This course explores what it means to be an American and how literature reflects a complex intersection of social, historical, economic, and cultural forces that shape the United States. As we consider diverse American communities and experiences, we interrogate the meaning of “America” itself: What are the American ideals, and how have American writers commented on the quest to meet these ideals? Our work together covers a core group of literary texts — fiction, poetry, drama, and literary nonfiction — and focuses on improving students’ skills in writing, reading, critical thinking, and speaking. The course offers rigorous classroom engagement with a minimal workload outside of class. Instruction is structured and differentiated to support diverse learners.