This year-long course focuses on those major writers from 1640 to the present who have had an impact on the American literary and cultural tradition.  Many of our texts will connect thematically to the American Dream or ideas about American identity.  Readings represent a range of genres, including poetry, essay, short story, and novel, and include works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kate Chopin, Toni Morrison, and others.  The literature will provide opportunities for written expression, including critical analysis as well as occasional creative writing assignments or reflective journal pieces.