Teaching the principles and mechanics of good writing has been a Hotchkiss tradition since its founding. English classes at Hotchkiss are designed to help students discover and harness the power of language through careful reading and analysis of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and plays. Essays and writing assignments help students sharpen their critical thinking skills, develop their voices, and deepen their understanding of literature.
Summer Reading: Required Texts for 2017
The All-School Read has been announced — The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore.
Below are the English Department's 2017 summer reading assignments for each class.
1. What techniques does Alexie use to move his story forward? Consider, for example, art, lists, organization, and characterization.
2. Why does Junior think of himself as a part-time Indian? What other parts comprise him?
3. What activities, connections, and relationships make Junior's life better? What elements work against him?
Film: Robert Mandel's School Ties
Poem: Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese"
Memoir: Lorene Cary’s Black Ice
1. How does Cary work to exist within the two relatively disparate worlds of home and school?
2. Resisting the urge to overlap your own narrative on Lorene Cary's narrative, where do you see yourself in the text? Where do you see your teachers, coaches, classmates, friends, and family members?
3. What were/are your expectations about Hotchkiss? What images were/are upheld, solidified, or realized? What images were/are challenged, modified, or shattered?
Film: Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures
Poem: Carolyn Forché’s “The Colonel”
Novel: Ernest J. Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying
1. What, if anything, does Grant owe, particularly as an educator, to his community?
2. When and how have you helped individuals and groups? When and why have you avoided helping? Where in the text do you see examples of Grant’s ambivalence towards helping?
3. To what extent does one's altruistic motivation matter?
Film: Ramón Menéndez’s Stand and Deliver
Poem: Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays”
Novel: Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried
1. What burden(s) are you carrying into senior year? To what extent do these things weigh you down?
2. What does it mean to tell a true story? How does O’Brien confront his own version of the truth?
3. What is the relationship between self-reliance and collective allegiance?
Film: Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games
Poem: Sherman Alexie’s “The Powwow at the End of the World”