American Literature


From Course Expectations:

"Seniors in this year-long survey course will take a brief look at American literature and engage with pieces of writing in a thoughtful and analytical manner. Throughout the year, students will be exposed to a variety of writers, including both canonical and modern ones. Both poetry and prose will be studied; however, the short story form as well as poetry will be emphasized most. Students will be introduced to basics of analytical writing as well as to basics of elements of literary theory (Heidegger, Gadamer, Iser, Barthes). "

We're moving online!
(for the foreseeable future)

So, as the title suggests, we will not be meeting in room #26 (or room #17 if you're in 11B-2) starting 10/19/2020 and continuing as of 1/11/2021. All the assignments will be posted in Google Classroom. The instructions for submissions are also there. We are going to move forward with our usual VPQ homework. I will be helping you with the material on weekly Zoom meetings as I used to. Additionally, I have office hours: they are by appointment on Zoom. Since I work at school part-time, I will be able for office hours mostly on Wed or Fri. However, provided extenuating circumstances, I shall be glad to accommodate other times. If you have any additional questions or concerns please reach out to daniil [dot] ozernyi [at] gmail [dot] com!

Taught at Collegium #16 Fall-Spring 2020-21
(four sections: 11A-1, 11A-2, 11B-1, 11B-2)

Required texts:

  • American Literature: A Beginner's Anthology (2020)

  • a notebook or a copybook of your own choosing

Assessment criteria

In-class Discussion (max 6 points, 2 discussions combine to form one discussion grade)

You get

  • 1 you present a distraction to others or negatively affect class in other ways.

  • 2 if you did not open your mouth a single time.

  • 3 if your contributions are limited by "yes/no/maybe," and alike.

  • 4 if you contribute only marginally. You didn’t read the text, but you googled what it was about. You don’t ask meaningful questions or interpret the reading.

  • 5 if you contribute but ideas are not supported by the text. You might just say one thing or two, but then disengage from the conversation. You may repeat points that were already made, dominate discussion.

  • 6 if you positively enrich discussion with deep questions and/or interpretations of the readings. You quote text. You listen carefully and respond to others’ ideas perceptively. You do not dominate the discussion.

Homework: Vocabulary (max 3 points)

You get

  • 1 if you did not write anything.

  • 2 if you forgot definition(s), part of speech, or sentence.

  • 3 if you completed every part.

Homework: Paragraph (max 6 points)

You get

  • 1 if you did not write anything.

  • 2 if you wrote a paragraph, but it was impossible to understand because of grammatical/lexical mistakes, or your writing was irrelevant to the reading.

  • 3 if your writing had little to do with the text, or you did not analyse language, did not express your view on precise points, your writing is generic with the main point hard to discern.

  • 4 if your writing contained some ideas, but did not focus on one. Instead, it seemed to be a number of sentences piled together. The main point might be not discernible.

  • 5 if your writing was fine, but you wrote too little, or there is not enough analysis in your writing, or there are gross (significant) mistakes.

  • 6 if you did a great job, and your work is completed well.

Homework: Question (max 3 points)

You get

  • 1 if you did not write anything.

  • 2 if you had a question, but it was not analytical.

  • 3 if you did a great job and your question was good.

Full reading list: short prose

  • Flannery O’Connor: A Good Man Is Hard To Find, A Late Encounter With the Enemy, The River, Good Country People, Revelation, The Barber, The Displaced Person

  • Eudora Welty: A Worn Path, Why I Live at the P.O., Music from Spain

  • Tobias Wolff: Say Yes, Bullet in the Brain, Hunters in the Snow, Next Door

  • Edgar Allan Poe: A Cask of Amontillado, The Masque of Red Death, The Gold-Bug, The Pit and the Pendulum, Ligeia, The Bargain Lost, The Spectacles, William Wilson, The Fall of the House of Usher

  • William Faulkner: The Bear from Go Down, Moses, Dry September, That Evening Sun, A Rose for Emily, Knight’s Gambit

  • Jerome David Salinger: A Perfect Day for Bananafish, For Esmé—with Love and Squalor, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut

  • Ray Bradbury: A Sound of Thunder, The Veldt, The For Horn, The April Witch, There Will Come Soft Rains

  • Ernest Hemingway: Hills like White Elephants, Big Two-Hearted River, A Day's Wait, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

  • Ambrose Bierce: An Occurrence at the Owl Creek Bridge

  • James Baldwin: Sonny’s Blues, Notes of a Native Son, My Dungeon Shook: Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation, The Outing

  • Washington Irving: The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow

  • Jack London: Moon Face, To Build a Fire, The Law of Life, The White Silence

  • O. Henry: After Twenty Years, The Last Leaf, The Gift of the Magi, The Ransom of Red Chief, Makes the Whole World Kin

  • Sherman Alexie : Every Little Hurricane, A Drug Called Tradition, Leslie Marmon Silko, The Man to Send Rain Clouds

  • Louise Erdrich: Fleur

Full reading list: poetry

  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven, The Conqueror Worm, The Haunted Palace, The Bells, Eldorado, Annabel Lee, Ulalume – A Ballad, To --- (A Dream within a Dream), Evening Star

  • Henry W. Longfellow: The Arrow and the Song, Haunted Houses, The Rainy Day, Nature, The Cross of Snow

  • Robert Frost: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, The Road Not Taken, Fire and Ice, Mending Wall, The Death of a Hired Man

  • Emily Dickinson: Because I could not stop for Death, A Bird, came down the Walk, I heard a Fly buzz—when I died, “Hope” is the thing with feathers, I'm Nobody! Who are you?

  • Langston Hughes: Theme for English B, Mother to Son, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Dreams, The Weary Blues, Let America Be America Again, I, Too, Sing America, Harlem (Montage of a Dream Deferred)

  • Maya Angelou: Woman Work, When I Think About Myself, Africa, Caged Bird, Awaking in New York, Still I Rise

  • Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass

  • William B. Yeats: Lapis Lazuli, Death, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, Leda and the Swan

  • Gary Snyder: Axe Handlers

  • W.D. Snodgrass: A Campus on the Hill

  • Donald Hall: Ox Cart Man

  • Andrienne Rich: What Kind of Times Are These

  • Charles Suhor: Suppose Columbus

  • Mary Oliver: The Black Walnut Tree

  • Dr. Seuss: Sneetches on Beaches

  • Gwendolyn Brooks: We Real Cool

  • William Stafford: Traveling through the Dark

  • Sylvia Plath: The Everlasting Monday

  • W.E.B. Du Bois: My Country ’Tis of Thee