West Chester University

Fall 2004and
Spring 2005

West Chester University

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001






Course Information
  LIT 165 Syllabus
  LIT 165 Announcements
  LIT 165 Assignments
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Announcements
  WRT 120 Assigmments

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Spring 2005)
  Adieu to Imaginary Worlds
  One Last Look at Imaginary Worlds
  Notes on 'Before the Law'
  Samuel Beckett Links
  Notes on 'Waiting for Godot'
  Approaching 'Waiting for Godot'
  Notes on 'Axolotl' by Julio Cortazar
  Notes on 'EPICAC' by Kurt Vonnegut
  DIRECTIONS: Independent Project
  Suggested Readings: Independent Project
  Utopia/Dystopia Links
  Character Analysis: Brave New World
  Analyzing the Brave New World
  Defining Utopia
  Embarking on the Brave New World
  A Critique of BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Dante Links
  Inferno: Final Destinations, Cantos XXXII-XXXIV
  Inferno: Malebolge, Cantos XVIII-XXXI
  Inferno: Questions/Analysis, Cantos XII - XVII
  Structure in the Inferno: Analysis, Cantos V - XI
  Inferno: Questions for Analysis, Cantos I - V
  Introducing Canto I
  Approaching the Divine Comedy
  Relating to Dante's Inferno
  Our Goals for Studying the Inferno
  Assignment Sheet: PAPER #1
  The Birthmark
  Leaf By Niggle
  Responses to Leaf By Niggle
  'On Fairy Stories' by J.R.R. Tolkien
  Notes on Ovid and 'Metamorphoses'
  Analyzing the Mythic Tales
  The Four Functions of Myth
  Myth and Metaphor
  Myth - Links
  Filtering the Introduction to 'Fantastic Worlds'
  'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' and 'The Zebra Storyteller
  Introducing the 'Imaginary Worlds' Theme
  Alice In Wonderland
  The Metamorphosis

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Spring 2004)
  Conference Schedule: 4/21 and 4/26
  Commentary: Following Up Your Response
  Critical Thinking and Commentary
  Casebook: Evaluating Sources
  What is Argument?
  Parts of an Argument
  Casebook Assignment Sheet
  Rubric for Evaluation of Writing
  Assignment Sheet: Essay#1
  Expressive Writing
  Short Stories About Identity
  Thoughts on Stories About Identity
  Poems About Identity
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Mind-map: Identity

ENG Q20: Basic Writing (Fall 2004)
  ENG Q20 Syllabus
  Frederick Douglass Excerpt
  Propaganda Analysis
  How to Detect Propaganda
  George Orwell's Politics and the English Language
  Propaganda Analysis Exercise

Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web
  Blackboard at WCU
  WCU Homepage
  WCU's Francis Harvey Green Library


Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds
Paper #2


Inferno by Dante Alighieri, Trans. Robert Pinsky (2000)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

Optional Readings
"Dante and the Medieval Invention of the Self" by Gary Gutchess (online)
"Brave New World: A Defense of Paradise Engineering?" by David Pearce (online)

Directions: Develop your own specific topic based on either an expressive, objective, or persuasive approach to the Inferno and Brave New World. Your paper should engage both of the assigned readings in some depth. Research to supplement your own commentary is strictly optional, but if you do include researched material from a source other than our textbook, you are responsible for documenting it correctly using MLA style parenthetical documentation.

Topic Approaches

Develop a paper that explores your own understanding of the relevance of each of these works. Discuss your personal opinions, responses, and feelings about the themes, characters or situations you encounter in the readings. Explore ways in which these works resonate with your understanding of contemporary American culture.

Develop a paper that analyzes or interprets the meaning of one or both of the works assigned (Inferno and Brave New World).

  • Write a comparative analysis.
  • Trace the development of a common theme through both works.
  • Present an objective interpretation of one or both works.
  • Write a thematic analysis of one or both works.
  • Write a critique of one or both works.

Identify the ambiguity in at least one of the works on the reading list and then argue for a particular interpretation. Acknowledge other interpretations but prove, by your close analysis of details in the text, that your interpretation is a strong one. Argue for a particular reading of one or more of the works we studied.


  • Create and describe an alternatively structured Inferno. The Hell you envision and describe may be very different from Dante's but it should, like Dante's, include your vision of a comprehensive system of "punishment."
  • Create and describe an alternative utopia or dystopia to the one Huxley describes.

Suggested Topics: Paper 2
(These are meant to be suggestive, not exclusive.)


  • What seems eerily familiar to you about the Brave New World? What connections can you make between the world Huxley invents and our own present society?
  • Does the moral order Dante establishes in the Inferno satisfy your own moral consciousness? How might you personally rearrange the hierarchy of "sins" to be punished, or change the punishments themselves to better suit our modern world?
  • You can respond expressively to the criticism that the Inferno and Brave New World "justify torture."
  • You can establish expressively whether Brave New World represents a vision of "utopia," "dystopia," or some combination of the two.


  • Compare/contrast the theme of individuality, free will, or rebellion in Brave New World and the Inferno.
  • Compare Dante's friendship with Virgil in the Inferno with Bernard Marx's friendship with Helmholtz Watson in Brave New World.
  • Trace the theme of "dehumanization" in the Inferno or in Brave New World, or compare/contrast how the theme is developed in each work.
  • Compare/contrast Beatrice in the Inferno and Lenina Crowne in Brave New World.
  • Interpret the social role that science plays in Brave New World, then compare/contrast its role in the novel with its role in our own society.
  • Interpret the meaning of "progress" in Brave New World. Relate the notion of "progress" you find to the modern concept of "transhumanism."


  • Argue that Dante's Inferno may still be relevant for modern readers who may reject its Christian theology and medieval cosmology.
  • Argue that the system of "punishments" described in the Inferno does or does not represent a form of "perfect justice."
  • Argue that Brave New World is a "utopia," a "dystopia," or both.
  • Argue for or against "happiness" and "stability" as the basis for a utopian society.
  • Argue that the seed of Huxley's Brave New World is planted right here in our own modern world.






Questions? Contact me.

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