English R1B

Reading and Composition: Relationships

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Spring 2005 Misa Oyama
MWF 1-2 p.m. 259 Dwinelle

Other Readings and Media

"Tony Kushner, Caroline, or Change

Arthur Miller, After the Fall

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Tennessee Williams, Summer and Smoke

Course reader (essays and short stories)


Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, ""The Office"" (selections)

Michel Gondry, ""Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind""

Taylor Hackford, ""Dolores Claiborne""

John Cameron Mitchell, ""Hedwig and the Angry Inch""

David O. Russell, ""Flirting with Disaster"" "


"The thing these books and films have in common is the problematic nature of the main character's relationship to other people, usually one particular person. The relationships range from the disturbing and exploitative to the comical and unconventional. Sometimes the relationship involves a power imbalance in class, age, or profession. In many of them, the main character has difficulty interpreting another person and understanding what their relationship is really about. What do people look for in their relationships with parents, friends, lovers, and colleagues? What problems arise when there is a conflict of expectations? I hope these texts will provoke discussion about the nature of relationships and the possibility of seeing another individual clearly.

Students will begin the course by writing short close readings of small moments in the texts, and progress to longer essays which link these close readings together to form a larger argument. Through these assignments (several of which will be rewritten), students will sharpen two skills looking closely at evidence and using that evidence to make a claim that matters to them. Additional requirements include three reading quizzes and an oral presentation on one of the works.

Films will be screened outside of class in the late afternoon or evening; students who cannot make the screening can see the films on their own at the Media Center in Moffitt. Texts may be subject to change; please come to the first class before purchasing any books. "

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