English

The texts for this course, an autobiography and two novels, span settings from slavery to the second half of the 20th century. Additional handouts of fiction, essay, article and history will also be assigned. Art and film viewing on complementary themes will occasionally supplement the books. Students will look at the historical formation of race and the intersections of race and identity, and will consider the effects of audience on writing and the relationship between texts of different eras in an attempt to establish an understanding of common and developing themes in African-American literature. The final project will link the books with a documentary on the current status of people of Africa and the African diaspora.

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 Geoffrey Chaucer’s, “The Miller’s Prologue and Tale,” William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, and the work of Maya Angelou. 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.

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.

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. Different texts are read in fall and spring.

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?

Required course

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?

Required course

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.

Required course

Writing Reflections encourages students to think like writers by increasing their awareness of the writing process and to write like writers through a self-reflective daily writing practice. Students will read both fiction and nonfiction works to look at how great writers approach their craft. Short stories as well as longer fiction and nonfiction works will be used to breakdown writing into its elements to better understand the process. Students will participate in class and in online discussions, and keep a daily journal or blog. Assessments include the journal/blog, shorter creative and analytical papers, and one larger writing project defined by each student in conjunction with the teacher.