English R1B

Reading and Composition: Unreliable Friends

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Spring 2019 Catchings, Alex
MWF 11-12 122 Wheeler

Book List

Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Other Readings and Media

Course reader featuring short works by Junot Diaz, Raymond Carver, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Flannery O'Connor, and Edgar Allan Poe


This course examines how texts can mislead us. Literary critic Wayne Booth famously accounts for how readers can come to develop a "friendship with books." In our course, we will explore the complexities of these friendships—how sometimes friends (narrators) lie, withhold information, or gossip without complete context. We will be examining a novel and short stories by a host of American authors who deploy different strategies of unreliability. Our goal will be to first spot these deceptions, come to understand them, and see how they affect both the meanings of texts and our own relationship to reading.

Alongside our reading and discussions, we will be developing your expository and argumentative writing skills. Assignments will include weekly written responses, two short essays (2, 5 pages), and a longer, 9-paged argumentative research essay. There will also be peer review and in-class workshops.

Back to Semester List