Advanced Composition -- Honors Projects

The honors projects for this course will build on our work in the regular class, where we are exploring what gives life meaning, what does it mean to fit in with society, and how do we define ourselves.


Designing your independent Honors Project, you may narrow your focus to fit a particular genre, complete an author study, or use a common theme to analyze the works.† Please choose three titles from the list below:


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K.. Dick

Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

Centaur in the Garden by Moacyr Scliar

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The Plague or Caligula by Albert Camus

Solaris by Lem Stansilaw

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Earth Abides by George Stewart

Fight Club by Chuck Palahnick

Phantastes by George Macdonald

Narcissus and Goldmund, Demian, Siddhartha or Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

The Trial by Franz Kafka


Author Studies:

Herman Hesse

Philip K. Dick

Tom Robbins

David Sedaris

Albert Camus

Jean Paul Sartre


You may search out other titles; HOWEVER: I must have read them, approved them, and they may not be on any list taught here.



If you decide to pursue an Honors project, you will be required to meet with me as per the guidelines in the Honors packet.† You must schedule and keep these meetings as well as come prepared with the expected work.


Before you write your proposal, please spend some time browsing online (or in the library). Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble make it possible for you to read sample chapters. This is important. Sometimes students choose a novel because the plot summary sounds enticing, but later find themselves disappointed with the authorís style, and have to struggle through 300 pages.


In your proposal, outline the authors and titles you have selected.† Please make sure you have four parts: (1) An explanation of the theme that that will be your focus and why it appeals to you or piques your curiosity; (2) a list of the readings you have chosen, with some comments on your reasons for choosing them; (3) a brief indication of the writing you plan to do; (4) a statement of what you hope to gain (exposure? understanding? practice?) from the experience. †


The written part of your project will include an essay discussing how a theme is developed in all three works.† You may also write another essay, on a topic or question that grows out of your reading logs and/or a creative piece that will be determined once the reading is underway. How many pieces you choose to write will dictate the scope of the first essay.


Please also submit a reading schedule to me, showing what you will cover, week-by-week, planning to complete all the reading one month before the final project deadline. †You will keep a detailed readerís log/writerís journal.† No plot summary, please.