Walter Williams High School
English IV A.P. Literature – Summer Reading Assignment
When we return to school in August, you should have bought the following three books and completed the assigned summer reading. You will need your copies of these books during the first several weeks of school. The best option is to buy your own; note taking in the margins and underlining are essential for the kind of close reading we will be doing. I will let the local bookstore know that students will be looking for these works; however, don’t overlook used bookstores. Greensboro, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham all have well-stocked used bookstores.
1984 – George Orwell
Othello – William Shakespeare
One of the following longer works:
A Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
100 Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Texts we will be reading this semester (in addition to those you will be working on over the summer):
Perrine’s Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry Structure (This will be provided for you)
How to Read Literature Like a Professor
Anthem – Ayn Rand (this will be provided for you).
Beowulf (Seamus Heaney Edition)
Grendel – John Gardner
The Tempest – William Shakespeare
Fences – August Wilson
Arcadia – Tom Stoppard
Beloved - Toni Morrison
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven – Sherman Alexie.
Do not use Cliff’s or SparkNotes or any similar publication (in print or on the web) with your summer reading. The entire purpose of the A.P. course is to develop your ability to discern the writer’s method. Memorizing or repeating what some graduate student has written for Cliff does not help you develop the skills you will need to be successful in this course and, eventually, on the A.P. test.
In order to help you read more carefully, make notations in your book about the topics below -(You may do this in any way you please; flagging with Post-It notes, highlighting, underlining, and writing in the margins are some suggestions [for more on note-taking, please go here – (http://www.tc.umn.edu/~jewel001/CollegeWriting/READSPEAKTHINK/READ/ReadingLit.htm or http://slowreads.com/ResourcesHowToMarkABook-Outline.htm). Make certain that you do this, because you will use this information when class begins. Anything that you have written or stuck to your copy of the book may be used].
You may want to use the following color-coded structure for your notes –
Personal response/questions (color = )
For all annotations, include MARGINALIA—labels/comments in the margin, or on your sticky notes, revealing the substance of the marked passages (“Substance” = what type of device did you find, or what key idea does this passage pertain to, or what question do you have about this highlighted part?)
Literary & rhetorical devices —any/all types (color = )
(Examples: metaphor, hyperbole, irony, paradox, understatement, repetition, distinctive syntax, allusions, symbols, etc.)
Motifs/key ideas— (color = _________________)
(Examples: individual vs. society, life vs. death, journey from innocence to awareness, oppression, corruption, freedom vs. slavery, etc.
Topics to look for and think about as you read:
History, revisionism, dystopia, government control (and the use of technology to control others)/rebellion/free-will, music/poetry, dreams, Big Brother, language and meaning, class consciousness, appearance and reality, patriotism v. nationalism, irony (both verbal and situational), and connotation vs. denotation.
Self-esteem and jealousy, honor, proof/judgment/lies/trust, slavery, racial slurs, oppression of women, clowns, hell, plants and animals as symbols, irony, chronology, tragic hero, rhetoric (both of the author and of Iago), structure of the play – pay particular attention to the climax and denouement.
In addition, you will need to respond to one of the following essay prompts based on the novel that you choose: (Your essay should be typed, 1½ or double spaced, 12 point font, Times New Roman and should include quotes from your novel, at least two pages typed and at least five paragraphs).
For Atlas Shrugged: (there is a national contest based on these prompts – 1st prize is $10,000)
1. Hank Rearden does not apply the same philosophy to his personal life that he applies to his business. In what way does this contradiction harm him psychologically and practically? What is the central error that he makes? How does correcting his error improve his life?
2. In Atlas Shrugged, the heroes want to "make" money while the villains want, on the surface at least, to "have" money. What is the difference between these two views of money? Explain your answer by reference to actual events in the novel.
3. Choose one of the following pairs, and compare and contrast each character's approach to life and basic motivation:
a. Hank Rearden and Francisco d'Anconia b. Dagny Taggart and Lillian Rearden
c. Eddie Willers and James Taggart
For A Prayer for Owen Meany:
1. Owen speaks and writes in capital letters, emphasizing the potency of his strange voice. At the academy, he is even referred to as the Voice. Why is Owen’s voice so important? Why might Irving choose to capitalize everything Owen Meany says? What effect does this have on the reader? What other occasions can you think of in which Owen’s voice plays an especially meaningful role?
2. John’s reactions to and obsession with the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s reflect his position as neither a true Canadian nor a true American. Do you think that non-Americans have a clearer vision of the machinations and deceptions within American politics? What did John’s focus on American politics tell you about his adult character?
3. There are numerous religious allusions in the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany. Choose 5-7 and discuss their role in the novel. What is Irving saying about the role of religion in contemporary America?
For 100 Years of Solitude:
1. What are the purposes and the effects of the story’s fantastic and magical elements? How does the fantastic operate in the characters’ everyday lives and personalities? How is the magical interwoven with elements drawn from history, myth, and politics? You may want to research magical realism in preparation to answer this question.
2. The words “solitary” and “solitude” appear on nearly every page of this novel. What types of solitude occur in the novel (for example, solitude of pride, grief, power, love, or death), and with whom are they associated? What circumstances produce them? What similarities are there among the various kinds of solitude? Discuss why the members of the Buendia family are so alone. What does Marquez mean to say about the nature of man?
3. Discuss the importance of hyperbole in the novel. How does Marquez use hyperbole differently at different points in the narrative: when he is talking about technology, for instance, as compared to civil war? With his use of hyperbolic language, what is Marquez attempting to say about Latin American history?
4. Discuss the role of gender within the novel. How does Marquez portray both men and women? Is the society patriarchal or matriarchal? Why? You may want to explore the following: A) women’s sexuality and the novel. How do the female characters alternatively exploit and bury their sexuality? When it comes to their happiness and their sexuality, what patterns appear? What is Marquez saying about women’s freedom? B) masculinity as it relates to creation (invention) and destruction (war) and how men often abandon women because of these two pursuits.
For A Picture of Dorian Gray
1. What role does art play in The Picture of Dorian Gray? What are each of the three main characters' attitudes towards art? How do they think art functions in society? In addition, analyze the juxtaposition between art and morality in the story.
2. Dorian rationalizes Basil's accusations, saying that every individual is responsible for his or her actions, and therefore for his or her downfall. Analyze how this relates to the novel. In addition, is Dorian responsible for his own ruination, or is Lord Henry?
3. In addition to Dorian Gray, read either one of the Faustus plays (either Wolfgang von Goethe’s or Christopher Marlowe’s). Compare and contrast Dorian Gray with Faust, the title character of both plays.. What are their key similarities and key differences? In addition, compare and contrast Lord Henry Wotton with Mephistopheles, the devil figure in Faust.
You should refresh your memory before class starts. Be prepared for a quiz on all three of your summer readings the second day of class (if you would like to keep a plot summary as you read, by all means, do so).
In addition, you will want to thoroughly explore the following two websites:
UNC Writing Center: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/
List of literary terms that you will need to become familiar with in preparation for the AP exam: http://sparkcharts.sparknotes.com/lit/literaryterms/
Web page introducing literary theory: http://www.kristisiegel.com/theory.htm
Titles from Free Response Questions: http://homepage.mac.com/mseffie/AP/APtitles.html
List of questions from former tests: http://homepage.mac.com/mseffie/AP/ap.html
Link to the official AP English Language and Composition Course Home Page: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/courses/teachers_corner/2123.html
Questions? Email me at school – I promise I will read it. I hope you have a wonderful summer.
Stuart Ringwalt Stuart_Ringwalt@abs.k12.nc.us
Senior Project – although we will spend a short amount of time in class discussing any questions you may have regarding the senior project, we will not be work on your essay during the semester in class. You will be expected to complete your product and portfolio and prepare your presentation on your own time. (I will be happy to assist you with this outside of class in any way that you need, but because of the nature of an A.P course, we will not have time in class).
Perrine’s Sound And Sense: An Introduction to Poetry
How to Read Literature Like A Professor
5 Steps to a 5 – Writing the AP English Essay
2 weeks: A Prayer For Owen Meany
2 weeks: 1984
1 week: Beowulf
2 weeks: Grendel
2 weeks: Canterbury Tales
1 week: Othello
1 week: Tempest
2 weeks: The Plague
3 weeks: Beloved
3 weeks: Cloud Atlas
2 weeks: Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
Republic – Plato
Ethics – Aristotle
Almanac of the Dead – Leslie Marmon Silko
A Brave New World – Aldus Huxley
Mama Day – Gloria Naylor
100 years of Solitude
French Lieutenant’s woman