HONORS AMERICAN LITERATURE
Credit - 1 English credit
Full YearPrerequisite: English Department approval based on placement criteria. A student whose semester grade falls below a B- will meet with the teacher and parent to discuss the best placement for the student the following year.In this course, students do intensive and extensive reading of classic American literature in the context of American culture, moving chronologically from the pre-revolutionary era to the end of the 19th century in the first semester, and then up to the literature of the late 20th century in the second semester. Students also read literature thematically, examining it in relation to ideas such as romanticism and transcendentalism, especially in the first semester; later, they consider the influence of more modern “isms,” including realism, naturalism, and existentialism, followed by current theories, such as modernism and postmodernism. All such theoretical bases are tested against questions of what is a masterpiece and what is a classic and why, and these theories are considered in relation to ongoing American issues, such as race relations, equality between the sexes, social class distinctions, and whether the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is a reality or myth. Readings include works by Jefferson, Franklin, Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson, Whitman, Hemingway, and others; complete works may include Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, Death of a Salesman, and The Woman Warrior. Students do an intensive research project and class presentation based on the works of any American author of critical merit. Students are also required to write, conference, and revise a minimum of five compositions each semester; one such assignment each semester is usually other than an expository essay. Students complete a reading and writing assignment the summer before Honors American Literature.Teachers
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