English R1B

Reading & Composition: Truth and Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Spring 2008 Misa Oyama
MWF 1-2 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man; E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime; Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild; Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake; Wayne C. Booth, The Craft of Research; course reader of selected stories and articles


"This course will examine the relationship between truth and fiction in literature and film. Some of these works dramatize real events; others show the impact that stories have on their readers and authors. What do we seek from fictional works�how do they help us interpret or alter the narratives of our own lives? What standards of credibility and coherence do we demand from fictional as opposed to nonfictional works? What kinds of fictions have assumed the status of truth in structuring our social relations?

Students will begin by writing a close reading (2-3 pages) of one of the texts, then write and revise two essays (5 and 10 pages) which link close readings together to form a larger argument. To help draft and revise the essays, students will participate in class activities of peer editing. Over the course of the semester, students will also conduct research for the topic of their second essay and present their research in an oral presentation. Through these assignments, students will sharpen two skills: looking closely at evidence and making a claim that matters to them.


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