ELA 11: American Literature—Semester B
20th-century bona fide American Shmoop.
Shmoop loves Moby-Dick. (Don't judge.) But we don't love torturing you with it. So in this course on American Literature, we're going to do things a little differently.
After all, doing things differently is as American as you can get.
Don't worry: you're still going to get your Big Deal Authors. We wouldn't take that away from you. But it's not just about reading the words on the page. We're also going to show you why these Big Deal Authors matter.
In Semester B, we'll kick things of with the Harlem Renaissance and then get poetic with 20th-century poetry, before nailing down some of the biggest hitters in literature: William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, J.D. Salinger, Cormac McCarthy... ever heard of 'em? The cherry on top will be two of the most American American novels: Bless Me, Ultima and The Things They Carried.
And in case you were worried we'd forgotten those Common Core Standards, we've got a whole unit of non-fiction waiting for you with bated breath.
P.S. American Literature (ELA 11) is a two-semester course. You're looking at Semester B, but you can check out Semester A here.
- Microsoft Office, Google Docs, or another word processing program
- A scanner (or access to one)
- A camera (a camera phone is sufficient)
- All other work can be done via the Shmoop website.
Unit 6. The Harlem Renaissance and All That Jazz
This unit will tackle the Harlem Renaissance and beyond, reading authors like W.E.B. DuBois (excerpts from The Souls of Black Folks); Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and Countee Cullen (lots o' poetry); Martin Luther King, Jr. ("Letter from Birmingham Jail"); and finishing up with Richard Wright's Black Boy.
Unit 7. 20th Century Poetry and Beyond: A Whirlwind Tour
Get ready for a whirlwind tour of 20th-century poetry, including Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Li-Young Lee, Kay Ryan, and Rita Dove (and that's just part of a really long list we'll be reading).
Unit 8. Southern Gothic
To tackle the Southern Gothic, we're going to turn to As I Lay Dying, A Streetcar Named Desire, and "Good Country People."
Unit 9. Growing Up Is Hard to Do
Two more classic American stories coming your way in this unit. The Catcher in the Rye and Bless Me, Ultima both agree on one thing: growing up is hard to do.
Unit 10. On the Road Again
Both The Things They Carried and The Road respond to moments that tore America apart, and that's why we'll be looking at them together in this unit.
Unit 11. The Long Road of Longform Non-Fiction
This unit is all about today. We'll start off with some contemporary essays by the likes of Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, and David Foster Wallace; and we'll finish off with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
- Course Length: 18 weeks
- Course Number: 310
- Grade Levels: 11, 12
- Course Type: Basic
- Category: English
ELA 11: American Literature—Semester A
Just what the heck is a ShMOOC?
Common Core Standards
The following standards are covered in this course:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1