American literature plays a central role in this course. The following list includes the novels, plays, stories, poems, memoirs, criticism, journalistic non-fiction, and general non-fiction that will make up your reading for the year. We may not read all of this; then again, we may read more than this.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Chabon [summer reading]
The Glass Castle or This Boy's Life: a memoir from the approved list [summer reading]
"Western Star", Benet; fiction from Yezierska and Wolfe; non-fiction from MacLeish and Gammons
Patriotic lyric by Katharine Lee Bates
Non-fiction selections from the likes of Zinn, Tuchman, McCulloch, Brands, and many other great historians
Frequent ventures into some of the top journalistic hives in our society: The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times
Major speeches: G. Washington, Cochise, Charlot, F. Douglass, Lincoln, McKinley, Beveridge, Wilson, B. T. Washington, King Jr., Malcolm X, others
Packets of articles on the political process in America
"Song of Myself" and other poems, Whitman
non-fiction from Emerson (from "Self-Reliance" and "Nature"), Thoreau (from Walden), Annie Dillard
"What Work Is" and "The New World", Levine
"The Yellow Wallpaper", Gilman
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston
Poetry of -- and leading up to -- the Harlem Renaissance (Dunbar, Hughes, McKay, and many others)
The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway
The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald
Modernist poetry by T.S. Eliot and William Carlos Williams
Carter Beats the Devil, Gold
Is the poster at right from the book -- an invention of author Glen David Gold -- or is it an artifact of the real world and the real Charles Carter? For the short answer, check out this website. For the longer and more relevant answer, think carefully about the fiction you read in this course, especially the historical fiction. Ask yourself, as we will, not only How is fiction-writing like magic? but also What is the relationship between the individual and the world-historical? Historical fiction helps us address this essential and fascinating question. Modern non-fiction from across a variety of disciplines, from the likes of Jonah Lehrer (neuroscience), Michael Lewis and Bethany McLean (financial world), Dan Ariely (behavioral psychology)
Death of a Salesman, Miller
War poetry by E.E. Cummings, Randall Jarrell, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amy Lowell, Winfield Townley Scott, Yusef Komunyakaa
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain
Literary criticism on Huck, Sun Also Rises, Death of a Salesman, etc.
Poetry of the civil rights movement, including (but not limited to) works by Lucille Clifton, Dudley Randall, and Melvin Tolson
The Crucible, Miller (when possible)
Short stories (and short segments of longer works of fiction) by Carver, Cheever, O'Connor, Ortiz Cofer, Saunders, Steinbeck, and Walker, among others
Poems by the Beats, including Ginsberg and Corso
The Things They Carried, O'Brien
You will be issued the following books for all or part of the year:
The American Pageant, Bailey
The Norton Anthology of American Literature, ed. Baym, volumes C, D, and E
Reading will also include many handouts culled from magazines and newspapers.
Film is a uniquely American genre, intertwined with culture, history, and literature. We will watch and consider -- very seriously -- a variety of cinematic pieces that range from drama to television shows to documentary.
The Godfather (1972)[Summer Viewing]
Iron Jawed Angels (HBO 2004)
I'll Make Me A World: Without Fear or Shame (vol. 2) (PBS 1999)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Citizen Kane (1941)
The American Experience: "The Great Crash"
Wall Street (1987)
Death of a Salesman
Propaganda: Triumph of the Will (Riefenstahl 1935), Why We Fight (Capra 1943)
A Family Gathering, documentary of a Japanese-American family and the WWII-era internment (Lise Yasui 1988)
The Red Scare: The Manchurian Candidate (1962), "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" (Twilight Zone 1960), Red Nightmare (1962)
Born to Trouble: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (PBS 1999)
Other films may be required for independent research paper in the spring.
In this course, you will be expected to think broadly, creatively, and critically, and demonstrate your ability to think, write, and speak.
CURRENT EVENTS: We will frequently cover a topic in the news. You are expected to read a newspaper and/or news magazine and keep up with American current events. We will look at politics, social issues, even sports; we will consider news, op-ed, even political cartoons. You should feel free to invite your teachers to have dinner with your family to talk about current events at the table.
OUTSIDE READING: Each quarter, you will be expected to read a book in addition to the ones on the curriculum. Your teachers love to read for pleasure and hope you do too; you will have a wide range of options from which to select a book that suits you. For the first quarter, for instance, you will be welcome to read any American author you want (a novel)...oh, and the U.S. Constitution. Wright and Rosin are always thrilled to offer suggestions. This Outside Reading list shows our current DRAFT of quarter-by-quarter expectations and reading lists/suggestions; this document may be updated with new suggestions as the year goes on, so you may want to check back occasionally.
PREPARATION FOR AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAM: It is not an explicit requirement of the course, but much of our text study and language study correlates well with the AP English Language & Composition curriculum, which we are leveraging as much as we can. This class will prepare you to take that AP exam. Since 6/4/2010, Viewpoints has been authorized to call itself an AP English Language & Composition course; the "AP" designation will appear on your transcript.
ASSESSMENTS include (but may not be limited to):
Discussion, including the relatively formal "Socratic Seminar"
Analysis of political cartoons
Development of media analysis (done as a Wiki in 2010)
DBQ (document-based questions) analysis
Independent projects (for midterm and final exams)