Syllabus:  English III    American Literature Schedule


Instructor:   S. Dickenson

Classroom:    Room 142

Phone:           580-5300 ex: 1300 



Course Objectives: 

            The objectives of this course include developing students’ understanding of the history and cultural progress of our country through literature conveying the perceptions and experiences of American authors.  Students will analyze and contextualize the evolution of literature reflective of American literacy periods from the Puritan era through modern times by exploring the customs and norms of each period as revealed through unique perspectives from a variety of authors.  Students will also continue to improve their writing skills by understanding that form is related to function, that meaningful writing requires authors to choose the most effective voice and genre according to their purpose and audience. Students will also express maturity in their writing through a variety of sentence structures and syntactical methods as well as through sophisticated vocabulary and diction.


Primary Learning Goals:

By the end of the course students will:

ü  Analyze, compare and evaluate various works of literature—read between the lines;

ü  Understand that effective authors of fiction, non-fiction and poetry carefully consider the stylistic choices as they pertain to purpose and audience;

ü  Discern and analyze the rhetorical strategies authors employ and consider applying some of these strategies to enhance their own writing when appropriate;

ü  Demonstrate serious engagement with the readings through close reading and analytical writing;

ü  Participate in active class analytical discussions/seminars;

ü  Express analysis and practice writing skills through academic writing assignments and in-class essays;

ü  Express themselves through creative writing and free writing;

ü  Apply steps of the writing process as they write;

ü  Apply spelling, proofreading, basic grammatical and editing skills to augment their writing;

ü  Continue to develop sophisticated sentence structures and syntax-subordination and coordination;

ü  Demonstrate a knowledge of the basic design and types of multi-paragraph essays;

ü  Improve their vocabulary skills primarily in the context of the literature;

ü  Develop and apply the study and research skills necessary for academic success;

ü  Develop and apply oral skills;

ü  Arrange and apply listening skills;

ü  Arrange writing conferences for the individual instruction;

ü  Demonstrate their comprehension of the material through regularly scheduled quizzes and tests.


Classroom Policies on Processed Writing Assignments:

ü  Each essay question composed outside of class must include a self-evaluation involving the following questions:

ü  1.   Did you stick with your original topic or did you change it along the way?  Why?

ü  2.   What problems did you encounter during the process of creating the essay?

ü  3.   List two of the most important changes that you made.  Why did you make them?

ü  4.   What part of your essay are you proud of?  Why?

ü  5.  Rough drafts of essays composed outside of class are subject to in-class peer review.

ü  6.  Students are encouraged to conference with prior to submitting final drafts.




Unit 1:  The Colonial through Revolutionary Period


Learning Goals:

Students will understand:

ü  How to ask level questions—the three primary levels of meaning;

ü  Close reading and annotation, how to read critically;

ü  The definition of rhetoric as art of analyzing all the linguistic choices that an author makes in  creating meaningful and effective tasks, texts meant to be read or spoken, texts directed to specific audiences—discovering the specific features of a text which makes it persuasive;

ü  How historical and cultural context relates to purpose and style;

ü  Style created through diction, syntax, figurative language and imagery;

ü  How to differentiate various genres in relation to purpose;

ü  The significance of voice—the informal to formal continuum;

ü  How to distinguish primary sources;

ü  How to respond to writing prompts, key words;

ü  How to determine the most effective genre for a specific writing project;

ü  The writing process;

ü  How to paragraph and capitalize effectively;

ü  How to improve vocabulary through derivation—deriving the meaning of a word from content, apposition and word parts.

Literature and Concepts:  

      By the Waters of Babylon” –Close Reading LTF pgs. 30-39; LTF module 2,

        pg. 50

      Colonial Poetry:  Anne Bradstsreet and Phillis Wheatley

“Prolouge” by Anne Bradstreet –Close Reading:  purpose, context, diction, point of view    and tone

“On Virtue” by Phillis Wheatley – Close Reading:  neo-classic tradition, figurative language (personification)   ( Week One)

            Colonial Speech:  Jonathan Edwards

Excerpts from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” –Close Reading: purpose, context, tone, point of view, imagery, diction, voice  (Week Two)

Declaration:  “Rip Van Wrinkle” by Washington Irving: historical allegory, symbolism, character, setting, theme

Thomas Jefferson-close reading

            “The Declaration of Independence”: primary source document, rhetorical             

              analysis  (Week Three)

Activities and Assessments:  Read “The Crucible” in Elements of Literature

                        Group Activity/Presentation- analysis and summarization of Acts

                        Oral Presentation Rubric

Writing Activity: Essay combining genres—definition and personal narrative

                        Experience(s) with Border Crossing

Jane Schaffer writing lessons for personal narratives

ü  Define modern term “witch hunt” and use personal experiences to illustrate the concept

ü  Peer and self review (Ratiocination)

ü  Self evaluation questions      (Week Three)

Grammar and Conventions Activities

LTF Activities for Writing and Grammar

ü  Punctuate for stylistic effect: dash, comma, colon and semicolon (LTF Punctuation 332)

ü  Paragraphing and capitalization  (GUM & Language text)

ü  Active & Passive voice (LTF spiral 42-48)   (Week Four)



Unit Two: The Romantic Period

Learning Goals

Students will understand:

ü  How authors employ imagery and figurative language to create mood

ü  How mood relates to purpose

ü  How to recognize and assess patterns in texts: motifs, syntax, diction, images, themes;

ü  Biographical influences on authorial purpose;

ü  The definition of allegory as symbolic representation: symbolism;

ü  The symbolic role of characters in an allegory

ü  How to avoid summary in composing a literary analysis by developing a cogent thesis statement addressing a writing prompt

ü  How to determine the proper voice according to the requirements of a specific writing situation:

ü  Providing textual support—integrating quotes

ü  Effective pronoun usage; pronoun/antecedent agreement;

ü  Effective use of punctuation;

ü  Active and passive verbs;

Literature and Concepts:

Romantic Short Stories:  Nathanial Hawthorne, Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe

ü  “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathanial Hawthorne: moral allegory, symbolism, character; symbolism, theme, mood, figurative language, personification, connotation, character, purpose, contextual influence

ü  “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe: imagery to create mood; style of narration as it relates to mood and purpose; symbolism

ü  “Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe: imagery to create mood; Style of narration as it relates to purpose and mood; symbolism (Elements of Literature Text)

Writing Activities and Assessments:

            Writing Activity:  Literary Analysis

ü  Analyze how Hawthorne uses symbolism and imagery to develop moral allegory

ü  Using formal academic voice and MLA format

ü  Peer and self review

ü  Self evaluation questions

ü  Expectations and rubric for research paper (MLA)

 Grammar and Conventions Activities

ü  Pronoun Types; pronoun-antecedent agreement  (LTF 302 & LTF Spiral 62)

ü  Avoiding overuse of passive verbs (LTF 308)

ü  Integrating lengthy quotes in formal academic papers (LTF 406) (Week 5)


Unit Three:  Realism and Mark Twain

Learning Goals

Students will understand:

ü  Why the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered an important novel in the cadre of American Literature;

ü  How a novel written at the end of the 19th Century remains relevant today;

ü  Numerous literary themes that have universal ramifications, themes they typically find developed in other pieces of literature, particularly the concept of the “deformed conscience” as well as the conflict between the individual and society;

ü  That because of common themes, they can easily connect Huck to other pieces of literature as well as their own experiences;

ü  How to improve their analytical skills;

ü  The definition and concept of satire; the significance of target audience

ü  How satire can be an effective tool in bringing human behaviors to light and /or precipitating change in human behavior

ü  The characteristics of Realist and Romantic literature; Mark Twain as a Realist as opposed to a Romantic; Twain’s disdain for Romantic literature; Huck as the Realist/Tom Sawyer as the Romantic

ü  The effectiveness of stream of consciousness narration; voice

ü  The definitions and use of the following literary devices: symbolism, metaphor, motif, foreshadowing, irony, allusion, imagery, tone, character, vernacular, diction, diction, syntax-and more

ü  How to successfully summarize a text, then respond to it by interacting with it, by having the conversation

ü  How thinking critically about literature can increase its value

ü  The controversy surrounding the novel as well as other “banned books”

ü  How to determine their own learning style as a means to improving vocabulary

ü  Using word parts-roots, prefixes and suffixes –to flesh out the meaning of an unknown word

ü  How to maintain parallel structure in their own writing as well as exploring the effectiveness of redundant structures, particularly in spoken texts

ü  Punctuation as a rhetorical strategy; stylistic fragments , avoiding run-on sentences

ü  Key words—prompt response and creation

Required Texts:

ü  Excerpts from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Literature  and Concepts:

                        Speeches: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin

ü  “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery” by Frederick Douglass:  parallel structure, rhetorical questions, diction, tone, context

ü  “First Inaugural” by Abraham Lincoln:  Aristotelian appeals, appositives

ü  “from The Autobiography” by Benjamin Franklin

Essay: Mark Twain

ü  Excerpts from “The Damned Human Race” by Mark Twain: satire, parallel structure, tone, punctuation for effect


ü  Punctuation  (LTF 332)

ü  Elements of Language Text & GUM grammar books  (Week Six)

Activities and Assessments:

            Writing Activity: Summary/ Response Essay

ü  Objectively summarize the points makes in “The Damned Human Race” and the subjectively respond to them

ü  Peer editing and self evaluation (refer to classroom policies on writing)

ü  Ratiocination editing sheet and LTF (322-327)  

ü  Benjamin Franklin’s Virtues Chart Writing  (Week Seven)

Prompt Creation: Huck “You Make the Final”

ü  Using key words, students create three prompts and justify their creation

Grammar and Conventions Activities

ü  Sentence types  (G.U.M.)

ü  Manipulating syntax for effect; using fragments effectively (G.U.M)

ü  Revise in-class prompt response to vary sentence structures (G.U.M)

ü  Apposition: define appositives and discover the rhetorical effects of punctuating them with dashes, commas, or parenthesis (G.U.M)

ü  Understanding writing prompts and key words (G.U.M)  (Week Eight)



Unit Four: American Renaissance and Emily Dickinson

Learning Goals

Students will understand:

ü  The concept of the American Renaissance, American writer forge their own styles and identities;

ü  How to read a poem

ü  Basic poetic terms

ü  Connotation and denotation

ü  The importance of syntax and diction—creating meaning with a few words

ü  Rhyme scheme and slant rhyme

ü  Group dynamics, being productive in assigned groups

ü  Effective oral presentations

Literature and Concepts:

            Poems: Emily Dickinson  (Week Nine)

ü  Packet of assorted Dickinson poems revealing a variety of literary and poetic concepts

ü  Literary and Rhetorical Terms Exercise

ü  Index of Literary Terms

ü  Exercise on Writing Original Poetry

ü  Packet of Poems

ü  Semester Exam Review- Achieving Success in the Final

ü   Semester Exam 

ü  TAKS Review





Unit Five:  Post Civil War Realism and Naturalism

Learning Goals

Students will understand:

ü  How writers use motifs, repetitive themes and images, to develop meaning;

ü  The creation of suspense through characterization, foreshadowing, setting, plot arrangement

ü  Fiction as persuasion and argument

ü  The concept of “Naturalism,” the role of humankind in nature and the universe, when nature becomes the antagonist

ü  Point of view: third person limited and third person omniscient narration

ü  Word derivation through a variety of methods

ü  The visual expression of literary imagery

ü  How visual images reveal arguments

ü  How to effectively share a significant event in their lives

ü  Four types of expository writing as well

ü  How genre relates to audience expectations

ü  Effective editing

Literature and Concepts:

Short Stories:  Ambrose Bierce and Stephan Crane/Stories and Questions

ü  “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce:  foreshadowing, rising action, motifs, figurative language, stereotyping narrative point of view, redundancy and repetition as a rhetorical strategy, paradox

ü  “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane:  historical fiction, naturalism, imagery, figurative language, stereotyping, narrative point of view, redundancy and

      repetition as a rhetorical strategy, paradox (Vocabulary Exercise Using

      Context Clues)

 Political Cartoons and Advertisement

ü  Images expressing political arguments raised by emancipation

Writing Activity : Literary Analysis

ü  Write an essay analyzing the techniques Crane uses in developing the naturalist theme in “The Open Boat”

Grammar and Conventions Activities

ü   Revise analysis essay to vary sentence structures; utilize mature sentences structures

ü  Common editing symbols

ü  Discuss editing and revision processes using LTF   (Week Ten)



Unit Six: Post World War I and The Harlem Renaissance

Learning Goals

Students will understand:

ü  The historical content; the concept of the jazz age

ü  The unique struggle of the African American artist

ü  The concept of the blues as a legitimate poetic form

ü  The significance of rhythm in poetry, poetry to rap

ü  Argumentative and persuasive techniques

ü  The value of punctuation in appositives-dashes, commas, and parenthesis

ü  Effective methods of responding to prompts

Literature and Concepts:

            Novel:  “The Glass Menagerie” (Week Eleven)

Short Stories: ”Drenched in Light” by Nora Neale Hurston: allegory, vernacular,   narration, symbolism  (book on order)

Poetry: Langston Hughes and W. E. B. DuBois

ü  Packet of poetry: rhythm, message, tone, theme, diction, and syntax

 Activities and Assessments:

            Writing Activity:

ü  Students respond to a prompt on “Drenched in Light”

Grammar and Conventions Activities

ü  Verbal Phrases

ü  Tone: creating and analyzing

ü  Cohesion

ü  Creating Effective Thesis Statements and Topic Sentences LTF pgs. 400-405

ü  Ongoing alternate grammar sources  (Weeks Twelve & Thirteen)


Unit Seven: Rhetorical Analysis and Argumentation

Learning Goals

Students will understand:

ü  the elements of the rhetorical matrix from exigence to final text

ü  the nature of the Aristotelian appeals

ü  the distinctions between argumentation, persuasion and propaganda

ü  unspoken assumption, enthymeme, warrant

ü  the importance of acknowledging and addressing opposing arguments; exploring a topic from multiple perspectives

ü  the strength and significance

ü  the rhetorical distinctions between effective spoken and written texts

ü  effective speech delivery techniques

ü  effective listening techniques

ü  the research paper writing process from topic generation through final product

ü  MLA format: outline, in-text citations, headers and headings, Works Cited page

ü  How to research a public discourse issue, how to use the resources available in the library effectively

ü  The distinction between primary and secondary source documents

ü  The distinction between Latinate and Saxon diction

ü  The significance of cohesion; sentence variety with subordination and coordination; manipulating syntax and diction

ü  Why some authors “break” the conventional “rules”:  use fragments, begin sentences or paragraphs with coordinating conjunctions, begin sentences with subordinate clause, etc

ü  How to determine effective support of an argument; the relevance of evidence

ü  How to detect and avoid faulty logic-logical fallacies

ü  How to read and use bibliographies as research tools

ü  Proper MLA format and citation


Research Paper (Week 14)

ü  How to Use Library Resources Effectively

ü  Effective Support of an Argument

ü  Relevance of Evidence

ü  Proper MLA citation

Literature and Concepts:

Speeches:  Ronald Reagan

ü  “Let Us Make a Vow To The Dead” by Ronald Reagan:  parallel structure, rhetorical questions, diction, tone, repetition, diction and syntax

Essay:  Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. LTF pgs. 152-172

ü  Excerpts from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Dr. King:  specifically addressing opposing arguments, Aristotelian appeals, parallel structure, tone, punctuation for effect, diction and syntax.

ü  Thesis statements and High level writing prompts (TAKS Review)

ü  Research Paper Library Time   MLA Format (Week Fourteen & Fifteen)

Activities and Assessments:

            Writing Activity: Researched Formal Argumentative or Persuasive Research

ü  Fully processed essay requires at least two revised drafts prior to submission of the final draft   (LFT 152-172)

Forensic Activity: Researched Formal Argumentative or Persuasive Speech

ü  Three to five minute speech on the topic argued in the paper

ü  Two minutes addressing challenges from the audience (Week Sixteen)



Activities and Assessments:

ü  TAKS Strategies and Review

ü  Semester Exam Review and Semester Exams  (Week Seventeen & Eighteen)