SEQUENCE 2: AMERICAN HISTORY AND LITERATURE IN GLOBAL CONTEXT
English: American literature and the development of the novel, short story, poetry, and drama. Writing skills development and optional creative writing opportunities.
Social Studies: American pluralism in history, native and immigrant trends, and foreign policy.
These courses are taught in conjunction and must be taken together for the entire year. Students may not leave the program mid-year, except in cases of academic misplacement.
This year students build upon the reading, research, writing, and speaking skills they established as freshmen in the program.
The interdisciplinary nature of American history and American literature are perfect for the scope of this course. We begin by examining the clash of cultures among the native tribes and European explorers of the Americas, we learn about early settlement with special emphasis on the Puritans, we examine different types of governments, the American Revolution, Civil Rights, Industrialization, World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, the Red Scares, and the Cold War.
As this is a global education American history course, we often compare historical events across region and time. For example, when learning about the American Revolution, students learn about the structure of a revolution. They also learn about the French, Russian, and Cuban revolutions simultaneously, thus making connections to the American experience. Analyzing modern-day political cartoons and reading current event articles, helps us to also make connections from the past to the present in our studies.
The literature selections complement the historical themes: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, The Crucible, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Night, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, and The House on Mango Street. In addition to these
longer texts, shorter works from Ann Bradstreet, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Richard Wright, Sylvia Plath, Nikki Giovanni, and more are included in the curriculum.
Students learn to analyze film and literature more deeply in this sequence, such as by examining symbolism, allegory, and paradox. They also write more sophisticated literary analyses and create their own sonnets, memoirs, and vignettes.
This sequence also includes research-based experiential learning projects, yet in more depth than the freshman class.
Class discussion, group activities, and both formal and informal presentations are other important aspects of this sequence.