Freshman Composition

learn to write expository and persuasive essays with us

What you'll learn

You'll expand your abilities and versatility in reading, language awareness, and composing for a range of purposes, audiences, and situations. This is a super-condensed course, so we work through just two major writing projects. You will write two revisable essays (one 3-4 pages in length and one 4-7 pages in length). You will also keep a reading-response journal for the course readings.

When we meet

Our class meets every Thursday night from 6-10 p.m. at the Commons on main campus. Be sure to bring your notebook, pen, and texts. Bring your coffee or tea, too.

We also have a virtual session at Skype on Sunday nights; join us synchronously at 8 p.m. and plan to chat with us until 9 or so.

Get ready to surprise yourself. That's the first rule of the course.

Required Texts

Our core texts:

Our three project readings -- Hugo, Akhmatova, and Scarry -- are listed with the projects below.

Virtual Office (and hours)

Join me at Skype! I'm writingteacher47.

Instead of standing office hours, I have open times during the week when you can set an appointment to drop in and talk. Just go to YouCanBookMe to schedule your appointment.

Project 1: a time my body failed me

WORKING DRAFT: 10 points

FINAL DRAFT: 25 points

This expository essay will explore a turning point moment focused on the fallibility of the body. Our readings will focus on Scarry's The Body in Pain.

Project 2: an essay of witness

DRAFT: 15 points

FINAL DRAFT: 35 points


This persuasive essay will focus on an event or circumstance you witnessed and wish to explore to its trigger or origin. Our readings will focus on Akhmatova's poetry of witness and Hugo's theory of triggers and repetition as attached to witness.