English 1413 D1: Writing and Reading (2012)

Course Description

English 1413 is designed to engage you as a reader, a writer, and a speaker.  With these goals in mind, we'll look at a variety of texts from the past and the present.   We'll discuss poetry, an essay, a play, and three novels, thinking about how and why certain forms emerged and changed while focussing on the way literature represents the human relationship with nature. 

At times, we'll have group discussions about the literature that will culminate in group presentations.  These presentations will be informed by strategies of composition this course will help you develop.  In class, we'll cover the basics of composition from rhetoric to grammar.  Outside of class, students will use their developing critical vocabularies and composition skills to write two formal essays about the literature we are reading. Students will also be expected to keep a journal containing entries on everything we read during the term.

The bulk of your mark will be determined by your performance on the three writing assignments mentioned above. Students should pay special attention to the assignment policies listed below. 

Participation is mandatory and has been assigned a modest mark.  Please note that showing up for class is not the same as participating.  If you don't feel comfortable participating in normal classroom discussion, try to compensate when you do group work.   You can also participate informally by sharing your ideas with me during my office hours.

Though you will not earn participation marks just for showing up, it is much easier to earn these marks if you attend classes.  Remember, this is not a correspondence course.  Attendence is required, and it is in your best interest. 

Students should feel free to bring their computers to every class. However, you will be expected to stay offline unless you are asked to connect for some reason. If you do not feel that you can resist the temptation to play on your computer while in class, you would be best to leave it at home because any sign that you are playing will result in severe deductions from your participation grade. 

Turn your cell off when you come into class, and do not take it out for any reason.  If I see you texting in class you will receive severe deductions from your participation grade.

Students with disabilities that affect learning:

If you are a student with a documented disability who anticipates needing accommodations in this course, please inform me after you meet with Jill Davies (jill.davies@acadiau.ca   or 585-1127)  or Kathy O’Rourke (disability.access@acadiau.ca or 585-1823) in Disability Access Services,  located in the Student Resource Centre, which is on the  lower floor of the Old SUB.

Teaching Assistant

Carol Little

Text List

  • Bronte, Jane Eyre (Broadview) 
  • Casson, A Writer's Handbook (Broadview)
  • McCarthy, The Road (Vintage)
  • Shakespeare, The Tempest (Oxford) 

Mark Distribution

  • Essay 1: 20%
  • Essay 2: 30%
  • Journal: 20%
  • Participation: 10%
  • Final Exam 20%

Weekly Outline 

Sept. 6: Introduction

Sept. 11: Writing 1: Essay formating and Writing Basics; A Writer's Handbook, Chapters 1-4 

Sept. 13: The Sonnet; Sidney's Sonnet 1 "Loving in truth", Sonnet 7 "When Nature made her chief work, Stella's eyes", and Sonnet 71 "Who will in fairest book of nature know"

Sept. 18: Shakespeare's Sonnets 18, 55, 60, 116, 130, 144 

Sept. 20: Pastoral--Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love";  Parody--Ralegh's "The Nymph's Reply"; and Donne's "The Bait" and "The Flea"

Sept. 25: Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," and "The Canonization," and Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" 

Sept. 27: Writing 2: From Thesis to Introduction 

Oct. 2: Shakespeare's The Tempest 

Oct. 4: The Tempest

Oct. 9: The Tempest; Due Date Essay 1  

Oct. 11: Swift's "A Modest Proposal" and Gulliver's Travels. Part I.

Oct. 16: Gulliver's Travels. Part I.

Oct. 18: Blake's "The Lamb," "The Chimney Sweeper" (1789), "Holy Thursday" (1789), "The Tyger," "The Chimney Sweeper" (1794), "Holy Thursday" (1794); textual versions of the above poems can be found at Project Gutenberg; Journal Check

Oct. 23: Writing 3: Common Grammatical and Rhetorical ErrorsA Writer's Handbook, Chapters 5-6 

Oct. 25: Bronte's Jane Eyre

Oct. 30: Jane Eyre

Nov. 1: Jane Eyre

Nov. 6: Jane Eyre

Nov. 8: Writing 4: Writing Workshop: Using evidence, Topic Sentences, and Transitions

Nov. 13: Fall Study Day--No Classes 

Nov. 15: Dramatic Monologue: Browning's "My Last Duchess" and "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister"; Due date Essay 2 

Nov. 20:  McCarthy's The Road

Nov. 22:  The Road

Nov. 27: The Road

Nov. 29:  Review; Journal Due Date

Final Exam: 4 December 2012, 9 am - 12 pm, Gym

Assignment Policies

Essay Policies

Students often find first year English very difficult and they are often shocked by the low marks they initially receive.  For this reason, I have tried to spread the marks over a few assignments.  In a half class, in particular, you have little time to adjust to the demands of a university English course.  Therefore, you must read all comments written on your papers if you wish to improve your average by term's end.   

Please note the following policies: 

1. Late Penalties

My object is to alert you to significant problems in your arguments and your writing in the hopes that you will be able to make appropriate adjustments for future papers. I want the papers to come in on time so that I can get them back to you in a reasonable time and so that you can begin your progress on the rather steep learning curve characteristic of the literary studies at university.  For these reasons, your papers will receive a penalty of 2% per day for lateness, weekends and holidays included, unless you have been granted an extension or unless I have received a note from the registrar testifying to an illness or family emergency.

2. Extensions

One week (7 day) extensions will be available upon request for all essays, provided that I have received the formal request for an extension by email at least one day prior to the assigned due date. Essays that are granted extensions will be returned to students with marks, but without comments. I will, however, be available by appointment to discuss such essays.

3. Assignment completion

All course assignments must be submitted by the last scheduled class. Please note the following statement from the University Calendar: "No credit is given for a course unless all requirements for it have been completed." Failure to submit or complete any assignment will result in failing grade in the course. 

4. Assignment submission

All essays will be submitted on paper at the beginning of the class in which they are due. I describe the appropriate format in an early class during the term and I have posted a pdf of formatting guidelines to the website. I will not accept or read essays submitted electronically. If an essay is late, and I am not in my office to accept it, you must submit it to the English Department Secretary, BAC 415, so that it is time-stamped. Under no circumstances should you slip late essays under my office door. If you finish a late essay on a weekend, you should send me an electronic copy of the essay on the date completed, and submit an exact hard copy of the electronic submission to me or to the departmental secretary. I will check the electronic copy of the document against the printed copy, and should there be any difference between the two, the late penalty shall be determined by the date the printed copy was received and time-stamped.

Journal Policies

Your journal is meant to be kept up-to-date throughout the term. You are expected to write entries on each work we read. The journal is for original and personal reflection. As the assignment description below indicates, it can even be used for your own creative work, if you are that way inclined (and as long as the creative work has some relationship to the literature). But should you merely rehash your class notes for entries, your journal is sure to receive a failing grade. 

Every year I am surprised to receive journals that contain plagiarized passages.  Note that where plagiarism is concerned, the same principles and rules apply to journals as to essays.  If you look for ideas on the web (though you really shouldn't need to do so for journal entries), make sure you cite your sources.

Journal Submission

A printed copy of journal is due in the last class. I will, however, do one optional quick check of all journals mid-way through the term to see that you are indeed keeping up with the assignment.  The feedback you receive as a result is meant to help you produce a stronger journal at term's end.

I will not grant extensions on journals under any circumstances. As with the essays, failure to submit your journal during the last class of the term will result in a failing grade in the course.

Plagiarism Policy

I have a zero tolerance policy on plagiarism.  Whether accidental or intentional, plagiarism will result in a zero grade on the offending assignment.  Depending on the severity of the case, it might even result in a zero on the course and a permanent black mark on your academic record.

Take care to cite all your sources in all your assignments, including your journal entries.  While I don't require you to do research for your papers, I understand that you might wish to look in the library or at the web for some ideas on your various topics.  Be sure that if you look at anything, you cite it.  If you take any idea from anywhere, cite it.  If you paraphrase any point made by anyone else, cite it.  If you aren't sure, cite it! 

Students are required to read pages from the Acadia University Calendar regarding academic integrity and the discipline.

I also highly recommend that you check out the following the following:

And by all means, drop by to see me during my office hours if you need clarification on any point of concern.  


Essay 1 

Write a well-crafted, argumentative essay of 800-1000 words on one of the following topics.

  1. The sonnets we have studied are generally considered love poems, but when one examines them closely, one finds that love is the secondary subject of most of them.  Support or refute the statement above while referring to two or more sonnets we have studied.
  2. While contemporary readers might find much to fault in Christopher Marlowe’s idealized representation of nature in “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” that idealization can also be read as a sign that love changes one’s perception of the world.  Support the statement above with a close reading of the poem.
  3. Despite the dark undertones and the physical urgency which suggest that Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” is about seduction, the poem is a genuine statement of love.  Support the statement above with a close reading of the poem.

Points to remember when writing essays: 1. Avoid plot summary. 2. Formulate a strong thesis statement that will force you into an argumentative mode. 3. Make generous use of textual evidence (ie., quotations) to support your claims. 4. Always analyse that evidence to prove your points. 

Include a works cited list with your paper, even if the only work you are citing is the primary text.

Due Date: 9 October 2012

Essay 2

Write a well-crafted, argumentative essay of 1000-1250 words on one of the following topics.

  1. Does Shakespeare’s The Tempest suggest that one has to be a tyrant to be a good leader? 
  2. Compare one pair of the companion poems that we have read from Blake’s The Songs of Innocence and Experience and decide which is the most effective at making its argument.
  3. Discuss the ending of Jane Eyre and decide whether Brontë’s novel makes a strong statement about the possibility of female independence in a world dominated by men.

Points to remember when writing essays: 1. Avoid plot summary. 2. Formulate a strong thesis statement that will force you into an argumentative mode. 3. Make generous use of textual evidence (ie., quotations) to support your claims. 4. Always analyse that evidence to prove your points. 

Include a works cited list with your paper, even if the only work you are citing is the primary text.

Due Date: 15 November 2012

The Journal

Your journal is a space for personal reflection on the literature we read and the issues we discuss. It is a place where you can expand on the discussions we have in class or take discussions of the literature we're reading into entirely new directions. You can even use the journal to write creative responses to the literature we're reading (as long as those creative responses are clearly related to the literature or the discussion in some way). 

You must write individual entries on each piece we read. The more substantial the work, the more substantial the reflection should be. For example, a sonnet might only merit an entry that is one paragraph long. A longer poem would merit a longer reflection, perhaps two or three paragraphs. And a play or a novel might merit several pages. 

There is no word limit on the journal itself, but you should aim for a minimum length of 4000-5000 words. 

The writing style in the journal can be a lot less formal than it is for the essays. Feel free to use slang, to curse, even to break a few grammatical rules here and there. It is, after all, a creative space, and breaking rules is part of the creative process. Don't confuse the invitation to be informal for an invitation to be sloppy, however. I still expect the writing to be intelligible. And do check your spelling!

A chronological organization makes the most sense throughout the term, but feel free to reorganize the journal on thematic, generic, or esoteric grounds for final submission.

The submitted journal is to be typed and printed, not hand-written. It must be bound either by staple, paper clip, or folder. It must be double spaced for easier reading. Each page, except for the title page, must have your name and the page number in a header at the top right of the page.

The journal will be assessed on a several criteria: the quality of the writing, the quality of the reflections, the level of creativity, and most importantly, the level of engagement with all the material.

Optional mid-term check: 18 October 2012

Due Date: 29 November 2012

© John Eustace 2013