Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul
Joyce Carol Oates
Theme Units - The Power of Storytelling
Our guiding essential question this year will be "Why is telling stories important?" What can literature add to our lives and what would be missing if it were not read?
Gods, Monsters and Myths
The first 8 weeks we will be exploring this theme. We will start with Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces to help us discuss the hero's journey. What can heroes reveal about a certain culture?Why is the monomyth considered the one and only story?
Literature Circles will form the basis of our novel reading and we will have supplemental readings in class.
I'm Only Human
The remainder of the fall semester we will ask ourselves, "What does it mean to be human"?
What does it mean to be civilized?
Is humankind inherently good or evil?
What responsibilities do we have as humans? How is our understanding of culture and society constructed through and by language?
How can language be powerful?
This unit will include a mini unit on Gothic Literature, magical realism, and a heavy emphasis on poetry.
Secrets, Lies, Love, and Identity
As we begin the spring semester our guiding essential questions will be:
Are there certain truths that can be considered universal or absolute?
How does perspective shape or alter truth?
What are the boundaries of love and sacrifice?
Do secrets help or hurt us? We will be reading Hamlet and Jonathan Safer Foer's novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a novel that deals with 9-11. We will also be working on a major multi-genre research paper.
Search For Meaning
And finally, during the last 8 weeks, we will return to Campbell's Power of Myth and discuss what we have read throughout the year.
Why do we continue to search for the meaning of life?
How does the search for meaning shape our beliefs regarding death? We will once again use Literature Circles and include excerpts from Viktor Frankel's book, Man's Search for Meaning.