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10th Grade Literature

Unit 1: Study of Virtue in The Ancient Greek Culture

Specific Topics

  • The Trojan War and The Story of Achilles
  • The Emergence of The Age of Reason with The Tale of Odysseus
  • The Shift from Tyranny to Democracy with The Story of Antigone
  • The Ever-Changing Role of the Gods in The Ancient Greek Civilization and Humankind’s Relationship with the Deities
  • Experience The Oral Tradition of the ancient world with “The Story of The Golden Apple”

Essential Questions

  • How does Aristotle present the blueprint for all literature in the Western World?
  • What is The Story of The Golden Apple? What does it have to do with “The Iliad”?
  • What is Achilles’ dilemma as he comes to understand his role in the Trojan War?
  • How and why does the story of “The Odyssey” present a different idea of Virtue than “The Iliad”?

Student Understandings

  • how Aristotle maintained order in the civilization through theater
  • the relationship between mortals and immortals in time of Achilles
  • how and why this relationship changes with story of Odysseus
  • the role of women in society and the striking political shift with the continuation of the Oedipal tale in “Antigone”

Readings & Materials

  • “Poetics” by Aristotle (Translated under the Editorship of W.D. Ross)
  • “The Iliad” by Homer (Translated by Stanley Lombardo)
  • “The Odyssey” by Homer (Translated by Richmond Lattimore)
  • “Antigone” by Sophocles (Translated by Paul Roache)

 

Unit 2: The Rise of Christianity

Specific Topics

  • Corruption and excessive lifestyle of the Roman Empire during the reign of Nero
  • The Old Testament and the introduction of a monotheistic Divine Being
  • Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and Moses
  • The Gospel of Matthew to compare and contrast the Divine Being of the Old Testament with that of the New Testament

Essential Questions

  • What was the “vicious cycle” in which the Romans were living as the empire was spiraling into self-destruction?
  • What steps were taken in the Bible to allow for a smooth transition from Poly to Mono Theism?
  • Where are there striking differences between the God of the Old and New Testaments?
  • How and why does Christianity arise as a reaction to the lifestyle of the Romans?

Student Understandings

  • Students will understand the emergence of Christianity as a challenge of Roman corruption with Judaism as the inspiration.

Readings & Materials

  • “Dinner With Trimalchio” from The Satyricon by Patronius
  • “The Book of Genesis” from King James Bible
  • “The Book of Exodus” from King James Bible
  • “The Gospel According to Saint Matthew” from The King James Bible
  • “The Aeneid” by Virgil

 

Unit 3: The Bloody History of the Catholic Church

Specific Topics

  • Emerging role and influence of women in society
  • Tension between Faith and Science
  • The Abuse of Power in both religious and secular realms
  • The influence of The Church in affairs of state
  • Commentary regarding the challenges emerging against the corruption in the Catholic Church.

Essential Questions

  • What does Nicholas represent in contrast to The Carpenter?
  • What does the ending of The Miller’s Tale tell us about the social and cultural transitions of Europe?
  • What social commentary is Chaucer making about age, sex, class & wealth in The Wife of Bath’s Tale?
  • What are we to learn about academia and faith through the adventures of Doctor Faustus?
  • Why is King Henry the Fifth considered one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces?
  • Why is Henry to be admired? What are his favorable characteristics? How and why is The Dauphin considered Henry’s foil?
  • What role does the Catholic Church play in the war against France as waged by King Henry that culminates with The Battle at Agincourt?
  • What is resolved as a result of this conflict?

Student Understandings

  • the rationale for establishing a balance between faith and secular knowledge.
  • why the victory of the English against the French is credited to the “Grace of God,” rather than the advent of the longbow.

Readings & Materials

  • “The Miller’s Tale” from “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • “The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus” By Christopher Marlowe
  • “King Henry The Fifth” by William Shakespeare
  • Excerpts from “Paradise Lost” by John Milton

 

Unit 4: The Romantics & The Victorians

Specific Topics

  • Cautionary tale of what happens when the scientific revolution is taken too far.
  • The “God Complex” of Faustus taken a step further with Victor Frankenstein.
  • The Romanticism of Rousseau seen in Shelley as well as the poets of the era.
  • Mindset of the Romantics attempting to warn regarding the Industrial Revolution
  • Mindset of the Victorians looking at the benefits as well as the detriments of the Urban locale.
  • Class relations studied in depth.

Essential Questions

  • How has the Industrial Revolution affected our relationship with the natural world?
  • How is our perception of God changed?
  • How has the Scientific Revolution changed our pursuit of the possible?
  • How does the literature of the time reflect the thinking of philosophers?
  • What social role and responsibility is (or should be) taken on by the bourgeois class?
  • How is the Proletariat treated by other classes?

Student Understandings

  • the conflict of “innocence versus experience,” and what both mindsets have to offer human beings.
  • why certain spiritual issues ought not be controlled by humankind.
  • the impracticality of “moving backwards” in reaction to the Industrial Revolution.
  • the tension established between the classes within the urban location.
  • the capacity of the society at large to be either beautifully benevolent or hideously cruel to a member based solely on appearance.
  • the class system of post-revolutionary France as a case study of what was going on in Europe during the 1800s.
  • the connection between the Art Pieces of the era as representative of the literary characters.

Readings & Materials

  • Selected Poems from:
    • William Blake
    • Oscar Wilde
    • Thomas Hardy
    • “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
    • William Wordsworth
    • A.E. Housman
  • Excerpts from “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo