AP LITERATURE (12th Grade English)

Advanced Placement English Literature Summer Assignment (12th Grade)
Novel: A Lesson before Dying by Ernest Gaines
Poem: “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay
A Lesson before Dying is a story whose eloquence, thematic richness, and moral resonance have
called forth comparisons to the work of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and William Faulkner.
In this novel, Gaines summons the reader to confront the entire bitter history of black people in
the South-and by extension, America as a whole.
1. Read A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines and the poem “If We Must Die” by Claude
2. Write an in-depth essay in which you discuss the similarities between the two writings
using literary techniques such as symbolism, dialect, tone, and theme. This assignment
is not research based. It is based on your own analysis. Be specific and thorough using
textual evidence to support. Reference both the novel and the poem. Develop each
literary technique in a separate paragraph. Be sure to include introductory and
concluding paragraphs with a clear thesis statement.
3. On 3X5 lined index cards, take notes on the following characteristics of the novel:
setting (one card), tone (one card), themes (one card for each theme), author biography
(one or two cards), symbolism (one or two cards), and point of view (one card). Place
cards in an index card binder. Put your name on the first note card or outside of the
binder. Cards must be placed in a binder.
Essay requirements:
-typed, minimum of two pages
-double spaced
-12 font, white paper
-MLA format
-Essay and note cards in binder are due on the second day of school