin Ridge, The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta
•    John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
•    Allen Ginsberg, Howl
•    Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
•    Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club
•    Additional essays, stories, and poems by California writers


This course will examine literature produced in and about California.  After grounding our inquiries with Indigenous origin stories, we will then explore the convergences of narrative, geography, identity, and economics as portrayed by several California writers from the Gold Rush to the present.  This course will enable students to delve into a vast range of narrative styles, cultural conflicts and fusions, and degrees of sur/realism emblematic of California literature.  Our inquiries will offer students a framework for understanding the relationship of California literature to both the United States and the Pacific Rim at large, as well as on its own idiomatically Californian terms.

English R1A develops students’ practical fluency in constructing sentences, building paragraphs, and developing a thesis throughout the course of an essay.  Students will compose a range of essays that involve increasingly complex applications of these skills.  The emphasis of these assignments will be expository and argumentative writing.  The university requires students in English R1A to compose 32 pages of graded writing.  The first assignment is a short (1-2 page) “diagnostic” essay.  The following assignments will be three relatively short (3-5 page) essays on various topics that stem from our readings.  Students will also compose journals on the assigned texts.  At the end of the semester, students will submit a portfolio that includes two revised essays and a reflective introduction.   The portfolio, in particular the quality of one’s revisions, will determine the bulk of one’s final grade.

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