• AP English Literature and Composition Summer Reading Assignment 2020-2021

    Marsha P. Dryden, M.Ed.




    Introduction:  Welcome AP English Literature and Composition where you will be able to pursue the academic challenges of literature lovers. The AP English Literature and Composition course is designed with the goal of enhancing students’ abilities to explore, comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate complex literary texts. Upon completion of this course, a student should be proficient in discussing literature of varied themes, historical contexts, and genres, whether it be in an on-demand, timed writing prompt, an in-depth, scrutinized, and revised essay, or in-class discussion. Be prepared as students entering this course must have the initial expectation that they will read, contemplate, and write about literature extensively. We will write an essay every couple of weeks (in analytical, argumentative, and expositional forms) and will read every day (novels, creative nonfiction, short stories, and poems). Students must be willing to challenge and justify their understandings, attempt to see other perspectives, and discuss them in a mature and lively manner. The course features practice for both free-response and multiple-choice portions of the AP test. We attempt to scaffold students’ on-demand close reading and writing abilities by repeated practice, group scoring, feedback, and reflection on a variety of sample AP-styled questions and prompts.


    Only through active engagement will you gain the tools you need to enhance your knowledge and abilities so, we will begin our course with your Summer Reading Assignment. The Summer Reading Assignment will count as three writing assignments and three quiz grades. Please follow standard formal writing conventions.


    A Google Classroom has been created for you to turn in your assignments and collaborate with your fellow students and professor. I'd like to invite you to join our AP English Literature and Composition class on Google Classroom; our class code is wzbst5c.



    Assignment 1: Write Your Reader Profile - Due: on or before January 28, 2021


    Before you begin any of the reading for this summer, craft a well-written profile of yourself as a reader and writer. What are your strengths and weaknesses in reading and writing? What purposes do reading and writing serve for you? What are your passions and peeves? Be as honest and forthcoming as you possibly can. This portion of the assignment should be no more than 200 words and submitted in Google Classroom.



    Required Reading Assignment: - Due: on or before January 28, 2021


    Read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster; I recommend you buy your own copy ($10.29 on Amazon).


    As you read, How to Read Literature, make a list of 3 to 5 statements that reflect the important points Foster makes in each chapter. Label each section with its chapter name, and try to capture the lesson that Foster wants readers to take from his chapters. You will turn this outline in on Google Classroom on or before January 28, 202, as proof of completion of the reading, but you will also use it to support your novel choice for the summer.



    Novel Assignment 1: Prose Analysis – Due: On or before January 28, 2021


    In addition to the novel, How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster, you are also tasked with reading one of the novels on the summer reading list. The reasoning behind the summer reading is to give students exposure to a wider range of literary works in preparation for the AP exam and for successful completion of the course curriculum. With your selected novel, you will have an assignment to complete. Please do not rely on summaries, movies, or book notes (Spark Notes, Cliffs Notes, etc.) for these assignments. There is never a substitute to reading the texts. Follow the format below to complete your assignment.


    • Divide your novel into fourths. Use common sense for stopping at chapter breaks instead of exactly on a fourth of the novel.
    • Choose four passages from each fourth of the novel. Passages should be long enough to get an idea of the author’s style (solid paragraph to half a page of text): passages may be written, typed, or photocopied. Do not forget to include the page number.
    • For each passage, discuss/analyze diction, imagery, syntax, selection of detail, figurative language, tone, point of view, themes, symbols, characterization, and any other tools the writer uses. In your analysis, discuss what makes each passage representative of the author’s style and what makes each passage memorable/significant. Set your analysis up in the format below.




    (What does the quote say, literally?)


    (What is the quote’s overall significance or importance to the purpose of the novel?)


    • Be sure that your analysis shows how the author’s style impacts or illuminates the author’s purpose for writing.
    • Be sure to discuss a range of stylistic devices within each passage. Below are some definitions to guide your analysis:
      • Theme: the main idea or message of a literary work. Theme is a truth about life revealed through the literature, written as a complete statement. Love is not a theme. What the author is saying about love is the theme (ex: Love is a powerful force that helps overcome all obstacles).
      • Tone: the writer’s attitude toward the topic; identify the writer’s tone and any shifts in tone that occur; words that describe an author’s tone might include critical, angry, sympathetic, caustic, sarcastic, satirical, etc.
      • Diction: the choice of words the author uses. You must identify the types of words that stand out to you when describing diction (Often several words with a similar effect are worth discussion)
      • Syntax: the structure of a sentence; the arrangement of words in a sentence. A discussion of syntax could include such considerations as the length or brevity of the sentences, the kinds of sentences (questions, exclamations, declaratives sentences, rhetorical questions- or periodic or loose; simple, complex, or compound).
      • Figurative Language: the use of words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. Common types are simile, metaphor, and personification.


    • Use the sample dialectic journal below as a model for your own writing and thinking. The following example is from Little Bee.



    “Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming. Maybe I would visit with you for the weekend and then suddenly, because I am fickle like that, I would visit with the man from the corner shop instead but you would not be sad because you would be eating a cinnamon bun, or drinking a cold Coca-Cola from the can, and you would never think of me again. We would be happy, like lovers who met on holiday and forgot each other’s names.” (1)


    (What does the quote say, literally?)

    In this opening quote, the character says that she wishes she were a British pound coin instead of an African girl so that people would be happy to see her, and that she could visit with the reader and bring the reader ephemeral and material happiness. She says that if she were money, she and the reader could have a brief, happy, and yet careless/meaningless encounter.


    (What is the quote’s overall significance or importance to the purpose of the novel?)


    This passage is important because it introduces us to the narrator, who incorporates the use of the second-person perspective to engage the reader in her story. The narrator, an African girl, uses an extended metaphor to hypothetically compare herself to a British pound coin. Through this comparison and the personification of the coin, she implies that she is envious of the coin’s mobility, frivolity, and its ability to bring ephemeral happiness to those who encounter it. Her yearning for these qualities introduces the idea that as an African girl, she feels powerless, worthless, and unwanted.




    Prose Analysis Assignment 2: Selected Novel Readings – Due: on or before January 28, 2021


    Read your novel and complete three (3) of the five (5) assignments below. By using selected chapters from, How to Read Literature Like A Professor, your assignments will connect your novel to the lessons Foster introduced you to at the beginning of the summer assignment. These short writing assignments will let you practice what you learned from Foster’s novel and develop your literary analysis skills. Please type these assignments.


    From the Introduction: How’d He Do That?

    How do memory, symbol, and pattern affect the reading of literature? How does the recognition of patterns make it easier to read complicated literature? Discuss how your summer reading novel is enhanced by understanding symbols or patterns.


    From Chapter 1: Every Trip Is a Quest (Except When It's Not.)

    List the five aspects of the QUEST and then apply them to your summer reading novel in the form used on pages 3-5.


    From Chapter 12: Is That a Symbol?

    Read “Araby” (http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/araby.html) and investigate the symbolism of the fence in “Araby.” (Mangan’s sister stands behind it.)


    From Chapter 13: It's All Political.

    Assume that Foster is right and “it is all political.” Use his criteria to show that your summer reading novel is political.


    From Chapter 19: Geography Matters...

    Discuss at least four different aspects of your summer reading novel that Foster would classify under “geography.”



    (After reading, write me a letter about the novel you read this summer):


    • Tell me about your experience reading the novel. What are your chief reactions? Share those, and be sure to support them up with details from the novel. Avoid plot summary.


    • Should this novel be a required book for summer reading? Why or why not?


    • Outline one current topic that could be effectively discussed in relation to this novel.




    Submit your letter in Google Classroom on or before January 28, 2021.


    Do not delay. Start your summer reading early and take time to enjoy the reading. Contact me as soon as possible with any problems, questions, or concerns. Have a great summer and see you in class.



    Selection List for AP Literature & Composition Summer Reading (2020-2021)


    This list consists of titles that frequently have been referenced on the AP Literature and Composition exam in the last 15 years. Select a book that you have not read previously. You may choose a book that is not on this list, but you will need to have your choice approved by September 30, 2020. Contact me at marsha.dryden@henry.k12.ga.us.



    You should speak to your parents or caregivers about your reading selection. Some of the books on this list may not share the values taught in some homes. If this is a concern, talk with your parents will prevent any future misunderstandings. Check out book descriptions and summaries on Amazon and Goodreads as well as free book reviews from the New York Times archive.


    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

    The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

    Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

    Moby Dick by Herman Melville

    Beloved by Toni Morrison

    All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

    Billy Budd by Herman Melville

    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

    King Lear by Shakespeare

    Hamlet by Shakespeare

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

    The Awakening by Kate Chopin

    Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

    Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

    The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

    Obasan by Joy Kogawa

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

    All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

    Antigone by Sophocles

    Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

    Brave New World by Adlous Huxley

    Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

    A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

    Hedda Gabler by Henrick Ibsen

    A Modest Proposal by Jonathon Swift

    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver