• What does it mean to be an American? Who are we as a people? What is the American dream?
     
    These are just a few of the questions that we'll be attempting to answer as we study American literature during the junior year. Beginning with the early explorers, we'll see America through their eyes; we'll experience the early days of the colonists as they struggled to make a life for themselves, and we'll analyze arguments made by early patriots to justify breaking off ties with Great Britain. In our study of Romanticism, we'll look at some of America's early philosophers, as well as some of her poets and fiction writers.  As we leave the Romantic period and enter the modern era, we'll see how fiction evolved to reflect a changing America. As we do so, we will look at some of the issues currently facing America in an attempt to prepare ourselves to become well-informed, thinking members of a democracy. Along the way, we'll write a research paper, giving students the opportunity to carry out an in-depth exploration of a topic that interests them and to acquire skills that they will need not just in college but in life as well. 
     
     Patrick Henry's Speech Before the Virginia Convention