In English 9, students set forth on a journey through works of literature that have inspired readers and writers through the ages. The curriculum parallels that of Western Civilization I, and there is much cross-pollination of ideas as students see how stories are repeated over time in both history and literature. The major themes in Western Civilization I appear again and again in the works studied, whether in Shakespeare's Italy in Romeo and Juliet or the swamps of 20th century Florida in Their Eyes Were Watching God.
While continuing to develop close reading skills, ninth graders find and develop their authentic voices in writing through different styles and genres that they will practice throughout the year. They hone their skills in expository essays, creative writing, poetry, and personal essays. Penelope in The Odyssey fends off her suitors, telling them that she will choose one of them as soon as she weaves a shroud. Just as she works each day, then picks apart her work at night so, too, do the students learn the value of creating, tearing apart, and revising their own work to achieve the desired ends.
Students read poetry and short stories with similar themes, exploring the ways in which authors reinvent classic themes for new generations of readers. Students polish their skills as speakers and leaders as they take increasing responsibility for leading discussions, making presentations to the class, and on occasion, performing scenes from the works studied.