AP English Literature and Composition

Note:  The text boxes indicate course requirements which align with the units in the syllabus.

  Advanced Placement English Literature Syllabus

 

AP English expands and develops skills in critical reading and writing about literature.  Authors are chosen from the AP English Course Description for the English Literature and Composition Exam or from those appearing on previous AP Literature and Composition Exams.  Works are at a reading and content level appropriate for college freshmen.  The course stresses a critical awareness of genre, theme, and style, focusing on British, American and world literature.  Writing assignments emphasize the refinement of personal expression and style at a level equivalent to composition assignments at the freshman college level.

  The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students' writing assignments, before and after students revise their work, that help the students develop:

  Each unit involves writing exercises, including formal extended analyses, timed in-class responses, microessays which enable students to learn methods of analysis they will use in extended essays, and reading logs. Topics for microessays and timed writings are assigned; given a range of possibilities, students select the topics for their own major essays.  They have a week for the first draft, with a required peer edit two days before the draft is due to the instructor. This draft is returned with the instructor’s suggestions for revision, which is due a week later to allow for writing conferences.  The school schedule includes two conference periods a week, during which students have writing conferences and grammar mini-lessons, with more tutoring available scheduled before and after school.  Students may revise multiple times within the week.

Not all writing is analytical. The college essay unit involves a freewriting journal on a variety of prompts similar to college application essay prompts; this journal becomes a resource for students as they revise toward a college application essay. In the modern American novel unit, students keep a reading journal which provides the notes for a graded discussion and the basis for their essays on the novel.  Students also reflect upon their own writing process in written self-assessments each semester.  Other units a creative responses such as writing a villanelle, sestina or ode; writing an original “Modest Proposal” satirizing a current social or political problem; creating six characters and a script with homage to Pirandello’s play Six Characters in Search of an Author; and writing a missing scene from Twelfth Night.

 

Semester I

Poetry Unit I: Review of Poetry
Texts:
Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Gioia, An Introduction to Poetry. 8th ed. Harper, 1994.
Perrine, Laurence and Thomas R. Arp, eds. Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. 8th ed. Harcourt Brace, 1992.
Poems:

The course includes an intensive study of representative works of both British and American writers as well as works written in several genres from the sixteenth century to contemporary times.

  William Shakespeare (“Sonnet 138, “Sonnet 130”), Petrarch (“Sonnet 219”), William Carlos Williams (“The Dance”), Edna St. Vincent Millay (“I will put chaos into fourteen lines”), Edgar Allan Poe (“The Bells”), John Frederick Nims (“Love Poem”), Seamus Heaney (“Mid-Term Break” and “Digging”), Gerard Manley Hopkins (“Pied Beauty”), Langston Hughes, (“Let America Be America Again”), Allen Ginsberg (“A Supermarket in America,”) Derek Walcott (“The Virgins”), W.H. Auden, (“Musee des Beaux Arts”), Andrew Marvell (“To His Coy Mistress”) and similar poems.
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Poetry Unit I, continued

Students write an interpretation of a piece of literature that is based on a careful observation of textual details.

 Assessments:
Students will write, peer edit and revise 3 microessays (brief analytical essays):

Evaluation Criteria: 
Six-trait rubric
Evaluation of these essays will include comments and writing conferences addressing grammar and usage, logical structure, levels of generalization,
Length:  4 weeks

Students have frequent opportunities to write and rewrite formal, extended analyses and timed, in-class responses in all of the following modes: writing to understand, writing to explain, and writing to evaluate.

                                                                             
College Essay
Text:
Bloom, Lynn Z. The Essay Connection: Readings for Writers. Lexington, Mass: Heath, 1991.
Model essays from previous years, with the student writer’s permission.
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Assessments:

The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after students revise their work.

  Peer editing of 3 entries,

Evaluation Criteria:
Teacher-made rubric for Senior Journal
Six-Trait Rubric for personal essay
Length:  4 weeks, 3 weeks overlapping Poetry Unit I and King Lear for at-home  journal writing and essay revisions.

Tragedy
Texts: Note that when the texts alternate, the focus is on the title in bold font.
Shakespeare. William. King Lear. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New Folger Library ed. Washington Square/Pocket, 1993.
--Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed.Cyrus Hoy. Critical Ed., Norton,1992. Note: The objectives for Hamlet are comparable to those for King Lear.
Tragedy:  King Lear, continued
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Students write an interpretation of a piece of literature that is based on a careful observation of textual details.

  Discuss quotations from the text in relation to major themes, including kingship, inheritance, division, justice, parents and children, love, legitimacy, loyalty, hospitality, eyes and sight, madness, civil disorder, religion, nothing, poverty, the elements, nature, truth, guilt, identity, cruelty, fortune, and the worst,

Assessments:

The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after students revise their work.

  Reading quizzes on each act,

Length: 5 weeks

Satire

The course includes an intensive study of representative works of both British and American writers as well as works written in several genres from the sixteenth century to contemporary times.

 Texts:
Voltaire, Candide, or, Optimism. Trans. Theo Cuffe. Penguin Classics Deluxe ed.  Penguin, 2005.
Swift, Jonathan. “A Modest Proposal.” In Lynn Z. Bloom, ed. The Essay Connection: Readings for Writers: Heath, 1991.
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Although critical analysis makes up the bulk of student writing for the course, well-constructed creative writing
assignments may help students see from the inside how literature is written.

  Identify techniques of comedy including irony, satire, hyperbole, wit, epigram, incongruity, inconsistency of character, plot devices, and physical comedy,

Assessments:

Evaluation
Teacher-made rubric for satire presentation

The course includes an intensive study of representative works of both British and American writers as well as works written in several genres from the sixteenth century to contemporary times.

 Length: 3 weeks

Application of Literary Theories

Texts selected for this unit, which vary from year to year, yield supportable interpretations from a variety of critical perspectives.  Texts include Euripides’ Medea and Electra, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Ghosts, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Students are provided with individual paperbacks.

Application of Literary Theories, continued

The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after students revise their work.

  Resources:
Meyer, Michael.  The Bedford Introduction to Literature.  3rd. ed.  St. Martin’s, 1993.
Library and internet resources.
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Assigned reading should be accompanied by thoughtful discussion and writing about those books in the company of one’s fellow students.

  Deliver a comprehensive group oral presentation explaining the origins, major critics, and theory of each approach, including an interpretation of the text,

Assessments: 

Students have frequent opportunities to write and rewrite formal, extended analyses and timed, in-class responses in all of the following modes: writing to understand, writing to explain, and writing to evaluate.

  Individual essay drafts and revisions analyzing the text according to the student’s choice of literary theory.
Evaluation Criteria:
Teacher-made rubric for oral presentation
Six-Trait Rubric for essay
Length: 2.5 weeks

British Novel 
Text: 
Conrad, Joseph.  Heart of Darkness. Ed. Paul B. Armstrong.  4th Critical ed.  Norton, 2006.
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Assigned reading should be accompanied by thoughtful discussion and writing about those books in the company of one’s fellow students.

  Identify the effect of literary techniques such as point of view, structure, frame narration, imagery, figurative language, tone, diction, theme and syntax,

The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after students revise their work.

  Write a well-supported, persuasive analysis of Heart of Darkness in class in response to a prompt from an AP English Literature and Composition Exam. Students will have seen possible prompts in advance will be able to use a copy of Heart of Darkness while they are drafting in class. They will revise this essay overnight before turning it in as their end-of semester exam.
Assessments:

British Novel:  Heart of Darkness, continued

Evaluation Criteria:
Teacher-made rubric for graded discussion
AP English Literature and Composition Scoring Guide for in-class timed essay
Length:  3.5 weeks

Semester II

Poetry Unit II: Poetic Form

Texts:
Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Gioia, An Introduction to Poetry. 8th ed. Harper, 1994.
Perrine, Laurence and Thomas R. Arp, eds. Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. 8th ed. Harcourt Brace, 1992.
Poems:

Assigned reading should be accompanied by thoughtful discussion and writing about those books in the company of one’s fellow students.

  Robert Browning (“My Last Duchess”), Sylvia Plath (“Daddy”), Elizabeth Bishop (“One Art,” “Sestina”), Dylan Thomas (“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”, “Fern Hill”), William Shakespeare (“The Sunne Rising”), Philip Larkin (“Aubade”), John Keats (“Ode on a Grecian Urn”), Pablo Neruda, (“Ode to My Socks”), Theodore Roethke (“Elegy for Jane”), John Crowe Ransom (“Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”), Sherman Alexie, “Elegies,” A.E. Housman (“To an Athlete Dying Young”), Randall Jarrell  (“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”), Wilfred Owen (“Dulce et Decorum Est”), Dudley Randall (“Ballad of Birmingham”), Anonymous (“The Twa Corbies”) and similar poems.
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Students write an interpretation of a piece of literature that is based on a careful observation of textual details.

  Read closely, with attention to the relationships between the poem’s theme and its technical elements, especially the relationship of theme to technique,

Although critical analysis makes up the bulk of student writing for the course, well-constructed creative writing
assignments may help students see from the inside how literature is written.

  Write a well-supported analytical essay on a poem.
Assessments:

Evaluation Criteria:

AP English Literature and Composition Scoring Guide for in-class timed essay

Six-Trait Rubric for explication
Length:  4 weeks

The course includes an intensive study of representative works of both British and American writers as well as works written in several genres from the sixteenth century to contemporary times

  


Modern American Novel

Texts: 
Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. Vintage International, 1990.
Morrison, Toni.  Beloved.  Vintage International, 1990, with comparable objectives in alternate years.
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Modern American Novel, continued

Students write an interpretation of a piece of literature that is based on a careful observation of textual details.

  Identify and recognize the effect of the techniques of literary artistry,

Students have frequent opportunities to write and rewrite formal, extended analyses and timed, in-class responses in all of the following modes: writing to understand, writing to explain, and writing to evaluate.

  Write a well-supported documented essay about the development of one major theme within the novel.
Assessment:

Evaluation Criteria:
Teacher-made rubric for Reading log
Six-Trait Rubric for analytical essay
AP English Literature and Composition Scoring Guide for in-class timed essay
Length:  4 weeks

The course includes an intensive study of representative works of both British and American writers as well as works written in several genres from the sixteenth century to contemporary times.

  


Theatre of the Absurd

Texts: 
Ionesco, Eugene. The Bald Soprano and Other Plays.  Trans Donald M. Allen. Signet Classics, 1998.
Pirandello, Luigi.  Six Characters in Search on an Author. Trans. Eric Bentley.  Signet Classics, 1998.
Resource:  Teacher-constructed PowerPoint on surrealism
Objectives:
Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Assessment:

Assigned reading should be accompanied by thoughtful discussion and writing about those books in the company of one’s fellow students.

  Worksheet on characteristic of absurdist theater in The Bald Soprano, and

Evaluation Criteria: 
Teacher-made rubrics for group presentation and image log
Length:  2 weeks

Existential Novel and/or Plays

Texts: 

Students write an interpretation of a piece of literature that is based on a careful observation of textual details.

  Sartre, Jean-Paul. No Exit and Other Plays. Trans. Stuart Gilbert and others.  Vintage International, 1989.
Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Trans. Matthew Ward, Knopf, 1989.
Alternate texts:  (These will be taught with objectives appropriate to the texts.)
Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. Vintage International, 1989.
Stoppard, Tom: Arcadia.  In Plays Five. London: Faber, 1992.
Objectives:

Students have frequent opportunities to write and rewrite formal, extended analyses and timed, in-class responses in all of the following modes: writing to understand, writing to explain, and writing to evaluate.

  Students will demonstrate the ability to:

Existential Novel and/or Plays, continued

Assessment:

Evaluation Criteria: 
Six-Trait Rubric for analytical essay
AP English Literature and Composition Scoring Guide for in-class timed essay
Length: 4 weeks

Comedy

The course includes an intensive study of representative works of both British and American writers as well as works written in several genres from the sixteenth century to contemporary times.

 Text: 
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night or What You Will. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. Folger Shakespeare Library, 2004.
Alternate text for years when Hamlet is taught rather than King Lear
Stoppard, Tom.  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Grove/Atlantic, 1994.
Objectives:

The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after students revise their work.

  Write a well-supported discussion of comic characterization in Twelfth Night.
Assessment:

Evaluation Criteria:
Six-Trait Rubric for analytical essay,
AP English Literature and Composition Scoring Guide for in-class timed essay,
Teacher-made rubric for “Missing Scene” presentations.

Students write an interpretation of a piece of literature that is based on a careful observation of textual details.

 Length: 4 weeks (3 weeks for students taking the AP English Literature Exam)

AP Review for students taking the AP English Literature Exam

Assessment: 3 timed writings to AP Literature Exam prompts

Length: 1 week, overlapping the end of Twelfth Night.