By Caroline Griffin
Art by Catherine Ferguson
The St. Mary’s English department has recently announced the major changes for the 2021-2022 school year. Alongside the exciting introduction of four new classes, there will be two classes removed from the list: Honors British Literature I and II.
Beginning next year, students, during their junior and senior years, will be required to take at least one writing class and at least three literature classes. For the writing class, students can decide to either take AP English Language and Composition or a new course called “Write Right: Strategies for Effective Communication.” In this new course, students will practice employing crucial strategies of writing including rhetorical analysis, tools such as diction, syntax, grammar, organization and the use of revision to help further improve their communication skills. This course, taught by Mrs. Love and Ms. Goodman, is designed to create confidence and comfort in student writing.
In addition, juniors and seniors will also choose from a sizable list of unique literary-based classes that focus on a specific topic. The current classes on this list include Marginalized Voices in American Literature, AP Literature, AP Language, Creative Writing: Reader as Writer, Honors Survey of American and European Poetry, Honors Women's Studies through the Literary Lens and Faith and Doubt in Literature. Next year, three new classes will be added to this list: Literature of the Monster and the Monstrous, Theater and the Art of Storytelling and Out of this World: Literature and the Fantastic.
In Literature of the Monster and the Monstrous students will study how authors create monstrous stories and explore the persistent nature of monsters in literature. Some texts analyzed in this class may include “Beowulf” by Seamus Heaney, “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, “The House of Aunts” by Zen Cho and “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Theater and the Art of Storytelling will introduce theater as a live performing art from pages of playwrights and texts to the stage and will explore subjects such as the relationship between theater and society, dramatic structure, and theatrical representation. Students will have the opportunity to engage with live performances, records of previous performances and even guest artists. Students will study texts written by authors and playwrights such as Sophocles, Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Lorraine Hansberry, Tracy Letts and August Wilson.
Out of this World: Literature and the Fantastic will investigate elements of the fantastic and unreal (magic, time travel, ghosts, science fiction, dystopian worlds, etc.) through a literary lens that will allow students to examine why authors place characters in stories removed from reality. Students may study texts written by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Chaucer, Coleridge, Kafka, Morrison, Martel, Huxley, Bradbury, Vonnegut, Coates, Butler and Ishiguro.
Ms. Goodman says, “Allowing students to have choice in the way they study literature and requiring a writing class is a win-win for everyone. Students will receive the direct writing instruction that will make them successful in the future and will get the opportunity to read texts that truly interest them.”
For & By Students
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