EE 51 English Eleven
Office Hours: 2:15-3:30
I. Course Objectives
- To convey to students
a familiarity with and interest in the field of American literature.
- To encourage students
to consider the ways in which literature brings a unique perspective to
the study of history, and conversely, how literary texts are products of
distinct historical periods.
- To give students an
awareness of and appreciation for the experiences of earlier Americans.
- To teach and reinforce
basic reading and writing skills.
- To emphasize grammar
skills and vocabulary-building through the reading and writing process.
- To provide a classroom
environment in which students may test their ideas against those of
their classmates through informal discussion and traditional public
- To assist students
with the process of analyzing a text from multiple perspectives,
grasping a writer’s main idea, and defending a thesis using persuasive
- To help students
develop a sense of the responsibilities of citizenship.
- To make students aware
of the vast diversity of voices that compose
the American past.
- To aid students in the
discovery of a personal voice and a personal connection to the American
- To allow students to
utilize various multimedia for research, writing projects and
II. Major Texts
- The Tempest by William Shakespeare
- The Autobiography of
by Benjamin Franklin
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Maggie: A Girl of the
by Stephen Crane
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
- Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McRaney
- Grammar for Writing Sadlier-Oxford
- Vocabulary Workshop H by Jerome Shostak
In addition to the books listed above, xeroxed
materials are distributed as required reading. These include scholarly
articles, documents, poems, selections from longer works, and short
III. Scope and Sequence
This course is framed in intellectual history
and initiates the study of the American experience with background review of
key moments in the history of ideas. The courses primary themes will be first
explored in Shakespeare's The Tempest. From this starting point, the
course proceeds chronologically, examining the political, social, and
cultural attitudes, events and developments within the intellectual movements
of the Enlightenment, Neoclassicism, Transcendentalism, Realism, Modernism,
and Post-Modernism, and traces the evolution of contemporary issues which
grew out of these sources.
The course is designed to engage students in the process of formulating
hypotheses out of their reading of documentary materials, and testing those
hypotheses in classroom discussions, formal debates, analytical essays,
stylistic writing imitations, and oral and written testing. American literary
works are studied for both form and theme, and attention is given to the ways
in which these two literary elements are fused to build an organic whole.
Consideration is also given to the ways American literature reflects, in both
theme and form, the world view of a specific time period, as well as the ways
in which literature helps to shape social, political and philosophical
movements at various times in history.
Throughout the course of the year, the teacher will try to return to several
“touchstone” questions, whose purpose is to provide students with familiar
points of reference, and to point toward an understanding of the elusive
character of American identity. Examples of those questions include:
- In what ways has the
American experience been unique in world history?
- How have we met the
challenge of framing an Enlightened government?
- What is the meaning of
- To what extent do our
nation’s liberal ideals square with the real injustices of our past?
- How has the
relationship between capitalists and workers weathered the strains of
- What is the
relationship in American society between authority and liberty?
- To what extent has
America exercised a moral as well as economic and military influence on
the events of the twentieth century?
V. Methods of Instruction
- Classroom discussion
- Small group work
- Team Projects
- Peer review of paper
drafts/Gilman Writing Center
- Library research
- Reading guides and
- Close reading in class
- One-on-one tutorials
(I am available during 5th period every day in the classroom.)
- Field trips
VI. Methods of Evaluation
- Content Quizzes
- Short essays
(analytical and creative)
- Stylistic imitations
- “Reflection” writing
- Team Research projects
VII. Sensitive Language in Texts and Discussion
regard to any sensitive language we may encounter in the texts we read
together in this course, we will practice a policy in keeping with John
Stuart Mill’s understanding of liberty. Mill states in his essay
“On Liberty” that “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully
exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will,
is to prevent harm to others.” In other words, we all have the
right to swing our arms, but someone else can tell us to stop doing so
out of concern for the safety of someone else. Therefore, out of
concern for others, we will refrain from reading out loud any slur or
other language infused with dehumanizing intent.
my classroom, I seek to create a culture where all students can think
for themselves and voice their ideas while feeling safe. My
intention in placing boundaries on the sorts of words we speak aloud in
our classroom is rooted in my concern for each of my students’
wellbeing. That said, we should, when appropriate, take advantage
of the unique opportunity an English classroom provides as a space to
engage language and build understanding about a word’s various impacts