Course Information Grade Levels: 11/12 Credits: 0 Course Description

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AP English Literature & Composition

AP English Literature & Composition


Course Information

Grade Levels: 11/12

Credits: 1.0
Course Description

AP English Literature & Composition is designed to provide students with learning opportunities similar to those found in a college literature classroom. Through close reading of literary texts, students will come to understand how authors use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers.

The course will focus on literary analysis from multiple genres, periods, and cultures. Our literary analysis will look through the lenses of style and structure, rhetorical strategies, diction, figurative language, imagery, selection of detail, language, and syntax. Exploration into poetry will compliment the longer works studied. Poetic forms from ballads and sonnets, to schools of poetry from metaphysical to modern poetry will be included.
Writing well about literature of recognized literary merit is an integral aspect of this course and emphasis will be placed on assignments that focus on developing critical writing skills.
It is expected that the students take the AP English Literature & Composition Exam in May. Students will need to check their respective colleges to see what credits are offered for the test and/or course.
Course Outcomes

In this course, through the development of close reading and analytical strategies, students will:

  • Make careful observations of text detail

  • Establish connections among observations

  • Interpret meaning and value from the work

  • Use a wide-ranging vocabulary in discussion and written work

  • Incorporate a variety of sentence structures in written responses

  • Develop logical organization in written responses

  • Incorporate specific illustrative detail in discussion and written responses

  • Use of effective rhetoric in written work

Methods of Instruction

A discussion-based course will be the primary method. Additional instructional strategies of literature groups, lecture, journaling, and projects will enhance student learning.

Writing about Literature

Students will write a variety of AP style essays in and out class in response to studied works of literature. Essay expectations include:

  • Timed essays regarding a specific rhetorical or analytical focus

  • Quality and depth of insightful interpretation based on inclusion of illustrative detail and explanatory focus.

  • Revise and edit essays for re-submission

  • Use of AP Scoring Guide in analysis in written work

Reference/Text Materials

Applebee, Arthur, et al. The Language of Literature: American Literature. Illinois: McDougal Littell, 2004.

Applebee, Arthur, et al. The Language of Literature: British Literature. Illinois: McDougal Littell, 2004.
Applebee, Arthur, et al. The Language of Literature: World Literature. Illinois: McDougal Littell, 2004.
Longknife, Ann, Ph.D. and K.D. Sullivan. The Art of Styling Sentences. 4th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Services, Inc., 2002.
Class Novels/Dramas

Medea, Euripides

Hamlet, Shakespeare

Othello, Shakespeare

Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Turn of the Screw, Henry James

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner*

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams*
*Students are required to purchase these novels independently.

On-line Reference Materials

Style guides are a useful tool in producing effective rhetoric. Students may use these resources

  • OWL at Purdue MLA style guide

  • Diane Hacker MLA style guide

  • The Little Brown Handbook


Evaluation of the understanding of literature is primarily done through essays. Other areas of evaluation include:

  • Tests and quizzes

  • Vocabulary and literary terms

  • Active participation during discussion

  • On-going individual conferences

  • Writing logs

  • Formal literary essays

  • AP style, timed essay responses

  • Mid-term Exam

  • Final Exam


  • School’s grading scale

  • AP Essay Scoring Guide

  • Grades calculated using total points

Course Outline

Units list major works and activities. Within each unit short stories and poems for further close reading will be presented. In anticipation for the May exam, ample preparation time will be devoted to the task of “practicing.”

Within each unit we will build upon the skills and objectives outlined above. Our units will be centered on a common theme or topic. As readers we must ask ourselves, “What thought-provoking questions will guide us in our inquiry and point to the larger concerns of the unit?”
Essays are listed with a broad topic; specific guidelines will be shared at that time. Different styles of essays will be emphasized: comparison, critical analysis, persuasive, and reflective. Grammar, sentence structure, mechanics, tone, voice, significant interpretation, and supporting details will be required of all essays –formal and timed. Essays will be evaluated using the AP Scoring Guide and teacher-student conferences. Students are encouraged to re-submit essays for further evaluation.
Pre-Course Work:

  • Read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

  • Complete related assignments (see webpage for assignment postings)

Unit 1:

Topic: Loyalty & Revenge

As I Lay Dying

  • Rhetorical strategies, stream of consciousness, and symbolism

  • Writing log

  • Essay: journey as a purpose


  • Shakespeare’s language, dramatic conventions

  • Writing log

  • Essay: a passion vs. responsibility

“Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” Thomas Gray

  • Writing log

  • Essay: attitude regarding society

Unit 2

Topic: Love & Affection

“My Last Duchess” Robert Browning

“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” Christopher Marlowe

  • Writing log

  • Diction and method

  • Essay: talking back to poetry

“The Wife of Bath’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Writing log

  • Essay: gender and the narrator

Wuthering Heights

  • Writing log

  • Parallel structure

Unit 3

Topic: Fortune, Fate, or Providence?

“Convergence of the Twain”

  • Poetic devices

  • Writing log


  • Tragic heroes and gender expectations

  • Writing log

  • Essay: Conflict of individual vs. will of majority

“On My First Son” Ben Johnson

  • Writing log

  • Emotional connections


  • Epic Heroes

Unit 4

Topic: Remembering

“Rime of the Ancient Marnier” Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Poetic method and manner

  • Writing log

“Hollow Man” T.S. Elliot

  • Writing log

  • Essay: fulfillment and salvation

Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad

Unit 5

Topic: Self

Metamorphosis Franz Kafka

  • Allegories and symbolism

  • Writing log

  • Essay: bold and broad interpretations


  • Society, gender, and the individual

  • Writing log

  • Essay: advocates in societal change

“Eveline” James Joyce

  • Writing log

“Dover Beach” Matthew Arnold

  • Isolation and poetic devices

  • Writing log

  • Essay: speaker and his view

Unit 6

Topic: Appearance and Reality

“The Moment” Margaret Atwood

  • Writing log

Turn of the Screw

  • Interpretation through a lens

  • Writing log

  • Essay: navigating the steps of reality

A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Dramatic tension

  • Exploring boundaries

Poetry: TBD

Unit 7

Topic: Change & Tradition

Things Fall Apart

  • Allegory and meaning

  • Writing log

  • Essay: caught between cultures

“Russia 1812” from The Expiation Victor Hugo

  • Politics and repetition

  • writing log

  • essay: irony and speaker’s attitude

Unit 8

Topic: AP Exam Preparation
Final Exam

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