AP 12 English Literature & Composition Summer Reading Assignment
Congratulations on your choice to take AP Literature. Students choosing this course are interested in studying literature of various periods and genres and using this wide reading knowledge in discussions of literary topics. This is a college level course that requires careful reading and critical analysis of a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as smaller scale elements, such as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone. Thoughtful discussions and writing about complex, canonical texts in the company of one’s fellow students is our goal. It goes without saying that you should be reading a bit in preparation for this course. Specifically, we ask that you select and read one of the following texts and complete the assignments outlined to help us to build upon a common conversation at the beginning of the year.
Reading Assignments: Before beginning your selection, read “How to Mark a Book” by Mortimer Adler. (The essay is easy to find on- line by searching for the title and author; still, a link to the essay will be found on the high school’s English Webpage by the end of May.)
Then choose one of the following texts to read and annotate according to Adler’s description:
To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy Les Miserables - Victor Hugo On the Road – Jack Kerouac The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
All of these books are readily available at your local library and from major bookstores. If you use a library copy of the text, be sure to annotate using sticky notes. I recommend getting your own copy so that you can annotate freely.
Writing Assignment – Adapted from the AP Literature and Composition Free-Response 2011, Form B.
In The Writing of Fiction (1925), novelist Edith Wharton states the following:
At every stage in the progress of his tale the novelist must rely on what may be called the illuminating incident to reveal and emphasize the inner meaning of each situation. Illuminating incidents are the magic casements of fiction, its vistas on infinity.
Select 4 scenes that function as “illuminating” episodes or moments. Then compose one well-developed (i.e. hook, arguable thesis, topic sentences, direct citations and analysis, clear progression of argument, etc.) response that is approximately 3 – 5 pages (1 ½ spacing). Explore each scene and explain how each function as a “casement,” a window that opens onto the meaning of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary.
(Illuminating can be defined as either “to decorate with light for a special occasion” or “to help clarify or explain”. You may use either definition within your essay.)
Your assignment should be MLA formatted, including in-text citations and a Works Cited Page.
If you have questions, contact the English Department Chair – Melissa Lewis - [email protected]
Have fun! Happy Reading! We’ll see you in August. -AP English Literature Teachers