English 2130-01
American Literature

Summer 2008

MTWR 5:00-7:45 p.m., Humanities 206

Dr. Randy Hendricks
TLC 2223, 678-839-4876
Office hours:  MTWR 3:00-4:30.  Also by appointment.

Learning Outcomes
These apply to all sections of English 2130

Course Description

In this class we will devote much of our time to reading, discussing, and writing about such classic texts in American literature as Franklin’s Autobiography,   Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans (through Michael Mann's film adaptation and selected passages from the novel), Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Thoreau’s Walden, Whitman’s and Dickinson’s poems, Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Eliot's The Waste Land, and more. Reading the texts in whole or in part, we will focus on the way in which they, through their forms, themes, and language, echo and even parody each other as they record a cultural/literary debate on the issue of American identity with its related questions of what constitutes an American self, society, and attitudes toward nature. We will use the examples to work toward a definition of the qualities beyond “written in America” that make a work of literature “American.” Additional readings from the anthology will supplement the primary ones.
Texts: The Norton Anthology of American Literature,  Shorter Seventh Edition,  ed. Nina Baym, et. al. The Great Gatsby, by F.
Scott Fitzgerald. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Requirements:  final exam, term paper, quizzes, scrupulous preparation for class.
Relation to Program Goals
This course directly supports the learning outcomes for Area C of the Core Curriculum as listed in the Undergraduate Catalog.  It also supports the learning outcomes for the B.A. in English, specifically outcomes A, B, C, E, and F as listed in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Some Policies, Expectations, and Other Important Information


The professional relation between an instructor and a student is not that of vendor and consumer.  One does not buy learning the way one buys a car, a sound system, or a hamburger.  Tuition buys thorough direction to your own study in the discipline provided by a professional with knowledge of and devotion to the field.  It does not buy you the right to decide not to attend class, do assigned work, or practice a radical individualism that proves a distraction to the instructor and classmates. By agreeing to teach the class, I agree to certain obligations.  By enrolling in the class, you have created obligations for yourself.  If you do not meet them, you will not succeed.

My basic expectation is that students be adults seriously preparing to be professionals.  They should understand that the way they conduct business has a direct influence on their success in the class and other tangible if longer-term results (For example, you are not only completing the requirements for the courses you are currently taking, you are developing professional relationships with your instructors, who will in due course serve as your primary references as you seek admission to graduate schools, employment, or other professional opportunities).

To be more specific, I expect students to come to each class meeting on time, prepared and ready to concentrate on the tasks at hand.  I further expect students to prepare all assignments with scrupulous attention to detail and directions.  And I tolerate no unprofessional distractions such as gum chewing, sleeping in class, using beepers or cell phones (either for incoming or outgoing calls).  Students who create such distractions will leave the class.

Deadline for Withdrawal:  The deadline for withdrawing from any class with a grade of W is June 16.  Students may withdraw from a class after that date only in the case of hardship.  Hardship withdrawals are determined in the office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, not by instructors or department chairs.  Students who are granted hardship withdrawals must withdraw from all their classes.

Department of English and Philosophy Plagiarism Policy
The Department of English and Philosophy defines plagiarism as taking personal credit for the words and ideas of others as they are presented in electronic, print, and verbal sources.  The Department expects that students will accurately credit sources in all assignments.  Plagiarism is grounds for failing the course.


  %      Assignment            Description
30% Final Exam Comprehensive essay exam, with a recognition component. 
40% Term Paper  Term Paper Assignment
30% Average of Daily Quizzes Objective quizzes over the reading assignments. Two will be dropped before averaging, either missed or lowest grades.  Missed quizzes cannot be made up. All missed quizzes after the second will count as zeros.  Quizzes are given at the beginning of class.
 Link to Grading Criteria
July 7
Literature to 1700; American Literature 1700-1820, Franklin's Autobiography;  Wheatley, "On Being Brought from Africa to America," 36
American Literature 1820-1865, pp. 425-445; View The Last of the Mohicans; lecture based on The Last of the Mohicans
10 No Class
The Scarlet Letter, including The Custom House Introductory
Emerson, "Self-Reliance"; Thoreau, Walden, first chapter "Economy," Walden PhotosWalden Map; 
Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; Whittier, "Ichabod"; Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener,"
 Whitman, "Song of Myself"  A Comparison  Obama TV ad   McCain TV ad
  American Literature 1865-1914, pp. 1223-1236; Dickinson, poem #s 130, 214, 303,448; 465, 632; 712, 986, 1129, 1463
22 Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapters 1-31
 Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapters 32-Chapter the Last (43)
American Literature between the Wars 1914-1945;  "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," Eliot, The Waste Land
28  Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
29 Ellison, Invisiible Man, "Battle Royal"; Walker, "Everyday Use," Term Papers Due
Final Exam, 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Note: A passing grade on any assignment first assumes competence in the mechanics of standard written English.

C     To earn a “C,” a student must
• Respond to the constraints of the assignment.
• Focus on the topic.
• Provide a clear thesis.
• Maintain a tone appropriate for a scholarly audience.
• Order essay logically, from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, idea to idea.
• Provide sufficient evidence and detail throughout the essay.
• Have sufficient control of standard written English and MLA guidelines such that errors, including any in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting, if present, do not cause serious confusion and/or distraction.
• Provide adequate, reliable, and relevant secondary documentation, where applicable.
• Demonstrate an understanding of context and purpose in relating secondary sources to paper’s claims/ideas.
• Exhibit nearly error-free incorporation of documentation into the body of the essay.

 B To earn a “B,” a student must meet the minimum requirements for a “C” essay plus
• Provide a well-framed and insightful thesis.
• Recognize complexities and show evidence of serious consideration of the topic.
• Support most points with appropriate, well-analyzed examples and intelligent arguments.
• Show logical development and organization throughout.
• Offer writing that is relatively free of grammatical and technical errors.
• Provide substantive and relevant documentation, where applicable, in support of most claims/ideas.
• Demonstrate a thorough understanding of context and purpose in relating secondary sources to paper’s claims/ideas where applicable.
• Exhibit error-free and varied incorporation of documentation into the body of the essay.
 A     To earn an “A,” a student must meet the minimum requirements for a “B” essay plus:
• Provide a sophisticated thesis that demonstrates independent thinking.
• Support all claims/ideas with appropriate, fully analyzed examples and compelling, insightful arguments.
• Show persuasive logical development and organization throughout.
• Maintain a distinctive voice and consistent viewpoint that incorporates interesting and varied style.
• Provide secondary sources, where applicable, that demonstrate independent research in the field.
• Enter into meaningful dialogue with secondary sources, such that the student is not just proving someone else’s point but developing original ideas in relation to research material.

 D A “D” grade results from
• Failing to respond clearly to the assignment, or
• A lack of qualities listed under the minimum requirements for a “C,” or
• Insufficient control of standard written English, resulting in substantial errors that cause confusion or incoherence.

 F          An “F” grade results from
• Two or more of the faults listed in “D” above.

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