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

Rites of Passage?


The stories we’ve read so far all relate to our “rites of passage” theme in that they all present characters who are involved in moving, or trying to move, from one significant stage of life to the next—they are making a passage—in most cases from childhood, or adolescence, to maturity.  All of these stories explore what it means to make that move, and they show us  a few characters who seem to make it successfully and some characters who don’t.  

A “rite of passage” has deep roots in religious ritual and ceremony.  The “rite” is something performed, usually in front of a social gathering. The ceremony ideally helps participants feel like they’re successfully making the passage from one phase of life to another.  Rites of passage are culturally defined and circumscribed, but when traditional rituals begin to lose their power, new ones emerge to take their place.  Some of the traditional rites of passage in our culture probably occur to you right away—graduation or marriage, for example.
But how successful are these rituals at transforming us?  Are we really that different once we’ve taken that diploma in hand, slipped that ring on our fingers?  When traditional rites of passage lose their transformative power, other rites emerge.  It’s possible that your first love or your first sexual encounter, your first drink, your first car, or your first step out from under the protection of your parents’ rules or approval may be more transformative than any of these rituals.  
The stories we’ve read so far all are thematically related to one another because they are all, so far, about making the passage from childhood or adolescence to adulthood.  The stories aren’t about ceremonies or rituals, but instead about experiences that are so powerfully transformative that they move us from one stage of life to another.  Faced with certain kinds of experiences we may grow in subtle or obvious ways, or we may shatter—and sometimes we become mired in a mental, spiritual, emotional, or intellectual paralysis.  This particular set of short stories all show us characters experiencing some type of transformative experience, and in many cases they are experiences we readers have shared.  They feel like common, universal experiences.  Sometimes, however, we’re witnessing a type initiation we’ll never undergo.  The characters we’re reading about are experiencing something entirely unique to them.  How would you classify the characters we’ve seen in the stories we’ve read so far, given these terms?
Some provocative questions to ask of these stories and these characters we seen so far:
  • Which of these characters makes it to the next stage and which don’t?  Who is moving forward and who is standing still?  Who is shattering?  Do you have any notions about why these character react the way they do?
  • What do these characters leave behind as they leave their childhoods?  What do they lose and what do they gain?  Internally, what dies and what is born?
You can synthesize the stories we've read so ar in other ways as well.  Here are some suggestions for thoughtful ways to compare/contrast some of our readings so far:
  • Two “outlaws”: Outlaw Jake vs. Outlaw Arnold Friend
  • The mother/daughter relationship in “Girl” vs. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
  • The causes of “paralysis” in “The Sorrowful Woman” vs. “Eveline”
  • The levels of maturity in Sammy vs. Eveline
  • The sexual awakenings in “Lust” vs. “Where Are You Going Where Have you Been?” vs. “Araby” (also “Summer” by David Updike (p. 292), which wasn’t assigned but is right on theme)
  • The experience of “first love” in “Araby” vs. “Summer”
  • Promiscuity in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” vs. “Girl” vs. “Lust”
  • Sense of liberation in “the Story of a Hour” vs. “Love in L.A.”
  • Illusion vs. disillusion in “Araby” vs. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
  • Innocence vs. Experience in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” vs. “Lust”
  • Awareness of evil in “The Flowers” vs. “How to Tell a True War Story”






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