Unit 6: American Identity


After investigating and analyzing perspectives on contemporary American identity through texts which include art, poetry, and nonfiction, students will complete a portfolio which explores the impact of diverse voices on American literature and culture. 


postmodern, symbolism, multicultural, assimilation, point of view, memoir, credibility, plot, internal/external conflict, genre

Essential Questions:

1. What is IDENTITY and how is it shaped  by historical events during the 20th Century?

2. How does IDENTITY shape perspectives of historical events and conflicts?

3. In what ways does symbolism in literature, art, and theater serve to understand the emergence of a 21st Century American identity?

Objective 1: Historical Context

After completing CORNELL NOTES on “Contemporary Literature Since 1939″ students will be able to write a summary that identifies significant historical contexts and issues that inspired American Literature after World War II.  

I. Pre-Reading: Double Bubble on “What defines American Identity today?  How has it changed since the country’s colonial beginnings?” & Reflection

II. Reading: Complete Cornell Notes as we read: Contemporary American Literature Since 1939 pp. 796-809 in textbook. Supplemental Reading: “The Po-Mo Page”at Georgetown University

III.  Post Reading: Students will write a paragraph that describes the historical context of contemporary American Literature.

Objective 2: Identity in Postmodernist Literature

I.  Pre-Reading: Close Read Barbara Kruger’s “You are Not Yourself” and explain what it reveals about identity.

II.  Reading: “Mirror by Sylvia Plath”, “Black Boy” by Richard Wright,” and “Straw Into Gold” by Sandra Cisneros, “Woman Warrior” by  Maxine Hong Kingston

III.  Post Reading: Inspired Poetry, Summary and Response Essay

Objective 3: Video Analysis Presentation

I.  Instructions

II. Crash Course Channel

III.  Rubric