Camden Hills Regional High School

Home of the Windjammers

Honors Literature, Art, and Psychology
Mr. Doubleday
Room 222 - Period

Course Description:
Writers and artists try to unravel the complexities of human behavior, using their craft and creativity to describe our experience in a meaningful way. This college-level interdisciplinary course asks the question: How can psychology inform the study of literature and the arts, and how can literature and art help us better understand principles of psychology—so that we better appreciate both? Students enrolled in this course will read widely from literature, the social sciences, and biographies and also create, review, and analyze drama, film, and art. Six core psychological ‘universals’ will anchor all of our investigations (see Essential Concepts/Questions below). The intensive investigation of characters and their patterns of relating to each other and the world around them will focus on the occurrence of specific ‘maladaptive schemas’ that each of us might have—and which come to light in our interactions with families and friends.

The course operates from a co-teaching and seminar format with college-level expectations and assignments in reading and writing. Students will read at least four books and one play as well as frequent assorted short pieces. Manageable art projects are assigned along the way. The payoff is a good grasp of the ebb and flow of great ideas and ways of perceiving the world.



Prerequisites: Open to seniors and, by permission, to juniors. Students may also be required to complete a book-length reading prior to the first class of the semester.


Essential Concepts/Questions 

Summing Up the Journey: Why the Whole is Greater than the Parts

Core Psychological Principles in Honors Literature, Art, and Psychology


General: ‘Developmental Lines’ organize and direct all human behavior, from childhood through adulthood (We Tend to Be What We Have Been).


Principle 1: Early Experience Sets the Developmental Trajectory for both Adjustments and Accomplishments
Principle 2: Learning to Balance Being ‘Separate But Connected’ Begins with One’s Family yet Extends to All Relationships--A Critical Balancing Act.
Principle 3: Individual Creativity and Useful Emotions Are Forged by Family Heritage and Family Dynamics. 
Principle 4: Extreme Risk and Danger Creates CONFLICT that can be the Potential (‘voltage’) for Growth.
Principle 5: Social Relationships Can Ameliorate Environmental Effects . . . and the Environment CAN shape and Re-Shape Social Relationships.
Principle 6: Adjustment and Coping in Later Life are linked to the degree of Flexibility Achieved in Adolescence and Expanded in Early Adulthood

Semester Theme:  “STORY as HEALING: We are healed by what we tell.” 


Core Works May Include:
The Color of Water James McBride
The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams
Mystic River Dennis Lehane
This Boy’s Life: A Memoir Tobias Wolff
The Duke of Deception: Geoffrey Wolff
Memories of My Father 
Lying Awake Mark Salzman
Caucasia Danzy Senna
Other Voices, Other Rooms Truman Capote
A World Lost Wendell Berry
Me Talk Pretty David Sideris
The Winter’s Tale or King Lear William Shakespeare
Tales from a Traveling Couch Robert Akeret
Stitches: A Memoir David Small
Just Kids Patti Smith
Buffalo Soldier Chris Bohjialian

Additional Sources:
Hawthorne, Nathaniel Scarlet Letter (excerpt)
O’Brien, Tim The Things They Carried (excerpt)
Bennett-Goleman, Tara  Emotional Alchemy (Selections)

Other requirements in the course include:
Attend and critique a live stage production at the Portland Stage Company
(Field trip requirement; play selected by the instructors)
Three analytical essays
One Creative Writing Assignment (text based)
One Creative Visual Art project [DOSSAL]
In-Class assignments and challenges
Reading Review Quizzes (regularly)
In-Class final exam essay








Grading Policy:

Assignments are posted on webcal://