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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.

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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.

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. 

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.

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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Is there a book you'd like us to offer in the future?
Please let us know! 

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