Senior English Curriculum
Advanced Placement English in Literature and Composition
A two semester course
As the senior honors class, this course is designed for advanced students who have exhibited a high degree of interest and accomplishment in their English studies at St. Francis. A.P. English focuses on the analysis of poetry, fiction, and drama from the Western canon. In addition to participating in intelligent class discussion, students are required to respond to complex essay questions that ask them to connect style and meaning. Students must apply their knowledge of figurative language, narrative, and dialogue to the works in each genre and write essays that require coherent theses, specific detailed references, and consistent focus.
All students in this course must sit for the Advanced Placement Examination in English Literature and Composition. The course includes preparation for successful achievement on the exam. This is the only way to take the A.P. Exam in English; students in other English courses may not sit for the exam.
Drama: Shakespeare and Company
A two semester course.
The course examines representative plays of Western drama from its beginnings in ancient Greece through the Renaissance to the contemporary theater of the United States and England. The approach is historical and thematic. The course includes a study of major playwrights including Sophocles, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Beckett, Pirandello, O’Neill, Miller, Williams, and Stoppard. Students focus on how philosophical, political, moral, and cultural attitudes shape each playwright’s vision. Issues we consider include drama as text and performance, stagecraft, playwriting, and theater and film criticism.
World Literature: Great Authors of Many Nations
This course considers literature of the Western and non-Western canon, exclusive of England and the United States. The curriculum includes reading and analysis of the great writers and works of Continental Europe, South America, Russia, Asia, and Africa from civilizations past and present. Students will particularly focus on the texts as products of the culture in which they were written and the effect of reading works in translation. The course includes all literary genres: poetry, novels, short stories, drama.
Gothic Literature: The Mysterious and the Grotesque
A one semester course
This course fosters an understanding of American "Gothic" literature: the study of the supernatural, the darkness, the mysterious, and the grotesque. We will trace the origins and development of Gothic literature in Europe, but will concentrate on American authors. Students will also explore Gothicism in popular culture. The course includes all literary genres: poetry, novels, short stories, drama.
Fiction: The Short Story, The Novella, The Novel
This course is an examination of prose fiction. Students will read and analyze prose fiction in all its forms: the short story, the novella, and the novel. Students study the historical development of prose fiction, especially the major British, American, and European Continental writers who significantly have advanced the form in the nineteenth century, the twentieth century, and contemporary literature.
Poetry: "The Best Words in their Best Order"
This course examines how poems create their effects on readers. Students study how a poem begins as a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" in the poet and finishes as evocative language on the page. Students analyze how the poet takes his source of inspiration, crafts it into imagery, and gives insight into human experience. The course includes poems from the entire history of English verse including epic poetry and narrative poetry. The curriculum also includes a selection of "lyrical" novels.