When you become an English teacher, you’re quickly thrown into a genre specialty. You either primarily teach and therefore become an expert in British literature, or World literature, or even courses such as AP Language. For the first part of my career, I was the Ninth Grade Literature gal. A survey of literature course, pretty liberating to pick among literally anything from the canon of literary works. But after five years of teaching The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, and Tuesdays with Morrie, I needed a reprieve. I was given American Literature as my new niche and as most English teachers will tell you, you either love it or hate it. American Lit pretty much has to be taught chronologically. It’s just doesn’t work any other way. That means you start from the very beginning with some less than gripping works such as Native American Myths and Legends, to colonial literature such as John Smith's The General History of Virginia(a real page turner). Most English teachers plow right through 17thcentury colonial literature and even the Calvinistic doctrines that pave the road to the American Revolution of the 18thcentury. We all want to get to the really gripping content of the 19thcentury; the American Renaissance, the Transcendentalists, works by Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman. Something even the students can really sink their teeth into. Or, at least, pretend to.
But out of all the men who literally set the voice and narrative of the early years of our country, one woman stands out. Anne Bradstreet is considered the first published American female voice. A poet, a Puritan, a mother of eight. Need I say more? Her vulnerability about domestic life was truly the first voice to the hashtag, #thestruggleisreal.
The Big Bang Theory, Series 03 Episode 23 – The Lunar Excitation