AP English Literature

By Lynn Daniels,2014-08-20 17:35
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AP English Literature

    AP English Literature

    Course Syllabus

    Ms. Krause


    “I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large,

    so that there is room for paradoxes.” --Maxine Hong Kingston

    This course is designed to comply with the curricular requirements as described in the AP

    English Course Description. I recommend that you visit the AP College Board website at for helpful information about (among other

    things) the AP test, the SAT, and preparation for college. The course focuses on analyzing drama, poetry, and prose with an emphasis on thematic connections and understanding literary elements. The literature selected for study will include works from ththe 16 century through contemporary times. It is expected that students take the AP exam at the end of the year.

    The course emphasizes reading to understand complex and subtle meaning in literature. Particular emphasis is placed on analyzing and understanding style, structure, and theme, as well as figurative language, tone, imagery, and symbolism. Students will write frequently, with particular emphasis on literary response and analysis essays. Objectives

    Students will be able to

    ; evaluate and analyze literary elements.

    ; analyze classical and contemporary literary selections.

    ; utilize the writing process and increase proficiency of more advanced skills.

    ; improve research skills.

    ; improve speaking, writing, and listening skills.

    The state standards addressed in the course can be found at the website listed below.


    Roberts, Edgar V., and Henry E. Jacobs. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing.

    th6 ed. Upper Saddle River : Prentice-Hall, 2001.

Additional texts are used in class.

    th ed. Orlando : Arp, Thomas R., and Greg Johnson. Perrine’s Story and Structure. 10


     College Publishers, 2002.

    Arp, Thomas R., and Greg Johnson. Perrine’s Sound and Sense: An Introduction to thPoetry. 10 Edition. Orlando : Harcourt College Publishers, 2001.


    Students will be able to:

    ; Read poetry critically to uncover meaning and establish the connection of

    technique to meaning.

    ; Paraphrase with accuracy.

    ; Identify, analyze, and discuss speaker/persona, setting, point of view,

    character, diction, denotation and connotation, imagery and classification of

    imagery, figurative language/figures of speech, tone, sound devices, rhyme

    and meter, form and symbolism.

    ; Write an analytical paper on select poems with appropriate textual support.

    ; Write response papers to select poems.

    Overview of Poetry Selections

    Select poetry authors include, but are not limited to, the following: W. H. Auden; Elizabeth Bishop; Anne Bradstreet; Gwendolyn Brooks; Robert Browning; Lord Byron; Lucille Clifton; Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Billy Collins; Emily Dickinson; John Donne; Robert Frost; Nikki Giovanni; Thomas Hardy; Seamus Heaney; George Herbert; Gerard Manley Hopkins; Langston Hughes; Ben Jonson; John Keats; Philip Larkin; Denise Levertov; Andrew Marvell; John Milton; N. Scott Nomaday; Marge Piercy; Sylvia Plath; Edgar Allan Poe; Alexander Pope; Muriel Rukeyser; Anne Sexton; William Shakespeare; Percy Bysshe Shelley; Cathy Song; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Walt Whitman; Richard Wilbur; William Carlos Williams; William Wordsworth; William Butler Yeats

    Poetry Assignments and Essays:

    Poetry is studied throughout the year; poetry is not limited to a unit of study, but rather, focuses on building understanding and skills for the duration of the class. Accordingly, the assignments are progressive and build to formal literary analysis papers during the second semester. The early poetry assignments are short, informal writing assignments designed to build awareness and understanding of poetic elements, as well as build students’ confidence in analyzing poetry.

     In the beginning of the year, we focus on evaluating and analyzing select poems, ;

    with particular emphasis on one or two elements of poetry. For example, students

    may be asked to read a poem (or poems) and consider the effect of diction on the

    essential meaning of the poem. Or, in a discussion on form, students may be

    asked to read a sonnet and identify how the turn in the sonnet leads us to the

    resolution of the concluding couplet, and the meaning of the work as a whole.

    ; Students are taught to paraphrase poems, line-by-line and stanza-by-stanza. In

    the early part of the year, students will complete a written paraphrase of virtually

    every poem that we read.

    ; After reviewing and discussing poetic elements, assignments are focused around

    the SOAPSTone concept. Students discuss and identify SOAPSTone for each

    poem, then write a thesis that identifies the poem’s meaning and how the

    dominant poetic element contributes to that meaning.

    ; As the year progresses and students have acquired an understanding of poetic

    elements, the assignments become more complex, culminating in formal analysis

    papers. Students are required to craft a thesis that identifies the central meaning

    of the poem, and explain how the formal poetic elements advance the theme.

    ; Students write formal literary analysis papers that analyze and explain the

    meaning of select poems, and include a discussion of the ways in which technical

    elements of poetry advance theme and meaning.

    ; Students write a formal research-based paper on the style of a select poet. The

    paper requires independent analysis of several poetic works of their chosen poet.

    Students select one published book that discusses the poetic style of their chosen

    poet. This is the only secondary source they can use and cite for their paper.

    They then analyze a minimum of ten poems written by their poet. The research

    paper must present an arguable statement about the poet’s style, using their

    independent study of the poems as the basis of their thesis statement. The

    secondary book source is used to enhance their primary research.


    Students will be able to:

    ; Read a novel critically with a focus on uncovering and explaining

    overarching meaning.

    ; Write and revise literary response essays with textual support.

    ; Write and revise literary analysis essays with textual support.

    ; Identify, analyze and discuss the relationship of technique to meaning.

    ; Understand and analyze style, tone, symbolism, theme, irony, purpose, point

    of view, setting, structure, plot and character.

    ; Evaluate and discuss social and historical perspectives as they relate to the


Overview of Novel Selections

    Major literary works in this class may include, but are not limited to,

    the following:

    The Stranger by Albert Camus and

    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

    The Awakening by Kate Chopin and

    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

    The Things They Carried or Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien and Lord of the Flies (William Golding), A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway), or For Whom the Bell Tolls (Ernest Hemingway)

    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Students also choose books from the approved list

    that are self-selected and used for independent

    reading projects. See the attached list.


    Students will be able to:

    ; Read dramatic works critically to uncover meaning.

    ; Analyze conflict, plot, perspective, tone and atmosphere, theme, symbolism.

    ; Analyze and discuss the dramatist’s use of dialogue, stage directions, and

    characters (flat, round, static, dynamic, stereotypic, stock, ancillary, foils and

    choric figures).

    ; Write literary response essays with textual support.

    ; Write literary analysis essays with textual support.

    ; Understand ancient Greek tragedy and the evolution of tragedy.

    ; Evaluate and discuss social and historical perspectives.

Overview of Dramatic Works

    Major dramatic works in this class may include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare and

    Sophocles: The Theban Plays (Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone)

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: Understanding tragedy and the tragic vision.

Fences by August Wilson

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: Clash of cultures and the consequences of immutability.


Students will be able to:

    ; Read critically with a focus on uncovering and explaining meaning.

    ; Write and revise informal literary response and literary analysis papers with

    textual support.

    ; Identify, analyze and discuss the relationship of technique to meaning.

    ; Understand and analyze style, tone, symbolism, theme, irony, purpose, point

    of view, setting, structure, plot and character.

    ; Evaluate and discuss social and historical perspectives.

    Overview of Short Stories (The stories change yearly, but may include those listed below.)

“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge ” by Ambrose Bierce

    “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell

“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker

    “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad

    “First Confession” by Frank O’Connor

    “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

    “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara

    “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    “Snow” by Robert Olen Butler

    “Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway

Additionally, substantial time will be devoted to a variety of short stories, poems, essays,

    and plays that are reflective of diverse cultural and ethnic perspectives. Grammar and

    vocabulary will be addressed in a contextual framework.


    Writing Assignments:

     Students are expected to write to understand, write to explain, and write to ;

    evaluate. Students write a formal essay or a timed writing essay every two to three weeks. Essay prompts for the timed writings are developed like the AP open-ended questions, although I will sometimes give students an actual AP prompt and restrict their responses to the text that we are studying.

    ; The types of formal essays that are assigned will vary. For example, students may write a comparison/contrast essay that focuses on a specific element or elements of two novels. An example would be, “Themes relating to secrecy and

    duplicity are evident throughout Hamlet and Frankenstein. Analyze the role that

    secrecy and duplicity play in the two stories, and how they reveal a significant connection between the larger messages of both works. Do not just summarize the plot or list similarities and differences. Your paper must address the main message of both works.”

    ; Students write literary response essays that require that they formulate a thesis about an arguable aspect of the novel or poem. It is a persuasive paper that demands they build a supportable argument that proves the validity of their thesis. The primary goal of the paper is to improve their ability to read critically, write academically, support a developed argument, and use textual evidence appropriately and in conjunction with literary analysis.

    ; For each novel or play studied, students write a formal paper that focuses on evaluating that piece of literature. Students are asked to write an expository or analytical paper about the novel or play that explains the literary work, evidences an understanding of literary elements and style, includes rich textual evidence in support of their interpretation and analysis, is grammatically advanced and includes a variety of sentence structure, and shows stylistic maturity. ; The textbook issued to students is used as the basis for some of the writing

    assignments that students complete through the year. The book is organized according to elements of fiction, drama, and poetry and emphasizes approaches to writing about the different elements. We review and discuss the strategies for writing about the different elements of fiction, then apply those strategies. A sample prompt (from the textbook) may be, “To what degree are the narrative and descriptive styles of “Soldier’s Home” appropriate to the nature of the story?”

    ; The short stories are used as a basis for understanding the elements of fiction. Because the stories can be read quickly, students are asked to analyze, discuss and write about a particular element of fiction. The stories correspond with the textbook’s discussion of analyzing and writing about a particular element of

    fiction. For example, after reading “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge ,”

    students might be asked to write about and discuss the shift in the point of view in the story. This type of writing is short typically not a formal essay and is

    designed to encourage focused analysis and understanding of the elements of fiction, as well as improve academic writing techniques.

    ; Additionally, students are expected to do on-demand, in-class timed writings. For example, students may be given a timed writing based on the open-ended question of a previous AP exam. There is no recommended length for timed writings, but students are given 40 minutes and are not notified of the prompt ahead of time.

    ; Length of formal essays will vary, but average 3-6 pages. Rough drafts of all formal essays are subject to peer editing, as well as preliminary review by the instructor. Students are expected to revise their final essays after they have been graded in order to improve their writing skills and their grade for the essay. Additionally, some timed writings can be revised for additional points. This is done after conferencing with the instructor. Papers are graded using a teacher-generated rubric that is reflective of the nine-point AP rubric. Although the rubrics inform students on accuracy of the analysis and appropriate use of support, feedback and instruction is also given on the use of vocabulary, sentence structure, organization, voice, tone, and writing mechanics.

    ; Students write personal essays that are presented to the class. In the beginning of the year we discuss the role of the personal essay, how personal essays differ from analytical literary essays, and writing techniques for the personal essay. We read and discuss sample essays and listen to a variety of people reading their essays. The first personal essay is predicated on NPR’s “This I Believe” program. Students can choose any topic on which to write and are assessed both on their written performance as well as their presentation skills. The goal of the creative writing is to help students write persuasively, develop and maintain a consistent voice, develop stylistic maturity, understand and utilize parallelism, and develop and organize ideas.

    Miscellaneous in-class assignments, quizzes, and tests:

    ; Although the bulk of the grade is dependent on essays and timed writings, students will take quizzes and tests on the material covered and discussed in class. Some quizzes are short, timed quizzes that assess whether or not a student is keeping up on the reading. The questions are composed of primarily knowledge and comprehension levels of questioning. If a student has done the reading, the quizzes are not difficult.

    ; Other in-class assignments include short explications of poems, review and discussion of poetic elements, short style analysis, journal writing, graded class discussions, and presentations.

     Students participate in online discussions of works that we are reading. I post a ;

    prompt and they must respond to the prompt as well as to the comments made by


    ; To help prepare for the rigor of the AP exam, students take multiple choice tests

    that are reflective of the multiple choice section of the AP test. The answers and

    rationale for each answer are discussed and reviewed in class.

    ; Occasionally, students will write their own poems. Typically this is done in

    connection with understanding poetic form. For these assignments, students are

    graded on effort and their ability to understand the role that form has on theme.

    Expected Reading Schedule

    Semester One

    Weeks 1-6

    The Awakening by Kate Chopin

    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: The pursuit of the individual. Explain how the constraints placed by others impacts the need for individual freedom. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness: Is it a right or a privilege?

    Weeks 7-10

    The Stranger by Albert Camus

    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: The physical world vs. the spiritual world. The universe: rational or irrational? Are spirituality and enlightenment essential components to personal happiness? Existentialism, absurdism, and Buddhism: What is the role of personal belief systems in determining the quality of life?

    Weeks 11-13

    Fences by August Wilson

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: Clash of cultures and the consequences of immutability. What is the role of dreams and hope on personal growth and understanding? Weeks 14-19

    The Things They Carried or Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien

Lord of the Flies (William Golding), Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway), or For

    Whom the Bell Tolls (Ernest Hemingway)

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: The impact of war on the human psyche and the human condition. Explain the struggle between individual morals and societal rules.

     Semester 2

    Weeks 20-24

     Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: Imperialism and the role of assimilation. Explain the nature of evil in society and humanity. What are the advantages and disadvantages of assimilation and why should we value cultural diversity? Understanding social and historical perspectives: colonialism, imperialism, racism and sexism. Weeks 25-29

    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: The relationship between the intellect and the soul. What are the limitations of human knowledge? Explain the motivation of humans to control as much as they can, know more than is obvious, and manipulate other beings. Social and historical perspectives: The Romantic period explained through literature. Weeks 30-35

    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

    Sophocles: The Theban Plays (Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone)

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: Understanding tragedy and the tragic vision. Man’s

    inability to act. Vengeance: What is the role of vengeance in a civilized society? Explain the struggle between man and fate. Explain the interconnectedness of man and society. Does free will exist?

Weeks 36-38

    Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

    Thematic Focus/Essential Ideas: Understanding the concept of absurdity and the theater of the absurd. Is the human condition dismal? Life: Circuitous or linear?

Independent Reading Projects: During all drama units, students are completing

    independent reading projects. All independent reading projects require that students are placed in groups, and all group members read the same book. This is to allow for

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