Mrs. Dunleavy
8th Grade English 

Welcome to the Eighth Grade Language Arts Curriculum!

The school year began with a selection of creative writing and acting, which targeted concepts relating to grammar. This was followed by the first of our selections of literature, The Count of Monte Cristo, by Dumas. This is a novel set in nineteenth century France which explores the themes of vengeance, punishment, and redemption. 

 A continued aspect of the course this year will be student interaction in lessons using varied Internet software -including Wordly Wise, OneNote, and Quia - on personal tablets.

Following  The Count of Monte Cristo and a session devoted to short stories and select poetry,  we embarked on  J.R.R.Tolkien’s introduction to the world of folklore, The Hobbit.

This novel was examined from the point of view of the hero and the quest - in the case of Bilbo Baggins, the reluctant hero – in the vein of the medieval concepts of chivalry.  We also looked at symbolism throughout, particularly with reference to light-v-dark, good-v-bad as well as the development of Bilbo with his becoming the consummate hero.

 The second semester began with a  project relating to the lands visited by Odysseus in The Odyssey but from a modern-day perspective. This was an engaging work, setting the scene for the epic poem to follow and allowed students the opportunity to research and present their findings to the class in a visual and dynamic manner. The epic poem, which we have now begun in earnest, will focus on Odysseus' eventual return to his homeland, Ithaca, and the battle for his sovereign kingdom with his son, Telemachus, at his side.

Emphasis will be placed on kleos, hubris and the themes of honor, power, revenge, and hospitality that are prevalent throughout the work.

 The final, main literary work will be Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar exploring the mayhem that follows assassination together with all the ramifications of what usurped power can do to bring about the destruction of a civilization.