11TH Grade DP Year ONE Mrs. MacFarland’s Course Overview

Language A: literature course encourages students to appreciate the artistry of literature and to develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Works are studied in their literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages, and by considering a range of critical approaches. The study of works in translation is especially important in introducing students, through literature, to other cultural perspectives. The response to the study of literature is through oral and written communication, thus enabling students to develop and refine their command of language.


  • Introduce students to a range of texts from different periods, styles, and genres
  • Develop in students the ability to engage in close, detailed analysis of individual texts and make relevant connections
  • Develop the students’ powers of expression, both in oral and written communication
  • Encourage students to recognize the importance of the contexts in which texts are written and received
  • Encourage, through the study of texts, an appreciation of the different perspectives of people from other cultures, and how these perspectives construct meaning
  • Encourage students to appreciate the formal, stylistic and aesthetic qualities of texts
  • Promote in students an enjoyment of, and lifelong interest in, language and literature.
  • Develop in students an understanding of the techniques involved in literary criticism
  • Develop the students’ ability to form independent literary judgments and to support those ideas.


There are three assessment objectives for the language A: literature course.

  1. Knowledge and understanding
  1. Analysis, synthesis and evaluation
  1. Selection and use of appropriate presentation and language skills


Year One-11th Grade

  • Individual Oral Presentation (assessed in December) 15%  internal assessment
  • Written Assignment (completed in May) 25% external assessment  (includes a reflective statement)

Year Two-12th Grade

  • Individual Oral Commentary on Poetry and Discussion of Literature from Part II - 20 minutes 15% (late January) internally assessed, but moderated by IB
  • Paper 1: Literary Commentary (2 hrs) in May 20% externally assessed
  • Paper 2: Comparative Analysis Essay (2 hrs) in May 25% externally assessed

DP LITERATURE YEAR ONE BOOK LIST: The following book summaries are from http://www.google.com/googlebooks/about/ in italics.


The Soloist by Steve Lopez

When Steve Lopez sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles's skid row, he finds it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years ago, Ayers was a promising student at Julliard - ambitious, charming and hugely talented - until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless and paranoid, but glimmers of his earlier brilliance are still there. Over time, the two men form a bond, and Lopez imagines that he might be able to change Ayer's life. For each triumph, there is a crashing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. Their friendship will changes both of their lives in ways that neither could predict. Poignant and ultimately hopeful, The Soloist is a beautifully told story of devotion in the face of seemingly unbeatable challenges, and the inspiring power of music.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

By examining the true story of Chris McCandless, a young man, who in 1992 walked deep into the Alaskan wilderness and whose SOS note and emaciated corpse were found four months later, internationally bestselling author Jon Krakauer explores the obsession which leads some people to explore the outer limits of self, leave civilization behind and seek enlightenment through solitude and contact with nature.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.


The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt (German, 1956)

 A wealthy woman returns to her debt ridden home town and offers a sum greater than they have ever imagined to help out. But there is a condition: she wants the life of a villager who years ago had caused her to be expelled from town in disgrace. Ringing denial of this absurd demand is followed by the gradual corruption of everyone in town. He is murdered and money is passed over his body to the town. The lady leaves with a fantastic entourage and with the coffin of her old lover. Voted best foreign play of the year by N.Y. Drama Critics Circle. "Stinging.... [with] astonishing power." N.Y. Herald Tribune. "A devastating drama." N.Y. Times.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (French/Iranian 2007)

Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi's best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips.Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom--Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

A Chronicle of a Death Foretold  by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985, Spanish)

A man returns to the town where a baffling murder took place 27 years earlier, determined to get to the bottom of the story. Just hours after marrying the beautiful Angela Vicario, everyone agrees, Bayardo San Roman returned his bride in disgrace to her parents. Her distraught family forced her to name her first lover; and her twin brothers announced their intention to murder Santiago Nasar for dishonoring their sister.Yet if everyone knew the murder was going to happen, why did no one intervene to stop it? The more that is learned, the less is understood, and as the story races to its inexplicable conclusion, an entire society--not just a pair of murderers-- is put on trial.




The genre, “Prose other than fiction,” acquaints students with various forms of writing that fall outside the realm of such fictional forms as novels or short stories. “Prose other than fiction” may include travel writing, autobiography, letters, essays, speeches, or more contemporary experiments in “creative nonfiction.” The intent is to study such types in terms of both form and content. The further goal is a sufficient grasp of the techniques to enable students to develop their own explorations of these forms through personal writing. Mrs. MacFarland has specifically chosen works that fall into the category of journalistic narratives of creative nonfiction.



This part of the course is a literary study of works in translation, based on close reading of the works themselves. Students are encouraged to appreciate the different perspectives of people from other cultures and to consider the role that culture plays in making sense of literary works. Part 1 of the course aims to deepen students’ understanding of works as being products of a time and place. Artistic, philosophical, sociological, historical and biographical considerations are possible areas of study to enhance understanding of the works.

Unit  Title & Length


The Soloist by Steve Lopez

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Into the Wild by Chris McCandless

The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Essential Understandings

By examining the life of a homeless schizophrenic in this nonfiction narrative, students will explore the challenges of helping someone with a mental illness and helping someone to adapt to a healthier environment. Students will demonstrate an ability to analyze language, structure, technique and style, and evaluate their effects on the reader

By examining nonfiction narratives, students will analyze the structure of a journalistic, creative nonfiction text and the style of an author to tell a story with varying perspectives in order to explore an author’s use of creative expression.

By examining nonfiction narratives, students will analyze the intertextuality of the work, point of view, critical perspectives, and conflicts in the book in order to better understand the beliefs and values of a character. By exploring their own beliefs, students will analytically write to show an insight into how rhetorical language shapes meaning and influence.

By examining the style of this tragicomedy  and research about the time period, students will explore the cultural and social context of the work.

By examining the style of the graphic novel, students will explore how the experience of reading novel is different with a graphic novel and the importance of images in conveying meaning.

By examining the style of this work and research about the time period, students will explore the cultural and social context of the work.

Inquiry Questions

  • Factual: What are some of the symptoms of mental illness and the stigma associated with it in society?
  • Conceptual: How does non-fictional journalism use narrative techniques in order to tell the nonfiction story?
  • Debatable:  What is our responsibility for the people who cannot take care of themselves in society?
  • Factual –What stylistic traits does Capote use in In Cold Blood?
  • Conceptual – How does non-fictional journalism use narrative techniques in order to tell the nonfiction story?
  • Debatable -How important is the study of literature in individual/ethical development? In what ways?
  • Factual –How does literature influence people’s beliefs?
  • Conceptual – How does non-fictional journalism blend both realism and novelistic imagination?
  • Debatable -What is the proper function of literature—to capture a perception of reality, to teach or uplift the mind, to express emotion, to create beauty, to bind a community together, to praise a spiritual power, to provoke reflection,  or to promote social change?

Factual –What was like life after WWII in Europe? What economic issues were present?

Conceptual – How does an author use humor and irony to convey a message?

Debatable -What knowledge of literature can be gained by focusing attention on its social, cultural, or historical context?

Factual –What is a graphic novel? How is it different from a traditional novel?

Conceptual – How does nonfiction writing incorporate reflection and introspection?

Debatable -What knowledge of literature can be gained by focusing attention on its social, cultural, or historical context?

Factual –What social and cultural beliefs are shown throughout this novella?

Conceptual – What aspects of technique are interesting in the work? How do you describe an author’s style of writing?

Debatable -What knowledge of literature can be gained by focusing attention on its social, cultural, or historical context?

Teaching & Learning

Part Four: Prose Other Than Fiction

  • Understand the conventions of prose other than fiction through writing
  • Acquire detailed understanding of effective authorial choices in these forms

Students will know:

  • How a literary structure impacts the reading of the plot
  • How word choice impacts the meaning of the text and tone conveyed
  • How elements of prose such as irony, symbolism, figurative language, etc. are used to enhance the characters, conflicts, and themes.
  • How the point of view plays a role in providing perspective into the characters and conflicts
  • How time and place play a role in how a text is read
  • How themes are developed through language

By examining the style of this work and research about the time period, students will explore the cultural and social context of the work.

  • Understand the content of the work and the qualities of the work as literature
  • Respond independently to the work by connecting the individual and cultural experience of the reader with the text
  • Recognize the role played by cultural and contextual elements in literary works.

Students will know how the following aspects contribute to the analysis and interpretation of a text:

  • Structure
  • Word Choice and imagery
  • Elements of literature
  • Point of View
  • Tone
  • Time and Place
  • Theme