Honors American Literature


Welcome to Honors Junior English! I look forward to a wonderful year, exploring American Literature and its intellectual, spiritual, and cultural depth. This course requires commitment, perseverance, and always, the confidence that all things are possible through Christ. The work we do this year is a springboard into Advanced Placement Senior English. Moreover, it is my hope that all ideals and insights into the works we study and discuss will help prepare beyond the high school years and into the future.

This course is a survey of American literature. The focus is on literary texts in their historical contexts, as seen from a chronological perspective. Students will identify literary movements, and examine authors and their works as they are shaped by a constantly evolving national identity. The curriculum will include the birth of American literature through Post-Modernism, and the pace will be rapid as we attempt to cover as much as possible. The course is meant to impart insight into the American experience, as well as give students a secure foundation and literary base for transitioning into Advanced Placement coursework their senior year. Creative work is included, but emphasis is placed on the precise, well-documented analytical essay. Furthermore, techniques used in other essay types, such as those used in persuasive and argumentative essays, will be examined and implemented; therefore, this course demands constant attention to revision for clarity, conciseness, and when appropriate, textual evidence. In both class discussions and compositions, students will apply critical literary terminology and articulate the distinguishing features of each literary genre. Assignments require at least four hours of homework per week, not including time spent on long-term reading assignments.

By the end of the year, I hope that we have discovered together the meaning of the following questions:

  1. What is literature?
  2. What is American literature?
  3. What does American literature reveal about the following subjects: identity and existence, relationship of the individual to community, racial/gender issues, socio-economic status and the American Dream, secular vs. biblical views of man, and man’s need to question.

The TextEdit

The organization of this course is mainly based on the text American Literature, by Bob Jones UP, and The Norton Anthology of American Literature - Sixth edition, both of which include introductions to each historical division.

Supplemental textsEdit

The following is a list of supplemental novels we will be considering throughout the year. During spring semester, students will read the assigned novels as well as one of their choice from the optional list below.The optional novel will have to be purchased on an individual basis, and although students are free to purchase the other assigned novels on their own, they are available for purchase through the library at a discounted rate (excluding The Scarlet Letter which students should have a copy of by the first week of school – any edition is fine). If purchased independently, please check with me so that the publishing company and edition are consistent with the ones we are using.

Fall SemesterEdit

  1. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne (All students need to have a copy of The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, by our first meeting.)
  2. Billy Budd – Herman Melville
  3. Spoon River Anthology – Edgar Lee Masters
  4. Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton

Spring SemesterEdit

  1. As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
  2. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

Optional listEdit

Choose one of the following

  1. Sula- Toni Morrison
  2. The Bonesetter's Daughter- Amy Tan
  3. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
  4. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  5. Thirteen Moons - Charles Frazier
  6. A Lesson Before Dying- Ernest Gaines

If, as a parent, you feel that any of the selected works are inappropriate reading for your son or daughter, please indicate the need to discuss an alternative reading on the attached permission slip. Please be aware that although all of the above are novels of literary merit, many of the works listed contain some profane language and/or pejorative terms. If you would like to discuss any of these works, please provide a short note with a way to contact you on the permission slip.

Evaluation and gradingEdit

This course is based on a point system. The amount of points possible for an assignment will vary, depending on its significance to the class; however, the following is a general guideline:

  • Major test – 100 -200 points
  • Essay writing assignments – 50 -100 points
  • Projects – 50- 100 points
  • Quizzes and homework – 10 – 50 points


Class will follow the discipline guidelines outlined in the Student Handbook

Course Scope and SequenceEdit

Fall SemesterEdit

  • Early American Literature
    • Literature of Settlement
    • Literature of Religious Experience
    • Literature of Revolution
  • American Romanticism
    • Knickerbockers
    • New England School
    • Transcendental Optimists
    • Transcendental Pessimists

Spring SemesterEdit

  • American Realism and Naturalism
    • Regionalists
    • Realism
    • The Fugitives
    • Naturalists
    • Anti - Naturalists
  • Modern American Literature
    • Modern poetry
    • Modern prose
    • Harlem Renaissance
    • Lost Generation
  • Post Modern Literature
    • The Confessionals
    • Literature of Vietnam war
ELCA JUNIOR CLASSES Main Page A.P. US History Honors ChemistryHonors EnglishHonors Pre-Calculus)Honors Spanish II Bible 11ChemistryEnglish 11Spanish IITrigonometryUS History

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