History of American Literature I, section 201
Writing Lives of Men and Women
Fall 2005

Dr. Bridget M. Marshall:  bridget_marshall@uml.edu

Class Meetings: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 – 1:45 DU 211
Office Hours:  Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 – 10:30 and by appointment most other days in O’Leary Library 414

Required Text & Materials: The Heath Anthology of American Literature Volumes A &B; FIFTH Edition, a folder/notebook for class notes and a bound notebook to keep as a reading journal

Our survey will explore texts from the beginnings of American literary history to the Civil War, focusing throughout on comparisons between the experiences and writings of women and men.  For most units, we will try to do direct comparisons between texts by (and about) men to those by (and about) women, hopefully drawing connections, continuities, and comparisons in the lives, experiences, and writing by these two groups.  Our goal is not to prove (or disprove) that “men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” but to consider the differences in the daily experiences and literary choices of authors.  A central thread running through our survey will be the evolution of gender expectations and relations from early contact narratives through pre-Civil War texts.  I believe tracing gender themes through our reading will attune us to changes in genre and literary expectations, and also to developing social movements and the ongoing changes in American culture.  No one-semester survey of this literature could be complete; however, I have attempted to give you a breadth of authors, including both canonical works and voices from the margins that are equally interesting and informative.  By the end of the semester, you should have a firm grasp of the history of major themes and currents in Early American literature.  And hopefully along the way, you’ll discover a few new writers that you will enjoy.

Class Requirements: 

Attendance is required.  You must be here to join class discussion, make presentations, and participate in group work.  You have two “Freebies,” no questions asked.  For every class beyond those two that you miss, your final grade for the class will be lowered one level (A to A-, A- to B+, and so on).

If you miss class, you should send your assignment to class with a peer or leave it in my mailbox.  DO NOT leave papers under my office door.  When you return to class, you are responsible for having the assignment due on that day, as well as any work you missed on previous days.  If you know in advance that you are going to miss class, I highly recommend that you let me know this so that you can keep up with the work.

To make sure that everyone keeps up with the required readings, there will be periodic quizzes in class.  You should come to class with the day’s reading assignment complete and prepared to write about or discuss the reading.

Good classroom citizenship is required.  Good classroom citizenship goes beyond just “participation” in the sense of raising your hand a lot.  It includes sharing your thoughts and ACTIVELY LISTENING to the thoughts and comments of your peers.  Please be considerate of your classmates and make the classroom a space where everyone can speak their mind.  We will have both full-class discussions and small group work.  If you are not particularly comfortable speaking in the full-class discussion, be sure you are making up for it in the smaller group discussions.  Also, as a courtesy to everyone in the room, please turn off your cell phone before class begins.

You will be required to share your writing and respond to the writing of your peers.  We do this to stress the point that we are not just writing for a teacher or for a grade; we are writing for a community of writers.  Become comfortable with sharing your writing; this is a necessary step in improving your writing and becoming part of the academic community.

At some point during the first three weeks of class, everyone will schedule a brief conference with me, outside of class time.  This is a chance to meet with me personally, find my office, and ask any questions you have about the class.  We will sign up in class for times.

Writing Assignments

You will keep a reading journal for the course.  For each reading assignment, you should note in your journal:

The reading journal will be a starting point for our class discussion.  I may ask you to share entries from your journal with the class by either passing your notebook to another student or reading aloud from it.  I may also collect journals to see that you’re keeping up with an entry for every reading assignment.  I imagine you’ll have a page or so for each day’s reading assignment.  The journal should be separate from any class notes or paper drafts you create.  Think of the journal as a way to keep track of and keep up with the reading assignments, and also a place to turn to for discussion and writing prompts.

There is one midterm paper due during the semester.  This is a focused essay of about 3 to 4 pages, illustrating your knowledge of and interest in a particular text that we have read in the class so far.  You MUST have a paper in class on the day it is due in order to participate in the day’s classroom activities.  I will respond to the papers with detailed comments on both content and form, so that you will get an idea of what I am expecting for the final paper. 

There is one in-class essay exam, roughly two-thirds of the way through the semester.  You will have choices about which questions to answer, and we will have some practice in class on how to write such an essay.  The essay exam will be open book, so that you can quote original sources.  You may mark up passages in your book, but you will not have notes (or texts other than the course text book) available during the exam.

There is one small group project.  Groups of 3 to 4 students will prepare one 15 to 20 minute presentation related to a particular day’s reading assignment, and will be asked to provide some “discussion framing” for the day.  You will need to create a handout about your topic for your presentation.  We will sign up for presentations in the second week of class.

There is a final paper, roughly 5 pages in length.  The final paper will ask you to combine a text we have read in class with another text from our anthology that we have not read in class.  If you find a particular reading that you really love during the semester, talk to me about other texts that might pair well with your choice.  I encourage you to explore your anthology on your own to see what other texts you might like.  I ask that you have a topic approved by me by the last week of the semester, when we will have an in-class writing workshop on the papers.  The paper is due during the exam period; there is no final exam.

I do not accept papers over e-mail or on disk.  If a paper is due, that means it is due in PRINT form, not electronically.  Do not attach documents to e-mails that you send to me unless you check with me first. 

Evaluation and Grading

Grading is my least favorite aspect of the course; however, grades are necessary, not only to the University, but also in many cases in order to motivate students.  I note each day’s attendance with a “check” in my grade book.  You will get credit for all quizzes and short writing that you complete and turn in to me.  Particularly active class participation or strong short writing assignments will earn a “check plus.”  Following is a breakdown of final grades:

If you have a concern about a grade or a question about your standing in the class, I am happy to talk with you.  This type of conversation is best suited to an individual conference.  You can see me during my office hours, or schedule an appointment at another time.

A final note on grades: If you are determined to do only the minimal amount of work and get the minimum passing grade, you might want to know what the bottom line is.  This much is nonnegotiable: you are not eligible for a passing grade of D unless you have attended at least 11 of 14 weeks worth of classes, and completed 90% of the assignments. 

In accordance with University policy and the ADA, I will provide accommodation for students with documented disabilities.  If you have a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services: McGauvran 363; phone: (978) 934-4338 as soon as possible.  They will contact me regarding effective accommodations.  In order to speed up this process, you can also let me know in person or via e-mail.  This documentation is confidential.

Semester Schedule:


Due on this Day

Tuesday 6 September

First day Introductions; hand-outs

Thursday 8 September

Read Handouts
Write one-page response; get a journal/notebook for class

Tuesday 13 September

Christopher Columbus: 119 – 120; from “Journals” 120 – 131
Alvar Nunes Cabeza de Vaca: 139 – 140; from “Relation” 141 – 152
From Native American Oral Narrative: “Creation of the Whites” 65 - 66

Thursday 15 September

Mary Rowlandson: 437 – 439; from “Narrative” 440 – 468
Native American Oral Narrative: 19 – 22; “Iktomi and the Dancing Ducks” 57 – 58, “Raven and Marriage” 59 - 63

Tuesday 20 September

Anne Bradstreet: 394 – 395; “The Author to her Book” 402; “Before the Birth of One of Her Children” 406; “To My Dear and Loving Husband” 406 – 407; “Upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666” 409 – 410
Edward Taylor: 468 – 471; “Huswifery” 479 – 480; “Upon Wedlock, & Death of Children” 480 - 481
Michael Wigglesworth: 414 – 415; from the Diary 415 - 419

Thursday 22 September

Samuel Sewall:  496 – 497; from the Diary 498 – 501
Cotton Mather:  507 – 509; from Wonders of the Invisible World 509 – 514
Handouts on New England Witch Trials

Tuesday 27 September

Jonathan Edwards: 645 – 647; “Sinners at the Hands of an Angry God” 666 – 677
Sarah Kemble Knight: 584; “The Journal of Madam Knight” 585 - 602

Thursday 29 September

Benjamin Franklin: 804 - 807; “The Way to Wealth” 808 – 813; “A Witch Trial at Mount Holly” 814 – 815; “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America” 821 - 824
J Hector St. John de Crevecoeur: 921 – 922 from Letter I Introduction 922 – 925; “What is an American?” 928 - 933

Tuesday 4 October

John Adams and Abigail Adams: 976 – 977; assorted materials from autobiography & letters 977 - 990

Thursday 6 October

Phillis Wheatley: 1238 – 1240; “On Being Brought from Africa to America” 1247; “A Farewell to America” 1248 – 1249; “To the University of Cambridge, in New England” 1249 - 1250
Jupiter Hammon: 1090 – 1092; “An Evening Thought” 1092 – 1094; “to Miss Phillis Wheatley” 1094 - 1097

Tuesday 11 October

Hannah Webster Foster: 1340 – 1341; from the Coquette 1341 – 1359
Susan Rowson: 1360 – 1361; from Charlotte Temple 1360 - 1373

Thursday 13 October

Charles Brockden Brown: 1373 – 1375; “Somnabulism” 1375 – 1387
[Last reading from Volume A; switch to Volume B for remainder of the course]

Tuesday 18 October

William Cullen Bryant: 2886 - 2888; “Thanatopsis” 2888 - 2890; “The Yellow Violet” 2890 – 2891; “Abraham Lincoln” 2896 – 2897

Thursday 20 October

Mid-Semester Paper Due

Tuesday 25 October

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: 2897 – 2898; “Aftermath” 2902; “Harvest Moon” 2903
Frances Sargent Osgood: 2904 – 2905; “Maiden’s Mistake” 2908; “Lines” 2911 – 2912; “To a Slandered Poetess” 2915 – 2916; “The Indian Maid’s Reply to the Missionary” 2917

Thursday 27 October

Edgar Allan Poe: 2459 – 2461; “Ligeia” 2462 – 2472; “The Black Cat” 2495 - 2501; “Bridal Ballad” 2536 – 2537; “The Raven” 2539 - 2542; “Annabelle Lee” 2545 - 2546

Tuesday 1 November

Washington Irving: 2143 – 2144; “Rip Van Winkle” 2153 – 2165; “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” 2165 - 2184
Nathaniel Hawthorne: 2242 – 2245; “The Minister’s Black Veil” 2267 - 2275

Thursday 3 November

Elizabeth Stoddard: 2822 – 2823; “Lemorne Versus Huell” 2823 - 2838

Tuesday 8 November

No Class: Friday Schedule

Thursday 10 November

Walt Whitman: 2920 – 2923; “Song of Myself” 2937 – 2981; “Memories of Lincoln” 3013 – 3023

Tuesday 15 November

2/3 Exam In-Class today
open text, closed notes

Thursday 17 November

Native America: 1420 – 1422
Jane Johnston Schoolcraft: 1422 – 1423 “Mishosha, or the Magician and his Daughters” 1423 – 1428; “The Foresaken Brother” 1428 - 1430
George Lowery: 1431 – 1434; “Notable Persons in Cherokee History” 1434 - 1442

Tuesday 22 November

Fanny Fern: 2100 – 2101; various selections 2101 – 2109
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: 2109 – 2111; “Declaration of Sentiments” 2113 - 2115
Rebecca Harding Davis: 2836 – 2837; “Life in the Iron Mills” 2838 - 2863

Thursday 24 November

No Class; Thanksgiving

Tuesday 29 November

Ralph Waldo Emerson: 1578 – 1581; “Concord Hymn” 1669
John Greenleaf Whittier: 1679 – 1681; “Hunters of Men” 1681 – 1682
Sarah Margaret Fuller: 1692 – 1682; “American Literature” 1719 – 1726
Henry David Thoreau: 1735 – 1738; “A Plea for Captain John Brown” 1787 - 1803

Thursday 1 December

Harriet Ann Jacobs: 2029 – 2031; from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl 2031 - 2054

Tuesday 6 November

Harriet Beecher Stowe: 2547 – 2549; from Uncle Tom’s Cabin 2547 - 2288

Thursday 8 November

Herman Melville: 2621 – 2625; “Bartleby, the Scrivener” 2625 - 2650

Tuesday 13 December

Draft of final paper due for in-class workshop

Final Exam Date (as announced)

Final Paper due

Policy on Academic Dishonesty:
All University policies on plagiarism apply to all written work for this course.  Read the University’s Policy on Academic Honesty, Cheating and Plagiarism (in your handbook and online).  If you plagiarize in your paper, you will receive an “F” for the assignment, and possibly also for the course.  You are also subject to other discipline (including expulsion from the University) at the discretion of the instructor and the University.  Do not try to buy, beg, borrow, barter, or otherwise acquire a paper from any of the “sources” out there (such as fraternity files, web sites, paper mills, or roommates).  The quality of such material is generally suspect, and you are doing yourself a grave disservice.  There is a very good chance that you will be caught, and the consequences are very serious.  Any “accidental” or “unintentional” plagiarism is still plagiarism and subject to the same penalties.  Be careful in your note-taking and use of all sources.  “Using” a source includes DIRECTLY QUOTING, PARAPHRASING, AND USING IDEAS from any source.  There is nothing wrong with “getting help” from other writers, just be sure to acknowledge it by using quotation marks and an author/page citation.  Please take the time to give proper credit to the work of other authors.  It is a matter of respect – for yourself, for other authors, for your classmates, and for me.