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COM 1102 Writing About Literature

Course Description

The course builds on 1101. It focuses on reading and analyzing poems, plays and short works of fiction. Students write several essays and one research paper on literary topics.

Course Objectives

The objective of this course is to help students demonstrate proficiency in expository writing, emphasizing content and mechanical skills. Student will also improve critical skills through the analysis of selected literature, gain an appreciation of literature through class discussion and lecture, and relate literary works and their authors to one another and to their common heritage. Through the course activities, they will demonstrate proficiency in using library resources, taking notes, documenting sources accurately (according to the Modern Language Association [MLA] guidelines), and incorporating source materials into a research paper.

Week 1

Lecture: Overview and Research


  • Determine the requirements of the course
  • Define the research process
  • Outline the requirements for the course research paper
  • Use the process log
Lecture: Plot and Point of View


  • Define what literary fiction means as a genre
  • Discuss the elements of plot
  • Determine the point of view as narrative voice
  • Practice writing about reading through explication, analysis, and comparison and contrast
  • Recognize the importance of critical reading in support of critical writing

Week 2

Lecture: Electronic Sources


  • Conduct online searches using various search engines
  • Identify and understand the major domain names and abbreviations used on the World Wide Web (www)
  • Evaluate search results
  • Paraphrase, summarize, and quote source material
Lecture: Character and Setting


  • Recognize, identify, and analyze different types of characters
  • Recognize and analyze the importance of setting
  • Provide written analysis of literary works to include the elements of setting and character

Week 3

Lecture: The Research Paper/MLA Documentation


  • Properly format and write a research paper (no title page or outline) in the MLA style
  • Compare and contrast the differences in format required by different styles or systems of documentation (MLA, APA, CBE, etc.)
  • Use a style manual when necessary
  • Prepare and use in-text citations
  • Prepare a Works Cited page
Lecture: Tone and Style


  • Recognize and analyze a writer’s tone and style in works of literary fiction
  • Write about tone, style, and theme in a precise and coherent manner
  • Compare and contrast the works of various writers

Week 4

Lecture: Theme and Symbolism


  • Recognize and analyze theme in literary fiction
  • Recognize and analyze symbolism in literary fiction
  • Evaluate literary fiction using the elements covered thus far in this course
Lecture: Long Stories and Novels/Writing an Essay Exam


  • Recognize, analyze, and understand the elements of literary fiction as they appear in extended forms of writing, such as long stories and novels
  • Write about fiction using the elements of fiction as tools for inquiry
  • In a timed setting, plan, draft, and revise an academic essay in response to a given prompt or question

Week 5

Lecture: Reading and Writing About Poetry


  • Explore the similarities and differences between writing about short fiction, prose, and poetry
  • Read poetry with realistic expectations
  • Recognize, analyze, and discuss the general elements of poetry
Lecture: Word Usage


  • Present and support an argumentative claim about a poem’s theme or message while analyzing the poet’s use of language and imagery in support of, and making a connection between, the speaker and the message
  • Recognize, analyze, and identify poetic elements to include word usage, poem’s speaker, and imagery

Week 6

Lecture: Figurative Language, Song, Sound, and Rhythm


  • Identify figurative language as used in poetry and song
  • Define various figures of speech
  • Understand the purpose of figurative language
  • Be familiar with terms related to song forms
Lecture: Introduction to Literature


  • Recognize various elements of poetry associated with rhythm and meter
  • Mark stressed and unstressed syllables found within a line of poetry
  • Discuss open and closed forms of poetry
  • Discuss symbols as they are used in poetry
  • Write an explication/analysis of a poem, or portion thereof, making use of poetic elements covered in this course

Week 7

Lecture: Myth, Poetry, and Identity


  • Recognize love as a source for poetry
  • Identify, recognize, and analyze the relationship between learning and teaching
Lecture: Reading Plays


  • Recognize, analyze, and identify the elements of a play
  • Realize that a play is meant for performance in front of an audience
  • Explain that actors bring life to characters
  • Determine that the playwright does not stand between the work and the audience
  • Critically read a play
  • Write critically about a play

Week 8

Lecture: Writing About Plays


  • Discuss card reports and play reviews
  • Assess familiar literary elements, such as theme, plot, and subplot as they appear in tragedy
  • Develop and use a reading strategy for use with extended forms of drama
  • Recognize, identify, and analyze soliloquy
  • Compare plays on stage to plays on film
Lecture: Staged Works, Film Adaptations, and Evaluations


  • Discuss the evolution of theater in terms of stage, set, and subject matter
  • Compare stage productions to film adaptations
  • Discuss critical play/film reviews
  • Demonstrate critical writing skills through play/player evaluation

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. November 2011