College of San Mateo - Fall, 1999

Literature 201/823: American Literature I
Location: Bldg. 16, Rm. 273
Time: TTh, 9:45-11:00 a.m.

Instructor: S. Galloway
Office: 15, 117 - MW 9-10, Th 11-12
Phone: 574-6677 Ext. 9030

Required Texts and Materials

  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 5th ed. Volume 1. Baym, Nina et. al. Eds. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998.
  • Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature, 9th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1999. (Required for transfer credit students only.)
  • A loose leaf notebook, 8 1/2" x 11", for in-class journal entries and group work.

Course Description

     This course is designed to guide you through a study of American literature from the beginning of European settlement through the period of Mark Twain. You will be asked to learn and demonstrate knowledge and correct use of literary terms. You will practice identifying, discussing, and writing about recurring themes and changing literary styles and genres. And for those of you taking the course for credit, you will write critical essays on selected works at a level of "C" or higher according to "College of San Mateo Grading Standards in Freshman Composition."

     The reading selections will also reflect an attempt to broaden the view of the American "canon" to include non-European and women writers. Class discussions will explore the impact of changing social values and historical events upon American Literature and the way literature, in turn, can affect society. You will also be encouraged to draw connections between the ideas, characters, and situations of literature and "real life." Thus, one of the overarching themes of the course will be to explore, and perhaps even arrive at, an understanding of the essential nature, values, and goals of "the American experience."

     Finally, I hope you all will come to appreciate literature as art and find joy and satisfaction in reading non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and drama, cultivating an interest in reading literature as a life-long pursuit.

Course Requirements fro All Students

  • Come to class prepared. I expect you to read assignments at least twice prior to class, making notes in the text and in your reading journals. I will give you Study Questions for key reading assignments to illustrate the details I want you to pay particular attention to in the text, but these only help if you read it! In a class such as this, group discussion is vital. So come to class full of questions and comments, prepared to participate fully.
  • Keep reading journals. You must keep a reading journal that includes your thoughts about and reactions to the readings, your "conversation" with the author/text. I would like you to make a separate entry at least once or twice a week, and in many cases, I will ask to make more than one entry per a given work, responding to a specific question or issue that I pose. Sometimes these writings will take place in class, but I will let you know beforehand so you can bring your journal that day.
         I will also collect your journals periodically for review to assess the amount of consideration you have given the readings and the degree to which you have engaged with the works. Your entries should be clear and detailed, with a separate page for each entry and the title, author, and number of the entry noted at the top of the page. For more on keeping a journal for recording literary responses, please read pp. 13-16 and pp. 43-48 in Roberts' Writing About Literature.

Further Requirements for Students Enrolled for a Letter Grade

  • Prerequisite.You must have earned a passing grade in Engl 110,120, 130, 140, or equivalent.
  • Take a final exam.You must take the final exam at the assigned time.
  • Writing About Literature.You will be asked to read selected passages from this book to develop your understanding and experience in writing about literature, and to provide guidelines for completing your essay assignments. I would also strongly encourage you to meet with me before handing in your longer papers to discuss your essay drafts and writing plans.
  • Write critical essays.You will have the option of writing 3 short papers of 2 pages each, and 3 longer papers of 5-7 pages each. The topics of the longer essays are The Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Moby Dick.

         For a course grade of at least a "C," you must write one short paper and one long paper on either The Scarlet Letter or Uncle Tom's Cabin at C level or higher, according to the College of San Mateo "Grading Standards in Freshman Composition."

         For a course grade of "B," you must write two short papers and two long papers on both of the above novels at B level or higher.

         For a course grade of "A," you must write all three short papers, and all three long papers at A level.


     Although your grade will depend largely on the number and quality of your critical essays (80-85%), I will also take note of the number and quality of your journal entries, your performance on the final exam, and your participation in class discussions. Bear in mind that the cumulative effect of these other activities, (comprising 15-20%), can significantly alter your final grade for the better, and for worse!

General Admonitions

  • I would hope that it goes without saying that regular attendance is essential. Your final grade may be affected by more than 2 absences and if you miss more than 4 class meetings you can be dropped from the course.
  • Journals and essays must be turned in at the requested dates and obviously, your grade will suffer significantly if you fail to turn in your assignments at all.
  • Plagiarism is a serious academic crime that can result in an F on a particular assignment or for an entire course and, in extreme cases, in your expulsion from college. Plagiarism means passing off someone else’s work – their exact words or even their ideas, their speech, writing, research – as your own. When you use the words, ideas, or research of others, you must give them credit by "citing" them using appropriate MLA (Modern Language Association) citation procedures. (We will cover these procedures in class.) Don't be afraid to give credit to others for their own work, for doing so shows that you are scholarly and understand the rules of academia. Everyone is influenced by the ideas of others, we often rely on the evidence and research of specialists to support our positions and make our judgments. Citing outside sources and authorities in your essays actually shows that you have an awareness of other relevant information, and that you understand how that information fits with your own views and ideas.


Defining the New World; The Self within Community

August 24: Introduction and Syllabus.
August 26: "Literature to 1620," pp. 1-10. Christopher Columbus, pp. 11-14. Bartolome de las Casas, pp. 15-18. Stories of the Beginning...p. 52-53, Iroquois creation story, 53-57.
August 31: Arthur Barlowe, pp. 67-76. Thomas Harriot, pp. 76-83. George Percy, pp. 100-102. Native American Trickster Tales, pp. 120-125, 136-140, 146-152.
Sept. 2:: "Early American Literature 1620-1820," pp. 153-163. William Bradford, pp. 164-5 and "Of Plymouth Plantation," pp. 165-193. Thomas Morton, p. 205 and "The New Canaan," pp. 206-213.
Sept. 7: Anne Bradstreet, p. 246-7. "Prologue," pp. 247-8. "In Honor..." pp. 256-9."Contemplations" pp. 262-8. "The Author..." "Before..." "To My Dear..." "Letters..." "In Reference..." pp. 270-5.
Mary Rowlandson, 297-8. "A Narrative..." pp. 298-330, (read 298-305, 308-9, 311-2, 318-330).
Sept. 9: Nathanial Hawthorne, pp. 1220-1222. "Young Goodman Brown," pp. 1236-1245. "The May-Pole of Merry Mount," pp. 1245-1252.
Sept. 14:The Scarlet Letter, "The Custom House," pp. 1306-1331.
Sept. 16:The Scarlet Letter, chapters I-VI, pp. 1331-1359.
Sept. 21:The Scarlet Letter, chapters VII-XII, pp. 1359-1391. Short essay 1 due.
Sept. 23:The Scarlet Letter, chapters XIII-XVIII, pp. 1391-1416.
Sept. 28:The Scarlet Letter, chapters XIX-XXIV, pp. 1417-1447.

Public Discourse and the Formation of a National Character

Sept. 30:Benjamin Franklin, pp. 491-2. "The Way to Wealth," pp. 493-498. "Rules by Which..." pp. 502-507. "Information to Those..." pp. 510-6. "Remarks Concerning..." pp. 516-520. "Speech in the..." pp. 520-1.
Oct. 5: J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur, pp. 640-1. "Letters from an..." pp. 641-665. William Bartram, pp. 665-674.
Oct. 7: Thomas Paine, pp. 691-2. "Common Sense," pp. 693-699. "The Crisis, No. 1," pp. 699-705. "The Age of Reason," pp. 705-711. Essays on The Scarlet Letter due.
Thomas Jefferson, pp. 712-3. "The Autobiography..." pp. 714-719. "Notes on the State..." Query VI, pp. 721-726. Letter to John Adams, pp. 734-737. Letter to...Burwell," pp. 741-742.
Oct. 12: "Olaudah Equiano, pp. 751-786. Philip Freneau, pp. 806-808. "On the Emigration..." pp. 815-816. "The Wild..." pp. 816-7. "The Indian..." pp. 817-8. "On Mr. Paine’s..." pp. 819-20. "On Observing..." pp. 821-2.
Oct. 14: "American Literature, 1820-1865," pp. 917-933. Washington Irving, pp. 934-936. "Rip Van Winkle," pp. 936-948. "Legend of Sleepy Hollow," pp. 948-969.
Oct. 19:James Fenimore Cooper, pp. 980-1. The Pioneers, pp. 981-996. The Cherokee Memorials, pp. 996-1005. William Apess, pp. 1045-6. "An Indian’s Looking Glass..." pp. 1046-1051.
Oct. 21: Ralph Waldo Emerson, pp. 1069-1072. "Nature," pp. 1073-1080. "Self-Reliance," pp. 1126-1143. "Each and All," pp. 1215-6. "Hamatreya" pp. 1217-8. Short essay 2 due (option 1).

Slavery and a Divided Nation; The Triumph of the Self in Politics and Literature

Oct. 26:Harriet Beecher Stowe, pp. 1642-1644. Uncle Tom's Cabin, chapters III-IX, pp. 1645-1669.
Oct. 28:Uncle Tom's Cabin, chapters XIV-XXXIV, pp. 1669-1706.
Nov. 2:Uncle Tom's Cabin. Abraham Lincoln, pp. 1580-9.
Nov. 4: Harriet Jacobs, pp. 1717-1718. "Incidents," pp. 1719-1739.
Nov. 9:Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 1480-1483. "The Sleeper," pp. 1487-9. "Dreamland," pp. 1490-2. "The Raven," pp. 1492-5. "The Tell-Tale Heart," pp. 1546-1550. "The Purloined Letter," pp. 1550-1563. "The Philosophy of Composition," pp. 1572-80. Essays on Uncle Tom's Cabin due.
Nov. 11: Henry David Thoreau, pp. 1749-1752. "Resistance..." pp. 1752-1767. "Where I Lived..." pp. 1810-1820. "Slavery..." pp. 1943-1953.
Nov. 16:Frederick Douglas, pp. 1990-2. "The Meaning of July..." pp. 2057-2076.
Nov. 18:Walt Whitman, pp. 2076-2080. "Trickle Drops," p. 2156. "The Wound Dresser," pp. 2172-3. "When Lilacs..." pp. 2175-81. "Song of Myself" pp. 2198+ (1,2,5,7,10,11,12,15,16,21,24,45,48,52). Short essay 2 due (option 2).
Nov.23:Herman Melville, pp. 2256-2261. Moby Dick, pp. 2273-2299.
Nov. 25:No class – Thanksgiving holiday.
Nov. 30:Moby Dick, pp. 2299-2329.
Dec. 2: Emily Dickinson, pp. 2488-91. Poems 67, 258, 280, 315, 341, 501, 536,664, 822, 978,1545, 1732 on pp. 2492-2525.
Dec. 7:Dickinson poems 303, 326, 441, 448, 449, 709, 952, 1129, 1242, 1560, 1651 on pp. 2498-2525.
Dec. 9:Mark Twain’s short stories: "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," "A Curious Dream," "The Story of the Old Ram," "Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale," "Luck," and "The Five Boons of Life."
Dec. 14: Twain stories: "The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg" and "The Diary of Adam and Eve."
Dec. 15-21:Finals Week. Essay on Moby Dick and short essay 3 due.

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