Mr. Santiago—Room 203

Course overview (Subject to change due to time and students’ needs)


Prentice Hall Literature—The American Experience

The Great Gatsby—F. Scott Fitzgerald

*Death of a Salesman—Arthur Miller(tentative)

Various handouts, which I may re-collect throughout the year

Other materials:

At least one folder with pockets to hold your handouts and other materials for this class


In explaining the importance of his craft, the American author Kurt Vonnegut once said, “My motives are political. I agree with Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini that the writer should serve his society. I differ with dictators as tohowwriters should serve. Mainly, I think they should be—and bio-logicallyhaveto be—agents of change. For the better, we hope. Writers are specialized cells in the social organism. They are evolutionary cells. Mankind is trying to become something else; it's experimenting with new ideas all the time. And writers are a means of introducing new ideas into the society, and also a means of responding symbolically to life.” Every culture throughout history has created its own literature, both oral and written. Why does man tell stories? What can we learn about a culture and its history from their literature? How has literature changed over time? What legacy will this generation leave behind? These are the ideas we will continue to explore in this semester-long English class as we focus on various pieces of American fiction and non-fiction that repeatedly address the three following questions, as noted in your textbook: 1)What makes American literature American? 2)What is the relationship between literature and place? 3) How does literature shape or reflect society? To accomplish this goal, we will look at pieces of American literature from various periods in this nation’s history, proving that literature has continued to reflect and affect major events and philosophies throughout this nation’s history. We will discuss the significant role each piece played in reflecting, shaping, and changing the nation’s thoughts at that point in history. We will also study the different techniques that each writer used to convey his/her message successfully, according to the state’s common core standards. Below is a list of the units we will focus on, along with some of each unit’s selections and the skills/standards each selection will address within a cooperative learning community:

Unit 1: A Gathering of Voices (Beginnings to 1800)

Persuasive and political speeches/essays, and sermons—Jonathan Edwards, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson

(Over, please)

Unit 5: prosperity and Protest (1945-1970)

Small-group research projects/presentations based on significant names and events from this time period

Excerpts from the book Hiroshima—John Hersey (implied themes and authors’ political views)

“The Life You Save May Be Your Own”—Flannery O’ Connor (Grotesque characters, themes)

The Crucible—Arthur Miller (conflict, Biblical allusions, themes, tragedy, and allegory)

Unit 2: A Growing Nation (1800-1870)

“The Devil and Tom Walker”—Washington Irving (characterization, theme)

Selected poems of William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes (meter, theme)

“The Minister’s Black Veil”—Nathaniel Hawthorne (symbols and parables)

“The Raven” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”—Edgar Allen Poe (poetry meter and themes, Gothic literature)

“Where is Here?”—Joyce Carol Oates (modern Gothic literature)

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau (metaphors, analogies, themes)

Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman (rhyme/rhythm and types of poetry)

Unit 3: Division, Reconciliation, and Expansion (1850-1914)

“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”—Ambrose Bierce (point of view, Civil War fiction)

“An Episode of War”—Stephen Crane (Naturalism)

“The Gettysburg Address”—Abraham Lincoln (diction and effective public speaking)

The humor of Mark Twain and the concept of “American” humor

Unit 4: Disillusion, Defiance, and Discontent (1914-1945)

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”—T.S Eliot (Dramatic Monologue and allusions in poetry)

Poetry from the Harlem Renaissance

“A Rose for Emily”—William Faulkner (ambiguity and resolution)

“The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”—Katherine Anne Porter (Stream-of-Consciousness writing)

The novel The Great Gatsby and possible Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (if we have time)

Along with identifying the skills and techniques noted above, you will also be asked to display your understanding of them by way of addressing various aspects of grammar and standardized testing (ACT practice tests) and also by completing a variety of brief and extended written responses, as noted below and as time will allow:

  • Interpretive responses
  • Reflective responses
  • Compare-and-Contrast responses
  • Persuasive responses
  • Literary comparison/analysis essays and other responses to literature
  • Various analytical responses to writers’ techniques
  • Brief research essays
  • Classification essays

I have created a web site for this class, which includes a list of up-coming classroom activities, homework assignments, quizzes and tests, along with links where you can download many of the handouts that you will receive in class. I update the site at the beginning of each week, and I encourage you to check the web site regularly, especially if you are absent or know that you will be absent, so that you do not fall behind on any class work. To access the site, do the following: 1) Go to This is the district’s home page. 2) From there go to MidviewHigh School from the drop-down window near the upper left hand side of the screen. 3) Once you are on the high school’s home page, in the box on the left click on “TEACHER WEBSITES.” 4) Then on the next page, also in the left hand box click on my name, LOREN SANTIAGO. On the next screen you will find the links for my classes. Just click on the class you want information about. If you have any questions or problems let me know by using my school e-mail address: .

Final comment

My goal is for everyone to succeed in this class. However, to accomplish this goal, everyone, including the individual student and the teacher, must do his/her job. If you ever have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for class activities, please let me know, so that I can help you succeed.