American Literature Texts
English III: American Literature, A Survey Course
What does American Literature cover?
American Literature is a college-preparatory chronological literature survey course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, and for their place in the historical development of American literature. Context readings provide background information about the author, the historical period, and the literary and artistic context of the focus work.
Students will gain an understanding of the development of American literature and will practice the skills of close literary analysis through essays, approach papers, and other evaluative writing. You may learn more about how I chose the literature for Excellence in Literature in How I Chose Books for Excellence in Literature .
American Literature: English 3
This American Literature Study guide is available for purchase at the Everyday Education website. In addition to the study guide, you will also need the focus texts for American Literature. These are the classic books your student will read.
There is also an honors track available for this course. You can view a list of the honors texts here.
By the end of this survey course, students will:
- Possess a broad knowledge of the history and development of American literature.
- Have specific understanding of selected representative texts by major authors of the periods studied.
- Have a general understanding of the historical and cultural context of the works.
- Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
- Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics.
- Demonstrate competence in the MLA style of source documentation
Focus Texts for American Literature
Unit 1: Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
Honors: The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson
Letters From An American Farmer by J. Hector St. John De Crèvecoeur
Unit 2: Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
and selected works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(Most of the assigned Longfellow material is included in the volume shown above, and the rest can be found on our website.)
Honors: The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., The Life of George Washington, or Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving
Unit 3: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Honors: The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper
Unit 4: The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Honors: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Walden by Henry David Thoreau (if you didn’t read it in English II)
Unit 5: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Honors: Billy Budd by Herman Melville
Unit 6: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Honors: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Unit 7: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
(Oxford World’s Classics edition or other; not Modern Library)
Honors: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Daisy Miller by Henry James
Unit 8: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Honors: My Antonia by Willa Cather
Unit 9: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Honors: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Note: Books listed in the table of contents above are focus texts only. Context and honors reading are assigned within each unit. You’ll find a list of the honors texts here.
Your student will need a good writer’s handbook in order to develop the habit of looking up things when a question arrises. Every professional writer and editor I have encountered has several handbooks, as each has a different focus and use; but for your student, one or two should be adequate. Here are two options:
Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers
This writer’s handbook has two parts. The first section provides detailed instructions on how to construct essays and arguments, and the second second is a manual of grammar, style, and usage. This is a book that will be useful from high school into college.
Catalog – Other levels of EIL
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