Thursday, June 28, 2018

Four Summer Assignments for AP Literature and Composition:

Note: Do not use outside sources for your work. I want to hear what you have to say; it's way more important that what anyone else has to say. Any plagiarized work will result in withdrawal from AP Literature and school disciplinary action.

To help prepare you to examine the essence of poetry, storytelling and analysis, we'd like you to read some key works of literature and write about them. The main goal in your writing is to find the message or human truth of the work, and then to explain how the artist crafts this truth through narrative or poetic techniques. All your work must be original. Do not use secondary sources for your essays.

Format your essays according to MLA standard guidelines. Please strive to properly format your Shakespeare and poetry citations. You will be able to rewrite the essays for a better grade during marking period one.

1) College Essay: Due July 1. Essays should be at least 500 and no more than 650 words. See Common Application prompts for 2018-2019 on the blog.

2) Poetry Essay: Due July 15.  About 750 words. See prompt below.
Only write one: Choose either Chicago by Carl Sandburg OR the rites for Cousin Vit, by Gwendolyn Brooks.

3) Narrative Essay:  Julius Caesar: Due July 30. About 750 words. See prompts below.
See link on Julius Caesar and also advice on how to cite Shakespeare.

4) Narrative Essay: Due August 15. About 750 words. See prompts below.
Choose either Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston OR The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Poetry Essay Tips and Prompt
One of the goals of AP Literature and Composition is to guide you to see the art at work in poetry and literature. For poetry, the critical essays you write will first explain the poem's purpose or meaning. Use your paragraphs to explain how the poet uses poetic and literary devices to intensify the poem's message.

Poetry Essay Prompt: Write a well-organized essay in which you explain how the poet portrays a complex picture of his or her subject (use adjectives that describe the "good" and the "bad") through the use of perspective, figurative language, sound, imagery, form and other literary devices.

This prompt is derived from an AP Exam.  A good way to begin would be to thoroughly annotate the poem you choose. Be sure you clearly understand the meaning of each verse line, and find literary devices that work to make the poem powerful. Be sure your claim (thesis statement) clearly states what you think this “complex picture” is. Use adjectives to precisely describe the positives and negatives. Do not simply repeat the vague phrasing of the prompt question.  

Your essay should strive to eloquently incorporate quotes into your text and explain how literary or poetic tools in these quotes heighten the emotional content of the poem.  Poems of course, especially narrative poems, can incorporate literary tools, or elements of narrative fiction, such as plot elements and character development.

Follow link on how to eloquently blend poetry verse lines into your essay are on the blog. Figurative language includes: metaphor, simile, personification, apostrophe, symbol, irony, paradox, and hyperbole. Other devices are imagery, sound, syntax, form, perspective, meter, and more.

Be sure your essay has an introduction paragraph that includes the poet's name, the title of the poem, and a clear thesis statement. Your essay should have paragraphs with clear topic sentences. *Follow link to Poetry Terms and Definitions. Here is a more reasonable list of terms to know, and a Quizlet with the definitions so you can practice.

Narrative Essays Tips and Prompts
The purpose of any story -- even personal ones -- is to illustrate a life lesson or "human truth".  Can a righteous man protect his country from a tyrant? How can a sheltered young woman survive racism, sexism and tragedy?  Will the idealistic young man survive in a city of greed?

Read the works carefully. The prompts ask you to think about the story around a hook, but the the story’s main truth or message must be the center of your argument. Your essay should show how the author reveals a "human truth" or "meaning of the work as a whole" through the conflicts, actions and development of the main characters in the story from the beginning to the end.

Follow the link to this character assessment exercise to help you formulate an idea for your thesis statement. Since one novel might have many perspectives, different character might find different truths.  The main character, however, is your best bet for a thorough response.

Use the prompts below, which were chosen from previous AP exams. Be sure your introduction paragraph includes your thesis statement, which is the main message the story teaches, and the author's name and the title of the work, underlined. You must analyze the story to the end. What happens in the end is usually where you find "the meaning of the work as a whole".

Narrative Essay Prompts: Choose one of these for each essay you write.

  • 2007: In many works of literature, past events can affect, positively or negatively, the present actions, attitudes, or values of a character. Choose a novel or play in which a character must contend with some aspect of the past, either personal or societal. Then write an essay in which you show how the character’s relationship to the past contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. You may choose a work from the list below or another appropriate novel or play of similar literary merit. Do not merely summarize the plot.  

  • 2007B: Works of literature often depict acts of betrayal. Friends and even family may betray a protagonist; main characters may likewise be guilty of treachery or may betray their own values. Select a novel or play that includes such a betrayal.  Then, in a well-written essay, analyze the nature of the betrayal and show how it contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole.

  • 2010: Select a novel, play, or epic in which a character experiences a rift and becomes cut off from “home,” whether that home is the character’s birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the character’s experience with exile is both alienating and enriching, and how this experience illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole.