Course Logistics

ENG 102: Composition II – Writing Through Literature

Section 0851 / 1:00 – 3:15, Mondays (E-227) and 2:15-3:15, Thursdays (E-141)

Professor Bethany Holmstrom (professor.holmstrom [at], Office E-263/D. Office Hours 12-1 on Mondays, 2-3 on Tuesdays.

The department description:

3 credits
3 hours
Prerequisite: ENG101 

This course is a continuation of English 101. Students will reinforce and extend their abilities to write correct, well-organized essays using various rhetorical strategies and stylistic techniques. Poetry and at least one other literary genre from among fiction, drama and the nonfiction essay will be studied. Students will be introduced to a variety of writing strategies used in composing interpretive and analytical essays. Writing assignments will include a critical research paper.

Here is the Intro to 102 sheet prepared by the English department. As you can see, you “will write four essays of varying lengths (between 600 and 2000 words): two formal essays, plus a longer, critical research essay and an in-class final examination.”

The learning objectives for the course are as follows:

  • Demonstrate understanding of writing as a process that involves pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading.
  • Write clearly and coherently in varied academic formats (such as response papers, blogposts, formal essays, and research papers) with an emphasis on writing as a critical thinking process. Essays will vary in length between 600 and 2000 words, using US Standard English and employing technology where appropriate.
  • Interpret and read critically about poetry, drama, and fiction while applying techniques of close reading and other methods of literary criticism.
  • Employ methodologies of literary analysis, such as biographical context, historical context, and/or critical theory.
  • Read and listen critically and analytically, including identifying an argument’s major assumptions and assertions and evaluating its supporting evidence.
  • Support theses with well-reasoned arguments and communicate persuasively over a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media.
  • Demonstrate understanding of research methods including the use of appropriate technology and the ability to gather, evaluate, synthesize, and cite primary and secondary sources while writing critically and analytically about literature.
  • Write timed, in-class essays.

In this section of ENG 102, we will read a variety of literature around the themes of dystopia and apocalypse. We will explore common themes and connections, and consider why dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature might be so popular today.

Required Texts

M.R. Carey, The Girl With All the Gifts (Orbit: 2014). The book is on reserve at the library, and for sale at the bookstore. You can certainly purchase the Kindle or digital version if you prefer. The book is currently only available in Hardcover, with a list price of $25.

All the rest of the required texts will be made available to you online or in our course packet [CP].



Email should primarily be a method of contacting me to set up a meeting if you cannot come to office hours. Use class time to ask questions about the syllabus, readings, and assignments. Please use the subject line “meeting request” and give me two possible times/dates you can meet, along with a short (no more than a couple of sentences) reason for the meeting. I am, of course, available to consult and offer advice on projects or papers, but that is something we should do in person rather than via email. Emails asking if you missed anything when you were absent (you did, we did not just sigh and stare at a wall during class while you were gone), when something is due (it’s on this site), or other logistics are almost always solved by asking a peer in the class or consulting our syllabus/site, and thus these sorts of emails will not receive a reply. We will both get to know each other better – and I can give more helpful feedback and guidance – if we chat in person. I only check email on weekdays from 9-5, so please be patient and plan in advance.

Students’ Learning Needs: To receive accommodations for testing and instruction, students with disabilities must inform the Office for Students with Disabilities. In my life prior to academia I was a special education teacher, so please also inform me of any accommodations you might require if you have a disability. As a whole class, we will also be discussing individual approaches to reading, writing, revising, and studying.


You will be evaluated in terms of your attendance/participation, informal writing (in-class writing, double-entry notebooks, etc.), group-work, your final portfolio, and a creative writing project. As a class, you will be given an opportunity to give feedback about/negotiate our grading contract during our first class meeting.
This is the grading contract for our class:

Because you will present a portfolio at the close of the semester, you will not receive “formal grades” on papers as we go. There will be criteria or checklists for each paper or project, but you will not receive a standard letter grade – we will focus on the process of revising and improving our writing and communication skills instead. You will receive drafts with comments, and will be encouraged to make revisions on your written products as necessary before you deposit pieces in your portfolio. For more on what goes into your portfolio, visit the “Portfolio” page on our site. The portfolio will be evaluated and given a final grade, which will in turn largely determine your overall course grade.

An extra credit option is a creative piece, where you can explore some of the themes and literary devices we have encountered in the class. Using InkleWriter, you will create an post-apocalyptic/dystopian narrative for extra credit. The platform is sort of a choose-your-own-adventure interactive writing tool, so you will have a lot of flexibility.