West Chester University

Spring 2006 and Fall 2005

West Chester University

Fall 2004and
Spring 2005

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001






Course Syllabi and Announcements
  LIT 165 Syllabus
  LIT 165 Announcements and Assignments
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Announcements and Assignments

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Spring 2008)
  A Reading of THE TEMPEST

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Rites of Passage (Spring 2006)
  Goals of the Course
  Fundamental Questions about Literature
  Valuing Literature
  Critical Thinking and Reading Literature
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  Literature as ART
  Approaching the Art of Fiction
  Defining the Short Story
  Evaluating Short Fiction
  Craft of Fiction: PLOT
  Craft of Fiction: CHARACTER
  Small Group Exercise
  ARABY by James Joyce
  A note about GIRL
  POE and the art of STORY OF A HOUR
  Notes on Innovative Fiction
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #1
  Fiction and Ambiguity - Your Questions
  Writing Workshop - Short Fiction
  Poetry Journal Project Assignment Sheet
  Defining Poetry
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry
  Drama and Tragedy
  Study Questions: DEATH OF A SALESMAN

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Spring 2006)
  Paper #4 Assignment Sheet
  Critical Thinking and Commentary
  Casebook: Evaluating Sources Worksheet
  Selecting Information
  Evaluating Arguments
  CASEBOOK PROJECT Assignment Sheet
  Approaching Persuasive Writing
  Topic Development - Profile Essay
  Generating Ideas for the Profile Essay
  Paper #2 Assignment Sheet
  Profile Exercise
  Objective Writing: Selected Readings
  Writing Workshop: Paper #1
  Expressive Writing in the NYTimes
  Writing Effective Introductions and Conclusions
  Paper #1: IDENTITY
  Expressive Writing
  Open Letter Exercise and Examples
  EMERSON on Individuality vs. Conformity
  Literature related to IDENTITY
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'

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

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Fall 2005)
  One Last Look at Imaginary Worlds
  Franz Kafka's BEFORE THE LAW
  Paper #3: Assignment Sheet
  Paper #4: Independent Project
  The Problem of Stability in BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Analyzing Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Defining Utopia
  Embarking on Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD
  A Reading of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST
  From today's news (11/3/05)
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #2
  Goodbye to Dante's Imaginary World
  Stepping Through Dante's Inferno: Cantos 10-34
  Stepping Through Dante's Inferno: Cantos 1-10
  INFERNO: Questions/Analysis: Cantos 32-34
  INFERNO: Questions/Analysis: Cantos 18-31
  INFERNO: Questions for Analysis: Cantos 12-17
  INFERNO: Structure
  INFERNO: Questions for Analysis: Cantos 1-5
  INFERNO: Analyzing Canto 1
  Relating to Dante's Inferno
  Approaching Dante's DIVINE COMEDY
  A Little Help with Dante's INFERNO
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #1
  Responses to LEAF BY NIGGLE
  ON FAIRY STORIES: An Essay by Tolkien
  Notes on Axolotl
  Reading Ovid's Tales
  From Myth to Literature: Approaching Ovid's Tales
  Functions of the Genesis Tales
  Analyzing Mythic Tales
  Defining Mythology
  Filtering the Introduction to FANTASTIC WORLDS
  Commentary on LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI by Keats
  Commentary on DARKNESS by Byron
  Handout: Imagination Poems Set
  What is Imagination?
  Our Course Theme: Imaginary Worlds
  LIT 165 Assignments: Fall 2005
  LIT 165 Announcements: Fall 2005
  Imaginary Worlds: Course Syllabus

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Fall 2005)
  Paper #4: Independent Thinking/Reading/Writing
  Casebook Preparation Checklist
  Casebook Assignment Schedule
  Evaluating Sources for the Casebook
  Casebook Project Assignment Sheet
  Notes on Rational Argument
  Assignment Sheet: Objective Writing
  Reviewing Elements of the Profile Essay
  Writing the Profile Essay
  Readings: Objective Writing
  Assignment Sheet: Expressive Writing
  Rubric for Evaluation of Writing
  Emerson on Individuality vs. Conformity
  Mind-map: Identity
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Assignments Page
  Announcements Page
  WRT 120 Course Syllabus for Fall 2005

ENG Q20: Basic Writing

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

~~ Writing Profiles ~~

Why do writers use the “profile”?
  • Magazines and newspapers are usually filled with profiles that tell us about interesting people, places, activities.  They’re usually called “human interest” stories.
  • They are interesting to us because they take us behind the scenes of familiar places, giving us a glimpse at their inner workings.  The writer usually conveys an interesting interpretation or perspective that gives us something interesting or something provocative to respond to.  (“Memphis Minnie”)
  • They may be interesting to us, also, because they introduce us to the exotic—peculiar hobbies, unusual professions, bizarre personalities.
  • The writer may attempt to probe the social, political, moral significance of our institutions by closely profiling them.  (“Soldiers of Christ,” “The Five Bedroom, Six-Figure Rootless Life”)

About the Profile
  • The purpose of the profile essay is to present the subject vividly to your readers.  Your role is to supply a well-defined, well thought-out perspective, to orchestrate your presentation of the details so that your essay conveys a particular attitude towards your subject—your interpretation of it.  
  • The profile essay, therefore, is very much part expressive, part objective; it’s an interesting hybrid between the two.  It’s expository in that you want to inform your readers about your subject—you want readers to learn something about your subject they might not have known otherwise—your unique observations and/or analysis.  At the same time you are also conveying a kind of personal interpretation, a personal perspective, your own attitude towards this subject; so in that sense, it’s expressive.
  • It shares many features with autobiographical and biographical writing—you can use narrative, anecdote, description, dialogue—yet it also differs significantly:  autobiography is about remembered experience whereas profile is (usually) about newly acquired observation—acquired firsthand or through research.  
  • This kind of writing helps you practice the field research methods used across many disciplines: observing, interviewing, and notetaking are all techniques commonly used by investigative reporters, social scientists, and naturalists.  The challenge once you’ve acquired your materials is to analyze and synthesize what you’ve gathered effectively—to give it shape in an essay that communicates a dominant impression.
Basic Features of the Profile
  • An intriguing, well-focused subject: a person, place, or activity.  The familiar or the exotic.  Even the mundane can look interesting if you look closely and have a unique perspective to offer.  Whatever your subject, you goal is to bring out its uniqueness, show what’s amazing or fascinating about it to you.
  • A vivid presentation: particularize instead of generalizing.  Instead of writing about “teenagers” in general, a profiler will show us a vivid portrait of one in particular, and leave it to readers to draw their own generalizations, if they wish.
  • A dominant impression: convey your personal interpretation or impression of your subject, your own special insights—what you’ve gained by having spent time observing the scene and talking to people.  This interpretive element is what separates the profile as a “genre” from other forms of descriptive and narrative writing, like biography.  Select your details carefully and arrange them in such a way that they convey your attitude.
  • An engaging and informative plan: you are master of ceremonies; you control the flow of information—how much and in what order.  What do you want your readers to fully understand?

Some general ideas for writing profiles: events, places, people
  • Attend a special event, or see an ordinary event in a special way (a peace rally, a college party) and closely observe the place, the people, and the activities to write a profile of the event…try avoiding obvious events like concerts or sporting events unless you have a fresh perspective to share or a definitive reason for wanting to profile this particular event—did something make it extra special?
  • Go to a familiar place (the quad, a dorm lounge, the library, a favorite hangout) and closely observe the details of the physical space, the people, and the kinds of activities going on to write a profile of the place.
  • Think of a unique person you know, or someone you know about, who has an unusual or interesting hobby or personality and write a profile about this person.  You may even conduct an interview…
  • Closely observe someone from a different generation, or in a certain occupation, and write a profile of that person or that occupation based on an interview you conduct…
  • Write a profile of someone already well known, but present this individual from your own unique perspective.






Questions? Contact me.

All materials unless otherwise indicated are copyright © 2001-2008 by Stacy Tartar Esch.

The original contents of this site may not be reproduced, republished, reused, or retransmitted
without the express written consent of Stacy Tartar Esch.
These contents are for educational purposes only.