This summer’s reading assignments will consist of fiction and non-fiction assignments.
All students will read:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Each student will choose one novel to read from the list below:
My Name is Asher Lev (Chaim Potok)
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead)
You will write two major essays over these novels.
First, on the second day of school, there will be a timed essay written in class over the reading. You will not know the topic in advance, but we will give notes over how to write the essay on the first day of school. This will be the first major grade of the year.
Over the summer, you will also write an essay over these works by responding to one of the prompts in this packet. This essay may be turned in any day during the first week of school. It will count as a major grade and will be evaluated on both content and grammar (50% each).
Be sure that you have a clear thesis stating your position on the chosen topic. Also, be aware that ten points will be deducted for each major error (run-on or fragment) in your paper. Five points will be deducted for each subject/verb agreement error and three points for each misspelling. One or two points will be deducted for most other types of errors.
A final reminder: Please remember that it is not appropriate to use first or second person (I, me, you) in a formal, literary essay. You may use these words only if they are inside a quote. Also avoid using simplistic, vague, and repetitive diction.
Type the essay in a 12-point, Times New Roman font and double space it. The margins should be one inch wide when the paper is printed out. You will actually need to set your bottom margins at about .7 because Word puts an extra line in the margin when you double space. Go to Layout to adjust margins. Be sure to get these margins set correctly because margin width affects the length requirement of your essay. There will be point deductions for format errors in your paper.
Also, please include the MLA format heading on the first page of your paper. You should know what this is. If not, ask your current teacher or look it up on the Purdue OWL site.
Your essay should be a minimum of two typed pages. You may go up to five lines over the minimum length. Do not go under it, or we will deduct points from your grade. If all margins are set correctly, you should have 42-47 lines of text (not including heading or title).
Further instructions on the essay’s content:
In your essay include five or six brief (eight words or fewer) supporting quotes from the books. (You do not need five or six from each book, but five or six quotes total.) All quotes must be cited, and each quote must be inside your own sentence. Here is an example from another novel: The protagonist declares that courage is not “a man with a gun in his hand” (Lee 112). Put the last name of the author (Lee) and the page number (112) in parentheses.
Note that I have written in literary present tense. Please remember that all essays about fiction should be in present tense. You might want to consider writing about Quiet in present tense as well for the sake of cohesion.
Also, be sure that your essay contains a mix of vivid, concrete details and thoughtful commentary. A concrete detail is a small, specific fact – not a generalization – from the novel. You must have an abundance of these details in order to prove your argument. An essay that is lacking in concrete details will not receive a good grade. I have provided some examples on this page. Other criteria for a good content grade include a clear thesis, clear topic sentences, logical organization, smooth transitions, and thoughtful commentary. Do not try to take on too much inyour thesis because this is a short paper overall.
Generalization – Asher Lev cannot control his talent.
Concrete detail – Asher draws on the wall in his sleep.
Generalization – Holden’s sister Phoebe is a precocious child.
Organization will be an important aspect of this essay. There are two ways to organize compare or contrast essays. The first method is called point by point. The second is known as subject by subject. In a point by point essay, you would write about both books in each body paragraph, covering a different commonality or contrast in each paragraph. In a subject by subject essay, you would write a paragraph or two about the first book followed by an equal number of paragraphs about the second book. In the paragraphs on the second book, you would compare or contrast with the first (Failure to do this will result in a significant deduction for content).
Here is an example:
Thesis: Although Walter Cunningham and Burris Ewell are both from poor families, their characters sharply contrast as Walter possesses a sense of honor and a strong work ethic while Burris does not.
You may use either organizational strategy. Keep in mind that you may choose how many body paragraphs to include in your essay – two, three, or four. Just make sure your paper is the appropriate length.
Additionally, transitions are extremely important in a compare or contrast essay. You must supply readers with clear signals so that they can follow your thoughts. Good comparison transitions include similarly, in comparison, in the same way, just as. Good contrast transitions include however, conversely, in contrast, instead, unlike, on the other hand. You may also use a transitional phrase of your choice.
Choose ONE of the prompts below. Compare and/or contrast the extroverted view of American culture presented in Quiet with the view of American culture presented in your novel.
Compare and/or contrast the roles of introversion or extroversion in the family as presented in Quiet with their roles in a family unit in your novel.
Compare and/or contrast the roles of introversion or extroversion in school as presented in Quiet with their roles in an educational setting in your novel.
Compare and/or contrast the roles of introversion or extroversion in the business environment as presented in Quiet with their roles in a work environment in your novel. (You may count the army as a work environment.)
Please note that the prompts ask about introversion or extroversion, not both, because this is a short essay.
Also, these prompts are deliberately broad. You may discuss any family, educational, or work unit in your novel that applies. You do not have to write about a major character.
Additional resources for this essay are included on Ms. Butz’s AP resource page under Summer Resources. This assignment, as well as information about writing a good introduction and grammar editing, can be found there.
A note about grammar:
You are expected to know the basic parts of speech and parts of the sentence in this class. We will conduct a grammar review at the beginning of the year, but if you feel you need additional help, please see Ms. Butz’s resource page. There are grammar review notes there. Since grammar counts as 24% of each SAT vocabulary quiz, you might want to look over these during the summer.
A final note: Please remember that the penalty for plagiarism is a zero on an essay. Do your own work. You will be submitting your essay to Turnitin.com the first week of school.