English R1B

Reading and Composition: Shipwreck'd: How to Survive (with a little help)

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2005 Kimberly Tsau
TTh 9:30-11:00 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Defoe, D.: Robinson Crusoe

Shakespeare, W.: The Tempest

Walcott, D.: Pantomine

Lamming, G.: The Pleasures of Exile

Coetzee, J.M.: Foe

Strunk and White: Elements of Style

Course Reader "


"Two of the most famous survival stories are Shakespeare?s The Tempest and Daniel Defoe?s Robinson Crusoe. However, these are not just simply grand adventure stories. These narratives, which celebrate the self-made (English) man, demonstrate that his survival critically depends on the suppression of the ?native savage?: the savages encountered on the island must be brought under English authority. Such narratives conceal the violence of such takeovers and naturalize the process by portraying the native as uncivilized and barbaric, one which must be subdued and controlled for his/her own benefit. Thus, the English subject is vindicated of any immorality and is celebrated for bringing civilization and morality to these backward societies.

As colonies began to declare independence in the twentieth century, such representations of the colonial as moral and the native as barbaric have come to be questioned and criticized. Writers from these former colonies have rewritten these survival stories in order to expose the true violence of colonialism. We will begin the course with these two canonical texts and then move to these ?new? stories. By reading these texts in conjunction with each other, we will explore how identities become constructed and circulated and how they can be contested. In analyzing how literature reflects the larger socio-political world, we can become critical of the various assumptions that such works make and the wider implications they have in representing the world.

This course will focus on developing argumentative and expository skills as well as refining analytic and research skills. There will be a short essay (3 pages) assigned at the beginning as well as one short essay (5 pages) and one long essay (10 pages). This last essay will involve a substantive research component and will help you synthesize secondary sources and research into your analysis of a primary work. "

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