Degrees and Certifications:

Honors American Literature

Welcome to Honors American Literature!

In one sense, anything written in American is American. But in a deeper way, literature is "American" because it says something fundamental about our identity as Americans. In fact, literature may be the most powerful creative expression of our national and cultural identity.

This course approaches American literature chronologically beginning with the 17th century and ending with modern works. It addresses the development of a uniquely American body of literature through novels, short stories, dramas, poetry, and historical documents; works are examined in the cultural, philosophical, and political climates in which they were created.

We will endeavor to answer the following questions throughout the year:

  1. How does American literature create conceptions of the American experience and identity?

  2. What shapes American identity? How is identity constructed? What does it mean to be free? How do dreams and disillusionment affect identity?

  3. What is the "American dream"? Has it remained the same over the decades or changed in some way? Is the "American dream" attainable by all?

  4. How do these particular pieces of literature discuss and describe the "American dream"?