M 7:00-9:45 p.m.
Room: G-238 (SCC)

COURSE TITLE: American Literature I



INSTRUCTOR: Professor Audra Heaslip
Phone: 972-516-5090
Mail Folder Location: B103 (SCC)
Office Hours: By appointment



    Paperback. 7th Edition. ISBN-10: 0393929930, ISBN-13: 978-0393929935


      A student may repeat this course only once after receiving a grade, including W.

      CATALOG DESCRIPTION: The study of major writers from the Colonial period to the beginning of the Civil War. Analysis and evaluation of these works in their historical, cultural, and social contexts, and the study of their contributions to the growth of American literature.



          COURSE FORMAT: Class discussion, lecture, audio-visual presentation, student presentations, inter-disciplinary and/or inter-cultural presentations, study and research for presentations and papers, conferences.

          METHOD OF EVALUATION: Each student’s grades carry the following weight:

          Exam 1
          150 points
          Exam 2
          150 points
          Quizzes (5 at 20 points each)
          100 points
          Response Papers (5 at 40 points each)
          200 points
          Oral Presentation
          100 points
          Research Paper
          150 points
          Final Exam
          150 points


          1000 points

          GRADING SCALE:

          A 900-1000 points
          B 800-899 points
          C 700-799 points
          D 600-699 points
          F below 600 points

          GRADING PHILOSOPHY: Your grade in this class is determined cumulatively, NOT averaged. Points earned for each assignment are added together throughout the semester to reach a total of 1000 points. For letter equivalents, see grading scale.

          EXTRA CREDIT: You can earn extra credit in this class in several ways:

          1. Good attendance: Any student with 1 or fewer absences for the semester will earn
          10 bonus points toward his/her final grade.

          2. Extra writing: You may do one extra response paper for 25 bonus points.

          ATTENDANCE POLICY: Students should attend every class, take notes and participate in class, keep up with the reading and study, and stay in touch with the instructor when unavoidable situations arise. Students should never miss class to finish an assignment or take a test for another class or work on an overdue assignment during class time.

          In the event of an unavoidable absence, consult the course calendar for the reading and study assignment. Check with a classmate for notes. Like most instructors, I do not provide summaries in response to “what did I miss” e-mails.

          After two absences, the student’s final grade will be affected (twenty points penalty for each absence beyond two). Work will not be accepted from students who have missed more than three weeks of the semester. Attendance includes being on time and staying the entire class session.

          MAKE-UP/ LATE POLICY: Late work or make-up work receives a twenty percent penalty. No work will be accepted more than one class day late unless the student has contacted the instructor, made special arrangements, and provided appropriate documentation.

          CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE: To keep distractions to a minimum, please be on time for class and turn off all cell phones and other electronic devices. In the event of an unavoidable tardy, please enter quietly and take a seat at the back of the classroom. Your classmates (and you) have paid for the course and they are here to learn. Those who do not respect the learning environment should not be in the class.

          LAST DAY TO WITHDRAW: Friday, October 16, 2009

          RELIGIOUS HOLY DAYS: Students should refer students to Section 2 Policies and Procedures, Sub-section 2.23 Religious Holy Days in the current CCCCD Student Handbook.

          AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMPLIANCE: It is the policy of Collin County Community College to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals who are students with disabilities. This College will adhere to all applicable Federal, State and local laws, regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as required to afford equal educational opportunity. It is the student's responsibility to contact the ACCESS Office of Disability Services (G200 at the Spring Creek Campus) or call 972-881-5898 (TDD-881-5950) in a timely manner to arrange for appropriate accommodations.

          ACADEMIC ETHICS: Students should refer to the Student Code of Conduct, Section 7-1.3 of the CCCCD Student Handbook for the college policy on Scholastic Dishonesty and the disciplinary proceedings that may be initiated for plagiarism, cheating, and/or collusion. Faculty are required to report students suspected of scholastic dishonesty to the Dean of Students.


            D224 (upstairs in library).

              Go to:
              and click on “Online Review.”

                STUDENT EVALUATION OF INSTRUCTION: Collin County Community College seeks to improve the learning experience of all students. To assist in evaluating courses, students will be requested to complete an “Evaluation of Instruction” form near the end of the semester.

                The instructor reserves the right to amend this syllabus as necessary. Students will be informed of any changes.

                Course Content and Calendar – Fall 2009:
                8/24 Syllabus. Reading and note-taking strategies. Introduction in text, (pp. 1-14). “O brave new world” and our American literary heritage. What are the historical contexts? What ideas today were shaped by those who came before us?

                [Note: The course will concentrate on writers whose works were widely read and
                thus influential in their lifetimes.]

                8/31 Early impressions of the New World that were widely published in Europe:

                Christopher Columbus (pp. 31-35),
                Bartolome de las Casas (35-39)
                Cabeza de Vaca (pp. 40-48),
                Thomas Harriot (pp. 48-55), and
                Captain John Smith (pp. 55-72)

                We will look at a few selected passages from the pages above to give you an idea of
                the portrait of the New World that was presented to the Old World in Europe by
                these widely-read accounts. Look for passages to answer these questions:

                What is the portrait of the land and its bounty?
                What is the portrait of the native Indian peoples?

                We’ll also discuss Spanish contact in the New World and the story of La Malinche
                and the conquest of the Aztec people.

                9/07 No class – Labor Day Holiday

                9/14 The Puritan Experiment – William Bradford of Plymouth Colony, established 1620.

                What do we learn from Bradford’s thirty-year history “Of Plimouth Colony”? Read
                excerpt from Bradford’s “Historie,” (pp. 104-126).

                What do you learn about Puritan beliefs? The Mayflower voyage? The colony? The
                hardships? Indian relations? The first “thanksgiving”?

                John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, his bio (pg. 147) and journal (pp.
                158-167) about the unusual case of Anne Hutchinson.

                Why did the Puritans write such detailed journals and histories throughout the 1600s? Anne Bradstreet (pp. 187-188) and her poems “The Prologue” (188), “The Author to Her Book” (204), and “To My Dear and Loving Husband” (206). America’s first published poet is a woman in the mid 1600s! What does this devout Puritan lady write about? What are her topics, themes, images, memorable lines? We’ll look at a few selected passages in her poems, some of them quite intimate.

                What do we learn about Puritan beliefs and her life in the new world? Her poems were the first published poems by a resident of the new world. First published in London in 1650, they were widely read. Do you think she believed in the Puritan experiment? Do you think that perhaps in the new world she felt more “free” to write, considering the accepted view in Europe about the role of women?

                Mary Rowlandson’s capture by Indians (pp. 235-247, through the eighth remove). What portrait of American Indians is presented in this widely published (in 1682) and popular narrative by this devout New England lady? How does she describe her captivity? Note: A “remove” is a change of place and thus each section of her narrative is called “the first remove,” “the second remove,” etc., as she is forced to travel with the Indians. How do you think her widely-read portrait affected the attitude of settlers toward Indians for generations to come?

                9/21 Samuel Sewall, bio (pp. 288-289), and “The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial” (pp.
                303-306). Written in 1700, this was the first antislavery tract written in America.

                Cotton Mather writes a history of New England from 1620 to 1698 (pub. 1702).
                The excerpt from Cotton Mather’s “A People of God in the Devil’s
                Territories,” (pp. 307-313) tells about the famous case of Martha Carrier in Salem,
                Massachusetts, in 1692. What do you know about Salem in 1692? Perhaps you
                have read Arthur Miller’s
                The Crucible.

                Robert Calef, skeptic of the Salem witch trials: read bio and response to Cotton
                Mather, titled “More Wonders of the Invisible World” (pp. 334-342).

                Read Norton introduction to American Literature 1700-1820, (pp. 357-367).

                Jonathan Edwards (384-386) was a fire and brimstone preacher seeking to revive
                religious fervor that he thought was lost in New England. We’ll look at a few
                passages from his sermon preached in 1741, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry
                God,” (pp. 425-436). At first he converted many people with this kind of
                preaching, but eventually he was thrown out of his church. Based on their writings,
                what do you think Bradford and Winthrop and other Puritans would have thought
                of Edwards’ preaching? What do you think Benjamin Franklin, a contemporary of
                Edwards, thought of his preaching?

                9/28 Let’s jump several generations forward and look at a Puritan descendant, Nathaniel Hawthorne (bio pp. 1272-1275), a major figure in American literature because of his novels (he called them “romances”) and short stories, many of which are set in Puritan New England in the 1600s. Why, in the mid-1800s, did Hawthorne dwell on the issues of America’s beginnings in Puritan New England?

                Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown” (pp. 1289-1298). What are the Puritan elements in this story about a young man’s journey into the forest? Is Hawthorne fair to his Puritan ancestors?

                Also read “The Birth-Mark” (pp. 1320-1332).

                Highlights of The Scarlet Letter (read chapters I-VIII, pp. 1377-1415). What is Hester Prynne’s situation as the story opens? When and where is the story set? Where are Hester and her child being led? Why? Who is Master Dimmesdale? What is Hester’s trade or “handiwork”? How is Pearl described? Why does Hester go to the Governor’s hall? What happens there?

                What themes or “messages” reappear in Hawthorne’s stories? What were American’s “sins” in the 1800s? Did their roots go back to the 1600s and 1700s?

                10/05 Exam 1 – The explorers, Puritans, and Hawthorne

                10/12 Writers of the 1700s: emerging ideas about slavery, the treatment of Indians, the “new race of man,” and independence. Let’s briefly touch on these writers and the contributions they made.

                Native American writers: intro (pp. 437-438), Pontiac (438-440), Red Jacket (445-
                447), Tecumseh (447-449).

                Samson Occom (pp. 440-443), one of the earliest Native American writers and preachers. Scan his “Short Narrative of My Life.” What injustices does he record?

                Olaudah Equiano, bio and chapters I-IV of his “Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, the African, Written by Himself” (pp. 674-693). What information does he share about his life in Africa and his capture and transport on a slave ship? Scan his widely-read narrative. Whom does he blame for allowing the injustices of slavery?

                Phillis Wheatley, bio (pp. 751-752). What is her message in her poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America”? (pp. 752-753). Read her tribute (pp. 761-762) “To His Excellency General Washington” (written in 1776). Why is she praising George Washington? Why did the American Revolution give hope to Black people? Also read “To Rev. Samson Occom” (pp. 763-764).

                John Woolman bio (pp. 587-588) and his journal (588-595). How did Woolman’s childhood experiences shape him into a more moral person? What are his views on slavery?

                **Note: Friday, 10/16 is the last day to withdraw in the Registrar’s Office.

                10/19 Benjamin Franklin bio (pp. 449-451) and his essay “The Way to Wealth” (pp. 451-457), composed for the 25th anniversary of his Poor Richard’s Almanac, an American classic in his lifetime, filled with maxims for achieving wealth and preaching hard work and thrift. Also read the excerpt from Franklin’s Autobiography, part two only (pp. 518-534).

                J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur bio (pp. 595-596) and the third letter from his
                Letters from an American Farmer titled “What is an American?” (pp.
                596-605), widely published in 1782 after his travels in America. What is his
                observation and prediction about “this new race of man”?

                Thomas Paine (pp. 629-630) and the excerpt from his pamphlet
                Common Sense
                (pp. 630-637). Excerpts from these popular pamphlets were read to the
                Revolutionary soldiers to shore up their morale and inspire them to fight for
                freedom from British tyranny. What is perhaps Paine’s most famous line? Have
                Paine’s ideas been relevant at other times in American history?

                Thomas Jefferson (pp. 649-657) and his draft of the Declaration of Independence.
                What specific elements of Thomas Paine’s writing are reflected in the Declaration?

                ***Proposal for research papers due. Sign up for time/date of oral presentation.

                10/26 Lydia Marie Child bio (pp. 1078-1081) and selections from Letters from New York:
                Letter I (pp. 1081-1083), Letter XIV (pp. 1083-1087), Letter XXXIV (pp.
                1096-1100), and Letter XXXVI (pp. 1100-1106). What do we learn about the
                differences between the supporters of women’s rights and the common beliefs
                about “race”?

                Judith Sargent Murray (pp. 724-725) and her essay “On the Equality of the Sexes” (pp. 726-733). What are her arguments about the strengths of women?

                Fanny Fern (pp. 1792-1794) and the articles “Aunt Hetty on Matrimony” (pp.
                1794-1795), “Hungry Husbands” (pp. 1795-1796), and “Male Criticism on Ladies’
                Books” (pp. 1799-1800).

                Scan Norton introduction to volume B, (pp. 929-950).

                Washington Irving (pp. 951-953) and his fanciful short story “Rip Van
                Winkle” (pp. 953-965). What major event did Rip miss by sleeping for twenty
                years? What is a “counter-hero”? Why were Irving’s stories so popular in his day?

                11/02 Harriet Beecher Stowe (pp. 1698-1701) and her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin,
                published in 1852. Read only Chapters I, III, and VII (pp. 1701-1721). Upon
                meeting Mrs. Stowe, President Lincoln supposedly said, “So you are the little lady
                who started this big war!” What is her portrayal of slavery? Why did it touch the
                American conscience? Who are the major characters? How are they portrayed?

                Angelina E. Grimké, from “Appeal to the Christian Women of the South” (pp.

                Sojourner Truth, Speech to the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, 1851
                (pp. 1695-1696).

                Harriet Jacobs, from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Read Chapters I, VII, and
                X (pp. 1808-1819).

                Frederick Douglass (pp. 2060-2064) and excerpt from an 1852 speech, “What to
                the Slave is the Fourth of July?” (pp. 2140-2143).

                Oral presentations 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

                11/09 Major Test 2 – Native Americans, Slavery/Slave Trade, writers of the 1700s,
                Franklin, Paine, Jefferson, Douglass, Jacobs, Beecher Stowe

                Oral presentations 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

                11/16 Ralph Waldo Emerson (pp. 1106-1110) and Chapters I-IV of his essay Nature (pp. 1110-1122).

                Emerson’s Concord group: Hawthorne, Thoreau, the Alcotts, and others.

                Henry David Thoreau (pp. 1853-1857) on civil disobedience (pp. 1857-1872). His existence at Walden Pond.

                Margaret Fuller (pp. 1637-1640) and an excerpt from her work “The Great Lawsuit. Man versus Men. Woman versus Women” (pp. 1640-1655).

                Oral presentations 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

                11/23 Edgar Allan Poe (pp. 1528-1532), “The Fall of the House of Usher” (pp.
                1553-1565) and “Philosophy of Composition” (pp. 1617-1625).

                Emily Dickinson (pp. 2554-2558) and her poems “‘Faith’ is a fine invention” (pg. 2561), “I heard a Fly buzz – when I died” (pp. 2579-2580), “This World is not Conclusion” (pg. 2572), “Because I could not stop for Death” (pg. 2578) and “Much Madness is divinest Sense - ” (pg. 2581).

                Oral presentations 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

                11/30 ***Research Paper due.

                Walt Whitman biography (pp. 2190-2195) and his poems “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (pp. 2263-2267) “Live Oak, with Moss” (pp. 2296-2300), selection from “Song of Myself” (stanzas 1-14 only, pp. 2210-2219).

                Herman Melville (pp. 2304-2308) and his “wicked book” Moby Dick (intro and
                excerpt pp. 2320-2342 up to Ch. 41).

                What is “wicked” about this story of hunting a whale? Why is it tragic? Melville
                seems to make the whale highly symbolic. What is the nature of the white whale?

                Oral presentations 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

                12/07 Final Exam: Emerson through Melville. 7:00 – 9:45 p.m. (in classroom)

                Congratulations! You have finished the course. I hope you have enjoyed it!

                Critical Thinking / Response Papers

                Over the course of the semester you will be required to write five response papers that can earn up to 40 points each, for a total of 200 points (20% of your final grade).

                The response papers should be no fewer than two full pages, typed and double-spaced, with standard fonts, font sizes, and MLA-style heading and page numbers. Papers that fall short will be penalized. You do not need to bring in outside sources for your response papers, but if you choose to do so you should appropriately document them on a Works Cited page. For the class textbook, no works cited page is required; just indicate the page number in your writing (using parentheses, MLA-style) so I can refer back to the book. It should look like this in your paper:

                Text text text text text (Rowlandson 241).

                Response papers can be written on a particular
                author, work, or theme pertaining to the material covered in a single class. For example, for class scheduled for discussion on Hawthorne, you could focus your response paper on Nathaniel Hawthorne himself, on one of the stories on the syllabus for that day such as “Young Goodman Brown,” or on a theme in one of Hawthorne’s works, such as “Hawthorne’s portrayal of Puritan hypocrisy.”

                When choosing a topic, be sure to plan ahead. The response paper for a class topic is due the class we cover that material. So, if you write about Hawthorne, you need to have your response paper ready to turn in by the day we’re scheduled to discuss him. This allows you to provide a fresh, original perspective of your own in preparation for class, to which other ideas will be added later. Besides, I want to read what your ideas were before class discussion.

                When planning your response, keep two things in mind: 1.) Offer your personal reaction or “take” on the topic and 2.) Use
                at least three or four examples of textual evidence to explain and support your ideas. Textual evidence may include direct quotes or paraphrases; all need to be cited with page numbers. (This is also great practice for writing literary papers, for anyone who is considering continuing studies in literature.)

                I will look for
                both of these elements when grading your response papers.

                Extra Credit: You may choose to write one extra response paper for 25 bonus points.

                Research Paper Guidelines

                The research paper is worth 150 points, or 15% of your final grade. It is due on our last regular day of class.

                The research paper should be a minimum of six full pages and a maximum of eight pages, typed and double-spaced, with standard fonts, font sizes, and MLA-style heading and page numbers (Times New Roman size 12). You should appropriately document any outside sources you choose to use according to MLA format. ***Papers that fall short of six full pages will not be accepted.

                Your topic can be on a particular
                work, or theme pertaining to any material covered in class or listed on the syllabus. If you want to write about a topic from the same period in American literature that is not listed, please check with me first.

                Your proposal for the research paper is due October 19, 2009.

                The CCCCD Libraries

                (Also click on “For Students” for research and writing tips)

                Project Muse, MLA Bibliography, JSTOR, Gale Database, Contemporary Authors, etc., and Academic Search Premier are excellent databases for
                literature articles. America: History and Life, Academic Search Premier, and JSTOR are some of the best electronic databases for articles on American history. (My personal favorites are JSTOR, Gale, and Project Muse. The Contemporary Authors and Criticism is also a Gale Group database.) Don’t forget newspaper databases such as Infotrac and image databases such as ARTSTOR may also be helpful to you.

                The CCCCD Writing Center – At SCC, upstairs in the library, D224

                Monday – Thursday 9:00a.m.-8:00 p.m.
                Friday 9:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

                Online help with writing

                A thorough guide to using MLA, free on the web from Diana Hacker, writer of many college-level writing guides

                A great website for writing, research, and documentation, from basic to advanced levels.

                An online source that explains MLA style AND if you give it your documentation notes it builds works cited entries for you.

                Oral Presentation Guidelines

                The oral presentation is worth 100 points, or 10% of the total grade.

                Each student will prepare a brief presentation of
                no more than five minutes to be delivered in class during one of the assigned times. It is extremely important to adhere to the time limit as we have limited class time to devote to this project.

                Requirements for presentation:

                        Tips for a successful presentation:

                              Oral presentations will be given from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. during the last five class sessions. Everyone in the class will have the opportunity to sign up for a presentation time and date. If you are absent that day, you may email me your time request. I must receive all requests by October 19; otherwise, I will assign you a presentation time.

                              On 10/26 I will bring in the “master copy” of the presentation schedule. If you are unable to keep your appointment, let me know as soon as you can.

                              ******* PLEASE PRINT, SIGN BELOW, AND TURN IN TO INSTRUCTOR ********

                              I have read the above syllabus, received a verbal explanation of its main ideas, and understand its contents.

                              I have also read the above brief explanation of plagiarism, collusion, and other forms of scholastic dishonesty. I understand what it is and am aware of the consequences if I should be guilty of it either intentionally or unintentionally.

                              __________ ____________________________________
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                              NAME (PRINT)