English R1A

Reading and Composition: Fact and Fantasy

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2006 Slavica Naumovska
MWF 12-1 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Caroll, Lewis. Alice �s Adventures in Wonderland

Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Murakami, Haruki. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Diana Hacker, Rules for Writers

Course Reader, including:

Dick, Philip K. �I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon�

Poe, Edgar Allen. �The Purloined Letter�

plus poems by Coleridge, and some essays of literary criticism


Scott, Ridley. Bladerunner"


"In this course, you will focus on the craft of writing college essays�a vast process that includes everything from refining grammar and style to developing theses, engaging critical thinking, and structuring your arguments in logical and dynamic ways. You are required to produce 32 pages of writing for this course, consisting of weekly response papers, several short essays (2-3 pages), drafts, and revisions. All the while, you will be introduced to techniques of literary analysis, which require you to read slowly, carefully, and many times over, in order to discover the ways in which formal and rhetorical practices (not confined to literary texts alone, but ones that you may also see in, say, a State of the Union address) convey multiple meanings.

As an extension of our simultaneous foray into analytical writing and reading, I�ve chosen a set of texts that provoke us to sort fact from fiction and, in so doing, demand that we consider our own ways of grasping the truth in what we see, hear, read and write. In various ways, these texts capitalize on questions that you (as burgeoning critical writers) will encounter in the course of your own work: how do we �know� the truth about the world that we see before us�is it a process that requires rational deduction or does it demand imagination? Are our perceptions based on assumptions and/or desires? Or do they accurately register and comprehend the signs we encounter? The theme of this course is also inspired by the most popular answer I get when, in the first week of class, I ask R&C students to name their favorite authors or genres; ninety percent of the time, the answer is �Mystery and Fantasy.� In taking my past students� interests seriously enough to construct this course, I�ve also formed an odd literary couple�for the genres of �mystery� and �fantasy� feature widely divergent plot lines, characters, and themes. The literary detective is a highly rational and perceptive creature, while the characters in a fantasy book are often forced to overcome their rationality and other accepted modes of knowledge. The pleasure of investigating this clashing literary twosome will involve seeing what happens in stories about weaving together �facts�; in stories that present an alternate universe in which �facts� and preconceived truths become questionable; and in stories that bring both �fact� and �fantasy� into productive tension. "

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