Junior English offers an opportunity to study some of the key texts of American literature from the colonial to the contemporary period, with a focus on the periods of the American Renaissance, the late nineteenth century, and Modernism. Working in close collaboration with the United States History course, the class centers around the always contested definition of America, and what it means to be an American, with special emphasis on the ways in which matters of gender, race, and social class have inflected these definitions. Readings include selections from Phyllis Wheatley, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Jacobs, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg, and Toni Morrison. The course continues development of students’ analytical abilities by drawing on and extending the interpretive skills developed in English 9 and 10, and also seeks to increase students’ reading speed in anticipation of the demands of college humanities courses. Writing assignments continue the development of narrative and analytical skills, and include a personal narrative designed to serve as a first draft for the college application essay. Over the course of the year, students continue to develop their presentational abilities; by the end of the year, they are responsible for planning and teaching the majority of class sessions.