Welcome to Survey of American Literature 1! An analysis of representative literary works by significant American writers from the late fifteenth century through the Civil War that includes the study of the historical and social context of the literature as well as the lives of important writers. The course is broken down into three units:

  1. Pre-colonial
  2. 1700-1820
  3. 1820-1865

The unifying theme that we will be exploring is “The Problem of American Identity.” We cannot read everything in our anthology and the theme is meant to help you develop an understanding of what American literature is.

Textbook: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter Eight Edition, Volume 1, Beginnings to 1865.



  • Three essays worth 150 points each. One for each time period we cover.
  • Reading Journals worth 10 points each. I recommend one per week, but you can submit up to twenty six reading journals for a total of 260 points.
  • Three exams worth 100 points each. One per period.
  • The rest of the points will come from drafts, peer review, attendance, writing center visit, attendance, and extra credit.
  • Grading: This class has a 1250 point grade scale. To pass the class you need 875 Points for a C, 1000 points for a B, and 1125 points for an A. There are more points available than you need to pass the class. You decide what grade you want and calculate how to get there. Only three essays are mandatory, everything else you choose.


Four Defining Traits of a Game

  1. Goal. The outcome that the players will work to achieve. It focuses attention and gives you a sense of purpose.
  2. Rules. Limitations on how to achieve the goal. It will unleash creativity and foster strategic thinking.
  3. Feedback System. Tells players how close they are to achieving their goal. Provides motivation to keep playing.
  4. Voluntary Participation. Requires that you knowingly accept the goal, rules, and the feedback. You have the freedom to enter and leave the game at will.

With these four ideas in mind, how can we apply this to college?