In 11th grade English we think critically about a texts as they relate to the human condition and the American Experience. Simple comprehension of a literary work’s guiding features, plot, characters, and themes is no longer the focus; the identification of such features should be automatic. Now, you will be asked why did the event happen? How does the structure of the plot both reinforce commonly held archetypes and break the mold with creative storytelling? How did the author develop the character to tell the story and reinforce their message? What was the author’s intended message(s) and how well did they develop them? In reference to those messages, what is your interpretation of the story’s message? How does this message apply to the time period it was written in and to the 21st century American Experience? How did the author use specific literary elements and word choice to enhance the overall theme and artistry of the literary work? You will be breaking texts down, analyzing how all the pieces fit together, and evaluating the effectiveness of the writing.
The main focus of this course will be in developing a critical and analytical understanding of the evolution of the American Experience as displayed through literature, poetry, and informational text both written in and about the time period and texts we are studying. We will analyze these historical texts in relation to other texts from the time period and examine how this time period has come to be represented in more modern pieces of literature and historical interpretation. In addition, we will compare texts across genres, time periods, and themes to look for critical issues related to both the human condition and the American Experience.
The texts we study will only give you an idea of how each period in American life was portrayed through the eyes of those experiencing, studying, and emulating it. Your job will be to use your analytical knowledge of the texts studied, your research skills, and argumentative writing skills to make a claim about your interpretation of the American Experience.