English 2130-25 Honors
American Literature
Spring 2008
MW 12:30-1:45
TLC 1204

Dr. Randy Hendricks
TLC 2223, 678-839-4876
Office hours:  MWF 9:00-11:00, MW 3:30-5:00.
Also by appointment

 General Course Description, Learning Outcomes, and Links to Program Goals for All Sections of ENGL 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 (familiarity with Michael Mann's 1992 film adaptation will be helpful), 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 Sixth Edition,  ed. Nina Baym, et. al. The Great Gatsby, by F.
Scott Fitzgerald. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper.
Requirements:  Active participation  in class meetings; three short papers; a short oral presentation to the class; mid-term essay, research (term) paper; comprehensive final exam.

Relation to Program Goals
This course directly supports the learning outcomes for Area C of the Core Curriculum as listed on page 122 of 2002-2003 Undergraduate Catalog.  It also supports the learning outcomes for the B.A. in English, specifically outcomes A, B, C, E, and F as listed on page 195 of the 2002-2003 Undergraduate Catalog.

Honors Learning Outcomes.
In addition to the Learning Outcomes for all sections of English 2130--listed at the link above, students in this honors section

1) will demonstrate the ability to explore and conduct discipline-specific independent research and creative activities using a variety of resources.
2) will demonstrate superior oral and written communication skills

Some Policies, Expectations, and Other Important Information

Expectations:  The professional relationship 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 professional direction and assistance to your own study as well as a fair and careful assessment of your progress.  It never buys the right not to attend class, to fail to complete assigned work, or to practice a radical individualism that distracts the instructor and classmates with impunity.  By agreeing to teach the class, I agree to provide the direction, assistance, and assessment.  By enrolling in the class, you have created obligations for yourself.  If you do not meet them, you will not succeed.

My basic assumption is that students are adults 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 types of professional or educational 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 by the stipulated deadlines.  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 March 3.  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.

Compliance with Act regarding disabilities:
The instructor will make accommodations to meet special needs of students with documented disabilities.  It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of any such need and to provide the appropriate documentation.

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



Final Exam

Comprehensive essay exam


Term Paper

A 10-12 page paper on a topic approved by  the instructor.  Must provide logical and well organized evidence to support an original thesis, include references to relevant secondary sources of inormation and follow standard MLA form for documentation.  See the Assignments below.


Short Papers

See the Assignments belows.


Midterm essay

A take-home midterm of five typed pages responding to specific questions.


Oral Presentation

A brief summary of your research project. 



First Paper Assignment
Second Paper Assignment
Third Essay Assignment
 Oral Report
Research Paper Assignment




January 9



Literature to 1700, pp. 1-16; American Literature 1700-1820, 171- 181; Franklin's Autobiography, pp.  231-276 (or so) Baptism of Pocahontas


Franklin's Autobiography, continued; Wheatley, "On Being Brought from Africa to America," 367


No Class:  MLK Holiday 


American Literature 1820-1865, pp. 425-445; The Last of the Mohicans, Chapters 1-10


The Last of the Mohicans, Chapters 11-17; Bryant, "Thanatopsis" 470-472


The Last of the Mohicans, Chapters 18-33

Feb         4

 First Paper Due


Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, pp. 942-973; Whittier, "Ichabod," 674-675


Douglass, continued; Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience" 


Emerson, "Self-Reliance" ; Longfellow, "A Psalm of Life," 668-669 


Thoreau, Walden, "Economy"   Walden PhotosWalden Map; 


Fuller, "The Great Lawsuit," 763-771 


Poe, "Annabel Lee," 703-4; "Ligeia," 704-714


The Scarlet Letter, The Custom House Introductory through Chapter 10

March 3

The Scarlet Letter, Chapters 11-24


Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener,"  pp. 1086-1111; Midterm given out;  Second Paper Due


Edward Everett, Add Link Here; Lincoln, "Address Delivered at the Dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863" and "Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865" 758-760


Midterm Due:  Turn in as Word document e-mail attachment or bring to my mailbox in TLC 2256 by 5:00 pm.


Spring Break


Spring Break


American Literature 1865-1914, pp. 1223-1236; Whitman, "Song of Myself," 1003-1047 A comparison


No Class:  Instructor away for conference


Dickinson, begins page 1172, poem #s 130, 214, 303, 465, 712, 986, 1129, 1624

April 2

Honors Convocation; No Class


Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, begins page 1244, Chapters 1-14


Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapters 15-31


Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapters 32-Chapter the Last (43); James, "The Beast in the Jungle," 1556-1586 


Chopin, "The Storm," pp. 1603-1607Crane, "The Open Boat," pp. 1721-1738; Crane; Third Essay Due


American Literature between the Wars 1914-1945; Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, pp. 1703-1719  McKay, all poems pp. 2084-2086; Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," 2227 "I, Too," 2228


Eliot, The Waste Land, begins page 1981


Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby,  Chapters 1-5


Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Chapters 6-9; American Prose Since 1945 2275-2287; American Poetry Since 1945 2609-2623; Ellison, Invisible Man, Chapter 1, pp. 2374-2384; Walker, "Everyday Use," pp. 2581-2587;  Final Exam distributed.    Research Papers Due by 5:00 p.m

               May 5

Final Exam Period 11:00-1:00;  Turn in final exam.  Present research summaries. 


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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