AP English Literature & Composition
Summer Assignment 2015
AP English Literature and Composition Summer Reading Assignment
Read Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. As you read, keep a dialectical journal in the format described in the following pages. Read the supplementary information provided for you to help you make sense of the characters’ names as you read (Russian literature is notoriously difficult when it comes to names).
You may borrow a copy of this novel from me, but I recommend that you purchase your own. The best translation is by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. The version we have is the Penguin Classics edition translated by David McDuff.
Read a 20th century novel from the list below. If you did not take CP or Honors English 11, you must read The Great Gatsby. Descriptions of all of these novels can be found on Amazon. All are considered high quality choices for the AP exam in May; more importantly, they’re all fantastic reads!
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (1990)
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (1993)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2007)
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zorah Neale Hurston (1937)
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2007)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (only if you did not take English 11) (1925)
You will need to purchase your own copy of your 20th century novel. Very inexpensive used copies of all of these books can be found on Amazon. You can download them as well, though I recommend purchasing physical copies of the books we read, as you will be required to annotate them.
Your assignment is as follows:
Summer essay on your independent novel (appendix A): choose one of the AP Literature essay topics of the last ten years that you think applies to your 20th century novel. Compose a typed, MLA-style essay using your novel to answer the prompt. Your essay should be 3-4 pages, with a strong thesis statement, at least five paragraphs, and must include appropriate MLA citation of your quotes. If you do not remember how to formal a paper in this style, use this link to the Purdue OWL Guide to MLA citation and formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
Dialectical journals for Crime and Punishment and your choice novel (appendix B). Directions are included—you may type these or hand-write them (neatly!) in a notebook.
I suggest starting with your 20th century novel, as we will be discussing Crime and Punishment in the first few weeks of class. Don’t wait until the week before class begins to start this, however, as it is a challenging novel.
Both of these things will be due on the first day of class! You should bring your journals, your essay, and both books to class on our first day together.
I will accept NO late work for summer assignments. No exceptions. You have 11 weeks to complete this. Make a reading/writing schedule, and stick to it!
You may find copies of these assignments as well as some additional reading strategies and a guide to characters’ names in Crime and Punishment on the district website under “Summer Assignments.”
If you have any questions, please e-mail me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you. Happy reading!
Appendix B: Dialectical Journals for Summer Novels
The purpose of a dialectical journal is to identify important pieces of text and explain their significance. It is another form of highlighting/annotating a text and should be used to think about, digest, summarize, question, clarify, critique, and remember what is read.
It is a way to take notes on what is read using the actual text, so that when students are asked to write an essay about or utilize the information from the text, they do not have to reread the entire piece. Instead, they can search their notes for direct quotes to use as supporting evidence for their opinions.
In effect, you will be holding a discussion with yourself on key points, asking questions, reacting to particular phrases that drew your attention, etc. We will then use your comments as a starting place for class discussion over the assigned reading.
You will identify at least 18 KEY QUOTATIONS/PASSAGES that you think are especially significant. You will then write a detailed analysis of that quotation or passage. In order to spread them equally throughout the book, plan on including at least 3-5 responses per section in Crime and Punishment (there are six books total in Crime and Punishment).
You can use the composition notebook provided for this or you can type it, if you prefer.
In your journal, you will re-write the passage/quotation and page number and your analysis of the passage (see sample below). Your analysis should be at least ONE long paragraph. Occasionally you may reference an event or moment from the text that is larger than a single quote. First you should write or type the textual evidence: the quotation (exactly, in quotation marks) or the specific event summary, followed in either case by the page number in parentheses. On the next line, write or type your response to this textual evidence. If you wish, you may do this in a double-column format (see example below).
Your journal will be due on the first day of school and will count for a significant portion of your first marking period grade. Therefore, failure to do the assignment could result in a failing grade.
On Plagiarism: Assignments must be completed individually, without collaboration with other people or outside reading resources (including the internet). Your journal must represent your own thoughts and ideas. Plagiarized work will receive a zero and disciplinary consequences will ensue.
Dialectical Journal Suggestions
Why do I choose a quotation and how do I respond?
I am particularly interested in responses that are connections (especially text-to-text and text-to-world), questions (as long as you hypothesize about the answers), and especially inferences. Remember that these responses may need to be longer than you are accustomed to writing. In addition, there are other reasons to select quotations including:
*epiphany – seeing something you didn't see before; a “light bulb” moment
*character insights – motives, symbolic representation, reasons for conflicts/relationships
*recognition of patterns – overlapping images, repetitions of idea or details,
structural or content shifts
*author's style – use of certain words, phrases, sentence structures, tone, etc.
*effective use of stylistic/literary devices – interpret imagery, figures of speech, symbols, allusions, etc. and give possible explanations
*realization of a deeper meaning or theme that is running throughout the novel
Try to avoid obvious or shallow observations (Scout had a brother who teased her; my brother teases me). Remember that I am looking for the depth of your thought – your ability to go beyond the text and think about the literary artistry and “big picture” meanings. Connect to other texts, historical context, the “how” in addition to the “what,” and the rhetorical devices the text presents.
Also of Note:
Please record your quotations/responses in the order they appear in the novel.
If you wish to avoid the “start and stop” method of note-taking while you read, place small post-it notes in your book and come back to write and respond later. This is good practice for the school year!
A strong journal will have 18+ quotations and responses that cover the entire length of the novel.
The responses should be yours and not copied from any source. Plagiarism—using ideas or information from the internet (such as Sparknotes)—is unacceptable and will be taken seriously.
Quote from novel ( this sample is from To Kill a Mockingbird)
“…as I read the alphabet a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, and after making me read most of My First Reader and the stock market quotations from the Mobile Register, she discovered that I was literate and looked at me with more than faint distaste. Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me any more, it would interfere with my reading” (21).
The novel takes place during the Depression, a time when kids like Scout had almost nothing to look forward to and no prospects for a better future. Scout speaks often of how dirty the kids are, how poor everyone is (so poor that no one notices that anyone else is in any better or worse shape than they are). Miss Caroline does not seem to understand that she is probably one of the few things standing between the kids of that era and total disaster. Her job is so important because she can give them the entire key to a better life. Instead, she singles kids out for mistreatment, demeans the children in front of each other, and does not try to inspire the kids in her class.
Adults during the Depression had to have been afraid, afraid of starvation, afraid of losing their jobs. Perhaps Miss Caroline is so harsh partly because she is inexperienced, but maybe she is afraid that if she does not run her classroom like a factory (everyone doing the same thing at the same time) that she will lose her job. Maybe she thinks the kids genuinely need her to be so critical and rigid. Fear makes people react to their surroundings instead of acting rationally. Perhaps fear is a theme in this book, fear of poverty, fear of failure, fear of other races. I will use fear as a purpose for reading as I continue through the chapters, noting who is acting out of fear and who is acting rationally. Perhaps those conclusions will lead me to the theme of the novel.