English at The Storm King School exemplifies the standard of academic excellence found across our curriculum.  In the richness of its course offerings, its small classes typically conducted in a seminar format, and its emphasis on reading, writing, evaluation and discussion. Courses at all grade levels stress careful understanding, responsible thinking and clear, precise expression of ideas. Students study literature representing a broad range of historical and cultural perspectives with an emphasis on American literature in the 10th grade.

Classes Offered

(This course it typically taken by eighth graders)

The curriculum for the eighth grade focuses on three themes: Knowing the Self, Investigating the Past, and Understanding the Community, and uses the Hudson Valley as a learning laboratory (Place-Based Learning) to explore these ideas. In general, this course is designed to get students analyzing and responding to accessible and important works of World literature. Working with poetry, short stories, novels, and plays, students learn the basics of class discussion, essay writing and personal memoir writing.

Anchored in Perrine’s anthology titled Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense, this course explores a variety of world literature in an array of historical contexts. Students will build on their skills of literary analysis, class discussion, basic literary terminology, and their ability to appreciate literature. In addition, the writing component of the course will introduce expository essay writing, literary analysis, argumentative essays, and personal memoirs.

This survey of the classic works of the American Literary tradition strides through several key time periods, beginning in pre-Columbian times with Native American mythology and ending in Arthur Miller’s modern existential drama, Death of a Salesman. Additional centerpieces for this class include The Scarlet Letter, Huck Finn, Narrative of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave, and The Great Gatsby. This course includes a substantial research project and several literary analysis essays. New students in grade 11 or 12 who have not taken American Literature may opt to take this course.

At The Storm King School, the Creative Writing course is designed to meet two different student needs: an appreciation for the various creative forms of prose and poetry, as well as an exploration of literature that builds critical skills in both reading and writing. Students read several works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry allowing them to develop a sense of the extent that writing enters and affects our different social spheres. In addition, there is a great deal of writing in which students create their own work or at times interpret complicated works that already exist. The ultimate purpose is to provide a space for students to learn how to approach and manipulate the many aspects of literature and in doing so become better writers themselves as they craft their own techniques.

This course builds the critical skills of literary analysis and writing while reflecting on a variety of literary genres. Students will investigate why the same stories are told over and over again, eventually becoming codified into genres which reveal how society functions and how individuals (both consciously and unconsciously) participate in it. To do so, the course will focus on the close reading of novels, short stories, and plays. Students will also be introduced to college-level critical analysis, a process which includes unraveling the meaning of themes within texts and organizing ideas into coherent essays and research papers. The goal for all students to is to be prepared for college level work. These challenges include a responsibility for themselves and their work, represented by timeliness, clarity, and professionalism, as well as character consciousness that is defined by their ability to contribute, communicate, and build relationships within their existing social spheres while simultaneously pushing themselves into new areas of interest and influence.

This course provides academic support to students enrolled in the ASP program.

This course is offered to those students who performed in the ‘A’ range consistently in 10th grade American Literature and who are on track to take AP Literature and Composition their senior year. The course begins with the Old English heroic epic, Beowulf, and finishes with an in-depth Romanticism study. Other focal points for the course include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Milton’s Paradise Lost, the metaphysical poets, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. In addition, students will write two major research papers and several literary analysis essays as they broaden their literary horizons in preparation for English Literature and Composition AP in their senior year.

This course is a culmination of American Literature and Survey of British Literature. Like a college-level literature course, AP Lit challenges students to read and understand what they are reading at a deep level, and, through the lens of several critical perspectives, acknowledge the cultural, psychological, philosophical, and historical currents underlying a work of literature. Throughout the course, students will hopefully come to see themselves in light of the works they are reading and analyzing and formulate an awareness of their unique identity within the world culture as documented by the authors they will be studying.

Madness in Literature examines the concept of madness in relation to literature, specifically the characters’ ability to maintain a balance between sanity and insanity. While students will examine various psychological disorders, the main focus of madness relates to the human condition during specific time periods. Students will engage in writing and research assignments ranging from creative writing, objective studies, oral presentations, and analytical essays in order to deepen their understanding of the text in relation to the theme of madness in the course. Texts include the following: Medea by Euripides, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

The Hero’s Journey examines the deep metaphorical transformation that heroes in every time and place seem to share. Anchored in mythologist Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, students will review numerous myths and stories from around the world. Students will embark on their own “hero’s” journey through a variety of challenges and literary exercises. Students will engage in ongoing comparative analysis, ranging from literary essays, creative writing, oral presentations, and short films. This is a constructivist course; students will help select some of the literary works as they engage in an exploration of our mythic traditions. They may travel to the Netherworld or visit Camelot, experience Middle Earth, or venture into the far reaches of Deep Space exploring each hero’s separation, ordeal, and return.

This course is for juniors and seniors who are fulfilling their literature requirement or taking an elective course. Using contemporary texts from a diverse pool of voices, they will study literature through the lens of psychology; ultimately asking the question: How is mental illness portrayed in books and various media and how do these viewpoints affect our society? Throughout the semester, students will formally and informally analyze short stories, poetry, novels, and selections from drama and nonfiction. Over the course of the semester, students will hone their skills in critical communication.