Course description for
         Language Arts: An introduction to literary analysis
    2007-2008 for grades 9-12


    Course Format
    The class meets once a week for 90 minutes. It is a year long high school language arts class, but will
    be divided into two independent semesters. In order to get a full year of high school credit, both
    semesters or equivalent are required.  

    Content of Class
    Picasso said, “Art is a lie which leads to the truth.” It is the objective of this course to teach students
    how to understand literary fiction which aspires to illuminate some aspect of human life. As such, the
    focus of the class is on applying analytical skills to recognize, discuss and write about literary symbols
    and patterns.  We will review the primary elements of all fiction, including plot, characterization, theme,
    point of view, and setting. Then we will delve into the complexities of literary fiction through readings in
    poetry, short story, drama and the novella in order to understand the artistic significance of literature.
    Students will develop skills in recognizing and analyzing figurative language (symbolism, allegory,
    irony, paradox, metaphor), and they will learn how to interpret imagery. Overall, our approach to
    reading, discussion and writing is like that of an explorer. Our focus is on discovery and process.  

    Structure and Expectations
    The class time is divided into three sections:
    1. a short review of pertinent vocabulary
    2. a brief lecture on the reading
    3. a longer segment devoted to class discussion.

    In order for the discussions to be enlightening, students will be required to complete weekly reading
    and writing assignments. The writing assignments intend to provide the students with a deeper
    understanding of the reading while giving them practice in both creative and expository writing. The
    class explores all three aspects of writing: mechanical correctness, content, and organization.
    Emphasis is placed on forming strong opinions which are supported in a clear and organized
    manner.  

    Grades are based on class discussion, weekly assignments, two tests and a final paper each
    semester. Students can expect to spend 3-6 hours each week on homework assignments. There is no
    final exam.  

    Class Readings (selections for both semesters – where there is no ISBN number, the material is in
    Perrine’s Literature or a handout)
    Most of our readings will come from Perrine’s Literature, eighth edition (ISBN# 0-15-507494-6). This is
    a very expensive text if bought new, but you can find it used for a lot less (about $15-$25) at used
    textbooks sites on the internet.

    Novels:
    Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (isbn#978-345-41001-6)
    Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

    Novellas:
    Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad (Isbn#0-553-21214-1)
    The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
    (isbn#10: 1-59308-131-6)

    Dramas:
    Oedipus Rex, Sophocles (in Perrine’s)
    Antigone, Sophocles
    (isbn # 0-195003748)
    Hamlet, Shakespeare (isbn tba)
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare
    (isbn # 0-8442-5741-9
    A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen (in Perrine’s)
    The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams (in Perrine's)

    Short Stories (all in Perrine’s or as handout):
    The Most Dangerous Game, Richard Connell; A&P, John Updike; The Lottery, Shirley Jackson; A
    Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor; A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner; Tell-Tale Heart,
    Edgar Allan Poe; Miss Brill, Katherine Mansfield; Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne;
    A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

    Poetry (in Perrine’s and as handouts)
    Selections from Norton Anthology, Sound and Sense, and Perrine’s Literature

    Literary Theory (as handouts):
    Poetics (selections), Aristotle
    How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C Foster
    Selections from Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, The Bible, and Edith Hamilton’s
    Mythology

    Films:
    The Matrix, others