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History: A_WR39B_Win_00

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SYLLABUS FOR WR39B FRESHMAN COMP, UC IRVINE WINTER 2000

ASSIGNMENT 1 (WEEKS 1.1-3.3)

Reading: Frederick Douglass. Chapters 6-7 of Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, Written by Himself (1845).

Due Dates:

Week 1, Friday, January 14th: 1-page "ideas" draft: informal, just to get started. Freewriting, lists, outlines, etc. are acceptable.

Week 2, Friday, January 21st: 3-page rough draft. Must be typed and double-spaced, and it should have a basic structure -- a beginning, middle, and end.

Week 3, Friday, January 28th: 4-5-page final draft. Must be typed, double-spaced, properly formatted (I'll give you a formatting template), and edited carefully.

Prompt: Our two-chapter selection is part of a classic autobiographical account designed not simply to describe to white Northerners what Southern slavery is like but to persuade them to act decisively against it. Select, link, and explore several important passages from the assigned chapters to show your readers how those passages advance Douglass' case that slavery must be destroyed.

What you can learn from writing essay one: This assignment will reacquaint you with a fundamental kind of writing: narration, which involves recounting a series of events, whether fictional or true. As you can see from the prompt above, the first assignment will also encourage you to explore the way Douglass employs narration (along with some brief descriptive writing) to try to shape what his readers imagine, believe, and even do. So writing the paper will also introduce you to the idea that much writing is rhetorical -- it is published to convince you to believe or do something the author considers right. The prompt does not ask you to perform a highly technical literary analysis; it asks you to demonstrate a good sense of how Douglass' rhetorical purpose -- as best we can reconstruct it -- shapes the story we see on the printed page.

Formatting Instructions:

As Woody Allen says, 95% of life is just showing up -- but the other 5% percent is following the Modern Language Association's rules.

Double-space this paper and use a normal-sized and common typeface -- Times New Roman, Arial, etc.

Margins should be as follows: one inch from top, bottom, left, and right. That's the MLA standard; it differs slightly from the usual MS Word settings of 1.25" from left and right edges. Learn to adjust your margins! In MS Word and Corel Word Perfect, use "File"/"Page Setup." In Word for Macintosh the procedure is similar or identical.

Insert page numbers at top right -- use "Insert"/"Page Numbers," checking to see if the dialog box options are set to "top" and "right."

Write your name, the instructor's name, the course title, and the date at the paper's top left -- just look at the sample MLA page I'll provide.

ASSIGNMENT 2 (WEEKS 4.1-6.2)

Reading: Richard Wright. "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow," pages 1388-96 in The Norton Anthology of African American Literature.

Due Dates:

Week 5, Wednesday, February 9th: 3-page rough draft. Must be typed and double-spaced, and it should have a basic structure -- a beginning, middle, and end.

Week 6, Wednesday, February 16th: 4-5-page final draft. Must be typed, double-spaced, properly formatted (see MLA formatted page), and edited carefully.

Prompt: Richard Wright (1908-1960) narrates a series of key moments in his "education" as a young black person learning to deal with white-imposed limitations in the South. Explore several important and substantial passages to help your reader gain some insight into Wright's rhetorical strategy in relating these incidents.

What you can learn from writing essay two: Our selection this time, like the Douglass chapters we read earlier, take the form of first-person narration, which involves recounting a series of events, whether fictional or true. Writing the second paper will also allow us to continue focusing on the rhetorical purpose that informs the text. The basic questions are, "what is Wright trying to accomplish in his essay, and how does he try to accomplish it?" It's up to you to develop your own emphasis based on your reading of Wright's text and on comments made in class by me and others.

Formatting Instructions:

Follow the Modern Language Association's rules, whether you like Woody Allen or not:

Double-space this paper and use a normal-sized and common typeface -- Times New Roman, Arial, etc.

Margins should be as follows: one inch from top, bottom, left, and right. That's the MLA standard; it differs slightly from the usual MS Word settings of 1.25" from left and right edges. Learn to adjust your margins! In MS Word and Corel Word Perfect, use "File"/"Page Setup." In Word for Macintosh the procedure is similar or identical.

Insert page numbers at top right -- use "Insert"/"Page Numbers," checking to see if the dialog box options are set to "top" and "right."

Write your name, the instructor's name, the course title, and the date at the paper's top left -- just look at the sample MLA template-page I've provided.

This time, there must be a "Works Cited" page, which I'll show you how to do in class.

ASSIGNMENT 3 (WEEKS 6.2-9.1): COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

Percentage of Course Grade -- approximately 30%

Readings:

Martin Luther King, Jr. "Letter from Birmingham Jail." See my web page; the source is Birmingham.

Malcolm X. "The Ballot or the Bullet." See my web page; the source to include on your works cited page is Ballot/Bullet.

Due Dates:

Week 8, Monday, February 28: 4-page rough draft. Must be typed and double-spaced, and it should have a basic structure -- a beginning, middle, and end.

Week 9, Monday, March 6: 5-7 page final draft. Must be typed, double-spaced, properly formatted (see MLA formatted page), and edited carefully.

Prompt: Use King's essay to help your reader understand Malcolm X's, or Malcolm X's essay to help your reader understand King's. While your emphasis may lead you to deal a little more fully with one author than with the other, be sure your reader understands the basics about each author's audience, goals, claims, and proposals for action. Since this course centers on rhetoric, you will need to build your thesis around what you see as each text's strategy for involving readers/listeners in the arguments being set forth. There is room for building your own view of King and Malcolm X into your essay, but that view need not be that one author is "wrong" while the other is "right."

What you can learn from writing essay three: While part of your responsibility in your paper's middle section will be to explain selected points of agreement and disagreement between King and Malcolm X, remember that your task is to use one text as a means of providing insight into the other, not simply to compare and contrast them without saying anything about the significance you find in the similarities or differences. So you'll learn how to go beyond the standard high-school "comparison/contrast" essay. Our selections are different, non-narrative, this time: the King selection is a highly rhetorical "public letter" and Malcolm X's selection is a transcribed speech -- it's really meant to be heard more than read. (I encourage you to listen to it if you have the appropriate software -- just check out the audio hyperlink on my website.)

Formatting Instructions: Follow the Modern Language Association's (MLA) rules:

Double-space this paper and use a normal-sized and common typeface.

Margins should be as follows: one inch from top, bottom, left, and right.

Insert page numbers and last name at top right.

Write your name, the instructor's name, the course title, and the date at the paper's top left -- just look at the sample MLA template-page I've provided.

There must be a "Works Cited" page -- see above for web sources.

ASSIGNMENT 4 (WEEKS 9.3-11.3): LITERARY ANALYSIS

Percentage of Course Grade -- approximately 30%

Reading:

Ellison, Ralph. Selections from Invisible Man. Norton Anthology of African American Literature, pages 1515-1540.

Due Dates:

Let me know if the late-quarter dates cause a problem for you -- we'll make alternate arrangements. Week 10, Friday, March 17: 3-page rough draft. Must be typed and double-spaced, and it should have a basic structure -- a beginning and a middle, at the least. I'll leave red-marked drafts in my tray in the Composition Office in HIB 420 -- you'll be able to pick them up after 1 p.m. Monday, March 21, or that Monday morning if you schedule a conference with me. I'll send detailed "collective" comments in a regular email message to everyone and will also post these same comments on my website.

Finals Week, Friday, March 24: 5-6 page final draft. Must be typed, double-spaced, properly formatted (see MLA formatted page), and edited carefully.

In your folder should be: final draft, rough draft, peer-edited drafts, final one-good-paragraph assessment of what you've accomplished as a writer, and a completed library assignment as seen on my website in the page called "Writing Assignments." I don't plan to red-mark or return final folders -- instead, I'll send you private email comments and a grade on the paper along with your grade for the course. You'll get those comments and the course grade during the week after finals.

Prompt: So far, most of the material we have read -- Douglass, Wright, King, and Malcolm X -- might be described as "protest literature" -- writing or speaking that is about the need for an African American struggle to overcome oppression. Our selections from Ellison's novel Invisible Man (1952) don't fit neatly within that "protest" category. Write an essay in which you concentrate on Ellison's narrator (it's best to think of the narrator as the novel's main fictional character, not as Ellison himself) and on the things he seems intent on exploring. Help your reader understand the narrator's situation, how he responds to it, and the significance of that response.

What you can learn from writing essay three: Here's your chance this quarter to deal with a complex -- yet, I hope, fun -- literary text and develop an interesting angle you can relate to your reader. Ellison's novel is opaque and perhaps frustrating if you're looking for the kind of straightforward statements that you can find in, say Wright or MLK, but since you've been studying African American material all quarter, you're well positioned to see the insight and method in Ellison's strange, fictional, and at times even hallucinatory, exploration of what it means to be "invisible." You know something of the history that Ellison's metaphor invokes, even though you need not feel obliged to incorporate it directly into your essay. So choose some substantial passages explore the complex response the narrator makes to his surreal, fantastic situation. Have fun. Really -- even if a passage here or there remains puzzling. This will not be your Waterloo -- I plan to be generous so long as you give it the old college try.

Formatting Instructions: Follow the Monopolated Light & Power (MLP) formatting rules:

Double-space this paper and use a normal-sized and common typeface.

Margins should be as follows: one inch from top, bottom, left, and right.

Insert page numbers and last name at top right.

Write your name, the instructor's name, the course title, and the date at the paper's top left -- just look at the sample MLA template-page I've provided.

There must be a "Works Cited" page: you do it this time -- you're headed for 39C, remember? Look up the correct format on my web page's grammar guide if you're uncertain hazy on the formatting. If your Ellison entry for the ''Norton Anthology of African American Literature runs to more than one line, the subsequent lines should be indented five spaces.


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