In Their Own Words: “My Dream of America” in Common Voices, 2006 (PJClements)

This course will examine the fluid idea of  a dream of America.” Students not only will examine literary and historical commentary on the idea of America, but will also explore deeply the words of the common man and woman. Reading a wide range of authors, from Jefferson, de Toqueville, Whitman and Douglass to Studs Terkel and immigrants from Ellis Island and JFK, students will experience a variety of American culture. Extending their studies beyond the classroom, students in the course will meet and write about Americans of all kinds in their own communities. The major work of the course will be planning, designing, composing, building, and publishing a modern collection of “Dreams of America,” an anthology of representative New Jersey men and women articulating  their own “dream of America.”



Course Texts

Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich

My American Century, Studs Terkel

Hunting Mr. Heartbreak, Jonathan Raban

What They Fought For, 1861-1865, James McPherson

The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope, Andrew Delbanco



America, the Dream of My Life, Selections from the Federal Writers’ Project’s New Jersey Ethnic Survey, David Steven Cohen, editor

In Search of America, Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster





document last update: March 20, 2006by Patrick J. Clements
Copyright (c) 2006 The Peddie School