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Morrissey College of Arts and Science

UN538 Passages

capstone program

Robert Farrell, S.J.

English Faculty

Course is also offered as EN630

All things pass; only God remains.

These words of Saint Theresa of Avila, humanist and mystic, alert us to one of the great truths of life. A parent becomes ill and dies, an engagement is broken off, enthusiasm for one's work wanes, a friend becomes an embarrassment. Against all this the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay calls out, "Oh world, I cannot hold thee close enough!" Life embraces us in paradox. We wish to foster success in our work, security in our relationships, altruism in our civic responsibilities, refreshment in our spiritual lives. The writers in this course can help to illuminate our way and enable many of our passages to become sources of appreciation and growth.



  • Woolf, To the Lighthouse (Harcourt Brace)
  • Hassler, Staggerford (Ballantine)
  • Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (Dover)
  • Galewitz (ed.), Friendship: A Book of Quotations (Dover)
  • Rattiner (ed.), Great Poems by American Women (Dover)
  • Cather, Paul's Case and Other Stories (Dover)

Each week every student will hand in a two-page reflection paper and a personal response to some idea or insight inspired by the reading of the assigned texts. Two longer papers will be assigned during the semester. Each class will begin with a quiz on the readings for the day.


50% weekly quizzes and class participation
50% written presentations

September 3


September 10

Relationships: A family fades and flourishes

  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse 3-74
  • GP 19, To Time
  • 21, Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep
  • 55, The Other World
September 17
  • To the Lighthouse, 75-143
  • GP 22, The Watcher
  • 38, Sonnet V
  • 68 Solitude
September 24
  • To the Lighthouse, 145-208
  • GP 33, The World I am Passing Through
  • 41, A Portrait
  • 50, Instrumental Music
October 1

Citizenship: Personal virtue as a basis for generous citizenship

  • Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations 1-56
October 8
  • The Meditations, 57-99
  • The New Testament (selections)
October 15

Work and vocation: Finding reassurance in the service of others

  • Jon Hassler, Staggerford 3-105
  • GP 124, Love Unexpressed
  • 137, Solitude
  • 138, Individuality

Extended paper #1 due.

October 22
  • Staggerford, 106-203
  • GP 139, Friendship After Love
  • 144, A Song Before Grief
  • 194, Let No Charitable Hope
October 29
  • Staggerford, 207-294
  • GP 152, A Conservative
  • 155, Love Song
  • 183, Grieve Not, Ladies
November 5

Friendship: One of B.C.'s greatest treasures

  • Herb Galewitz, Friendship 1-54

A reading and discussion of reflection papers on friendship.

November 12

Spirituality: Wounded healers are we all

  • Willa Cather, Paul's Case and Other Stories
  • Cather 1, Lou, the Prophet
  • 6, Eric Hermannson's Soul
  • 26, The Enchanted Bluff
  • GP 3, To My Dear and Loving Husband
  • 19, Song
  • 212, What Lips My Lips Have Kissed
  • 213, One Perfect Rose
  • 210, Pity Me Not

Extended paper #2 due.

November 19
  • Cather 34, Paul's Case
  • GP 22, The Watcher
  • 34, The New England Boy's Song
  • 52, Ellen Learning to Walk
  • 169, A Likeness
  • 214, For Eager Lovers
November 26 - Thanksgiving holiday
December 3
  • Cather 52, A Wagner Matinee
  • GP 159, At a Symphony
  • 200, The Heart of a Woman
  • 187, Barter
  • 189, The Answer
  • 195, White Branches
  • 211, I, Being Born a Woman
  • 216, Women
  • 209, God's World
December 10 – Study day
Saturday, December 13 - Oral final examinations

Reflection papers

We will hand in at the beginning of each class a two-page reflection paper. The aim will be to select some idea or insight in the assigned reading and to enlarge on the idea through personal reflection. The source of the idea selected will be given at the beginning of the paper. The paper will be written in the first person, and it will involve contemplation and observation rather than analysis. Personal values and appreciative aspects of one's outlook should help to give the paper its form, and each submission should attempt to reveal a new element of the writer's vision. Each paper will be given an appropriate title. The paper will be typed double-spaced and stapled in the upper left-hand corner of the document.

Longer essays

Two essays of eight to ten pages are required. These papers will be due on October 15 and November 12. A sheet of helpful directives will be distributed for each of the longer essays. No two-page paper will be written for the days on which the longer essays are due.