AP English Literature and Composition Syllabus

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AP English Literature and Composition Syllabus

    AP English Literature and Composition Syllabus

Course Objectives (as stated in the AP English Course Description):

    ; Students carefully read and analyze works of both British and American writers as

    well as works written in several genres from the sixteenth century to

    contemporary times

    ; Students write an interpretation of a piece of literature that is based on a careful

    observation of textual details

    ; Students have frequent opportunities to write and rewrite formal, extended

    analyses and timed, in-class responses. The course requires:

    - Writing to understand: Informal, exploratory writing activities

    - Writing to explain: Expository, analytical essays

    - Writing to evaluate: Analytical, argumentative essays

    ; The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students' writing

    assignments, both before and after the students revise their work

Required Texts and Materials

     thLiterature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, 5 ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen Mandell.

    ISBN#: 088377100-4

    How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively Guide to Reading Between the Lines

     Thomas C. Foster

    Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

    The Awakening - Kate Chopin

    The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Spoon River Anthology Edgar Lee Masters

    The Gold Bug Edgar Allan Poe


    The following is a relevant website for preparation and review for the AP Literature and

    Composition Exam. 

Since you are preparing for an Advanced Placement exam, go to the source as your first choice.

Pre-Course Summer Reading Assignment

    (Novels selected for summer reading vary from year to year.)

    Students need to read a minimum of three books over the summer. (Let me know if you want help selecting any additional works. ; Please note one novel is required reading

    and the other two are chosen on an individual basis.

    ______________________________________________________________________ Required Novel: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain

    For this work, you will be taking a multiple choice exam the first day of school. Individual Novels (Choose 2):

    Snow Falling on Cedars David Guterson

    Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut

    Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

    A Farewell to Arms Earnest Hemingway

    For the two individual novels, you need to complete a written assignment. This assignment has three components. You need to complete all three components for both books you read. Please use MLA format for all work. I expect your writing to be well-developed and clearly organized, and focus on the critical analysis of literature with special attention to literary terms and the elements of style

    Written Components:

     In an organized essay, state what you believe to be the meaning of the work as a whole. Support your assertion of meaning through references to plot, character, setting, and other literary aspects. Be sure to include several passages from the work to support the meaning you have identified.

    • Identify three key passages and explain their significance to the work as a whole. Type each passage exactly using correct MLA citation format. In your response, answer the basic AP style question: What effect does the passage have and how has the author achieved the effect?

    • Write three thought-provoking questions for the novel to which there are no specific answers. Provide a sample response to each question. 

    These assignments are due on the first day of school. If you do not have the summer work completed, your schedule will be changed to reflect enrollment in English 11 Honors. This will be your first grade show me what you got!!

Discussion Format

    To reinforce students’ critical analysis of literature, the Socratic Seminar will be used for many of our discussion formats.

What is a Socratic Seminar? A Socratic Seminar is a method to try to understand

    information by creating a dialectic in class in regards to a specific text. In a Socratic Seminar, participants seek deeper understanding of complex ideas in the text through rigorously thoughtful dialogue, rather than by memorizing bits of information.

Why are we conducting Socratic Seminars? One skill that we are seeking to develop this

    year is the ability to express an analysis of a text both in writing and speaking. The analysis should be reasonable and supported with textual evidence (this is HUGE on the

    AP exam). The expression of that analysis should be concisely and clearly presented.

    Voice Lessons: Classroom Activities to Teach Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax, and Tone Nancy Dean

    Analytical activities from this text will be used throughout the year on a regular basis to aid students in interpreting excerpts from literature based on careful observations of textual details


    Weekly vocabulary lists and quizzes will be given throughout the entire year. Additionally, vocabulary is cumulative and students are expected to know all words for the entire year.

Literary Terms

    An extensive list of literary terms will be given at the beginning of the year. Terms will be discussed in detail and examples will be provided. Students are required to have a strong understanding of all terms throughout the entire year and understanding will be tested on weekly vocabulary quizzes as well.


    Grammar mini lessons will be included throughout the year and as problems arise.

Writing Revisions

    Revision is encouraged on writing assignments to further the

    educational process. When turning in a revision 1) HIGHLIGHT the

    revisions on your new draft. 2) STAPLE your new paper to the top of the

    entire previous assignment including the rubric. 3) TURN the revision in

    directly to me.

    Stipulations: The original assignment turned in must be completed entirely and

    the resubmitted work must be turned in within three days.

Writing Rubrics

    All assignments for formal papers will include a specific grading rubric. We will go over the rubrics prior to submitting papers and review expectations for the particular piece of writing. Please consult each rubric carefully before submitting your work. The following is an AP Nine Point Trait Rubric which will be used for a majority of your writing.

     AP Nine Point Trait Rubrics


    Superior papers respond fully to the question asked and are specific in their references, cogent in their definitions, and free of plot summary that is not relevant to the question. Shows a full understanding of the issues and supports points with appropriate textual evidence and examples. Demonstrates stylistic maturity by an effective command of sentence structure, diction, and organization. These essays need not be without flaws, but they demonstrate the writer's ability to discuss a literary work with insight and understanding and to control a wide range of the elements of effective composition.


    Responds correctly to the questions but is less thorough, less perceptive or less specific than 9-8 papers. These essays are well-written but with less maturity and control than the top papers. They demonstrate the writer's ability to analyze a literary work and use textual evidence, but they reveal a more limited understanding than do the papers in the 9-8 range. Some lapses in diction or syntax may appear, but the demonstrates sufficient control over the elements of composition. Generally, 6 essays present a less sophisticated analysis and less consistent command of the elements of effective writing than essays scored 7.


    Superficiality characterizes these 5 essays. Respond to the question, but discussion of meaning may be simplistic, mechanical; they may be overly generalized, vague, or inadequately supported. Typically, these essays reveal simplistic thinking and/or immature writing. They usually demonstrate inconsistent control over the elements of composition and are not as well conceived, organized, or developed as the upper-half papers. On the other hand, the writing is sufficient to convey the writer's ideas.


    Attempts to deal with the questions, but do so either inaccurately or without support or specific evidence. Discussion is likely to be unpersuasive, perfunctory, underdeveloped or misguided. The meaning they deduce may be inaccurate or insubstantial and not clearly related to the question. Part of the question may be omitted altogether. The writing may convey the writer's ideas, but it reveals weak control over such elements as diction, organization, syntax or grammar. Typically, these essays contain significant misinterpretations of the question or the work they discuss; they may also contain little, if any, supporting evidence, and practice paraphrase and plot summary at the expense of analysis. May contain excessive and distracting spelling and grammatical errors. Lengthy quotations may replace discussion and analysis.


    These essays compound the weakness of essays in the 4-3 range and are frequently unacceptably brief or poorly written. Fail to respond to the question. May reveal misunderstanding or may distort the interpretations. They are poorly written on several counts, including many distracting errors in grammar and mechanics. Although the writer may have made some effort to answer the question, the views presented have little clarity or coherence and only slight, if any, evidence in its support.


Cycle One (4 ? weeks)

Week One:

    Understanding Literature

     Imaginative literature, conventional themes, literary canon

     How to interpret and evaluate literature and the function of literary criticism

    Reading and Writing About Literature

     ?Reading literature: previewing, highlighting, annotating

     Writing about literature: planning, drafting, revising, & editing

    American Literature Timeline

     Age of Faith/Puritanism, Age of Reason/Revolution, Romanticism, Realism,

    Modernism, Contemporary

     In-depth study of historical context, genre/style, major writers, and sub-genres thsuch as gothic literature, naturalism, civil war, frontier, 20 century poets,

    Harlem renaissance,

     Create a detailed PowerPoint presentation explaining the time period and how

     literature was impacted

    Summer Reading Discussion

     Socratic Seminar

    Summer Reading Timed Writing

     AP Timed Writing Prompt

Week Two:

Understanding Fiction/Short Stories

     Plot: Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin; A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner

     Character: A&P, John Updike; Miss Brill, Katherine Mansfield; Gryphon,

    Charles Baxter; The Swing, Mary Ladd Gavell

     Setting: The Storm, Kate Chopin; I Stand Here Ironing, Tillie Olsen

     Point of View: The Cask of Amontillado, Edgar Allan Poe, Barn Burning,

     William Faulkner

    Character Essay

    In both A&P and Gryphon, the main characters struggle against rules, authority

    figures, and inflexible social systems. Compare and contrast the struggles

    in which these characters are engaged.

    - OR -

    Write an essay in which you contrast the character of Miss Brill with the character

    of the woman in The Swing. Consider how each character interacts with those

    around her as well as how each seems to see her role or mission in the world. Tone/Diction Project

    Choose 3 advertisements from any newspaper or magazine source. Analyze and

    discuss the words that have been manipulated or have emotional meaning

    something beyond just the dictionary definition of the word. Identify and explain

    denotation, connotation, author’s attitude and purpose, and diction choices made

    by the creator of the ad.

    AP Timed Writing Prompt

Week Three and Four:

    Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

     Symbols: Scaffolding , Cemetery, Leech, Gold, Birds, Light/Dark, Colors, Black

    Meteor, Darkness/Light, The Black Man/Satan, Mirror, Vegetation ,

     Book, Pearl, Rosebush/Roses , Elf, Imp, Prison (jail/prison door)

    Letter “A”, Green, Red, Night/Day, Halo, Snake, Forest, Heart

     Tapestry, Weeds/Flowers, Sun

     Themes: human frailty and sin, hypocrisy, alienation, redemption

     Literary Terms: foreshadowing, in medias res, irony, characterization

    (indirect/direct), allusions, personification

    Scarlet Letter Essay

    In many novels, the author incorporates the use of symbols to trace the theme(s),

    character(s), or significant event(s). Write an essay discussing Hawthorne’s use

    of symbolism to support at least one of the above elements. Choose 2-3 symbols

    to discuss and cite specific examples and explain their significance and impact.

     Some questions to consider:

     Does it run throughout the text, or only in a particular portion of the text?

     Does it appear at particular moments?

     How does the author use the image or symbol?

     What does it suggest?

     What meanings are associated with it?

     Does the image work the same way in each place? Or does it have

     changing or even evolving meanings?

     Does the author specifically address the symbolic nature of the object or


    Writing Conferences for SL Essay

    Artistic Representation of Symbols from Essay Discuss AP Test

     Complete multiple choice test

     Practice grading sample essays using rubric

     Grade peer SL timed writings using rubrics

    Scarlet Letter AP Timed Writing Prompt

     nd cycle) Outside Reading for Off Cycle (Due first day of 2

     The Awakening Kate Chopin

     Book Reduction: Analyze themes, setting, characters, conflict, literary terms,

    significant passages, and style

Cycle Two (4 ? weeks)

Week One and Two:

    AP Timed Writing Prompt on The Awakening

    Understanding Fiction/Short Stories

     Style, Tone, and Language: A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, Ernest Hemingway; A

    Good Man is a Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor; The Things They

    Carried, Tim O’Brien

     Symbol and Allegory: The Lottery, Shirley Jackson; Everyday Use, Alice Walker

     Theme: The Rocking-Horse Winner, D.H. Lawrence; A Worn Path, Eudora


     Additional Short Stories: The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman; The

    Lesson, Toni Cade Bambara; The Open Boat, Stephen Crane; The

    Birthmark, Nathaniel Hawthorne; The Chrysanthemums, John Steinbeck;

     Edgar Allan Poe: The Black Cat, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Gold Bug, The

    Pit and the Pendulum, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Fall of the House of


    Style, Tone, and Language Activities for A Clean, Well-Lighted Place; A Good Man is

    Hard to Find; or The Things They Carried

    Style, Tone, and Language Essay

     Analyze the style, tone, and language of one of the short stories read this cycle.

     Writing conferences for STL essay

    Grammar Mini Lessons: Fragments and Run-Ons

Week Three and Four:

    Understanding Drama: Trifles, Susan Glaspell; A Doll House, Henrik Ibsen

    Reading Drama: Trace the play’s plot, analyze the characters, examine the

    language, analyze soliloquies and asides, examine how characters interact,

    read the stage directions, and consider staging, interpret themes, and

    identify symbolic elements

    A Doll House Analytical Speech

    Over the past two cycles you have learned to interpret, evaluate, and analyze a

    variety of literary works. Through this speech you will effectively

    communicate your analysis of A Doll House. Students will choose from

    ten different topics analyzing the play.

    AP Timed Writing Prompt

    Poe Productions

    Understanding drama and staging: Edgar Allan Poe has given this class

    permission to bring his classic stories to life on stage. Therefore, during

    the final week of the cycle, you will become theatrical producers and

    create a production for one of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories. Each team

    must create a “Production Plan” which includes the elements of staging.

    Your “plan” should include the stage settings such as scenery and props,

    as well as the costumes, lighting, sound effects and music, and a script for

    a short scene. Present your “production plan” to the class. You must

    include a performance of your written scene and all other information

    related to the production.

     rdOutside Reading for Off Cycle (Due first day of 3 cycle)

     Choose own novel from college-bound or AP book list

     Create cliff notes: novel synopsis, character map, chapter summaries and

    commentaries, detailed character analysis, and study help (5 quiz

    questions/answers and 5 essay questions)

Cycle Three (4 ? weeks)

Week One and Two:

    Understanding Poetry

     Defining poetry, reading poetry, and recognizing kinds of poetry

     Themes, voice, word choice/word order, imagery, figures of speech, sound, form,

    symbol, allegory, allusion, myth

     My Papa’s Waltz, Theodore Roethke; Do no go gentle into that good night, Dylan

    Thomas; The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, Christopher Marlowe; The

    Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd, Sir Walter Raleigh, How Do I Love Thee,

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning; An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,

    William Butler Yeats; On the Notion of Tenderness in Wartime, Carl

    Philips; My Grandmother Would Rock Quietly, Leonard Adame; Negro,

    Langston Hughes; Fire and Ice, Robert Frost; To The Vrigins, to Make

    Much of Time, Robert Herrick; The Man He Killed, Thomas Hardy;

    Cinderella, Anne Sexton; Constantly Risking Absurdity, Lawrence

    Ferlinghetti; Rooming houses are old women, Audre Lorde; Natural

    History, E.B. White; My Father as a Guitar, Martin Espada; Daddy,

    Sylvia Plath; To My Dear and and Loving Husband, Anne Bradstreet; you

    fit into me, Margaret Atwood; To Lucasta Going to the Wars, Richard

    Lovelace; Henry Clay’s Mouth, Thomas Lux; On Passing thru

    Morgantown, Pa., Sonia Sanchez; A Supermarket in California, Allen


     Additional poetry for further reading and analysis

    Poetry Analysis Paper

     Writing Conferences

    Poetry Discussion Quiz

    AP Timed Writing Poetry Prompt

    Grammar Mini Lessons: Comma Rules

Week Three and Four:

    Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

     Themes corruption of American Dream, delusion, dependence,

    vulnerability, materialism, regret

    Motifs relationships between people of different classes, dreaming of an

    idyllic love, living a lie, separating rumor from fact,

    Symbolism colors(white, yellow, green), green light, valley of ashes, eyes

    of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, mantle clock, Daisy’s voice “full of money”

    Literary Terms archetype, point of view, foreshadowing, irony, motif

    Miscellaneous social classes, Tom vs. Gatsby, Jazz age, downfall of

    Gatsby’s dream, significant quotes

    Great Gatsby Magazine

    You will work like a publisher to create a magazine that highlights the 1920s in

    America and important events from The Great Gatsby. Categories for

    research: the arts, business/industry/inventions, government/politics,

    society/fads, crime/criminals,

    Requirements: Group size (1-3 individuals). Each individual must research and

    write 4 articles. One article for EACH category must be written. These

    articles must include factual information that is obtained through research.

    While you must base the majority of your writing on factual events and

    information, there is some freedom in this project to be creative and

    adventurous. Be careful not to plagiarize!! Each article must be

    accompanied by an illustration. You are also responsible for submitting at

    least four advertisements to the magazine. Ads must also be illustrated.

    These should be ads created by you that would be for products that did or

    might have existed in the 1920s. Finally, you are responsible for the

    following: creating a title for the magazine which relates to The Great

    Gatsby & the time period; designing a cover for the magazine which

    relates to the title; creating a table of contents

    AP Timed Writing Great Gatsby Prompt

    Research Paper (Research and analysis of sources only this cycle)

     The research paper will require you to select and research a theme in American

    literature. You will select four works (short story, poem,

    essay/nonfiction, and optional genre) and examine how the author

    addresses this theme in their literature. Your thesis should express what

    the theme is and what you have concluded about how this theme is

    represented in American literature through your examination of these


     Field trip to Indiana University (library) to research

Outside Reading for Off Cycle (Due first day of 4th cycle)

     Choose own novel from college-bound or AP book list

     AP style writing prompt

Cycle Four (4 ? weeks)

Week One:

    Poetry Analysis: Spoon River Anthology

     Lucinda Matlock, George Gray, Mrs. Charles Bliss, Rev. Lemuel Wiley,

    Mrs. George Reece, Ralph Rhodes, Cooney Potter, Fiddler Jones, Mrs.

    Merritt Tom Merritt, Ollie McGee, Fletcher McGee

     Analyze 10 poems of individual choice

    Analytical Speech (Poetry): Spoon River Anthology

     Select a poem from Spoon River Anthology to read and master, read poem to

    class, present speech interpreting this poem

    Spoon River Anthology Formal Essay

    Provide a theory, observation or generalization about Spoon River, about life in thsmall town America in the 19 century, and about struggles ordinary

    people face. Refer to specific characters and poems to back up your


     Peer Edit

    Batesville Anthology

     Write 4 original epitaphs which imitate the style of Edgar Lee Masters. The

    epitaphs should provide an observation about what life is like in Batesville

    or express the personalities of specific individuals.

Week Two and Three

    Research Paper

     Annotated Bibliography: An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books,

    articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about

    150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The

    purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance,

    accuracy, and quality of the sources cited. It gives a description about

    how each source is useful to an author in constructing a paper or argument.

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