Writing & Literature I  • Year 

Writing & Literature I introduces students to the English Department at Darrow. Expectations for discussion, writing process, critical reading, and research are introduced and practiced. Students explore sense of place and its effect on identity both personally and through the experiences of the characters in the books read. What are my approaches, practices, methods to/for reading and writing? What does it mean to have a “sense of place?” How do I begin to know a place? What is community? What communities do I belong to? What are the expectations of those communities? How do I resist or conform to those expectations? What is identity? How is identity shaped, formed, changed? How do our social and natural environments shape our identities, and how do we influence our natural surroundings and communities?


Writing & Literature II  •  YEAR

We will explore the ideas associated with finding the power of one’s voice, knowing oneself and expressing oneself. To what extent are our views shaped by external forces/internal conflicts of the self? What does it mean to have a voice? Does literature/writing have the power to effect change? How so? What is injustice? How does literature function as a response to injustice? What happens when members of a society are marginalized?

Prerequisite: Writing & Literature I or equivalent from another school


Writing & Literature III   •  Year

The aim of Writing & Literature III is to discover and define the various ideas, philosophies, and social issues that represent, through literary works, the critical components of the American experience and American history. Students will also study different methods of both identifying and delivering critical messages and use their understanding of those methods to craft their own criticisms of issues important to modern American society. The practice and refinement of these skills are aimed to prepare students for similar analysis and discussion of themes and ideas in other literary canons as well as to effectively express their thoughts and ideas through writing.

Prerequisite: Writing & Literature II or equivalent from another school.


Woman’s Literature  •  Fall

Students will learn to analyze literature from a feminist perspective by supplementing the literature we read with readings from history, current events, essays, statistics, films and other sources. While studying the experiences of women throughout history and the ways in which they express these experiences, students will be able to apply their understanding to their interpretations of historical and current writing. The course will culminate in a major project analyzing a piece of media chosen by the student and supported by researched facts and theories.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.


Sacred Texts  •  FAll

In this semester long course, we will explore the common themes that are found in Sacred Texts throughout the world including creation, destruction (sin), redemption and salvation. We will use Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth as our guide as we explore texts including the Torah, Qur’an, Bible, Vedas, and other important texts from world religions. Students will read these texts critically looking for the themes that arise in each of them. How are they similar? How do they differ? How does text become Sacred? How does culture impact the Sacred? As students become familiar with those themes present in all Sacred Texts, they will be asked to begin looking for those themes in the texts that have had significance in their lives. At the end of the semester, students will identify a text that has helped create meaning in their lives and analyze that text through the framework of the course.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.


Writing for Performance  •  Fall

Students will receive a strong foundation in the playwriting craft, dramaturgical thinking, theatrical tools, play and scene structures, textual analysis, and constructive peer feedback models. To that end, this course includes prompts and free writes; scene writing and monologue writing; reading aloud and performance; collaborative group writing and devising; reading and analyzing plays; class discussions; peer feedback; ensemble-building; and personal aesthetic explorations. Students will choose to focus on their favorite piece to present in a “staged reading” style for their final exam. Students will be encouraged to invite members outside of the class to be a part of the audience. Students may also submit their plays for consideration to be in Darrow on the Fringe in the winter.

This course is cross-listed with Performing Arts. Students will need to choose which department to receive credit in.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.


Race: Reality and Fiction  •  Spring

If race has no genetic or biological basis, why does it matter so much? How has the notion of race been created and maintained over the last 300 years of American history? What are the impacts of racial categories in society? This course will explore the development of the idea of race through anthropological and historical research, and will apply these insights to works of fiction. Students will gain valuable tools for interpreting and discussing a very thorny and problematic topic and for analyzing current events and everyday interactions. Students will choose whether to earn History or English credit through varied assignments, but all students will read the major assigned texts.

This course is cross-listed with History. Students will need to choose which department to receive credit in.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.


Russian Literature B  •  Spring

Is it possible to escape the old and start over, entirely anew? This course will consider the notion of starting over on a societal level and the implications for those whose lives span both the end of the old and the beginning of the new. Medium-length novels by Olesha, Platonov, Pelevin and Prilipin will provide the core material for examination of the effects of monumental societal change on those who experience radical dislocation from the old and/or involuntary placement in the new. Major assessments in the course will include analytical essay(s) and a final project, the nature, scope and format of which will be determined in consultation with members of the class.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

NOTE: Russian Literature A is not a prerequisite for Russian Literature B.


Foundations of Science Fiction  •  Spring

What is science fiction, and why do we need it? Where did it come from; where is it going? These questions and many more are essential for understanding the most important opportunity reading and writing science fiction helps us to develop: The question of WHAT IF. If the concept of WHAT IF intrigues you, irritates you, or sparks your imagination, this is a course for you. We will read works that helped develop what we think of as science fiction, works that are considered important in the field, and works which are enjoyed by fans and fanatics alike. This class will focus on texts of science fiction, and we will but briefly examine SF created for television, movies, and/or comics. We will consider ideas around world-building, social and political commentary, time travel, dystopian futures, robotics, and so much more. This course, while reading intensive, will also include both analytical and fiction writing. We will explore what others have written about potential or alternate pasts, presents, and futures. Above all, we will ask, WHAT IF?

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

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