First, reflect on your prior experience with American literature. You probably remember something about American writers from high school, and you may have taken other college literature studies that included some works of American writers. Perhaps you have read books about American writers or their times. Perhaps you visited historical sites with links to authors, or maybe you have seen movies or television programs based on American writers or their works.
• Second, consider what led you to select this study and explain what you hope to gain from this course. Will this study become the foundation for further study, or is this the only literature study you plan to take? Are there particular works or writers you hope to learn about during our work this term?
• Third, because we are looking at a body of work produced by writers of a particular nationality, it would be helpful to try to answer this short, but complex, question: What is an American? (Consider if there are particular characteristics that are American. Is there a stereotypical American? Or are Americans too diverse to define in any helpful way?)