The Swarm meets on six Thursdays over the summer to discuss William Golding's masterpiece, Lord of the Flies: June 29 - August 3. Our seventh session TBD. Through our weekly meetings, students become more sophisticated responders to literature, more fluent and confident writers. They make friends, eat homemade pizza and have fun!

Students learn how to read closely and to annotate chapters. Students study and note the elements of story -- narration, setting, protagonist, antagonist, characters, plot and incident, climax and theme. They learn to recognize them, analyze them and discuss how an author constructs a story. We examine the means whereby an author creates: How does Golding set up the world? What is the place? How do we learn about the characters, and what do we learn? What are their characteristics, their objectives? What symbols represent them? How do they perceive, speak, interact? What are the incidents and events? Does the author shift the point of view? What does he convey through tone? What are the author’s concerns and themes? The more a student knows the methods of a writer, the more readily he himself may employ these methods.

Students learn about figurative language: metaphor, simile, alliteration, assonance, personification, among others. When a student appreciates the effects of literary devices, she knows the depth and polish these will add to her own writing. 

Words are to a writer what colors are to a painter. The richer the palette, the more vivid the picture. Each week, students gain over a dozen words. We note Golding's masterful use of the word. We talk about the definition. Students paste these into notebooksThen, they compose sentences of their own and practice using new words.  

During each session, students compose a story with the words of the day. By speaking and writing sentences, students gain confidence in the currency of what I call Silver Dollar words, (others call them SAT words). Words, like, apprehension, astern, bastion, clamber, clamor, contour, decorous, disperse, efflorescence, effulgence, emit, enmity, furtive, hiatus, hover, immerse, interpose, irrelevant, lavish, loiter, mortification, multitude, obscure, proffer, proclaim, specious, strident, suffuse, surmount -- among many, many others. Lord of the Flies is studded with Silver Dollar words. Through reading this masterpiece, students may learn as many as 169 SAT words. 

The Swarm is lively and accomplishes many things. Students also learn about the author, William Golding, and the genesis of the book. Born in England in 1911, Golding's experiences, as a teacher in private boys schools and in the army, inspired him to write this classic of dystopian literature. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He inspired future writers. (Suzanne Collins, author of  The Hunger Games, calls LOTF, "...one of my favorite books.") His insights have proven timeless; they provoke and inspire us to consider what it means to be an individual and an individual within a society.

The Swarm is a screen-free zone. Students write by hand, in notebooks which I provide. There will be pizza! Towards the end of each session, while students write, I will put a home-made pizza into the oven. As we munch on a warm slice, students share aloud their written work. 

We have a wonderful time: reading, writing and learning. During such meetings I have been so happy to hear students exclaim: "I love this book!" I love literature. It's even more thrilling when students exclaim, "I want to write! When are we going to write?!" I love to write, too. I am dedicated to helping students become sophisticated and appreciative readers, articulate and insightful responders, and to encourage their own fluency in writing stories of their own. This is what we do in The Swarm! Join us!

Sign up with a friend. Or, come and make new ones. 

  • Six Thursdays, 2 hour sessions
  • Thursday June 29 - August 3 
  •  7th class: To Be Determined
  • $650.00
  • Payment via Venmo @ Devon O'Brien, Featherinc.
  • Payment reserves space in The SWARM. 
  • Enrollment is extremely limited. My house is small. 
  • Larchmont Village