Classic American Literature in High School

If you’re a high school student taking English classes, you’ve likely been exposed to the world of classic American literature. The novels, stories, and poems written by some of the greatest American authors of all time hold an important place in the curriculum for many good reasons.

So, let’s take a closer look at classic American literature in high school and why it’s so essential.

Historical Significance

American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries reflects the cultural, social, and political changes of that time period. Studying works such as Mark Twain’s ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,’ or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ not only opens a window on what life was like in the past, but it also teaches students how to appreciate and learn from history.

Literary Techniques

Classic American literature is also an excellent platform for teaching literary techniques. From symbolism and imagery to metaphors and irony, these literary devices are prevalent in much of the works. Teaching these techniques to students helps them develop a greater appreciation and understanding of how literature works.

Cultural Significance

One of the most significant reasons for including classic American literature in high school is its cultural significance. Reading works such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee or the poetry of Langston Hughes provides insights into the issues that were prevalent during the time in which they were written. These works teach students about critical matters such as race, gender, and social class, though it may be written in an abstract or metaphorical way.

Intellectual Development

Lastly, classic American literature helps students develop intellectually. They are exposed to new ideas, which they wouldn’t have been otherwise. They are also forced to think critically, to form their own opinions and defend them. Through discussing themes, motifs, characters, and plot with their peers, students are able to form sound arguments and develop analytical abilities.

In conclusion, mandatory reading of classic American literature in high school is crucial. It offers students intellectual growth, teaches them historical significance, literary techniques, cultural significance, and understanding of difficult issues they will face in their lives.

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