Arts & Language ARts
American Literature: Banned Books that Shaped America (Secular)
A high school literature and composition class for the mature high school student (grades 9 - 12; parents are encouraged to read books with their children). Awards 1 English Literature / Composition Credit (Honors Option Available)
The Library of Congress created an exhibit, "Books that Shaped America," that explores books that "have had a profound effect on American life." There's a shorter list from that exhibit that are books that have been banned! We will read and explore literature that was "banned" but still influenced the American reader - and what the consequences of the influence were.
Students will be asked to research both the author and time-period of the book. They will explore the possible reason(s) for the book’s banning. They will then read critically, guided by the instructor to look for themes, literary concepts, and genres. They will be assigned an analytical essay that will include their positions on whether the book merited “banning” and under what circumstances. Their positions must be supported by specific references from the text, and additional resources from their research.
Students will be expected to complete at least 2 versions of their papers: a draft and a final, although they may be asked for more than this if it is necessary to develop well-crafted essays. Grammar, composition, and logic of argument will be graded; students will receive feedback between versions.
The goal will be to complete 5 – 9 books, depending on the abilities of the students. Honors students will be expected to complete 2 additional books, with written compositions, independently.
NOTE: If students have not ready Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, they should complete this over the summer before the start of the class.
Books will be selected from the following (not necessarily in order) list once we have identified which, if any, have already been ready by the students. Parents are invited to read along with students and may attend classes.
Reading List & Schedule for 2015 - 2016
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
(Honors Selection: The Diary of Eve)
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
(Honors Selection: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.)
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
(Honors Selection: Death of a Salesman)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(Honors Selection: Go Set a Watchman - the new novel by Harper Lee - while this one isn't a banned book, rarely does a "lost manuscript" by such an influential author surface; it's worth a read for its historical value. Available in July, 2015)
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway
(Honors Selection: A Farewell to Arms)
Gone With the Wind by Mitchell
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
There will also be selected banned poetry readings.