American Literature (Second Semester)

From: $80.00 / month for 5 months

Grades: 9th – 12th

Live Class:  Tues. 12:30–1:30 p.m. ET

Dates:  Jan 3 — Apr 29

Cost: $349

Instructor: Susan Spivey

See Reviews of Instructor Susan Spivey


Course Description


This Second Semester offering is a survey course of American Literature.  In addition to recognizing the major writers found in American literature, students will also learn to identify genres, movements, and historical events that helped shape this young country. Students will extend their knowledge of literary devices used in fiction and poetry and be able to recognize these elements in context. Selected readings will include various forms of fictional prose, drama, novels, and poetry.

All assignments and discussions are intent on helping the student explore the diverse human experience of American writers and appreciate the emergence of literature in these United States. In addition, this class will encourage students to find the joy and pleasure found between the pages of a good book.

Topics Covered in Second Semester:

  • Mark Twain
  • Literature from the turn of the century
  • Modern Age
  • Imagism
  • Modern short stories and poems
  • The Great Gatsby
  • World War I poets
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • Southern Regionalism
  • Beat Poets
  • The Crucible

Course Structure

Students will be expected to participate in class discussions and complete weekly homework assignments. Homework can range from short answers to evaluating reading comprehension, to longer essay responses which allow students to refine their composition skills.

Who should enroll?

Any student in grades 9-12 may take this course. There are no prerequisites.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

Students can expect their homework to be evaluated and graded weekly. Since homework is due the day of our live class sessions, I try to have all homework graded before the next class. If the work is completed on time and questions are answered completely, full credit is normally awarded for the weekly assignments.

For the larger papers, I offer a deep evaluation of both style and content, and students should expect to have my comments and a grade back within 2-3 weeks. Former students have said these evaluations have been most beneficial as they prepare for higher level writing in college. Students are welcome to communicate with me via email, and I usually respond with 24 hours.


Once registration is complete, I send a welcome email to each student and their parents. They will be added to the course and alerted when the Canvas page is open and they can begin their study of literature.

Course Syllabus

Required Texts


  • Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience, 2010 edition, ISBN-10: 0133666549, ISBN-13: 9780133666540

Any unabridged version of the following:

  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


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Instructor Bio

Susan Spivey

Susan Spivey is enthusiastic about sharing her love of literature with students and finds tremendous joy in teaching. Susan earned her MA in English from Arizona State University and her BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland. She worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for several years before starting her family. Susan also worked as a freelance writer for magazines and as a substitute teacher in public schools. She has taught English for many years and has been teaching for AIM Academy since 2015. When she is not reading a book, discussing a book, or teaching about books, you can find her in her garden, likely with a book nearby.

British Literature
American Literature
Christian Literature


All classes taught by Susan Spivey