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


~~ Transitioning from the Language of Advertising
to the Language of Propaganda ~~

The border police's german shepherd-
is a sympathetic dog.
I am her friend-
I can pat her and pet her.
but I am sure that she will be nasty to any enemies


Studying the language of advertising, we've been studying the language of persuasion. It's not the language of rational argument. It's not persuasion based on clear thinking and logic. We've been looking at the language that persuades by manipulation, the language that reaches out to our emotions, plays on our fantasies, fears, desires.

You noticed in the ads you analyzed how advertisers bend language, distort it by using weasel words, euphemism, or just plain goofy nonsense. Anything to arrest our attention, make us pause and enjoy the image, the feeling. The language of advertising is a language that powerfully (whether we want to realize it or not) engages our emotions and diverts our critical intelligence until we are willing to base our consumer decisions on "feelings" rather than any specific evidence that one product is indeed objectively superior than another. We've allowed advertising to interrupt rational, critical thinking. But by studying these issues, hopefully we've begun to erect some defenses against its relentless efforts. I'm encouraged by the essays you wrote, and I think you all have begun to erect those necessary defenses.

But the persuasion doesn't stop with advertising.

Now we're turning the page and we're going to scrutinize another kind of language that surrounds us daily-especially in election years or during massive military action-as you may have been noticing lately. I'm speaking, of course, about the language of politics, which, like advertising, is everywhere. Just like the language of advertising, we're going to see how the language of politics is also flexible and ambiguous, sometimes (in the case of propaganda) rich and arresting-it's definitely purposeful and edited. The result of its use is all too often the same kind of bent, distorted truth and hopeless illusion we've been fed by advertising. Political language tells us what we want to hear, plays on our emotional weak points or hot spots. It's a language to be wary of, to study, to think critically about, to maintain a healthy skepticism over. It's a language that often blurs the truth by being so vague or general as to be practically meaningless. As the writers of "How To Detect Propaganda" declare, socially beneficial language will never suffer by our scrutiny-but the disastrous, socially harmful type must be exposed for the evil it really is! (I'm paraphrasing.)

It's important to study the way politicians speak because they represent the language of POWER. As a result of what politicians say, and think, and do-as a result of their powers of persuasion-things get done-important things. NATO drops bombs, peace prevails as a result of a summit meeting, social programs are funded or reformed or made extinct, budgets are passed, and billions of dollars are being spent one way rather than another. Political language is Power with a capital P.

And political language, as we'll learn, is shifty, just like the language of advertising. At worst, just like the language of advertising, it seems to serve the needs of its maker, not the needs of its hearer. It serves the needs of the politician, the party, the movement, the one seeking power, seeking re-election; it thrives on its users ability to make it pliable, flexible, and ambiguous. It's evasive, euphemistic, avoiding responsibility and accountability. "Unintended buildings were hit. Collateral damage was done." That doesn't sound too very terrible, certainly not as bad as "U.S. airplanes bombed and destroyed a Red Cross building in Afghanistan which housed humanitarian workers and critical food supplies."

A wholly cynical perspective of the political process sees politicians engaged in the act of selling themselves. But let's give people the benefit of the doubt and recognize that it's not always that bad. Even so, let the buyer beware. Once you begin to look into this, you may feel you need to arm yourself against weasely sales tactics.

When political language ceases to be straightforwardly informative about its record of service or its plan for service-when it ceases (or never begins) to explain ideas, policies, proposals, vision—when it, instead, seeks to influence its audience's beliefs or change its behavior using bald emotion, propaganda is in the air.







Questions? Contact me.

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