English 11 - A Survey of World Literature
Instructor: Doug Mabie
This course is a survey of world literature from the ancient epics to the narratives of our time. We will
explore a range of genres (epic, play, novel, poetry, short story) by authors of diverse backgrounds and
racial/ethnic origins in a bid to identify archetypal themes and recurring motifs. Texts will be read in the
light of opposing viewpoints (Western / Eastern, ancient / modern, male / female).
Writing is a pivotal communication skill. It is through your written words that you are first introduced to
the colleges / universities you will apply to. This year you will learn how to structure essays and
commentaries. You will also be given the chance to pursue a topic / theme that captures your imagination
and to explore this in the form of a literary compare-and-contrast research essay (using MLA format).
You will also write a mock college application essay.
to identify religious, philosophical, historical and literary movements reflected in the texts
to improve analytical skills through close reading of texts
to develop an ear for narrative voice and for the innate music of words
to develop a good eye for metaphor, symbols and motifs
to master the art of listening
to be disciplined as a writer (to plan and proofread your writing)
to find your voice as a writer
to justify your ideas, interpretations and theories with evidence from the text at hand
to compose a focused thesis statement
to signpost stages of the argument with topic sentences and clear paragraphs
to sustain a lucid line of argument in an essay or commentary
to draw upon a wide and versatile vocabulary in one’s writing
to recognize and understand the parts of a sentence and parts of speech
to be aware of voice, tone and register in one’s writing
to convey ideas in fluent sentences
to revise your writing based on peer/ teacher feedback
key themes:
the Hero’s quest/journey
coming of age and loss of innocence
the individual and society (freedom and loss of freedom)
the conflict of good and evil
conflicts of culture
the tension between reality and romance/illusion
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sejai (French novel by a Chinese author)
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe (Nigerian novel)
Vocabulary Workshop Level F by Jerome Shostak
and one of the following plays:
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (Greek)
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (Norwegian)
possible further reading:
The Wild Geese by Ogai Mori (Japanese novel)
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (South African novel)
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (Chilean)
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (American short stories/ sketches)
The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Indian short stories set in America and India)
World Literature by Holt, Rinehart and Winston
You will be given at least two major assignments (written or oral) per quarter, and be required to write an
end-of-semester exam essay. Your writing will be marked against the school-wide 6 Traits Writing
Rubric. Orals may take the form of class discussion, book reviews, reading aloud, formal speeches,
debates, oral commentaries/analyses of literature and dramatizations.
As words are tools of expression and thought for writers you will study six units of vocabulary from
Vocabulary Workshop Level F per semester (with the American SAT in mind). You will be tested at the
end of each unit.