Students endeavor to answer questions of growth and transformation through close examination of fictional short stories, creative writing, and formal essay writing.
In coordination with the tenth grade history unit on ancient cultures, classes read Gilgamesh, compare epic poetry to the biblical lyrics in Psalms and Song of Songs and attempt to write original poems in both these modes, examine the parable as a precursor to the medieval allegory and modern short story. Students enhance their vocabulary study with a unit on Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes. The class reading list includes titles such as Golding's Lord of the Flies, and Siddhartha by Hesse.
Students spend this seminar closely reading The Odyssey, anepic narrative divided into twenty-four books or chapters. After a brief introduction to Greek mythology, students examine each chapter and learn to assess character motivation, identify Homeric epithets, and analyze multi-layered epic similes. After reading the climax of the plot, students must assess whether or not the harsh ending is justified. Nightly readings of one to two chapters, regular writing assignments and class lectures provide a platform for our work.
The sophomore class presents a play in the late fall or early winter. Everyone participates either through a dramatic role or through help with the technical production.
HISTORY THROUGH LANGUAGE
In this course we explore the origins and history of the English language. We begin with the concept of an Indo-European parent-language and its dispersal across India and Europe. Studying the Indo-European family of languages, the students discern how a languages shifts over time, subject to migrations, wars and cultural mergers, and how languages can evolve into creoles, dialects and eventually new languages. After studying the Anglo-Saxon Invasions, the students read Beowulf to get a feel for Old English literature and its Germanic roots. Next students learn about the Norman Invasion, and read selections from Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer to experience Middle English. Finally, they study the Great Vowel Shift to understand one of the driving forces behind Modern English. More than just a literature course, students come away with an understanding of key linguistic principles and the formative role that history plays in the evolution of language.
Students Performing a Skit About the History of Language