Course Descriptions

ENG 4899

Senior Capstone

Doug Thorpe

M 6:00–8:20 p.m.

"What is our vocation as God’s people? Our vocation is to embody the message of reconciliation by becoming the righteousness of God… That is to say, the vocation of the community is to become a visible manifestation of God’s reconciling covenental love in the world."

–Richard B. Hays, The Conversion of the Imagination

"You who are living, what have you done with these treasures?
Do you regret the time of my struggle?
Have you raised your crops for a common harvest?
Have you made my town a richer place?

–Robert Desnos, Epitaph

Colleen Kinder, Delaying the Real World
Doug Thorpe, Work and the Life of the Spirit

Course Description
The Capstone is an unusual course in the department. Less focused on literary analysis, and not exactly a creative writing class (although it definitely is a writing class, culminating in a personal reflection essay), it is intended to give senior English majors an opportunity to reflect and discuss together their sense of the major, the SPU curriculum, and, beyond that, questions about vocation: the inevitable what am I going to do with an English major. We will spend a good portion of the quarter addressing this latter question, in part spiritually and in part practically. By ‘spiritually’ I mean that we will explore the underlying questions about vocation, which most centrally are questions about listening deeply, about paying attention to where your heart’s deep longing meets the world’s deep need (to paraphrase Frederick Buechner). By ‘practically’ I mean exploring internships, job shadowing and resumes as well as hearing from former majors and others who’ve managed not only to avoid starving but have created for themselves rich and varied careers and lives.


  • An increased understanding of the overall coherence and goals of the English major, the Core Curriculum, and the General Education program.
  • An increased understanding of one’s own college career—academically, socially and spiritually
  • Practical skills for the job search (vita, access to job/internship resources, an increased awareness of options and opportunities)
  • A little more wisdom.
Writing on the window of an English classroom

How to Read a Poem

English Professor Susan Van Zanten gives you a quick guide on how to get the most out of reading poetry.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Jane Austen
Pride & Prejudice