British Literature

Half Year Course – Spring; 90 minutes

The novels listed below will be explored not only for their literary qualities but also for their focus on consequences of action. Each of the characters in these stories make choices, like people do every day, and we see that they WILL be held accountable. This is a fifteen week course and will be broken down into three four-week segments. The four-week segments will follow the clear pattern of (1) Invention; gathering our thoughts about a particular novel through research and group activities/games, (2) Arrangement; deciding how to best organize our ideas into clear outlines, and (3) Elocution; expressing our thoughts clearly through Socratic discussions, essay writing and presentation. Computer access is strongly recommended for this course.

The first three epic poems will be required to be read over winter break, but after that, each novel will be given two weeks to complete. Every four weeks the students will turn in a five paragraph essay reflecting on character, theme, setting, plot, or literary devices as they are presented in the novels. We will explore heroism and irony, survival and self-reliance, social classes and respect as well as hope and self-sacrifice. There will be a simple rubric to accompany each assignment. The goal of the course is to grow as thinkers and writers as we explore not only the character of the major roles in the novels, but also the character of ourselves as we reflect upon them. How do they touch our hearts and expand our minds? This is what great literature is all about.

Prerequisite(s): N/A


  • Beowulf
  • The Canterbury Tales ( Prologue and A Knight’s Tale only)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Gulliver’s Travels
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Animal Farm

Additional Fee: $20 to offset the cost of copies/ink and pre-organized binder of materials

Instructor: Joanne Van Wie