American Literature I ~ LIT 209—(Revised for summer 2014)
Dr. Jonathan Alexander
Office, Academic Center, 317
609-894-9311 or 856-222-9311 (x1123)
Online syllabus:


A. TEXT: Custom Text (LIT 209-210)

B. COURSE OVERVIEW: American Literature I is a survey course which reviews the development of American thought and ideals as seen in American literature from the colonial/Puritan period through the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction. The course will assign primary emphasis to the major literary trends found in early America and the major literary figureswho represent those trends.

C. LEARNING OBJECTIVES ~ At the end of LIT 209, you should be able to:

  1. Trace the development of the American perspective through the content, style, and genres of American writings.
  2. Define the major elements of Puritanism, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Unitarianism, and transcendentalism and explain how these philosophies affected early American literature.
  3. Analyze the social, political, and religious ideas influencing these writings.
  4. Explain the evolution of American literature as it is revealed from the various perspectives of major literary figures.
  5. List the major political, social, and religious concerns of Puritan America, Colonial America, and pre-Civil War America.
  6. Respond critically and personally to the topics found in early American literature, especially those concerning American identity, freedom, and voice.
  7. Competently compose analytical essays which discuss the literary trends of American literature, each of which will possess a clear thesis statement, a coherent pattern of supporting paragraphs, adequate support/examples from the text to support the thesis, and a concluding paragraph. A minimum of errors in mechanics, grammar, and usage should appear in the essays.


Attendance: If the student is to profit from any course, he or she must attend class on a consistent basis.

Students must attend all classes for the full duration of each session. Should you need to miss a class for observance of religious holidays, jury duty, military duty, bereavement, or illness, you must notify the instructor by telephone or e-mail prior to or within 24 hours after the class. Without such communication, students forfeit the right to make up missed work. If such communication is made, students will be permitted to make up missed work at the beginning of the following class meeting. It is, therefore, the student’s responsibility to read the syllabus and be prepared for current as well as missed assignments.

Entering class late or leaving class early (without prior authorization) is considered disrespectful and will not be tolerated.

Academic Etiquette: Students will respect themselves, their peers and their instructors by considering the following:

Cell phones must be kept on silent. No calls are to be made or received during class. If you are expecting an important call during the class meeting time, notify me prior to class and quietly excuse yourself if the call is received. No text-messaging or game-playing will be tolerated.

Students who wish to use the restrooms may do so by quietly leaving and re-entering the room. If a student believes he or she will require an absence of more than a few minutes, it is his responsibility to notify me accordingly.

Communication: Many means of communication are available to the student including telephone, e-mail and mailbox.

If you leave a message on my office voice-mail (x1123), please remember to speak clearly and provide your name, course information, and phone number if you request a return call.

If you contact me via e-mail, it is expected that you use the BCC “Mymail” account provided to you by the College. Messages sent through any other email account may not be received or responded to. Students who send me e-mail and do not receive a reply of any kind within 48 hours should assume it was never received. Such e-mails should be resent. If your message doesn’t present itself as urgent, I may reply quickly and briefly and ask to get back to you before long. It is also suggested that you either copy yourself on messages or ensure that your sent messages are saved.

Students who send e-mails containing attachments must save these documents as one of the following types: DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, or PDF. Please do not send any MAC “Pages” files or WPS files. You may also choose to copy and paste the text of your assignment into the e-mail message itself, and always send a copy back to yourself  (or another email account) as a receipt to verify if the transmission fails to reach me.

Class Assignments:

All work written and submitted should utilize standard rules of grammar, sentence organization, paragraph organization, and diction.

All formal papers are to be typed, titled, double spaced, and carefully proofread. They must contain a cover page that lists the title, your name, the date, and the word count. Documents are not to be held together by paperclips, alligator clips, or other creative measures. Papers will not be accepted unless they are stapled prior to arriving to class. I would discourage you from asking me to borrow a stapler.

All assignments are due on the date specified on the syllabus. Assignments which are not submitted during the class session they are due will be penalized. If you happen to be absent for a particular class session and you wait to submit a paper until the next class meeting, it will lose 15% for each day it is late. NOTE: A “day” is a calendar day, not a class meeting. A paper which is received by email by the completion of the assigned class session will be considered submitted on time (without a penalty for lateness). A paper which is received within the first four hours after class will incur a late penalty of 5%. All papers received thereafter will be considered a “day” late and will incur a 15% penalty per day.

If a student presents reasonable justification for an absence, this absence will not be counted against the student’s course grade; however, such an absence does not allow for more time to complete assignments. Since students are provided with all assignments and deadlines on the first day of the semester, excuses such as “crashed computers,” “misplaced data,” “misplaced flash drives,” or “empty printer ink cartridges” will not be accepted. There is no excuse for not saving all documents twice (hard drive and floppy/flash).

Plagiarism will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Be aware that plagiarism includes (but is not limited to) copying someone else’s words without crediting the source; paraphrasing someone else’s words without crediting the source; using someone else’s ideas without crediting the source (even if rephrased in your own words); using facts not universally known which are obtained from a source without crediting the source; asking someone else to write your paper, either in whole or in part; or obtaining a paper or portion thereof by any means and submitting it as an original document.The penalty for plagiarism is failure of the assignment and potentially failure of the course (at the instructor’s discretion), and it may result in suspension or expulsion from the College (at the discretion of the Student Affairs Committee). Please refer to the BCC Student Handbook for additional information regarding College regulations and the handling of plagiarism.

E. ASSIGNMENTS: Visit the grading rubric ( to see how writing is evaluated.

F. MAKE-UP EXAM POLICY: Because all assignment deadlines and scheduled exam dates are provided at the beginning of the semester, little latitude is given to those students who are not considerate of themselves or respectful of course expectations. The schedule of assignments and activities is a contract and, therefore, not open to negotiation. In the event that you must be absent the day an assignment is due (though it is strongly discouraged if preventable), utilize a form of electronic submission to turn in journal entries or other assignments the day they are due.

G. GRADING POLICY: All assignments have a specific point value. There are 200 total points worth of assignments and examinations.

Total Course
Points Earned

Final Percentages

Letter Grade


88.5 - 100



87.5 - 88



79.5 - 87



77.5 - 79



74.5 - 77



69.5 - 74



0 - 69







Literary Response Journal


22 pts


Midterm Exam

Session 6

40 pts


Four-minute Secular Sermon

Sessions 5-7

20 pts


Group Presentation (Literary History)

Sessions 9-10

20 pts


1500-word Research Essay (Options provided)

Session 10

40 pts


Final Exam

Session 10

40 pts


Participation and Attendance


18 pts




200 pts




All readings and journal responses must be completed before the date scheduled.
The inserted bullet (►) signifies assignments either due on a particular day or to be completed during a class session.)

SESSION 1: Tues, May 20
Discussion of syllabus and general course expectations

Anne Bradstreet, “The Author to Her Book” (4)

►Journal Assignment: “The Author to Her Book” What seems to bother the speaker more: that her work was taken without her approval, or that she thinks it’s raw, unrevised, and flawed? How do you explain her claims that the work’s “visage was so irksome”? How are physical features used as metaphors to suggest things like unevenness, “blemish,” and unseemliness? How does her humble style prove a disadvantage? How do you interpret her claim of being “poor”?


Anne Bradstreet, “A Letter to her Husband, Absent Upon Public Employment” (5)

►Journal Assignment: How does the speaker illustrate the fact that, despite their physical separation, she feels connected to him in spirit? How does the speaker utilize various metaphoric elements to create images of her feelings of loss and separation (consider body, earth, weather, time, seasons)? What reference is made to the speaker’s children, and how does this influence their parents’ separation?


Edward Taylor, “A Fig for Thee Oh! Death” (10)

►Journal Assignment: Read John Donne’s “Death, be not Proud” (IN SYLLABUS) and identify three passages from Taylor’s poem which echo Donne’s sonnet. What are the most striking differences between Donne and Taylor? Where does Taylor express boldness, even cockiness? From where does Taylor’s brashness seem to originate?


SESSION 2: Thurs, May 22
Thomas Morton, from The First Book Containing the Original of the Natives, Their Manners, and Customs…. (1)
►Journal Assignment: Describe the author’s attitudes toward the natives. What details of his narrative illustrate how he seems to feel about their ways of life? Explain what he means by “such is their humanity.”


Anne Bradstreet, from “Meditations, Divine and Moral” (6)

►Journal Assignment: Select three of the meditations and explain how each fits into some aspect of your life (academically, spiritually, or socially).


SESSION 3: Tues, May 27
Cotton Mather, The Wonders of the Invisible World (12)

►Journal Assignment: Identify three claims brought against Bridget Bishop which might have been explained through other (more rational) means. In what moments of Mather’s own proposal does he suggest that circumstances or suspicion alone might not be enough to prove fault? VIDEO: SALEM WITCH TRIALS


St. Jean de Crevecoeur, from Letters from an American Farmer (19)

►Journal Assignment: How does the speaker illustrate his opinion of the difference between where the colonists came from and the new land they have inhabited (cite more than one example)?


Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (35)

►Journal Assignment: How does Edwards argue the fact that, even though the Israelites were indeed condemned, they were not yet fallen to destruction? How does he use this allusion to appeal to the people hearing this sermon?



SESSION 4: Thurs, May 29
Thomas Paine, from The Age of Reason (47)

►Journal Assignment: What three details do you believe are Paine’s greatest arguments for why the current state of religion is in need of serious re-consideration.


Oloudah Equiano, from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Oloudah Equiano (55)

►Journal Assignment: What three details from Equiano’s narrative give you the most vivid sense of life as a West African slave?


Phillis Wheatley, “To the University of Cambridge, in New England” (64)

►Journal Assignment: How does the poet use her difficult past as an emblem for survival and triumph, and how does this become a warning of sorts to the young students of the new land?


SESSION 5: Tues, June 3
Delivery of Sermons—Group 1

Philip Freneau, “The Indian Burying Ground” (65)

►Journal Assignment: What elements of description would you say are the most complementary or reverent of the Indians? What might be considered insulting or critical?


Tecumseh, The White Men Are Not Friends to the Indians (67)

►Journal Assignment: How does the author relate the philosophy that if “you” don’t help “me” fight our enemy, when “I” am destroyed, that same enemy will then direct its attention to destroying “you”?


William Cullen Bryant, “Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood” (69)

►Journal Assignment: How does the poet describe the national landscape as a symbiotic (shared) relationship among all its inhabitants (cite more than one example)?


SESSION 6: Thurs, June 5
Delivery of Sermons—Group 2

Midterm Exam

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Apology” (IN SYLLABUS)

►Journal Assignment: What makes the title of this poem ironic? Why does the speaker focus on his solitude rather than any connection to other humans? How does the speaker see himself as a messenger? How do you interpret the speaker’s “[folded] arms”? Where does the speaker seem to make his most compelling connection with his natural surroundings?


Margaret Fuller, from Woman in the 19th Century (71)

►Journal Assignment: If you were to sum up Fuller’s attitude about marriage using three passages from this excerpt, what would they be and how do they exemplify her opinions? How does Fuller claim that women of luxury are responsible for the fate of women of less fortunate means?


Henry David Thoreau, from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (84)

►Journal Assignment: What theory of art and poetry does this passage portray? How does nature influence one’s appreciation of art? What does it mean to be “transcendental”?




SESSION 7: Tues, June 10
Delivery of Sermons—Group 3

Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven (87)

►Journal Assignment: What are your impressions of the narrator? What changes occur in the narrator’s attitude towards the bird? What brings about this change? What does the raven come to represent for the narrator? How does the narrator’s emotional state change during the poem? How are these changes related to the changes in his attitude toward the raven?


Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Birthmark (90)

►Journal Assignment: Explain how the relationship between Nature and a scientist is portrayed in the first paragraph. What is Georgiana’s perception of her birthmark at the beginning of the story, does this perception change, and why? How does the birthmark function as a metaphor in this story? What does its removal signify?


Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener (101)

►Journal Assignment: Analyze Bartleby’s behaviors and explain how they may allow us to understand better the lawyer’s true self. How do you explain the narrator’s difficulty in terminating Bartleby? Why does he hire (and tolerate) the type of people in the office?

SESSION 8: Thurs, June 12
Delivery of Sermons—Group 4

Walt Whitman, from “Song of Myself” Stanzas 1-14, 16, 17 (127)

►Journal Assignment: For the numbered stanza you are assigned, explicate the poem and prepare a brief summary (interpreting any metaphors, identifying themes, and proposing the passage’s morals or lessons).


Emily Dickinson, Poems #67, 258, 280, 328, 435, 478, 569, 636, 701, 712, 823, 1129, 1263, 1540, 1732 (IN SYLLABUS)

►Journal Assignment: For the poem you are assigned, explicate, summarize and identify themes, morals or lessons.



SESSION 9: Tues, June 17
PPT Presentations (2/3rds of students)



SESSION 10: Thurs, June 19
PPT Presentations (remaining 1/3 of students)

1500-word Research Essay

Final Exam

Directions for PPT Presentations


Spoken presentation:

·        6-10 minutes

·        Notes permitted

·        Consistent with PPT slides

·        Coherent, unified, smooth


·        6-10 slides

·        Minimum 24pt font

·        Bulleted outline of information with key details (approx. 1/3 of speech)

·        Incorporate images as appropriate

·        Emphasize contrast between text and background

·        Minimize graphic creativity (i.e. animation)

·        Bibliography slide at end


·        Bulleted outline of PPT info (approx. 1/3 of PPT info)

·        Half-sheet acceptable

·        Copies for instructor and all members of the class


20-point grade (delivery + PPT design + PPT information + handout)



  1. Anne Bradstreet
  2. Edward Taylor
  3. Cotton Mather
  4. Charles Brockden Brown
  5. Royall Tyler
  6. Benjamin Franklin
  7. Jonathan Edwards
  8. Thomas Paine
  9. J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur
  10. Phillip Freneau
  11. Washington Irving
  12. William Cullen Bryant
  13. James Fenimore Cooper
  14. Lydia Marie Child
  15. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  16. Robert Lowell
  17. Oliver Wendell Holmes
  18. Nathaniel Hawthorne
  19. Edgar Allen Poe
  20. Louisa May Alcott
  21. Samuel Clemens
  22. Harriet Jacobs
  23. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  24. Margaret Fuller
  25. Herman Melville
  26. Henry David Thoreau
  27. Frederick Douglass
  28. Harriet Beecher Stowe
  29. Walt Whitman
  30. Emily Dickinson

John Donne
[Death, be not proud, though some have called thee] (1633)

          Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

          Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

          For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow

4        Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

          From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

          Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,

          And soonest our best men with thee do go,

8        Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.

          Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

          And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

          And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well

12      And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?

          One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

          And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.




The Apology
Ralph Waldo Emerson


THINK me not unkind and rude

  That I walk alone in grove and glen;

I go to the god of the wood

  To fetch his word to men.


Tax not my sloth that I

  Fold my arms beside the brook;

Each cloud that floated in the sky

  Writes a letter in my book.


 Chide me not, laborious band,

  For the idle flowers I brought;

Every aster in my hand

  Goes home loaded with a thought.


There was never mystery

  But ‘tis figured in the flowers;

Was never secret history

  But birds tell it in the bowers.


One harvest from thy field

  Homeward brought the oxen strong;

A second crop thine acres yield,

  Which I gather in a song.




 Emily Dickinson




Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne’er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.


Not one of all the purple Host

Who took the Flag today

Can tell the definition

So clear of Victory


As he defeated—dying—

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Burst agonized and clear! 





There’s a certain Slant of light,

Winter Afternoons—

That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes—


Heavenly Hurt, it gives us—

We can find no scar,

But internal difference,

Where the Meanings, are—


None may teach it—Any

Tis the Seal Despair—

An imperial affliction

Sent us of the Air—


When it comes, the Landscape listens—

Shadows—hold their breath—

When it goes, ‘tis like the Distance

On the look of Death—



I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading—treading—till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through—

And when they all were seated, 
A Service, like a Drum—
Kept beating—beating—till I thought 
My mind was going numb—

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul 
With those same Boots of Lead, again, 
Then Space—began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell, 
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here—

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down—
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing—then—




A Bird came down the Walk—

He did not know I saw—

He bit an angle-worm in halves

And ate the fellow, raw,


And then he drank a Dew

From a convenient Grass,

And then hopped sidewise to the Wall

To let a Beetle pass—


He glanced with rapid eyes

That hurried all around—

They looked like frightened Beads, I thought—

He stirred his velvet head


Like one in danger, Cautious,

I offered him a Crumb,

And he unrolled his feathers

And rowed him softer home—


Than Oars divide the Ocean,

Too silver for a seam—

Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,

Leap, plashless as they swim.





Much Madness is divinest Sense—

To a discerning Eye—

Much Sense—the starkest Madness—

Tis the Majority

In this, as All, prevail—

Assent—and you are sane—

Demur—you’re straightway dangerous—

And handled with a Chain—




I had no time to Hate—


The Grave would hinder Me

And Life was not so

Ample I

Could finish—Enmity—


Nor had I time to Love—

But since

Some Industry must be—

The little Toil of Love—

I thought

Be large enough for Me




I reckon—when I count it all—

First—Poets—Then the Sun—

Then Summer—Then the Heaven of God—

And then—the List is done—


But, looking back—the First so seems

To Comprehend the Whole—

The Others look a needless Show—

So I write—Poets—All—


Their Summer—lasts a Solid Year—

They can afford a Sun

The East—would deem extravagant—

And if the Further Heaven—


Be Beautiful as they prepare

For Those who worship Them—

It is too difficult a Grace—

To justify the Dream—



The Way I read a Letter’s—this—

Tis first—I lock the Door—

And push it with my fingers—next—

For transport it be sure—


And then I go the furthest off

To counteract a knock—

Then draw my little Letter forth

And slowly pick the lock—


Then—glancing narrow, at the Wall—

And narrow at the floor

For firm Conviction of a Mouse

Not exorcised before—


Peruse how infinite I am

To no one that You—know—

And sigh for lack of Heaven—but not

The Heaven God bestow—




A Thought went up my mind today—

That I have had before—

But did not finish—some way back—

I could not fix the Year—


Nor where it went—nor why it came

The second time to me—

Nor definitely, what it was—

Have I the Art to say—


But somewhere—in my Soul—I know—

I’ve met the Thing before—

It just reminded me—’twas all—

And came my way no more—





Because I could not stop for Death—

He kindly stopped for me—

The Carriage held but just Ourselves

And Immortality.


We slowly drove—He knew no haste

And I had put away

My labor and my leisure too,

For His Civility—


We passed the School, where Children strove

At Recess—in the Ring—

We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain—

We passed the Setting Sun—


Or rather—He passed Us

The Dews drew quivering and chill—

For only Gossamer, my Gown—

My Tippet—only Tulle—


We paused before a House that seemed

A Swelling of the Ground—

The Roof was scarcely visible—

The Cornice—in the Ground—


Since then—’tis Centuries—and yet

Feels shorter than the Day

I first surmised the Horses’ Heads

Were toward Eternity—





Not that We did, shall be the test

When Act and Will are done

But what Our Lord infers We would

Had We diviner been—





Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth’s superb surprise


As Lightning to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind—



There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry—
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll—
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul



As imperceptibly as Grief

The Summer lapsed away—

Too imperceptible at last

To seem like Perfidy—

A Quietness distilled

As Twilight long begun,

Or Nature spending with herself

Sequestered Afternoon—

The Dusk drew earlier in—

The Morning foreign shone—

A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,

As Guest, that would be gone—

And thus, without a Wing

Or service of a Keel

Our Summer made her light escape

Into the Beautiful.



My life closed twice before its close—

It yet remains to see

If Immortality unveil

A third event to me


So huge, so hopeless to conceive

As these that twice befell.

Parting is all we know of heaven,

And all we need of hell.



Delivery of a Puritan Sermon

The Puritans believed that the real power of a sermon was to be found in its words, rather than its delivery. Since the words were thought to be divinely inspired (in our case, inspired by Ben Franklin) it was believed that the words alone carried enough power to affect the congregation. As the preacher was simply a flawed agent of God’s work, his presentation of the sermon was expected to be as unadorned as possible, so that the delivery of the sermon would not distract listeners from the words. Preachers usually spoke their sermons in a deliberate monotone. (Consider this effect as you read Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”)

Traditional Structure of a Puritan Sermon

Most Puritan sermons were modeled after this structure. Examine “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” for the five main sections of the sermon – epigraph, doctrine, reasons, application, and epilogue.

I. Epigraph (The epigraph in Edwards’ time would have been a Biblical quotation, no more than a few verses in length. This passage was selected by the preacher and was intended to address a specific problem or concern in the community. For this assignment, you will borrow not the words of the Bible but those of Ben Franklin, and you will speak to your “congregation” as if they seem flawed to you in the way that the selected instructs.)

a. Grammatical Reading

- Restatement or paraphrase of the epigraph in easily accessible terms

b. Logical Meaning

- Explanation of the epigraph’s Biblical context and its meaning within that context

c. Figurative Meaning

- Analysis of the epigraph’s theological and real-world implications

[For our purpose, the “Logical” and “Figurative” Meanings (a and b) can be incorporated into one statement or passage.]

II. Doctrine

a. Breaking Down the Topic

- Division of the sermon’s message into clear subsets

b. Demonstration of Scriptural Evidence

- Reference of relevant scriptural passages that support the meaning that the preacher has drawn from the epigraph

[For our purpose, the “scriptural passages” can instead be life-like experiences familiar to the audience.]

III. Reasons

a. Establishing the Validity of the Doctrine

- Coherent explanation of why the doctrine is rational and true

b. Why Listeners Should Be Convinced

- An extension of the above. Involves an explanation of why the listeners, specifically, should believe in the truth of the doctrine.

[No changes.]

IV. Application

a. Personal Life

- Statement of how the doctrine applies to one’s own personal, spiritual, and family lives (elaborating on 2b above)

b. Community and World

- Statement of how the doctrine applies to the immediate community, as well as the greater world

V. Epilogue

a. Emphasis of Arguments

- Persuasive and bolder restatement of the main points of the argument

b. Call to Action

- Stimulation of the congregation to meaningful action and continued awareness of this issue

c. Emotional Appeal

- Final attempt to convince congregation of the unassailable truth of the message/doctrine

Options for sermons (from Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac)

1. A little neglect may breed mischief, ...for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.

2. A penny saved is a penny earned.

3. All cats are gray in the dark.

4. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

5. At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.

6. Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a big ship.

7. But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

8. Creditors have better memories than debtors.

9. Diligence is the Mother of good luck.

10.  Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

11.  Energy and persistence conquer all things.

12.  Fish and visitors smell in three days.

13.  Genius without education is like silver in the mine.

14.  God helps them that help themselves.

15.  Haste makes waste.

16.  Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.

17.  He that blows the coals in quarrels that he has nothing to do with, has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face.

18.  Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade.

19.  If Jack’s in love, he’s no judge of Jill’s beauty.

20.  If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.

21.  Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half-shut afterwards.

22.  Most fools think they are only ignorant.

23.  Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day.

24.  One good husband is worth two good wives; for the scarcer things are, the more they`re valued.

25.  Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

26.  They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

27.  Think of these things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account.

28.  Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.

29.  To find out a girl’s faults, praise her to her girl friends.

30.  Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.

The First American Literature: Native Americans


 ENLIGHTENMENT (1607-1800) (2 phases: Pilgrims/religion & Patriots/politics) 

The Age of Faith (1607-1750) 

 I.  Historical Context

      A. Puritans and Pilgrims

            1. separated from the Anglican church of England

            2. religion dominated their lives and writings

      B. Work ethic - belief in hard work and simple, no-frills living

II. Genre/Style

      A. sermons, diaries, personal narratives, slave narratives

      B. instructive

      C. plain style

III. Major writers

      A. Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

            1. first published American poet

      B. Edward Taylor (1645-1729)

            1. Minister; considered the finest Puritan poet

      C. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

            1. Minister

            2. View of God as punitive and distant; view of man as basically evil

      D. John Smith (1580-1631)

            1. General History of Virginia

            2. Pocahontas legend

            3. Adventurer; writer; difficult to get along with


The Age of Reason (1750-1800) 

I. Historical context

      A. American Revolution; growth of patriotism

      B. Development of American character/democracy

      C. Use of reason as opposed to faith alone

II. Genre/Style

      A. political pamphlets, essays, travel writing, speeches, documents

      B. instructive in values; highly ornate writing style

III. Major writers

      A. Abigail Adams (wife of John Adams)

            1. In letters, Abigail Adams campaigned for women’s rights

            2. Provided a glimpse of the Revolutionary period

      B. Ben Franklin

            1. Autobiography & Poor Richard’s Almanack

            2. Symbol of success gained by hard work and common sense

      C. Thomas Jefferson

            1. Declaration of Independence

            2. Considered the finest writer of the era

       D. Thomas Paine

            1.  Pamphleteer

            2. "The American Crisis" helped propel us into war

            3. Remains a model of effective propaganda

ROMANTICISM (1800-1855) 

I. Historical context

      A. Expansion of book publishing, magazines, newspapers

      B. Industrial Revolution

      C. Abolitionist movement, emphasis on independence and individual rights


II. Genre/Style

      A. Short stories, novels, poetry,

      B.  Imagination over reason; intuition over fact

      C. Focused on the fantastic of human experience

      D. Writing that can be interpreted 2 ways: surface and in depth

      E. Focus on inner feelings

      F. Gothic literature (sub-genre of Romanticism)

            1. Use of the supernatural

            2. Characters with both evil and good characteristics

            3. Dark landscapes; depressed characters


III. Major writers

      A. Washington Irving (1789-1851)

            1. first famous American writer; called "father of American Lit"

            2. wrote short stories, travel books, satires

            3. Legend of Sleepy Hollow: terrified generations of children

      B. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

            1. wrote about sin and guilt

            2. consequences of pride, selfishness, etc.

      C.  Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)

            1. lousy childhood; substance abuse problems; reviled in his day

            2. created the modern short story and detective story

3. Attacked 2 long-standing conventions: a poem must be long and must teach a lesson

      D. Herman Melville (1819-1891)

1. ranked as one of America’s top novelists, but recognized by few in his own time

2. Moby Dick considered America’s greatest prose epic 
The Transcendentalists (1840-1855): stressed individualism, intuition, nature, self-reliance

      1. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882): his writings helped establish the philosophy of individualism, an idea deeply embedded in American culture

      2. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862): resisted materialism; chose simplicity, individualism


New Poetic Forms

      1. Walt Whitman (1819-1892): rejected conventional themes, forms, subjects (used long lines to capture the rhythm of natural speech, free verse, everyday vocabulary)

      2. Emily Dickinson (1830-1886): her poetry broke with convention: didn’t look right; didn’t rhyme; too bold; too radical (concrete imagery, forceful language, unique style)

wrote 1775 poems, published only 7 in her life