How to Read the Literature

Welcome to Early American Literature!!

We will be studying some of the early texts of American Literature this semester to try to discover at what point we stopped being a bunch of different groups of people and started becoming Americans .  .  . or did that ever happen?  (If it did happen, when did it happen?)

What is an “” anyways?  

This semester we will be hunting for that elusive”” in the literature that helped define a nation.

What the Syllabus Says:


Jan. 11

Course introduction and overview. Introduction to the study of literature.  Purchase books, familiarize yourself with iCollege.

Jan. 13

Class Discussion:  What is an American?  Introduce VINE & Twitter  Make a 6 second video about what an “American” is on Wednesday. Complete VINE for Wednesday.  Submit via Twitter at #DrK2131. Find something to volunteer for!  Monday is MLK day!!

Video:  Introduction to Literature

Atmosphere – Became from MSB Creative Media on Vimeo.

Ask yourself questions about the video:

  • Where does it take place?
  • What time of the year?
  • Situation?
  • Why are they in separate tents?
  • Who is his friend?
  • What happens?
  • What does it mean?  What can it stand for?

Don’t just accept what is happening–question it!  THAT is critical reading!

Now, go to the discussion page and answer this question:  If this video is a metaphor for something that can happen in life, what would it be a metaphor for in your life? How would you apply this?


What is an ““? 

Let’s discuss this.  First we have to assume there is such a thing as “An American.”  Then we have to define the term:

  1. How many ways can we define the term?
  2. What does “an American” look like?
  3. What do they act like?
  4. Are there some qualities that one associates with being American?  What are those qualities?
  5. What do Americans think Americans are?
  6. What do non-Americans think Americans are?

How can we study American Literature if we don’t know what an American is? 

Does the literature define America, or does America define the literature? 

Do we write the books, or do the books write us?

Your Assignment is this:

Make a VINE that shows what an American is.

Tweet that Vine with the Hashtag #DrK2131

I will Storify those tweets and we will share them with the class.

Twitter Logo

Here are the instructions to make a VINE and TWEET it!!

  1. If you don’t have it yet, download the TWITTER app on your mobile device (it is free).
    Vine Logo
  2. If you don’t have one yet, establish a TWITTER account. (If you already have one and want to make a new one just for this class, go ahead!)
  3. Download VINE (it is a free app.)  Vine makes 6 second videos.  It’s a slightly old video (for example, you can edit Vines now. But this is a good introduction.  Here is how it works:
  4. When you sign up for VINE, just use your Twitter ID.  (You can also connect your other social media accounts if you want.)
  5. Now, make a 6 second video that captures your definition of “An American.” 
  6. When you finish your VINE, make sure you include #DrK2131 in the text.  You can add any other text you want, but make sure that hashtag is on it.
  7. Please create your VINE by Wednesday, January 20, at 10:00 a.m. (Dr. K has to have some time to Storify them to show in class.)

This is worth one homework grade!

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