Writing 4A—The Critical Essay: Literature and the Arts
Texts: Slyvan Barnet et al.,
Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama
Monday, 19 July
: Morning: Discuss how students learned to read, including reading processes and
how we read different texts (letters, notes, sacred texts, literary texts, etc.). Discussion of literacy and
what it means to be literate and illiterate. Can we measure literacy? Give students "Waiting for
Moke," fourth grade literacy test and questions. Discuss the possibility that a value-free text exists,
including the possibility of non-objectivity and bias in "Waiting for Moke." Afternoon: Read and
discuss kiddies' book
Tootle the Train
as both child's text and as adults' text for children and its
values. Introduce notions of interpretive communities and subject (sujet) and fable (fabula) and
expectations we have when we read various types of texts. Assign for reading “The Writer as
Reader” and Kate Chopin short stories, pp. 3-35. Assign: Paper One: Due:
Friday, 23 July
Hall: Begin reading
Students will learn to find common elements within stories and draw upon their lives as a
way of understanding texts.
Students will discuss how they acquired print literacy.
Students will be introduced to reading in slow motion as a way of reading literature.
Tuesday, 20 July
: Morning: Discuss storytelling and Chopin stories. Discuss relationship of
anecdote to literary work. Class tells favorite stories, ghost stories, family legacy stories. Read class
urban legends. Read Woolf’s “A Haunted House,” pp. 101-102. Discuss archetype and possibility
there are transferable/transcendent elements in art. Discuss how we mark passages through stories,
how story serves as a placeholder in life. Afternoon: Read Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow
Wallpaper,” p. 704.
Study Hall: First Hour: Work on paper one; second hour: attend Joyce Carol Oates reading.
Students will learn stories are about something (gender, theme, life, etc).
Students will learn that many literary works have common stories within stories.
Students will hear a famous fiction writer read.
Wednesday, 21 July
: Morning: Discuss intertextuality and love stories. Read “Love Stories,” pp.
604-608, “The Love Bloat,” pp. 608-609, and Hemingway’s “Cat in the Rain,” 610-613. Discuss
and introduce irony. Read and discuss Dorothy Parker’s “You Were Perfectly Fine” (handout).
Afternoon: Introduce possibility that we read in both individual and communal ways. Introduce
possibility that we interpret even simple cultural signs (signifiers) and their significance (signifieds)
in personal as well as socially positioned ways and apply to metonymy (1372) and synecdoche
(1375). Late afternoon: Read Raymond Carver short stories, “Mine,” “Little Things,” p. 641 and
“What We Talk about When We Talk about Love,” p. 643. In groups draw distinctions among