ENGL 103H: Composition and Critical Thinking - Honors

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2022
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 54
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
Prerequisite: ENGL 101 or ENGL 101E or ENGL 101H; also, student must be eligible for the Citrus College Honors Program or obtain a recommendation from an Honors instructor.
District General Education: A2. Communication & Analytical Thinking
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

This honors course uses literature as a basis for the teaching of in-depth critical thinking and advanced composition. The emphasis is upon the analysis of issues, problems, and situations represented in literature and on the development of effective written arguments in support of the analysis. Critical thinking skills are demonstrated through research papers, in-class presentations, and collaborative exploration of material. Students are expected to demonstrate honors level work which includes strong critical thinking skills, thorough analysis of assigned readings, and presentation and leadership skills demonstrated through class participation. Meets the IGETC critical thinking requirement. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • read analytically and evaluate critically the personal, cultural, philosophic, religious, and social issues represented in literature
  • identify and evaluate the writer's use of literature as a persuasive tool, and advocate or refute the polemical issues raised in literary work
  • through inferential reasoning, develop judgments in the form of thesis statements (which involves the ability to distinguish belief from knowledge and fact from judgement) in response to questions of character, tone, theme, point of view, symbolism, diction, style, and rhetorical uses of language, such as appeals to logic, emotion, and projected image
  • employ both deductive and inductive forms of reasoning in the defense and development of thesis/judgments
  • identify and avoid common formal and informal logical fallacies in the development of thesis/judgment
  • write well-organized critical essays in response to questions posed in literature - essays will state and develop the thesis through logical argumentation
  • evaluate critical essays for valid and sound argumentation, abuses in rhetoric, effective use of denotative and connotative aspects of language, and use of selected examples, details, and evidence to support or validate thesis and other generalizations
  • collaborate to form analysis or to refute analytical claims in fiction and analysis of fiction

Major Course Content

(% of classroom hours spent on each topic is noted at right)

Since the course objective is to apply the principles of argument in response to the intellectual challenges posed by literature, the following outline does not suggest an order -- rather an integration of the following:

1.  Critical Reading Strategies                                                                                              25%

  • Reading for purpose
  • Understanding relationship of language to logic
  • Drawing inferences
  • Evaluating diction
  • Recognizing denotative and connotative language
  • Identifying rhetorical devices

2.  Approaches to Critical Analysis-Methods of Evaluating and Understanding           25%

  • Character
  • Theme
  • Point of view
  • Tone/attitude
  • Symbolism
  • Diction
  • Style

3.  Writing the Argument/Response                                                                                    25%

  • Assessing purpose and audience
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Formulating thesis/judgment
  • Determining effectiveness of persuasive approach
  • (deductive/inductive/mixed)
  • Avoiding fallacious reasoning
  • Developing evidence
  • Organizing, evaluating, revising
  • Compare and contrast critical analysis
  • Identify fallacious reasoning in analysis

4.  Applying the Argument                                                                                                   25%

In Addition to Writing the Standard (700 word) Essay of Argument, Students

will Apply These Principles and Techniques to Writing:

  • The extended argument
  • The researched argument, including the use of conventions of documentation
  • The "timed" argument, sample "writing proficiency" questions
  • The multi-media presentation


  1. Students will be judged on ability not only to analyze but to advocate ideas
  2. The sequence of essays will be evaluated for both critical thinking and composition
  3. Student essays will be evaluated for progress toward refinement of writing skills and development of critical/analytical techniques

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Barnet, Sylvan, Introduction to Literature, 14th Edition, 2006, Perason/Longman DiYanni, Robert, Literature, 6th Edition, 2006, McGraw/Hill Dobie, Ann B., Theory Into Practice, 2002, Heinle Griffith, Kelly, Writing Essays About Literature, 6th Edition, 2002, Harcourt Brace

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Discuss the lyric you have chosen in the context of two criticisms from the following list: biographical, historical, gender/feminist, Marxist or cultural criticism. Use one secondary source. Use a pen. You have 70 minutes.

Examples of Outside Assignments

1. Analyze the behavior of the protagonist in Sophocles' "Antigone" in light of the social activist theory of "civil disobedience."
2. Employ a Marxist perspective in a critical analysis of Luis Valdez's "Los Vendidos."
3. Analyze the actions of the protagonists in Susan Glaspell's "Trifles" in light of contemporary feminist theory.

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture

IGETC Area 1: English Communication

1B. Critical Thinking/English Comp