Welcome to the English Department
ENGLISH I (210) /full year
This course strengthens fundamental writing skills through a programmed approach to paragraph construction and grammar and introduces the freshman to the analysis of the short story, the novel, Shakespeare, and myths.
HONORS ENGLISH I (211) /full year
This course shares the materials and objectives of 210 with some supplementary materials. Compared to their peers in English 210, honors English students can expect to do more work and find that work held to a higher standard of proficiency. Departmental approval, which judges students to be highly motivated and skilled, is required, and criteria for this approval can be found on the department’s webpage.
ENGLISH II (220) /full year
English II develops the skills of mechanics and usage in writing through a programmed approach to essay construction. It introduces the sophomore to poetry, drama, and advanced narrative techniques.
HONORS ENGLISH II (221) /full year
This course shares the materials and objectives of 220 with some supplementary materials. Compared to their peers in English 220, honors English students can expect to do more work and find that work held to a higher standard of proficiency. Departmental approval, which judges students to be highly motivated and skilled, is required, and criteria for this approval can be found on the department’s webpage.
ENGLISH III (230) /full year
This course explores representative American literature (novel, short story, poetry, drama, and essay) that expresses the search for shared values in our pluralistic culture. It develops further the skills of personal and critical writing and introduces the junior to the techniques of research.
*ENGLISH III Advanced Placement/ see “*AP LANGUAGE and COMPOSITION (256)” below
Seniors have options with regard to fulfilling their requirement in English. Those who qualify can satisfy the requirement by taking English 246, AP English Literature and Composition. All others must take two, one-semester courses: (a) English 240, Classic Literature, and (b) one of these English electives – English 239, 242, 243, 244, 247 or 259. While English 248, the Independent Tutorial in English, is an elective class, it does not fulfill the English requirement for graduation.
STUDY OF THE HERO (239)/ one semester senior elective
In this course, students will study materials that display the common threads of mythic tradition, specifically traits of heroes. They will examine the archetypal journey of the hero, from "Beowulf" to contemporary literature. Focus will be placed on the underlying similarities and unique qualities of myths that transcend all cultures.
CLASSIC LITERATURE (240)
Students taking this one-semester course read and study The Iliad, Dante’s Inferno, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Hamlet with an eye to exploring the timeless questions of human existence and their relevance to contemporary life.
FANTASY LITERATURE & PHILOSOPHY (238)
This course will focus on traditional and modern fantasy literature as a combination of literary art, philosophical speculation, and the evocation of the peculiar emotion often characterized as the “sense of wonder.” It will survey the history of the genre and delve into common themes, rhetoric, and methods of storytelling. The course also weaves a basic overview of classical philosophical questions and various answers from great philosophers into discussion of speculative fiction. Students will sharpen their argumentative and critical writing skills for college.
CREATIVE WRITING (POETRY) (243) /one semester senior elective
This course allows students to explore and refine their talents in creative writing, especially poetry. The goals of the course are to deepen the student's insights, to sharpen his usage, and help him discover his own voice and grow in the awareness of the beauties of our language.
AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE (244) /one semester senior elective
This course concentrates on the values and strengths evident in the works of African Americans. Specific focus will be on themes of self and identity, national identity, and gender issues. Students will write critical essays as a form of analysis.
AP LITERATURE and COMPOSITION (246)
This full-year course offers to approved seniors (criteria can be found on the department’s webpage) a close study of a selected number of literary works from several genres and literary periods. It examines the artistry and multi-level meaning of imaginative literature and requires the regular production of essays, which develop the student’s own voice. All students taking this course are required to take the Advanced Placement exam.
CREATIVE WRITING (FICTION) (247) /one semester senior elective
This course examines the short story from the perspective of the writer. Students study what representative writers do on the page, attempt to imitate those masters, and incorporate the lessons learned thereby in their own new work. Class includes a look at short stories, memoirs, and film scripts as vehicles for creative writing.
ITE: INDEPENDENT TUTORIAL IN ENGLISH (248)/one semester senior elective
In addition to all his other required and elective classes, a senior with a "B" average or better in English may submit a proposal (directions can be found on the department’s webpage) to the English department to take this one-semester, independent class under the supervision of and with the approval of a member of the department. Approval is given on a one-semester basis. The student meets frequently with his tutor for assistance in achieving the objectives of his own program. The Independent Tutorial in English (ITE) is open only to students who have shown an interest and talent in English. All students present and defend findings of their ITE in an oral exam before a panel of English teachers at the end of the semester.
*AP LANGUAGE and COMPOSITION (256)
This full-year course offers to approved juniors (criteria can be found on the department’s webpage) a close study of prose writing from a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts, and the opportunity to become skilled writers themselves who can compose for a variety of purposes. It examines the conventions and resources of language in the successful composing process. Students who complete this course are required to take the Advanced Placement exam.
PHILOSOPHY OF THE MIND (258)
This intensive, one-semester senior English elective exposes students to a variety of philosophical topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, asking questions such as: Where did the universe come from? What can we know? In what ways is faith rational? What is our place in the natural world? How should we live best? Students will read a variety of texts in modern analytic philosophy and be expected to engage in seminar- style classroom discussion and debate. Additionally, students will become fluent with philosophical expository writing, composing several short essays and a summative philosophical research paper.
THE MODERN NOVEL
In this semester course, students will read classic novels and poetry from the modern era, or the period between world wars. The course will investigate the structural and thematic hallmarks of modern literature, the evolution of the novel as a medium in the twentieth century, the intersection between historical context and literature, and the influence of the modern style on the literature that followed. The texts covered in the course will expose students to a diverse set of powerful voices in the twentieth century. Students will also prepare for writing in college by learning literary research techniques as well as deepening their literary analysis skills.
SHAKESPEARE: TEXT, CONTEXT, & PERFORMANCE
In this semester course, students will analyze, interpret, and evaluate four classics of Shakespeare’s body of work. Students will engage in close reading and discussion of the structure and themes of each text such that they will be able to articulate the hallmarks of Shakespeare's language and plays as well as his innovations to both the genre and language. The course will also explore Shakespeare's biography and the era in which he wrote. Finally, students will learn how Shakespeare’s plays have been received and interpreted over time, and students will evaluate performances for their fidelity to text, creativity, and modern applicability. The course will also feature the opportunity to see local performances and participate in the recitation of great passages as well as the staging of their own scenes. The course prepares seniors for literary study and writing in college by requiring essays in literary research and analysis.