Course Syllabus



Course Information

Composition 102


Instructor:    Kevin Neustaedter

Office:           Hum 203

Phone:           636.922.8254 adjunct faculty, e-mail:                      


                                                                        Contact through e-mail NOT Canvas


Office Hours:  6:45 to 7 and 9:50-10:15, T/TH


Required Materials:       

Mays, Kelly J. Norton Introduction to Literature. Shorter 11 ed. New York:    

      Norton, 2013. Print.

Hacker, Diane. A Writer's Reference or                                       

Kirszner, Laurie and Stephen Mandell. The Concise Wadsworth Handbook. 3rd ed.

        New York: Wadsworth, 2010. Print.

A good dictionary and thesaurus


Course Description:


Eng. 102 is an advanced composition course.  Writing assignments will be based on assigned reading/discussion /evaluation of essays, short stories, poetry, and drama.  Students will learn to read, analyze, and research topics related to these assignments, and practice the corresponding required writing skills. (For more details regarding course objectives, see departmental handbook).


Assignments:    Guided Writing in Class (Critical Thinking projects) Homework Exercises

Reading Assignments

   Group Discussion ,

   4 essays, including one     

   final research project/exam.  Others are analyzing/interpreting short

   fiction, analyzing/interpreting poetry and analyzing essays


Attendance Policy:


A general rule regarding attendance is that the number of credit hours for a class dictates the number of allowable absences.  Since this is a three-credit course meeting two days a week, anything beyond three absences will cause your grade to be lowered.  Excessive absences will put a student in danger of failing the course.  If you miss five (5)  or more classes, you should consider withdrawing as this puts you in D or F territory.  The instructor should be contacted before or immediately following the absence.  Regardless of the circumstances, students will remain responsible for submitting work that is due and for any work and/or information from the missed class.  Do not give details as to why you are absent.  If you are sick, getting a divorce or getting over a bad breakup, taking a "I don't give a darn day", extending a vacation or whatever, an absence is an absence. Plan accordingly.

During my junior year of college, I was sick for two weeks.  I ended up getting "D"s in two of my classes, but "B"s and "A"s in my other classes.  I had to choose which ones to prioritize. I then had to retake those two other classes the next fall semester.  That's the way of the world.  Sometimes it sucks, a lot.  Been there, done that, bought the shirt.


Students who miss class should contact a class member to find out what occurred during the class meetingGet the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of several of your classmates.  DO NOT contact me first.  After speaking with a class member, if a student still has questions or needs handouts, he or she is encouraged to contact the instructor.  All assignments made during one's absence will still be due on the same deadline given to the rest of the class. 


Students should strive to be punctual, as late arrivals are disruptive and disrespectful to the instructor and class members. (see Electronics below for how it could affect me) Please note that while most attendance issues will be dealt with according to this policy, the instructor reserves the right to use his own discretion on an individual basis.



Course Requirements:   


During the course, students will complete several journal entries/reading responses, in-class writing or discussion activities, a possible midterm and final exam, and four essay assignments including the final research paper.   Students will be expected to share their writing with their classmates while offering feedback on the work of their peers. 


Course Topics:


Literature, short stories and poetry, is for examining our culture.  Our culture, our society has many conflicts and these conflicts are normally what make most stories interesting.  Your papers will analyze stories and poetry in either reader response form or in identification of cultural problems form. 


I will bring up many, many topics relating to problems with our society.  I only identify these problems; I do not endorse or take sides in relation to these problems.  Many of the cultural problems or conflicts we face are in direct conflict with political correctness.  My class, as far as identification of societal problems, is not politically correct.  At times some may be offended by the topics discussed in class.  I would say the majority of literature is offensive to many people at times (check out a list of commonly banned books and films sometime if you doubt me).  I am only the instructor; I am NOT an "authority" on any subject other than grammar and the analysis of literature. 


Anything I bring up in class is what is in the news, whether on cable TV, newpapers or the internet.  Do not believe anything I or others say about these current events.  Rather research on your own and make up your own mind.  As far as the identification of cultural issues, I am an equal opportunity “basher”.  If you have concerns, if you are offended, contact me, even by anonymous note.  But being offended by what is actually going on in the world is rather narrow minded.  See below about grading about students agreeing or disagreeing with my supposed viewpoints.


I identify cultural issues because you probably don’t have the time or the life knowledge to keep up with current events.  I remember what life was like as an undergrad.  Or you could be very aware of the world around you and be an “old soul” like I was when I was your age (or, as some would characterize me--just didn’t have a life--LOL).


One topic not to be written about is abortion.  This is definitely a problem in our society but nothing you write about this topic will change anyone’s mind in a Comp 102 class. 




Late Work Policy:


All assignments must be submitted with all previous drafts at the beginning of class on the due date.  Late work will only be accepted if a student has made arrangements with the instructor.  With the instructor's consent, papers may be submitted prior to a deadline by a friend.  Feel free to e-mail me your work by midnight of the due date.  I won’t print for you, but this will show your work as of the due date. I only grade hard copy. Working drafts of assignments that are prepared late will not be accepted and in most cases, final drafts of assignments will be dropped a letter grade for each 24-hour period for which it is late.  If an opportunity to revise an assignment is given, students who submit late papers will  be allowed to revise at the instructor's discretion.




Plagiarism is using the ideas and/or words of someone else as your own.  Although the instructor will determine the penalty for plagiarism, students should know cheating will probably result in failure of the assignment or even the entire course.  Please note that cheating is not only including text or ideas from sources without documentation but also allowing someone who types or tutors you to make sweeping changes in sentence structure, word choice, organization, etc.  If you cite sources on a work cited page, but not in the actual essay, this is plagiarism.  Your essay will, at least, be downgraded a letter grade or more.  As stated above, the paper may receive an 'F".  This means cite your d**n sources IN the paper.




The grading scale for the class will be A through F. Students will receive a handout detailing the criteria for each written assignment.  Each student's writing will be judged by the general standards for good college writing, the individual criteria specified for each writing assignment, and student input when possible.  While every element of assessment will not be explained on returned assignments, if students have questions about the evaluation of their work, they are encouraged to see the instructor.  Your final grade will be based upon the following percentages:


  •   Essay 1-3 - 15% each
  •   Essay 4 - 20%
  •   Responses to class reading- 25%    (1 1/4 page response for stories and ½ written body page

                                                                 double spaced, typed response to each  poetry

                                                                 reading assignment)

  • Participation – 10%  (See below)


Each paper will have four (4) drafts including a ratiocination draft.  If you do not complete a full ratiocination draft, you will not be able to receive a higher grade than B+ for the paper.  All editing needs to be evident in written form on the first three drafts.  I should not be required to compare each of your drafts to see editing (if you only do editing on a computer).  I need to SEE the corrections leading up to the final draft.


Check the withdrawal date below.  If you do not turn in one of the major papers or one of the other main assignments above, a zero (0) will be entered.  Not turning in one of the major or main assignments is grounds for possible failure.  Do not try to play the odds.  Zeros entered into averages, even weighted averages, will cause your grade to suffer too much to pass the class.


Another caveat about grading is that grades are based on your adherence to the criteria set up in class.  If you believe I am a rabid Communist and you believe yourself to be a rabid Conservative, this does not affect grades.  Or if you think I am Right wing enough to almost be fascist and you are an Occupy Wall Street anarchist, this doesn’t affect your grade.  I could disagree vehemently with your views but if you have well-reasoned arguments and textual evidence to back up your reasoning, then I have no choice but to grade according to the criteria for that paper.  If you have, or have had, other instructors who are unfair and only want regurgitation of their views, I feel for you—been there, done that.  Feel free to disagree with me at any time.  Please.  Education is for broadening your views, not for limiting them. 




Participation is defined in this class as being prepared to contribute your knowledge and questions to your classmates and me.  In class peer editing is very important and a majority of the participation part of your grade.  This obviously ties in with attendance.  You cannot edit others’ papers if you are not in class.  If you are unprepared your grade will suffer and others will find you irresponsible and undependable.  With this in mind, you will sign in at the beginning of class.  You will mark if you are present or tardy and prepared or unprepared.  If you do not sign in, I will take that as an absence.  If you sign in as prepared, and you are not, I will deduct twice as many points from your participation grade.





Please turn cell phones to silent or at least vibrate.  I’m in my late, late, late, late 20s so I lose my train of thought even more than when I was an undergrad, hence you may interrupt a brilliant insight and I won’t even remember why it’s brilliant.  If you can’t go one class period without texting, checking or sending, then you are an addict and you need some 12 step help.  Headphones and ipods are for out-of-class use.  We want you to hear all of the praise your peers and I will heap upon you while reading your essays.  If I see you texting, looking at cute kitten videos, or researching sites other than those which are academically helpful, I will probably notice and your participation grade WILL suffer.  Learn how to deal with your addiction to technology.  Somebody is paying for your class time; use class time wisely.




Conferences are the times that you and I are best able to work on your personal writing needs.  Most conferences should take no more than 10-20 minutes.  Office hours are times set aside for your needs.  Students are also encouraged to work with ACE Center tutors.



Drop and incomplete policies:


The last day to drop with a grade of “W” is October 23, 2015.  I give “I” grades rarely, and only in extraordinary circumstances. Should you feel that you are in extraordinary circumstances, please talk with me.


Special Needs and Services:


The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees our rights in respect to whatever disability we may have. If you have a disability that requires accommodation by the college, you must make contact with the Access office. If you have a need that I can help with, please talk with me. I can help with some things. I cannot help with a need that I don’t know about.



Final Caveat:


In regards to all policies and assignments, I reserve the right to make changes as needed to best meet the needs of all of the students.  Changes will never be designed to deliberately penalize students.  If deadlines are changed for any reason, they will rarely be moved forward.




*All essay assignments done outside the classroom must be typed, double spaced  

  with the traditional MLA heading in the upper left corner.


* Correct MLA form is required.


* If assignments are more than one page long, connect the pages with a staple,

  paper clip, or folder.


* All papers must be enclosed in a two pocket folder when turned in.  Put the final draft in the right pocket and all other drafts in the left pocket.  You will have at least four (4) drafts total.


All final drafts of papers are only to be printed on one side; two-sided printing will be penalized in the grading process.






Composition 102

Course Outline Fall 2015                      Subject to change with notice

Kevin Neustaedter





August  18            Course Introduction  

                        Reader Response Writing  -- short story


(web urls are given for all short stories and poetry that are not in the textbook)

(all class short stories should have a 1 1/4 page, MLA heading, response on the short story due date)



                        Literary periods, genres and theory


        20            Reader Response Writing    Literary periods, genres and theory


               Hemingway “A Day’s Wait”






        25           Literary periods, genres and theory


             Asimov “The Feeling of Power”





27        Chopin  475






      Parker (“Surrogate” on Canvas)





September   1                           Updike  243






                        Walker    1006






 First four (4) story responses printed and turned in.


3          Vonnegut





 8       Fitzgerald


"Winter Dreams"


                        Hemingway  590




10       Prewrite essay #1     Intro to Reader Response essay


         15           Rough Draft Essay #1

                    Last five (5) short story responses turned in also.


         17       Ratiocination draft


         22           Proofreading draft


         24         Final draft of essay 1


prewrite essay 2


 29                 rough draft essay 2   




1          ratiocination draft essay 2






      6     Proofreading draft essay 2








            13      Fall Break







                    Poetry introduction  (poetry urls below if not in text book)


                  Nineteen (19) total poems


                  (all poems sholud have a 1/2 page, MLA heading, written response on the poem's due date)




            20      Final Draft of Paper #2




Angelou "Phenomenal Woman", Plath "Mirror", Robinson "Richard Cory" 675, Dunbar "We Wear the Mask" 1086  (mask)


                                                                                                                                                            (cory)  (cory)  (ph woman)



22        Frost "Mending Wall", "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" , "The Road Not Taken" 1091, Crane "The Wayfarer", "War is Kind",  Pound (“In a Station at the Metro”), Hughes (“Harlem”),   

          Brooks (“We Real Cool”), Owen "Dulce et Decorum Est" 1101    (mending wall)




                                                                                                     (snowy evening)  (road not taken)  (wayfarer) 


(war is kind)    (owen)       (we real cool)



            Error analysis log check



October 23   Last day to drop with a “W”


            27        Williams "This Is Just to Say" 797, Atwood "You Fit into Me", Browning "How Do I Love Thee" (894), Whitman "The Learned Astronomer", "A Noiseless, Patient Spider"  1106, Lowell  "The First Snowfall"

  (atwood)  (carlos williams)
  (carlos williams) (first snowfall) (spider)  (spider)  

                                                                                    (astronomer) (astronomer)








November     3                     


                        Last day to withdraw with a “W”


      5                Prewrite essay  3 



     10               First draft of essay 3.

                        Turn in 19 all class poetry responses.  (These are 1/2 page each)

                        Final research paper  Intro


 12        Ratiocination essay 3



            14        Proofreading draft of essay 3


19        Rough Draft Editing , Final research paper          Final draft essay 3






Error analysis log check


            24         Rough Draft Editing , Final research paper

                         Semester long poetry assignment due

                         Semester long short story assignment due

November 26   Thanksgiving


Dec     1         Rough Draft Editing , Final research paper



December      3         Rough Draft Editing , Final research paper


                        Last day of class



8-14    Final paper due with Error analysis log

                  on 12/10

                     8am-9:15 in 208, not 9:16.









Notes on Literature:


Philosophies of literature


Despite encompassing a staggering range of philosophical, religious, and political ideologies, the underlying concepts of existentialism are simple:

  • Mankind has free will.
  • Life is a series of choices, creating stress.
  • Few decisions are without any negative consequences.
  • Some things are irrational or absurd, without explanation.
  • If one makes a decision, he or she must follow through.

6 Basic Themes of Existentialism

  1. Man is conscious subject rather than a thing to be predicted or manipulated.
  2. Anxiety -- a generalized uneasiness. The dread of the nothingness of human existence. This dark picture of human life leads existentialists to reject ideas such as happiness and a sense of well being.
  3. Absurdity -- Each of us is simply here, having been thrown into this time and place, but why now?
  4. Nothingness -- "I am my own existence, but my existence is nothingness."
  5. Death -- The only certainty of life which hangs over existentialist head at each moment of life.
  6. Alienation -- apart from the existentialists own conscious being, everything else is "otherness", from which he or she estranged.
  • First, sentient beings exist, then they spend a lifetime defining an individual essence;
  • All sentient life forms, namely humans, have free will;
  • Every action, expression, or thought is the result of a decision;
  • Decision making is a stressful, solitary act, even when part of a group; and
  • Any decision can and usually does have negative aspects.



1660-1785 : The Neoclassical Period

  • 1660-1700 : The Restoration
  • 1700-1745 : The Augustan Age (or Age of Pope)
  • 1745-1785 : The Age of Sensibility (or Age of Johnson)

1785-1830 : The Romantic Period

1832-1901 : The Victorian Period

  • 1848-1860 : The Pre-Raphaelites
  • 1880-1901 : Aestheticism and Decadence

1901-1914 : The Edwardian Period

1910-1936 : The Georgian Period

1914-1945 : The Modern Period

1945-present : Postmodern Period

American Literature

1607-1776 : Colonial Period

1765-1790 : The Revolutionary Age

1775-1828 : The Early National Period

1828-1865 : The Romantic Period (Also known as: The American Renaissance or The Age of Transcendentalism)

1865-1900 : The Realistic Period

1900-1914 : The Naturalistic Period

1914-1939 : American Modernist Period

  • 1920s : Jazz Age, Harlem Renaissance
  • 1920s, 1930s : The “Lost Generation”

1939-present : The Contemporary Period

  • 1950s : Beat Writers
  • 1960s, 1970s : Counterculture


Excerpt from “The Simple Art of Murder” , an essay on detective stories:


But all this (and Hammett too) is for me not quite enough. The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by men who made their money out of brothels, in which a screen star can be the fingerman for a mob, and the nice man down the hall is a boss of the numbers racket; a world where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket, where the mayor of your town may have condoned murder as an instrument of moneymaking, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practising; a world where you may witness a hold-up in broad daylight and see who did it, but you will fade quickly back into the crowd rather than tell anyone, because the hold-up men may have friends with long guns, or the police may not like your testimony, and in any case the shyster for the defense will be allowed to abuse and vilify you in open court, before a jury of selected morons, without any but the most perfunctory interference from a political judge.

It is not a very fragrant world, but it is the world you live in, and certain writers with tough minds and a cool spirit of detachment can make very interesting and even amusing patterns out of it. It is not funny that a man should be killed, but it is sometimes funny that he should be killed for so little, and that his death should be the coin of what we call civilization. All this still is not quite enough.

In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.

If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in.


Course Summary:

Date Details Due