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English 381 Survey of American Literature One
Contact | Attendance | Reading Quizzes | Class Participation| Responses to Prompts | Class Listserv | Weights of Assignments | Assumptions and Policies | Final Paper | Text | Required Conferences | Tentative List of Readings
Contact: Office: Eh 05 Office Phone: 532-0389 Office Hours: W 2:30-3:30 and Th 2:30-3:30 and by appointment. I am in my office and/or on campus many hours each week. Do take advantage of the opportunities to meet with me by appointment. You can schedule an appointment with me before or after class or by calling the phone number listed; a voicemail system will allow me to retrieve messages that you leave. Be sure to include your name and a way to get back in contact with you just in case I have conflicts with the time at which you wish an appointment. Perhaps the easiest and most reliable method of contact (since I can check my e-mail from home) is to e-mail me a message at email@example.com; I check my e-mail much more often than I can check the phone messages.
Attendance: Attendance, participation, and preparation for class are expected for each of you; in my long teaching experience I have found many direct correlations between what students learn (and the grades they get) with their coming to class and participating. Because I think attendance is important, I allot 10% of the entire course grade to attendance. I will hand around an attendance sheet each day; sign it even if you are too late to take a quiz that might be given. If you arrive after the rest of the class has started a quiz, I will ask you to wait outside the classroom until we are finished; you may not make up quizzes unless you have an excuse recognized as valid defined by university policy. If you know you will not be in class on a particular day for some unavoidable reason, let me know ahead of time; if you are ill, let me know as soon as you can. For valid absences I will try to arrange for you to make up quizzes.
Attendance grading scale: 0-1 absence = A, 2 absences = B, 3 absences = C, four absences = D, five or more absences = F for attendance. [The university has a general attendance policy which I also enforce. If you are absent 6 times, you do, indeed, fail the course no matter what your other grades are.] Look at attendance this way: attending class is not a punishment but what you paid your tuition for. And in this class you can get 10% towards an A for the course just by showing up everyday.
Reading Quizzes: Listening to me talk or listening to your colleagues talk doesnt do you much good if you havent done the reading for that day. Reading the assigned materials after weve gone over them is class is better than not reading at all, but to get the most out of discussion, to be able to participate in discussion yourself, and, importantly, to know yourself what parts of the reading you want to ask questions about, you need to read the assigned material by the date listed on the calendar below. Therefore, I will give objective reading quizzes periodically throughout the semester and cumulatively they can make the a whole course grade difference for you. Take the quizzes seriously.
I give quizzes and emphasize them in grading to get you to read the material and to read it on time. Id rather not spend time at the beginning of class doing quizzes, but my long experience tells me that, unless I provide an incentive for timely reading, that reading for the course goes to the bottom of students list of things to do. By objective I mean that quizzes will require no interpretation work at all; they will simply ask things like who wrote the work, when it was written, which characters/people did what, where is the literature set, and so on.
Class Participation: Attending class does not count as participation. Participation means answering questions and becoming part of class discussions. I note who speaks up and who does not. If you say nothing throughout the semester, you will receive an F for this part of the course. An average grade for participation is not given for silence. I know that some folks are shier than others, but I do encourage you to toss in your two cents' worth on a regular basis. I will ask you to self evaluate your class participation towards the end of the semester. On your self evaluation I will ask things such as how many times per class and per week you participated.
Responses to Prompts: I will post prompts to the class bulletin board. If you do not already have access to e-mail, you need to get an e-mail address and set up an account with the university. Even if you do not own a computer, you can still participate by using the public labs on campus. We will set up a system of prompts and responses which will replace one of the papers usually required for this course. I will hand out a separate sheet detailing how prompts/responses work. I expect about 7 to 10 prompts to be given throughout the semester. Usually you will have 3-5 days to respond to each prompt. I provide written responses (with grades) to prompts; I usually respond after every 2 or 3 prompts.
Because the prompts in toto replace one of the papers for this course, I expect the same efforts from the prompts as from a paper (i.e., about a page or so per prompt with the same criteria applied to a prompt as to any good essay response). The Bulletin Board is password protected so that only students in this class can post to it. The username for the bulletin board is Amlit1 and the password is Bartleby.
Class Listserv: I will also be using a listserv for the class. The listserv is generated automatically from the list the registrar has of students actually enrolled in the class; if you are a late enrollee, you need to give me your email address today so that I can add you myself by hand. The listserv allows me to send the entire class the same email. I use it for several purposes; do check your email regularly to see if some new or additional information has been sent to you. Many times I provide you web resources which allow you to read more about a particular work we are reading or which provides additional background information.
Weights of Assignments: Tentative List of Assignments and Approximate Percentages of Course Grade: In-class Midterm--10%,
Assumptions and Policies: Though this course is not primarily a writing course, it is an English course for English majors which means that you are expected to write and think clearly and precisely. I expect you to produce the best writing you can for every assignment, even those written in class. All aspects of writing are important in this class and those include correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar as well as maturity and precision of thought. Yes, my children, responses or papers which are poorly written and/or proofread will receive lower grades.
Each prompt response will be given a due day and time. Work that is late will lose one letter grade and lose one letter grade for each additional calendar day late. You must turn in all of the assignments to pass the course. Deadlines will be given for responses to prompts; the lateness penalties apply to prompts too. Though I provide periodic feedback on prompt responses, I also keep a log all your prompt responses and give them one grade at the semesters end. I also occasionally respond privately via email to individual prompts when I think students have done exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly. In some instances, I will point out on the EBB when students have done fine work.
Final Paper: Double-space. Use good bond paper--not erasable bond. Leave ample margins left and right so that I have room for comments. Title your paper appropriately to your subject. The title of your paper should not be the title of the work about which you are writing because you did not write that work. Proofread with a passion; even if you find something you want to change two minutes before you turn in an assignment, make those changes--I will gladly accept neat hand corrections in a typed MS. Place your work in a folder. Do not staple it. Use a paper clip so that I can separate the pages and refer back and forth while reading. Type your name and page number on each page in the upper right hand corner (so that when I drop the whole bundle on the floor, I can reassemble who wrote what).
You should assume that the audience for your writing is familiar with the work you are discussing but that they probably do not have the work in front of them as they are reading your paper. Therefore, you need not, should not, waste time telling your reader what happens in the work. Rather, you purpose is to help your reader understand something about the work using specific references to it only when needed to help the reader recall details which are relevant to the points you are making. Provide a page number when referring to fiction. Provide a page number and line number when referring to poetry. Provide an act and scene number as well as a page number when referring to drama.
You may use some secondary resources to help you understand a work. These would include a good college dictionary, the OED, a dictionary of literary terms, a mythological dictionary, or history or other texts which help you to identify allusions in the work. You need not consult professional criticism--usually referred to as "secondary" sources as the piece of literature is the primary source--to help you with your papers and tests. Use these secondary materials as needed, but remember that the final product should be your own work and own ideas. Your work should show how well you are able to read and write, and the only way I can help you to improve is for you to turn in honest and accurate examples of what you do yourself.
Text The Norton Anthology of American Literature to 1865, 6th edition, Package One, Vols A and B. All page references listed below for reading assignments refer to this text. We will close read key passages in class so do bring your text. You need not bring both volumes to class; when we are reading from Volume A, you need bring only that part of the anthology.
Required Conferences: Two individual conferences with me (in my office in EH 05) are required during the semester. The first is informal and done sometime during the first two weeks of class. Make an appointment at your convenience to come chat with me; the first conference is to let me know a bit more about each of you as individual students.
The second conference is listed on the syllabus toward the end of the semester and is a paper-related conference.
In addition to these required meetings, I encourage you to drop in to chat with me (or email me) about anything related to the class. I'm available a great many more hours than my official office hours the university requires.
The syllabus below is tentative and may have to be adjusted to reflect the speed at which this particular class works. We might add some additional poems, for example, or find we have to omit a work if we get behind; you are responsible for knowing any changes made orally in class.
Tentative List of Readings and Due Dates (tentative because these may have to change depending on class progress)
1/22 T Hello, Requirements, Assumptions and Policies, America of the Mind, Collect Student Info, and so on. Concept of a survey.
1/27 TH Literature to 1700 pp 3-18; Bartolome De Las Casas pp 38-42; Early American Literature 1700-1820 pp 425-435.
Very Brief History of early and Great Migrations; intro to Covenantal Puritanism. William Bradford fromOf Plymouth Plantation pp. 157-162 and 174-178; John Winthrop Model of Christian Charity pp. 205-211; Thomas Morton New English Canaan pp 196-205.
1/29 T Anne Bradstreet The Flesh and the Spirit The Author to Her Book Before the Birth of One of Her Children To My Dear and Loving Husband A Letter to Her Husband In Memory . . . and Half Old In Memory . . . Seven Months Old On My Dear Grandchild . . . Old Here Follows . . . 1666
Michael Wigglesworth Day of Doom pp. 292 and ff; handout from Diary
2/3 TH Edward Taylor Prologue pp 343 and Meditation 8 p 344; Handouts, from Gods Determinations pp. 351-56. The Experience The Reflection
2/5 T Jonathan Edwards (puritanism in context of John Locke) Personal Narrative Sarah Pierrepont A Divine and Supernatural Light Letter . . . Colman" handout on images
2/10 T Finish Edwards; Benjamin Franklin pp 515-16; Part One The Autobiography
2/12 TH Benjamin Franklin The Autobiography cont. Parts Two and Three pp. 583-618
2/17 T de Crevecoeur Letters From an American Farmer (skip Nantucket section) Thomas Jefferson The Declaration of Independence Query 17 Letter to Peter Carr
2/19 TH Susanna Rowson Charlotte: A Tale of Truth Intro to p. 899.
2/24 T Rowson, pp. 899-923
2/26 TH Finish Rowson
3/2 T Intro Transcendentalism; Ralph Waldo Emerson Naturepp. 1106 ff, Divinity School Address pp. 1148 ff.
3/4 TH Emerson Self Reliance pp. 1160 ff.; The Over-Soul (from enhanced syllabus); Emerson Experience pp. 1192 ff.
3/9 T Finish Emerson In class review for Midterm
3/11 TH Monitored In-class Midterm (Open book, open notes)
3/16 T snd 3/18 TH No class; Prague teacher exchange
3/23 T and 3/25 TH No class; Spring Break
3/30 T Henry David Thoreau Walden pp. 1807-1912
4/1 TH Thoreau Walden pp. 1912 to end
4/6 T Thoreau Resistance to Civil Government Life Without Principle
4/8 TH Frederick Douglass Narrative . . . written by Himself pp. 2029-2065
4/13 T finish Narrative . . . written by Himself Meaning of July 4th . . . .
4/15 TH Nathaniel Hawthorne Young Goodman Brown The May-Pole of Merry Mount
4/20 T Scarlet Letter pp. 1333-1358
4/22 TH Scarlet Letter pp. 1358-1408 Paper Assignment Given Out
4/27 T Scarlet Letter pp. 1408-end
4/29 TH Herman Melville Bartleby, the Scrivener and Benito Cereno
5/4 T Melville Billy Budd, Sailor
5/6 TH Whitman Preface to Leaves of Grass; Emerson/Whitman correspondence
5/11 T Leaves of Grass
5/13 TH Final Thoughts, Tevals, Review for Final
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