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AP Literature and Composition Course Syllabus


AP Literature and Composition

Basic Texts: (Complete bibliography for the course follows the syllabus)

Prentice Hall Literature of Britain with World Classics,

This text is the state adopted literature text which is organized around historical/literary eras up
through the contemporary era.

Bedford Guide for College Writers, Bedford St. Martins Press. A

contemporary college level non-fiction reader and a writer’s guide that provides writing activities
tied to the reader.

The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Bedford St. Martin’s Press.

A multi-genre anthology on the college level which deals with critical analysis as a genre and
guides the student toward critical analysis issues in the works included in the text. A state
adopted text for high school AP literature and composition courses.

MLA Guide (online through the media center)

This course uses the heroic journey as a point of reference, motif, and literary tool throughout
both semesters. Among other motifs and literary devices, we discuss heroes, and the heroic
journeys found in each of the works we study. We refer to the ideas of Joseph Campbell in our

Ongoing AP Activities across the semesters:

1. Book cards listing title, author, characters, setting, short plot summary, main message,
main literary devices, one “famous quote.”
2. Reading Circles: students read an outside novel, conduct group discussions based on
literary devices, structure, characterization, setting, diction, application and connection to
in-class reading from anthology, and independently research and apply literary criticisms
from academically legitimate sources and writers from the historical, biographical,
cultural, gender, or constructional perspectives to write a researched analytical criticism
essay. Agree or disagree with the critic, showing evidence from the novel. (Complete
description follows this syllabus).
3. Student created Blue Book dictionary of literary terms with definitions and examples
from current readings in and out of class.
4. AP practice tests, both multiple choice and essay, that coordinate with current readings in
class or that may not coordinate but are useful to discuss strategies.
5. Ongoing reflective and analytical journals dealing with literature, summary,
characterization, stylistic features, and reactions to and reflections on works we read.
6. Formal essays dealing with literary analysis. These essays require multiple drafts and
revisions, peer editing, submissions of drat to instructor, writing conferences with
instructor, and presentation of a final submission revised copy in a packet with all other
draft versions.

Semester 1:
Six Weeks 1

1. Focus on Early Anglo Saxon Period with Beowulf as the anchor piece.
2. Read three critical articles on Beowulf from Beowulf: Modern Literary Interpretations.
Prepare seminar discussions on one selected article including five power point slides.
3. View Joseph Campbell’s video on the hero and read excerpts from the book Power of
Myth. (Apply to Beowulf as a hero).
4. Read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Reading Circle format as modeling for
Reading Circle Performance tasks in the following six weeks. Students present seminars.
5. View Origins of the English Language for information on Early Anglo Saxons and the
early English languages.
6. Study narrative techniques in Bedford Guide for College Writers, and read three sample
narrative style stories, completing end-of-story activities. Write a narrative about a
personal hero.
7. Write a personal narrative that answers a prompt on the Common Application.
8. Discuss AP topics, strategies, and results of practice tests. Complete a collaborative
model AP style essay from a timed writing prompt..
9. Journal on Campbell’s heroic qualities applied to Huckleberry Finn and other characters
in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Six Weeks 2

1. Focus on Middle Ages with Canterbury Tales as anchor piece.

2. Discuss literary techniques such as frame story, description, imagery, characterization,
tone, purpose, irony as applied to the readings.
3. Study modes of characterization as applied to Chaucer’s characters.
4. In an essay, differentiate, compare, and contrast a set of three literary criticisms on
Canterbury Tales.
5. Apply historical perspective by viewing segments of the video Becket.
6. Study descriptive techniques in Bedford Guide for College Writers. Read three sample
descriptive stories/essays in that book, and complete the end of story activities. Apply
techniques in a short essay.
7. Study language, structure, and tone in King James Bible as found in state-adopted
literature text.
8. Read Everyman as example piece for early English Drama.
9. Write and perform a modern day “Morality Play” modeled after the literary devices and
structure found in Everyman dealing with vices and virtues of today’s world (drugs,
alcohol, personal responsibility, anti-violence goals).
10. Renaissance poetry unit. Create poetry mosaic mini-posters dealing with theme,
message, tone, literary devices, audience, connection to today’s world. Create one
collaborative full-sized poster dealing with the analytical, artistic, stylistic, and thematic
aspects of one of the poems and present seminar on that poem.
11. Each student writes a style analysis of one of the poems the student worked with on this
project. Self and peer edit drafts for clarity, engaging language, correct use of
conventions and mechanics. Confer with instructor regarding revised draft. Revise for
error free draft.
12. Students take practice AP test and participate in outside consultant one day workshop on
AP test for students.
13. Students present Reading Circle Seminars (modernist, existentialist, theater of the absurd)
14. Journal on heroic journeys of characters in Reading Circle novels and Everyman.

Six Weeks 3

1. Focus on Shakespeare and Elizabethan poetry and times with Macbeth as the anchor
2. Examine literary terms such as sonnet, Spenserian sonnet, paradox, conceit, metaphor,
parallel structure, synecdoche, pastoral, refrain, hyperbole, extended metaphor,
3. Complete a group and individual poetry project on Elizabethan poetry which is both
analytical and interpretive.
4. Examine the language and literary devices such as paradox, metaphor, motif, irony,
foreshadowing in the development of the plot and the conveyance of message in
5. Complete AP practice multiple choice and timed writings that deal with portions of the
play and related literary concepts.
6. Write a final AP style essay concerning the motif in Macbeth that the student has
followed throughout the play in a motif journal. Student will use a model AP format that
includes evidence and elaboration analyzing how the motif works to convey the
7. Present seminar based on this six weeks’ Reading Circle (multicultural authors)
8. Journal on heroic journeys of Reading Circle characters.

Semester 2
Six Weeks 4

1. Focus on Dickens and integration with Government class with Tale of Two Cities as the
anchor piece.
2. Read “Origins of French Revolution” internet article.
3. Read four online lectures from The History Guide ( and, in journal
entries, apply and compare the information about events, politics, philosophies, and personalities
of the French and American Revolutions to events, messages, and philosophies Dickens portrays
in A Tale of Two Cities .
4. Read background information on differing perspectives of the French Revolution as written
by Carlyle, Burke, Paine. Examine language, structure, tone, purpose.
5. Read A Tale of Two Cities, focusing on themes of duality, reality/unreality, dark/light,
resurrection/death, isolation/unification.
6. Examine literary devices of parallelism, characterization, imagery, Biblical allusion as
found in Tale of Two Cities
7. Bedford Guide for College Writers unit on compare/contrast. Apply to journal entries
concerning the online lectures.
8. Integrate with Government/Economics class on the Democracy movement of the 1700’s,
its political, social, and economic success, and its durability. Examine England, France, and
United States democracies in present time.
9. Group seminars linking Carlyle’s, Burke’s, Paine’s ideas to the characters, events in
Dickens’ novel.
10. Journal on heroic journeys of the characters in Tale of Two Cities.
11. Reading Circle seminars presented (Victorian and British Colonialist era)

Six Weeks 5

1. Focus on short stories as the anchor genre, using state adopted literature text and Bedford
Introduction to Literature text. Consider elements of short stories, literary techniques,
interrelationships of themes, characters, settings, to help convey messages.

2. Focus on the writings of Sir Francis Bacon from rhetorical, analytical, and interpretive
3. Begin examining and learning “100 Words All High School Graduates Should Know.”
4. Complete timed writings with emphasis on modern poetry analysis. Instruction on
reading and annotating skills to deal with AP poetry essay questions. Students complete
timed writing and exhibit mastery of prewriting planning and revision process.

5. Students will workshop timed writings and discuss AP writing evaluation rubric.
6. Practice AP multiple choice strategies.
7. Present seminar based on this six weeks’ Reading Circle (Great American writers)
8. Journal on heroic journeys of Reading Circle characters.

Six Weeks 6

1. Comparative study of multiple short works by one author as found in Bedford

Introduction to Literature.
2. Take full length practice AP Test
3. Outside consultant reader and presenter for final AP student workshop.
4. Independent Study Senior Project: Select ten poems from the literature text or the
Bedford text. Analyze them for effective literary techniques, main message, universal
message, connection to your life and current events of your senior year. Create
meaningful display pages for the poetry. Include the analysis on the back of the display
page. Make a notebook with cover page and table of contents.
5. One poem should deal with heroes and apply Campbell’s theories about heroes.

Bibliography of Resources
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, 1958.
Anaya, Rudolfo. Bless Me Ultima. New York: Warner Books, 1972.
Austin, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Austin: Holt Reinhart, 2000.
Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove Press, 1954.
Binchy, Maeve. Circle of Friends. New York: Dell, 1990.
Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. New York: Signet, 1959.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Toronto: Bantam, 1987.
Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth. New York: Anchor Books, 1991. (reference)
Camus, Albert. The Stranger. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.
Cather, Willa. Death Comes for the Archbishop. New York: Random House, 1927.
Cather, Willa. O Pioneers!. New York: Signet, 2004.
Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. San Francisco: Harper, 1993.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1859.
Dinesen, Isak. Out of Africa. New York: Random House, 1937.
Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom. New York: Random House, 1986.
Forster, E. M. A Passage to India. London: Harcourt, 1924.
Gardner, John. Grendel. New York: Random House, 1971.
Joyce, James. The Dubliners. New York: Signet, 1991.
Kingston, Maxine H. Woman Warrior. New York: Random House, 1975.
Kogawa, Joy. Obasan. New York: Random House, 1981.
Mcarthy, Cormac. All the Pretty Horses. New York: Random House, 1992.
O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway Books, 1990.
Ondaatje, Michael. The English Patient. New York: Random House, 1992.
Paton, Alan. Cry,The Beloved Country. Colliers: New York, 1987.
Silko, Leslie M. Ceremony. New York: Viking, 1977.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin, 1937.
Stoppard, Tom. Resencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. New York: Grove Press, 1967.
Tan, Amy. The Bonesetter's Daughter. New York: Ballantine, 1991.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Ivy Books, 1989.
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. New York: Bantam, 1960.
Weeden, Hester, ed. The Elements of Literature, Sixth Course, Literature of Britain with World
Classics. Austin: Holt Rineholt, 2000. (State adopted text)
Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome. New York: Pocket Books, 2004.
White, E. B. The Essays of E.B.White. New York: Perennial Classics, 1977.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. London: Harcourt, 1925.

Electronic sources Online college lectures about the French Revolution as part of a cross
curricular unit with Government and Economics and our study of A Tale of Two Cities. Online source for Macbeth activities
AP Central for practice prompts and prompt history
http// Essays by Sir Francis Bacon available online.
Students read and interpret, analyze, and reflect upon
MLA online guide for documentation of sources. Online through our school library sources for information on Carlyle, Burke, and Paine

Other electronic data sources on literary criticisms, authors, historical and cultural periods
through the high school library database.

Literature Circles
Literature Circles will read outside our whole class curriculum and enrich our class with a full
class period of discussion on an important novel that we do not have time to include in our
regular reading. Exposure to these novels enriches our repertoire of knowledge and adds to our
information bank in preparation for the AP test. Each group is responsible for presenting the full
scope of the novel, introduction to the main characters, the author’s craft, literary criticisms from
different points of view and your reactions to the novel. You will need a poster with your
illustrations, a power point presentation to outline and highlight the information you are
presenting, and a notes sheet on the book to hand out to the students. This needs to be a quality
As you proceed, we will meet in groups one day a week. You will set your own schedule of
reading and be responsible for meeting those deadlines. Different group members will have
individual responsibilities and be graded on how each meets his or her responsibilities.
Individuals will research and construct literary criticisms from the historical, cultural,
biographical, gender, and formalist perspectives. This means you will find critical analysis
about your book or author and report your findings. This is not your analysis, but the critic’s that
you are reporting. You will also defend or disagree with that critic and find evidence from the
novel to support your points. In short papers, 1-2 pages, students will write about their findings,
using MLA format and formal documentation.

Each six weeks you will read a different book, be in a different group, research from a different
critical point of view, and serve a different role in the group. The first six weeks all book circles
will read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Each group will research a single genre of
critical analysis and report to the whole class. Critical analysis genres for this book will include
historical, cultural, biographical, and stylistic. Beginning Six Weeks Two each member of the
group will report on a different critical analysis genre.
You will also be reading a book and shorter works in the whole class setting. You will be
continuing to practice AP writing and objective questions.
Your group will choose from the following:
Six Weeks Two (Approved books from AP List)

The Stranger

Waiting for Godot

The Dubliners
The Alchemist

Six Weeks Three (Multicultural)

The Joy Luck Club (Chinese American)

Things Fall Apart (African)

The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje, Canadian/Middle Eastern,)
Circle of Friends (Irish)
Obasan (,Joy Kogawa, Japanese-Canadian)
Carmela ( must purchase, Sandra Cisneros, Mexican-American))
Bless Me Ultima ( Native American-Hispanic)
Ceremony (Leslie Marmon Silko) Native American (research source
Woman Warrior (Chinese American)
Song of Solomon (African American)
The Alchemist (Middle Eastern)
(GT will form a homogeneous group and select one from above.)

Six Weeks Four (Victorian England)

Wuthering Heights
Jane Eyre
Pride and Prejudice
Passage to India ( E.M Forste GT)
To the Lighthouse or Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf (GT)
Out of Africa

Six Weeks 5 (Great American Novels)

Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)

Bless Me Ultima
Absalom, Absolom(GT)
Islands in the Stream or For Whom the Bell Toll, or The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway) (GT)
Death Comes for the Archbishop (Cather)
Ceremony (Leslie Marmon Silko) Native American (research source
Ethan Fromme ( Wharton)
Billy Budd (Melville) (GT)
The Things They Carried (Obrien)
All the Pretty Horses

*More novels may be added to the list as acquired. All novels appear on the AP list of
recommended reading

Guidelines for Your Book Circle Project Presentation.


1. Title page with title of book, author, and group members

2. Grading Rubric completed with group members names.
3. Class Notes handout: Short summary, major characters, samples of text, AP
prompts. Poem, lengthy excerpt.
4. Dividers for each person
5. Combined annotated Bibliography
6. Poem and analysis
7. Print out of Power Point
8. Critical analysis: MLA style, documented, bibliography of your sources, one to two
pages no longer than two pages.
9. Hard copies of your sources for your analysis


1. Your own group meeting report: illuminator, summarizer, group director, word collector.

1. Thirty to forty minutes
2. Use Power Point presentation format for your basis of presentation.
(Include only the most important information on slides; do not fill up your slides with
writing. Make sure that the background does not make the print difficult to read. Make the text
bold and large enough to be read from the back of the room._
3. If you can provide the outline notes from the Power Point ahead of time, I will duplicate them
for the class, also. Monday morning would be the appropriate time to get them to me so I can
4. Make a poster to illustrate the novel and author. One poster for the group is sufficient.
5. In your presentation give short background summary about the book.
6. Address theme and message.
7. Introduce at least two main characters in depth.
8. Describe the setting and how it affects the story.
9. Discuss literary techniques using the illuminated text as examples of the stylistic devices you
talk about. Give sample text quotes long enough to give class a sample of author’s style.
10. Each person should discuss what he or she learned from the literary criticisms at some point
in the seminar. Discussion of your part may be included in some of the items above (setting may
be included in cultural, historical, or biographical criticism; style may be included in the formal
or stylistic criticism).
11. Include why this novel or author is important and why it would be included on AP lists to
12. Provide a chapter or lengthy excerpt, not to exceed six pages, from which you will take your
illuminator and word watcher discussion quotes. Class should receive this the day before your
presentation and the words and quotes should be underlined.
13. Discuss poem selected and how it connects to the novel. Discuss other media and literary
14. Discuss applicable AP prompts and elaborate on one of them.
Group Grading Rubric:
Members names Role in Group Literary Criticism

Major Collaborative grade

Notebook Group Grade: 100 possible

Included all material 1 2 3 4 5
Including annotated bibliography 1 2 3 4 5
Title page 1 2 3 4 5
Dividers organized work 1 2 3 4 5
Class Packet followed instructions 1 2 3 4 5

Presentation-75 points
Limits time on summary to 10 minutes
Emphasizes main message and other themes
Discusses stylistic elements of illumination and relates to how it supports the main message.
Relates it to the voice of the author.
Defines the characteristic voice of the author (diction, structure, syntax, lit devices.)
Discusses character types
Discusses setting
Discusses tone
Dramatizes a scene appropriately
Each person takes five minutes to discuss his/her literary criticism and support is with quotes
from the book.
Uses the preview chapter as basis for discussions on voice ,message, tone
Connects to other literary or media pieces.
Discusses the poem and connects.
Discusses AP prompts and elaborates on one of them.

Power point -25 points

Legible 1 2 3 4 5
Useful for note taking 1 2 3 4 5
Creative 1 2 3 4 5
Informative 1 2 3 4 5
Goes beyond required 1 2 3 4 5
Presentation Style -25 points
Presented smoothly and Professionally 1 2 3 4 5
Appeared knowledgeable about Book, author, and area of expertise 1 2 3 4 5
Presented in conversational seminar 1 2 3 4 5
Discussion style. 1 2 3 4 5

All members were involved in the discussion 1 2 3 4 5

Poster-25 points
Basic minimal information 1 2 3 4 5
Moderate information 1 2 3 4 5
Colorful and informative 1 2 3 4 5
Creative 1 2 3 4 5
Outstanding effort 1 2 3 4 5
Rubric for Your Literary Criticism


Title of book_____________________________

Topic of Literary Criticism__________________

Turned in on time and typed
Hard copies of all sources used

Discusses appropriate subject
Uses and cites one or more sources
Brings in concrete examples from the novel
Some grammar and spelling problems
Some format problems

Correctly cites sources within text
Examples are smoothly embedded into the text
Grammar problems exist but do not interfere with meaning
Includes Works Cited

Elaborates and explains well
Works Cited correctly formatted
Sources are from professional, collegial sites
Minimizes dangling phrases, pronoun/antecedent problems, and minimizes passive verbs.

Uses direct quotes from both text and sources as examples
Integrates multiple sources well
Sentences flow well and paper is very readable and interesting.
Few grammar errors and they do not interfere with readability
Virtually eliminates passive verbs.
Excellent effort shown

Outstanding work that rises above that of peers