11th Grade English

George Carlin once said: “it’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Martin Luther King hoped that true equality among men would eventually stem from it. Hunter Thompson once went on a hallucinogen-catalyzed trip through the desert in search of it. Countless immigrants have traveled across the world’s open oceans to find it. And, luckily enough for all of you, innumerable authors have focused upon it, both intentionally and unwittingly, in their writing.

Over the course of this school year, we will be studying texts that address the American dream from many different perspectives, using many different voices of many different types of Americans. Who is an American? Does the dream change depending upon the identity of the dreamer? What qualifies as a triumph or a failure? Who emerges heroic and who allows the pursuit of the dream to turn him villainous? We will be questioning and analyzing the society in which we live, and upon what it was built.

The PBA (Performance/Portfolio Based Assessment) for this class will consist of one guided research essay and one creative piece from your collection of work from this year. You will present your work before two evaluators at the end of the year.

Readings: 
"The Lost Beautifulness" and "How I Found America" (Yezierska), Billy Bathgate (Doctorow), "Absolution" and The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), Day of the Locust (West), Song of Solomon (Morrison), "We, Too, Sing America" Poetry and Short Fiction (anthology of works by many different authors)
Significant Assignments: 

Several analytical essays, including those that incorporate secondary sources to prove arguments; fiction writing; poetry anthologies; psychoanalyses of characters; in-class essays; nightly reading and writing homework

Research: 

During their 11th grade year, students must conduct guided research in order to incorporate evidence from secondary sources into their essays about literature. Students pull evidence from historical, sociological, political, philosophical or scientific sources or literary criticism.

Sample PBATs: 
Who is an American? Does the dream change depending upon the identity of the dreamer? What qualifies as a triumph or a failure? Who emerges heroic and who allows the pursuit of the dream to turn him villainous?