The goal of the English department is for each student to be a critical, interpretive reader and a writer of standard English prose that is clear, concise, and precise. The department also works to foster in each student an appreciation and love for reading in everyday life.

English I: Introduction to Composition and Literature

A primary objective of this course is to introduce the student to composition and literary genres. To this end the student will study the parts of speech, the parts of the sentence, and punctuation in detail. Students will practice these skills through worksheets, journal entries, and writing assignments. The latter will not only concentrate on the proper use of the English language, but also on developing ideas, eliminating wordiness, and improving structure so that the student is able to write a coherent, well developed, and organized paragraph. The student will also be introduced to the basic components of literature and to the genres of the short story, the novel, and the play. Texts include Montana 1948, Mythology, Oedipus Rex, and Julius Caesar. (1 credit)

English II: American Literature

This course challenges students to read closely from a variety of genres. Literary analysis emphasizes theme and symbolic interpretation of the works. The primary objectives are for students to develop a keen understanding of the American voice and to improve their writing skills and capacity for close reading. The study of American literature is regularly augmented by grammar and vocabulary lessons. Texts include A Lesson Before Dying, The Great Gatsby, Twelve Angry Men, Catcher in the Rye, and assorted poetry from American authors. (1 credit)

English III: Mythos of Literature

In this British Literature survey course, students study literature to improve reading and literary analysis and continue to practice and develop critical writing skills. Students will approach literary works through four styles of literature: Epic, Comedy, Tragedy, and Satire. This approach will give the student a well-rounded understanding of these genres and further the reading skills developed in earlier years. In addition, students will present oral and written reports on their readings and prepare for in-class debates. The object is for the student to make the connection between literature and the world in which he lives and effectively express this connection in logically constructed arguments. To help achieve this end, we will also study vocabulary and grammar. Major works for this course include: Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Things Fall Apart, and Brave New World. (1 credit)

AP Language and Composition

A course for those who wish to become superior writers, this seminar is designed to make each student a skilled reader of prose written in a variety of periods and disciplines, and a writer flexible enough to compose in a variety of modes and for a variety of purposes. The student will examine various expository and creative texts, with an eye towards recognizing each as a potential model for his own prose. Students in this course should expect to write one essay per cycle. Papers range in length from one paragraph to 10 pages. Writing in this course is evaluated according to the rigorous standards set by the College Board. In class, the teacher will guide the student through the process of drafting, response by peers/teacher, and substantive revision. (1 credit)

English IV: Masters of Microfiction

This is a survey of short fiction that explores the history, elements, and emergence of the short story as a powerful medium in contemporary literature. We will dissect and digest this genre from the serialized story through the 21st century phenomenon of flash fiction. Students will read selections from Poe, Bradbury, Hemingway, O'Connor, Fitzgerald, Walker, Welty, and various others. Approximately half of the semester will focus on student-written short stories; students will learn to develop a narrative voice. We will critique these stories in class and practice the art of revision. Tests and quizzes will evaluate weekly assigned readings. Students will also produce several analytical essays throughout the semester. Each member of the class will complete a research project, which counts as the final exam in the course. Required text: Perrine's Story and Structure (provided by the English Department) (0.5 credit)

English IV: Film Studies

This semester-long course is an introduction to film as a narrative art form. By utilizing what they already know about literature, students will discover the aesthetic qualities of film. Students will apply the two basic principles of film analysis—identification and interpretation—to the viewing of various films. In addition, students will delve (though, of necessity, not deeply) into the history of film. Students will read Ed Sikov’s Film Studies: An Introduction, as well as various articles on film history and theory. Representative films include: Double Indemnity (1944), Chinatown (1974), Rear Window (1954), Unforgiven (1992), The Big Lebowski (1998) and No Country for Old Men (2007). Students will write analytical essays and complete research-based projects, including an annotated bibliography and research paper. Quizzes will be given on a regular basis. Finally, students will create an original documentary short to demonstrate mastery of the cinematic techniques studied throughout the course. (0.5 credit)

English IV: Writing for Hearts, Minds, and Souls

This one-semester course examines the massive religious upheaval in England during the 16th and early 17th centuries. As students will remember, Henry VIII’s schism with the Roman Catholic Church led to over a century of religious debate and violence culminating in the English Civil War. Since writing for profit was a rare and lowly position at the time, authors such as Shakespeare, John Donne, Kit Marlowe, and Aemilia Lanyer relied on generous patrons to finance their work. As a result authors often walked a fine line on religious and political issues. This course examines the influence of religious identity, royal succession, and noble patronage upon the writers of the English Renaissance period. We will focus particularly on works produced during the tense transition from Elizabeth I’s reign to James I’s. An entertaining aspect of the course with be the role, both real and sensationalized, of the Jesuits in religious discourse, political influence, and even espionage and assassination. Since many of these authors wrote for a specific audience and their works were transmitted through letters, the class will model a writing coterie (“An organized association of persons for political, social, or other purposes; a club”). Students will write letters examining and critiquing the authors each cycle. They will also produce several critical essays and a research paper. (0.5 credit)

English IV: The Craft of Poetry

This one semester class will dedicate itself to the study] and practice of poetry. In this seminar-style class we will read the works of a variety of poets and identify and discuss their defining thematic and aesthetic features. Based on our readings we will incorporate these features into our own poems; approximately half the semester will focus on student-written poems. We will discuss these poems in class and practice the art of revision. Tests and quizzes will be given in conjunction with each unit; students will keep a portfolio of their own writing as well as complete a research project based on a famous poet. Texts: Perrine’s Sound and Sense (junior year poetry text), Good Poems (Keillor), poem and assignment packet provided by instructor. (0.5 credit)

English IV: 21st Century Literature

This course provides a survey of works of fiction, poetry, journalism, and film that address significant events and trends of the early twenty-first century: 9/11, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the Financial Crisis, Immigration, and Climate Change. The students develop this knowledge through three main activities. First, they read primary and supporting materials addressing these major events and the connections between them. Second, they submit regular pieces of writing and other rhetorical projects that address the literary works in question. Third, they undertake a comprehensive research paper, in which they study another literary work focusing on an event or trend of particular interest to them. Texts may include The Submission, Redeployment, The Devil’s Highway, Zeitoun, Cosmopolis, and The Road. Note: only offered in the fall semester. (0.5 credit)

AP Literature and Composition

This full year class focuses on close reading of great literary works, thoughtful, analytical writing, and lively discussion. Our goal is to intensely study works from across genres and periods such that we gain a deep appreciation for and understanding of the works themselves and literature as a whole. Through various modes, we will also strive to be thoughtful, precise, and persuasive writers who may draw inspiration from the great works that we study. This course is a college level course and therefore will challenge students to work up to, and sometimes push them beyond their previously thought potential. Essays are assigned frequently, both in class and take home, and are graded according to the College Board’s rigorous standards. Students in this course take a mid-term exam and complete an in-depth literary research paper in the spring semester. Works vary by section, but may include: Heart of Darkness, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Power and the Glory, The Metamorphosis, Slaughterhouse V, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. (1 credit)


Mr. Bob Barry

Mr. Rob Begin

Mr. Brian Chappell

Mr. Ryan Eskow

Ms. Leah Hepburn

Fr. David Sauter, S.J.

Mr. Thomas Venker, Chair

Mr. Ben Williams