American Literature and Composition

Thursday -
12:45 PM to 04:00 PM
Language Arts - High School
High School (9th-12th)

Conference/Extra Lab Time: 3:15-4:00(added to class time on the 3rd Tuesday each month)

Maximum 15 students

Corresponds to GA DOE #23.05100

  For Am. Lit. alone: $535/year; $275/semester
  $50 discount for those registered by August 1st.
  Includes a free study skills workshop for those registered by August 18.

Survey of American Literature (For further details about the course,

In this survey of American literature, students will journey through the 400 years of American writings: from Native American legends to post-modern innovations, from John Smith to John Updike. They will get "the scoop" on authors' lives and discuss what influenced the authors to write as they did. At each stop along the journey, students will investigate a variety of literary forms which include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, and mass media as they view the relationships between history, culture and the literature of each time period. Stops along the way will include visiting the salesmanship of the explorers and colonists, reading Poe by lantern light, traveling the Mississippi with Mark Twain, weaving tall tales, taking a field trip to the apartment whereGone with the Wind was written (ticket price included), acting out scenes, casting a movie, and even debating whether film should be considered literature.

Students will maintain notes on the works studied to develop a map or timeline as a final visual presentation of their journey through America's literary periods. A variety of creative and short expository writing assignments, such as advertising copy, poetry, news articles, and comparative essays will provide students the opportunity to synthesize what they learn. A field trip to the Margaret Mitchell House is included in the cost of the course as is a Study Skills Workshop the last week of August for those registered by August 1.

The conference/extra lab time from 3:15-4:00 will be a time during most weeks when students may meet with the instructor to ask questions and receive help on assignments or may meet with groups to work on assignments together. On the third Thursday of each month, the time will be added to the class time to watch a documentary or a movie taken from literature or hear a guest speaker prior to discussion.

The primary text, MacMillan`s American Literature (ISBN: 0-02-192680-8), is supplied by the instructor unless the students prefers to mark up the text, and then they will need to purchase it. Some supplementary selections will be assigned at times with the online link to them provided. Additional texts, which must be provided by the students, are

  • Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington (required summer reading)
  • Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain (fall semester)
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (spring semester)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee or A Separate Peace by John Knowles (student`s choice for spring semester)

The required summer reading assignment for all students will be sent upon receipt of registration. A list of suggested summer reading for extra credit will be available in May.

For Honors, in addition to the above, students will read

  • Gilead by Marylynne Robinson (summer reading)
  • The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (fall semester)
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (late fall, early spring semesters)

and write a research paper in the spring.