Students who are candidates for AP English Literature and Composition are expected to complete a summer reading and writing project.
Summer Reading Required Texts:
1.Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) Thomas Hardy (Norton Critical Edition ISBN 978—0-393-95903-1) or Crime and Punishment (1866) Feodor Dostoevsky (Norton Critical Edition ISBN 978-0-393-95623-8) or Emma (1816) Jane Austen (Modern Library Classics ISBN 0-375-75742-2)
2. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1599-1601) William Shakespeare (Folger Shakespeare Library ISBN978-0-7434-7712-3)
3. Break Blow Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World’s Best Poems by Camille Paglia (Vintage Books ISBN 978-0-375-72539-5)
1. Reading, Reflecting, Analyzing, and Writing Assignment for the Novel: Out-of-Class Essay
Emma, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Crime and Punishment are nineteenth-century novels that are considered classics of world literature. Reading one (or all of them) will provide you with challenging and rewarding experiences.
After reading Emma, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, or Crime and Punishment, locate the following internet site: http://homepage.mac.com/mseffie/AP/APOpenQuestions.html. Read through the list of free-response prompts from the AP English Literature and Composition exams (1970-2011), choose one of the prompts that best fits the novel you have read this summer, and write a three-to-four page analytical essay. Remember to state a thesis, to develop and support your ideas with specific references, examples, and passages from the text, to use MLA-formatted parenthetical citations, and to include an MLA-formatted works-cited page on a separate piece of paper stapled at the end of your essay.
2.Reading, Reflecting, Analyzing, and Writing Assignment for Break, Blow Burn: Out-of-Class Essay
Break Blow Burn is a collection of forty-three poems, each of which is followed by an explication and analysis of the text of the poem by Camille Paglia. The poems appear in chronological order; I suggest you read the collection of poems starting at the beginning. You may not agree with Paglia’s commentaries on the poems, but they aren’t dull.
After reading Break, Blow Burn, choose two (2) poems from this collection on a similar theme or topic: love, death, war, sex, nature, divinity, art, etc. Write a three-to-four page essay in which you compare and contrast under common subtopics how the theme is handled in each poem. Be sure to discuss in your essay and assess Paglia’s commentary on the poems you have chosen to analyze.
DO NOT use internet sites such as sparknotes.com to formulate your ideas. I am interested in your understanding of these works of literature. If you feel that you must use an internet site as a source for ideas in this or any other assignment, be sure to cite ideas according to MLA format. Otherwise you run the risks and consequences of plagiarism (see the CHRHS (Dis)Honesty Procedure in the CHRHS Student Handbook. The essays for Emma, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, or Crime and Punishment and for Break Blow Burn are due at the beginning of the second-class meeting of the first quarter.
I will not accept late work, except under the most unusual of circumstances. Incomplete or undone assignments usually signal one or two things:
- You are not committed to spending the time necessary for this course.
- You are likely not to complete other class assignments.
3. Reading, Reflecting, Analyzing, and Writing Assignment for Hamlet: Timed, In-class Essay
Reading Hamlet certainly presents challenges and rewards as well. Before reading the Folger Library text of the play, I suggest you become familiar with the plot by reading the plot summary provided by SparkNotes or Wikipedia; then watch the 1990-1991 film version directed by Franco Zeffirelli withMel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates (available at HAV); then read the Folger Library text of the play; and then watch the 1996 film version directed by Kenneth Branagh. Embrace your inner dweebness by throwing a Hamlet party with other students in the AP class.
Shortly after returning to school in August and September, you will be asked to write a timed, in-class essay on Hamlet in response to one of the prompts from a released AP English Literature and Composition exam.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 763-3630 (home during summer vacation), 236-7800 ext 222 (during the school year), firstname.lastname@example.org (home; I usually check this daily), or email@example.com (school; I rarely read school email during the summer).
Here are some other well-written and enjoyable contemporary novels and works of nonfiction to consider reading this summer or in the future. I also encourage you to subscribe to The Writer’s Almanac (it’s free): http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (1997 National Book Award for Fiction)
Empire Falls by Richard Russo (2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Any of the following novels by John Irving: A Prayer for Owen Meany or The World According to Garp or Cider House Rules
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck
Minaret: A Novel by Leila Aboulela
Away by Amy Bloom
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
Silence by Shusaku Endo
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
The River Below by Francois Chent
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
The Attack by Yasmina Khadra
The Book of Job translated by Stephen Mitchell
Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman (graphic novel)
War’s End: Profiles from Bosnia 1995-1996 by Joe Sacco (graphic novel)
Stitches: A Memior by David Small(graphic novel)
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Lying Awake by Mark Salzman
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
Mendel’s Dwarf by Simon Mawer
A Summerof Hummingbirds: Love, Art, Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, & Martin Johnson Heade by Christopher Benfrey (nonfiction)
This Republic of Suffering: Death and The American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust (nonfiction)