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English Department

English 10

Fall Term: Choose from one of five literature study electives including Fantasy, Feminist Literature, Utopian/Dystopian Literature, The Bible as Literature, or World Literature (see descriptions below)

Winter Term: Choose from one of three electives including 20th Century Female Authors, John Steinbeck, or Non-fiction Reading & Writing (see descriptions below)

Spring Term: Choose from two of three electives including Creative Writing, Genre Study: The Memoir, or Journalism (see descriptions below)

English 10 Instructors: Abigail Reed

Course Descriptions:

Fall Term Choices:

Literature Study: Fantasy
Perhaps more than any other genre of speculative fiction, fantasy is richly varied. This course examines the development of literary traditions in fantasy literature from their earliest origins in mythology and folklore, through the historical development of classic fantasy works, into the books, movies and other fictions of the modern day. The course also explores different critical and theoretical approaches as well as related artistic traditions, such as surrealism and magical realism.

Literature Study: Feminist Literature
What does it mean to be a feminist? What does it mean to identify a work as feminist?
This course aims to address these complex questions by examining the history and development of feminist theory in literature. Students will explore a variety of literary genres and writers from diverse backgrounds who examine issues of gender and its interplay with race, class, sexuality, and nationality. In this discussion-oriented class we will read and write in search of creating an enduring understanding of what it means to be a feminist.

Literature Study: Utopian/Dystopian Literature
This elective will explore the historical and fictional impulses to create utopian communities and to what extent any of these intentional communities have been successful. We will also look at the ways dystopian literature points to problems in the real world and why so many authors chose this genre for social commentary. Lastly, we will focus on what readers can gain from reading utopian and dystopian literature, and whether or not life can ever imitate the artificial worlds set down in words.

Literature Study: The Bible as Literature
In this course, students will learn to appreciate the Bible as a great literary work, rather than a religious text, and realize its importance to the cultural history of Western society. All literary criticism has its origins in Biblical criticism, and the majority of the most influential texts in existence were in their turn influenced by the Bible. Readings will be taken from books throughout the Bible, designed to provide a background of cultural history and literary reference. Various literary forms, including poetry, essay, and the short story will be emphasized.

World Literature
In the 10th grade World Literature course the girls will read a variety of authors from around the globe and at the same time gain an appreciation of distinct cultural traditions, values, and attitudes. The course will help expand students’ cultural awareness and help them identify elements, found around the world, that unite all humans. The girls will utilize their critical reading and thinking skills, develop their creative and expository writing skills, produce a research paper, give oral presentations, and engage in class discussions, team learning and group projects.

Winter Term Choices:

20th Century Female Authors
In this course the girls will read a variety of twentieth-century female authors. We will explore various pieces of work, specifically from the Caribbean, China, India, America, and Africa, and look at the connections and the shared messages of the authors and examine the differences and similarities in how women are depicted in these works. The girls will utilize and develop their critical reading and thinking skills, give oral presentations, engage in class discussions, team learning, and group projects, and develop their essay writing skills by producing analytical papers following the writing process.

Author Study: John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck is a literary icon, and his work stands as an enduring legacy in Western literature. Whether writing transformative fiction or exploring the very notion of what it means to be an “American,” Steinbeck forever altered the shape of storytelling in America. In this course, we will read several of his works, but will also study the man himself. We will write in his style and attempt to understand what it was that made him the writer he became. Students will read, write, and discuss, all in an attempt to find an answer to the question, “Who was John Steinbeck?”

Non-fiction Reading and Writing
One of the fastest growing genres of writing in America is creative non-fiction. From memoir to technical journals, the self-publishing opportunities provided by the internet has allowed anyone to offer his or her opinion on any subject. In this course, we will turn a critical eye on this genre, reading texts both historical and modern, and practicing our own writing through blogs, vlogs, essays, and reflective journals. Our goal is not only to produce strong, compelling prose, but also to develop a metric for appreciating truly great writing, and discerning compelling from lackluster or unreliable non-fiction.

Spring Term Choices:

Creative Writing
In this course you will focus on developing your own creative writing, both fiction and poetry. While the focus of this workshop is on your writing, we will read various short stories and poems to help us learn what effective writing entails.  Through these published works we will examine the literary techniques and stylistic choices employed by writers of both fiction and poetry. Creative writing exercises will help you experiment and explore new techniques. You will share your writing with the class for structured “workshops,” where you will receive peer and teacher feedback that will be used to revise your work for the final portfolio: a collection of polished writing exercises, stories, and poetry.

Genre Study: The Memoir
The purpose of memoir is to explore private stories and publicize them in such a way that the personal assumes a larger meaning. The personal narrative is not a trivial relation of bits and pieces of a biography, but is rather a careful analysis of a personal experience, using the “story” as a point of departure for engagement with a deeper theme. This class is designed for students interested in exploring and experimenting within this genre. In-class workshops will offer students the chance to share work with the class, as well as to refine critiquing skills as we read and comment on each other’s work. Through reading memoir, students will encounter and analyze the tools and skills published writers use to do just this.

This course will focus on various types of journalism and writing, divided into sections focusing on types of journalism such as: gonzo (popularized by Hunter S. Thompson), investigative, photojournalism, interviews, yellow journalism (sensationalism), and advice columns. For “take away” knowledge, students will study important names in journalistic history including Edward R. Murrow, Thompson, William Randolph Hearst, and Woodward and Bernstein. Students are required to submit work regularly to such publications as the school blog, the snapshot, the newsletter, letters to the editor at the Greenfield Recorder, and other outlets that will require them to think about how their work will be received by an audience. At the end of the trimester students will put together clippings of their work into a final portfolio.