Why do people read? What can be gained from the activity? As a twelfth grade student, you will examine this question in depth. To that end, you will undergo shock therapy, tour the brain of a schizophrenic, experience the horrors of losing a loved one, witness the deterioration of great men and women, and watch mankind overcome insurmountable odds. We will do this by analyzing various classical & contemporary literary works such as: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Hamlet, A Streetcar Named Desire, and excerpts from Beowulf and Le Morte d'Arthur. Through discussion and collaboration on a variety of activities, we will compare and contrast our own experiences with the characters'. We will also evaluate the common themes in various genres of literature both orally and in written form. For example, we will evaluate such concepts as freedom and selflessness in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as well as the human struggle, deceit, and ambition in Hamlet. You will apply your analytical skills through participation in literature circles with other students, reading two full-length works of your choice. Our discussion of the merits of reading will culminate in the creation of an original research paper based on a specific literary thesis statement about that topic. Your papers will use the MLA (Modern Language Association) style to cite references used to support your thesis.