Unit 1: What is Happiness/Success/Freedom?
In this unit students will explore the roles happiness, success and freedom play in the pursuit of the American Dream. Students will read several works of fiction and informational text as they examine how rhetoric is used to provide answers to the question: What is the American Dream and how is it attained? Students will use narrative techniques to write a narrative about happiness and analyze how the drive for happiness, success, and freedom is portrayed in The Great Gatsbyby F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Unit 2: The Individual and Society
In this unit, students will explore the question of where individualism and community (responsibilities) collide through reading fiction and nonfiction. We will be discussing our roles as individuals in society, and analyzing individuals who were able to change the course of history. This unit’s anchor text will be The Crucible by Arthur Miller and we will discuss how it is an allegory for the Red Scare. The formal writing assessments for this quarter will be a literary analysis and an argument paper.
Unit 3: Assimilation and Cultural Identity
We will be discussing what cultural identity is, as whether or not assimilation (on some level) is necessary to make society work. This unit will be focus on reading non-fiction and historical texts. Our anchor novel is Black Like Meby John Howard Griffin, and students will write a literary analysis about the societal, economic, and racial injustices they found within it. Students will conduct research on a person who they feel represents the American Dream. Rhetorical analysis will be a focus while reading historical speeches. Students will analyze the author's intended purpose as well as their use of rhetorical devices.
Unit 4: The Future of the American Dream
This unit will ask the students to synthesize their understanding of the American Dream-- gained over the course of the year-- and to reflect whether it is still achievable. We will talk about speculative fiction and how it is a way for us to see into other possible worlds. Students will read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and will use it as a mentor text to write their final narrative paper.