American Literature (English 3) is the third volume of the Excellence in Literature curriculum.
What does American Literature cover?
American Literature is a college-preparatory literature and composition 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 literature and will practice the skills of close literary analysis through essays, approach papers, and other evaluative writing.
“Students completing these courses should be miles ahead of most of their high school contemporaries in their ability to read and analyze literature at a sophisticated level.
The challenging writing assignments also promise to develop student skills in composition to a high level.”
By the end of the 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 contexts of the works.
- Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
- Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics.
What does American Literature include?
Self-directed: Like all the volumes of the Excellence in Literature curriculum, American Literature is written mostly to the student. The book begins by introducing the purpose and focus of the curriculum, then go on to provide information that will be useful as students work through the modules, including chapters on How to Read a Book and How to Write an Essay, as well as Discerning Worldview through Literary Periods. Online context resource links — articles, art, music, etc.— are kept updated at the EIL site.
Formats and Models: This chapter provides detailed instructions for each type of paper, along with a student-written model so parents and students can see exactly what is expected.
Honors: In the listing below, the highlighted book is the focus text, and the honors book is optional additional reading for students who want to earn an honors grade or prepare for a CLEP. A brief chapter in each book provides instructions for the additional writing that will round out the honors grade.
Following the nine modules that outline readings and a week-by-week lesson plan for each of the classic works being studied, you will find reference resources, including instructions for evaluation, reproducible rubric and assignment sheets, and more. You can see an annotated listing of each of the introductory and reference chapters at the “What is included in Excellence in Literature” post. Each book is linked to an edition I prefer at Amazon. These are affiliate links, of course — that means I get a few cents from each book purchase, but it doesn’t change your cost at all.
Module 1: Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
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
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 Ántonia by Willa Cather
Module 9: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Honors: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Visit my blog to read about how I chose the literature for Excellence in Literature. This link will open in a new tab, so you don’t have to worry about losing your place here.
We offer the exclusive Print Plus ebook add-on option.
Print Plus eBook learning advantages:
- Printed guide is best for frequently referenced instructional articles and models
- eBook add-on can be one more than one device for use by others in the family
- eBook add-on allows students to click context resources links on most computers, rather than type in URLs (any link updates will be listed on the Excellence in Literature resource site in the Curriculum User Content)
- Extra copies of reproducible forms can be easily printed from the add-on
Click each title below for a detailed description of the study guide.
Introduction to Literature (English 1)
Literature and Composition (English 2)
American Literature (English 3)
British Literature (English 4)
World Literature (English 5)
The Complete Curriculum: Literature and Writing for Grades 8-12
Handbook for Writers