Juniors and seniors choose one 11/12 course per semester.
English 9 encourages students to think logically, analytically, critically, and independently. Novels, short stories, poems, and plays are used to promote a love of reading and encourage an awareness of theme, characterization, conflict, setting, point of view, style, tone, and literary devices. Students expand their vocabularies while improving their reading and writing skills. Writing exercises focus on basic sentence structure, punctuation usage, paragraph structure, and logical essay format. In addition to formal essays, students discover their own voices through creative writing. Students are also introduced to the basic principles of literary research and documentation. Texts may include The Odyssey, Macbeth, A Raisin in the Sun, Lord of the Flies, Oedipus Rex, and two modern novels.
English 10 focuses on the development of reasoning skills and writing techniques. Class discussion and writing assignments emphasize critical thinking, with personal and analytical essays evolving from the assigned essays, novels, poetry, and short stories. Reading in English 10 focuses on world literature, especially the literature of Africa, India, the Middle East, China, and Japan and is taught in conjunction with the 10th grade World History II course to broaden the students’ understanding and appreciation of different cultures. Through reading and discussing non-Western texts, we emphasize the impact of historical events on the development of individuals, communities, and nations.
American Literature I focuses on American literature from the late fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, from the early days of settlers and colonists to the development of a distinct literary and cultural identity with the birth of a new country. We will study a variety of perspectives involved in the settlement of Europeans inhabiting the New World and eventually establishing their independence. These diverse literary voices will present the cultural prospects and challenges facing American society undergoing transformation. Students will compare and contrast numerous works of poetry and prose while pursuing corresponding historical developments. In response to their reading and class discussions, they will write a variety of compositions. Texts may include: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter 8th edition, Vol I: Beginnings to 1865 and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
British Literature I (British Literature to 1800) students read representative British works ranging from the Anglo-Saxon period through 1800 and varying in genre from poetry to essays (general and personal), short stories, and novels. The students continue to develop analytical and critical skills (in both prepared and spontaneous writing), while they also refine their individual styles by writing personal essays and journals. An important emphasis of the course is the development of students' abilities to read and interpret poetry in all its forms. In addition, students often address recurring themes of the course through their own creative writing, in original short stories and poetry, as well as occasionally in the forms of the works studied (such as the Anglo-Saxon poem, the heroic couplet, the ballad, and the sonnet). The study of vocabulary, grammar, and syntax is an important component of the class. Texts may include: Beowulf , Le Morte d'Arthur, The Canterbury Tales, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, poetry selections by Thomas Wyatt, Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh, and William Shakespeare, and Hamlet.
Modern and Contemporary Literature and Philosophy is a continuation of Ancient and Medieval Literature and Philosophy. in this course, students examine literature that engages various strands of philosophical thought, from the early modern to the contemporary era. Students explore, alongside some of the major writers of our times, such philosophical questions as the nature of God, the nature of humanity, the meaning and purpose of human existence, and the nature of reality and time. In class discussions and written commentaries, students trace the history of philosophical thought and examine how the creative imagination has transformed ideas into literature. Texts may include: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges, Silko Ceremony by Leslie Marmon, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, History of Love by Nicole Krauss.
Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Literature explores how society, race, gender, and ethnicity are not just descriptions of physical attributes, of skin color, of how we were born, or of our similarities; they are woven into the very fiber of our social institutions and are used to determine our perceived worth, intelligence, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as what we like, where we live, and our very culture. In this course, students will look at a variety of literature and explore the complex dynamics of these systems of oppression. We will examine social identities and institutional arrangements with a focus on inequality, exclusion, and devaluation. Texts may include: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, 1984 by George Orwell, David Copperfield and/or Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, The Octoroon by Dion Boucicault, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Aeneid by Virgil, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Herzog by Saul Bellow, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft, and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy.
Writing Workshop: Creative Nonfiction provides students with the tools and guidance needed to critically analyze the writing of contemporary nonfiction writers, as well as instruction and feedback in replicating the form. Through the workshop format, students will develop skills in both giving and receiving thoughtful comments that aid in the growth of all young writers. Texts may include: Winding Roads: Exercises in Writing Creative Nonfiction by Diane Thiel, Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy, and Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett. Supplemental readings will be taken from the Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction edited by Lee Williford and Michael Martone.
Utopian/Dystopian Literature provides students withe an opportunity to investigate common themes, subjects, and characters of dystopian/utopian literature as well as the philosophical basis of a Eutopian world. We will begin by looking at the utopian ideology through Thomas Moore's Utopia and excerpts of Plato's Republic. From there we will jump into the dystopian worlds of imperfect Eutopian structures. We will look at the ramifications of attempting a perfect society, such as the loss of privacy, conflicts with individuality, the necessity of censorship, the inaccuracies of information, and the human tendency to corrupt such attempts through self-interest. Texts may include: The Utopian Reader edited by Gregory Claeys and Lyman Tower Sargent, "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster, "Standing Woman" by Yasutaka Tsutsui, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, Welcome to the Monkey House and/or Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.
American Literature II explores the representative literature of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. Students will compare and contrast numerous works of poetry and prose while pursuing the corresponding historical and cultural developments of the day as a backdrop. They will find that the literary movements of these decades reflect the times in which they formed. We will read literature from a range of voices, including, but not limited to, the work of writers such as Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, T. S Elliott, Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and William Faulkner. Texts may include: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter 8th edition, Vol II: 1865 to the Present, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
British Literature II begins with Ian McEwan's novel Atonement. Students in this class will discuss themes which can be seen in 17th-20th century English novels. We will discuss honor (personal and societal honor), power (how it is gained or lost, and what the price of power involves), social norms (what is considered acceptable and unacceptable in English society), religion (the place of religion in British society and within individuals), and nature (the relationship of human beings to the natural world), among other ideas. Texts may include: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice, and Tom Jones.
The Hero's Journey is a genre-based course in which students will see the common themes and recognizable patterns that arise across cultures and throughout history. This culturally universal theme focuses on value and morals as well as the discovery of an individual's identity, struggle, and eventual triumph. Texts may include: Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein, The Odyssey by Homer, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, Sister Light Sister Dark by Jane Yolen, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Book of Myths by Amy Cruse, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Alanna: The First Adventure or Terrier by Tamora Price, and a collection of Anansi myths.
Madness in Literature analyzes how writers have explored the theme of madness in their writing. Students will read literary works from ancient time to the present in which characters grapple with their hold on sanity. This course is not a study of mental illness itself, but rather an examination of the ways in which authors use madness as a metaphor for the human condition and experience, focusing on the following categories: divine madness, love-driven madness, the intoxication of power, madness of war, and societal control and suppression. Students will engage in a variety of writing assignments, from analytical to creative, in order to deepen their understanding of the texts and the themes of the course. Texts may include: Agnes of God by John Perlmeier, Medea by Euripides, Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia, King Lear by William Shakespeare, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, We've Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Madmen and Specialists by Wole Soyinka, and short stories by authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, William Faulkner, Thom Jones, Jorge Luis Borges, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Edwidge Danticat.
Shakespeare Post-1600 traces specific themes throughout the second half of Shakespeare's career. We will primarily focus on, with the exception of King Lear, the "problem" comedies and the tragicomedies. We will practice formalistic criticism, and we will analyze the plays using critical sources. This course also will explore the different screen and stage adaptations of the plays, and we will perform our own adaptations of specific scenes. Texts may include: A Winter's Tale, Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, King Lear.
Writing Workshop: Multi-Genre Study provides students with the tools and guidance needed to critically analyze the writing of poets and playwrights, as well as the work of fiction and nonfiction authors. A focal point of the class is interacting with writers who will visit the classroom in person or through Skype. Authors expected to participate are Matthew Baker, Nickole Brown, Bryn Chancellor, Tiana Clark, Lee Conell, Jessica Jacobs, Nina Swamidoss McConigley, Hannah Palmer, and David Roby. Students will gain insight into these writers' processes and have the opportunity to ask questions about their work. In workshop, students will develop skills in both giving and receiving thoughtful comments that aid in the growth of all young writers. Texts may include: Crossroads: Creative Writing in Four Genres by Diane Thiel, Sometimes There is God So Quickly by David Roby, Flight Path by Hannah Palmer, If You Find This by Matthew Baker, and selections from East Indians and Cowboys by Nina Swamidoss McConigley, Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan, Subcortical by Lee Conell, Equilibrium by Tiana Clark, Fanny Says by Nickole Brown, Pelvis with Distance by Jessica Jacobs, and When Are You Coming Home? by Bryn Chancellor.