The high school language arts curriculum prepares students to be citizens of the world and masters of themselves. The curriculum stresses reading comprehension, creative and informative writing, oral presentations, and research activities, all of which combine in the art of thinking. Throughout high school, the teachers use traditional forms of literature—novels, poetry, drama, criticism, editorials, and essays—as original source material in order to encourage the students to understand the gifts of language and its relationship to what it means to be a human being.
The study of literature in ninth grade enables students to cover reading comprehension, vocabulary building, historical context, the use of language, and the important themes of the books. Some of the ideas encountered are: love and sacrifice, freedom, and the power of culture.
Tenth grade expands on these skills with a concentration on the great classics of world literature, as well as on the development of the literary essay, with special attention to the skills of comparison and contrast. The history of language and the evolution of poetic form are studied. Students are expected to create a main lesson book of beauty, filled with illustration, transcribed poetry, as well as some of their own poetic creations.
In eleventh grade, the concentration is on analytical thinking in relation to the literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance through the Enlightenment and into Romanticism. One of the milestones of the eleventh grade Waldorf curriculum is reading and studying the medieval epic Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. This course provides a platform from which the students can discuss life issues from the war of the sexes to questions about God. The students follow the story of several knights as they strive to find their paths in life.
The senior year focuses on synthesis and working from different points of view, with prominence placed on the essay as a literary form. Russian literature, American Transcendentalism, Faust, and modern world literature provide the contexts out of which the students work.