American Literature

The Individual and American Society: American Dreams and Dreams Deferred


Over the course of the next few months, our American Lit class from Flemington, NJ will attempt to define an American identity as well as explore how that identity formed. Students will use this space to collaboratively examine literary and social movements and track progress as they work to explore the following topics and essential questions:


American Origins (to 1750)
How/why do faith and persecution often interact?

Revolution & Enlightenment (1750-1800)
Where did the ideas for democracy come from and what made the spread of democratic ideals such a success?

Romanticism & Transcendentalism (1800-1860)
Which is more important – science or the imagination?

Civil War & Realism (1860-1900)
How does literature help cause, react to, and help to resolve history?

Modernism (1900-1950)
How can the individual identity of the dreamer survive in a fast-paced, modern, industrialized society?

Post-Modernism (1950- 2000)
How does the individual create order and make sense out of the world?