In this course, we will work to hone our skills as close readers and critical writers. Through in-depth discussion and analysis of short stories and poetry, we will learn how to advance complex arguments that reflect an awareness of important themes and ambiguities in a literary work. In our own writing, we will pay particular attention to crafting strong interpretive sentences, supporting our ideas with textual evidence, and engaging in extended analysis. This course will prepare students for the kind of in-depth discussion and critical writing typical of college preparatory schools in the U.S.
The course will begin with practice exercises and short responses before culminating in a longer, multi-paragraph essay. By the end of the course, students will learn strategies for effective close reading, outlining, drafting, and revision. They will also learn some foundational principles for effective writing, whether in shorter- or longer-form responses.
- The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story, John Freeman (editor)
- Additional poetry (via weekly handouts). Poetry will include a range of canonical voices that students will likely encounter in American college preparatory schools—such as Robert Frost and Elizabeth Bishop—along with critical contemporary voices like Robert Pinsky and Rita Dove.
Topics include course introduction: the basics of writing mechanics and interpretation, analyzing passages in depth/Crafting interpretive sentences, perspective, character, and ambiguity, etc.
Students and their parents will receive brief feedback after each class regarding the student’s general participation in class. Students will also receive feedback on graded assignments via email. At the end of the course, the student will receive a final report card, which thoroughly speaks to their overall participation in the course, including major assignments.
1 class per week, 2 hours per class, 10 classes in total, 20 hours in total