This course introduces forms of writing in or about critical situations like terminal disease, war, isolation, political repression and other humanity depriving situations in various cultural contexts. It will read selected texts representing these different forms of writings such as diary, first person record, realistic fiction, investigative report, etc. from various cultural traditions. It will also discuss existential questions reflected in these writings such as: what are the basic human needs, what distinguishes man from animal, what is the meaning of human existence, moral integrity, hope and despair, etc., as well as the power of writing in responding to these questions. Students will then be encouraged to write their own texts in imagined or real situations, and to examine the power of their writings in responding to the existential questions arising from these situations.