Grade 12 – English

English 4: Multi-Ethnic Literature- Exploring Global Themes through Diverse Narratives

In this course, we will explore a multitude of writers from distinct nations, ethnicities, and communities. The course will allow students to be first, steeped in the history of that specific community or nation, then explore the written work within the context of that needed history. Students will then be able to forge thematic connections across each writer and each represented voice. This will provide us the space to develop stronger global perspectives and forge a more nuanced understanding of our own worldview in conversation with other writers, artists, and peers.

English 4: Love Wins- Literature of Belonging, Community, and the Counter-Narrative

In this course, we will examine personal narratives and non-fiction essays that center love as a radical force for social change. Students will become familiar with the framework of counter-narratives and the importance of the personal story to counter and dispel stereotypes. The class will utilize bell hooks and James Baldwin as the primary scholarly guides to then explore short stories, op-eds, documentaries, and multimedia projects from writers, poets, and activists.

English 4: Contemporary Fiction and the Craft of Writing

We will read novels and short stories that challenge conventional narrative forms. Through close analysis and discussion, we will explore the intricacies of craft, including character development, plot structure, narrative voice, and thematic exploration. From the complex narratives as Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half to the surreal landscapes of Susanna Clarke's Piranesi, we will gain a deeper understanding of the nuances of storytelling, ultimately honing our own writing skills through creative exercises and workshops. In the final weeks, we will explore the fundamentals of a classic writing workshop in which we will write our own short fiction and serve as editors of our peers’ writing.

AP English Literature and Composition

Type: Honors Available to: grade 12 students, see placement requirements link on the English Department page AP English provides an introductory college-level course to students ready for advanced literary analysis. The syllabus both acquaints students with some of the major texts in the Western tradition and exposes them to a rich sampling of literary genres. The course promotes critical thinking and lucid, persuasive, and forceful writing. This course emphasizes the analytical essay based on the concept of the “close reading.” A high degree of responsibility for class participation and independent learning is fostered by requiring students to lead discussions, to make presentations, and to complete a reading journal in a thoughtful and thorough manner. Students are prepared for the Advanced Placement Examination in May and for successfully meeting the writing and thinking expectations of the most rigorous colleges. Last year’s syllabus included Song of Solomon, The UnAmericans, Gilead, Heart [...]

English 4: Short Story and the Craft of Writing

This course allows students to get curious about how stories get written— and about how to engage their own experience and imagination to create original fiction. By examining a range of short stories—from Kate Chopin and Ernest Hemingway to Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie and Ted Chiang—we study and apply salient lessons of craft to our own writing. Much of the course focuses on analysis of our assigned readings and discussions about the author’s craft. We delineate what it means to read as a critic and writer. Students write craft essays on style, conflict, subtext, point of view, abstract and concrete language, and character interiority. In the final weeks, students experience a classic writing workshop in which they write their own short stories and serve as editors of their peers’ writing; they are also encouraged to submit to the School’s literary journal, Vailima. Teacher-selected readings will complement assigned readings from The [...]

English 4: Reading Disney

Most of us encounter the stories and characters of the Disney empire as children. But where does Disney get those stories, and what do the “Disney versions” teach us? In this course, we will investigate Disney’s powerful role in shaping the many worlds—physical, social, emotional, commercial—that we inhabit daily. To chart this ever-expanding cultural geography, we will draw from a variety of readings: literary sources (including Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the sixth- century Ballad of Mulan, and versions of “Snow White” and “Beauty and the Beast” from all over the world), Disney’s feature-length films, essays in literary criticism, media literacy, and critical theory, and discussions of the architecture and design of the theme parks. Frameworks from cultural studies and film studies will challenge us as we advance our own critical perspectives on Disney’s representations of nature, race, gender, love, violence, progress, individualism, [...]

English 4: The Postmodern Storyteller

Artists and writers of the late 20th century had witnessed the horrors of the First and Second World Wars, the Holocaust, the Cold, Korean and Vietnam Wars, the torturous progress of the civil rights movement and the upheavals and inequalities of late-capitalist society. They were confronted with a world fragmented and transformed by technology and conflict, seemingly devoid of the meaning that had grounded the grand narratives of Western culture. This course will explore the innovations in language and form that postmodernists used to construct this altered reality while deconstructing identity, reason and even truth itself. In class discussions and analytical and creative writing assignments, students will consider the use of metafiction, paradox, intertextuality, subjectivity, black humor, time distortion and other tools of postmodernist writers such as Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Joseph Heller, Kathy Acker, Thomas Pynchon, Italo Calvino, Heinrich Boll and George Saunders.

2022-01-12T06:27:39+00:00Categories: Grade 12 - English|

English 4: Iconic Novellas: Less is More

The British author Ian McEwan wrote that “the novella is the perfect form of prose fiction...long enough for a reader to inhabit a world or a consciousness and be kept there, short enough to be read in a sitting or two and for the whole structure to be held in mind at first encounter...” He also noted that “to sit with a novella is analogous to watching a play or a longish movie.” In this class, we will read iconic novellas from the 20th and 21st centuries and examine their adaptation to the screen. We will focus specifically on how authors structure and execute this particular form, create plot and subplot, develop character and convey theme(s) in a relatively short amount of space. Additionally, we will examine the transition of the novella to screenplay and eventually to film, seeing how the screenwriters and directors construct their adaptations. In-class and evening screenings of the films will occur. Readings have included Stephen King’s The Body and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Steve Martin’s Shopgirl, Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It, and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

English 4: The Gothic Imagination

Gothic literature delights readers through its tantalizing combination of suspense, secrecy, the supernatural, and—sometimes—romance. In this course we will trace the development of gothic fiction from its origins in eighteenth-century England to present-day expressions of the macabre on the large and small screens. Students will explore the ways in which frightful stories often reveal the underlying fears and anxieties of an era, from the concerns about reverse colonization in Victorian England to the ways in which slavery and Native American removal haunt the literature of the United States. Readings will include Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stoker’s Dracula, and short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Angela Carter, and Carmen Maria Machado. The course culminates in an examination of the many strains of a more contemporary gothic style in Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Peele’s Get Out, and Childish Gambino’s “This is America.”

English 4: The Family Drama on Stage

From Greek tragedy to contemporary drama, we will consider 2000 years of dramatic representations of love and betrayal, family secrets, sibling rivalry, and the pursuit of power within the microcosm of the family unit. We will view the family dynamic at its best and worst and consider the relationship between the past and the present, collective and individual memory, and the depth of what it means to belong. We will also consider the effect of social and historical contexts on the creation and reception of the genre by studying various texts and schools, including realism, tragedy, absurdism, and verse drama. We will spend time performing scenes in class, writing one-act plays, and engaging in analytical responses, including a comparative essay. Our texts may include Euripides’ Medea, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, August Wilson's Fences, Quiara, Alegria Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, and Paula Vogel’s How I [...]

Go to Top