English III

                              English III: American Literature

                                                        St. Francis School

                                                           Dr. Brett Paice

Course Description


This course approaches American literature less as a natural evolution or a set of specific stylistic characteristics than as a varying series of responses to the historical, technological, intellectual, and political conditions of everyday life in the United States.  In the course of our literary analyses, we will address how American literature grapples with notions of personal and collective identity, the social conditions of marginalized populations, and what being American has come to mean over the course of time into the contemporary moment.  We will concentrate heavily on honing our writing skills with special attention to strong sentence composition and carefully crafted self-expression.  Students will also be asked to reflect upon their roles as part of a larger community of academic inquiry where each personal voice is valued.


Assigned readings will include novels, poems, short stories, and contemporary essays. Since visual culture plays an important role in our investigation of this period, we will also watch excerpts of films during the course of the semester. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion formats. Passionate and thoughtful participation is required.


Required Texts


  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962)                          Edward Albee
  • The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms                Chris Baldick
  • Fun Home (2006)                                                         Alison Bechdel
  • Kindred (1979)                                                             Octavia Butler
  • The Virgin Suicides (1993)                                             Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage & Style             Bryan Garner
  • Tenth of December (2014)                                               George Saunders
  • Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)                                              Kurt Vonnegut
  • Coursepack 


Course Breakdown


Quarter I : American Gothic



Kurt Vonnegut

Tenth of December

George Saunders

Stories: Thomas Pynchon, Andrea Barrett



Quarter II : Black Consciousness



Octavia Butler

"Going to Meet the Man"

James Baldwin


Quarter III : Oh, the Drama…


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?    

Edward Albee


Poems: Brooks, Clifton, Lorde, Rich, Doty, Connelly, Gottlieb


Quarter IV : The Great American Novel


The Virgin Suicides       

Jeffrey Eugenides


Fun Home

Alison Bechdel




  • Writing (typed papers, exams, and in-class assignments)         40%
  • Quizzes                                                                                   20%
  • Semester Final Exams                                                             20%
  • Participation                                                                            20%


Students are allowed to be late three times per quarter.  After the third tardy they will be grounded.

·       Please do not eat or drink in the classroom during regular class hours. 

·       Use of cell phones isn't permitted. They shouldn’t be visible during class.

·       Laptops are only to be used with permission.

·       Please keep these and other electronics stowed.

Brett Paice,
Mar 4, 2014, 6:12 AM
Brett Paice,
Oct 9, 2014, 6:56 AM
Brett Paice,
Sep 10, 2015, 6:13 AM
Brett Paice,
Dec 3, 2015, 6:50 AM
Brett Paice,
Apr 11, 2016, 11:23 AM
Brett Paice,
Apr 11, 2016, 11:23 AM