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.
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson
The Preamble to the Constitution
The Bill of Rights
“To His Excellency, General Washington” by Phillis Wheatley
“A Political Litany” by Philip Freneau
“Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant
“We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” by Emily Dickinson
“The Cross of Snow” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The Chambered Nautilus” by Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving
“Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau
“The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving 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
Read and analyze foundational documents and texts from the Revolutionary War period.
Examine defining characteristics of nineteenth-century American literary movements, including Romanticism, transcendentalism, and Gothic literature.
Write a persuasive essay that convinces the audience to take action to fix a problem in the community.
Write an original short story that incorporates components of Gothic literature.
Explain how American literature both reflects and defines characteristics of the American identity. 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 conveys themes, concepts, and issues from the period during which it was written.