English R1A

Reading and Composition: Nothing Doing

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Spring 2016 Kelly, Tyleen Louise
TTh 3:30-5 222 Wheeler

Book List

Johnson, James Weldon: The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Melville, Herman: Billy Budd and Other Stories; Sartre, Jean-Paul: No Exit; Toole, John Kennedy: A Confederacy of Dunces

Other Readings and Media

Additional critical materials and shorter works will be provided in class or on bCourses.


What would lead an author to create a 'leading' character who does not seem to want to move forward in life? Why might such characters attract readers, and what's so funny--or depressing--about their everyday lives? In this class we will be investigating the properties of sloth, indecision, existentialism, and other behaviors and philosophies that may cause an individual to not do what is expected or "not do" full stop. We will discover the exceptions to laziness, rebelliousness, or apathy, and additionally encounter a host of dynamic characters that try to over-compensate for the hero's apparent lack of anxiety, passion, and ambition.

While these questions and materials will furnish us with material for rich discussions, this class is chiefly geared to improve your writing. We will attend to both mechanics and style, learning how to read closely, formulate interesting arguments, gather evidence, and organize claims into persuasive essays. Over the course of the semester you will produce approximately 32 pages of written work through a gradual process of drafting, editing, reviewing, and revising.


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