AP English Literature and Composition Syllabus and Course Outline

AP English Literature and Composition Syllabus and Course Outline
Introduction (from CollegeBoard’s Course Description)
An AP English Literature and Composition course engages students in careful reading and
critical analysis of literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their
understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their
readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style and themes, as well as such
smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone.
Course Summary
The AP English Literature and Composition course includes intensive study of representative
works from various genres and periods, concentrating on works of recognized literary merit. The
majority of texts and reading material is based on the representative authors list found within the
Course Description of the AP® English Course Description published by CollegeBoard. One of
the goals of the course is to teach students to derive meaning from a text’s structure, style, in
addition to figurative language, theme, diction and other literary devices. This course engages in
a thorough, intensive study of several genres and literary criticism, as well as some schools of
literary criticism, such as psychoanalytic, feminist theory, formulism and reader-response theory.
Class Expectations
AP English IV students are expected to be mature and have the motivation level equivalent to
those students in university classrooms. The expectations for this class room are no less. You
will work, and you will work hard; but the hope is that the reward received in preparing for your
future coursework will make the effort you expend now well worth the prize.
1. Preparedness: You are expected to read and complete all assignments BEFORE coming
to class. There will be interaction, discussion and/or group work every day. If you do not
do your part, I cannot do my part in helping you to succeed.
2. In-class writing, discussions, workshops: AP English IV is not a lecture course. Expect
to discuss and write each day. Many times there will be group activities as well. In-class
writing and group work cannot be made up if it is missed. Because the workshop
atmosphere of AP English IV, class discussion is encouraged. However, members of the
class need to respect other students’ contributions to class discussion. Talking that
disrupts the group discussion or talking that hampers the learning of the class as a whole
is inappropriate and will not be tolerated.
3. Class Participation: Your participation is required in class. One of the ingredients for a
successful student is having the ability to bring your own thoughts, considerations and
opinions to a discussion. There is no wrong answer or thought. You thoughts offer a
diversity of perspective that can inform conversation, offer insightful dialogue, and
present potentially new avenues of discourse. Please take the risk of sharing with the
4. Format for Papers: Use Times New Roman 12 pt. font ONLY, double-spaced with 1”
margins on all sides. Always follow standard MLA format for papers.
5. Late Work: Present all work in class, in person, and on time. Essays are due at the
beginning of class. Any essay submitted 10 minutes after the tardy bell will be considered
late and will be penalized points.
6. Absences: It is the student’s responsibility to request make-up work. If you attend school
at any time during the day an assignment is due, you are required to bring me your
a. Fieldtrips: School excursions are not valid excuses for not turning in work.
b. Make-up Exams: Any student that is absent on the day of a test is expected to
make up the test during tutorials upon their return to campus. If the student does
not report to make up the exam within the previously stated time frame, no credit
(0%, zero) will be given for that test. You may not make up tests during class or
another class period. Be advised that make-up exams are more rigorous due to the
student having more time to prepare. It is in your best interest to be present on all
exam days.
Course Goals
This course will provide you with the intellectual challenges and workload consistent with a
typical undergraduate university English literature/humanities course, which is characterized by
the following:
1. To carefully read and critically analyze a variety of literature.
2. To understand the way writers use language to provide meaning and pleasure.
3. To consider a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as such smaller scale
elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.
4. To study representative works from various genres and periods but to know a few
works extremely well.
5. To understand a work’s complexity, to absorb richness of meaning, and to analyze
how meaning is embodied in literary form.
6. To consider the social and historical values a work reflects and embodies.
7. To write focusing on critical analysis of literature including analytical essays as well
as creative writing to sharpen understanding of writers’ accomplishments and deepen
appreciation of literary artistry.
8. To become aware of the resources of language: connotation, metaphor, irony, syntax,
and tone.
9. To develop stylistic maturity through the application of a wide-ranging vocabulary, a
variety of sentence structures, logical organization, the balancing of generalization
with specific illustrative detail, and an effective use of rhetoric, including controlling
tone, maintaining a consistent voice, and achieving emphasis through parallelism and
The Exam
The exam takes three and half hours to complete and is divided into two sections: multiplechoice and essay. The multiple-choice section consists of four to five short literary passages and
roughly 50 multiple-choice questions covering the analysis of those passages. Points are not lost
for incorrect or unanswered multiple-choice questions; credit is earned solely for correct
answers. This section accounts for 45% of the complete score. The essay section consists of three
prompts: prose, poetry, and free-response. Each prompt requires that the student understand and
analyze the techniques and devices the author uses to achieve his or her purpose. This section
accounts for 55% of the complete score.
Plagiarism Policy
Plagiarized papers or projects will receive a grade of “0” (zero) – no exceptions. Cheating or
collusion will also result in a grade of “0” (zero) on that paper or project. Plagiarism or collusion
on a second major assignment will result in a zero in the course. This includes in-class or
discussion questions assigned to students. Everything submitted is read by the instructor, and if
two students turn in verbatim answers, it is recognizable. Both students will receive a “0” (zero)
because the cheater and the cheated cannot be determined.
Students need to be aware that the instructor will be utilizing plagiarism software and internet
sources to check student work for potential plagiarism. This will be discussed in more detail
during class lecture.
Course Grading Scale
Course Outline
*Skills introduced in each cycle should be reinforced throughout the school year with AP practice.
Reading and writing are integral parts of every lesson.
Continuous Class Writing and On-Going Activities
Timed Writings every two weeks, working on one of the writing prompts from the AP
Exam. You will be expected to integrate your readings into the timed writing selections.
Multiple-Choice practice will come from your readings
Poetry Explication and Analysis
Literary Criticism (Using Rhetorical Precis)
Socratic Seminars
Independent Reading Book Projects
Vocabulary Practice
1st Cycle: Gender Unit
Overarching Questions:
1. Are there certain rules of engagement between the genders?
2. How is gender defined in America (Greece and Africa)?
3. How is gender defined by artists, authors, and directors? To what extent do we accept
their definition?
4. Explain the clashes between generations with different values.
5. What is the conflict between religious tradition and modern life?
6. How has the conservative culture of the past been challenged by a more permissive
culture of the future?
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
Antigone, Sophocles
Daisy Miller, Henry James
Short Stories
“A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner
“Story of the Hour,” Kate Chopin
selections from:
 Robert Browning
 Margaret Atwood
 Sylvia Plath
 Emily Dickinson
Mona Lisa Smile, dir. Mike Newell
A Doll’s House, dir. Patrick Garland
Daisy Miller, dir. Peter Bogdanovich
 Aristotelian concepts of tragedy
 Essay structure and organization
 Author’s use of tone, syntax, details, diction, imagery, organization, figurative language,
point of view, etc. as it contributes to the purpose of the piece/selection.
 Diagnostic assessments
 Analysis essay examining theme, conflicts, point of view, characterization, symbol, plot,
and setting from summer reading.
 Poetic devices and analysis
 Introduce multiple-choice strategies
 Introduce independent reading project
 Writing for the open response question #3
 Opportunities for revision and rewriting will be given
2nd Cycle: War Unit
Overarching Questions:
1. How can a writer use war to move characters from the patterns of an everyday world into
a stark setting? For what purpose?
2. How is the search for peace (or truth) an important element throughout this unit?
3. Why does war figure so prominently in literature?
4. How are our own lives shaped and influenced by modern warfare?
5. What is the moral or social responsibility in arms development and deployment?
The Illiad, Homer
The Aeneid, Homer
Short Stories
War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
selections from The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
Siegfried Sassoon, Aftermath
Wilfred Owens , Dulce et Decorum Est
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charge of the Light Brigade
W.H. Auden, Shield of Achilles
Yusef Komunyakaa, Facing It
William Shakespeare, “If we are marked to die…” from Henry V
Walt Whitman, Vigil strange I kept on the field one night
Herman Melville, Shiloh: A Requiem (April, 1862)
Anna Akhmatova, The First Long-Range Artillery Shell in
Wilfred Owens, The Parable of the Old Man and the Young
Wilfred Owens, Arms and the Boy
Kite Runner, dir. Mark Forster
Book Thief, dir. Brian Percival
Saving Private Ryan, dir. Steven Spielberg
Dances with Wolves, dir. Kevin Costner
“War of the Worlds” read by Orson Wells
 Introduce AP scoring guidelines (essay and multiple-choice)
 AP essay calibration
 AP multiple-choice practice
 Review mythology
 Characteristics of the epic and the epic hero
 Examination of how author’s techniques (tone, diction, syntax, figurative language, etc.)
create meaning
 In-class literary analysis timed writing
 Introduce in-text MLA citation
 Socratic seminars based on outside reading
 Continue poetry study
 Continue vocabulary study
3rd Cycle: Tragedy Unit
Overarching Questions:
1. How does the playwright use the conventions of drama to convey universal theme?
How does culture influence drama?
How does drama reflect culture?
Why do poets use poetic conventions and poetic forms?
How does Shakespeare’s language and style impact how he is read in the modern world?
Where do you see instances of Shakespeare borrowing themes from before his time?
Short Stories
Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
Othello, by William Shakespeare
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
King Lear, by William Shakespeare
Selected sonnets
PBS Great Performances: Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear
 Identify sonnet form
 Review Aristotelian concepts of tragedy
 Use of drama to criticize society
 Identify dramatic devices, such as: soliloquy, aside, foil, tragic hero, comic relief, dramatic
irony, play within a play
 Evolution of tragedy
 Application and analysis of cross-textual and media sources
 Continue AP multiple-choice practice
 Socratic seminars based on outside reading
 Discussion, writing assignment, test, project, etc. covering outside reading
 Individual conferences with students to identify areas that need improvement
 Timed writings
 AP multiple-choice practice
4th Cycle: The Journey Unit
Overarching Questions:
1. How can I develop as an individual and be part of the society around me?
2. What are the implicit problems with colonialism?
3. Explain the role that power has historically played in shaping identity and culture.
4. How does the journey shape the characters?
5. How do political and spiritual beliefs affect your journey?
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
Short Stories
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
“A Worn Path,” Eudora Welty
“A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor
 from Dante’s Inferno
 John Milton’s Paradise Lost
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, dir. George Lucas
Stand By Me, dir. Rob Reiner
Rabbit-Proof Fence, dir. Phillip Noyce
 Identify archetypal patterns
 Review characteristics of an epic
 Discuss point of view, symbolism, imagery, irony, denotation, connotation, allusion,
 Individual conferences with students to identify areas that need improvement
 Timed writings
 AP multiple-choice practice
5th Cycle: Satire and Humor Unit
Overarching Questions:
1. How do authors use humor to explore sensitive subjects?
2. What devices does the satirist use to ridicule, expose, and/or denounce some form of
vice, folly, indecorum, abuse, or evils of any kind in society?
3. How effective is satire in shifting and shaping societal views?
4. In what ways do love and relationships currently define America’s culture?
5. What are modern rules for dating and courtship? Where do we learn these rules?
Short Stories
The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde
“Celebrating Jumping Frog of Calaveras Country,” Mark Twain
excerpts from The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
selections from:
 Jonathan Swift
 Alexander Pope
clips from:
 The Daily Show
 Saturday Night Live
 The Simpsons
 Family Guy
 Devices of satire (i.e. parody, hyperbole, sarcasm, and irony)
 Narrative perspective and point of view
 Review elements of poetry
 Techniques of humor
 Mock AP exam
 Individual conferences with students to identify areas that need improvement
 Timed writings
 AP multiple-choice practice
6th Cycle: Dystopia Unit
Overarching Questions:
How do we, as citizens of the world, face the upheaval of social forces? What is the result?
Why is the pursuit of truth and peace an important element in literature?
How does literature reveal inherent truths about society?
Why/How do dystopian regimes claim moral and religious truths as their doctrine?
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
The Island, by Aldous Huxley
1984, by George Orwell
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Short Stories
 Test taking strategies
“Harrison Bergeron,” by Kurt Vonnegut
V for Vendetta, dir. James McTeigue
Minority Report, dir. Steven Spielberg
Twelve Monkeys, dir. Terry Gilliam
Total Recall, dir. Len Wiseman
Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall (Part II), dir. Gerald Scarfe
AP Exam
Characteristics of dystopian/utopian literature
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