Unit 6: Contemporary Literature

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


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

"You Are Not Yourself" by Diane Kruger 1981Essential 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: What is American Identity? How has it changed since the country’s beginnings? Double Bubble & Reflection

II. Reading: Complete Cornell Notes as we read: Contemporary American Literature Since 1939 pp. 796-809 in textbook.

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

Objective 2: Identity in Postmodernist Literature


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

II.  Reading: “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath,“Blaxicans” by Richard Rodriguez, “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan

III.  Post Reading:Summary and Response Essay