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AP English Literature and Composition Judy Ivie Burton Tech Academy HS

Academic Year 2013 - 2014 Instructor: Mrs. Willoughby-Hull

Telephone: (310) 779 - 3732 mobile (personal) Email:

Course Description***(See Footnote)

AP® English Literature and Composition is designed to be a college/university level course. This course will provide you with the intellectual challenges and workload consistent with a typical undergraduate university English Literature/Humanities course. As a culmination of the course, students will take the AP English Literature and Composition Exam given in May 2013, which is a requirement. A grade of 4 or 5 on this exam is considered equivalent to a 3.3 - 4.0 for comparable courses at the college or university level. Additionally, a student who earns a grade of 3 or above on the exam will be granted college credit at most colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The AP English Literature and Composition Course allows students to closely explore literature and literary genres and eras. Students will read a variety of text selections, including poetry, drama, novels, prose, exposition (non-fiction), and short stories. Students will write responses to literature that will help to build both practical writing skills and analytical skills. They will learn effective use of logical, emotional, and ethical appeals, syntax and sentence variety, diction, transitions, and rhetorical devices such as repetition, allusion, parallelism and analogies. They will also learn how to use these tools in order to strengthen their arguments and express their own opinions about a text. By completion of the course, students will be able to analyze and critique both classic and modern literature, in groups and individually. They will also be able to write an effective argumentative essay in which they explore the deeper meaning of a text while properly using the conventions of the English language.

Essential Questions:

  • What recurring, critical, and arguable questions will guide reading and point towards the end goal of gaining autonomy with literature?

  • How does literature help us to understand ourselves?

  • How does literature assist us in understanding others and the world around us? 

  • How and why has writing become an effective communication tool across ages and cultures?

  • How does literature reflect the human condition?

  • How does literature express universal themes and symbols?

  • How/why does the plight of the tragic hero portray the human condition?

  • How/why does the plight of the anti‐hero portray the human condition? 

  • Why should we read?

Course Objectives/Goals:

  • To carefully read and critically analyze and evaluate literature. 

  • To understand the way writers use language to provide meaning and entertainment through elements such as figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.

  • To study representative works from various genres and periods (from the sixteenth to the twentieth century) and to be familiar with a few works.

  • To consider the social and historical values and context of a work.

  • To write focused and critical analyses of literature including expository, analytical, and argumentative essays, as well as creative writing.

  • To become aware of, through speaking, listening, reading, and especially writing, the resources of language: connotation, metaphor, irony, syntax, diction, and tone.


Judy Ivie Burton Academy Technology High School grades on a standards based 4 - Point Rubric. All CA Content Standards will be applicable. All end of unit assessments will be weighted as two assignments. The end of Semester exams or projects/papers will be weighted as three assignments. The grading chart is as follows:

A 4.0 – 3.9 100% - 90% Advanced

B 3.0 – 2.9 89% - 80% Proficient

C 2.0 – 1.9 79% - 70% Basic

F 1.0 - 0.0 69% - 60% Below Basic

AP Course Reading

Reading Assignments – Semester #1 Focus

The focus of semester one will be reading, although we will write regularly. 
The most important requirement for this course is that students read every assignment with care and complete the assignments on time. Students unused to literature courses will
need to plan time in their schedule for more reading than most courses require. Poetry, though usually not long, is dense and complicated and should always be
read at least twice. Novels in particular require planning. Beware. Selections for this course will be as follows:

Macbeth – Shakespeare; Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King), Sophocles, Beowulf - Anonymous, Grendel - John Gardner;
The Stranger - Albert Camus;
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald;
Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer;
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte; The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath; Selected poetry, short stories and essays

Writing Assignments – Semester #2 Focus

The focus of semester two will be essay writing. As all writing is argument, students will work to build their skills in developing an argument through diction, syntax, tone, and style. 
Each student will write several short critical essays/papers, explicating poetry and drama, 
and performing a close reading of novels, including research-based writing.

Each paper will use specific well‐chosen evidence to articulate an
argument about poems, drama, and fiction. Specifically, these critical essays will be based on close textual analysis of structure, style (figurative language, imagery, symbolism, tone), and social and historical values. The essays will also analyze how the individual parts of a text contribute to the whole.

Students will focus on tone, purpose, audience, literary devices, and style, and they will establish an insight or opinion into how these devices affect and add to the text as a whole. Students will analyze the rhetorical features of the text objectively, and they will evaluate the texts subjectively.

These critical papers must be typed, double-spaced, and proofread (especially spell‐checked) and will be approximately two to three double‐spaced pages, with the research‐based paper around five to six pages. Writing will be work shopped during class. As a result of group work shopping, that same group will determine criteria for assessing effective critical writing and will develop 9-point, holistic rubrics to identify the bases of evaluation.

Writing Instruction:

  • Students will keep a dialectical journal in which they must pull passages out of texts and respond. The teacher will read the journals and pose guiding questions or add comments to help shape thinking and direct the learning process.

  • The class will build essays from the ground up, reviewing or studying organization, structure, transitions, thesis writing, conclusions, audience, style, purpose, voice, tone, syntax, and writing skills through lectures, presentations, reading of sample essays, worksheets, and writing

  • There will also be a peer-editing component. The goal of these activities is that students develop stronger writing skills in order to better express themselves and their ideas through writing.

  • We will discuss syntax and a variety of syntactical structures. Students will review sentence variety through a series of worksheets, power point presentations, and lectures. They will practice varying syntax through both short writing assignments and longer essays. Essays will be revised multiple times. Students will be given regular feedback throughout the writing process. The goal is that students can improve their sentence structures and learn to be more exact in choosing their words.

InClass Activities


We will have essay examinations that ask you to synthesize your
understanding of the readings. These exams are to help students respond to literary
questions in a way much less restrictive than the AP
in‐class writings on literature. Students will be asked to free‐write their responses to the reading on a regular basis. Students should bring a free‐writing notebook composition book) to each class so they are prepared for this informal writing exercise, which is designed to explore what they learn as they read. In‐class writings will primarily be AP‐based examinations, though there will also be quick‐response, in‐class writings as a basis for discussion.


Reading quizzes will be given on an as needed basis


We will be doing a variety of activities throughout the year that will help strengthen your understanding of the texts. Activities will include but are not limited to Socratic seminars, practice tests, analytical note-taking, short-answer reading questions, group projects, whole class discussions, small-­‐group discussions, vocabulary charts, dialectical journals, etc.


  • Dialectical Journal

  • Vocabulary Chart

  • Short Answer Questions

  • Analytical essays

Unit One: Shakespeare

Readings: Macbeth, Shakespeare & other Shakespeare Selected works

Essential Questions: 

  • What differences and similarities do you see between tragedy and comedy?

  • What literary devices does Shakespeare use and what affect do they have?

  • How does Shakespeare use rhyme for emphasis and characterization?

  • How does Shakespeare capture the human experience? 

  • Why do we still read Shakespeare today?

Reading Quizzes

  • Quick response writing on Masculinity Thematic and symbolic analysis essays Iambic pentameter review sheet Evaluation short essay

  • Exploration of rhetoric: syntax, diction, puns, hyperbole, understatement, tone, rhyme Research essay on Athenian society
Original sonnet in Elizabethan form
Final exam will include quotes, multiple choice, short answer, and essays

Unit Two: Poetry

Literature and Composition, Bedford

Special Consideration for Reading Poetry Closely: rhyme, meter, form, syntax, sound, close analysis

Selected poems will include the works of:

  • William Carlos William

John Keats

Robert Herrick

  • Simon Ortiz

  • Ben Jonson

  • William Wordsworth

  • William Butler Yeats

  • Sharon Olds

  • Theodore Roethke

  • Anne Bradstreet

  • John Milton,

  • Alexander Pope

  • E. E. Cummings

  • Emily Dickinson

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Countee Cullen

  • Dylan Thomas

  • Sherman Alexie

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  • Robert Browning

  • John Donne

  • Lord Byron

  • Margaret Atwood

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley

  • Allen Ginsberg

  • D. H. Lawrence

  • Robert Frost

  • Walt Whitman

  • Herman Melville

  • Claude McKay

Essential Questions:

  • How can poetry be defined?

  • What are poetic devices? How are poetic devices used to engage readers?

  • Why is imagery and symbolism as a poetic/literary device important to the understanding/appreciation of poetry?

  • How have dominant pieces of literature been inspired by poets, and how can poems written in different eras and genres be compared?

  • Who were some of the prominent figures in multiple poetry movements and how did they influence the creative flow and process of writing poetry?

  • What does learning about ourselves teach us about others? 

  • Is creative flair a learned process or is it an inspired desire?

  • Why is the presentation of poetry an important skill learned? 

  • How can one utilize life experiences as a foundation for creative and expressive thinking?


  • Dialectical Journal

  • Compare/contrast essay

  • Literary elements analysis essay

  • In‐class quick writes on theme

  • Poet biographical research project

  • Multiple in class essays analyzing tone, purpose, speaker, audience, style, and mood

Essential Questions:

  • What are the differences and similarities between the poetic forms and literary periods throughout history?

  • What elements characterize each period/form?


  • Poetic Form and Literary Period Group Research Assignment

  • Exam including short answer and multiple choice

Unit Three: Oedipus Rex


  • Summary, Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus
Oedipus Rex

  • Sophocles (excerpts from multiple translations)

  • Notes on Greek Drama
The Poetics, excerpts

Essential questions:

  • How does Oedipus reflect upon real life?

  • What elements of classic Greek drama are reflected in the play?

  • What is a tragic hero? 
Is Oedipus a tragic hero? 

  • What is the role of the secondary characters? 

  • What is the function of the chorus? 

  • What is the role of Irony?

  • How does the translation affect understanding of major themes and literary elements?

  • What can modern audiences gain from reading Oedipus Rex?

Dialectical Journal

Individual: Research power point on Greek drama
Close Reading: choose one line from each act and prepare a one-­‐paragraph explication of theme, literary elements, and relevance to structure of the play as a whole

Group Work: groups will be assigned a section of the play and must explore language related to sight and blindness, relevance to theme, symbolism, and other literary elements
Thematic exploration and analysis essay
Reading quizzes
Tragic Hero quick write
Final exam will include short answer and multiple choice

Unit Four: Anglo Saxon Culture, Beowulf and Grendel


  1. Beowulf, Anonymous

  2. Grendel, John Gardner

  3. Anglo‐Saxon Culture PPT

Essential Questions:

  • How does Anglo‐Saxon culture define good and evil?

  • What qualities are essential in an Anglo‐Saxon hero?

  • What is an epic poem?

  • On what criteria does Beowulf base his decisions?

  • Why does he do what ho does?

  • What features of Beowulf reflect its birth in the oral tradition?

  • What might monsters such as Grendel and the dragon symbolize to Anglo‐Saxons?

  • What do monsters symbolize in our culture?

  • What or whom do we demonize? 

  • Do monsters suggest something about evil qualities within humanity?

  • What human or supernatural qualities does Grendel possess that raise him above the status of a pure beast? 

  • Beowulf probably had a didactic purpose?

  • What could it have been? 

  • Is Beowulf the same kind of hero in Grendel as he was in the original poem?

  • How is he the same?

  • How is he different? 

  • How does Grendel represent the human psyche?


  • Dialectical Journal

  • Compare/Contrast Essay

  • Anglo-­‐Saxon research project

  • Chapter quizzes

Unit Five: Jane Eyre and Victorian Literature

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Excerpts from: 
Frankenstein, Mary Shelly; Dracula, Bram Stoker, Wuthering Heights, Emily

Bronte, Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens Selected poetry

Essential Questions: 

  • How does one preserve individuality in society?

  • In what ways is Jane Eyre influenced by the tradition of the Gothic novel?

  • What do the Gothic elements contribute to the novel? 

  • What do the names mean in Jane Eyre? Some names to consider include: Jane Eyre, Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Reed, Rivers, Miss Temple, and Ferndean. 

  • What sort of voice does Jane have as a narrator?

  • Does her voice change throughout the novel as she grows up, as well as in the story? 

  • Is Jane Eyre a feminist novel? 

  • How does the novel reflect traditional Victorian values?

  • How does it change or reject those values?

  • How did Victorian culture affect the literature of the period?


  • Dialectical journal

  • Vocabulary Chart

  • Group Research Project: Victorian literature, the Bronte’s, Women and Feminism in Victorian England, Literary Criticism of Jane Eyre analysis of growth as a narrator and character
Final exam will include quotes, vocabulary, multiple choice, and short answer

Unit Six: The Stranger


  • The Stranger, Albert Camus

  • Sisyphus

  • Excerpts from various critical essays and books

Essential Questions:

  • How is the world of The Stranger irrational?

  • What defines an anti-­‐hero?

  • How is Meursault an anti-­‐hero? 

  • What is existentialism?

  • Was Camus an existentialist? 

  • What is absurdism?


  • Dialectical journal

  • Research essay: absurdism, existentialism, modern French literature, Algerian class and culture of the mid-­‐20th century
Analysis essay: style, themes, character analysis, evidence of absurdism, build of tension, the anti-­‐hero

  • Reading quizzes

  • In-‐class quick writes: reflective writing, compare/contrast, analysis, and evaluation.

Unit Seven: Modern American Literature Masculinity vs. Femininity, and the American Psyche


  1. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

  2. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

Selected Poetry from:

  • T.S. Elliot

  • Sylvia Plath

  • Pat Mora

  • Gary Soto

  • Allen Ginsberg

  • Jimmy Santiago Baca

  • Nikki Giovanni

  • Julia Alvarez

  • Sharon Olds

  • Li-Young Lee

Essential Questions: 

What is the American psyche? 
Why were psychological issues so important in early and mid-­‐20th century American literature? 
How does each novel represent typical and/or atypical views of American masculinity and femininity? 
What is the American Dream and what role does it play in both novels? 
What factors contribute to the downfall of the lead characters?


  • Dialectical Journal

  • Compare/contrast essay

  • In‐class quick writes on psyche, the American Dream, and Masculinity vs. Femininity

  • Reading quizzes

  • Final exam will include essay, short answer, and multiple choice

Unit Eight: Into the Wild


  • Into the Wild - John Krakauer

Essential Questions:

  • Why would a young man attempt a perilous, solo Alaskan adventure that leads to death? 

  • What is beneficial about experiences in the wild?

  • Does Krakauer imply any judgment or evaluation?

  • Why is the text structured the way it is?

  • What is the affect of the references and stories of other people in history like McCandless?


  • Dialectical Journals

  • Vocabulary Charts

  • Quick Writes

  • Reading Quizzes

  • Research Essays

*********Note: All material in this Syllabus is subject to change at teacher’s discretion.

Class Materials:

  • Independent Reading Book (Your choice!) – It must be appropriate!

  • Composition Books (1-2)

  • Notebook Paper

  • Pens, Pencils, Markers and Highlighters

  • Folders for work, handouts & assignments (3-4) or Binder w/ dividers

  • Miscellaneous other items to assist in your success

Rules and Expectations:

Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” Frank Tyger

1. Do Nows:
You will be required to keep a daily journal. The journal will count as a major test grade for each grading period, as well as part of a classwork grade everyday. Students will find the daily topic (or picture, painting, etc., which will serve as a prompt) on the board in class each day. Journal writing will take place during the first 5-10 minutes of class.
2. Bathroom:

Everyone should use the bathroom and get water before class! The 30/30 Rule applies on block schedule days and the 10/10 Rule applies on Wednesdays or shorter period days.

3. Food and/or Water:

Water only!!!! No food ever in class!!!!


4. Procedure for ending class:



5. Procedure for absences (excused and unexcused):

6. Procedure for fire drill:




8. Procedure for computer work:

You will be assigned a laptop for use in the classroom. Use only your laptop. Do not go on any unauthorized sites according to school rules and policies. Disciplinary action will occur if these rules are not followed.

9. Cell Phones:

All cell phones must be on VIBRATE. If I see them, they will be confiscated and given to Ms. Lutcher to return according to school Policies and Procedures.


*****Note – All information in this Syllabus is subject to change at teacher’s discretion!!

I, _________________________, have read and understand each one of Ms. Willoughby’s classroom rules and expectations. I understand that not following a rule may result in detention for inappropriate behavior and/or lower grades on assignments.
Student Signature ________________________Per# ___ Date: ________

Guardian Signature _______________________Per# ___ Date: _______

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