9th Gr. Literature
Before we read any new books for high school, we will study the familiar--fairy tales. As these books are familiar, we need not re-read them all, but we will use them as examples as we study literary criticism. Using several resources, including A Landscape with Dragons, The Natural History of Make-Believe and The Oxford Companion To Fairy Tales (each used carefully and critically), and C. S. Lewis' Of Other Worlds, we examine all our past reading of children's literature with a mature eye. Since we have read many of the selections we will discuss, I have chosen annotated editions (not study guides!!) to enhance our understanding of the stories we will discuss. We will endeavor to answer the following questions:
Who are the great authors? What inspired them?
Where do stories come from?
What is a moral?
What is the difference between a myth, a folktale, and a fairy tale?
What influences a folktale?
What are the unique thematic features of folktales?
Can a folktale "go wrong"?
We will also attempt:
To make a new tale from an old one.
To write an "original" fairy tale.
Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes
Annotated Mother Goose
Cinderella Stories from many traditions (Amazon "listmania" list)
Bulfinch's Myths (includes Greek, Roman and Norse myths)
Annotated Classic Fairy Tales
"The Ethics of Elfland" from Chesterton's Orthodoxy (e-book)
The Rumplestiltskin Problem (six different original re-tellings)
The Magic World (E. Nesbit borrows and excels!)
The Annotated Hobbit (with hints and history)
Books from my Children's Fantasy page
9th grade, second semester:
We will familiarize ourselves with some great fictional tales, both ancient and modern. Using the skills we developed during our analysis of fairy tales, we will discuss these stories and the influence they have had on literary traditions as well as the traditions by which the writings themselves were influenced. Clearly, we will not cover everything ever written, but we will try to cover a diverse selection of tales in the Western Tradition.
The Odyssey (adaptation) or The Odyssey (translation)
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Lewis' Space Trilogy
Till We have Faces