Holly McCall



An Introduction



Welcome to my world of literature!  My name is Holly McCall; I am a wife and mother, and college student.  My major is elementary education, and my academic concentration is English, which is why I am taking this course – Major American Authors.  I enrolled in this course to fill an academic requirement but also because I feel that it is important, especially as a future teacher, to be familiar with the literature of our great country.

 I am a fan of all kinds of literature, but I can’t say that I always have been.  Growing up, most of my experiences with literature, or what I thought of as literature, were books that I was forced to read.  I viewed reading as homework.  And yet, some of my fondest and most vivid memories in school were when teachers would read to the class during some “free time”.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t until my senior year in high school that I really understood the relevance of literature.  My teacher told us that literature, all kinds of literature, was about one thing – us.  Literature is a reflection of our human nature.  My view and enjoyment of literature was completely changed after that realization.  I now appreciate the introspection that literature gives me, and I try to apply it toward many relationships that I have, at home and in my community.

In taking this course, I hope to become more familiar with American literature, but I also want to improve my communication and research skills.  My husband is in the military and we are relocating frequently.  I’ve come to value research skills in the relocation process.  Before we move, I try to learn pertinent information about the community and the surrounding schools.  The information available is overwhelming sometimes, but it takes a skillful researcher to find specific information in a timely manner.  Good communication skills are also especially important in a lifestyle where we are constantly meeting new people who come from a wide variety of backgrounds.  These skills will be extremely important to me as an educator, too, in relationships with students and parents and in my professional development.

I am a firm believer that knowledge and language is power.  Both of these things can be gained through literature.  All the successful people I know are educated, but more importantly, are life-long learners.  They read books and newspapers and look for ways to improve their communication skills. They can communicate their thoughts clearly and concisely and can also comprehend what is being communicated to them.  Language is the key.  In this Information Age, now more than ever, reading, writing, and speaking skills are crucial for a person’s success.  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to practice these skills in this course.

  If you let it, literature can open the mind and elevate the spirit.  Literature is a playground for thought and feeling.  Once you think of it in these terms, how can you not enjoy it?


Essay 1: “Life in America, Smith vs. the Puritans”

Essay 2: “A Look at Romanticism”

Essay 3: Postbellum America

Essay 4: Modern America

Author Project: Thomas Bangs Thorpe