The aim of this section of English 124 is to help you engage in a writing process that results in compelling, clear, observant and intelligent prose. The reading and writing we will pursue over the course of the semester will focus on a range of genres, from academic inquiries to novels, short stories, poetry and scripts. We will focus on objectivity, critical thinking, argumentation and analysis, combined with subjectivity, personal experience, reflection and the development of craft as it relates to these narrative structures.
Literature that focuses on the writer's desire for greater understanding – of the self as well as the world around the self – will guide our reading and writing assignments, and serve as the fundamental basis for which we make our discoveries. We will examine the ways in which various authors use language to approach some truth about their relationships to place, family, society, sexuality, race, culture, religion, class, technology, media, politics, the past and their own identities.
Our exploration and discussion of the readings will focus largely on ideas of style, craft and execution. Workshop will also be an important part of your experience in this course. The opportunity to share your work with your peers, and to receive as well as construct peer critiques, can lead to invaluable discoveries. The ability to identify and respond to the craft elements and rhetorical strategies of other writers (in our readings by published authors as well as in the work of your classmates), is key in developing and improving your individual voice.
This course is designed in a way that encourages exploration and risk-taking in your writing as a means of discovering and cultivating unique, authentic voices, that will be appropriate in both academic and creative contexts. Finally, it is my hope that this course will find its focus and momentum in Jack Driscoll's statement, “We write to bring beauty and clarity into our lives.”