South High English --- South High Clock Tower

American Literature and Composition 1 

Course Syllabus -- Fall Semester 2003

Ms. Rinaldi

Room 204
(303)698-6100 ext. 21411

American Literature I  is a required course for graduation in the Denver Public School system.  Because each student must succeed in the class in order to graduate, the course is designed to be comprehensive and it is expected that all students will work diligently. 

            The Fall semester class covers American Literature from Native American mythology through the end of the 19th century.  Essays, public documents, folklore, poetry, short stories, novels and plays are all examined in the context of historical events and human experience.  It is essential that we make the connection between life and literature, and understand how the writersí environments and circumstances influenced their work.

In addition to the literature covered in this course, there is a strong writing component, and students will be encouraged to write a great deal.  While the focus will be on mastering the skills of formal and analytical writing, there is also opportunity for poetry and creative work.  The required projects in each 9-week period are designed to focus student effort on specific, practical forms of writing.

First Marking Period:

In the first 9 weeks Native American mythology, European exploration, Pilgrim experience and Puritanical New England will be explored and the period leading to the American Revolution will be carefully examined. The political events of the time are powerfully represented by the writings of the emerging nationís philosophers and poets, politicians and revolutionaries.   In addition, we have the first writings from African-Americans that document their experiences as slaves in the land of Freedom.  (Settlement-1780ís)

      ∑        Creation and spirituality myths (Native American)|
        Poetry (Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Phyllis Wheatley, Philip Freneau, and others)
        Drama (The Crucible, Arthur Miller)
        Essays (Jonathan Edwards, Cotton Mather, William Bradford, Roger Williams, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, The Federalist)
      Public Documents (Declaration of Independence, Constitution)
      Correspondence (John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin)
      Autobiography (Olaudah Equiano, Benjamin Franklin)
        Musical (1776)
        Fiction (The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne)


1)  Family History with Genogram (3-4 pages) DUE SEPTEMBER 15th
2)  Biography of American Revolutionary (3-4 pages) DUE OCTOBER 6th

Second Marking Period:  

In the second  nine weeks we discover the emergence of American writers and poets who, with their work, describe and define the unique perspective and ideology of their new country.  For the first time, truly American stories show us a country discovering its own voice, and the events and turmoil of the Civil War reveal the darker truths, as well as the noble promise of the nation. Ultimately, writing after the Civil War definitively points American literature in a new direction. (1800-1900)

        Essays (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau)
        Speech (Abraham Lincoln)
        Poetry (William Cullen Bryant, Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson)
        Short Stories (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving, Stephen Crane)
        Fiction (Mark Twain, Kate Chopin)

1)   Recitation of Gettysburg Address  NOVEMBER 17th
2)   Literary Analysis of 19th century writer (3-4 pages) DUE DECEMBER 8th

Semester Work:  

VOCABULARY:  There are 4 vocabulary quizzes per marking period, and each quiz covers 20 words.  Quiz dates are always announced.

EXAMS:  There will be an exam at the end of each marking period covering the literature studied over the nine weeks.  These exams will be announced well in advance, and a review of the material will be conducted before each exam.

  This is a rigorous class, but I hope it will also be a fascinating one, and I want each and every student to succeed.   Please discuss all concerns regarding coursework with me so that we can work together toward your success.

Ms. Rinaldi's Syllabus Page

South English Faculty

South Reading and Writing Center

South High Gargoyle --- Click Here for the History of South High