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American Literature

Mr. Oldham Room 400

E-Mail: aoldham@marisths.org

Course description: This is a survey course. It is intended to introduce you to the major
movements, traditions and characteristics of American literature and culture. The course will ask
you to identify and articulate elements which make American identity unique. It also asks that you
make an attempt to identify how you have been shaped by the same elements that have
developed our literature. A major emphasis in the class will be placed on analytical research,
critical thinking, and self-expression.

Texts and materials: Student will be expected to have appropriate text and materials with
him/her at the beginning of class everyday.
Catcher in the Rye -J.D. Salinger
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -Mark Twain
Writers Inc. (2006)
A Guide to MLA Documentation - Trimmer
American Literature Packet

Grades and Evaluation:
The grade you receive on each assignment, for each exam, for each quarter, for each semester is
the carefully deliberated and derived judgment and opinion of one fallible human being who has a
certain amount of knowledge and training. I have made every effort to make sure that your grade
is based on clear standards and criteria and not on my personal feelings and opinions of you as a
person. If you ever have a question concerning your grade please make an appointment with me
so we may sit down and discuss your concerns and questions. Below are the general standards I
use when evaluating student work and performance.

A -- Work in this category is consistently outstanding and shows a unique and distinctive
mastery of the material as well as building upon that material independent of course
requirements. Consult the additional assignment list for guidance.

B -- Work in this category is consistently strong and shows an independent understanding of

the material as well as clearly articulating that understanding in new and unfamiliar situations.

C -- Work in this category is consistently adequate and repeats what was taught and discussed
in a superficial manner as well as meeting minimum course requirements.

D -- Work in this category is consistently inadequate, incomplete, and shows little

comprehension of the material.

F -- Work in this category is either woefully inadequate, missing significant components, and/or
shows few if any signs of comprehension or concern.
60% of each quarter grade is “Comprehensive Work”
This category includes projects, exams, and papers. The major elements of this category are
explained below. All major papers and projects (unless stated otherwise) should be formatted in
the following manner:

-Follow MLA guidelines for citations and format

-Include a title that reflects your essayʼs content
-Typed, double spaced, 12 pt. standard font, black ink, and 1 inch margins
-Include all draftwork unless otherwise stated

40% of each quarter grade is “Daily Work”

This category includes discussions, in-class participation, seminars, annotations, and occasional
smaller assignments. The major elements of this category are explained below.


-Please try to be here on time for every class. It is important.....for you and me.

-It is always your responsibility to know what weʼre doing in class, what is due, and when it is

-In most cases comprehensive assignments are due when you return to school. (Unless prior
arrangements have been made, major assignments, projects, and tests are due if you are in
school...even if you miss class.)

-Quizzes and exams must be taken the day you return unless youʼve made prior arrangements
with me. I will not be flexible on this one.

-In-class work, daily assignments, and discussions must be made-up within the time frame you
were gone. Please fill out make-up sheets and turn them in to me so I have a record that youʼve
made-up for any missed days.

On my part you will never be required to do any work for my class during Christmas or Spring
break and I make every effort to avoid assigning homework over Thanksgiving and Easter. I also
make every effort to minimize busy work. (Because of this years odd schedule Thanksgiving may
be an exception)

Automatic 50% off whether it is one day or thirty days late. Deadline is the end of the semester.

-Follow the school rules concerning phones, food, and dress
-Be kind and respectful to your classmates
-Remain seated and talking quietly until bell rings
-Be honest and straightforward with me
-Attend to your personal needs before or after class