Course ID EES86X2
Department English
Subject Core English
Can you take this course more than once? No
Periods per Day 1.0
Special Permission Yes
  • All of the following are true:
  • Fulfills the following graduation requirements
      Also in the following groups
      Syllabus No Syllabus Found


      American Literary History is a college level writing course that engages students in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. The course requires students to write in several genres, such as expository, argumentative, analytical, and the research paper. The primary objective of the course is to enable students to write effectively and confidently in their college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives. 

      Students will develop their writing skills beyond the basic five-paragraph essay. Instead, they will focus on content, purpose, and audience. In addition, the writing process will be emphasized, specifically exploring ideas, reconsidering strategies, using grammatical conventions appropriately, and revising essays (aided by teacher and peers).

      This is also a literature course that focuses on the literary history of America, both fictional and non-fictional, from Early-Colonialism to the mid-20th Century. In addition to the chronological study of the social issues from a variety of periods, students will also become skilled readers of prose written in a variety of disciplines and rhetorical contexts. Students will study language itself, and will synthesize the various writing styles and become aware of how stylistic effects are achieved by writers' linguistic choices, thereby leading to an awareness of their own writing.

      Questions that will be answered by the end of the course are:

      • What literary movements developed throughout American literary history?
      • Which writers were associated with these literary movements?
      • What historical, social, political, or cultural contexts moved writers to craft essays, novels, or poetry?
      • What themes did American writers broach during their writings?
      • How did American writers’ literary, rhetorical, and argumentative style change (or remain the same) throughout the decades of American literary history?


      • William BradfordOf Plymouth Plantation(excerpts)
      • Nathaniel HawthorneThe Scarlet Letter; selected short stories
      • Thomas PaineCommon Sense
      • Washington Irving: Selected short stories
      • Edgar Allan Poe: Selected short stories and poetry
      • Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Self-Reliance”
      • Henry David ThoreauWalden (excerpts); "Resistance to Civil Government"
      • Harriet Beecher StoweUncle Tom's Cabin
      • Herman Melville: “Bartleby, the Scrivener”; Benito Cereno
      • Ambrose Bierce: The Devil's Dictionary(excerpts); selected short stories
      • Joel Chandler HarrisUncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings
      • Booker T. WashingtonUp From Slavery
      • Charles Chesnutt: Selected short stories
      • Women's Voices Short Stories by: Rebecca Harding Davis, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, Susan Glaspell, Zora Neale Hurston, and Nella Larsen
      • Stephen Crane: "The Open Boat"; Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
      • Frank NorrisMcTeague
      • Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby
      • Richard WrightUncle Tom's Children
      • Selected Essays by: Edgar Allan Poe; Patrick Henry; Martin Luther King; Malcolm X; Abraham Lincoln; Mark Twain; Sojourner Truth; Lou Gehrig; Frederick Douglass; W.E.B. DuBois; Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Susan B. Anthony; Richard Wright