Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 2.02.27 PM.png
Click to enter the Google Classroom for Sophomore English

English 10: Perceived Identity and the Individual
Mr. Ellinwood
Office: 2nd floor Mansion


Course Description

In this course, using the underlying questions of “Who am I?” and “How do I define my identity?”, students will explore the intricacies and complications that accompany our preconceived responses to such questions. Passing our understanding of such terms as “individuality”, “conformity”, and “normalcy” through lenses of gender, class, race, age, and morality, students will develop a vocabulary and methodology to critique and grapple with these issues. As a class, we will seek to develop dynamic definitions for these terms through rigorous discussions, while identifying the key strategies such writers as Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger, Arthur Miller, Sandra Cisneros, and Ray Bradbury use to explore these topics. Through analyzing the techniques of these authors, students will grow as both critics and authors, always while striving to develop their own voice as a writer.


  • To hone your compositional and analytic skills through imitation and criticism of essays, short stories, and novels.
  • To develop an understanding of basic figurative speech (metaphor, personification, hyperbole, etc.) and analytical methods and apply them in discussions and writing.
  • To investigate the themes, characters, and voices within these works and compare and contrast them with your own life as a writer, individual, and member of society.
  • To explore and build upon our understanding of the concept of “identity” through scrutinizing issues such as: authenticity, isolation, conformity, race, gender, class, social normalcy, maturity, and rebellion.
  • To cultivate a comprehensive understanding of the possibilities of the 5-paragraph essay: its structure, its organizational components, and its ability to enable concise and effective argumentation.

Essential Questions

  • What value does literature instill in our lives? How is it dangerous? Why is it valuable?
  • What knowledge can we glean from fictional texts about ourselves and our families?
  • How do we form and shape our identities? What influences the image we have of ourselves?
  • In a culture where we are bombarded with ideas and images of what we should be like, how we should act, and how we should live, how do we develop an identity that remains authentic to our personal vision?


  • 25% Class Participation
  • 25% Homework
  • 10% Reading Journal
  • 10% Presentations
  • 30% Expository and Analytic Writing Assignments

The Year Outline (Subject to Change)


Unit 1: Identity, Perception, and Race in the Short Story

(3 Weeks)
  • Selected stories from: Bambara, Hemmingway, Vonnegut, Ellison, Marquez, Updike, Valgardson, Turganev, and Kafka.
  • TED Talk: "The Danger of a Single Story"
  • Assignments: 1 fictional/creative nonfiction short story, 1 short analysis essay.

Unit 1 Stories

Click for "The Catcher in the Rye" Vocabulary


For 9/23 (Period 1) 9/24 (Period 3&5):

Unit 2: Authenticity, Innocence, and Place in Society

(6 Weeks)
  • Main Text: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Poems from
  • Films: “The Truman Show,” and "Breaking Away"
  • Main Assignments: 1 imitative essay and one 5–paragraph analysis essay.
  • Vocab Lists


For 10/13: Study vocab for quiz. Read chapters 14 and 15 in CITR. Do DE notes, focusing on pulling quotes and explaining their importance.
For 10/15 (Period 3&5) 10/16 (Period 1): Write a "Quote Sandwich" based on what we've read so far in CITR. You may use a thesis and quote you have already found in previous assignments. Be sure to include all of the necessary parts (Claim,Set-up, Evidence, Connection).
For 10/16 (Period 3&5) 10/19 (Period 1): Write a letter with advice to Holden in the style of "Dear Abby." 1-2 Paragraphs, be sure to include the conventions of this type of letter (Dear Revved Up..., sounds advice, a sign off, etc.)

For 10/17 (Period 1) 10/19 (Period 3&5): Read chapters 16/17 of CITR. Complete DE notes and respond to the following questions: What would Holden download on his iPhone if he had one? What specific apps would he use in these two chapters? Explain your choices in complete sentences and be creative!

J.D. Salinger Doesn't Want to Talk


Unit 3: Speaking Poetry

(2-3 Weeks)
  • Collection of essays and poems from Hughes, Silverstein, Collins, Roethke, Frost, and Hayden.
  • Poetry Out Loud
  • Main Assignments: 1 Poetry Out Loud presentation, 1 collection of personal poetry, 1 analysis paper.

Poems from Tuesday's class:
Billy Collins:
Taylor Mali:
Harry Baker:

Unit 4: Graphic Novels

(6 Weeks)

Maus Pre-reading Activity

Below you will find a series of links to online resources on the Holocaust. You should click on each link, read the articles in their entirety, and then complete the following:

1. Write a brief summary (three to five sentences) of the information in the link.

2. Write down at least two questions that came up for you as you read each article, one closed-ended question (this is a question with only one right answer, generally a one-word or short phrase) and one open-ended (this is a question that doesn't have just one right answer, it is open to interpretation). These can be questions about the information presented, about how it relates to something else, something you didn't entirely understand, whatever you want to ask as long as it connects to the text.

1. Introduction to the Holocaust

2. Early Antisemitism

3. Other victims of the Holocaust

4. Children During the Holocaust

5. Holocaust survivor stories. Choose one of the survivors and explore their page. Make sure to listen to the audio clips.

6. Picture tour of the concentration camp Auschwitz.

Credit to:

MLK "I Have a Dream" as literature:

1. What examples of figurative language can be found in the text? Which are the strongest?
2. How do these enhance the overall message? What oratorical devices does Dr. King use to add vitality and force?
3. In what ways does Dr. King call forth his experience as a preacher to lend persuasive power to the speech?

Gettysburg Address homework (for 1/22/2016):
Read the speech and respond to the prompt below (you don't have to read the article in the link, just the speech, which is bold).

Write 2 paragraphs exploring the similarities and differences between Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and President Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address." What are the similarities and differences in language? Message? Metaphor? Ideology? Eloquence? Passion? Persuasiveness? Effectiveness?

Be sure to include examples from both speeches.

For 1/28:
Find a specific page so far that speaks to you through the images. Describe it and what meanings you are able to understand through the pics without the text. Minimum of 2 paragraphs, but should be near a page in length.

Also: Read chapter 3 of Maus and do double entry notes.


Unit 5: Identity in Dystopia

(5 Weeks)
  • Choice of:
    Click for explanation of "Feed" slang
    • The Giver by Lois Lowry
    • Feed by M.T. Anderson
    • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Series of Short Stories from Silverstein, Kafka, Saki, Bierce, and Bradbury.
  • Several Short Scifi Films
  • Main Assignments: Alternate Reality Short Story and Analysis Presentation

Unit 5 Short Stories

Unit 5 Short Films

The Arctic Circle
McDonald's Play Place
The Danger of Wet Floors

Unit 5 Assignments

Unit 6: Putting it all Together: The Immaculate 5-Paragraph Essay

(3-4 Weeks)
  • Students will choose 1-2 novels of their choice that focus on the topic of identity and, through a series of presentations, discussions, and experimental writing workshops, they will develop an argumentative essay on a significant theme we explored during the year. Essays will go through multiple drafts and will be a brilliant mixture of subjective opinion and rhetorical analysis.
  • Main Assignments: Reading Journal, 3 Response Pages, Presentation, and Final Essay


Note Taking

Writing Materials

Grammar Packet

Final Exam Review Packet