American Literature

I think I have a tentative plan for my College in the High School course. We are required to go through the writing periods and to follow (roughly) the AP History classes’ progress. This is quite an ambitious list of readings; this past year I would say we did not read about a dozen of these small pieces and one of the novels, but I will be better at teaching this class this year. I think we can do this. Here is the list:

Native American Myths and Writings

Fools Crow by James Welch
“Coyote and the Buffalo” by the Okanogan (retold by Mourning Dove)
“Fox and Coyote and Whale” by the Okanogan (retold by Mourning Dove)
“The Man to Send Rain Clouds” by Leslie Marmon Silko
from The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday
from Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon

Puritan and Colonial Period

from La Relacion by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
from Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford
from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano
“To My Dear and Loving Husaband” by Anne Bradstreet
“Upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666” by Anne Bradstreet
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
“The Examination of Sarah Good” by the Salem Court
from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (lecture)

Revolutionary Era

“Speech in the Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry
The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson
“What is an American?” by Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crevecouer
from Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin
from The Crisis, Number 1 by Thomas Paine

* from Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr.
* “Necessary to Protect Ourselves” Maclom X (interviewed by Les Crane)


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
from Danse Macabre by Stephen King
“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe (read by James Mason)
“The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln
“Success is Counted Sweetest” by Emily Dickinson
“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson
“ I Heard a Fly Buzz—When I Died—“ by Emily Dickinson
“Mike Fink’s Brag” by Mike Fink
“Davy Crockett’s Brag” by Davy Crockett
from Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Transcendentalism (part of Romanticism)

from Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
from Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
from Walden by Henry David Thoreau
from Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
“When I Heard the Learned Astronomer: by Walt Whitman


“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce
“Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
“Miniver Cheevy” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
“Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“To Build a Fire” by Jack London

* “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall

Naturalism (part of Realism)

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane


“I’m a Fool” by Sherwood Anderson
“Bernice Bobs Her Hair” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
“Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost
“After Apple-Picking” by Robert Frost
“Stopping by Woods an a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
“The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot
“anyone lived in a pretty how town” by ee cummings
“The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Auden
“Mushrooms” by Sylvia Plath

Post-Modernism and Contemporary Literature

“Share-Cropper” by Langston Hughes
“Song for a Drak Girl” by Langston Hughes
“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday
A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
“All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury
“A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury
“The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury
“Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut
“Teenage Wasteland” by Anne Tyler
“Hostage” by Joyce Carol Oates
“Ambush” by Tim O’Brien

6 thoughts on “American Literature

  1. Anonymous

    Sorry, those were for me when I made notes. They don’t exactly fit the period but I will use them. Sorry for the confusion. 🙂

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  3. Teresa

    Heck, what can I say, I love to read 🙂 I’ve read several of your listed works already and would love to have a change at some in depth discussion with some high school students.


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