Susan McLemore » American Literature Syllabus

American Literature Syllabus

American Literature

Dr. Susan H. McLemore


Email:                Phone: (912)267-4210 ext. 3117         Classroom: 1121


Syllabus and Expectations


American Literature is a course designed to survey some of the most renowned authors of our country and to analyze some of the most compelling issues of our times. The literature of this year not only will provide a sense of historical setting, but also will expose the human spirit which continues to endure, adapt, and overcome throughout the centuries. With each era, regardless of how old or recent, students will hopefully glean a connection to their own lives, issues, and circumstances.


In addition to our literature, we will concentrate on strengthening writing skills and grammar, focusing on both persuasive and expository writing.



  1. Think! Be involved in the reading and in the discussion. Ask questions.
  2. Come to class prepared and bring all materials necessary to participate in the class. Know what we are doing and when we are doing it. Nothing should be a surprise.
  3. Read actively. Question, take notes, and summarize as we read. Reference the success criteria.
  4. Work to the best of your ability at all times. Devote as much time as needed to making yourself successful.
  5. Complete your assignments in an honest and honorable manner.
  6. Be respectful of all others in the room, their property, and their space.
  7. Respect the classroom and all classroom materials.



  • Listen and be considerate of others (including the teacher) when they are talking. Be responsible for your words and actions.
  • Be on time! Be seated in your assigned seat before the bell rings.
  • Cheating and plagiarism to any degree or in any manner will result in a failing grade and disciplinary action.
  • The use of cellphones is not allowed! Follow the cell phone policy.
  • Bottled drinks are permitted. Food is not.


Grading Categories & Weights:

  • Tests/Quizzes = 30%
  • Writing/Projects = 25 %
  • Class Work/Homework = 15%
  • Final Exam/EOCT = 30%



  • Communication is key! If you are absent an entire day, your responsibility is to ask about, schedule, and make up work according to the handbook’s specifications. You can find each day’s assignment on our Google Classroom for that day, in order to complete most makeup work at home.
  • If you fail to come at the designated time or fail to inquire about your missed work, you will receive a zero for that assignment or test.


Turning In Work and Essays:

  • All work needs to be turned in before the set deadline or passed up to the front of the classroom as soon as the student is asked to by the teacher. Work submitted any time after will be late work and will result in points deducted.
  • If you are absent when an essay is due, you must turn the essay in electronically before or during our class period. If you fail to do so, you will incur a 10 point penalty per day that it is late. If you are present on the day an essay is due but have not finished or printed the essay when I take them up, you will incur a 5 point penalty if turned in at the end of the day. They are due at the time that I call for them.



  • Required: 3-ring binder (may be an old, recycled one)/ composition book for journaling (may be 70-page spiral or hard-back)/ pencil and pen/ folder or pocket on notebook
  • Bring your materials to class every day. Be prepared. (It’s what the cool kids do.)
  • You will need a folder to place handouts, story printouts, etc.
  • Keep up with graded work. Everything we do is to prepare for the End of Course Test (30% of Grade).



  • We have several recurring themes throughout the semester. Some of our works contain more than one of our central themes, so be on the lookout. Watch for “The American Dream,” nostalgia, parental influence, redemption, coming-of-age, and the search for significance.
  • NOTE: The high school English department has a procedure for offering alternate choices if a given text to be used for classroom study and discussion offends the individual sensibilities of a student or his/her family. Please notify your English teacher if such a concern should arise.
  • Works studied may include (but are not limited to) excerpts or all of the following.



A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Huston

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain



“The World on a Turtle’s Back” by the Iroquois

“La Relacion” by Cabeza de Vaca

Poetry: Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Claude McKay, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and others  

Excerpt from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards

“Flowers” by Alice Walker

“Marigolds” by Eugenia Collier

“The Life You Save. . .” by O’Connor

 “Desiree’s Baby” and “Story of an Hour”  by Kate Chopin

“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Hawthorne