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Required Text: Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin‘s, 2008. Novels: Austen, Jane Conrad, Joseph. Ellison, Ralph. Hemingway, Ernest. Joyce, James Morrison, Toni. Orwell, George. Paton, Alan. Shelley, Mary. Plays: Miller, Arthur. Shakespeare, William. Wilde, Oscar. Wilson, August. Death of a Salesman. Hamlet. The Importance of Being Earnest. Fences.
Pride and Prejudice. Heart of Darkness. Invisible Man. A Farewell to Arms. The Dead. Beloved. 1984. Cry, the Beloved Country. Frankenstein.
Other materials: Arp, Thomas R. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound & Sense. Boston: Wadsworth Dean, Nancy. Voice Lessons. Gainesville: Maupin House, 2000. Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: Harper Collins, 2003. Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Style Manual. 5th ed.
Course Description: This Advanced Placement Literature and Writing course is designed to teach beginningcollege writing through the fundamentals of rhetorical theory, and follows the curricular requirements described in the AP English Course Description. We will talk essentially every day about some vital aspect of writing, including: invention and the artistic proofs (ethos, pathos, logos), disposition or structure, and style (diction, syntax, figurative language, mechanics). But I want you to think of this class as a workshop, not a rhetoric manual—a place where you will test certain kinds of writing and attempt to recover your own recollections as part of larger cultural experiences that eventually become a people‘s ―history,‖ i.e., a people‘s collective account of itself through its literature. The kinds of writings in this course are varied, but include writing to understand, writing to explain, and writing to evaluate. All critical writing asks that you evaluate the effectiveness of a literary piece, but to be an effective evaluator, one must understand and explain. The essence of scholarship is the combination of these three approaches to writing. In order for this class to function as a true workshop, therefore, you will write a good deal, and you will revise certain pieces of your writing into polished final drafts. You will also produce a final writing portfolio—a kind of individual writing archive. In the process of these workshops, you will be exposed to your conscious choice of diction and the appropriate use of words, your ability to create varied and effective syntactic structures, your capacity for coherence and logical organization, your ability to balance generalizations with specific and illustrative details, and, overall, your ability to combine rhetorical processes into an effective whole. What I expect most of all from our class is hard work on the part of the individual writer, careful reading and discussion on the part of the class. Goals: AP English Literature and Composition students will demonstrate the ability to: 1. Read critically and demonstrate this skill through literary annotation 2. Evaluate the reader/writer relationship and the creation of meaning 3. Analyze form and figurative language of texts 4. Communicate meaningfully about literature, with appropriate terminology, in oral and written form 5. Write organized analysis of literature with a well developed thesis, proper conventions, a professional tone, effective vocabulary, insightful evidence, and an organized structure 6. Peer edit focusing on the use of generalization and specific detail, on effective sentence variety and on effective use of vocabulary
7. Classify literature according to genre based on distinguishing features 8. Understand critical inquiry and apply these methods in their own writing 9. Recognize the social, cultural, and political significance of a text Unit Layout: For every major work studied (prior to the beginning of in-class discussions) students are required to complete a reading journal with annotated references, a reference sheet for future studying, as well as a short reflection paper referencing a specific quote or event and its relevance to the meaning of the work as a whole. These requirements are preparatory measures, ensuring the student‘s optimal participation in classroom discussions. 1. Preterm summer reading assignmenta. Students are to read How to Read Literature Like a Professor and 1984 over summer break, complete reading logs based solely on plot summary and personal reaction. 2. Unit One - (One Week) a. Introduction to the AP Exam structure and scoring methods, higher level analysis of literature, discussion of 1984, annotation ―how-to‖ lesson, what makes literature ―good‖ discussion, weekly vocabulary assignment, weekly poetry response assignment, and weekly literary terms assignment. b. Elements of Poetry – Laying the groundwork 3. Unit Two – (Five weeks) a. Thematic Focus: War and Survival b. Major Works: Beloved and A Farewell to Arms c. Short Stories and Poetry included but not limited to: Soldier‘s Home (Hemmingway), Battle Royal (Ellison), “Woodchucks” (Kumin), “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” (Jarrell), Excepts from The Things They Carried (O‘Brien), “What I Said” (Stock), “The War Prayer” (Twain), “Death of a Toad” (Wilbur) d. Analytical Focus: Reading Fiction, Writing about Fiction, Plot, Character, and Setting e. Historical Focus: Post Civil War and Post WWI and Post WWII f. In-class timed multiple choice exams g. In-class timed writing:
i. Open Question 1982 Exam – How scenes of violence contribute to the meaning of the work ii. AP Prose Analysis 1986 – narrator‘s attitude toward the characters iii. AP Poetry Analysis 2007 – ―analyze the techniques the poet uses to convey his attitude toward the places he describes‖ h. Writing assignments: Lyric Analysis Paper – Songs about War and Survival 4. Unit Three – (Six Weeks) a. Thematic Focus: Tragedy and the Parent/Child Relationship b. Major Works: Hamlet, Fences, and Cry, the Beloved Country c. Short Stories and Poetry included but not limited to: “Out, Out—“ (Frost), ―Mother to Son‖ (Hughes), ―My Papa‘s Waltz‖ (Roethke), ―Dogs‖ (Wallace), ―Life‘s Tragedy‖ (Dunbar), ―The Second Coming‖ (Yeats), ―Daddy‖ (Plath), ―My Father Moved Through Dooms of Love‖ (Cummings), ―The Idiot‖ (Reznikoff), ―Working Late‖ (Simpson), ―Telltale Heart‖ (Poe), ―O Captain! My Captain!‖ (Whitman) d. Analytical Focus: Dramas and more Elements of Fiction: Point of View, Symbolism, Theme, Reading Drama Responsively, Writing about Drama e. Historical Focus: English Renaissance, South African Apartheid Movement, 1950 American Tragedy and Triumph f. In-class timed multiple choice exams g. In-class timed writing responses: i. AP Open prompt on ―parent-child conflict‖ ii. AP Prose Analysis prompt 2008 AP Exam – Fasting, Feasting (Desai) speech and point of view analysis iii. AP Open prompt 1996 Exam – the significance in a work of an ending that shows a spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation h. Writing assignments: Thematic Development in Fences Term Paper (Students will evaluate the social and cultural significance of texts, compare and contrast authors‘ purposes, and/or evaluate text using critical strategies) 5. Unite Four – (Three Weeks) a. Thematic Focus: Evolution of the Women‘s role/character b. Major Works: Pride and Prejudice, Beloved (from this thematic angle) c. Short Stories and Poetry included but not limited to: ―A Sorrowful Woman‖ (Goldwin), The Story of an Hour‖ (Chopin), ―Barbie Doll‖
d. e. f. g.
(Plath), :Three Uses of Chopsticks‖ (Kono), ―A Room of One‘s Own‖ (Woolf), ―In a London Drawingroom‖ (Eliot), ―Clothes‖ (Divakaruni), ―It‘s a Woman‘s World‖ (Boland) Analytical Focus: Style, Tone, Irony Historical Focus: English Renaissance, English Romanticism, American Women‘s Movements In-class timed multiple choice exams In-class timed writing: i. Open Prompt 2008 AP Exam -- Function of Foil ii. AP Poetry Analysis Prompt 1994 Exam—contrast the speaker‘s
views of Helen iii. AP Prose Analysis Prompt 1987 Exam—George Eliot‘s view on ―old Leisure‖ h. Writing assignments: ‗The Feminist Evidence in Literature‘ Paper 6. Unit Five—(Five Weeks) a. Thematic Focus: Power b. Major Works: Frankenstein, Invisible Man c. Short Stories and Poetry included but not limited to: ―Why Boys Become Vicious‖ (Golding), ―In Memoriam, [To Sleep I give my powers away]‖ (Tennyson), Mein Kampf excerpts (Hitler), ―Dr. Heidegger‘s Experiment‖ (Hawthorne), ―The Lottery‖ (Jackson) d. Analytical Focus: Intro to Critical Strategies—Critical Thinking: Formalist Strategies, Biographical Strategies, and Psychological Strategies e. In-class timed multiple choice exams f. In-class timed writing: i. Open Prompt 1972—The use of the opening scene or chapter to introduce significant themes of the play or novel ii. Open Prompt 2005 B – essay in which you discuss how a character in a novel or drama struggles to free himself or herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others iii. Poetry Analysis Prompt 1987 AP Exam – ―Sow‖ (Plath) g. Writing assignments: ‗Apply Critical Strategy to Major Work‘ Introductory Paper 7. Unit Six – (Three Weeks) a. Thematic Focus: The Power of Laughter b. Major Works: The Importance of Being Earnest
c. Short Stories and Poetry included but not limited to: ―55 Miles to the Gas Pump‖ (Proulx), ―The Story of a Good Little Boy‖ (Twain), ―Needs‖ (Ammons), ―A Modest Proposal‖ (Swift), ―Moby-Dude‖ or ―The ThreeMinute Whale‖ (Ives) d. Analytical Focus: Critical Thinking: Historical Strategies, Gender Strategies e. Historical Focus: Late 19th and Early 20th century England f. In-class timed multiple choice exams g. In-class timed writing: i. Open Prompt 1993 AP Exam – a work that evokes ―thoughtful laughter,‖ why the laughter is thoughtful, and how it relates to meaning ii. Prose Analysis Prompt 1988 – ―Reunion‖ analyze blend of humor, pathos, and grotesque h. Writing assignments: Satirical Strategy Paper 8. Unit Seven – (Four Weeks) a. Thematic Focus: Isolation and what it means to be human b. Major Works: Heart of Darkness and The Dead c. Short Stories and Poetry included but not limited to: ―Cut‖ (Plath), ―Birches‖ (Frost), ―I heard a Fly buzz – When I died‖ (Dickenson), ―Fever 103 degrees‖ (Plath), ―Fever‖ (Hughes), ―The Curious Case of Benjamin Button‖ (Fitzgerald), ―Richard Cory‖ and ―Miniver Cheevy‖ (Robinson), ―When We Two Parted‖ (Byron), ―Porphyria‘s Lover‖ (Browning), ―White Man‘s Burden‖ (Kipling) d. Analytical Focus: The Elements of the Literary Research Paper e. In-class timed multiple choice exams f. In-class timed writing: i. 1995 AP Exam Open Question – Discuss how a writer ―highlights the values of a culture or society by using a character who is alienated from that culture or society because of gender, race, class or creed‖ ii. Prose Analysis 1989 Exam – passage from Conrad‘s Typhoon g. Writing assignment: Literary Research Paper (Students will evaluate the social and cultural significance of texts, compare and contrast authors‘ purposes, and/or evaluate text using critical strategies)
9. Unit Eight – (Two Weeks) a. Focus: Poetry b. Analytical Focus: Elements of Poetry Revisited - Word Choice, Word Order, Tone, Figures of Speech, Symbol, Allegory, Irony, Sounds, Rhythm, and Poetic Forms c. Poets Covered: Marlowe, Shakespeare, Bradstreet, Browning, Millay, Cummings, Kenyon, Doty, Murray, Bolton, Hughes, Eliot, Alvarez, Frost, Dickenson, Basho, Roethke, Shelley, Dunbar, Coleridge, Whitman, Williams, Wordsworth, Heaney, Keats, Poe, Tennyson, Sandbury, Blake, Yeats, Updike, Plath, Pound, Sandburg (Includes these poets, but not limited to this list) d. In-class timed multiple choice exams e. In-class timed writing: i. Poetry Analysis 2008 AP Exam – compare and contrast ―When I Have Fears‖ (Keats) and ―Mezzo Cammin‖ (Longfellow) ii. Poetry analysis 1999 AP Exam – ―Blackberry Picking‖ (Heaney), a iii. Poetry Analysis 2002 AP Exam – ―If I Could Tell You‖ (Auden) f. Writing assignments: Create your own – Sonnet, Response Paper to ―I will put Chaos into fourteen lines‖, Create your own – Epigram, Limerick, Haiku, Elegy, Ode, Picture Poem, and Parody, Create your own – Open Form Poetry 10. Review prior to AP Exam – (One Week) a. Literary terms, character names, author names, meaning of the work as a whole, Useful Quotes Jeopardy 11. Post test analysis, choose your own novel, portfolio refinement, suggestions for next year 12. Additionally, students will engage in independent reading. Students will address stylistic prose techniques, provide reader response as well as a prose analysis, and create a visual presentation.
Evaluation: Grading Scale Course Work Percent of Final Grade In-class writings, discussion, and activities 30% Out-of-class writings and other assignments 40% Completion of other class requirements (ex., reading the material; attendance; commitment) 30% Numerical Average Letter Grade 90-100 A 80-89 B 70-79 C 65-69 D Below 65 F No work submitted O
Final Thoughts: This class is not about grades, but about learning. I also want students to have the experience of college-level learning, something most high-school students do not have available to them. College-level learning is not primarily about rigor—though that‘s a part of college—but about responsibility and acceptance of one‘s self as a more mature student, reading and thinking about and writing more mature texts. The difficulty of the texts is a stimulus for students to make their own decisions about published authors, about themselves as a writer, about their colleagues as writers, about the deep and ongoing questions that relate to what it means to be a responding, acting human being both individually and as part of a society.
I intend the course to be stimulating and demanding, one in which a student will grow in relation to who he or she is, rather than in relation to established ―standards‖ developed by state or federal mandates. True learning, I believe, comes from self-demand, rather than society‘s expectations. School is the last stronghold in this regard, a place where experimentation occurs for its own sake, where ideas are generated to be considered and examined for their own sake and not because there is a bottom-line expectation of so many widgets made in a certain amount of time for a certain ―production‖ quota. The student, in combination with her colleagues and me, will create the parameters of this course. Learning is an organic process, interactive; it is not predicated on my filling students with information, as though they were empty vessels. My students and I will learn together.