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2024 -2025

—Academic Year—

We teach six books each session at three levels of difficulty to accommodate various ages and abilities:

Level I

Our Level I books are typically taught in Grades 7-9 and utilize relatively simple vocabulary and straightforward syntax.  The underlying themes can be nuanced, however, and students will need to learn how to read closely and think deeply to uncover the work's hidden meaning.  These books offer a solid foundation for those students who are still developing the basic skills and knowledge necessary for more advanced literary analysis.

Level II

Level II books are generally taught in Grades 10-11 and contain more advanced vocabulary, challenging syntax, and complex themes.  Students will need to learn how to read between the lines to understand the writer's true intent.  The most widely read classics in American and World Literature fall in this category, and most colleges will expect incoming students to have read these books at some point in their high school careers.

Level III

Level III books are the most challenging that students will read at the high school level.  They are usually reserved for AP classes in Grade 12 and represent the type of books that students will read at the college level.  These books are subtle and complex, often employing difficult syntax that requires careful reading to decipher the underlying themes.  When students are comfortable with Level III books, they know that they are ready for college.

Derek School 2017.jpg
Derek Bunting
CEO/Founder
Lead Instructor

B.A. English

Dartmouth College


M.A. Education

Stanford University

Course Description

Our four-week intensive courses focus on the fundamentals of literary analysis so students better understand the writer's craft while acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary for success at the college level.  Students will learn how to analyze a complex text through the "four pillars" of literary analysis—diction, imagery, language, and syntax—and how authors use various literary techniques—such as point of view, characterization, setting, and irony—to establish tone and convey theme. 
 
In addition to analyzing and discussing literature, students will also have an opportunity to write three argumentative essays modeled after those found on the AP Literature and Composition Exam: a poetry analysis, a passage analysis, and a literary argument.  To receive guidance during the writing process, students can schedule 15-minute pre-writing and post-writing conferences to receive help organizing their thoughts, finding evidence to support their claims, and receiving constructive feedback on their finished drafts. 

We limit our classes to a maximum of twelve students to ensure all students will have ample opportunity to schedule individual writing conferences and to share their ideas during class discussions.  Each course homepage provides a detailed Daily Agenda with descriptions of every class activity with links to assignments and supplemental material so students will be able to extend their learning independently beyond our scheduled class time.

Fall: Session One

September 17 - October 10

Morning Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

September 17 - October 10

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The House on Mango Street_edited_edited.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become.  Told in a series of vignettes—sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous—Sandra Cisneros' masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery.  Acclaimed by critics and beloved by readers of all ages, Cisneros’ novel has been taught in schools and universities around the world since its publication in 1984.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

September 17 - October 10

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Things Fall Apart.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Chinua Achebe’s critically-acclaimed narrative about Africa’s cataclysmic encounter with European colonialism is told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s.  Things Fall Apart, a classic of world literature originally published in 1958, explores one man’s futile resistance to the devaluing of Igbo customs and traditions in a way that broadens our understanding of contemporary realities in a post-colonial world.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

September 17 - October 10

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Handmaid's Tale.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where she may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now in pictures because women are not allowed to read.  Offred can remember when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job—before she lost even her own name.  Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, originally published in 1985, endures as a literary landmark and warning of a possible future that remains chillingly relevant in today's world.

Afternoon Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

September 17 - October 10

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Fahrenheit 451.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Set in a bleak, dystopian future, Guy Montag is a fireman whose job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, until he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who sees the beauty of the world through the ideas found in literature instead of in the mindless chatter of television.  Nearly seventy years after its publication in 1953, Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 has grown more relevant in today’s world than ever before.
 

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

September 17 - October 10

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

5:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Awakening.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

When The Awakening was first published in 1899, the critical outcry proved so vociferous that the novel was banned for decades.  Now praised as a classic of early feminist literature, Kate Chopin’s novel has inspired generations of readers by rejecting conventional female roles and celebrating a woman’s journey towards self-discovery.  As the heroine, Edna Pontellier, awakens to her own desires, she begins to question her ideas about marriage, motherhood, society, art, and the nature of love itself.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

September 17 - October 10

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

6:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Invisible Man.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

In this deeply compelling and epic milestone of American literature, a nameless narrator describes growing up in the segregated South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of “the Brotherhood” before retreating into a basement lair amid violence and confusion.  Published in 1952, Invisible Man won the National Book Award and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the 20th century. 

Fall: Session Two

October 22 - November 14

Morning Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

October 22 - November 14

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

When the Emperor Was Divine.tiff

Publisher's Note:

 

On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window and learns that her family—along with thousands of other Japanese Americans—have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their home and sent to a dusty incarceration camp in the Utah desert.  In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, written in 2003, Julie Otsuka tells this family’s story from five flawlessly realized points of view.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

October 22 - November 14

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Macbeth.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

No dramatist has ever seen with more frightening clarity into the heart and mind of a murderer than has William Shakespeare in the compelling tragedy of Macbeth.  Fast-moving and bloody, this drama—written in 1606—has an extraordinary energy that derives from brilliant plot devices, replete with treachery and murder, and from Shakespeare’s compelling portrait of the ultimate battle between a person’s ambition and the consequences of guilt and remorse.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

October 22 - November 14

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Beloved.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Published in 1987, Toni Morrison’s spellbinding novel won the Pulitzer Prize for its unflinching look into the abyss of slavery.  Sethe escaped to Ohio after being born a slave, but eighteen years later she is still not free.  Sethe has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm in Kentucky where so many hideous things happened.  And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby girl, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. 

Afternoon Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

October 22 - November 14

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Lord of the Flies.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954 for its startling, brutal portrait of a group of ordinary English boys marooned on a coral island.  Alone in a world of uncharted possibilities, devoid of adult supervision or rules, the boys begin to forge their own society, exposing the duality of human nature—the dark, eternal divide between order and chaos, intellect and instinct, structure and savagery.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

October 22 - November 14

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

5:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Ceremony.tiff

Publisher's Note:

 

Decades after its original publication in 1977, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature.  Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation in New Mexico, deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his own people.  Only by immersing himself in Native American history can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

October 22 - November 14

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

6:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Brave New World.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Aldous Huxley's profoundly important classic of world literature is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order—all at the cost of our freedom, our full humanity, and perhaps our souls.  Huxley’s masterpiece is as relevant today as it was in 1932 when it was published amid the rise of European fascism.

Winter: Session One

January 14 - February 6

Morning Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

January 14 - February 6

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

A Raisin in the Sun.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun became an instant classic when it was first performed on Broadway in 1959, making its author, at the age of twenty-nine, the youngest American, the fifth woman, and the first Black playwright ever to be awarded the Best Play of the Year prize by the New York Drama Critics.  James Baldwin wrote in a review that “never before in the entire history of American theater had so much of the truth of Black people’s lives been seen on the stage.”

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

January 14 - February 6

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Great Gatsby.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, one of the undisputed classics of American literature, was published in 1925 and brings to life the Jazz Age of the Roaring ‘20s.  Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate and veteran of the Great War, moves to West Egg, Long Island, eager to leave behind his native Middle West, and rents a small house next to the fabulously wealthy and enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a man who comes to represent both the promise and the corruption of the American Dream.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

January 14 - February 6

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Frankenstein.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity.  But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear.  Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale, originally published in 1818 and then revised in 1831, remains a devastating exploration of the limits of scientific knowledge and human creativity.

Afternoon Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

January 14 - February 6

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Of Mice and Men.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in John Steinbeck's work, he narrowed his focus when composing Of Mice and Men in 1937, creating an intimate portrait of two migrant laborers, George and Lenny, who confront a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness.  But though the scope of the novel is narrow, the theme is universal: a loyal friendship and shared dream that make an individual's existence meaningful.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

January 14 - February 6

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

5:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Joy Luck Club II.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

After World War II, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mah jong, and talk.  United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club.  With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan’s debut novel—published in 1989 and now widely regarded as a modern classic—examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

January 14 - February 6

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

6:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Kite Runner.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the

son of his father’s servant, Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of the country's history.  A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the price of betrayal and the possibility of redemption.  Since its publication in 2003, The Kite Runner has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic of contemporary literature.

Winter: Session Two

February 18 - March 13

Morning Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

February 18 - March 13

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Night.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Born in Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp and then later to Buchenwald.  Night, published in 1956, is the terrifying record of the death of Wiesel’s family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair confronting the evil of which humans are capable.  Wiesel’s memoir is one of the most important documents of our time with its message that this type of horror must never be allowed to happen again.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

February 18 - March 13

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Their Eyes Were Watching God.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

A classic of American literature, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937, tells the story of Janie Crawford’s evolving selfhood as a fair-skinned, long-haired, dreamy child who grows up trying to enjoy her life without being one man’s mule or another man’s adornment.  Even though the story does not end happily, it draws to a satisfying conclusion as Janie becomes a woman who refuses to live lost in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

February 18 - March 13

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Heart of Darkness.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, published in 1899, Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, recounts his physical and psychological journey in search of the infamous ivory trader Mr. Kurtz.  Travelling upriver to the heart of Africa, he gradually becomes obsessed by how this enigmatic figure has gained power and control over the local people, which makes him question, not only his own nature and values, but those of Western civilization itself in this highly influential Modernist masterpiece. 

Afternoon Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

February 18 - March 13

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

To Kill a Mockingbird.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

One of the best-loved stories of all-time, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960, is gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable coming-of-age tale set in the Depression-era South during a time that is poisoned by virulent prejudice.  Lee's novel views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of Scout, a young girl whose father, Atticus Finch, a crusading local lawyer, risks everything to defend a Black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

February 18 - March 13

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

5:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

Of all the contenders for the title of The Great American Novel, none has a better claim than Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Written in 1884 against the backdrop of the nation’s desire to expand into the promised future of the West, the novel stands as a stark reminder of the difficulty of escaping inherited traditions and prejudices.  Huck and Jim’s voyage down the Mississippi River portrays a turbulent epoch in American history in voices that are often satirical but always authentic.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

February 18 - March 13

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

6:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Namesake.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

In Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, published in 2003, we meet the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home.  The name they bestow on their firstborn, Gogol, betrays all the conflicts of honoring tradition in a new world—conflicts that will haunt Gogol on his own winding path through divided loyalties.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Jhumpa Lahiri brilliantly illuminates the tangled ties of the immigrant experience.

Scholarships

Literary Focus is committed to having classes that are as diverse as possible.  We want every student who has a desire to attend one of our academic enrichment classes to have that opportunityregardless of that student's financial situation.  If you qualify for the USDA free and reduced lunch program or have other financial concerns, please complete an application with your parent or guardian to receive one of our tuition-free scholarships.
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