Modern Canons Part II

Mrs. Smith’s AP English Language and Composition class takes you on a wild ride of words. They distill the American experience. These collections of tightly woven words communicate the beauty and the tragedy of the American dream. Who do they leave out?

The class syllabus lists over 50 works. There are novels to read, plays to see and articles to pore over. The works are all written by American authors. Some of the most recognizable names are on this list..

Nathaniel Hawthorne is featured next to Cathy Booth Thomas, a journalist with Time Magazine. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s speeches are analyzed alongside Hillary Rodham Clinton’s. They both speak about human rights. Kate Chopin writes about being a woman and seeking some sort of sexual autonomy while Twain discusses freedom also in Huckleberry Finn. Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes lead the way for Black writers. Walt Whitman, Zora Neale Hurston and John Steinbeck are all included in her list. It is formidable and exhaustive. Who is left out?

So, Lucia was born in the Bronx , but her family is from Chile. Their first language is not English. Where is she reflected? Well, Lucia, you will have to be the leader. You will stand, alone on the mountain. Do not allow yourself to be dissuaded or destroyed. Listen to those beautiful voices and be inspired to do your best work. You will be the first Chilean American playwright to have a show on Broadway. Dorfman did it. It’s your turn.

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