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English 4/5/6 Western Lit and Comp (Homer, Shelley, Dostoevsky, Twain, and others)

This course prepares students for college-level literary analysis and writing by inviting students into the great conversation of the Western Canon. Throughout this course, our conversations will be centered around the nature of justice as depicted in some of the most important literary works from the ancient world to the mid-20th century. Beginning with the Greek epic poem, The Iliad, we see how justice is marred by man’s hubris and the whims of the Greek gods. Boethius provides a Christian answer to the problem of evil in his book, The Consolation of Philosophy, and Shakespeare’s Macbeth gives a chilling example of man taking justice into his own hands. Moving into the world of Industrialism, Frankenstein questions what amount of responsibility man must take over his technological creations, and North and South seeks out what restitution a worker is due from his employer. The Brothers Karamazov provides the heart of the course, taking a deep and gut-wrenching look into the heart of man and the true nature of the Christian God. Is He bent on retribution or compassion? Shifting to the realistic period of American fiction, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will spark discussions on how race and class impact the dealing out of justice in the modern world. The course will conclude with C. S. Lewis’s riveting depiction of heaven and ruminations on eternal justice and grace in The Great Divorce. Students will leave the course well-read in the classics of Western Literature, and well-prepared for writing analytical essays in later high school and college.
Note: Students typically take two or more English 4/5/6 courses. They may be taken in any order. Regardless of the order, each student’s first English 4/5/6 course will be listed as English 4 and the subsequent ones as English 5 and then English 6 on a signed grade report or accredited transcript.