Advanced Placement Literature and Composition Course Description and Syllabus

Joel Malley McKinley High School Buffalo, New York

Course Description

Welcome to Advanced Placement Literature and Composition. The College Board describes this course as “an intensive study of representative works of both British and American writers written in several genres from the sixteenth century to contemporary times.” We will be studying works from authors ranging from the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles to the gothic novelist Mary Shelley to modern poet Yusef Komunyakaa. We will study how authors across centuries have wrestled with the same basic questions and universal themes. Through this study we will not only expect to understand the works, but also have a greater into ourselves and the world that surrounds us. In addition to gaining exposure to ideas spread through literature over the centuries, we will also focus on writers’ “use of language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers” (AP Literature Course Description). This is not a class for tourists; works must be read thoroughly and deliberately. You must become steeped in literary culture. Students who wish to skim material or rely on class discussion for their sole understanding of a work should reevaluate their placement in this class. While we are certainly concerned with the larger themes, occasions, and historical periods depicted in a work, we are equally concerned with the literary methods and style a writer employs to convey meaning that is rich and often complex. So, grab a highlighter and a pen, and find a comfortable chair. You’re here to get your hands dirty in some of the greatest art this world has ever seen.

Required Texts

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Clayton: Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Classics, 2005. Delillo, Dom. White Noise. New York: Penguin, 1999. Ellison, Ralph. The Invisible Man. New York: Random House, 1995. Gioia, Dana & Kennedy, X.J. ed. Literature: AN Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, ninth edition, New York: Pearson Longman, 2005. Miller, Arthur. The Death of a Salesman. (provided in Kennedy & Gioia) Sophocles, Oedipus Rex (provided in Kennedy & Gioia) Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Clayton: Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Classics, 2005. Shakespeare, William. Much Ado About Nothing. Clayton: Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Classics, 2005.

Other short fiction, essays, and poetry as selected (provided)

Reading

Perhaps the greatest adjustment you will have to make in order enjoy success in this class is time management. While we will certainly focus on passages and smaller chunks of texts in class, you must complete the majority of the reading outside of the class. It is essential that students read every assignment thoroughly and deliberately. When you enter class, I will require evidence that you have actively read the texts. You are required to annotate the texts you purchase, and affix reading notes to texts that I provide. More information on this requirement will be provided later. Reading is due on the first day of each week. You will need to plan your time, as literature courses require far more reading than other courses.

Writing
The College Board explains that writing’s purpose in the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition classroom is threefold. Students are to write to experience literature. Students are to write to interpret literature. Lastly, students are to write to evaluate literature. In other words, through different writing activities we will be enhancing our ability to “clearly, cogently, and even elegantly” respond to, analyze, and make conclusions about a piece of writing’s meaning and value. Critical papers and creative writing will be worked on in the context of a writing workshop. You will be expected to extensively draft, revise, and conference during class time in order to enhance your ability to write about literature. Feedback regarding sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, organization, selective use of detail, writing with voice, diction, etc. will be delivered at the point of need in the workshop setting, as well as in my commentary on returned papers. Explicit instruction about any of the above skills will be given when I feel the majority of the class will benefit. With that in mind, here are the types of writing assignments you should expect: Annotations – As I’ve explained, you will be required to provide proof of your active effort to comprehend both the ideas and style inherent in individual texts. Annotations are due on the day we begin discussion of a text. Critical Papers – You will be asked to write several critical papers in which you explicate, or unfold, a shorter work, passage from a longer work, or a novel or play in order to reveal a close textual analysis of theme, structure, style (figurative language, imagery, symbolism, tone) and/or social/historical values by focusing on the author’s use of language and literary devices. Other critical papers will ask that you evaluate a work based on its literary merit or social/historical value. * Creative Writing – You will be asked to create several pieces of creative writing, in order to get inside and explore the styles of different authors, periods, and genres. * Digital Video Composition – We will also be creating various digital videos

throughout the year. These projects will have varied purposes, but will predominantly serve to help you interpret literature through a multimodal medium. In Class Responses – Several times a week you will be asked to write short responses to a question, quote, or some other verbal or artistic prompt. These will be done in the beginning of class and are meant as food for thought and to increase engagement in thematic discussions. In Class Timed Writings – Throughout the year, you will be asked to write inclass timed responses to exam style tasks that address devices, themes, issues, or social/historical values being discussed in the context of individual longer works. Frequently a parallel task will serve as your summative assessment for a work. * Weblog Discussions – Several times throughout a unit, you will be required to post responses to questions relating to essential questions or relevant themes, or be asked to evaluate a work’s artistry. These blog discussions will be less formal than critical papers. Sometimes you will be given an open question; sometimes a topic will be assigned. * Graded critical, creative, and in class writings are eligible for revision after you receive an initial grade. In order to receive a new grade, you must not only edit, but also revise for lapses in logic, organization, development, and any other stylistic concern pointed out in my written feedback.

Other Grades

I reserve the right to deliver short reading quizzes as I see fit. Some quizzes will consist of a few comprehension questions, while others will ask you to write about a particular quote or character. These are designed to be an additional accountability measure to ensure you are current with your reading. Quizzes cannot be made up.

Summer Reading
You were to complete two novels over the summer and keep a reading journal. This journal is collected on the first day of class. No late work is accepted. This journal and a general assessment will constitute 20% of your first quarter average. Here are the works you may choose from: The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini The Color Purple, Alice Walker The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway The Life of Pi, Yann Martel Specific guidelines for the reading journal are distributed in May of the junior year to all interested applicants.

Course Outline Unit One – Building Blocks
Approximate # of Weeks: 3 Text(s) • Selected poems from X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama as well as copies of other poems to supplement. John Updike's A & P. • Chapters 15, 16, 17 from Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama covering connotation, imagery, and figurative language and the “Explicating” sections from Chapters 41 & 42 Big Questions/Big Ideas How do smaller units of meaning (words, syntax, devices) affect the overall meaning (tone, theme)? Essential Skills – In this unit, students will review/be introduced to basic skills for literary analysis. We will primarily focus on reviewing devices such as personification and metaphor, and introducing other devices such as apostrophe and metonymy. As the poem is an accessible, self-contained unit of meaning, it’s a good way to start off looking at how the pieces (language, devices) affect the whole (tone, theme, etc.). We will study these small works and eventually build up to Updike’s short story. Students will practice annotating and will write an explication. Writing mini-lessons will be delivered on effectively integrating quotations and logical structuring of evidence and critical commentary. Assessment • Nightly annotations • analytical essay explicating a poem (500 – 750 words)

Unit Two – Gothic Literature With a Hint of Romance

Approximate # of Weeks: 4 Text(s) • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley • Selected short stories from Edgar Allan Poe • Selected romantic and gothic poetry including “Ozymandias”; “Goblin Market”; “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”; selected poems by Wordsworth & Tennyson Big Questions/Big Ideas In this unit, we will study Frankenstein as Romantic backlash against enlightenment thinking. The central issue we'll be wrestling with the danger of unfettered scientific pursuit. We will examine this issue through the parallel stories of Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein, as well as to the allusion to Prometheus in Shelley's subtitle. We will use selected poems to investigate the concept of the "unpardonable sin," as well as consider romantic visions of nature as healing and restorative. Essential Skills In addition to literary devices and larger elements, during this unit we will pay special

attention to analyzing narrative structure, elements of the gothic and romanticism, pathetic fallacy, devices to evoke fear, the uncanny, foil, and allusion and these devices/elements effects on meaning. Writing mini-lessons will be delivered on restricted thesis construction, using transitions, and other skills as necessary. Assessment • several short weblog discussions about relevant thematic questions • students will write a short critical paper in a workshop setting (brainstorming, compose, peer edit, group conference with instructor) analyzing a passage from the novel • upon completion of the novel, students will address a past AP Literature Free Response prompt relevant to the work (timed writing)

Unit Three – The Tragic Figure

Approximate # of Weeks : 6 Texts Oedipus Rex, Sophocles Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller Selected poems with thematic or situational relevance as selected. Big Questions/Big Ideas Students will study both a classic and modern tragic figure. We will examine these tragedies using Aristotle’s concept of tragedy as a lens as well as Arthur Miller's essay "Tragedy and the Common Man." We will determine how both Oedipus and Willy Loman fit into Aristotle's definition. In both plays we'll examine hamartia, recognition, catharsis, etc. We will discuss determinism and the role of Greek Gods, and discuss the Freudian concepts of id, ego, and superego as a way to analyze Oedipus' actions. We will discuss both works as reflections of the period in which they were written, focusing on questions of leadership and power in Sophocles' work and the decline of the American dream in Miller's. Essential Skills In addition to literary devices and larger elements, during this unit we will pay special attention to analyzing dramatic, verbal, and cosmic irony, symbolism, allusion, narrative structure, flashback, dialogue, stage directions, the role of the chorus, and the use of foil and these devices/elements effects on meaning. Writing mini-lessons delivered on rhetorical techniques, strong introductions, writing about a longer work, and other skills as necessary. Assessment • several short weblog discussions about relevant thematic questions several speech/passage annotations • students will use digital video to convey interpretations of passages from Oedipus • in a workshop setting, students will write a critical paper analyzing the motivation of either Oedipus or Willy Loman, citing relevant quotations as support • upon completion of both works, students will write a timed essay to a relevant

AP Free Response prompt

Unit Four - Battle of the Sexes

Approximate # of Weeks: 4 Texts Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare Selected poems thematically aligned with the unit, including works by Edmund Waller, Andrew Marvell, William Shakespeare, Edna St. Millay, Dorothy Parker Big Questions/Big Ideas Students will study comedy and try to draw parallels between this work and modern comedy, focusing on the basic comedic arc (boy meets girl, etc.), as well the devices used to create humor. During the unit we will take a look at this play and several poems and compare and contrast the different views of relationships between the sexes. We will also focus on Beatrice as a strong female character and analyze how her qualities affect the overall action and theme of the play. Lastly, we will consider gender roles as depicted in the poems and the play. Essential Skills In addition to literary devices and larger elements, during this unit we will pay special attention to analyzing comedic devices such as malaprop, puns, and double entendre, and their effect on style. In addition, we will pay considerable amount to syntax and punctuation and their effect on meaning. We again will focus on characterization, and, more specifically, foil, as well as the overall development of Beatrice and Benedict. Writing mini-lessons delivered on rhetorical strategies, using an epigraph, development of ideas, and other skills as necessary. Assessment • several short weblog discussions about relevant thematic questions involving the play and poems • several speech/passage annotations • As students read the play, students will search for quotes and scenes that establish the dominant mood of the work. Students will then analyze how these scenes and quotes establish the mood of the play. Students will receive significant workshop time to write portions of their essay. • When the work is completed, students will write a timed essay analyzing one of three assigned short passages from the play. In this essay students will be asked to explicate the passage and ultimately explain its importance relevant to the work as a whole

Unit Five - Poetry Professor
Approximate # of Weeks: 4 Texts Selected poems from X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama

Big Questions/Big Ideas In this unit, students will study multiple types of poems (ballad, sonnet, elegy, etc.) from various traditions from the Elizabethan period to the late 20th century. I will model how to annotate and explicate Billy Collins "Schoolsville" and Wilfred Owen's "Dulce Et Decorum Est" and will provide a reasonable interpretation of each poem based on the poetic devices used by the two poets such as imagery, allusion, symbol, personification, among other devices. Then, the students are assigned a poem from the Kennedy and Gioia text for daily presentations to the class. Here, they become experts on the poem without the aid of secondary sources. Their responsibility is to closely read the poem analyzing the poet's use of language to convey the poem's meaning. Then, they will explicate the poem for the class. Essential Skills Students will analyze how the poets use literary devices to convey meaning and tone. Students will also pay attention to how different types of poems (free verse, sonnet, elegy, ballad, villanelle) convey meaning through form. Writing mini-lessons will be delivered as necessary, with a focus on writing with voice, varying sentence structure, and utilizing a sophisticated vocabulary. Assessment • the students are assessed on their individual presentations, as well as their exploratory poetry journal and nightly annotations • the summative assessment is a timed in class writing based on a past exam's poetry question • during the first two weeks, students will workshop a poem based on one of the following types of poetry: free-verse, ballad, sonnet, villanelle, elegy • during the last two weeks of the unit, students will spend two days a week workshop setting, writing a 2-3 page reader-response analysis/evaluation of a poem from the Poetry Professor packet.

Unit Six – Emerging Feminism and the Woman as Outsider

Approximate # of Weeks: 4 Texts The Awakening, Kate Chopin Selected poems thematically aligned with the unit, including those by Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Anne Sexton, and Adrienne Rich, and Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” and Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl.” Big Questions/Big Ideas Students will study the larger work and consider what Chopin is saying about the role of women in 19th century Creole society. To accompany this text, we will consider other poets and their exploration of their own identity. Through this process, students might not only study Edna’s transformation and awakening, but also contemplate other female poet’s perceptions of their role in society. Essential Skills In addition to literary devices and larger elements, during this unit we will pay special attention to analyzing the various motifs and symbols that Chopin employs. We will

also focus extensively on Edna and her foils (Mademoiselle Reisz, Adèle Ratignolle) and consider the ending of the novel in light of our previous study of Aristotle and Miller’s definition of tragedy. Writing mini-lessons will be delivered as necessary, with a focus on writing with voice, varying sentence structure, and utilizing a sophisticated vocabulary. Assessment • several short weblog discussions about relevant thematic questions involving the novel and poems • several passage annotations • students will write a critical paper in a workshop setting. They will select one motif from the novel, examine its various appearances in the book, and explore what insights into the novel, the characters, the themes, and perhaps life itself, that the motif provides (examples music, the sea, swimming, children, birds, houses, black and white…). Students will support their thesis and supporting points with careful observation of textual details.

Unit Seven - 20th Century African American Experience

Approximate # of Weeks: 5 Texts Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison "Every Day Use," Alice Walker "Atlanta Exposition Speech” Booker T. Washington Selected poems by Countee Cullen, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Dudley Randall Kennedy & Gioia, “Writing a Research Paper” Big Questions/Big Ideas Students will study Ellison’s novel as a lens into the mid 20th century African American experience. We will analyze the ways that Ellison used the tenets of existentialism to guide the narrator through his quest for identity. Throughout the work we will discuss the different ways that different characters affect the invisible man, and discuss what the minor characters might represent on a symbolic level. We will also consider the different sociological perspectives of Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, and those provided by communism, as well as their equivalents in the novel. The poetry, short stories, and nonfiction pieces will help provide further insight from other late 19th and 20th century African American writers. Essential Skills In addition to literary devices and larger elements, during this unit we will pay special attention to analyzing the existential journey of the narrator, characters as symbolism, stream of consciousness, the influence of jazz on Ellison’s style, and the narrative structure, paying close attention to these elements effect on the meaning of the work as a whole. Writing mini-lessons will be focused on the research paper. Assessment

• •

Students will be given a choice of topics to write a research paper. This research will help inform their reading of the novel. Possible topics: The teachings of Marcus Garvey, Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee Institute, Harlem Renaissance, communism in mid 20th century America, and many more. several short weblog discussions about relevant thematic questions involving the novel and poems several passage annotations

Unit Eight – Explicit Exam Review

Approximate # of Weeks: 2 Big Questions/Big Ideas In this unit we will review the texts from this year. Groups of students will be assigned a work and will be responsible for presenting a review of the work, focusing on larger elements, the historical/analytical/sociological lens used in class, and the meaning of the work as a whole. In addition, students will write several timed essays and practice multiple-choice questions. I will also review any literary devices or elements, or ideas that students are still not comfortable with.

Unit Nine: Post Exam – Modern Day Malaise and the Writer as Social Voice
Approximate # of Weeks: 5 Texts White Noise, Dom Delillo American Beauty, Sam Mendes (dir.) Selected poems by Allen Ginsberg, Saul Williams, William Blake, and other poetry featuring the social voice of poetry. Selected short stories, including “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” by Ursula K. Le Guin, and “”Repent Harlequin!” Cried the Ticktockman,” by Harlan Ellison (provided) Big Questions/Big Ideas In the final unit students will focus on modern life through literature, poetry, and film. Although arguably all of the literature we have read this year features the writer’s role as social critic, we will be specifically focusing on this role in the final unit of this class. We will focus on the different ways authors criticize society, and the effect of form and genre on the overall effect of the work. Assessment • Students will be asked to create an original short story, book of original poetry, or multimedia project which serves as a literary social criticism. • several short weblog discussions about relevant thematic questions involving the novel and poems