ENG101 - Critical Reading & Writing

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Major Assignments

This page is only for major assignments. Homework and minor assignments will be posted regularly in RenWeb, as will quizzes and tests.

First Semester

Writing Portfolio: We will begin with a Descriptive Paragraph. Watch Renweb for due dates. See your Rubric for requirements. After this first type of writing is mastered, we will address Narration, and then conclude this unit by tackling Argumentative writing. Again, all due dates for each draft will be listed on RenWeb.

Argumentative Essay: Students will choose a character from The Princess and the Goblin and develop a thesis statement and essay to argue that character is either dynamic, static, round, or flat.

Narrative Re-Write: Students will complete a narrative re-write of either Beowulf or one of Odysseus' adventures. Using IEW techniques, students will complete an outline of the narrative using They have creative license, within reason, to change or add to the adventure. Then, in class, they will begin to draft a complete narrative, being mindful of IEW inclusions as required. This paper will include a peer edit, then the final will be due at midnight, using turnitin.com. 

Sample Narrative Rewrite

Sasha Kopca

Mrs. Tigchelaar

Honors Lit. I-2

3 March 2015

Blinding the Beast

I. After pulling his men from the clutches of the Lotus Eater, Odysseus and his dazed crew sailed through the calm sea of midday. Traveling back to their home in Ithaca, Odysseus spotted a mysterious island with a shady cave, and commanded that they dock there to explore the island. Obediently, the crew steered the vessel towards the shore, and followed the Son of Laertes onto the island. As they journeyed into the cave, they met its resident: a giant being whose single eye rested directly above his nose. His grotesque body seemed to be covered in peeling, rust-colored skin, and the cyclops, as well as the entire cave, reeked of wet livestock. Before Odysseus could ask who the giant was, he told them by bellowing, “WHO DARES DISTURB THE CAVE OF THE GREAT POLYPHEMUS!?” Odysseus started to reply by stating that he and his men were soldiers, but was interrupted by the scraping of the giant boulder used by Polyphemus as a door. 


II. The cyclops's giant fist grasped two of Odysseus’ soldiers as their shrill shrieks echoed throughout the damp cave. Lifting them into his large mouth, Polyphemus crunched down on their bones. Instinctively, Odysseus drew his sword and rushed toward the cyclops, intending to slay the cannibal. He stopped himself, realizing that if Polyphemus lay dead upon the floor, he and his remaining men would be trapped inside the cave, for only the giant could move the boulder that acted as a door. As the cyclops then left Odysseus and his men alone for the remainder of the evening, Odysseus decided to explore the cave in hopes of finding another way out. While he discovered no alternative methods of escape, he found a six foot long log of wood, which he ordered his men to carve into a spear-like weapon. They placed the tip of the wooden weapon into the fire, and proceeded to rest for the next few hours while Polyphemus slept. The next morning, Odysseus was awoken by the screams of his terrified crew as they were mutilated and feasted on by their captor. Once he had eaten his breakfast, Polyphemus quickly moved the boulder away from the cave opening to let his sheep out into the pasture, and managed to close it before Odysseus and his men could even think of escaping. All day, Odysseus sat in the darkness developing a strategy for a grand escape. He put his plan into action the minute Polyphemus returned.

“Oh, great Polyphemus. I have brought you the wine of my land, as an offering to you for allowing us to stay in your humble abode.” Odysseus bowed to the creature, raising up a wine filled kylix he had brought from Ithaca. The giant snatched up the bowl and guzzled down the liquid. 

“I do enjoy this drink. Bring me another!” the cyclops shouted. Odysseus’ men scurried back and forth to refill the kylix, and before long, the giant was hiccuping in his drunkenness. At this cue, Odysseus’ men brought forth the honed log, and prepared for the attack. 


III. With great force, Odysseus and his men rammed the burning, wooden spear into the now collapsed and sleeping cyclops’ eye. As his eye bubbled with the immense heat, the cannibal released a hideous howl, desperately trying to remove the log from his enormous eye as the soldiers dug it in deeper, twisting it back and forth. The monster continued to wail, this time with a question.

“WHO HAS DONE THIS TO ME! I SEE NOTHING! I DEMAND TO KNOW WHO HAS BLINDED ME!” he yelled, still clawing at his now mutilated eye. 

Through furrowed brows and gritted teeth, Odysseus looked up at the blinded beast and growled, “My name is Nobody, and I am the one who has defeated you!”

The panting and anxiety of the crew could be heard from behind Odysseus, so after one final push, they backed away from Polyphemus, and returned to the shadows where they held refuge. As they celebrated their success, they heard the cyclops call to his brethren.

“Brothers! I have been blinded by Nobody! Nobody has tricked me!”

Odysseus and the men braced themselves, but they only heard the other creatures cackle. The crew joined in their laughter, as Odysseus’ trick had worked. They were safe under the disguise of Nobody, and so they rested. When they heard the giant stumbling around the cave, they knew this was their chance for escape. As Polyphemus headed toward the boulder, Odysseus instructed his men to hide under the farm animals that the cyclops kept. Even though the monster patted each ram’s head, he didn’t detect the soldiers who rode on the underbellies of the animals.

Once all of the remaining men made it outside into the pasture, they rolled off the animals and made a break for their ship. Climbing the ladder up to the deck, they knew victory was theirs and as quickly as possible, they set sail, away from the island.

Right before they were out of the cyclops’ earshot, Odysseus’ urge to be recognized for his work surpassed his previous wisdom in hiding his true identity. Back to Polyphemus, he cried, “Oh, you foolish cyclops! What a stupid beast you are! How are your wounds healing?”

Polyphemus’ head perked up, as he recognized the voice. “Nobody, have you escaped me? I will destroy you for what you have done to my eye!”

“You dumb beast, I am not Nobody! It is I, Odysseus, King of the beautiful Ithaca. The Son of Laertes has rendered you defeated, for I have taken your eye!”

From behind him, Odysseus could hear the crew’s shouting and pleading for him to stop his taunting, but he wasn’t truly listening. He laughed at the monster, smiling too wide. Turning around, he encouraged his crew to shout insults back at the monster. Suddenly, a giant tidal wave carried water over the entire starboard side of the ship, knocking Odysseus off his feet and onto the wet boards of the ship. 

“You may have blinded me, mortal, but my father Poseidon, lord of the sea, sees everything! He will follow you on your journey home, and ensure that if you do make it to Ithaca alive, your crew will not!” the monster shouted, finishing his threat just as Odysseus’ ship sailed out of earshot of Polyphemus’ island. While the soldiers collected themselves, they prepared for the journey home and reminded themselves of the cyclops’ threat. For if Odysseus’ curiosity did not kill them, his pride surely would. As they sailed off into the seemingly harmless day, Odysseus had no idea that blinding the beast and narrowly escaping his wrath was the least of their troubles in their long odyssey home.



Sentence Openers

I. 2. After

4. Traveling

5. As


II. 3. Instinctively

4. Lifting

5. While


III. 2. With

3. Turning

5. Through

Argumentative Essay: Students will prove that Odysseus qualifies as an Epic Hero. This essay will be in traditional argumentative format, contain five paragraphs, and be considerate of stylistic inclusions and transitions. This essay will be a timed, in-class essay.

Second Semester

Timed in-class essay: Using a text from last quarter, you will develop a thesis statement and write a traditional five-paragraph essay in class. We will be preparing for this during the first week of January, and will write it that Friday. See RenWeb for details.

TPCASTTs: Students will perform TPCASTTS in groups of two, and then independently, for various poems spanning the Renaissance.


Example TPCASTT of Frost's             "Fire and Ice"

T - (title) - Fire and Ice are opposites, and both are destructive

P - (paraphrase) - People say that fire will destroy the world

                      Other people think ice will

                      Because I understand extreme cravings

                      I agree that it will be fire

                      However, if I had to die two times

                      I also understand hate well enough

                      to say that ice could also destroy

                       extremely well

                       It would be enough

C - (connotation) - Rhythm: iambic tetrameter (soothing), interrupted by dimeter (abrupt)

                       Rhyming scheme: ABAABCBCB. Fire is linked to desire

                      Symbolism: Fire represents desire; Ice hatred.

                      Alliteration: "favor fire" - people fall prey to desire (greed and lust) more so than hatred

                       Repetition: "Some say/Some say" - emphasis on a divide, two schools of thought, two warring beliefs?

                       Irony: soothing rhythm discussing imminent doom.

A - (attitude) - lighthearted/flippant. The speaker seems casual and "understates" destruction and demise.

S - (shift) - line 8: "is also great" - soothing iambic tetrameter turns to an abrupt dimeter. It seems cold - almost a disconcerting epiphany the speaker has as he realizes that "cold hatred" can just as easily destroy the world.

T - (title, again) - "Fire and Ice" - two destructive forces of Evil Desire and Cold Hatred competing to destroy the world and mankind forever.

T - (theme) - Extreme greed/lust and/or hatred will lead to the downfall of man.

Comparison/Contrast Essay: We will be analyzing two different directors' versions of R&J Act II, scene ii. After making notes, we will be composing an essay identifying similarities and differences. Watch RenWeb for due dates.

Research Paper: The fourth quarter will begin with a research paper. Students will select a topic from the Renaissance that we have studied in World History and research it. Students must find/print five possible sources and bring them to class. Students will retain records of all of their research notes to submit to the teacher, complete a rough draft for peer editing, and submit their final essay on turnitin.com1. Details will follow in class. This paper will be double weighted.