In this course, we will be studying some of the most famous literature written in America. We will read the texts carefully, but we will also consider their religious, political, and cultural contexts. We will do so through in-class activities, independent reading assignments and the completion of a research project. We will also explore some themes that seem to reoccur throughout the American experience. Many of these themes you may already be familiar with, such as the importance of friendship, the complexities of love, the personal struggles inherent in the practice of religious beliefs, and the American Dream. In our syllabus, the texts that we will be reading include Miller’s The Crucible, Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and two novels by John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath). We will also explore numerous short stories by the likes of Hemingway, Irving, Jackson, Poe and Bierce. As this is also a writing class, we will be doing numerous written projects and activities to enhance and advance our own skills as writers. An emphasis will be placed on preparations for the SAT Exam and in particular, expanding our vocabulary skills in that regard.
Goals and Objectives
- to familiarize students with some significant and culturally diverse examples, both canonical and noncanonical, of American Literature
- to introduce students to some of the major literary genres and modes employed by writers of American Literature
- to provide students with the opportunity to examine some recurring themes in American Literature
- to help students understand the relevance of the literature of the past to our modern world
- to give students practice in analyzing, discussing, and writing about that literature
By the end of the course, you should also be able to:
- correctly format and write at least two scholarly works following the guidelines of the Modern Language Association
- analyze and develop your own interpretations of literary works
- use appropriate examples from literary texts to illustrate and support your views
- compare different texts and articulate meaningful connections between them
- continue to explore and enjoy new texts on your own.