This full-year course is intended for the seniors who qualify in two ways: First, they must have the desire to sustain a high degree of effort throughout their senior year; second, they must have the proven ability to do accelerated work. The course itself has two goals: 1) to prepare the students to pass the AP exam administered in May of the senior year, and 2) to prepare them to take their place in a sophomore English class at whatever college they attend. The content of the course is divided into two major parts. The first is the study of literature required by the AP exam. Here the students become familiar with the novel, short story, poem, drama, and essay, particularly in their historical development. In the second part, the students work at perfecting their writing skills. Here they do two separate kinds of practice: 1) that aimed at proficiency for the exam itself, and 2) that aimed at proficiency in written expression for college level audiences. Admission to this course is by application, recommendation of the junior year teacher, and approval of the Chair. English 403AP is the only senior English course in which the 1.00 increment is awarded by the UC system.
This is a course designed to analyze how art uses satire to question the major social and political challenges of our times. Effective satire often tries to institute a change in thought or behavior either on the part of the subject of the satire, the audience, or the reader. Using a variety of critical lenses, students will explore satire in the essay, short story, novel, film, and in popular representation in the media. Students will be able to differentiate between farce, spoof, parody, irony, and satire, and use those skills in creative projects of their own. Students will also write an analytical research paper to explore the ways that satire can be used to change hearts and minds. Some sample texts include: A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift; Candide, Voltaire; Mister Monkey, Francine Prose; selected articles by Christopher Hitchens, Alessandra Stanley, Nora Ephron; Text from Adbusters, The Onion, & topical, popular memes; and films such as Mean Girls, Shrek, Brazil.
In this course we will do an in-depth study of modern authors, contextualizing these voices as they fit into our cultural identity. In this one semester course, we will read short stories, creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and song lyrics. We will examine the narrator and the self, analyzing the way American individuality has shifted American literature. We will identify and analyze literary devices and structures in popular texts, and use these as models for our own creative writing. Formal grammar and vocabulary lessons will focus on clarification of voice. In addition to standard 5 paragraph analytical essays, we will write creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and a multi-genre research paper.
This course is designed to investigate various portrayals of women in literature, film, and other media in order to learn how gender roles develop and change in different historical, political, and cultural contexts. Through a study of diverse literary greats – Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Kate Chopin, Rita Dove, William Shakespeare, Barbara Kingsolver, and others — we will examine the myriad images of women in literature. We will explore how women have accepted, struggled against, and transformed traditional roles of daughter, sister, friend, wife, and mother. This course involves critical thinking about contemporary issues and will prepare the student for a college introductory composition class. The writing in the course will be both expository and creative; we will react critically to the works we read, and we will continue to develop our personal literary “voices.” The goal of the course is to broaden our understanding– historically, socially, economically, spiritually — of women, of men and women in relationships, of the cultural forces that make “gender” such a compelling, interesting topic. This course promises to be exciting and valuable to women and men; all are encouraged to join in the adventure of “Women in Literature.”
NOTE: This course is not being offered for the 2023-2024 school year. It may be available the following year.
This single-semester course will try to demonstrate why so many people think Shakespeare is “the greatest writer in the English language.” The course will study selections chosen to represent the major groupings of his work: tragedy, history, and comedy. The class will explore the nature of tragedy and the Shakespearean tragic hero; the concepts of action, character, and catharsis that underlie tragedy; the characteristics of the tragic hero and the tragic flaw; and the death of the hero as a component of tragedy in Hamlet, III and Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time will provide insights into the Chronicle plays. The realm of comedy will include the happy ending and spiritual self-recognition in 12th Night and Much Ado About Nothing. The tragic comedy will be explored in The Merchant of Venice. History and tragedy will meet in Richard III. The method of the class will include reading, acting, viewing, discussing, and writing about Shakespeare’s works and words.
In this single semester course, students will investigate the patterns and archetypes of world mythology by reading a variety of ancient myths, in addition to plays, short stories, poems, and novels that utilize the themes and characters inspired by myth. Students will consider different theories concerning the origin of myths and the function that this genre serves in the development of the individual and society. Units of study will include creation myths from around the world, Mesopotamian myths, classical myths, the Hero’s Journey pattern, Norse mythology and modern works inspired by mythology. In addition to enjoying the irresistible charm of fantasy, students will also analyze the “truths” or the myths by discussing the relevance of mythological themes in the modern world. Students will purchase core texts; however, we will study numerous excerpts from on-line sources, particularly the Perseus Project. Another component of this class will be working on writing skills, including the expository essay and creative writing.
Photographer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy writes: “The illiterate of the [21st] century will be as ignorant of the camera as of the pen.” This single-semester course aims to create conscious and knowledgeable readers and viewers of film and adds a proper balance to the study of fiction and film through the act of writing. Fiction into Film seeks to help the student see that literature and film go hand in hand by the nature of their common narrative elements despite the differences in their delivery. As you have learned to apply reading strategies and analytical skills to the printed text in your traditional English classes, in English 460 you will also learn to “read” a film, to “read in the dark.” In the course of the semester, we will study works of cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance, among them, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Graduate, On the Waterfront, and Rear Window. The writing component of the course will be largely expository and in the form of critical papers discussing aspects of literary analysis and film technique as found in the particular works.
Designed as a critical thinking and writing course for seniors, this course investigates the evolution of the United States through social, cultural, economic, and ideological lenses. Examination of the growth of American society and myths through a diverse set of readings enables students to grasp the connections and struggles between the powerful and the disenfranchised throughout American history. The readings illuminate and deconstruct American cultural myths through a broad range of topics (family, education, power, race — and mediums such as fiction, nonfiction, music (jazz, folk, rock, hip-hop) and film. By fostering intellectual independence essential to not only critical thinking, but to becoming “men and women with and for others,” this course benefits and welcomes students of all backgrounds. Featured authors include Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cornel West, Tomas Rivera, and Malcolm X. Students will engage in expository, creative, and autobiographical writing.
This single semester course aims at developing the essentials of good expository and persuasive writing — the ability to generate, develop, and organize ideas. The course will address and work through specific writing problems that stand in the way of effective written expression. Students will be given ample opportunity to improve and refine techniques of composition that will aid them in producing effective college-level papers. This course is open to all seniors intent upon actively strengthening their writing skills and is required for all seniors who did not pass the Junior Writing Exam.
This course offers students a journey through major innovative dramatic works while asking students to create their own dramatic works on contemporary themes as related to the works studied in class. Using Aristotle’s Poeticsas the basis for form and structure, works will be chosen from Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Nightto the lyric drama of Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Contemporary playwrights will include Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt,and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. Students prepare a final project including a portfolio and/or a dramatic presentation of their own works.
This class will be offered pending adequate enrollment.
This course is offered outside of the 9:00 am – 3:00 pm school day. Meets Monday nights from 6:00-9:00 pm.