English 3 gives students the opportunity to explore the American identity by reading American texts that span the period from the late eighteenth century through the late twentieth century. During this journey through American literature, students will examine a variety of texts, including documents, speeches, poems, short stories, and novels. As they read these texts, students learn about the themes, characteristics, and concepts that delineate the American identity and examine how literature both reflects and defines these ideas. This work culminates in a project in which students research the American literary canon throughout history and then choose a modern text that they believe should be part of the literary canon. By the end of the course, students should be able to describe the defining characteristics of American literature and explain how those characteristics have evolved over time.
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce
“A Mystery of Heroism” by Stephen Crane
“The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane
“To Build a Fire” by Jack London
“The Sculptor’s Funeral” by Willa Cather
“Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson
“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
“The Death of the Hired Man” by Robert Frost
“Out, Out—” by Robert Frost
“Patterns” by Amy Lowell
“The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams
“Thursday” by William Carlos Williams
“This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams
“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens
“The Road” by Helene Johnson
“I Sit and Sew” by Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson
“The Weary Blues” by Langston Hughes
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes
“Any Human to Another” by Countee Cullen
“If We Must Die” by Claude McKay
“Oriflamme” by Jessie Redmon Fauset
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr.
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr.
“Civil Rights Address” by John F. Kennedy
Brown v. Board of Education majority opinion
Gideon v. Wainwright majority opinion
“Equal Rights for Women” by Shirley Chisholm
“Commonwealth Club Address” by Cesar Chavez
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
“The Ballad of Rudolph Reed” by Gwendolyn Brooks
“For My People” by Margaret Walker
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou
“Women” by Alice Walker
“Recitatif” by Toni Morrison
“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
“I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen
Identify characteristics of the naturalism and modernism movements and examine the works of authors who helped define these movements.
Explore poetry from the Harlem Renaissance and examine how it both celebrated black culture and brought attention to issues of racism and discrimination during this period.
Examine the meaning of the American Dream and how Fitzgerald explores its destruction in his novel The Great Gatsby.
Present an analysis of two themes in The Great Gatsby. Analyze speeches, Supreme Court majority opinions, and other documents focused on civil rights issues in the mid-twentieth century.
Evaluate how fiction from the mid-twentieth century conveyed themes, concepts, and issues from the period during which it was written.
Select and research texts that define the American literary canon throughout history, including a modern selection that you can defend as an appropriate choice.
Create and deliver a presentation on the American literary canon.