AP Literature and Composition

Greetings! Welcome to Ms. Moore's contact page for AP Literature and Composition. Below you will find the 2019 summer assignment. Please contact me if you can any questions!

Summer Assignment

Teacher: Ms. Kristen Moore


Hello future AP Literature and Composition student!

I am excited that you have decided to challenge yourself next year and take AP English Literature and Composition! The following information will help you prepare for next year and give you an idea of what to expect as an AP student.  On the back of this sheet, you will find the summer assignment for next year. Please let me know if you have any questions.

The purpose of Advanced Placement English is to provide the able, motivated student an opportunity to do college-level work in high school.  As an AP English student you will be petitioning colleges for credit (via the AP Literature and Composition Examination given each May). Thus, the content and objectives of this course align with freshmen course offerings at universities and colleges.  All writing and reading will emphasize critical analysis of literature.  Students are expected to do substantial outside reading and research.  Skillful time management and self-discipline are needed to succeed in this class.  Our study of literature will go far beyond the mere enjoyment of the piece. Students are expected to study, write and talk extensively about each piece of literature.  This is a course for students who enjoy reading and writing, not necessarily because they like what they are reading, but because they want to explore (and write about) what a specific work has to offer.

Specifically, students will study and complete the following:

  1. Literature analysis (novels, plays, poetry and short stories)  Students will work with around 7-9 major literary works along with poetry and prose study

  2. Composition, including timed essays

  3. Practice with AP style multiple choice questions

  4. Oral communication (class discussions, graded discussions, group and individual presentations and performances)

  5. Research

  6. Generate and refine data needed for college and employment plans

  7. Semester portfolios

Listed below are the works we will be reading next year.   The works that are bolded and starred are works that we would strongly advise you purchase. You may purchase these new or used. We are giving you this list NOW so you have plenty of time to secure a copy of each. If purchasing these works imposes any kind of burden on you, please see us immediately so that we can work out an alternate plan.

*Catch- 22 by Joseph Heller

*The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

*Beloved  by Toni Morrison

*Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt

**We will be doing two independent novel/play studies—please be prepared to either check out or purchase these.

Summer Assignment:  *Due the 1st day of class - Fall 2019: 100 Points Total

1) READ a work of fiction which has been on the “Best Seller” list in recent years. You will be expected to speak in detail about what you read; be prepared to bring the book with you on the second or third day of class (TBD).  You do not need to annotate this novel. Pick something that sounds interesting to you; this read is supposed to be for pleasure. I would probably recommend doing this part of the assignment first. Speaking Participation: 25 points.

2) READ Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.  Please make sure you annotate Catch--22. We will be checking this and we should be able to see written interaction with your text every few pages. I recommend reading this closer to the start of the school year - start maybe 5-6 weeks out. Annotations: 25 Points.

Why annotate? Annotation should be habitual as you read and interact with the texts for AP Literature and Composition. When you annotate a text you should do the following: ask questions of the text, circle words and ideas that are unfamiliar or confusing, identify important literary devices and techniques, start to ask why the author is using particular literary devices and techniques, and jot down your reader response. You want to make sure that you leave a trail for yourself.  This means: will your annotations make sense to you if you refer back to them at a later time? Do not simply highlight or underline. Be specific about the comments you make. Annotation is the beginning of your analysis of the text. For this class, every claim you plan to make about a text should be based in evidence. If you have taken the time to annotate, you have already taken those initial steps toward gathering evidence to make an argument about the text.

*Use the devices listed in the assignment below as a guide for what literary elements to annotate for in your text.

3) DEFINE: We will expect that you come to class with knowledge of the foundational literary terms we will discuss all year long. Define the following literary devices/techniques/elements—you MUST use a literary source, which are recommended below. Examine the definitions from all the sources below, and synthesize your understanding of each term by putting the definition into your own words, versus just copying text verbatim. 25 Points for work, plus an additional 25 points for a quiz.

1) paradox

2) irony (define the three types: verbal, situational, dramatic)

3) diction

4) syntax

5) tone

6) mood

7) dialogue

8) characterization

9) symbolism

10) setting

11) metaphor

12) simile

13) personification

14) point-of view (1st, 2nd, 3rd limited or omniscient).

15) protagonist/antagonist

16) imagery

17) narrator/speaker

18) theme

19) allusion

20) Freytag’s plot diagram: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, denouement, resolution—know all of the parts

21) archetype

22) foreshadowing

23) hyperbole

24) motif

25) oxymoron

*Cite the source(s) you used to find these definitions.

Web sources for literary definitions:

-Norton Anthology of World Literature

- Bedford St. Martins


Reading Guide—everything on this page is here to support your reading of Catch-22—none of it requires a written response.

The following questions are guiding questions only.  You do not have to answer them; simply use them to help you look for important elements in the text.

1) There are many aspects of absurdity in the novel.  How does the absurdity alienate the men from one another and make them feel utterly alone?

2) How does “Catch-22” trap the men?  Are there any ways to break out of the “catch”?

3) In what ways does Colonel Cathcart abuse his power?

4) In order to be manipulated by a system, the men have to be blind, to a degree.  To what extent is the administration’s manipulation a result of the men’s “blindness” or apathy?  Do the men lose their humanity when they become apathetic? Explain.

5) How/why is the speech/language in the novel ineffective and insincere?  Consider Col. Cathcart, General Peckham, Hungry Joe and Yossarian.

6) Does fate seem to operate in any logical way in the novel?  Are the good character rewarded and the evil characters punished?

7) How does fear affect the men, especially Yossarian?

8) Why is Milo respected, even worshipped, in the countries where he trades?  What does this say about human nature and greed?

9) According to Heller, does it matter if men die with dignity?  To what extent is it morally acceptable to die for a cause?

10) Are there any instances of true love in the novel?  What are the primary roles of women and what does this say about the attitudes of the men?  Consider Natley and his whore, Yossarian and Nurse Duckett and Aarfy and Michaela.

Tips for reading Catch-22 from past AP students…

-Just read! This novel is probably unlike any other novel you have read. Embrace the experience, and know that we will make sense of it together in the fall.

-It’s okay to come into class in the fall with many questions about this text. Discussion helps illuminate the confusing aspects of this novel. You don’t have to be an expert of the novel on day one!

-Do not procrastinate!

-Track Snowden. Snowden is key!

-The structure/form is not linear. Instead of feeling mad at Heller for this, consider the effect of it. Why would he choose a non-linear structure? How might that relate to the meaning of the work as a whole?

-You do not need to remember every single character you meet. Try to figure out the most important characters to the meaning of the work as a whole. Which characters are heavily present from beginning to end? Which characters get entire chapters devoted to them? What is the significance of meeting so many different characters?

-You may feel frustrated at times as you read this. Could this possibly be an effect Heller is working to convey? Why would he want the reader to feel frustrated as he/she reads about a soldier’s experience in wartime?

-If you know other AP lit students who are reading this over the summer, consider getting together with them to discuss. You could also create some sort of online platform, as well, to ask questions.

-Remember you can email your teacher with questions!


Recommended pre-reading research for Catch-22

-Research some biographical context about Joseph Heller, and historical context for WWII. Yes, it’s okay to use Wikipedia when researching topics that are common knowledge.

-Research Post-Modernist literature. What are the characteristics of works published in this movement? (Yep, Wikipedia is okay for this too!)

-Research Existentialist philosophy. Heller takes a particularly comedic approach to this line of philosophical thinking in his novel. (Wikipedia? Yes, again!)

THIS IS JUST A SUGGESTION—NOT A MANDATORY PART OF THE SUMMER ASSIGNMENT: BEFORE YOU READ Catch-22: Look up the podcast Serial online or on your phone. Also, go to Serial’s Wikipedia page and quickly read about the context of this podcast as whole. Find season two, episode six “Five o’clock Shadow”. Simply listen to the hour long podcast and jot down brief descriptions of the soldiers’ experiences in this situation, their feelings about and response to the situation (particularly their attitudes toward authority figures), and your thoughts about what they go through. Use the storytelling in this podcast to help you understand Yossarian’s and other soldiers’ attitudes toward the military. (Warning: interviewees in this episode do swear.) Past students have found this podcast episode very helpful for grasping the central conflicts in Catch-22.

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