Survey of AMERICAN Literature(Senior English) Mr. Lawrence Benz & You
Course SYLLABUS a.k.a. The CURRICULUM
The CURRICULUM What we will be studying and doing. AREAS of GROWTH. Growth takes PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
CURRICULUM • READING • WRITING • VOCABULARY • ORAL LANGUAGE SKILLS • MULTI-MEDIA PROJECTS/ CREATIVE PRESENTATIONS • VARIOUS ACADEMIC SKILLS for college
READING . . . . . . a roughly chronological survey of American Literature from the 17th century through the 20th century. Active, engaged, and critical! Key Words: focused, underlining, annotating, thinking, questioning, journaling, reflecting, emoting (feeling).
READING ASSIGNMENTS will demand: General Comprehension Meta-Cognition (Self-Administered Comprehension Checks): “Do I understand what I just read?” Analytical Thought and Reasoning Critical Thinking Personal Response Vocabulary Growth Note-taking
WRITING. . . . . . at least some little something every day. Each semester students will write in a tightly-organized journal with committed sections for observations, analyses, questions, summaries, key words and concepts, and reflections (as directed for each reading assignment). ALSO, one long essay and one or more creative writing experiments per quarter. Key Words: organization, supporting details, writing process, editing, revision, research, publishable, responsible, original (honest)!
WRITING ASSIGNMENTS will demand: Reading Memory Thinking, both analytical and critical Organization Audience Awareness Generation of Original Ideas & Opinions Cultural Knowledge Cultural Criticism Exploration of Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles Personal Growth (Making Sense of Self, Others and World) Publish-ability: Professional Standards of Correctness
VOCABULARY I will provide you with a select list of vocabulary words from each text we read. I will expect you to master the words.
ORAL LANGUAGE SKILLS There will be routine conversation/discussion in class according to strict procedures. Perhaps the clinching element of class for many will come with the clarification, multiple perspectives, questions, answers and insights which we can share with each other in the verbal arena. During the year, each student will deliver one presentation related to course content but shaped by student interest. Oral language skills will be practiced all year through controlled, focused classroom discussion of reading texts. During these discussions, each student’s JOURNAL should be open and actively used as a resource for personal reference and a site of note-taking additions and refinements. Key Words: procedures, protocol, preparation, composure, rehearsal, audience awareness, visual aids, articulation, eye contact!
& OTHER IMPORTANT AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT • MULTI-MEDIA CREATIVITY • MULTI-MEDIA LEARNING AIDS (including movies!) • 21st – Century MEMORY STRATEGIES • Development of STUDY and ORGANIZA- TIONAL SKILLS
And NOTE-TAKING STRATEGIES The CORNELL NOTE-TAKING SYSTEM developed by Walter Pauk (an education professor at Cornell in the 1950’s)
Identification of your STRONG-est INTELLIGENCES According to MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE THEORY, we all have 8.5 different kinds of intelligence, but only three of them are well-developed in any average person. Every person has different strengths and weaknesses. What are your strongest intelligences?, and which do you need to develop through practice, practice, practice?!
8 ½ Multiple Intelligence Categories according to Howard Gardner Verbal-Linguistic Logical-Mathematical Bodily-Kinesthetic Musical-Rhythmic Interpersonal Intrapersonal Visual-Spatial Naturalistic Spiritualistic (1/2)
We will all take a MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES INVENTORY You will take a Multiple Intelligences Inventory to find out what your three or four strongest Intelligences are, and which are your weakest and most in need of practice! Tap into your many intelligences and become more well-rounded and complete as a learner, creator, and professional doer.
And NOW Here’s the stuff that we will be READING about, TALKING about, LISTENING to, WATCHING, as a way of thinking about LIFE OURSELVES OUR VALUES and of developing skills as Learners.
A Quick Glance at the History of American Literature READING MANLY STUFF! HERE WE GO!
Before the White European came to North America… a variety of beautiful Native American tribes and cultures . . . many of them nomadic, some of them peaceful and quiet, some of them fierce warrior cultures. . . all of them with traditions, stories, and values which were eventually overwhelmed and eclipsed by European civilization.
The Iroquois Creation Story& Pima Stories of the Creation of the World “The Story of the Creation” “The Story of the Flood”
After the White Europeancame to North America . . . “Broken spears lie in the road; we have torn our hair in our grief. The houses are roofless now, and their walls are red with blood.” --written by the Aztecs after the fall of their capital to Cortes and the vicious helmeted Spaniards
American Literature up to 1700:The RELIGIOUS Self Otherwordliness & The Beatific Vision of the Puritan Settlers
OR The Age of Belief in God’s PROVIDENCE… The WILL of GOD being made real in history through the willing cooperation of men who obey God’s WORD as revealed in the BIBLE.
Europeans come to North America The invasion of People of the BOOK People of the WORD People of the BIBLE People who believe in God’s PROVIDENCE People who believe that SPIRIT must conquer FLESH. People who believe that the civilized man should civilize or destroy the barbaric, pagan man. People on a divine MISSION to make the world CHRISTIAN. . . and, of course, to conquer and prosper, in God’s name.
William Bradford& the Pilgrims (Separatists) an excerpt fromOf Plymouth Plantation (interpreting History through the lens of belief in God’s PROVIDENCE)
John Winthrop.& the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony an excerpt from A Model of Christian Charity (a sermon/political treatise, spoken to the ambitious Christian merchants who were coming to the New World with him, on the ideal government—a theocracy, founded upon the LOVE between the various parts of one Body [of Christ])
PURITAN POETRYWriting as self-examinationand opening oneself to God’s grace The act of self-composition through composition Writing poetry as a way of meditating upon the truths of the Christian faith AND of examining one’s own soul in its relation to God AND of discovering God’s presence and teachings in the events of everyday life, everyday relationships, and Nature (God’s creation made deliberately and beautifully in every small detail to teach us lessons that help us climb the ladder to Heaven).
Anne Bradstreet, Puritan poet-ess. “The Author to Her Book” “To My Dear and Loving Husband” “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet” “Upon the Burning of Our House” “The Flesh and the Spirit”*
Edward Taylor,Puritan poet. “Huswifery” “Upon a Wasp Chilled with Cold” from Preparatory Meditations, “Prologue” Meditations: #’s 8, 22, and 42
Jonathan Edwardsand the Great Awakening(waking up to God’s word and presence) “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” “The Beauty of the World”
In Jonathan Edward’s extreme Calvinist view, people were becoming too much focused on… Political Freedom and comfort in the HERE and NOW (e.g., drinking ale at the tavern, talking about politics and women). He tried to remind them very forcefully and passionately, and with very clear reasoning, that what is most important is the destiny of the ETERNAL SOUL. He invents some very alarming CONCRETE IMAGES to make clear to us our situation before God and to scare us into REPENTANCE!
We will read Karl Shapiro’s poem “The Puritan”. . . and discuss whether his portrait— judging by their writings which we will have just read— is fair to Puritans.
American Literature from 1700-1820The PRAGMATIC Self A shift away from religious otherwordliness to worldy concerns: Empirical and Applied Sciences for the Improvement of Quality of Life Good Citizenship Self-improvement (e.g., education) & Self-Discipline Physical and Mental Health “Pulling Yourself Up by Your Own Bootstraps” Individual Rights & Freedoms—POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE “Success” “Progress” Reputation Money
OR… The ENLIGHTENMENT
The ENLIGHTENMENT does not necessarily mean a rejection of the belief in God’s PROVIDENCE… but it asserts a belief that mankind can improve his quality of life, physically and socially, by his own efforts guided by the light of REASON. Science, experimentation and rational thought can lead to great improvements and solutions to problems like disease, war, intolerance, superstition, pain, etc. “Praying to God for assistance is great, but let’s take action together in trying to solve our problems methodically and scientifically.” The human animal can be trained to be civilized through REASON. The Enlightened Government can transform society into a well-oiled machine in which every part, governed by realistic LAWS, functions to produce prosperity and contentment, which bring peace and stability.
Benjamin Franklin(1706-1790),a Puritan in his Self-Discipline,but focused on THIS WORLDin his thought, science,inventions, politics, and business. excerpts from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin & various “Poor Richard’s Proverbs”: (e.g., “Work as if your were to live 100 years, Pray as if your were to die To-morrow.” “A rich rogue is like a fat hog, Who never does good till as dead as a log.” “The Things which hurt, instruct.” “The Way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.” “No Gains without Pains.”
J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur(1735-1823) Letters from an American Farmer Letter III: "What is American?"- This letter compares people to plants and leads the reader to pursue the idea of whether or not the soil has anything to do with the prosperity of the person living there.
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)Tocqueville was a French political thinkerand historian who came from a familyof Norman aristocrats. After visiting the United States, Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America (1835), a work written in the detached mode of a social scientist. In this famous book, he explores the effects of the rising equality of social conditions in western societies on two interconnected levels: the level of the “individual” and the level of the “state.” Tocqueville’s insights into the American psyche are penetrating, revealing, and often “right on the money”. See what you think.
Tocqueville wrote of his travels through America in the early 19th Century when the market revolution, Western expansion, and Jacksonian democracy were radically transforming the fabric of American life. He saw democracy as an equation that balanced liberty and equality, concern for the individual as well as the community.
Following is a long passage from Tocqueville’sDemocracy in Americadivided over three slides:
"Moreover, almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same. In the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and their debasement, while in America one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world fulfills all the outward duties of religion with fervor.
Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country."
Also, find online: Alexis de Tocqueville,"Why the Americans are so Restless in the Midst of their Prosperity" from Democracy in America (or Mr. Benz will make a photocopy)
American Literature from 1820-1865 The beginning of American Writers trying to find a distinctly American voice… and trying to prove to the English that Americans can write great poetry and novels, too.
EarlyROMANTICISM Focus on the inward, moral life of the individual: Guilt Fear Dark Motives A Deal with the Devil Greed Violence Nightmares Ghosts, Ghouls, Witches, and Headless Horsemen Supernatural Events that Mirror the Soul
Washington Irving(pen names: Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.& DiedrichKnickerbocker) author of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” But we’ll read: “The Devil and Tom Walker”*