Critical Thinking: Composition and Literature

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Diablo Valley College                            Spring 2018                                                                                                         Fa        
 
ENGLISH 123
Critical Thinking: Composition and Literature
 
Instructor:  Dr. Erika Wenstrom                                                                                                      Section:  2460                                                                    Units: 3
Classroom: MB 104                                                     M/W 11am-12:20pm
Office:  FO 233                                                            Phone: 925-685-1230 x 78264
Office Hours: M 9:30-10:30 and by appointment      Email:  ewenstrom@dvc.edu
 
COURSE DESCRIPTION
 
ENGL 123 is a continuation of ENGL 122 emphasizing the study of poetry, fiction, and drama. The course is designed to encourage continued improvement in essay composition through a focus on critical thinking about literary works. The course will increase understanding of the creation of aesthetic meaning and the use of symbolic forms in language and thought, and introduce students to several literary genres in the context of culture.
 
Our class’s theme is “tough love.” Throughout the semester, we will examine different texts that treat the idea of romantic or sexual love (eros) a little roughly: stories of complicated, painful, destructive, and – of course – forbidden love.  We will explore difficult unions (and longings) of many types: from the Macbeths’ folieàdeux to the inter-sexed Hedwig’s agonizing,semi-requited romance with the cis-gendered, heterosexual Tommy Gnosis to young Oscar De Leon’s ill-fated search for love.  Our study will bring us into difficult discussions of gender, sexuality, social conventions, and psychology, and I will be asking you to view our subject through many different theoretical lenses.Not for the faint of heart.
 
CONTENT
 

  • Composition of literary analysis essays that formulate arguments about works of fiction, poetry, and drama
  • Study of literary texts with attention to the interpretive aspects of literature
  • Reading of literary texts as arguments in light of world view, author’s intention, character motivation and choice
  • Explication of language in literary texts:
    • Figurative language, symbol, and image
    • Denotative and connotative language
    • Irony, satire, and parody as forms of argument and shapers of meaning in a literary work
  • Analysis of literary critical texts with attention to the soundness of the author’s argument including:
    • Inductive and deductive reasoning
    • Formal and informal fallacies
    • Distinguishing fact from opinion, judgment, evaluation, and interpretation
    • Pattern of author’s reasoning
  • Library research and summary, evaluation, and synthesis of secondary sources for interpretive tasks

 
Write essays (8,000 words) that effectively employ such writing strategies as analysis, interpretation, explication, synthesis, summary, persuasion, evaluation, and definition.
 
METHODS
 
Lecture, Small group and whole class discussions;in-class and homework exercises, reading assignments; work in response groups; essay assignments; exams; communication by computer.
 
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
 

Students will be able to:
 
·        Demonstrate clear and critical thought as applied to literary works.
·        Read and critically evaluate college-level material from a variety of literature and literary criticism.
·        Write essays that effectively employ such writing strategies as analysis, interpretation, explication, synthesis, summary, persuasion, evaluation, and definition (8,000 words).
·        Identify and analyze the structure of arguments in literary works and expository texts about those works.
·        Evaluate the pattern of reasoning present in a literary argument including social commentary, satire, allegory, etc.
·        Identify common formal and informal fallacies of language and thought in literary works, in literary criticism, and/or in student essays.
·        Distinguish and use both deductive and inductive processes.
·        Distinguish between fact, judgment, opinion, evaluation, and interpretation.
·        Draw and justify sound inferences about a work via the literary elements such as image, metaphor, tone, author intention, point of view, setting, theme, irony, etc.
·        Distinguish and use both denotative and connotative aspects of language.
·        Research outside sources; summarize, evaluate, and synthesize those sources in writing assignments.
·        Identify and analyze the meanings of symbols, symbol systems, metaphors, images, motifs in literary works.
·        Appraise and articulate the assumptions, world view, and sensibility underlying a particularliterary work.
 

(See DVC Course Outlines for further details)
 
REQUIRED TEXTS
 
Textbook: Gardner, Janet E. Reading and Writing About Literature: A Portable Guide. 3rd ed. (e-reader copy)
 
Beyoncé, Lemonade(available on iTunes and Tidal)
Diaz, Junot. The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Neruda, Pablo. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (full text online)
Rich, Adrienne. Twenty-One Love Poems (full text online)
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth.
Wilde, Oscar. “The Nightingale and the Rose” (full text online)
 
COURSE REQUIREMENTS
 
Participation (10%):  It is absolutely critical that you participate actively throughout the semester.  Absences, or lack of preparation or involvement on your part will undermine your classmates’ learning and enjoyment as well as your own.
 
Response Papers (10%):You are required to write five 1-2 page (typed, 12-point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced, one-inch margins, MLA format) weekly responses to specific critical thinking prompts. Note: While you may exceed the 2-page limit slightly, you will NOT get credit for response papers that are less than one full page long.
 
Exams (20%): There will be two exams: a midterm (worth 10%) and a cumulative final (worth 10%).
 
Formal Essays (60%):  You are required to write three 1500-1800-word (typed, 12-point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced, one-inch margins, MLA format) thesis-driven essays.  You will also be asked prepare various ancillary assignments to help you prepare for these essays.
 
Essay #1: 15%
Essay #2: 20%
Essay #3: 25%
 
GRADING STANDARDS & CRITERIA
 
Letter Grade                             Percentage of Total Points
A                                             90-100%
B                                              80-89%
C                                             70-79%
D                                             60-69%
F                                              0-59%
 
 
TUTORING
 
Tutoring is available in our English Tutoring Lab in LC105.  All students currently registered in credit courses are eligible for two hours of tutoring per week. English tutors help students develop, clarify and organize their ideas, as well as learn to find and correct errors. English tutors can also help students develop effective reading/writing strategies and good study skills.
Tutoring in writing is also available at our Writing Lab in LC202. Students who need help with reading and writing can walk in without an appointment during open hours.
Call 925-969-2616 for details.
 
CLASSROOM EXPECTATIONS
 

  • I will make every reasonable effort to help all students complete this class successfully – with a passing grade of C – and to help you achieve your academic goals, but you must also be a very active participant in this process. You are ultimately responsible for your own success.
  • The last day to add the class is February 3rd; the last day to drop the class without a “W” on your transcript is also February 3rd (February 5th, online); the last day to drop the class with a “W” on your transcript is April 28th.
  • If you do not understand the comments you receive on a paper or assignment, or if you do not understand something about the assignment, it is your responsibility to ask questions of the instructor.
  • Although your writing process is critical to the quality of your final product, this class is graded on product, not process, and your grades might not reflect the amount of work put into a given paper.
  • Students must sign in when they arrive in class, and are expected to arrive on time and remain until the end of class.  Excessive lateness or leaving early will result in being marked absent; excessive absences (defined as 4 class meetings) will result in being dropped from the class roster.  Exceptions may be made for religious observances or participation in athletic competitions and other college-sponsored activities, but the instructor must be notified in advance (at least one week before the absence.)  Any other absences will only be accepted with accompanying, verifiable documentation indicating a medical/personal emergency.
  • Two late arrivals/early exits equal one absence.
  • A late paper will receive a deduction of one-third a letter grade for class meeting that it is late.
  • E-copies of all paper assignments must be turned into a Canvas Dropbox to be cycled through TurnItInby 11:59pm of the day on which the assignment is due as part of the grading process.  Save e-copies under the following title format: LastNameFirstNameEssay#ENGL123 (e.g., ChomskyNoamEssay1ENGL123)
  • Missing assignments will be given a grade of 0% and averaged with your other submissions.
  • It is your responsibility to acquire any missed information, notes, or handouts, but do not call or email me to do so. I recommend that you get the phone numbers of at least 2-3 of your classmates for this purpose.
  • Emails to the instructor should include your class name or class number in the subject/heading area. Note: Emails are the best means of contacting me.
  • Remember that being enrolled in a class at DVC is completely voluntary. All students are expected to come to class on time, prepared (with readings and assignments completed) and ready to actively participate in classroom discussions and exercises.  Working on non-class-related material in class, sleeping, or texting, etc. will result in a lowered participation grade and could even result in disciplinary action such as suspension from class.
  • No electronic devices (cell phones, laptops, iPads, iPods, MP3 players,Googleglasses etc.) should be used at all during class periods, unless specifically authorized by the instructor. Again, the use of these will result in significant penalties for the participation score and possible disciplinary action.
  • No food is allowed in the classroom.
  • We must all work together to create an environment of mutual respect and consideration, which is an important part of any successful learning environment. We will be engaging in discussions and debates throughout the semester, and things can quickly get out of hand if we do not keep this goal in mind.  To that end, please be polite and respectful:  g., raise your hand before speaking, don’t talk over others or dismiss their ideas, don’t harass other students, don’t start side conversations while class is underway, and – above all – keep an open mind to other people’s points of view.

 
You can expect the following from me:

  • I will be available for consultation outside of class, and you may obtain an appointment by contacting me via email.
  • I will grade fairly, consistently, and in accordance with the grading standardsset forth in this syllabus.
  • I will return graded papers in a timely fashion- no more than two weeks from the day that your paper was turned in (except in case of a medical/personal emergency).
  • I will provide reasonable individual attention to each student.
  • I will treat you with the same respect that I expect from you.

 
ACADEMIC DISHONESTY
 
Students should be familiar with DVC’s Academic Honesty Policies, which are essential to the integrity of the college.
Academic dishonesty is defined as: an act of deception in which a student claims credit for the work or effort of another person or uses unauthorized materials or fabricated information in any academic work. Academic dishonesty is a violation of the DVC ‘Student Code of Conduct’ and will not be tolerated. Academic dishonesty diminishes the quality of scholarship at Diablo Valley College and hurts the majority of students who conduct themselves honestly.
Acts of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following:
Cheating– Unauthorized copying or collaboration on a test or assignment, or the use or attempted use of unauthorized materials;
Tampering – Altering or interfering with evaluation instruments and documents;
Fabrication – Falsifying experimental data or results, inventing research or laboratory data or results for work not done, or falsely claiming sources not used; fabricating or falsifying documentation to try to change a course grade;
Plagiarism – Representing someone else’s words, ideas, artistry, or data as one’s own, including copying another person ’s work (including published and unpublished material, and material from the Internet) without appropriate referencing, presenting someone’s else’s opinions and theories as one ’s own, or working jointly on a project, then submitting it as one’s own;
Assisting – Assisting another student in an act of academic dishonesty, such as taking a test or doing an assignment for someone else, changing someone’s grades or academic records, or inappropriately disturbing exams to other students.
(Academic Integrity Policy and Report Form – approved by DVC Faculty Senate and DVC Leadership Council 2004 and revised 2011)
 
All forms of plagiarism (including inappropriate citation of sources, lack of citation of sources, illegitimate collaboration, use of a paper in more than one class, and turning in work that is not my own) are grounds for serious disciplinary action:
 

  1. First Offense: Student fails the assignment.
  2. Second Offense: Student fails the course.

 
Note:  DVC has an official documentation process for every incidence of academic dishonesty in order to keep track of repeat offenders.  Repeat offenders may be referred to DVC’s administration for additional disciplinary actions, up to and including expulsion.  All offenses and resulting disciplinary actions will remain on the student’s academic record permanently.  All of DVC’s instructors participate in this process.
 
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
 
Accommodations will be provided for any student registered with the Disability Support Services office (DSS).  For information related to DSS, go to: http://www.dvc.edu/org/departments/dss/index.htm
 
 
 
SCHEDULE OF ASSIGNMENTS
 
Please Note: This schedule is subject to CHANGE.  If you are absent, please check for updates to the schedule before class meets.  Make sure to bring your textbook – and, when applicable, any additional assigned readings – to every class.
 
January 22                  Introduction
 
January 24                  Readings: Gardner, Chps. 1& 2 (pp.1-20)+ The Nightingale and the Rose
Response Paper #1 Due
 
January 29                  Readings: Gardner, Chp. 3 (pp.40-42) &Chp. 5                                                                       (pp.72-75)
                                    Assignments: E1 Points-to-Make List Due (in class)
 
January 31                  Readings: Gardner, Chp. 3 (pp. 21-32)
Assignments: E1Working Thesis & Sample Body Paragraph Due (in class)
Response Paper #2 Due
***Last Day to Add: February 2***
 
February 5                  Readings: Read Gardner, Chp. 3 (pp. 42-49).
                                    Assignments: None
 
February 7                  Assignments: Essay #1 DUE
Response Paper #3 Due
 
February 12                Readings: “Logical Fallacies      When Writing About Literature” (online)
 
February 14                Readings:  Shakespeare, Macbeth, Acts 1-3; Gardner, Chp. 7                                      (pp.111-114)
Response Paper #4 Due
 
February 19                NO CLASS
 
February 21                Readings: Shakespeare, Macbeth, Acts. 4 & 5
Response Paper #5 Due
 
February 26                Readings: Lemonade (in-class screening)
 
 
February 28                Readings: Read Gardner, Chp. 6 (pp.96-100); Lemonade cont’d…
Response Paper #6 Due
 
March 5                      Readings: Read Gardner’s Chp. 9 (pp. 166-178).
 
March 7                      Assignments: E2 Rough Plan Due (in class)
                                    Response Paper #7 Due
 
March 12                    Readings: “Aristophanes’ Speech” (Plato’s Symposium)
 
March 14                    Assignments: Essay #2 DUE
Response Paper #8 Due
 
March 19                    Read Gardner, Chp. 4 (pp.66-68)
 
March 21                    MIDTERM
                                    Response Paper #9 Due
 
March 26/28               SPRING BREAK
 
April 2             Readings: Gardner, Chp. 3 (pp.32-38)
 
April 4             Readings: Neruda, “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair”
Response Paper #10 Due
                                   
April 9             Readings: Rich, “Twenty-One Love Poems”
 
April 11                       Response Paper #11 Due
 
April 16                       Readings: The Brief, Wondrous Life (Act I); Gardner, Chp.8 (pp. 130-140)
 
April 18                       Assignments: E3Proposal Due
Response Paper #12 Due
 
April 23                       Readings: The Brief, Wondrous Life (Act II); Gardner, Chp. 8 (pp. 140-160)
 
April 25                       Assignments: E3 Annotated Bibliography DUE
Response Paper #13 Due
***April 27: Last Day to Drop with “W”***
 
April 30                       Readings: The Brief, Wondrous Life (Act III)
 
 
May 2                         Assignments: E3Working Title DUE (in class)
Response Paper #13 Due
 
May 7                         TBA
 
May 9                         Response Paper #15 Due
 
May 14                       Assignments: E3Rough Draft DUE (in class)
 
May 16                       Final Review
Assignments: Essay #3 DUE
                                    Response Paper #16 Due
 
May 21                       FINAL EXAM (MANDATORY)
                                    10:30am-12:30pm

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