Course Syllabus

ACP American Literature Syllabus 2021-2022

room 230 

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Teachers:  Dr. Chisum and Ms. Dubé


Dear Students and Guardians, 

I write to you today with great excitement. I’m eager to get to know each of you, to hear about your summers, to learn about your plans for this year and your hopes and dreams for the future.

I'm eager to learn what interests you and, to that end, what you chose for your summer reading book.  (If you missed the directive on summer reading, catch up here:

Finally, I'm delighted to announce that I'll be co-teaching this class with our principal, Dr. Jamie Chisum.  Dr. Chisum and I have taught together for the past four years.  Dr. Chisum will have his own welcome message for you when we meet in class.

Let’s make this a year in which we connect, sharing both our inspirations and our frustrations.  You can reach me at

I look forward to meeting you.



Ms. Dubé

Carol M. Dubé

(she, her, hers)

English Teacher

Wellesley High School 

Wellesley, MA

Course description:  In American literature, we delve deeply into many of our nation’s most acclaimed texts and examine the relationship between American writing and American identity.  We’ll start by sharing our summer reading.  As we discuss these texts and every text thereafter, we’ll consider whether the characters’ struggles are universal or whether there is something particular to the American experience in them.  We’ll then focus on close reading and characterization in Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Matthew Quick's The Silver Linings Playbook, looking to understand how these characters factor into our national identity.  Then, we’ll look at some of our most famous American speeches and learn how to use rhetorical devices to make an effective argument.  In the spring we'll explore American classics such as J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.  

Essential Questions:

  1. How does American literature reflect and influence one’s identity?
  2. To what extent is American literature our cultural voice?
  3. What does American literature say to us about race, gender, class, and aspirations?

Sample Texts:

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream”
  • The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
  • President Abraham Lincoln, “The Gettysburg Address”
  • President Abraham Lincoln, “The Second Inaugural Address”
  • J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
  • Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
  • Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook.



  • Students will be able to respond creatively to literature and write creatively about their own experiences. 
  • Students will be able to read analytically and will be able to explain this analysis in writing. 
  • Students will be able to speak in front of the class in a thoughtful, appropriate, and sophisticated manner.  
  • Students will be able to recognize, define, and utilize the literary and rhetorical devices that authors use to create meaning in their texts.

Managing Assignments: 


  • All assignments will be posted in Canvas.  
  • Papers, written homework, and quizzes will be turned in and graded in Canvas.  Grades for these assignments will be posted on PowerSchool.
  • Presentations will be graded in class with the grade and feedback posted in PowerSchool.
  • Participation will be graded in class with the grade posted in PowerSchool. 

Wellesley High School Gmail

  • I will also use Wellesley High School Gmail to communicate with you by email.

Policies:  See the Wellesley High School Student Handbook for more information on our plagiarism policy and our online learning guidelines:


Course Summary:

Date Details Due