The study of the English language is important as it serves as our vehicle of communication.
To learn to analyze and articulate arguments both orally and in writing is imperative to success in whatever future avenue our Prep students pursue. To that end, Prep’s English classes teach the fundamentals of grammar, the analysis of literature and the strategies of cogent writingOn a deeper and more fundamental level, literature is a mirror into the soul of humanity. The study of good literature allows each student to explore life’s most complex emotions and actions.
Students will experience the horrors of war and learn to question what brings nations to war from Paul in All Quiet on the Western Front. Students examine hatred and racism and watch Atticus Finch live by his principles in To Kill a Mockingbird. Jay Gatsby, in The Great Gatsby, forces students to think about the difference between appearance, reality and the facades that people hide behind. Students explore the psychological agony of indecision in Hamlet.
During class discussions, students are empowered to explore both the strengths and frailties of human nature, and to analyze characters’ actions as good, bad, or potentially, both. In Prep’s English classrooms, the study of literature not only gives pleasure, but it beckons the student to imagine and think; it supports the Jesuit ideals of our graduates being not only intellectually competent, but more importantly, open to growth, religious, loving, and committed to justice.
– Ms. Elaine Clark
Chair of the English Department
Four years of English is required for each student.
Understanding and appreciating literary genre and technique are objectives of the freshman literature curriculum. Students read and write about a wide variety of novels, short stories, plays, and poems throughout the year. Frequent creative and expository responses are required and student skills in correct usage, punctuation, and grammatical concepts are refined during this year. Vocabulary skills, analogies, and word building skills are integrated throughout the program. In addition, the use of the web as it relates to producing papers with MLA format is examined. Students will be assigned on-line research projects to examine the quality and reliability of web sources.Required for freshmen.
- Honors English Program
- English II: The Study of the Modern Hero in Moral Conflict and Intermediate Composition
- Honors English II: The Study of the Modern Hero in Moral Conflict and Intermediate Composition
This integrated course of studies begins in sophomore year and concludes with advanced placement or humanities courses in junior and senior year. Beginning with ancient mythology and following through centuries of English and American playwrights, novelists, and poets, students learn to read and think critically and appreciate the complexity of the human experience as expressed through literature. Writing requirements are accelerated and close textual and stylistic analysis is emphasized as well as expressive and poetic writing. Vocabulary development and SAT work are included in the curriculum throughout the program. Placement in honors/AP classes is based on a student’s overall GPA and English class grades.
Placement in honors/AP classes is based on a student’s overall G.P.A and English class grades.
Department approval required.
English II aims at refining a broad range of skills in students. In addition to continuing the study of grammatical principles covering sentence structure, variety, and paragraph unity begun in freshman year, students further develop vocabulary skills from PSAT-SAT lists and words gleaned from the literature studies. A focus on writing includes experiences in expository, fiction, and poetry, as well as free-response writing. Students are required to respond, edit, rewrite, and refine his work. Students must also keep a writing notebook and a portfolio of his finished work for review.
Students are also required to use technology for research and investigation culminating in a research term paper.
During the course of the year, students will read classic literature spanning from Shakespearian drama to modern contemporary novels, plays, and poems. As students read and discuss the novels, the focus will be on the continued development of critical reading and thinking skills as well as the ongoing instruction in literary analysis. Along with this, students will contrast the view of the traditional hero, studied in English I, with that of the more modern hero who faces moral dilemmas and must choose which path they will take. Students explore both the positive and negative outcomes of those decisions.
Required for sophomores.
Honors English II aims at refining a broad range of skills in students. In addition to continuing the study of grammatical principles covering sentence structure, variety, and paragraph unity begun in freshman year, students further develop vocabulary skills from PSAT-SAT lists and words gleaned from the literature studies. A focus on writing includes experiences in expository, fiction, and poetry, as well as free-response writing. Students are required to respond, edit, rewrite, and refine his work. Students must also keep a writing notebook and a portfolio of his finished work for review. Students will be asked to read challenging texts and maintain a greater level of individual responsibility. Students are also required to use technology for research and investigation culminating in a research term paper. The sophomore literature component includes analysis of selections from the classic Greek tragedies to 20th century contemporary novelists and poets. Its focus is on the development of skills that will enable the student to read and think critically.
Department Approval Required
- English III: Survey of American Literature and College Composition
- AP English: American Literature and Composition
Prep's third year course is a study of the distinctive character of American literature. Students read and analyze selections from colonial America to the present and become familiar with the ideas, themes and characters who define the American Literary tradition. Portfolio assessment continues this year with expository, fiction, and poetry, often modeled on the literature. While vocabulary and SAT work continue on this level, extensive instruction in literary criticism begins.
Required for juniors.
This college-level course is organized chronologically around the theme of the American Identity, highlighting major American authors from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. It trains students to become skilled readers of prose and poetry written in a variety of periods and rhetorical contexts, and sophisticated writers of expository, analytical and argumentative essays. All students are required to take the AP Literature Exam in May.
Department Approval based on GPA and English class grades.
- AP English: Language and Composition
- English IV: British Writers
- English IV: American Drama and Film
- English IV: The Literature of Industry
- English IV: The Literature of Political Thought
- Creative Writing
This course is a college-level seminar leading to possible college credit for one year of English based on the student's score on the AP English exam. The course introduces students to the literary history of the English language, and provides him with a variety of critical modes with which to analyze literature. Strong emphasis is placed on the student's ability to do close reading and to communicate his ideas in writing. The first semester focuses on the epic and the picaresque novel. The second semester focuses on shorter poetry, drama, and the modern novel. Students will read authors ranging from Sophocles to Shakespeare and modern writers as well.
Department approval based on GPA and English class grades.
Beginning with the ancient epic Beowulf and ending with Huxley’s A Brave New World, the British Writers course explores major literary movements and the creation and development of modern literature as we know it. The course concentrates on a core of literary classics and non-fiction models to explore great themes in literature and how that literature exposes the struggles of a modern people. Over the course of the year, students will be exposed to foundational pieces of literature, but also the contemporary with a focus on the monster stories of Jekyll and Hyde and Frankenstein. Class work will include the traditional literary analysis and writing assignments, but also oral presentations and debates. Students will also have an opportunity to view and analyze clips of various film adaptions looking for differences between the author and the screenwriters’ vision.
Plays were never meant to be read by someone sitting alone in a chair; they were meant to be watched. American playwrights like Arthur Miller, August Wilson, and Tennessee Williams show us a great deal about human nature and the American experience. This class will be a great chance to put together an interest in history, literature, art, and film as it will take a look at how directors bring these iconic works to life. Along with traditional essay writing, assessments will include film making, design projects and criticisms. This is an elective course offered to seniors.
American capitalism provides us with prosperity, the opportunity to create limitless wealth irrespective of one’s background or education, and unparalleled technological advances. It also imperils our society with a vast chasm between the rich and the poor, corporate malfeasance, and wrenching moral and ethical dilemmas. This course will examine these issues as presented in literary works including novels, plays, essays and poetry. Students will focus on two primary areas of concentration: the conflict between labor and management in the context of the Jesuit quest for social justice and the moral and ethical challenges that occur regularly in business and which conflict with principles of Ignatian spirituality. Secondary topics include economic and social mobility and technological innovation.
Through the reading of the Hebrew Bible, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Greek philosophers, and Lincoln’s speeches, this class will explore what it takes to maintain political dominance. Students will consider what we must do in order to govern well. Even more important, students will consider what they must know in order to do so. In other words, what knowledge must be acquired and what societal concerns must be addressed to govern well? Moreover, does great political leadership in democratic times differ in any important way from that seen in the great nations of the past? In addition to introducing students to such political themes, this course also seeks to demonstrate that through the careful reading of diverse genres selected among the great works of the Western canon – a political treatise, a play, a dialogue, a political speech, an historical novel, and portions of the Hebrew Bible – students will come to understand that such foundational texts matter, that seriously thinking through the ideas found in them and considering how they relate to us, aid us in our understanding of the human condition and, therefore, also ourselves.
This is an elective course offered to seniors.
This course will guide students toward the development of a creative voice. Formal course work will center on writing short-stories, but students can expect to delve into poetry, screen-plays, drama, film and creative non-fiction. Students will also gain valuable informal experience editing, in the publishing process, in portfolio development and peer constructive criticism.
The work produced in this course will be instrumental in supporting the publication of the Bellarmine Review Literary Magazine.
This is an elective course offered to seniors.