The English Department's goal is to develop in every Salisbury student the ability to read and think critically and analytically, and to write and speak with clarity and precision. We strive to instill in our students a life-long love of reading through an understanding and appreciation of both the traditional canon of Western literature and the diversity of expression and ideas of different cultures. All courses include continual practice in writing, with emphasis on the expository essay as well as opportunities for creative and personal writing. Vocabulary development is stressed throughout the program.
In the Third and Fourth Forms, the curriculum provides a solid foundation in thinking and writing skills and exposes students to a variety of literary genres and traditions, including mythology, short stories, novels, poems, plays and essays. A year-long theme unifies students’ reading and thinking in each of the lower forms: “coming of age” for the Third Form and “man’s dual nature” for the Fourth Form. Formal study of grammar is also an integral part of the curriculum for the lower forms.
The Fifth Form year concentrates on American literature. Students undertake a research project involving a particular author, period or theme, often in conjunction with their course in American History. Preparation for the SAT I and II tests is a regular part of classwork. Sixth form students, while continuing to hone their writing and test-taking skills, may select from a variety of elective courses in American and world literature or in modes and methods of composition. The most capable fifth and sixth form students enroll in the two-year program of Advanced Placement English Language and Composition followed by Advanced Placement Literature and Composition.
2013-2014 English Department Courses
III Form (9th Grade)
E111 English I Honors
In the honors level English I course, the instructor augments the English 112 syllabus with works appropriate to this level of critical reading, thinking, and writing. (Permission of the Director of Studies is required.)
E112 English I
This course covers the essential skills of grammar, vocabulary, composition, and reading. The theme of “coming of age” is explored through plays, novels, poetry, and short stories by Homer, Sophocles, William Shakespeare, Lorraine Hansberry, Larry Watson, and others.
E113 English I
Similar in structure and content to English 112, this course provides additional reinforcement in the basic skills of English, including grammar, organization of essays, spelling and vocabulary.
IV Form (10th Grade)
E221 English II Honors
In the honors level English II course, the instructor augments the English 222 syllabus with works appropriate to this level of critical reading, thinking, and writing. (Permission of the Director of Studies is required.)
E222 English II
This course provides an intensive review of the skills necessary for the study of English including note taking, underlining, vocabulary, etymologies, grammar, and the organization, writing and revision of essays. The theme of “man’s dual nature” is explored through plays, novels, poetry, and short stories by William Shakespeare, Voltaire, Robert Louis Stevenson, Aldous Huxley, Albert Camus, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and others. Creative writing, use of the library and the Internet for research, and oral presentations by students are also important aspects of this course.
E223 English II
Similar in structure and content to English 222, this course provides additional reinforcement in the basic skills of English, including grammar, organization of essays, spelling and vocabulary.
V Form (11th Grade)
E331A Advanced Placement English Language & Composition
This course prepares students for the Advanced Placement Examination in English Language and Composition through the study of non-fiction in American literature. The reading list in AP English Language is drawn from a body of non-fiction that dates back to Colonial times and includes such genres as sermons, journals, slave narratives, autobiography, speeches, political documents, and journalism. Students continue to develop reading comprehension and writing skills, while preparing for the AP Exam, which requires their analyzing non-fiction passages in terms of such stylistic elements as diction, syntax, tone, rhetorical techniques, and figurative language. (Permission of the English Department Chair and the Director of Studies is required, as is additional summer reading.)
E331H English III Honors
In the honors level English III course, the instructor augments the English 332 syllabus with works appropriate to this level of critical reading, thinking, and writing. (Permission of the Director of Studies is required.)
E332 English III
This course is designed to refine reading comprehension and writing skills through an intensive study of American literature and its historical roots. Writers include Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, W.C. Williams, Wharton, Cather, Malamud, and Miller. A full-length term paper is required of all students. This course includes SAT I and SAT II preparation.
E333 English III
Similar in content to English 332, this section provides additional reinforcement in reading and writing skills.
VI FORM (12th Grade)
E441A ENGLISH Advanced Placement English Literature & Composition
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This year-long course will prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Test in English Literature and Composition. It is a course for students with a serious interest in reading, thinking, talking, and writing about some of the English-speaking world’s greatest literature. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, our principal text, will provide most of the material for a selective survey of literature in English from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to contemporary writers such as Derek Walcott, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, Nadine Gordimer, and J.M. Coetzee. Shakespeare will be an important focus in the course. In addition to Hamlet, students will study closely a selection of Shakespearean sonnets. In recent years, the AP class has also read Henry IV: Part One. Other key texts will include Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, James Joyce’s Dubliners, Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, and Martin Amis’s The Rachel Papers. In addition to the summer reading required of all Sixth Formers, students preparing for AP English Literature also read Leon Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall. Projects assigned throughout the year give students a high degree of responsibility to make presentations and lead discussions. Some of these projects engage students with critical resources about a particular writer or work, which material is then incorporated in both presentations and essays. Students will also practice writing essays following the AP format and rubric as well as becoming familiar with the multiple-choice component of the test. Whether or not a student continues to explore literature in college, he will develop skills in this course that will serve him well in a variety of disciplines throughout the humanities.
(Permission of the English Department Chair and the Director of Studies is required, as is additional summer reading.)
E 441H-1 A Survey of English Literature
Fall Trimester: Chaucer, Shakespeare, and the Age of Satire
In the fall trimester of the sixth form honors course, students will begin by studying Chaucer’s late 14th century work Canterbury Tales, a work which, at the time, was surprisingly written in English, not French and was thus legitimized in many ways. Students will study selected tales from Chaucer’s work and will be given additional short stories and will view film clips to broaden their understanding of the tales. Moving chronologically, students will read and act out portions of the 1601 play Hamlet. They will also view and interpret different film adaptations of the play and be asked to wrestle with unusual, sometimes controversial interpretations of play. Finally, students will finish the fall trimester by reading and analyzing the satirical works of Jonathan Swift, Pope, and William Hogarth, representatives of the “age of wit” in the 18th century.
Winter Trimester: The Romantic Period
Students will begin the winter term by studying Mary Wollstonecraft, who is a valuable writer both for her pioneering feminism but also her rhetoric brilliance. Students will then further their understanding of the progressive politics of the Romantic writers by studying the first and second generation canonical Romantic poets: William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats. Students will finish the poetry unit by completing a project in which they will research and present on one of the Romantic poets and their poems. The class will then read the classic Romantic novel Frankenstein, which represents the gothic, supernatural sect of the Romantic Movement and relate it to the science fiction film Blade Runner to illustrate the ways in which the Romantic philosophy is not something of the past.
Spring Trimester: TBA
(Permission of the Director of Studies is required.)
E 442W Modes of Written Expression
Over the course of the year, students in this course will work intensively on developing their writing skills. Students may enroll in the yearlong course or, as scheduling allows, may choose from among the three, trimester-long courses (described below). Each trimester will focus on a different style of writing: expository, creative, and personal. Students in the course will learn to analyze different styles of writing through various works, then aim to apply what they have learned to their own works.
Students will read a wide variety of texts including, but not limited to, Beowulf, Shakespeare (Hamlet), Poe (poetry and short stories), Jim Harrison (short stories and novellas), Ted Kooser (poetry), and David Eggers (essays).
Fall Trimester – Patterns Of Exposition: (Almost) Everything You Need To Know About Writing Analytical Essays
The Fall Trimester will focus on expository writing. Students will write works of description, persuasion, comparison/contrast, and extended definition. Process analysis will be emphasized. Refining the college essay will also be on the schedule
Winter Trimester – Creative Writing: Finding The Muse Within
During the Winter Trimester, students will move to creative writing. Poetry and the short story will be at the foundation of this trimester. After an initial introductory period, students will be allowed to design and pursue their own creative projects under the direction of the instructor. Each student will need to meet weekly “bench marks” while completing this project.
Spring Trimester – Getting Personal: Writing For And About Oneself
The Spring Trimester will revolve around a personal writing piece for each student. The students will have the option of writing a journal, a memoir, and/or a research paper on a subject of personal interest. Here, again, the project will be largely student-driven under the guidance of the instructor.
E442F Literature in Film
This course will explore the journey of an idea from its origin in the written form of a novel into the audio/visual form of its translation into film. Are some concepts better portrayed by one medium or the other? Does each require the same amount of intellectual involvement? Are they equal in their ability to form and motivate social consciousness? Strengths and weaknesses of each medium will be discussed as they relate to the particular theme that the author and director wish to portray. Possible books and films covered may be Sophie's Choice, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Dracula, The Color Purple, and Heart of Darkness (Apocalypse Now). Regular writing assignments will be required and vocabulary building will be emphasized. Daily journals will be kept.
E442M Classic Detective and Mystery Fiction
Classic Detective and Mystery Fiction will be a year-long course. In this new course offering, we will study the roots and origin of this popular and highly-regarded, but often challenging form of fiction in the United States and Europe. We will use the Longman Anthology of Detective Fiction in thefall, as well as individually published mystery stories later in the school year. Authors may include Edgar Allan Poe (Murders in the Rue Morgue), Charles Dickens (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), and other esteemed writers such as Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame), Georges Simenon (once a resident of nearby Lakeville), S.S. van Dine, and Salisbury alumnus John Corrigan’90, author of the Jack Austin series of pro-golf mysteries. Mr. Corrigan has agreed to visit the class to talk about his work. We also hope to include a work by Elliott Roosevelt, son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wrote a detective series featuring his mother Eleanor. If we read Mr. Roosevelt’s first work, Murder in Hyde Park, we may take a trip to the site of the action in nearby New York State.
As in other English courses, there will be detailed reading and writing assignments, with vocabulary units and note-taking requirements. Some reading assignments may be done on-line if the book is not currently in print.
E442B Brothers in Arms
This course will explore the theme of brotherhood, one of the core values of the Salisbury School experience. What does it mean to be a brother? What are the characteristics of a fraternal relationship? Are there differences between the relationship of familial brothers (by blood) and metaphorical brothers (by close bond or association)? Students will be responsible on a daily basis for generating discussion topics and analysis of literature that features brothers who have to navigate a shifting and sometimes complex dynamic. Students in this course will read such titles as The Things They Carried, The Sisters Brothers, and As I Lay Dying as well as texts in the genres of drama and poetry. They will write frequently and be responsible for a research paper of literary criticism and/or a substantial project in the spring trimester.