The upper school English program promotes an understanding of and appreciation for humanity that transcends cultural boundaries. The literature-rich and writing intensive curriculum stimulates intellectual curiosity and a greater sense of self.

Students are encouraged to revise, to conference individually with faculty, to research authors and content, and to discover their own voice through analytical and creative assignments. Students exercise freedom of thought and expression as they explore diverse and universal human concerns and integrate ideas from literature with daily life. Students discover the pleasure and value of reading and writing as lifelong learning processes and participate in active and lively critical discussions of their own work as well as the work they read.


Art of the Essay (Grade 9)

Ninth-grade English is designed to acquaint students with the various literary forms and the ways in which a writer and/or literary critic might respond to these forms. The course, Art of the Essay, will ask students to brush up on their grammar, expand their vocabulary, and become writers capable of writing complex and informed essays. Art of the Essay will emphasize close reading, as well as the creation and revision of several types of essay forms that will include the analytical essay, persuasive essay, expository essay, and personal essay. The Writers’ Presence, an anthology of essays from well-known writers, will introduce students to the various types of essays and will compel them to write their own essays that boast a similar maturity. Students will be asked to study a variety of major literary works that explore the them of coming of age such as Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Alexie’s Flight, Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

In addition to the study of literature, students will be expected to grow in both the areas of vocabulary and grammar and will consult appropriate texts to facilitate this development. The concept of peer revision and the writing/revision process are introduced at this level and heavily emphasized.

World Literature (Grade 10)

World Literature accentuates literature from around the world, from ancient times to modern. Students study a wide variety of works ranging from ancient to current. Examples of such texts include Gilgamesh, the Bible (Old Testament), Egyptian and Chinese poetry, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Koran, The Thousand and One Nights, The Divine Comedy, Swift’s A Modest Proposal, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Allende’s Zorro, Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Hesse’s Siddhartha. Throughout the two terms, students will write critical essays, take timed essay tests, and create poetry, short stories, and extended journals. Students will expand their vocabularies and review certain grammar rules.

American Authors (Grade 11)

Students will study a variety of genres represented in American literature, including captivity narratives, poetry, essays, drama, short stories, and novels. Example texts include the essays of Thoreau, major work by Emily Dickinson, Fitzgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby, Ellison's Invisible Man, and Chopin's The Awakening

Classic English Literature (Grade 12)

Classical English Literature offers a survey of major works of British literature from Anglo Saxon through 17th century contributions; from the Pearl Poet and Beowulf through Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare, and Paradise Lost. Creative and analytical writing supports the development of writing skills and understanding of the literature and contexts of readings. Readings include elegiac and lyrical poetry, epic, drama, and essay. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, a state-aid book provided for student use, offers a variety of excerpts and short works, supplemented by paperback editions representing major works in their entirety.