EGL 102 – Composition II:  Writing about Literature

Spring 2006



Instructor:                  Dr. Paul Madachy, English Dept


Office Hours:             Marlboro Hall 3059

                                    M/W 10:30-12:00      

                                    Tu/Th 10:00-11:00


Phone:                           (301) 322-0836

                                       department phone number:  (301) 322-0561




I will respond to all email within 48 hours.  Please do not expect an immediate response to any email, particularly emails sent late at night or just before class.  


Required Texts (available at the PGCC Bookstore)

Literature:  Reading, Reacting, Writing, compact 5th ed., by Kirzner and Mandell

Any good grammar/documentation handbook, such as The Bedford Handbook, 6th ed., by Diana Hacker


Overall Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:


1)       Write analytical essays about literary texts by

·         Formulating restricted, unified and precise thesis statements

·         Organizing essay content into introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs

·         Composing restricted, unified and precise topic sentences for paragraphs

·         Writing unified and coherent paragraphs that are well-developed with supporting materials drawn from the literary text

·         Applying grammar and usage rules correctly

·         Choosing appropriate diction

·         Writing clear, precise sentences


2)       Apply literary terms (for example, theme, imagery, rhythm, figurative language, tone, character, plot) in the genre of poetry, fiction, and drama


3)       Write research-based essays using secondary sources to

·         Demonstrate their understanding of plagiarism

·         Synthesize several different sources into an essay to support its thesis

·         Quote, summarize, and paraphrase responsibly within that paper

·         Document sources according to the MLA format



Attendance is required. 


You are responsible for what goes on in class, whether you are present or not, so, if you are absent, seek out another student for an explanation of what was covered that day.  Moreover, since the class involves group activities throughout the semester, missing class can directly affect your grade.  This course operates in part as a workshop, where writing and peer reviewing activities take place in class.  In addition, there is a heavy emphasis on class participation. 


You may have two unexcused absences without official penalty.  For each unexcused absence after that, your class participation grade will drop ½ a letter grade.  Attendance is considered when deciding borderline grades. 


Arriving late to class is also a problem, as it results in missed information on your part (I often make announcements about homework and syllabus changes in the first five minutes of class) and a distraction to everyone else in the classroom.  Two late arrivals will count as an unexcused absence.  You are considered late if you arrive after I have taken roll (at the beginning of class).  If you arrive late, it is your responsibility to make sure that I mark you on the attendance roll.


If you miss a class, you are responsible for finding out what you missed—talk to a classmate to get any notes or announcements.


If essays are due on a day that the college is closed, the new due date is the next class session.  Check the PGCC website ( for school closing information.  In the event that the instructor has to cancel a class unexpectedly, a notice will be posted on the classroom door with instructions regarding the schedule.



Late papers will be marked down one letter grade for each day they are late.  If you have a valid reason for your lateness (which does not include printing problems, for example—make sure you do not wait until the last minute to print out your paper because something not only can go wrong but often does), please talk to me as soon as possible.  I will not accept papers that are more than one week late without a very good reason.  Papers are due at the beginning of class on the day they are listed on the syllabus.  All essays must be completed in order to pass the course. 


If you are unable to attend class on the day that an assignment is due, you may email me the assignment any time before that class to receive credit for turning it in on time.  You must also bring a hard copy of the assignment to the next class.


Revising:  each student may revise one paper that receives a grade of D or lower (if the paper was not handed in late), not including the poetry paper.  If you wish to revise a paper, you must meet with me to discuss your plan of revision, and resubmit it to me one week from the date of that meeting.  Rewrites will be graded and then averaged with the original grade to produce the final grade for that document.


Academic Integrity (Plagiarism)

Don’t do it.  Plagiarism is illegal, unethical, and dishonest.  It is taking someone else’s language or ideas and using them as your own.  Plagiarism puts both of us in an extremely difficult situation.  If you have any questions about your work or how to cite the work of others, feel free to come talk to me.


The college is an institution of higher learning that holds academic integrity as its highest principle.  In the pursuit of knowledge, the college community expects that all students, faculty, and staff will share responsibility for adhering to the values of honesty and unquestionable integrity.  To support a community committed to academic achievement and scholarship, the Code of Academic Integrity advances the principle of honest representation in the work that is produced by students seeking to engage fully in the learning process.  The complete text of the Code of Academic Integrity is in the 2004-2005 Student Handbook (pages 41-43) and posted on the college's website.


Plagiarized papers will receive a zero for that assignment, and may be referred to the Office of the Vice President for Student Services for disciplinary action.


Format for Assignments

All external assignments (excluding homework assignments) must be typed or produced on a word processor.  Word processing is preferable because it makes the mechanics of revision--rearranging, adding and deleting--much easier. 


**NOTE**:  I strongly recommend that you make a back-up copy of every paper you write.  Computer and disk problems occur all the time, so don’t run the risk of losing all of your hard work.


Double-space your text and use a plain font, between 10 and 12 point.  Leave one inch margins top, bottom, left and right on each page of text; "justify"--that is, line up--your text on the left margin only.   Place the following information in the upper left-hand corner of the first page:


Your Name

Course and Section #


My Name


Center the title (all papers must have a title) on the page.  Start your text on the following page (repeat the title on the first page of text).  Be sure to include page numbers on all pages of text after the first.


Since this course focuses on writing as a process, I would like to see all of the work that leads to the final paper.  So when you turn in your final draft, place it in a folder with pockets, and include all efforts that led to the final (prewriting, peer response evaluation, rough drafts).  That way we can keep track of your progress on the specific writing features you need to work on. 




External Assignments.  Your main work in the course consists of three papers written outside of class.  Think of them as representing the best thinking and writing you can produce.   You will also be expected to complete various homework assignments throughout the course of the semester. 


Exams.  There are three in-class exams in this course, one for each unit (drama, fiction, poetry) of literature we will be examining.  Each exam will consist of three sections:  vocabulary, short answer, and an extended essay.


In-class Writing.  You may be asked to follow some of the exercises described in your textbook and to write a variety of short memos, responses to readings, answers to questions, the questions themselves, quizzes, paper plans, and critiques of other students' writing.  You will also be responsible for a formal, graded in-class essay.


Draft Workshops.  In order to provide greater opportunities for feedback on papers, we will hold peer response sessions, where students exchange rough drafts for discussion.  These peer response sessions are extremely important for this class.  They are a chance for you to obtain constructive comments on your papers before you have to turn them in for a grade.   On days when we will be working on these essays in class, you must bring a clean, typed, completed copy of your rough draft. 



The percentages of contribution to your final grade are as follows:


                Drama/Poetry Papers                                           200          (100 points each)

                Fiction Paper (Research)                                     200

                Drama/Fiction/Poetry Exams                              300          (100 points each)

                Peer Reviews                                                        100

                Class Participation                                               100_________________

                                                                                                900          total points


Class participation includes quizzes, homework and taking an active role in the class.  Since an appropriate level of active and intelligent participation is taken as a given, failure to participate at a basic level, including by virtue of excessive absences, can reduce your grade.


Disability Support Services (DSS)

Students requesting academic accommodations are required to contact the Disability Support Services Office (M-1042) or call (301) 322-0838 (voice) or (301) 322-0122 (TTY) to establish eligibility for services and accommodations.  Students with documented disabilities should discuss the matter privately with me at the beginning of the semester and provide a copy of their Student/Faculty Accommodation Form.


Code of Conduct

The Prince George's Community College Code of Conduct defines the rights and responsibilities of students and establishes a system of procedures for dealing with students charged with violations of the code and other rules and regulations of the college. A student enrolling in the college assumes an obligation to conduct himself/herself in a manner compatible with the college's function as an educational institution. Refer to the 2004-2005 Student Handbook, beginning on page 39, for a complete explanation of the code of conduct, including the Code of Academic Integrity and the procedure for dealing with disruptive student behavior.


Food/Drink Policy

Students may bring in snack foods only (i.e. chips/candy from a vending machine) and drinks as long as they maintain a clean classroom—no meals, please—and are not a distraction.  Upon the first spill or trash left behind, food will be prohibited.


No food is permitted in any computer labs on campus.


Additional Resources

When you feel the need for more guidance with your writing, you can see me during my office hours, schedule an appointment with me, or use PGCC’s available resources:


·         Student Assessment Services Center (Testing Center)

                                Bladen Hall, Room 100; 301-322-0090

                                <>                                     (Check the web site for hours and policies and procedures.)

·         Tutoring and Writing Centers     <>

                                Bladen Hall, Room 107

                            (Stop by or call 301-322-0748 to make an appointment.)


If you have the feeling that something is missing from your studies, the Tutoring Center can help you put the pieces of the puzzle together with free one-on-one or group tutoring.


The Writing Center offers one-on-one tutoring for all students who are working on any writing assignment in any course. 


·         Student Development Services: 301-322-0886


Student Development Services has various programs that provide students with mentoring, advising and individual counseling.  Call or check the website for more information.


·         Library (Accokeek Hall); <>                                                                


                         General information: 301-322-0105

                        Circulation services: 301-322-0475

                        Reference services:   301-322-0476

      The Learning Resources Division provides a range of library and media services.

      Refer to the web site for hours and more information about the services.


·         Campus Bookstore <> 

                                Largo Student Center, Room 116; 301-322-0912


All cell phones and pagers must be turned off before class begins.


(This schedule subject to change upon notification)

  • All assignments, such as readings and writing assignments, are due on the date listed.  These should be completed before coming to class (with the exception of the first class).

·         LIT should be brought to class even if no reading is specified.

  • LIT = Literature:  Reading, Reacting, Writing


Jan.        24            Tu           Introductions, Course Policies

                                Due:        LIT ch. 1, 931-947


                26            Th           Drama unit begins

                                                Reading about literature

                                Due:        LIT 15-25, “Trifles” 983-995


                31            Tu           Plot

                                Due:        LIT 978-982, Death of a Salesman Act I (1178-1211)


Feb.         2              Th           Character (1051-1062)

                                Due:        Death of a Salesman Act II and requiem (1211-1249)


                7              Tu           Writing about drama:  Death of a Salesman

                                                In-class essay

                                Due:        LIT 25-33, 1590-1595, 958-963


                9              Th           Fences Act I

                                Due:        LIT 1358-1390


                14            Tu           Theme

                                Due:        1315-1320, Fences Act II (1390-1411)


                16            Th           Draft Workshop

                                Due:        Typed, complete draft of drama essay


                21            Tu           Review for Drama Exam

                                Due:        Drama Paper


                23            Th           Drama Exam


                28            Tu           Fiction unit begins


                                Due:        LIT 52-53, 77-81, “A Worn Path” 361-367


Mar.       2              Th           Character


                                Due:        LIT 111-114, 331-335, “A & P” 114-119


                7              Tu           Point of View                       

                                Due:        LIT 195-205, The Yellow Wall-paper 160-173


                9              Th           Setting

                                Due:        LIT 146-150, “The Cask of Amontillado” 216-222


                14            Tu           Writing the Research Paper about literature

                                                Evaluating sources

                                Due:        LIT 1535-1545


                16            Th           Style/Tone/Language

                                Due:        LIT 245-251, “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” 266-270


                21            Tu           Writing about Fiction:  “A Clean, Well-lighted Place”

                                Due:        LIT “Story of an Hour” 81-83


                23            Th           Symbolism

                                Due:        LIT 286-291, “The Lottery” 302-309


                28            Tu           Draft Workshop

                                Due:        Typed, complete draft of fiction essay


                30            Th           Review for Fiction Exam


Apr.        4              Tu           Fiction Exam


                6              Th           Poetry unit begins


                Due:        LIT 547-558, 578-579, 599-601

                                                “The Man He Killed” (612), “Negro” (604)


10-16                                  No Class—Spring Break


                18            Tu           Writing about Poetry

                                Due:        Fiction Paper


                20            Th           Word choice (Diction), Tone, Form

                                Due:        LIT 611-613, 636-638, 646-650, 733-738,

“When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” (639),

                                                “For the Student Strikers” (651)       


April 21st is the last day to withdraw from 15-week classes


                25            Tu           Imagery, Figurative language, Theme

                                                LIT 662-666, 676, “My Papa’s Waltz” (558),

                                                “I, Too” (801), “Harlem


                27            Th           Review for Poetry Exam

                                                Draft Workshop

                                Due:        Typed, complete draft of poetry essay


May        2              Tu           Poetry Exam


                4              Th           Course Review

                                Due:        Poetry Paper