|AP English 12 - Literature and Composition
Brenda Werner, Room 102
Bismarck High School
School Telephone: 323-4800 Ext. 6082
Cell Phone: 400-3722
This Advanced Placement Literature and Writing course encompasses college level work in writing, reading, and speaking. In May there is an AP English Literature and Composition exam for which class participants should be prepared. This class does follow the curricular requirements found in the AP English Course Description which states that an AP English Literature and Composition course
…engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading …students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language…students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes…figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone. (45)
The purpose of this class is to raise reading and critical thinking skills, and writing and speaking skills. Students will write analytical, persuasive, personal, expository, creative, and MLA style research papers. Most of the learning is on the learner, and as such, is conducted as a seminar. Class participation is essential because the exchange with classmates will be the means to “crack open” this literature. The teacher is the facilitator of these discussions, not “the sage on the stage.”
92-93 = A-
90-91 = B+
86-89 = B
83-85 = B-
81-82 = C+
77-80 = C
74-76 = C-
72-73 = D+
68-71 = D
65-67 = D-
Students are graded in three areas: writing, speaking, class participation, and tests/quizzes. There is no extra credit in this class.
Introduction of the Course
Unit 1a: Strategies to infer meaning - this discussion revolves around a study of two of Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues: “Porphyria’s Lover” and “My Last Duchess.” Students will work on using text as support for various inferences made about the characters and situations in both poems. This sets up class discussions on literature as always grounded text-based support.
At the end of the unit, there will be assigned a two-page typed analytical essay of Porphyria, the Lover, the Duke, or the Duchess after a detailed discussion on use of textual evidence. Quotes and paraphrases must be used in all expository, analytical, and persuasive writing. Preceding this will be a review and discussion of logical organization and techniques of coherence such as repetition, transitions, and emphasis. Close attention to diction and syntax will start in week one and run through all future literary discussions. All papers receive feedback from me in written form.
Unit 2a: Discussion of the summer assignment - Jude the Obscure with The Book of Job and Archibald McLeish’s J.B. The summer assignment involves reading, then completing a reading guide and writing a critical analysis of some aspects of the novel. As the first novel of the semester, students see the need for “careful, deliberative reading…learning how to make careful observations of textual detail, establish connections…, and draw from those connections a series of inferences leading to an interpretive conclusion about a piece of writing’s meaning and value” (AP Literature and Composition guide).
The discussion of the literature will result in two in-class timed writings, two analytical essays, and a final essay exam. Since this will be the first in-class timed writing, the teacher will spend time instructing students as to how to approach this task. Students will also keep a personal vocabulary list of 50 words.
Before the October ACT, class will spend two-three days reviewing mechanics of writing: passive/active voice; parallel structure; use of colons and semi-colons; and indefinite pronouns.
Unit 3a: Study of ancient Greek literature - Oedipus the King (and sometimes Antigone with comparison piece, Jean Anouilh’s Antigone); included also will be a study of Plato’s “The Cave” in conjunction with Oedipus, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Students will use the King essay in conjunction with Antigone as a modern historical perspective of just and unjust laws. The King essay will be the basis for an in-class essay (analytical)“in which students draw upon textual details to make and explain judgments about the work’s artistry and quality, and its social and cultural values” compared with those in Antigone.
Students prepare and present speeches on the background of Greek theater, looking at conventions, theater structure, ancient Greek religion, parts of the Greek play, functions of the Greek chorus, genealogy of Oedipus, etc. After this, students read and analyze the plays. A personal paper and essay test, wrap-up the unit. Instruction on “establishing and maintaining voice, controlling tone, and emphasis through diction” will precede the writing of the personal paper.
Unit 4a: Students will read Fydor Dosteovsky’s Crime and Punishment. This book will provide an opportunity to explore voice, structure, historical perspective, symbols, characterization, and style. Students will have an in-class writing, a comparison paper, and a final test. Style will be examined for diction, sentence structure, and controlling tone. The comparison papers will be presented in small groups.
Unit 5a: Study of Shakespeare’s Hamlet - students will examine subtext, convention of Shakespeare’s theater, characters, themes, motifs, etc. At times, we will watch two-three versions of the same scene done by different directors/actors as a comparison of purpose and technique and changes evident because of cultural values at the time the version was made. Quizzes on each act, several in-class writings, a formal essay (analytical), a personal reflection, and a memorization (“To be or not to be” speech), and a writing/acting project will encompass the work for the unit. While reading the play, students will keep a daily log which allows them to do reflective reading/writing about character, plot, and word choice after discussing several strong examples. After studying the play, students will, in groups of four to five, rewrite one act of the play into another time and place. Each group will then act out the rewrite for the class. If time, class will view Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and discuss it as Theater of the Absurd and a picture of modern man in a world he does not understand.
Unit 6a: Study of H. Ibsen, the father of modern drama - students will study A Doll’s House, considering Ibsen’s contributions to the modern theater; the changes he instituted in language and subject; and his use of symbolism on all levels—dialogue, props, foil characters, setting, etc. Included with this will be a discussion of gender constructs, and a sharing of gender-based articles on issues today that tie to Ibsen’s plays. The class will have an in-class writing, a culminating analytical essay, and a final test. If time allows, class will, in small groups, study another Ibsen play of their choosing (The Wild Duck or Hedda Gabler). These groups will meet for four days in student-led discussion examining their play, using their understanding of Ibsen from A Doll’s House to help them analyze their second play. The test will be a compare/contrast of A Doll’s House and their second Ibsen play.
The semester final exam covers all of the works studied and is required of all students.
Unit 1b: Literary Research Paper - students will write a 2500-3000 word research paper (that is persuasive in focus) on a novel or play of literary merit. We will learn and apply the research paper process using MLA format. A research paper is defined as a summary of what others have already said or written on a given subject, presented according to a standard method of procedure, limited to a narrow subject, and original in selection, evaluation, analysis, expression and conclusion. It is NOT a report, and it is not a personal essay. Students will follow these steps:
(1) Narrow topic
(2) Prepare a preliminary bibliography and preliminary thesis
(3) Take notes
(4) Write final outline
(5) Write rough draft with proper parenthetical documentation
(6) Peer editing of the final draft—each writer will have her rough draft edited by two classmates and the teacher will also read and make suggestions on the rough draft. Student will then revise the paper and resubmit.
(7) Write final paper
Unit 2b: English Romantic Poetry – while students are working on the research paper, they will be doing poetry in class. Students will study figurative language, scanning, and explication of the poems. When the research paper has been completed and turned in, all of the students will take over teaching the modern English poets after seeing the process modeled by the teacher. Each will memorize and recite one of the Romantic sonnets, write a parody of one of the modern poems, write a modern poem, and teach and write an explication (analytical essay) of the modern poem that was assigned to teach plus one other the class studied. Students will be instructed on how to write an explication and they will be given several models from which to work. Students will work in editing groups on the second poem explication and then implement suggestions in revision. The poetry unit is a time of close attention to word choice, tone, and syntax as a means to “unlock” author intention.
Romantic poets studied:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Unit 3b Modern English Poetry: This will be where students take over the teaching. Each will be allotted an entire class period for giving brief background on a poet and then teaching the poem assigned. It is the student’s responsibility to be sure the class understands the work when done teaching. Students should be sure to cover figurative speech, organization, syntax, tone in the presentation and discussion. That is, how did the poet achieve the effect he was after? This will become an analytical essay.
Modern poets studied:
Owens (War poet): “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Disabled”
W. H. Auden: “The Unknown Citizen” and “Musee des Beaux Arts”
T.S. Eliot: “Preludes” and “The Hollow Men”
W.B. Yeats: “The Second Coming” and “Sailing to Byzantium”
D.H. Lawrence: “The Snake”
The final poetry test will be objective and essay and will cover all poetry studied.
Weeks Seven-Ten: English Victorian Novel
Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights - As students finish the teaching of the modern poems, they will read the novel, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Once poetry is completed, students will begin the study of one of these novels. Analysis will focus on the author’s criticism of the plight of Victorian women, and the demands and punishments of a striated critical society. Students will write two in-class essays, one analytical essay, and two tests in addition to the class discussion of the literature. Students will also research and present a modern example of world-wide female challenges and issues.
Week Eleven (and earlier): Preparation for the Advanced Placement Test
Students will write several previous AP test essays and examine the rubrics used to grade them. They will also grade one another’s writing based on the AP rubric and sample answers AP Central has printed in guides. The teacher will collect and make suggestions on these papers as well. Students will rewrite one of these. In addition, students will take the multiple-choice part of the test several times during the year.
Ending weeks after the AP test: The Stranger by A. Camus
Students will study the historical perspective of a disillusioned world open to existentialism as demonstrated in Camus’s The Stranger. Students will then write a culminating analytical paper that evaluates and analyzes the changes in the author and his world as shown throughout the novel.
Final project: Students will write a script for “Meeting of the Minds” in groups of four after the teacher has explained the process and given several models of past scripts. Each member of each group will become some character from a work we have studied this year. Then the group will place these four characters (all from different works) in some situation that would require them to talk to one another—an elevator, an emergency room, a doctor’s office, a talk show, etc. The script will explore the interaction of these various characters, their philosophies, and ideas they might share with one another. The scene will be performed for the class and a typed script will be submitted.
For more information, see BHS teacher websites by going to the district site:
http://www.bismarckschools.org/district/ and selecting:
Schools/Bismarck High School/Academics/English/Brenda Werner.
Works used beyond the individual novels:
Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide. New York: Longman, 1999.
Jewkes, W.T. and Northrop Frye, eds. The Ways of the World: Satire and Irony. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973.
Marshall, Kristine E., ed. Elements of Literature.(Sixth Course of Literature of Britain with World Classics). Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1997.
Trimmer, Joseph F., A guide to MLA Documentation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
Winterowd, Ross W., and Patricia Y. Murray. English: Writing and Skills. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1988.