American Literature AP
“Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet… Douglass, Hawthorne, Mark Twain and Hemingway?”
What constitutes American Rheoric? One might reply it is writing or speech characterized by an adventurous spirit combined with a sense of benevolence, or one might state it is a complex relationship between the ideals of freedom and the tireless pursuit of the American Dream. Whatever the answer, it is your job as writer to analyze the themes, subject matter, viewpoint(s) and style in the artist’s work you have chosen.
During the last quarter of the year you will research an American artist, writer, director, playwright, screenplay writer, orator or poet of your choice and write a paper that explores his/her works. You will be expected to read at least on short biography (of the person) as well as a novel or short story collection by an author, a play by a dramatist, or two collections of poetry by a poet (more if you plan to study a musician). You will research the artist’s lifetime, significant themes evident in his/her works and/or the major personal and/or historical events that shaped the writing. Finally, you should utilize our school databases as a primary means of research.
Your junior theme will be a literary argument about a specific work or group of works and the artist. Some ideas of what you may decide to write:
the time period in which the writer is working.
In order to accomplish this, you will be given time to read and/or research during class time. Occasionally you may go to the library to do necessary research, although most of the time you should be in class. I believe that you can retrieve most of your research from school databases so that your class time will be spent annotating and organizing material. However, if this class time is abused, it will be taken away and you will be expected to accomplish everything outside of school.
Your final product for this assignment will be an 8-12 page typewritten paper turned in to turnitin.com complete with necessary citations and a works cited page. You will need to have a visual argument.
Some possible artists/poets/playwrights to research follow:
Tennessee Williams James Fennimore Cooper F. Scott Fitzgerald
Neil Simon Washington Irving Kate Chopin
Eugene O'Neill Edgar Allan Poe Anne Tyler
Lillian Hellman Nathaniel Hawthorne Sarah Oren Jewett
Sam Shepard Herman Melville Hamlin Garland
Arthur Miller Henry David Thoreau Willa Cather
David Mamet Mark Twain William Faulkner
Bronson Howard Bret Harte Truman Capote
Clifford Odets Stephen Crane Bernard Malamud
Thornton Wilder Jack London John Updike
William Inge Henry James Toni Morrison
Arthur Kopit Upton Sinclair Joyce Carol Oates
David Rabe Sherwood Anderson Flannery O' Connor
Tina Howe Sinclair Lewis Zora Neale Hurston
August Wilson Pearl Buck John Steinbeck
James Thurber Saul Bellow
Ernest Hemingway Harriet Beecher Stowe
Theodore Dreiser Ring Lardner
William Dean Howells Alice Walker
John Dos Passos James Baldwin
Edith Wharton Carson McCullers
Dorothy Parker William Saroyan
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow You are welcome to research another
John G. Whittier writer if there is significant research
Ezra Pound about your choice. This is a very short
T.S. Eliot list and does not comprise many
William Carlos Williams contemporary artists.
Hilda Dolittle (H.D.)