Freshman English is a genre course focusing on ancient literature, grammar, vocabulary, and writing. Students develop note taking skills, both in class and through their readings, examine and apply grammatical concepts, build their vocabulary, and read a variety of works including The Odyssey, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Iliad, Twelfth Night, Three Theban Plays, The Hobbit, and selections from Short Fiction: Classic and Contemporary and Sound and Sense. The students also learn how to construct analytical essays.
English 1 Honors
In the freshman honors course, the students focus on classical, medieval, and renaissance literature for most of the year, and in the spring term turn their attention to poetry and more contemporary works. The class is reading and writing intensive, stressing the importance of both critical thinking and analytical writing. Reading assignments include such works as the Homer’s The Odyssey, Shakespeare’s Henry V and The Merchant of Venice, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sophocles’Oedipus the King, Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House. Writing assignments include daily journal writing, freewriting, in-class essays, and formal critical essays. The primary purpose of the course is help the boys synthesize the different genres and cultures, realizing that we are bound to previous cultures by the fact that we are human. The course also strives to enhance students’ vocabulary and hone their grammar skills.
Sophomore English is a genre based curriculum that allows students to explore all elements of literature during the course of the year. As they examine novels, short stories, poetry, and essays, the boys are exposed to the concepts of analytical reading and critical writing in connection with the literature they are reading. The students write daily literary journals in which they explore significant themes, characterization, and symbolism in the works. As the year progresses, they are taught the techniques and procedures for writing a formal critical essay using MLA documentation. Literary works include The Catcher in the Rye, Metamorphosis, Macbeth, A Streetcar Named Desire, Montana 1948, Twelfth Night. The course also covers various selections of short stories and poetry, as well as grammar and vocabulary lessons on a weekly basis.
English 3 is a critical survey of American Literature from Colonization to the present. The course highlights major writers from each literary movement. The majority of the readings are selected from the Norton Anthology of American Literature. However, students also supplement these shorter readings with longer novels and plays such as The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, Johnny Got His Gun, The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, and The Things They Carried. Students also work with higher level grammatical concepts and a vocabulary workbook to build their language proficiency and their writing skills. English 3 students regularly write analytical essays and occasionally they construct oral presentations.
English 4 consists of four options for seniors. Advanced Placement is a college level course designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam. The students read numerous works in Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, and also explore Hamlet, Beloved, Heart of Darkness and Paradise Lost. British Literature is designed to prepare students for the sophisticated nature of college level English. It is an advanced level course and the readings include Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the poetry of John Donne and John Milton, and selections from The Norton Anthology of English Literature. The students also continue to develop vocabulary and their application of grammatical concepts while writing essays on a weekly basis. The American Experience covers diverse units of study so that the students may synthesize material from two disciplines, as it is taught in conjunction with a history course. The students work on vocabulary, grammar, and readings that may include the works of Whitman and Hawthorne, The Portable Beat Reader, and A Prayer for Owen Meany. The students write regularly and are expected to integrate ideas from both classes into their papers. English 4CD presents a skills-based approach to literature. The course is divided into three primary sections: short fiction, drama, and poetry. Many of the reading assignments come from Literature: An Introduction to Critical Reading. Other readings include Hamlet, King Lear, and Heart of Darkness. The students also work on vocabulary and grammar. The creation of analytical essays is a major focus of the course and the students write on a regular basis.
Using a broad variety of literature, students will learn how to achieve more depth in analytical essays, think critically, improve vocabulary, and interpret challenging texts. Works such as Youth in Revolt, David and Goliath, The Braindead Megaphone, This Boy’s Life, and A Prayer for Owen Meany, as well as various short stories, poems, and articles, will allow students to develop the aforementioned skills. Workshops will be used to strengthen writing, and students will also have several opportunities, throughout the year-long curriculum, for presentations and projects to cultivate curiosity and creativity.
American Experience – Course Description
What does it mean to be American? What experiences reflect a person’s Americanness? Is the American Dream still alive? These are some of the fundamental questions we will consider in our literary study of the American Experience. Through readings - American Pastoral, The Jungle, The Sun Also Rises, Under the Banner of Heaven, Black Like Me, Let the Great World Spin, and Never Mind the Pollacks - and a writing-intensive approach, students will develop their unique perspectives to cover more than a hundred years of American history, culture, and experience.
This one-term course is limited to twelve students. Seniors will have first priority over juniors. The class will be seminar style, with manageable daily reading and a brief weekly essay rather than frequent quizzes. Each member of the class will create and present on a topic of personal interest during the term.
Advanced Placement English Literature
The Advanced Placement Literature course is designed to meet the requirements outlined in the Advanced Placement Course Description, to prepare students for success on the Advanced Placement Exam, and to meet the challenges of literature courses in college and beyond. The course is constructed to mirror a college literature seminar: it is designed to challenge intellectually gifted students through a variety of assignments, honing their critical thinking skills and their ability to express their respective ideas through analytical writing and verbal expression. Throughout the year, students encounter challenging pieces of literature selected from different genres and time periods, requiring them to read critically and write analytically in order to grasp the nature of the authorial intent. In order to assist them, significant emphasis is placed on learning the importance of literary devices and recognizing them within given pieces of literature. Texts for the course include such works as Dubliners, Hamlet, The Tempest, Beloved, Crime and Punishment, Madame Bovary, Slaughterhouse-Five, and One Hundred Years of Solitude, as well as comprehensive study of poetry from the Renaissance to contemporary poetry.