Here comes the hard stuff: philosophy of sorts.
We are in the middle of Romanticism...the focus on nature for truth, utilizing the 5 I's of Romanticism to get there (to truth) while surrounding by nature. Most of the Romantic literature matches our expectations by being in poem form, but not all ; furthermore, it's not "romantic" like Hallmark. It's full of flowers from nature, not hearts from Hallmark. In reaction to the Rationalists' reliance upon logic, Romantics strove to break the logic barriers and go with their guts. Their literature reflects this.
We read William Cullen Bryant's (yes, he was 16 when writing) poem, "Thanatopsis," and have a Thanatopsis Wheel project due Monday. Tonight, students are reading up on Transcendentalism, an off-shoot of Romanticism, starring Emerson and Thoreau. In a mascot-icon, Buzz Lightyear says it best, "To infinite and Beyond!" Again, all through nature. Tomorrow (sub, Thursday), students will read Emerson biography and "On Nature" selection with questions in the text book to answer. Friday, much lecture information. Part religion, part philosophy, part literary theory, transcendentalism is here. It should hurt to think about; it means you're going beyond your logic boundaries and challenging you pre-conceived concepts.