Course Syllabus

Rose Tree Media School District

Penncrest High School

English Department

Course Syllabus: 11th Grade Honors  American Writers



Ms. Carolyn Heaton, Room A105

Pi Lambda Sigma Faculty Advisor                                  




Course Overview:  This is a survey course for highly motivated readers and writers designed to cover major authors in American Literature from the early 1600s to modern texts.  Students are expected to write every day, and to come to class prepared and ready to participate. Expect nightly homework to average 1/2 hour. All homework will be posted on my website.


The following essential questions will be explored in this class:

1.    How do texts reflect the cultural and social values of the time in which they were created?

2.    What makes a literary voice uniquely American?

3.    Is the American Dream an empowering or destructive force or a combination of both?



Grading: All grading is based on a point system.  All assignments (including class participation) are worth points.  You will be tested on the reading selections (below), and most tests include a short essay. Your final grade is determined by dividing total points earned by total possible points.


Reading selections: Below please find some examples of works to be studied during the course.  Selections include, but are not limited to:


Encounters and Foundations to 1800

         Anne Bradstreet: “Here Follow Some Verses Upon the Burning…”

         Patrick Henry: “Speech to the Virginia Convention” 

Thomas Jefferson: “The Declaration of Independence”   


American Romanticism 1800-1860

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls”, “The Cross of Snow”

         Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Self Reliance”

         Thoreau: “Walden”

         Nathaniel Hawthorne: “The Minister’s Black Veil”

         Emily Dickinson: “Because I could not stop for Death”

         Walt Whitman: “I Hear America Singing”



The Rise of Realism (Civil War to 1914)

         Kate Chopin: “The Story of an Hour”


The Moderns 1914-1939

         F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

         T. S. Eliot: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

         William Faulkner: “A Rose for Emily”

Robert Frost: “Mending Wall”

         Langston Hughes: “The Weary Blues”; “I, Too, Sing America”


Contemporary Literature 1939- present

         Amy Tan: “Rules of the Game”


Students are responsible for missed work. All work is to be made up within one week- no exceptions. Please see me if you’ve missed class; it is the student’s responsibility to follow up with me after missing class to get assignments. Unexcused absences will prevent you from making up work. I check email frequently, and am available most mornings before school and afternoons until at least 3:00.  Cell phone use during class is prohibited. If you use it, you lose it.


I am looking forward to a productive and successful semester with you!