English II: Journeys From Home
Honors World Literature



High school students are engaged in the process of discovering individual paths to the adult world. As they leave the restrictive boundaries of home and adult authority, they begin to synthesize a world-view that is uniquely their own. This course explores literature in which characters leave the protected environment of home to find their own way in the world.

Discussions of short stories and novels lead toward students’ learning how to find personally-significant themes that unite these apparently unrelated works.  Novels include: The Catcher in the Rye, The Odyssey, The Little Prince, The Metamorphosis, and Things Fall Apart.  Students write several essays relating and comparing various works, and develop their own essay questions & theses as themes emerge in the reading throughout the year.

A section on the poetry of Robert Frost and e.e. cummings further challenges students’ ideas of place, and allows them to begin the process of connecting poetic themes through analytical writing.


In addition to honing their analytical writing, students produce creative nonfiction (memoirs, travel pieces, interviews, and technical brochures), and spend significant time writing, editing, and grading SAT II-type essays under timed conditions. 

SAT-prep vocabulary, grammar skills (including identifying grammatical errors in writing), and diagramming sentences further strengthen students’ basic skills.

A careful study of both Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, and William Zinsser’s On Writing Well helps students begin to grasp the uses of excellent grammar & style in constructing their own prose. English II students also begin to explore publishing opportunities, especially those which provide editing response on returned pieces.

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

English II is a full-year course.  It is the first year of a two-year preparation for the AP Language & Composition exam.

Students meet two days per week for 90 minutes each day.