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Beach Channel High School
100-01 Beach Channel Drive
Rockaway Park, New York 11694
English Department

Ms. Fischer

To Prospective Advanced Placement Student,

AP English Literature and Composition is designed to be a college level course.  This course will provide you with the intellectual challenges and workload consistent with a typical undergraduate university English literature course. As a culmination to the course, you are required to take the AP English Literature and Composition Exam given in May.  Student who earn a grade of 4 or 5 on this exam will be granted college credit at most colleges and universities throughout the United States.

  As this is in an intensive course designed to emulate college-level work, all Advanced Placement students are required to complete a summer reading assignment.  The purpose of these readings are to prepare you for an intense experience of the deconstruction and analysis of literature and to cover material that we may not have time to cover within the confines of the school year.  You must read all three of the novels and keep a detailed journal.  As you read consider the essential question of the individual’s search for identity as well as the role of women in society.  The required texts are:

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

            The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

            Suggested additional reading (not required) The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

  As you read maintain a detailed responsive journal for each of the novels.  The journal should be a discovery of what you have learned about the novels as well as about yourself.  The journal must address the search for identity faced by the protagonist of each of the three novels.  Who are these women?  What are their self-definitions, values, interests, dreams, and perspectives?  How do the authors use tone, point of view, style, and language to create effect and meaning in the novels?

 The journal responses will constitute your first test grade for the 2007 – 2008 school year.  You must keep a journal for each of the three novels.  Extra credit will be given to students who also maintain a journal for The Bell Jar.  The class website www.fischer.0catch.com (that is a zero, not the letter O) will be updated throughout the summer months with notes and study guide materials for the summer reading assignments.  Please check the website periodically.  Additionally you may contact Ms. Fischer with any questions or concerns via email: FischerBCHS@yahoo.com.                                                                        

Sincerely,

  Ms. Fischer

 

 

 

AP English Literature and Composition Syllabus
Ms. Fischer
School Year 2007 – 2008

  COURSE OVERVIEW

  AP English Literature and Composition is designed to be a college level course.  This course will provide you with the intellectual challenges and workload consistent with a typical undergraduate university English literature course. As a culmination to the course, you are required to take the AP English Literature and Composition Exam given in May.  A student who earns a grade of 4 or 5 on this exam will be granted college credit at most colleges and universities throughout the United States.  This course is designed to comply with the curricular requirements described in the AP English Course Description.   

This course is designed to teach students:

  • To carefully read and critically analyze literature.
  • To understand the way writers use language to provide meaning.
  • To consider a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as to analyze the use of literary elements such as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.
  • To consider the social and historical values a work reflects and embodies.
  • To write focusing on critical analysis of literature including expository, analytical, and argumentative essays as well as creative writing.  

A typical week will run according to the following general schedule, however circumstances will require deviations from this template periodically throughout the school year.

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

· Distribution of this weeks course work including vocabulary words, grammar skills, reading schedule, and writing assignments

· Lesson focus on literature

· Literature Circles and/or Student Presentations on the course literature

Bridge Day dedicated to connecting the various elements of class, linking literature with writing, novels with poems, etc. 

· Lesson focus on new skill and/or writing technique

AP Test Prep Day dedicated to either:

· writing workshops with essay writing, peer-editing, and revision, or

· multiple-choice preparation and test-taking skills

· Weekly Vocabulary Quiz (this quiz may also include questions related to course readings)

 

· Student Poetry Presentations

    UNIT 1

The Search for Identity; Perception in Personal and Literary Contexts

Every human faces the question of identity.  Who are we?  What is our self-definition and encompassing values, interests, dreams, and perceptions? This unit will address the vehicle with which authors pursue the search for identity using literary techniques such as point of view, tone, and style.  This unit will also instruct students in how to approach a text—how to discuss it, evaluate it, and use it.

                        Essential Questions:

1.      Who and what shape our identity?

2.      If language shapes identity, how does it do so?

 

Pre-Course Summer Requirements

Assigned Texts:

            Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

            The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

            Suggested additional reading (not required) The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

 

The purpose of these readings are to prepare you for an intense experience of the deconstruction and analysis of literature and to cover material that we may not have time to cover within the confines of the school year.  You must read all three of the novels and keep a detailed journal.  As you read consider the essential question of the individual’s search for identity as well as the role of women in society.

 

As you read maintain a detailed responsive journal for each of the novels.  The journal should be a discovery of what you have learned about the novels as well as about yourself.  The journal must address the search for identity faced by the protagonist of each of the three novels.  Who are these women?  What are their self-definitions, values, interests, dreams, and perspectives?  How do the authors use tone, point of view, style, and language to create effect and meaning in the novels?

  September

  The first weeks are dedicated to studying the summer reading texts with a focus on the use of style, tone, point of view, and language.  The first major writing assignment, a paper based on the summer reading, will be distributed, and class time will be dedicated to reviewing MLA style, integration of quotations and supporting textual evidence, and rhetorical techniques.  Students will also begin a study of literary criticism.

  The thesis paper will be 5 to 7 pages in length and will compare the search for identity in two of the summer reading texts.  The paper must include a scholarly analysis of the themes of the two works supported by evidence from the texts, as well as discussion of the author’s use of style, tone, and point of view.  Secondary sources of literary criticism may be incorporated, but are not required for this assignment.  As this is the first major paper for the course, students will be encouraged to re-write their papers if they are unsatisfied with their grades.  Students who wish to revise must conference with the teacher before resubmitting their work.

  By the end of September Poetry Presentation Fridays will be underway.  Each Friday a student will teach a poem (pre-approved by the teacher) to the class.  The poems will represent the spectrum of British literature from the English Renaissance (1485 – 1625) to the Twentieth Century.  Presentations will include:

  • A brief background of the author
  • A brief overview of the poetry movement (Romanticism, Modernism, etc.)
  • An in-depth analysis and dissection of the poem
  • An exploration of major literary techniques employed by the poet including at least three of the following: imagery, tone, diction, figurative language, syntax, theme, symbolism, allusion, point of view, and archetypes.
  • An explanation of the type of poem (lyric, dramatic, etc.) and form of poem (sonnet, elegy, folk ballad, etc.).

 

MONTH

TIME PERIOD / FORM

September / October

The English Renaissance (1485-1625)

November

Sonnets

December

The Seventeenth Century (1625-1660)

January

The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660-1798)

February

The Romantic Age (1798-1832)

March

The Victorian Age (1833-1901)

April

Modernism (early 1900’s)

May

The Twentieth Century (1901-Present)

 

October-November

Assigned Texts:

            Oedipus Rex, Sophocles

            Hamlet, William Shakespeare

 

The course will continue to study the search for personal identity, but the focus will shift from an analysis of women’s roles in society toward an examination of the tragic hero in drama.  Oedipus Rex serves to introduce an overarching theme in the course, the wasteland, which will be further explored in the spring when students study T.S. Eliot.  Oedipus Rex will also provide ample opportunity for a study of archetypes in literature and as a springboard for examining allusions from mythology later on in the course.

  A reading of Hamlet will follow Oedipus Rex, and will be accompanied by a sonnet unit.  The Friday Poetry Presentations during this month will focus exclusively on the sonnet form.  Hamlet will conclude the first unit of the course, although students will continue to evaluate self-perspective in literature throughout the year.

 

UNIT 2

What is Truth? Illusion and Reality

This unit is an exploration of truth on both a metaphysical and narrative level and will study how to live an authentic life; and how to read a narrative in which the truth is ambiguous, in which past, present, and future merge, and in which retellings of the same event occur.  This unit will also explore how language can be used both to disguise and illuminate the truth.

                        Essential Questions:

1.      What is truth?  Is it absolute or relative?

2.      What is the relationship between language and truth?

3.      How willing are we to embrace the truth?

4.      What if “truth” impels us to violate an essential element of our self-concept?

 

December-January

Assigned Texts:

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

             Beloved, Toni Morrison

Additional Reading (select one):

            In the Lake of the Woods, Tim O’Brien

Jazz, Toni Morrison

 

The course will continue to evaluate the author’s use of style, point of view, and tone as students begin to ponder the essential question of the nature of truth and reality.  Students will begin with The Things They Carried, embarking upon a narrative that contends it cannot represent the truth (there are no true war stories, according to O’Brien).  Both novels will broaden students understanding of the relationship between literature and the world, as well as developing a new perspective on history.

 

Students will be directed to read one of the two additional books at home in preparation for their second thesis paper.  This paper, 5 to 7 pages in length, will analyze two works of literature by the same author and address the nature of truth, reality, and illusion by evaluating both texts.

The paper must include a scholarly analysis of the themes of the two works supported by evidence from the texts, as well as discussion of the author’s use of style, tone, and point of view.  At least three secondary sources of literary criticism must be incorporated in the paper.

 

This unit will also address genres and students will be challenged to identify the proper genre for both Tim O’Brien’s quasi-fictional book and Toni Morrison’s historical foray into magical realism.   Students will present lessons on Beloved to the class adhering to the following guidelines:

  • Each presentation should focus on an essential question from the novel.   Some essential questions to consider:  What constitutes a home?   What constitutes freedom?    What constitutes a man?   What constitutes ownership?   How does society affect the individual?

·        Each presentation should relate the essential question to a theme or motif.   Some themes

and motifs to consider: Time / Rememory,  Nature (trees, flowers, etc.),  Man / Manliness,  Home,  Ownership / Freedom, Slavery,  Love / Relationships,  Self-identity, the supernatural,  the power and limitations of language, and  the role of community.

  • Presentations should focus on a symbol from the novel.   Some symbols to consider: Color (pay particular attention to red), the tin tobacco box, and trees.
  • Presentations should focus on a particular character and how that individual relates to the essential question, themes, motifs, other characters, the setting, etc.

·        Presentations should focus on a particular setting and how the setting relates to the

essential question, themes, motifs, other characters, etc.

 

 

UNIT 3

How Do We Make Moral Choices? The Nature of Good and Evil

This unit will examine situations involving moral and ethical dilemmas, and the ways in which culture influences our values and morality. 

            Essential Questions:

1.      What is good and evil?  Is evil an intrinsic element of human nature?

2.      What is the difference between sin and crime?

3.      How does narrative point of view affect the presentation of good and evil?

 

February-March

Assigned Texts:

            Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Native Son, Richard Wright

 

As students read Crime and Punishment they will keep an extensive journal that studies:

  • Dostoevsky’s stylistic techniques and the ways in which they help convey meaning
  • The use of figurative language, tone, syntax, diction, allusion, structure, and archetypes
  • Three characters and their purpose / message in the novel
  • The relationship between Crime and Punishment and Nietschze’s superman theory (also, how does this relate to the tragic heroes we studied earlier in Oedipus Rex and Hamlet)

 

Class discussions and literature circles will be focused around the major themes of the novels and the ideas produced by the literature journals.  The journal assignment will be adapted slightly for Native Son, however both novels will be used to further the overarching idea of the wasteland in society.  There will be no accompanying thesis paper with this unit because essay assignments will increasingly focus on the AP Exam, however the culminating activity for this until will be a writing portfolio of essays concerning morality.  Rhetorical styles within the portfolio will include: persuasive, argumentative and analytical writing.

 

 


UNIT 4

Individuality and Meaning in Life: What is the Nature of a Good Life?

The question all people face is how to live a meaningful existence.  An examination and comparison of the meaning of life viewed through literature and the existential experience.

                        Essential Questions:

1.      What gives live meaning?

2.      What is existentialism?  Is it an optimistic or pessimistic philosophy, or both?

 

April-May

Assigned Reading:

            “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

            “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, T.S. Eliot

            “The Waste Land”, T.S. Eliot

            No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre

Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

 

April will usher in an intensive study of poetry.  Student Poetry Presentations will continue on Fridays, but the class will also examine several longer poems.  The poems will be analyzed in terms of stylistic techniques and meaning with a particular emphasis on tone shifts and theme.  The culminating poem, “The Waste Land”, will serve as a lens through which to view all the literature that has been studied throughout the course.  The class will consider in what ways each of the course texts relate to the theme of the wasteland metaphorically, literally, and emotionally.  This examination of theme of the wasteland will also serve as a review of the literature covered throughout the year in the run-up to the AP Exam.

 

The final two plays that the class will study before the AP Exam will be No Exit and Waiting for Godot.  These plays will also connect with the overarching theme of the wasteland, as well as the essential question of the meaning of life.

 

June

Assigned Texts:

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Edward Albee

 

In the final month of school students will study these two plays as they consider meaning in life and make connections with the literature that they have studied throughout the course.