This section will include a discussion of literature in first-year composition.

  • She quotes Miles McCrimmon, "...engagement with literary texts, in a learning environment that partakes of the best of composition theory, may be the most cost-efficient way for our students to have the mind bending experience we associate with the first year of college" (98).
  • According to McCrimmon, the "mind bending experience" of the first year of college should involve both composition and literature. But what kind of literature is appropriate for this experience? Shakespeare? Langston Hughes? Or, is any text, such as a magazine or a webpage, considered to be literature? Personally, I feel the question pertains to literary works of the current canon, not magazines and webpages. Although many first year students more than likely spend their time surfing the internet or reading People magazine, these outlets alone will not help them understand literature or composition, or succeed in college, for that matter.
  • "In well-structured courses in writing about literature, students can develop their abilities to marshal evidence in support of general claims, to analyze intellectually challenging ideas, and to write unified and cogent sentences, paragraphs and full compositions through the pedagogies of process-writing instruction that emphasize revision through writing heuristics and feedback from peers and instructors" (99).
  • Here, Isaacs gives an example of a well-structured course in both literature and composition. As the director of the first year writing program at Montclair State University, Isaacs pushed for a second semester writing course in literature, even though she is a comp-rhetorician and not a literature professor. She mentions that this notion of an ideal composition/literature course is directed towards colleges and universities with enrollment similar to Montclair State.
  • Isaacs is very aware that the majority of first year composition courses are, "...full time instructors, half-time instructors or assistant professors and adjuncts. The majority of these teachers have a strong background and interest in literary studies" (100). I feel she makes this statement to defend her position on the matter against those who feel teaching assistants and adjuncts are not fully qualified to teach a course in writing about literature because they are not tenure-track faculty.