LI270: American Literature I
Southeast Missouri State University
Dr. Dean Shackelford
Office: Grauel 318-I
Office Hours: MW 11-1, TR 3:30-4:30, and by Appointment
This course will survey early American literary traditions from the beginning through the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Although the emphasis will be on “major” authors, there will be some attention to those representing traditions counter to what Toni Morrison has referred to as the "master narratives." Exploring these works will help demonstrate that concerns about difference are central to American cultural history since the nation’s beginning. Among the primary themes to be addressed are the American Adam, the American
dream, the individual versus society, nature, self-reliance, freedom, male-female relationships, race and racism, colonialism, the nature of evil, and romantic idealism. Each student will be expected to read and write a paper on one early American novel. The primary teaching strategy will be the Socratic method. Therefore, class participation is expected.
Baym, Nina, gen. ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume I. 5th ed. (Textbook Services)
Wilson, Harriet. Our Nig; or, Sketches in the Life of a Free Black.
Tentative Schedule of Assignments and Topics
Note: The instructor reserves the right to make additions, deletions, and/or other alterations in the schedule as needed. Please read the assignment indicated for a particular class day.
15 Jan. (Tu) Introduction. Native American and Travel Literature.
17 Jan. (Th) Early American Literature 1620-1820, pp. 153-161; Bradford, from Of Plymouth Plantation, pp.
165-204; Morton, from New English Canaan, pp. 206-213.
22 Jan. (Tu) Bradstreet, "The Prologue," pp. 247-248, "The Author to Her Book," pp. 270-271, and "Before the Birth of One of Her Children," p. 271; Taylor, "Prologue" to Prepatory Meditations, pp. 332-333,
"Meditation 8," pp. 333-334, and "Huswifery" p. 349.
24 Jan. (Th) Videotape on Puritanism and Early American Literature.
29 Jan. (Tu) Edwards, "Sarah Pierrepont," p. 452, "A Divine and Supernatural Light," pp. 453-466, and "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," pp. 474-485.
31 Jan. (Th) Franklin, "The Way to Wealth," pp. 493-498, "The Sale of the Hessians," pp. 507-509, and "Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America," pp. 516-520; and Occom, "A Short Narrative of My Life," pp. 614-619.
5 Feb. (Tu) Paine, from The Age of Reason, pp. 705-711; and Freneau, "The Wild Honey Suckle," pp. 816-
817, "The Indian Burying Ground," pp. 817-818, and "On the Religion of Nature,"p. 821.
7 Feb. (Th) Wheatley, "On Being Brought from Africa to America," p. 825, and "To S.M., a Young African Painter," pp. 833-834; Irving, "Rip Van Winkle," pp. 936-948; Cooper, from The Pioneers, pp. 982-996.
12 Feb. (Tu) Bryant, "Thanatopsis," pp. 1039-1041, and "The Prairies," pp. 1042-1044; Apess, "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man," pp. 1046-1051.
14 Feb. (Th) EXAMINATION I.
19 Feb. (Tu) American Literature 1820-1865, pp. 917-931; Poe, "Sonnet--To Science," p. 1483, ""To Helen," pp. 1484-1485, "The Raven," pp. 1492-1495, "Annabel Lee," p. 1498, and "The Philosophy of Composition," pp. 1572-1580.
21 Feb. (Th) Poe, "Ligeia," pp. 1499-1508, and "The Fall of the House of Usher," pp. 1508-1521. 26 Feb. (Tu) Hawthorne, "My Kinsman, Major Molineux," pp. 1223-1236, and "The Minister's Black Veil," pp. 1252-1261.
28 Feb. (Th) Hawthorne, "The Birth-Mark," pp. 1261-1273, and "The Celestial Railroad," pp. 1273-1285. 5 March (Tu) Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener," pp. 2330-2355, and Billy Budd, Sailor, Chaps. 1-8, pp.
7 March (Th) Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor, Chaps. 9-30, pp. 2448-2487.
12 March (Tu) Emerson, Nature, pp. 1073-1101.
14 March (Th) Emerson, "The Divinity School Address," pp. 1114-1126, and "Self-Reliance," pp. 1126-1143. 18-22 March: SPRING BREAK
26 March (Tu) Thoreau, "Resistance to Civil Government," pp. 1752-1767, and Walden, Chaps. 1 and 2, pp.
28 March (Th) Thoreau, Walden, Chaps. 12, 15, 16, and 18.
2 April (Tu) EXAMINATION II.
4 April (Th) Videotape on Walt Whitman. Whitman, "Live Oak, with Moss," pp. 2146-2150, and "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," pp. 2156-2161.
9 April (Tu) Whitman, "Song of Myself," pp. 2198-2241.
11 April (Th) Whitman, "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," pp. 2161-2165, "The Wound-Dresser," pp. 2172-2173, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," pp. 2175-2181, and "There Was a Child Went Forth," pp. 2181-2182; Thorpe, "The Big Bear of Arkansas," pp. 1740-1748.
16 April (Tu) Jacobs, from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, pp. 1719-1739; and Douglass, "The Meaning
of July Fourth for the Negro," pp. 2057-2076.
18 April (Th) Wilson, Our Nig (separate paperback).
23 April (Tu) Wilson, Our Nig (review); Dickinson, #s 49, 67, 214, 216, 249, and 303.
25 April (Th) Dickinson, #s 324, 435, 465, 501, 520, 712, 754, and 1732.
30 April (Tu) Davis, "Life in the Iron-Mills," pp. 2534-2560.
2 May (Th) Alcott, "Transcendental Wild-Oats," pp. 2562-2573; and Spofford, "Circumstance," pp. 2574-2584.
9 May (Th) EXAMINATION III. (at regular exam time scheduled--8-10 a.m.)
Harper, "The Two Offers" (handout or online short story?).
Occasional Reading Quizzes
Critical Research Paper (6-8 typed, doublespaced pages)
GRADE DETERMINATION SCALE
Reader's Journal 15%
Daily Work 10%
Research Project 20%
GRADE EQUIVALENTS AND GRADING SCALE
A = 90-100 B = 80-89 C = 70-79 D = 60-69 F = 59 and Below
A+ 99 A 96 A- 92 B+ 88 B 85 B- 82 C+ 78 C 75 C- 72 D+ 68 D 65 D- 62
Students are expected to demonstrate their interest in the course by regular classroom attendance and frequent participation in classroom activities. At the end of the course, the instructor will give you a grade for participation based on these criteria. Your attendance patterns will affect your participation grade. Students who are not in class are not participating and will therefore be judged accordingly. Once you have missed more than two weeks of class (6 class periods), your participation grade for the course will be lowered one letter grade per class day absent.
CONFERENCES AND OFFICE VISITS WITH THE INSTRUCTOR
You are strongly encouraged to visit the instructor's office frequently and discuss questions and other concerns about the course at any time. I will be happy to offer constructive advice on how to approach the major requirements of the course and how to improve over the semester. When working on the outside papers for the course, you are welcome to see me about your draft(s). I am here to help you--not harm you. CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR AND ATTITUDE
Students are expected to come to class regularly, to have their textbooks with them, to bring pen and paper, to show respect for others, and to participate in discussions in a manner which is courteous toward others. When
you wish to disagree with a fellow student or the instructor, please do so in a congenial way if at all possible. You may be asked to leave for failure to cooperate in these and other ways.
You will have frequent daily quizzes to test your familiarity with the reading assignments from your textbooks and course handouts. As a motivational tool, quizzes should enable you to do well in the course by encouraging you to keep up with the assignments. Furthermore, by preparing you for class discussions, they will assist the instructor in helping the class run smoothly.
Occasionally, you will be asked to write reaction papers on the assigned readings and class discussions. These will be graded on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the highest, and each averaged into the course grade based on the letter grade equivalent (5 = A; 4 = B; 3 = C; 2 = D; 1 = F; 0 = 0).
If you keep up with the assignments, you should have no problem having a high grade for daily work. Depending partially on the number of quizzes and other daily assignments you complete in the course, I will drop the lowest one or two grades before computing your final average. Regardless of the reason, you may make up only one daily quiz; after that, you will be given a grade of zero (0) for missed work. LATE ASSIGNMENTS AND MAKEUP WORK
Unless there are extenuating circumstances explained explicitly to the instructor before the missed deadline, all late work will be penalized one letter grade per calendar day late. This policy applies not only to major papers but also to any daily work, including reaction papers.
You will not be allowed to take a make-up examination without a bona fide doctor's excuse for illness or a copy of the obituary for a death in the immediate family. In any case, you should notify the instructor before missing an examination to find out whether a make-up can be arranged. All makeup work is at the discretion of the instructor.
PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING
Plagiarism and cheating are serious forms of dishonesty which call into question your commitment to your education. The current catalog of Southeast Missouri State University discusses the problem of cheating and academic honesty. You should be familiar with the policies and procedures concerning the university's handling of the problem. You are also expected to abide by university policies regarding academic honesty as stated in the student handbook.
Plagiarism is assuming credit for work that is not your own. This issue is especially important when you write papers in this course. Failure to document all information which is not your own in a proper manner is a form of plagiarism. You are expected to know and use the MLA Format for documentation in this course. The best advice I can give you when in doubt about whether to document is to give credit. Plagiarism cases will be handled on a case-by-case basis, but generally, the student will receive an "F" on the assignment for the first offense and an "F" in the course for a second offense.