English

What can reading poetry teach us about the relationship between creativity and critical thinking? Between writing and living? What is a poem? What is a good poem? Poetry makes us think about what it means to be human; it paints a picture of how and why we think, and what we ought to think about. No matter what your interests, learning how to read a poem can hone the precision of your thinking, the grace of your expression, and the expansiveness of your thought. This course is an inquiry into the oldest form of literature and an exploration of what is arguably the most complex, and profound expression of human experience. The course consists of 75% literary analysis and 25% of student’s original writing. In addition to a wide selection of poems written in different forms and from different eras, the course will also feature a focus on the poetry of the Beat Generation. We will consider these poets, as well as many others, in an effort to explore their individual perspectives regarding the human condition throughout the ages.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

If race has no genetic or biological basis, why does it matter so much? How has the notion of race been created and maintained over the last 300 years of American history? What are the impacts of racial categories in society? This course will explore the development of the idea of race through anthropological and historical research, and will apply these insights to works of fiction. Students will gain valuable tools for interpreting and discussing a very thorny and problematic topic and for analyzing current events and everyday interactions. Students will choose whether to earn History or English credit through varied assignments, but all students will read the major assigned texts.

This course is cross-listed with History. Students must choose which department to receive credit in.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

Russian Literature is a senior-level, semester elective course designed to allow students to develop analytical skills (literary analysis), presentation and discussion skills, analytical and expository writing and, to a lesser extent, research skills. Secondarily, the course seeks to provide the opportunity for the student to acquire knowledge of and appreciation for the Russian literary tradition, as well as to consider the general notion of a national literary tradition. The course is designed to prepare students for activities and expectations that may be encountered in a freshman-level college course.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

This course will consider the emergence of a contemporary generation of Russian women writers against the historical backdrop of a literary tradition that has been heavily male dominated. Post-Soviet, 21st century works by Russian women, that have heralded the advance of ‘women’s literature’ (there’s a fraught term, which shall be defined positively as part of the collective work in this course!) into the mainstream, will provide the core material for consideration. Authors include ‘literary rebels’ L. Petrushevskaya, T. Tolstaya, L. Ulitskaya and N. Sadur, as well as E. Chizhova. The nature, scope and format for major assessments will be determined in consultation with members of the class.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

In this semester long course, we will explore the common themes that are found in Sacred Texts throughout the world including creation, destruction (sin), redemption and salvation. We will use Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth as our guide as we explore texts including the Torah, Qur’an, Bible, Vedas, and other important texts from world religions. Students will read these texts critically looking for the themes that arise in each of them. How are they similar? How do they differ? How does text become Sacred? How does culture impact the Sacred? As students become familiar with those themes present in all Sacred Texts, they will be asked to begin looking for those themes in the texts that have had significance in their lives. At the end of the semester, students will identify a text that has helped create meaning in their lives and analyze that text through the framework of the course.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

Students will learn to analyze literature from a feminist perspective by supplementing the literature we read with readings from history, current events, essays, statistics, films and other sources. While studying the experiences of women throughout history and the ways in which they express these experiences, students will be able to apply their understanding to their interpretations of historical and current writing. The course will culminate in a major project analyzing a piece of media chosen by the student and supported by researched facts and theories.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

Writing and Literature I introduces students to the English Department at Darrow. Expectations for discussion, writing process, critical reading, and research are introduced and practiced. Students explore sense of place and its effect on identity both personally and through the experiences of the characters in the books read. What are my approaches, practices, methods to/for reading and writing? What does it mean to have a “sense of place?” How do I begin to know a place? What is community? What communities do I belong to? What are the expectations of those communities? How do I resist or conform to those expectations? What is identity? How is identity shaped, formed, changed? How do our social and natural environments shape our identities, and how do we influence our natural surroundings and communities?

We will explore the ideas associated with finding the power of one’s voice, knowing oneself and expressing oneself. What is identity? To what extent are our views shaped by external forces/internal conflicts of the self? What does it mean to have a voice? Does literature/writing have the power to effect change? How so? What is injustice? How does literature function as a response to injustice? What happens when members of a society are marginalized?

Prerequisites: Writing & Literature I or equivalent from another school.

The aim of Writing & Literature III is to discover and define the various ideas, philosophies, and social issues that represent, through literary works, the critical components of the American experience and American history. Students will also study different methods of both identifying and delivering critical messages and use their understanding of those methods to craft their own criticisms of issues important to modern American society. The practice and refinement of these skills are aimed to prepare students for similar analysis and discussion of themes and ideas in other literary canons as well as to effectively express their thoughts and ideas through writing.

Prerequisites: Writing & Literature II or equivalent from another school.