"A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions." Oliver Wendall Holmes.



Syllabus for EGL 102, Composition II:  Writing About Literature

Instructor:  Professor Karen Sanders


Office:              M 3062 Office Telephone: 301‑322‑0582.  Extension 4868

Writing Center:             301-322‑0748

E‑mail:              sanderka@pgcc.edu

Required Text Books:

           Kirszner and Mandell Portable Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, 5th Edition  

           Mead Composition Book, Diskette, High lighter

Unless otherwise specified, Monday and Wednesday’s discussions and written assignments must be completed by Wednesday at 10:00 P.M. and Friday’s discussion and written assignments by Sunday at 10:00 P.M.  The syllabus is formatted as if for a traditional three day a week class.  This may help you to pace yourself.  “Do JE” means that you must make an entry in your journal; also it suggests an idea for your submission to the discussion board.  See sections 2 and 3 for further explanation.


Please be certain that you have a current e-mail entered in Blackboard.


Mon                             Introduction to English 102 and to each other.

                                    Log onto Discussion Board:

Topic: What is one of the most important things that your teacher and your classmates should know about you?  Why did you decide to take this course on line rather than face to face?

                                    After you have submitted your entry, reply to at least two other entries.


Wed                             Be certain that you have the Kirzner and Mandell text and a Mead Composition Book

If you wish to meet with me, call 301-322-0582 to schedule an appointment.


Friday                          Prep:    Read "Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, p.553 and

                                    "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks, p. 536.

              (JE) Discussion # 1: Write about 100 words comparing the speaker (or narrator) in one or both poems.  Which speaker or situation can you compare yourself to and why?  Is there a decision that made "all the difference" in your life?

·        See instructions in Start Here or Section 3 in syllabus and submit to Discussion Board. 

·        See syllabus Section 3 for instructions on for How to Write a Successful Journal. This first entry below goes on  page 7 in Composition Book)

Week 2          

Prep: Read "The Lottery" p. 221.

Do: Journal Entry (JE)‑- Discuss examples  of foreshadowing in this story or discuss why  the villagers continue to participate in this terrible ritual.


Wed                             Prep: Read "Big Black Good Man" by Richard Wright p.142.

Do: JE‑‑ Ask yourself from whose point of view is the story being told and rewrite a scene in the story from the sailor’s point of view.


  Fri                             Prep:   Read "Dead Man’s Path" by Chinua Achebe.

Do: JE‑‑ Do you perceive a flaw in the character of Michael Obi?  Discuss.  Read directions for Essay I in Assignments.

Begin on pre-write due next week.  See Essays or your Syllabus Section 3

Week 3

 Mon.                           Prep: Read "Sleepy Time Gal" by Gary Gildner p. 43.

Do: JE – From whose point‑of‑view is this story told?  Explain

Read "Reading and Writing About Literature"  pp.1‑12 in text.

                                    Due: Essay I -- Success‑ Formula‑ Pre‑write.   See section 3 for this                                                assignment under Essay I and under Success Formula Pre-write. 

Click on assignments to submit.  Title the document using your last name, first name and Essay 1-SFP


 Wed.                           Prep:  Read "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner, p. 53.

                                    Go over checklist "Writing about Plot" p.50.

Do:  JE‑‑Is Emily a static or dynamic character?  Explain.                 .

Groups meet. Click on Groups to get names and e-mail addresses of your group members, when your group’s project is due and your assignment.


  Fri.                             Prep:  Read "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin, p. 30.                

                                    Read: pp. 13‑20 in Kirzner and Mandell text.

                                    Do: JE‑‑Briefly retell the story from Josephine’s husband’s viewpoint as a                                 first person narrator; change the ending.

Due:  Essay I – Mini-draft.  This should include:

                                               Previously submitted S.F.P

                                               Revised S.F.P.

                                               First Paragraph.

                                               Second Paragraph.

            Please click on Assignments and submit as an attachment. Name document

                                    using your last name and first name followed by Essay I – Mini-draft.

            Week 4

Mon                            Library:  Go to reference section of PGCC library. Research an author in your syllabus and write down interesting facts or events which you think may have influenced his or her writing.  Record  notes in the second half of your Mead Composition book. to use for   Essay II.  Include information needed for citing the material you gather.

                                    Read: "Gryphon" by Charles Baxter, p 84.

                                    Do: JE – What do you think of Miss Ferenezi as a teacher?


 Wed                Library: Research a short story, poem or play on the syllabus and as above, record  the opinion of a literary critic that you find interesting.

                        Read "Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe, p. 153.

                        Do: JE – Is the story teller an unreliable narrator? 


  Fri                  Prep: Read "Young Goodman Brown” p. 210 by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Do: JE‑‑ Why does Brown shrink "from the bosom of Faith?"      

            *****  Call my office or the Writing Center to have a conference to review Essay I

Week 5          

 Mon.               Presidents’ Day!   No Classes

                        Read "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield p. 80.

                        Do: JE–How does Miss Brill see herself?


  Wed               Conferences in my office, M3062.

                        Prep: Read A&P by John Updike, p. 74.

                        Bring drafts‑in‑ progress of Essay I .    

                        Do: JE ‑‑ I am doing better than (or worse than) I expected in this class because . . .


Fri                    Conferences in my office, M3062.

                        Prep:  Bring drafts‑in‑ progress of Essay I .

Do: JE‑‑ If I could change one thing in this *!@# * English class, it would be . . . .

Prep: Read "Everyday Use" p. 329 "Sadie and Maud" p. 456  by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Do: JE‑‑ Compare the theme of "Sadie and Maud" with "Everyday Use." What major difference do you see between prose and poetry here?                

                        Read Chapters 11 and 12.

Week 6

 Mon                Due: Essay I – Final draft

 Submit  with a reviewed SFP, and a reviewed mini-draft.
No essay is acceptable without previous drafts reviewed by me

Click on Assignments.  Submit as an attachment labeled with your last name,

first name followed by Essay I – Final Draft.

**** Group B presents.

                        Review for test.


 Wed                Test on Short Stories.  Take in testing center.  See announcements for details.

                        Introduce poetry.

Prep: Read p 342‑347.

                        "What is an Epigram?" Samuel Taylor Coleridge p.490.

                        "I(a" by E.E. Cummings p.344.

                        Do: JE ‑‑Write a Haiku or epigram (p. 490‑493) of your own.


 Fri                   Prep: Read assignment in syllabus for Essay II.

                        Prep: "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost, p. 376.

                         Read "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" Wordsworth p.587.

                        “That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold" Shakespeare p.343.

                        Do: JE. Rewrite one of the above as prose or write a sonnet of your own.

                        See Essays or Section 3 of syllabus for details on how to write Essay II

Week 7          

 Mon                Prep:   Read "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg  p. 494.                              

                        Do: JE: Is the speaker proud of Chicago?  Quote from poem to back claim.

                        Due: SFP for Essay II   Success‑ Formula‑ Pre‑Write.

.Click on Assignments.  Submit as an attachment.  Name document

using your last name, first name followed by Essay II – SFP.

                        ****Group C presents


 Wed                Prep Read "Richard Corey" p.  573 by E.A. Robinson.

                        "The Unknown Citizen" p. 389 by W.H. Auden.

Do: JE‑‑Discuss the irony in one of these poems. What is implied about about apparent success?  Explain  how these individuals could be said to be living "Lives of quiet desperation"       


 Fri                   Prep:   "When I Consider How My Life is Spent" John Milton p. 567.

                        "The Secretary’s Chant" p. 438 by Marge Piercy.

                        "Not Waving, But Drowning" p. 577 by Stevie Smith.

                        Do:  JE‑‑ Write a journal entry in the first person  which might have been

                        written by one of today’s personas or Richard Corey. 

Due: Mini‑ draft of Essay II ‑‑ include SFP, paragraphs one and two

Click on Assignments.  Submit as an attachment Name document

labeled with your last name, first name followed by Essay II – Mini-Draft.

Week 8

Mon.                Prep:   "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," Marlowe p.  355.

                        "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," by Robert Herrick p. 382.

                        "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell   p 447.      

                        Do:  JE‑‑What attitude toward their "beloved" do the persona share in                                                 these love poems?  What do flowers symbolize?

                        ****Group D presents.


Wed.                Prep:  " Oh My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose" Robert Burns, p. 436.

                        "How Do I Love Thee?" Elizabeth Barrett Browning, p. 357.

                        "Song of Songs" in the Bible, chapters 1‑8. Procure a copy.  Not in your                                               text book.

                        Do:  JE‑‑ Discuss  the use of simile or metaphor in love poems.

Friday              Prep: Read "Porphyria’s Lover" Robert Browning p. 384.

                        Schedule an appoint with me if you want me to review Essay II

Do: JE – Should this be considered a "love" poem?  Why or why not?

Week 9

Mon                 Prep: "La Belle Dame Sans Merci: A Ballad" John Keats p. 561.

                        Do: JE‑‑Write a brief newspaper article based on the story told                                                            in one of the ballads.

                        **** Group E presents.


 Wed.               Prep:"Pied Beauty" Gerard Manly Hopkins p.469.

                        "God’s Grandeur" p.558, Hopkins.

 Do:  JE‑‑Discuss the effective figures of speech and  the examples of cacophony and euphony that Hopkins employs.


  Fri                 Prep:   Read ABC by Robert Pinsky p. 404.  

                        "The Boy Died in my Alley" by Gwendolyn Brooks.

                        “To an Athlete Dying Young" p. 416.

                        Do: JE‑‑ Contrast the speakers’ attitudes toward the deaths of the

                        young men in these poems.

Due: Essay II—Final Draft

 Click on Assignments.  Submit as an attachment labeled with your last name,

first name followed by Essay II – Final Draft

Week  10

Mon.                Prep "Death Be Not Proud" John Donne p. 544.

                        "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died" p. 541 by Emily Dickenson.

Do:   JE‑‑Explain or write a poem about you own attitude towards death.        

**** Group F presents.


Wed                 Prep: Read "The Man He Killed" Thomas Hardy p. 376 and “Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen p 428.

                        Do :  Discuss change in tone in Hardy’ s poem or imagery in Owen’s.


Fri                    Prep: "Ballad of Birmingham" p. 393 by Dudley  Randall.

                        "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" Randall Jarrell p. 438.

                        Do: JE‑‑Are you willing to die for your country or a cause?

                        Read assignment for Essay III.
Week 11

Mon.                Due:  Essay III -- SFP

Click on Assignments.  Submit as an attachment labeled with your last name,

first name followed by Essay IIISFP

                        Prep  "Negro" Langston Hughes p.369.

                        "Island" Langston Hughes  p.510.

                        "Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes.

Do: JE‑‑Compare the Persona in the poem "Negro" to the one in "Island" or discuss what dream Hughes is referring to in "Dream."            

                        **** Group G presents.                                   .


Wed.                Prep: "Africa" by Maya Angelou p. 529.

                        "Leda and the Swan" by William Butler Yeats p. 521.

                        Do: JE–Explicate one or two stanzas in above poems.

Due: Essay III--Mini‑draft‑‑ include SFP and paragraphs one and  two 

 Click on Assignments.  Submit as an attachment.  Name document

using your last name, first name followed by Essay III – Mini-Draft.


Fri.                   Prep:   "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" by Blake p. 533.

                        "Batter my Heart" by John Donne p. 543.                                                                                              Do: JE ‑‑Discuss the theme of one of the above poems.
Week 12

Mon.                Prep:  Test on Poetry.

                        Begin Drama               

                        Read The Brute Anton Chekhov  p. 709

                        Do: JE: Discuss how hyperbole contributes to the humor of this play? 

                        Due: Journals for grading.  Submit in my box in M3072 by noon on 11/16


Wed.                Prep: Trifles p.627.

                        Do: JE‑‑How might a literary critic writing from a feminist stance                                         interpret the attitude of the men towards the women  in this play?     

                        Schedule an appointment if you want me to review Essay III.                               

Friday              Read a summary of Antigone: procure a copy.   It is available on lin

Week 13

 Mon                Prep: Read Antigone by Sophocles, scene 1,2 and 3 (Not in your text)

                        Do: JE‑‑ Is Antigone justified in breaking the law?


 Wed.               Continue with Antigone, scenes 4 and 5. 

                        Do: JE – How should Creon have handled Antigone’s defiance?


 Fri                   Due:   Essay III—Final Draft:

 Click on Assignments.  Submit as an attachment. Name document

                        using your last name, first name followed by Essay III – Final Draft.

                        Read a summary of the plot and watch a Video of Hamlet Due: 

Test on general plot of Hamlet.

Week 14

Mon                 Prep: Read Hamlet by William Shakespeare p. 722 (Act 1).

Do: JE—What reasons does Hamlet give for his distress in his first soliloquy?


Wed.                Prep: Read Hamlet, Act II.

                        Do: JE‑‑ What is  Hamlet’s motivation for taking such care. instructing the actors?.


 Fri                   Prep:   Read Hamlet Act III.

                        Do  JE—Is Hamlet fair to his mother? (Scene IV).
Week 15        

Mon                 Prep: Read Hamlet Act IV.

                        Do: JE ‑‑Who or what is responsible for Ophelia’s death?


Wed                 Prep:  Hamlet Act V.  .

                        Do: JE‑‑Why does Hamlet fail to avenge his father’s death?


Fri                    Do: JE: Should Shakespeare be included in College English classes as one of  the greatest of the great, or should he be replaced by simpler contemporary writers?

Finals begin

                             Policies: Section II

Required textbooks:

Portable Literature: Reading Reacting, Writing by Kirzner and Mandell, 5th edition. (Note the “Portable.”  This is the cheapest and smallest edition. Other editions will be okay, but will have different page numbers and may be missing a few short stories.)

Prentice Hall Handbook for Writers by Kramer, Leggett and Mead or other handbook from 101.

Mead composition book



Essays                           ‑‑ 50%


Journal                          ‑‑ 10


Discussions, Tests,                     

& Group Projects         ‑‑40%


Essays:  Each draft should be accompanied by two previously submitted drafts.  Your essays must be submitted promptly in “Assignments”; late essays are not acceptable.  I suggest that you complete and submit your paper two days in advance to avoid losing credit because of computer problems.  Based on ten years of teaching at PGCC, I estimate that 50% of all computers will malfunction and or break down on the day an essay is due.  The Success Formula Pre-write is worth 15% of your grade for each essay, the Mini-draft is worth 10% and the Final is worth 75%.  No essay is acceptable if the Pre-write assignments have not been submitted on time.  Combined, the essays are worth 50% of your grade.  It is a good idea to make an appointment to go over your essay before the final submission to be certain you are correctly following the assignment.            


Journal: You are required to keep a journal, writing one entry of 75-100 words with a thesis and 2‑3 supporting illustrations from the text for each JE which appears on your syllabus.   You are encouraged to use these ideas in Discussion Board.  See Journal Instructions in Section 3.  The journal is worth 10% of your grade.


Tests:  Major tests are listed on your syllabus.  You will be required to take them on campus in the Testing Center.  These will constitute 20% of your grade. If you perceive that you must miss a scheduled test, prior arrangements can often be made to take the test in the testing center. 


Discussion: Submit your entry, reply to two others. The discussion is 20% of your grade. Entries must address specific issues relating to the literary work we are studying.  You must use examples and quotations from the text to back up your point. To say a poem or story is good (or bad) or well written or agreeing with a classmate’s point is not sufficient.  Reasons must be given to back up your opinion.  The daily JE topic is a good place to begin.  It means that we are going to discuss some aspect of that story, poem or play.  If you have an original idea, please share it. You earn two points for your original contribution of 75-100 words and 1 point for each intelligent reply or comment on another entry earning up to 7 points per week., addressing the writer by name in your response. The discussion will take place on the Discussion Board.


Group Projects:  It is important that your Group Projects are original and on time.  Your grade also is based on your own project and your participation, comments and courteous evaluations in response to your classmates’ Group Projects.  See section 3 for further details.   This presentation is worth ten points toward your Discussion grade.


Writing Center: The Writing Center provides collaborative assistance to students at all stages of the writing process. It has been my experience that Distance Learning students are frequently in need of some face to face feedback.  Call to make an appointment.  I am there on most Monday and Wednesday afternoons.


Acceptable Research vs. Plagiarism:  All research must be from scholarly sources (Proquest is a good tool.  Check with me if you are uncertain) and documented MLA style in the text and on a works cited page.   It must be clear when you are using another’s ideas, even if you paraphrase.  Direct quotes of words or phrases must be in quotation marks.  Do not use large chunks of quoted materials, nor put quotes back to back.  Use your research to back up your ideas.  

Click on “Policies” in Blackboard for information on plagiarism.



To My Students:


I sincerely hope you enjoy this class.  I hope it promotes your ability to reason and think clearlyand that this writing experience will enhance your adult intellectual life, inspiring you to lift yourself above the common place and to "soar with the eagles."  I hope you will get to know your better self by writing in your journal and completing your essays, and that you begin to reflect on how you wish to spend your mortal existence and that the discussions will enable you to better understand the values and cultures  I will consider my own existence worthwhile if you are so inspired.


If the work in the class seems beyond your ability, discuss it with me early in the semester.  Perhaps I can accommodate your special needs.  I invite you to see me during office hours to share your thoughts, suggestions, even your personal tribulations.


If you wish to request academic accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services Office (M1042) or call (301) 322-0122 (TTY) to establish eligibility for services and accommodations. 


Feel free to stop by during office hours or leave a note in M3072.  Let me know how I can help.


Sincerely yours,


Karen Sanders


Assignments:  Section III


These assignments will be submitted on the Discussion Board.  Submit your entry, reply to two others. The discussion is 20% of your grade. Entries must address specific issues relating to the literary work we are studying.  You must use examples and quotations from the text to back up your point. To say a poem or story is good (or bad) or well written or agreeing with a classmate’s point is not sufficient.  Reasons must be given to back up your opinion.  The daily JE topic is a good place to begin.  It means that we are going to discuss some aspect of that story, poem or play.  If you have an original idea, please share it. You earn two points for your original contribution of 75-100 words and 1 point for each intelligent  comment on another’s entry up to 7 points per week.  Please address the student by name in your response.


Journal Assignment:

English 102 is a composition course.  It is designed to further enhance the writing skills which you have already developed.  This notebook assignment will give you the opportunity to practice writing about what you read in an organized and thoughtful manner.


Each entry is to focus on a controlling idea (thesis statement).  Make your point and and  provide examples or evidence from the text to support your theory or idea.  Use my suggestions or ones of your own,


1.         Purchase a bound (Mead) composition book, with 100 sheets.


2.         Number each side of each page at the top on the outside of the page.  Color code the outside edges with magic marker according to when the entries are due.


3.         Reserve page one for the title page.  Make it colorful and think of a creative title.


4.         Label pages 2‑5 as the Table of Contents.


5.         Use page 6 for vocabulary notes or pre‑writes.  Begin on page 7.


6.         As you begin each set of pages, write the date in the margin, the title of the work or works that you are discussing on the left and create your own title for the entry on the right.  Also, enter date, page and title in the Table of Contents.


7          Modify suggested topics to suit your needs.  If you are inspired to consider another question about the readings on a given day, feel free.


9.         Most journal suggestions have a word in bold that is key to the discussion. I suggest  you write a definition for the word; these are literary terms that you will be expected to know.


Halfway through your Mead Composition Book


Starting on page 100 you will do class assignments ‑‑ to be announced.  


                                                Success Formula Pre-write


The following is a simple tool to use to organize your ideas and your essays.

1.  Write your thesis (or controlling idea)

2.  Write 3 or more sentences that explain  this thesis.

3.  Reword your thesis.

The thesis and its supporting ideas make up the Introductory Paragraph.

The supporting ideas are reworded and  make up topic sentences for your Body

The Introductory Paragraph is reworded to become your Conclusion


Make your own Prewrite for each essay.

1. Thesis


2a.  Support sentence


2b  Support Sentence


2c  Support Sentence


2d Support Sentence


3.  Reword Thesis


Easy isn’t it?  You have essentially written your introductory paragraph, the topic sentences for all the paragraphs in the body of your essay and your Conclusion.   By the way, don’t be confused by the words "thesis," "controlling idea," "focus." They all mean the same and refer to the special thing that you have to say about your subject.  This SFP can be adapted to writing about literature:

1.         Goldilocks was an unruly child.

2a        She entered the home of the three bears without permission.

2b        She broke furniture and all but trashed the place

2c        She complained about almost  everything she encountered.

3.         Goldilocks was a poorly behaved child.  She was inconsiderate, careless and complaining.












Essay I:  Writing about Character

Choose a character from a short story on the syllabus and discuss three or four qualities that the individual exhibits. This essay must consist of at least five paragraphs: an introduction, three or more body paragraphs ‑‑ each of which explain a personality trait‑‑ and a conclusion. Follow your Success Formula Pre-write carefully here. Describe each of the qualities in a full length paragraph, citing examples from the text and explaining why you think they illustrate the person’s character.


Pre‑writing:  Choose a character who is well developed from a story we have read.  Reread the work carefully, paying close attention to that character. Photo copy text. Underline, highlight, and annotate, noting significant words, phrases or ideas. As you read, jot down adjectives that describe the character.  Select the most important.   It is at this point that you create a Success‑Formula‑ Pre‑write with thesis and topic sentences.  See SFP for "Goldilocks" on previous page for an example, or it might look like this:

1. Olaf lacks self esteem.

2a He feels self conscious regarding his physical stature.

2b He is uncertain about his accomplishments in life.

2c He is insecure about his sexual prowess.

3.  Olaf  is besieged by feelings of inferiority.

If you can’t come up with an idea of your own, ask me for advice or go to the Writing Center


Writing the Essay

It should be about 500 words and double spaced.   Use  12 or 14 font.

The Introduction

Begin with an attention grabber –perhaps a quote from the story.

Provide the title of the work and the name of the author.

Give a brief overview of the plot.

Begin with or lead up to the thesis statement which states the focus of your essay.

The  Success Formula Pre-write that you submitted will be reproduced here in its entirety.

The Body of the essay will consist of at least three paragraphs, each discussing a personality trait.  Your topic sentences should be rewords of the 2a, 2b and 2c from your Success Formula Pre-write that you used in the Introduction. Examine each trait in detail, using examples from the story to back up your topic idea.  Include both paraphrases and direct quotes.  Use appropriate signal phrases and transitions.   Include the author’s name and page number in parentheses.

The Summary Paragraph should summarize your points, reminding your reader that you have supported your main idea. Restate  your topics and your thesis.   Show how your discussion has contributed to an understanding of the character you have chosen.  Again, use ideas from your SFP.


Be certain to:


Use the present tense.

Underline names of plays or books.

Put titles of short stories and  poems in quotation marks, and underline books and plays.

Document quotations MLA style.

Stick to describing the character, not dwelling on how his or her character affected the story.



                                                          Essay II: Cause Effect with Research

This is your term paper.

Refresh your memory from the Research notes that your were assigned to make on an author in week four.  Decide on some aspect of this individual’s life which you think affected his/her work.  Explain in your thesis what the event or circumstance was that was influential and what the overall effect was on the author’s future writing. Then in each paragraph proceed to cite evidence from various genres which support your theory.  Maybe one incident influenced a number of his literary works or a number of events are evident in one of his or her works.  Several different approaches may work.  Compose an SFP which broadly outlines your essay.


So in other words, it  is important t hat you consider only what in the author’s life may have contributed to his or her ability to produce the literature that you are interpreting      What event or events may caused him or her to write about certain subjects or in a certain way? These instructions are repetitious, I know, and the underline bold is like shouting at you, but the biggest problem in the past is that students write erudite, fact filled biographies of authors, but fail to link experiences and the art  they produced.  When or where the artist was born is not important of itself.  Citing that the author lived in an age of discrimination is not enough to explain why his/her poetry shows sensitivity to racial issues.  You’ll need to find examples of real events  which  the author observed , encountered or endured.  If you can’t come up with an idea of your own, ask me for advice or go to the Writing Center.

Format: MLA


Please include a title page, an outline, in text citations  and a works cited page. The essay should be about 700 words.  If this doesn’t seem feasible, see me.



Put the name of the author and the works that you are evaluating in the first paragraph. Your thesis statement also belongs in the first paragraph.  Please underline it.  Each of your supporting arguments should  be stated in this first introductory  paragraph. Also, these arguments will be the topics for the paragraphs to follow.  Reproduce your SFP in its entirety here



Write your topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.   These will be rewords of 2a, 2b, and 2c from your SFP that you used in the introduction Clearly state a fact about the author and then indicate how this may have influenced his/her writing in the first sentence.   Be specific.  To say that an author lived during the depression or a time of racial injustice is not specific enough.  (Okay.  I’m repeating again.  Are you getting the point?)


·        Relate an event in the author’s life that you think is relevant to an idea, character or story that you have read. 

·        Cite an example or quotation from a biography.  Document it.  Explain its relevance. 

·        Then cite and document an example from the literature which you believe was influenced by the event.

·        Explain the link to your reader.  Relate to the thesis.  In each paragraph you need to back up your argument with specific examples from your research and the author’s work.   Then explain how your example argues your topic.  Finally relate your example(s) and topic idea (the point of the paragraph) to your thesis.  Step by step adherence to the above should  result in a good clear paragraph.


Final Paragraph

Summarize your points in this paragraph.   It should be at least five sentences.

Remember to:

1. Use the present tense

2.  Underline names of plays or books 

3.  Put titles of short stories or poems in quotation marks.

4.  Carefully document MLA style with in text citations and works cited page.  This counts heavily in this paper.   This is a  research paper.




























Writing about Literature: Essay III – Compare and Contrast

This essay should be about 500 words.  Select a poem, short story or play from the syllabus.  Compare and contrast the work that you selected poem with another  on your syllabus. Compare topics or themes, narrators, characters, points of view or use of symbolism.  Check with me if you have questions and look through your journal for ideas.

First, decide on a thesis and write your SFP.   That will be your first paragraph.

For example:

1. Thesis: Women are urged to yield to their lovers because time is passing quickly in poems by Robert   Herrick in "To the Virgins" and Andrew Marvell "To His Coy Mistress".

2a  Both poems allude to women’s youth as fleeting.

2b.  Both poems speak of death.

2c.  Both poems argue that love‑making will be more pleasurable now than when they are older.

3 The time element is key in these two love poems.



Devote a paragraph or two to each of your supporting examples.   In each case write the topic sentence and then give an example from the text to illustrate it. Show how each example supports your paragraph topic, and then how it supports your thesis.


For example:

In both poems death is held up as a fearful event which will cut short any prospect of love.

In the poem "To the Virgins . . ." the narrator suggests that the death may be imminent.   In the first stanza it is suggested that the flower which "smiles today" will be dying tomorrow (646).  The poet evidently wants the young women to be aware of her mortality.  Realizing that she won’t live forever may persuade her to love and be loved‑‑ to marry ‑‑ while she is in her prime. 


(Then proceed to argue the same point in the same paragraph using examples from "To His Coy Mistress.")


Proceed in similar fashion with each point you make in support of your thesis. 


Suggested comparisons:

"Richard Corey" and "Not Waving But Drowning" both deal with apparently successful men who are unhappy.

"The Road Not Taken" and "We Real Cool" both deal with choices that "make all the difference."

"Like a Winding Sheet" and "Cask of Amontillado" depict men who crack because of perceived insults.

"Negro" and "Island" both deal with the struggles of the African people.

  “The Lottery” and “Rose for Emily” both impugn society.









Group Interpretations

This is your chance to sparkle!   These group projects should provide insight into some of the literary works that we will be studying.  The presentation should be original and the format should not be boring.


The first meeting will be in class.  At that time select a leader, decide on a contact person and what works you are to consider and read by next meeting.    A recording secretary should be selected to keep notes and perhaps one person in charge of special effects if you go that very good route.


Perhaps use an interview show, or a newscast approach.  Create a little skit depicting events that precede or come after the story or poem. Try a counseling session in which protagonist or speaker is seeking help.  Rewrite the story using the victim as narrator.   Better yet, use an idea of your own. Come to me if you need help and I will help you plan something entertaining. 


1.     Click on groups to find your group assignments.

2.     Go to projects for possible updated instructions.

3.     Use your group’s Discussion Board.

4.     Update your email address if necessary so you can be contacted easily.