The Individual and Society

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English 3P Honors: Unit Goal

Write an essay that defines American Romanticism’s views of the INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY and examines their use of stylistic devices such as imagery, figures of speech, paradox and symbolism to communicate philosophical attitudes and themes.


“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unit Essential Questions:

  1.  How does early 19th Century Romantic literature explore the connection between nature and one’s identity?
  2. How did American Romantics views about the INDIVIDUAL and SOCIETY as expressed in Romantic essays, poetry, and shorts stories define the “American” as an idea and the United States of America as a political and cultural entity?
  3. How did views of INDIVIDUALITY  as expressed in Romantic literature in U.S. history inspire and shape artistic, cultural, and political movements?

Unit Terms

Romanticism, intuition, Transcendentalism, Dark Romanticism, Romantic Hero, Mood, Setting, Diction, Theme, metaphor, imagery , tone, personification, symbolism, paradox, civil disobedience, allegory, parable, archetype,

Objective 1: Historical Context

Students can define features of American Romanticism as a cultural and intellectual movement that arose out of the historical context of the early 19th century by completing notes and American Romanticism Pamphlet, and identifying Romantic features in “Thanatopsis” by Willaim Cullen Bryant.


TrasnparentEyeballObjective 2: Transcendentalism & the Individual in Nature

By reading and annotating Transcendentalist literature, students will be able to: 1.) identify philosophical attitudes and themes 2.) analyze the effect of imagery, figures of speech and symbolism to communicate views on NATURE.

A. Nature and Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, pp. 179-188

I. Pre-Reading: Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Emerson’s Transcendentalism Notes, Mood Words

II. Reading:  Say Means Matters Template for “Nature”, Says Means Matters Template for “Self Reliance”

III. Post-Reading: Philosophical Chairs

Web Resources:,



I Went to the Woods

B. Thoreau, Henry David. from “Walden

I. Pre-Reading:  Thoreau Notes

II. Reading: Says-Means-Matters —

III. Post-Reading: Summary Template

Web Resources: Henry David Thoreau: Who He Was and Why He Mattered

Objective 3: Dark Romanticism & the Individual in Society 

By reading and annotating Dark Romantic literature, students will be able to: 1.) compare philosophical attitudes and themes communicated through allegory and 2.) analyze the effect of imagery, figures of speech and symbolism to communicate views on DEATH.

ravenEdgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”

I. Pre-Reading: Poe Notes, Intro Film Clip

II. Reading: “The Raven”

III. Post Reading: Summary Template

Web Resources:

emily-dickinson Emily Dickinson

I.  Pre-Reading: Much Madness Quick Analysis & Intro Film Clip

II.  Reading: Poems by Emily Dickinson

III.  Post Reading: Reader Response Essay

oatesObjective 5: Evaluate Arguments Against Romanticism

After reading and annotating Joyce Carol Oates’ essay, “Against Nature,” students will evaluate the author’s view on nature and nature writing by analyzing word choice, syntax, style and examples from the text.

I.  Pre-Reading: “Great Art Stems from Chaos

II. Close Reading: “Against Nature” Dialectical Journal

III. Post Reading: Philosophical Chairs

Objective 4: End of Unit Portfolio

By completing unit portfolio which includes a reflective essay, an analytical essay, a poem, and an argumentative response students will provide evidence of standards mastery The Individual & Society Unit.

I. Rationale

II. The Individual and Society Final Portfolio Checklist

III. End of Semester Symposium Rubric