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American Literature is a semester-long core English course for juniors not enrolled in an AP English Language & Composition course. Students will encounter a variety of texts and authors considered central to the notions of the history, national identity, art and culture of the United States. It is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters, and students especially interested in this area of study are allowed to enroll during both terms of their junior year. Students taking both will encounter a completely different reading list in each semester.
Students will read texts from a variety of eras in each semester. The intent is to expose students to a wide range of style, genre, and content, while allowing for meaningful comparisons between texts from different parts of our nation’s history.
The story of American Literature is largely our break with European traditions to build our own culture through the contributions of our vast diversity. Themes during each semester may include: individualism, freedom, national identity, the minority experience in America, gender, war, immigration, progressivism, the urban experience, American Romanticism, and the American Dream.
Students can expect to read traditional texts of the American canon, by the likes of Franklin, Douglass, Hawthorne, Emerson, Twain, Wharton, and James. But each term will include modern and postmodern authors, such as Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, James Baldwin, August Wilson, Philip Roth, and Tim O’Brien.
Students who do not request a fall selective or who cannot be programmed for the fall selective(s) of their choice will automatically be programmed for American Literature in the fall. Students enrolled in a selective for the fall semester will automatically be programmed for American Literature in the spring.
Some big questions the course will address include:
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