English 251: U. S. Literature, Colonial to Romantic Fall 2016

English 251: U. S. Literature, Colonial to Romantic Fall 2016

English 251: U. S. Literature, Colonial to Romantic Fall 2016

Profesora María Sánchez

My office: MHRA 3115


Office hours: Monday afternoons after class – make an appointment

Assistant: Jamie Watson

Canvas: All of our handouts, detailed explanation of assignments, the syllabus, class announcements, links to author pages, and so on, will be posted on our Canvas site.

Required Texts:

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Note: I will be using the Norton Critical edition of Stowe’s novel, so if you wish to have the same version that I do, that is what you should order. However, you can buy or borrow any edition you like – the choice is yours. All of our other readings are on Canvas, either as pdf documents or web links.


Response papers, 3 – 4 pp: worth 25% of final grade

Two exams: each worth 25% of final grade

Participation: worth 20% of final grade

Attendance: worth 5% of your final grade

A detailed explanation of assignments can be found in our Course Documents page, in the surprisingly titled “Explanation of Assignments.”

Reading Schedule:


Aug. 22: Introduction to class! We’ll take a look at these two readings:

Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses”

Sydney Smith, “Review of Annals”

Aug. 24: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”


Aug. 29: Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher”

Aug. 31: Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart”

-- First response paper due Wednesday!


Sept. 5: NO CLASS (Labor Day)

Sept. 7: Emily Dickinson, poems


Sept. 12: Dickinson, poems

Sept. 14: Dickinson, poems

-- Second response due Wednesday!


Sept. 19: Fanny Fern, newspaper columns from the New York Ledger, etc.

Sept. 21: Fern, columns


Sept. 26: Julia Collins, The Curse of Caste

Sept. 28: Collins continued

-- Third response paper due Wednesday!


Oct. 3: Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener”

Oct. 5: Melville continued


Oct. 10: Melville continued; also review for exam

Oct. 12: exam #1 in class


Oct. 17: NO CLASS (Fall break)

Oct. 19: Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?”


Oct. 24: Douglass continued

Oct. 26: Douglass continued

-- Fourth response paper due Wednesday!


Oct. 31: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Nov. 2: continue Stowe


Nov. 7: continue Stowe

Nov. 9: NO CLASS (I’ll be out of town. Don’t party too hard.)


Nov. 14: more Stowe!

Nov. 16: always Stowe!

-- Fifth response paper due Wednesday!


Nov. 21: James Baldwin and George Sand on Stowe



Nov. 28: Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

Nov. 30: Emerson continued

-- last response paper due Wednesday!


Dec. 5: exam #2

So, highlights: response papers due 8/31, 9/14, 9/28, 10/26, 11/16, and11/30

Exams on 10/12 and 12/5

Profesora’s rules:

1. Don’t piss me off.

2. I’m OK with laptops, iPads, Nooks, etc., into the classroom in order to access the readings. If you’re one of those pathetically addicted people who can’t go half an hour without texting a friend, do it unobtrusively, otherwise I will ridicule you in front of everyone. If you choose not to follow along and pay attention, it’s your grade, and I won’t stop you. But if anything you do in class, with technology or without it, distracts me as I’m trying to run the class, we’ll have a problem. Similarly, if you do anything that disturbs a classmate, we will have a problem. For a first offense, you’ll have a tense conversation with me. If there is a second offense, I will drop you from class. (Consult rule #1.)

3. Late response papers will not be accepted. I set the deadlines, not you. If you know ahead of time that you may have a problem completing an assignment by the deadline, speak with me about an extension. That will demonstrate organization and attentiveness on your part, and this should be rewarded! Just dropping off a late paper whenever you bother to grace me with your presence? Go back and read Profesora’s Rule #1.

4. Plagiarism: The rule is easy: if the words and ideas aren’t yours, you must give credit where credit is due. Think of it this way: when I see quotations, proper citations, and a works cited list in your papers, I am impressed. I think, wow, Susie Jo Lou did all this research, and she wasn’t required to do it! Susie Jo Lou is awesome – A!! When I see quotations in your papers that aren’t marked as quotations – and thus, proper citations and a works cited list are missing – I think several things. For instance, I think, “That’s funny, I could have sworn Stowe wrote that, and not Bobby Doug Bo.” Then I think, “What kind of $^%&$!! rips off Stowe?” Then finally I think, “Fail – assignment AND course.” Then I inform the Director of Undergraduate Studies, she informs the College and starts filling out paperwork, and you have an F on your transcript and have to take the class over again. You can guess what I think of that. (Note that this also transgresses Rule #1, profoundly so.)

5. ODS: Registered with the Office of Disability Services? Think you might need some help? Let me know. (Nothing here transgresses Rule #1.)

6. Sugar and caffeine are to be encouraged. At times, there will be candy. You are responsible for your own caffeine. If you want to bring in sugar to share, do. People will like you. Also, this does not transgress Rule #1.

If you are a careful and attentive reader, you will have realized by now that there really is only one rule.