Prerequisite: Successful completion of English III.
While maintaining an emphasis on critical reading and thinking, and a reinforcement of the essential skills of grammar, usage, writing, and vocabulary, English IV will now be based on a thematic senior seminar model. This change in curriculum is intended to expose the students to concentrated semester seminar courses with an emphasis on a specific thematic area, thereby granting the students a degree of choice for both subject matter and instructor and introducing them to the type of course selection they will enjoy in college. Courses may rotate from year to year, giving the students a greater variety of content and exposure to faculty, while retaining the focus on core skills.
Modern & Contemporary Drama:
This course offers a survey of canonical and outsider American and European plays. It begins at the turn of the Nineteenth Century with A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, the father of modern drama, and ends with plays recently performed in New York and London, notably A Doll’s House, Part II, by Lucas Hnath. In addition to reading the texts of plays we will watch live performances and film versions of certain plays. Drama--as the word suggests--brings to life the conflicts and tensions of historical and cultural moments with particularly intense vividness. Our focus in this course will be identifying how each play reveals and questions the social norms and politics of the cultural moment in which it was written. The course will continue to develop the basic English skills of literary analysis, analytical writing, grammar and vocabulary, while also developing students’ awareness of issues particular to drama such as production, set design, casting, and performance.
How are we shaped by the schools we attend? This is the big question at the heart of this course, which offers a survey of modern and contemporary works that explore the insular, fascinating, and sometimes sinister worlds of private schools. School stories as a genre are inevitably interested in the social and moral formation of the students who attend them and often center around life-changing moral decisions. Because they are (almost always) set in bastions of privilege and power, school stories also explore social belonging and rejection, particularly as it relates to class, race, and gender. This course will trace these big questions while continuing to develop the basic English skills of literary analysis, analytical writing, grammar and vocabulary.
Literature of Los Angeles:
Literature of Los Angeles is offered as a one-semester course. The course covers a variety of forms from Los Angeles’s literary tradition, including novels, poetry, essays, and films. The aim of the course is to use literary representations of Los Angeles not only to make critical readers and writers out of students, but to help students understand the themes that are central to the region in which they live, specifically Los Angeles as a racially mixed melting pot and Los Angeles as a dreamscape that blurs the lines between imagination and reality. In terms of skills, the course integrates the various language arts: critical reading, critical writing, grammar, and vocabulary. Written assignments, which include a research paper, are focused on critical analysis and independent thinking. In addition, usage, punctuation, and vocabulary are reviewed as a support to writing and as a means of helping students with college placement tests.
Literature of the Americas:
Literature of the Americas is offered as a one-semester course. The course will use examples of North American, Latin American, and Caribbean literature to explore the ideas and aesthetics that unify the region and comprise the New World. The course will pay particularly close attention to the Americas’ mixture of indigenous, European, and African cultures, and the course will use the perspective gained from examining this theme in Latin American and Caribbean literature to provide expanded perspective on the United States. In terms of skills, the course integrates the various language arts: critical reading, critical writing, grammar, and vocabulary. Written assignments, which include a research paper, are focused on critical analysis and independent thinking. In addition, usage, punctuation, and vocabulary are reviewed as a support to writing and as a means of helping students with college placement tests.