Express yourself with clarity and force.

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English Courses

The English curriculum at Cate is designed to enable you to read, write, and speak with confidence, sensitivity, and understanding.

Throughout your four years, the literature will help you appreciate the enduring appeal of the classics and learn from the voices of contemporary writers. During the first three weeks of the fall semester you will write daily, receive feedback from teachers and classmates, and revise with rapidly increasing effectiveness.

In the first two years you will write regularly in a variety of forms. Junior year focuses on more analytical writing. By senior year you will have gained a sense of confidence in your own ideas and an appreciation for language that enables you to express yourself with clarity and force.

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Inquiry in English

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An introduction to film as a medium for storytelling, this discussion-based course will focus on the elements of filmmaking, including history, cinematography, sound, editing, acting, directing, and the methods by which one “reads” a film. The abiding purpose is to examine each film as a purposefully created universe, whose tone, color, language, framing and speed are all a product of specific and discernible choices. Thus we will study filmmaking and film theory in order to engage in informed analysis of cinematography, editing, and screenwriting. Selected films will cover a variety of genres including drama, comedy, thriller, documentary, and animation. In order to experience films as cohesive narratives, one class each week will extend into an attached “lab” period, allowing us to watch feature-length movies in one sitting.

This course will focus on two “classic” epic tales, Homer’s The Iliad from ancient Greece (ca. 750 BCE) and Beowulf from medieval England (ca. 1000 CE). In addition to examining the literary elements and associated texts for these works, we will also explore their historical and archaeological contexts, as well as their ongoing relevance to our own world and lives. Among other themes that will arise out of student interest, this course will consider the question of how humans draw upon different types of courage as they face tumultuous circumstances that are not always of their own making or in their control.

In addition to providing Cate students a taste of how writing workshops operate at the undergraduate and post-graduate level, this class is designed to permit as much creative freedom as possible to those students who will benefit from it, while at the same time providing clear objectives to students who may need more guidance. Each of the first seven weeks of the trimester is dedicated to examining one specific element of creative writing – stream-of-consciousness, dialogue, character description, etc. The expectation is that by trimester’s end, all students – whether working on longer, original pieces or shorter exercises — will be using these skills more judiciously, and in service of work that is both more substantive and personally significant.