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Excellence in Literature :: English III: American Literature (Honors Option)

American Literature: A Survey Course

What does American Literature cover?

Excellence In Literature: American Literature - English 3American Literature is a college-preparatory literature survey course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, and for their place in the historical development of literature. Context readings provide background information about the author, the historical period, and the literary and artistic context of the focus work.

Students will gain an understanding of the development of American literature and will practice the skills of close literary analysis through essays, approach papers, and other evaluative writing. You may learn more about how I chose the literature for Excellence in Literature in this blog post.


By the end of this survey course, students will:

      • Possess a broad knowledge of the history and development of American literature.
      • Have specific understanding of selected representative texts by major authors of the periods studied.
      • Have a general understanding of the historical and cultural context of the works.
      • Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
      • Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics.
      • Demonstrate competence in the MLA style of source documentation


Getting Started
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Read a Book
Discerning Worldview through Literary Periods
Using EIL in a Classroom

NOTE: Texts listed in bold are core Focus Texts; Honors texts listed are optional readings. Please see widget at bottom of page for recommended editions.

Module 1: Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
Honors: The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson
Letters From An American Farmer by J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur

Module 2: Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving and selected works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Honors: The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., The Life of George Washington, or Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving

Module 3: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Honors: The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper

Module 4: The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Honors: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Walden by Henry David Thoreau (if you didn’t read it in English II)

Module 5: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Honors: Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Module 6: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Honors: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Module 7: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Honors: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Daisy Miller by Henry James

Module 8: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Honors: My Antonia by Willa Cather

Module 9: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Honors: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Excellence in Literature: Assignment Checklist
Excellence in Literature: Student Evaluation Summary
Formats and Models
Approach Paper Format
Historical Approach Paper Format
Author Profile Format
Literature Summary Format
Literary Analysis Model
Sample Poetry Analysis
What an MLA Formatted Essay Looks Like
Tips for Evaluating Writing
Excellence in Literature Evaluation Rubric
Excellence in Literature: Student Evaluation Summary

You'll find many of the context resources at the Excellence in Literature website, so even if a link changes, you'll have what you need.

NEW! Add the ebook to your purchase for only $10 more.

You and your student will have the print book for reference and evaluation, but the student will be able to view the modules online, and click links (on most computers) to the context resources, rather than typing out the URLs.


Print and ebook together- $39

American Literature: English 3 Print Book

$29 + $4.95 Priority Mail shipping; 8.5 x 11" Coil-bound.

American Literature: English 3 e-book- $27



Free Rubric & Newsletter

Would you like a free copy of our reproducible writing evaluation rubric? Just type your name and e-mail below, and you'll be taken to a download link. You'll also receive my free monthly newsletter, with helpful articles and tips. Enjoy!

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