English 102                                              College Writing II

Fall 2002

Sections P2, Q1, R2


Tamara Rabe   Baldy 648  Hours: T R 10-10:50 and by appointment

Email: rabe@acsu.buffalo.edu

Home: 837-4705 leave a message until 9 PM


Required Equipment:

A Pocketful of Essays: Volume II, David Madden.


Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage, 5th edition, Muriel Harris.


A sturdy two-pocket folder


Typically, when we consider the definition of limits we envision various boundaries set by forces outside ourselves such as parents, institutions, society. However, Americans traditionally find inspiration in individualism, applaud rebellion against oppression, encourage activity over passivity. Does this traditional thinking contradict the necessity of external limits? What are the connections between the limits we impose on ourselves and those others impose upon us? Using the readings in the Madden text, we will take a careful look at an overused and often useless statement: “Everything is relative.” In discussion and in writing, we will attempt to discover and to articulate who we are as individuals, what our value systems lead us to believe, and how we act in or react to the external world based on our internal makeup. Through examining the connections between internal and external limits, we will ultimately refine our abilities to create cogent, sophisticated arguments in essay form.


To some writers, the essay form itself screams “Restriction! Conformity! Suffocation!” Yes, writers will need to prove they have mastered the basic deductive essay model in order to succeed in this course —and in their academic careers. The same holds true for mastery of Standard Written English at a university level. Nevertheless, these forms present ample room for creativity, and writers will learn to find their own spaces within them.


To reach that goal, this is a class in reading as well as writing. We will work on developing and refining critical, organizational, and rhetorical skills. We will explore a variety of ways in which to communicate ideas effectively.


The writing process requires thought, action, and revision. Practice and revision will be the keys to this semester: we will read, review, write, and revise examples of the primary rhetorical modes, blending them together into sophisticated arguments.


Usage, grammar, and punctuation sessions will be based on the needs of the group; exercises may also be assigned on individual bases. If you have any questions, however small, speak up in class. If you are not sure about a particular point, chances are that others are not either.


Each writer should finish this course with confidence in sharing written work with the public.



Each writer will have a minimum of twenty five pages of polished, finished writing in his or her final portfolio. All final drafts will be typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. No final draft will be accepted without all previous notes and drafts. (Neatness does not count except for the final draft.) We will work on these papers both in and out of class. Due dates for the final drafts will be assigned at least one calendar week in advance.


We will begin by writing shorter pieces (three 3-5 page papers) and work toward creating a more elaborate essay by semester’s end. The longer paper (10-15 pages) will involve outside research (5-10 additional sources) as well as the understanding and blending of basic rhetorical modes. Each of the essays will use MLA-style in-text citations and include a Works Cited list at the end. The shorter essays only require use of one of the in-class readings. The longer paper will require use of the in-class readings and five to ten additional sources.


Evaluations for each paper will be written by the instructor. Be prepared to share all written work with classmates as well.


In addition to the written work, each writer will be asked to give a brief presentation on his or her research project during the second half of the semester. The presentation may be formal or informal. Start reading around in the Madden text to get an idea of which theme or themes appeal to you, which areas you might want to pursue in your research paper.


Keep a notebook or notebook section for summaries, commentaries, and vocabulary words. This will help you expand your knowledge and more carefully choose your writing topics.



All final draft papers will be graded on the A-F scale. Grades will be based on the following criteria: University-level control of the English language; ability to stick to central idea; control of paragraph structure; use of supporting details; development; clarity of thought and expression; use and analysis of sources.


You will receive an evaluation for improvement on every text. Revisions of any paper will be accepted up to two weeks after you receive comments on the original draft.


Attendance is mandatory. More than three absences will affect the final grade.


All due dates are firm. If you miss a due date, you forfeit the revision opportunity.


Your Final Grade for this class will be based primarily on your finished written work (80%); in addition, class participation (including presentations and group work will also influence the grade (20%).



Other Items:

Plagiarism is unnecessary and unacceptable: any such writing will lead to failure in this class and possible disciplinary action.


By mid semester, you must submit a complete portfolio of work to date; at the end of the semester, you will submit a portfolio of two of the short papers and the research project. These portfolios will be read by your instructor and other members of the English Department faculty.


The Incomplete grade may only be given to students who have (1) fulfilled the attendance requirement for the course and (2) completed all but one of the written assignments.


Proposed Schedule:

The following is the proposed reading schedule from the Madden text. We will be using the Harris as needed to review the basics of essay writing.


Week 1: Introduction; Wright’s “The Jewel” (handout); France’s “Adventures of the Soul” (handout).

Week 2: Tannen’s “Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers”; Naylor’s ”The Meanings of Words.”

Week 3: Tan’s “Mother Tongue”; Kozol’s ”The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society.”

Week 4: Rodriguez’s “None of This Is Fair”; Thurber’s “University Days.”

Week 5: Morris’s “Territorial Behavior”; Eighner’s “My Daily Dives in the Dumpster.”

Weeks 6 and 7: Conferences.

Week 8: Winn’s “Television Addiction”; Angelou’s “Finishing School.”

Week 9: Brady’s “I Want a Wife”; Giovanni’s “On Holidays and How to Make Them Work.”

Week 10: Asimov’s “Those Crazy Ideas”; Coontz’s “A Nation of Welfare Families.”

Week 11:  Viorst’s “Friends, Good Friends – and Such Good Friends”; Goodman’s “The Tapestry of Friendship.”

Weeks 12—14: Revision Workshops and Presentations.