Upper School English
Boston Trinity Academy’s English department educates students to be mature thinkers, discerning readers, and effective writers. Students explore questions of character, virtue, maturity, and courage as they explore writings such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Homer’s The Odyssey, and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. They develop the ability to articulate their thoughts clearly and creatively through essays, debates, and class discussions. Above all, students are encouraged to love and appreciate the power of the written word to shape ideas, culture, and society.
Students are required to take either AP Literature and Composition or Creative Writing during their senior year.
- Humanities 9: The Development of Western Civilization
- English 10: World Literature
- English 11: European Literature
- AP Literature and Composition: American Literature
- Creative Writing
Being rooted in the tradition of liberal arts education, Boston Trinity Academy believes it is important for students to not only learn various disciplines, but to be able see the interconnectedness of the disciplines. This allows students to synthesize various streams of thought to better understand a topic and find more meaningful solutions.
To facilitate this way of thinking, Upper School students take Humanities 9 during their freshman year. This course (2½ credits) integrates English, History, and Biblical Studies and explores themes of Western Civilization from literary, historical, and biblical perspectives.
Humanities 9 addresses the question, “What does it mean to be human?” Students explore this question by studying literature, drama, historical texts, primary sources, and the biblical narrative. They learn about the origins of early Western culture by reading Homer’s The Odyssey and simultaneously examining the lives of Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. They compare and contrast the Pax Romana with the gospel of Matthew and the history of the early church. Finally, they pursue the transforming effects of Christianity on both the Roman and Germanic cultures, from which emerge a revolutionary idea of what it means to be human.
World Literature teaches students to read diverse texts closely and think critically about the environments from which they are drawn. Through reading, discussion, and essay writing, students recognize and evaluate the themes of each piece and explore how historical and cultural context inform their meaning. Students learn to effectively analyze literature and write with depth and clarity. They study proper grammar, spelling, and usage and develop vocabulary in preparation for the SAT.
European Literature encourages students to read closely and understand how the structure of texts creates meaning. Through readings, discussion, debate, papers, and performance, students explore the philosophical questions posed by Europe’s most influential writers, including Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Dante Alighieri, and Oscar Wilde. They write thesis-driven essays closely analyzing the language of the texts and learn to revise their writing to clearly express their ideas. Throughout the course, students explore the different ways that each text responds to life’s great questions.
This course surveys a wide range of work produced in the United States, from the early 19th to the 21st century. The literary works represent the ethnic, geographic, social, religious, and economic diversity of our complex and fascinating American culture. Moreover, students will explore the concept of "the American dream" throughout each of these works: How do people define it? Is it attainable? Is it any good? Finally, the course is writing intensive, so that students will be prepared to take the AP exam in Literature and Composition.
This course introduces students to the elements of storytelling, poetry, and personal narrative. Students read a variety of literary works including short stories, poems, and essays, and explore these genres by creating original pieces of writing throughout the year. Each semester, students have the opportunity to engage with one another’s writing in a formal, in-class workshop before submitting a portfolio of their revisions. Special attention is given to word choice, tone, structure, imagery, point of view and narrative voice. Ultimately, students learn that creative writing can not only be a means of self-expression, but also a platform for engaging with and commenting on both the communal and individual experiences of human beings.