Who am I as an American?

People strive to answer this question throughout their lives. As we study American literature this year, you will move one step closer to your own individual answer to this essential question. Through our readings of American literature you will build an understanding of its chronology and major themes. We will learn how we as a people came to be who we are today. Therefore, we will learn who each of us is as an AMERICAN.

Our Essential Question:
How does American literature and an understanding of its chronology and themes show how we as a people came to be who we are today?

1. The Journey Begins

What do we bring to the table?
What does American Lit offer me?

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (summer reading)
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy

2. Early American Literature

How do writers use language to express their beliefs?
Puritanism
Who were they?
  • excerpts by William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, and Jonathan Edwards
The Age of Reason
What did they value?
  • excerpts by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Phyllis Wheatley
Romanticism
Why use figurative language?
  • "The Birth-Mark" and The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne

3. Nineteenth Century Innovators

Why do writers break the rules?
Transcendentalism
The Poetic Bridge
  • excerpts by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson
Realism
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (summer reading)
  • "The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane & "A Horseman in the Sky" by Ambrose Bierce

4. Twentieth Century Challenges

Modernism
How does form affect message?
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald;
  • excerpts by various Harlem Renaissance writers including Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes;
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams;
  • Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman;