Advanced Placement Literature and Composition

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Advanced Placement Literature and Composition

Instructor: Maggie Wilson

Contact information: Phone (813) 794-8700 or (352) 524-8700 ext. 48806

E-mail: Website: (moodle)

Esembler grade book and attendance:
Course Description and Overview

This course is designed to expose students to a wide array of literature composed by authors of varying eras, genders, ethnicities, political and religious affiliations, and social standings and to aid students in honing the skills necessary to comprehend, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate those works. This course will also address deficits and augment fortes in written composition, rhetorical fluency, and critical literary analysis.


As a result of taking A.P. Literature, students will:

  • demonstrate and apply knowledge of literary elements and devices

  • criticize and analyze literature through classroom discussion, written composition, use of technology for communication, and other activities that require higher order thinking

  • demonstrate rhetorical fluency in all verbal communication

  • write for a variety of purposes and audiences

  • write in various modes and styles

  • explain the relationships between and among author, style, subject, theme, and audience

  • recognize both the universality of and the uniqueness of human experiences on individual, societal , and global levels, as expressed through literature and writing


A.P. Literature and Composition students should possess the following characteristics:

  • Strong work ethic

Any student enrolled in A.P. Literature and Composition understands that he or she will be expected to complete a great deal of reading, writing, listening, viewing, and speaking. Students should expect a fast-paced and rigorous college-level curriculum that will prepare them for the A.P. exam and for future literature and composition courses.

  • Personal responsibility

A.P. students are expected take responsibility for their own work, make and meet deadlines, submit assignments in a timely fashion, and graciously accept the consequences administered for late work, incomplete assignments, substandard effort, and academic dishonesty.

  • Academic honesty

Academic dishonesty comprises any attempt to utilize without citing and/or claim credit for part or all of another person’s intellectual property, including ideas, opinions, words, or products of any sort. Students are expected to cite all unoriginal information using proper MLA formatting. The consequence for academic dishonesty (also called plagiarism) is a non-negotiable zero on the assignment or assessment and a disciplinary referral for academic dishonesty.
Required Texts

The student must purchase the following literary works and/or textbooks:

  1. Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Any standard edition.

  2. One dystopian novel from the list provided in the course agenda. Sign up for your novel in moodle to make sure there is space for you in that reading circle BEFORE purchasing the novel.

  3. MLA Handbook. Any standard edition. 2009 (newest version).

  4. Rankin, Estelle and Barbara L. Murphy. 5 Steps to a 5: AP Literature. New York: McGraw Hill. Newest edition.

The student must acquire (by purchasing or by checking out from a library) the following novels/literary works:

  1. Steinbeck, John. East of Eden. Any standard edition.

  2. Wright, Richard. Native Son. Any standard edition.

The following texts will be provided by the school:

  1. Arp, Thomas. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense. 8th. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 2002.

  2. The Language of Literature. Florida British Literature. Illinois: McDougal Littell, 2003.

Required Materials

Students are required to provide for themselves the following materials:

  1. Required texts

  2. A binder (1½ + “) in which to keep all work, notes, handouts, etc.

  3. Tabbed dividers (organization is essential to success)

  4. Loose-leaf notebook paper

  5. Writing utensils—pencil and blue and black ink are acceptable; work submitted in any other medium will be discarded and assigned a grade of zero.

  6. Colored pencils

  7. Post-it notes of various sizes (recommended)

Grading Scale

Assignments/homework/journals: 25%

Tests/Quizzes/Essays: 40%

Projects/Readings: 15%

Senior Project: 20%
90-100 = A

80-89 = B

70-79 = C

60-69 = D

0-59 = F
Attendance, Tardy, and Pass Policies

  • This is a college-level course, and college level participation is expected; therefore, attendance is mandatory. Attendance will be taken every day within the first fifteen minutes of class. Much of the learning that takes place in this class is acquired through discussion, lecture, and reciprocal teaching. Absence from class will have a profoundly negative impact on your grade. Large-scale/ long-term assignments cannot be made up if you have an unexcused absence on the due date.

  • Tardiness to class is a mark of disrespect and will negatively impact your grade. If tardiness becomes a chronic issue for a student, I reserve the right to devise my own consequence for that student, apart from the school’s consequence. School-wide consequences for tardies are as follows:

  1. Warning

  2. Lunch detention and parent notification

  3. Saturday School or ISS

  4. Disciplinary Referral and ISS

  • Your student planner is your hallway pass, and you are expected to carry it with you at all times. I will not sign your planner during class unless it is an emergency: as college-level students, you are expected to take care of personal business on your own time. Please ask at the beginning or end of class and have your pass filled out before you approach me.

Make-up and Late Work:

  • Work missed due to excused absence will be subject to school policy: one day is allowed for each day absent if the assignment was given during the absence. If you were given a due date and then become absent, the due date is still in effect as stated. If you have an SRA, you are still expected to turn in any assignments due that day. Failure to do this results in a zero.

  • Quizzes and tests should be made up promptly. The only time you may make up a test or a quiz is by appointment before or after school. It is your responsibility to approach me with an appointment time in mind. You will complete numerous timed writings in class, so these also will need to be made up if you are absent.

  • Since this is a college-level course, late work is extremely unfavorable and will therefore not be accepted. Each student receives one grace period per quarter – you may hand in one of the essays or projects after it is due (up to 2 days).

No other late work will be accepted.

  • You may do make-up work for poor performance. This means that if you are not happy with your grade on an assignment (not quizzes, tests, or timed writings), you may choose to do the assignment over within 48 hours after the graded work is returned. The grade for a make-up assignment may be an average of the two grades or added points, depending on the assignment.

Description of Coursework

  • Essays:

    • Analytical: Students will analyze the form, structure, style, literary elements, etc. of major works in the form of written essays of 3-5 pages.

    • Comparative: Students will compare the forms, structures, styles, literary elements, etc. of multiple major works from various genres, authors, and/or literary movements in the form of written essays of 5-8 pages.

    • Test-preparation: Students will practice timed writings using prompts that have appeared on A.P. Literature exams in previous years. These will be graded using the A.P. Rubric on a sliding scale.

  • Practice Multiple Choice passages

  • Independent Reading Projects: Students will read and annotate a novel and create a study guide for that novel. A new novel and study guide is due at the end of each quarter. Each study guide must integrate the study of the literature/concepts/themes. Annotated novels may or may not be collected for a grade: best to be prepared!

  • Recitations: Each quarter, students will be required to recite a poem of the instructor’s choosing. Students must recite the poem on or before the due date: no late recitations will be accepted under any circumstances, so students are strongly advised not to procrastinate. Extra credit is sometimes available for early recitation, so there is a great deal of incentive to recite early.

  • Senior Project: The Senior Project consists of four elements:

    • a research paper with a minimum of ten pages in length;

    • a physical project requiring a minimum number of hours working with a mentor;

    • an extended written portfolio; and

    • an eight to ten minute presentation before a panel of judges.

This project is an authentic assessment tool that provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they gained throughout their years in the educational system. The purpose of the Senior Project is to expose students to real world application in a meaningful and practical learning experience. Because this is an individualized program of study, students will have the opportunity to showcase their abilities to themselves and to the community. (Year-long)

  • Other Critical Thinking Activities including but not limited to:

  • Literature Circles

  • Socratic Seminars

    • Student-led discussions and lessons (reciprocal teaching)

  • Vocabulary and Literary Term study

  • Students will have monthly quizzes on the vocabulary words given in the Warm-ups/Do-nows and the vocabulary that students identify as challenging during in-class practice activities.

  • The vocabulary words should appear in students’ written composition. Required numbers of vocabulary words will be determined on an assignment-by-assignment basis.

  • Students will receive a list of literary terms, their definitions, and examples, and students will be expected to demonstrate competence in the application of these terms to classroom discussion and written assignments.

  • Mechanics, Usage, and Grammar: Instruction on these topics will take place as needed and/or in the context of writing instruction.

  • A Weekly dose of GLEA: Each week, students will have to research and define a Greek root/affix, a Latin phrase, an Eponym, and an Allusion. This assignment will form a foundation for the background knowledge students will need in order to analyze literature.

  • Friday Poetry: Each Friday, the warm-up will be the presentation of a poem. The students will discuss the poem until they have run out of things to say about it; at that time, we will move on to other activities. This activity will help to demystify poetry and the analysis process and will help students to apply and share their background knowledge, specialized knowledge, and analytical processes regularly.

  • Group projects: group projects help students to learn from one another while streamlining the grading process, allowing for students to receive more immediate feedback. Group project grades will always include an individual as well as a group component. Group projects include, but are not limited to, the Allusions project, the Literary Genres / Movements project, and some in-class writing assignments.

Course Agenda

This agenda is a guideline and may be subject to change, depending on student needs, school-level interruptions, and availability of resources.



Introductory Unit

Discuss syllabus and course agenda

Review Summer Assignment—Due Friday, 26 August 2011

Introduce Vocabulary Study

Introduce Literary Terms Study

AP Practice Test

Allusions Project

Genres / Movements

The Terminology of Multiple Choice and Essay Prompts

Recurring Assignments

Daily: Warm-ups

Weekly: GLEA assignment, Friday Poetry

Bi-weekly: AP Essays, Practice Multiple Choice Sections

Monthly: Vocabulary Quizzes

Quarterly: Recitations, Independent Reading Project

Choose a novel by one of the authors from the list provided, and use the Guiding Questions for the Literature Study Guide to build your analysis. Cite all texts, sources, and resources in MLA format at the end of the study guide. Student will SUBMIT STUDY GUIDES and WRITE AN AP ESSAY at the beginning of class on

Quarter 1: WEDNESDAY, 05 OCTOBER 2011 (20th century fiction)

Quarter 2: WEDNESDAY, 07 DECEMBER 2011 (18th or 19th century fiction)

Quarter 3: WEDNESDAY, 29 FEBRUARY 2012 (Drama, from list in drama section)

Quarter 4: WEDNESDAY, 25 APRIL 2012 (Choice work, from AP list)

SENIOR PROJECT (Throughout all four quarters)

  • Research

  • Media access

  • MLA format


All students memorize & recite the first 11 lines of the Prologue to Beowulf in Old English to understand and experience the language of the times—Recite on or before 19 October 2011


Unit One: Writing About Literature
Review Writing About Literature

  • AP PRACTICE ESSAY (baseline for writing)

  • AP Scorecard

  • Understanding the AP Rubric –highlighting; self-rating

  • Answering the "So What?" question—How to P.E.E. (or E.E.E. or I.S.P.)

  • What makes a good, even great, AP essay?

  • “Birthday Party” essay and anchor papers

  • Improvements needed by category

Unit Two: The Basics of the Novel
Sign up for a Dystopian novel reading circle. The groups will be assigned electronically through a “Choice Assignment” in moodle, and reading circle groups are first come, first served.

  • Analytical Focus: plot, point of view, diction, tone, genre / movement, cultural moment (practice creating study guides); Marxist Criticism

  • Thematic Focus: Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Individual vs. Society

  • Companion Pieces


  • Analytical Focus: Style, Characterization, Plot, Conflict, Allusion (Practice creating study guides); Intertextuality

  • Thematic Focus: Choices, Family, Friendship, Loyalty

  • Companion Pieces


Unit Three


  • Analytical focus: Feminist Criticism, Historical Criticism, Biographical Criticism, symbolism, contradictions, character, irony

  • Thematic focus: 19th century society, gender roles, obligation vs. desire, closure

  • Companion Pieces (poetry and short stories)

  • AP Essay



Complete Unit Three, The Awakening

Unit Four: Middle English Literature
(Begin Reading Dystopian Novel)

  • Assign Norton's "Introduction to Middle English" & "Introduction to Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales"

  • Background information on Chaucer and his times.

  • Study the General Prologue (attempt to read in Middle English), The Pardoner's Tale (on video), The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Tale and / or The Reeve's Tale.

  • Students are to read an additional tale independently.

  • Analytical Focus: Structure, diction, symbolism, imagery, characterization, author’s attitude, tone

  • Thematic Focus: chivalric values, love, human idealism

  • Comparative Analysis: The role of women; the concept of nobility; views of marriage; duality of nature; other topics by approval

  • AP Essay

Unit Five: Satire, Humor, and Irony

  • Elements of Satire

    • Jonathan Swift: “A Modest Proposal”

    • Alexander Pope: The Rape of the Lock

    • Margaret Atwood: “Rape Fantasies”

DYSTOPIAN NOVEL: Literature circles and/or Socratic circles

1984 by George Orwell

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Iron Heel by Jack London

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
AP Essay
Unit Six: Social Reform Commentary and Criticism
Complete Unit Five, Dystopian Novel
Social Criticism Essayists: Excerpts from Thomas Carlyle’s Past and Present; Excerpts from Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy; Excerpts from John Stuart Mill’s On the Subjection of Women
Victorian Social Reform Poetry

Analytical Focus: Characterization, irony, Social Criticism, Marxist Criticism

Thematic Focus: Gender roles, power structures, class system, “Captains of Industry”

All students memorize & recite the opening to the GP in Middle English to understand and experience the language of the times— Recite on or before 14 December 2011

Semester exam: A practice AP exam is given as the 1st semester exam.
WINTER BREAK ASSIGNMENT: Finish reading A Christmas Carol. Complete a chart that shows connections between Dickens’s novella and the essays we have studied.


Complete Unit Six, A Christmas Carol
Unit Seven: Short Fiction

Short Stories

  • Class Focus: “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne; “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield

  • Analytical Focus: various literary elements

  • Thematic Focus: various themes


“The Lesson” “Everyday Use”

“The Most Dangerous Game” “A Worn Path”

“The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber” “A Jury of Her Peers”

“The Lottery” “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”

“The Rocking Horse Winner” “The Guest”

“A Rose for Emily” “The Drunkard”

AP Essay

Unit Eight: Classical, Early Modern, and Modern Tragedy
Classical: Greek


  • Analytical Focus: Elements of tragedy; Classical tragic heroes; Archetypes

  • Thematic Focus: Classical Allusion

Early Modern: Shakespeare


  • Analytical Focus: Shakespearean structure

  • Thematic Focus: Women in Elizabethan Times, Rivals, Love, Tragedy


  • Activity: Analyzing passages, writing sonnets, memorizing soliloquies, interpretation

  • Analysis essay of one of the following (NOT the one we read in class):

Comedies Tragedies Histories

Taming of the Shrew Hamlet 1 Henry IV

Midsummer Night’s Dream King Lear 2 Henry IV

Much Ado About Nothing Othello Henry V
Modern: World and American



  • World: Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Shaw’s Pygmalion, Hellman’s Little Foxes, Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler

    • Analytical Focus: Dramatic structure, characterization, motivation, allusion, intertextuality

    • Thematic Focus: Gender roles, the nature of love, rejection of outdated social systems and norms

  • Modern: O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms, Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

  • Analytical Focus: Imagery, form, symbolism, metaphor

  • Thematic Focus: Guilt, gender roles, identity, subjectivity, heresy

  • Discussion: The Changing Face of Drama (Classical influences; stage directions; “The Well-Made Play”)



All students memorize & recite Portia’s “The Quality of Mercy” speech from The Merchant of Venice in Early Modern English to understand and experience the language of the times— Recite on or before 07 March 2012


Complete Unit Eight, Drama
Unit Nine: The Method Behind the Madness

Student-generated prompts for reading assignments

Student-generated multiple choice questions for reading assignments

Practice tests using student-generated test questions


All students memorize & recite “If” by Rudyard Kipling— Recite on or before 09 May 2012


Test Prep

  • Practice Objective Tests: three versions

  • Review answering strategies

  • Practice AP essays: (in class, 40 minutes)

AP English Literature & Composition Exam

THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2012, 8:00 aM

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