Summer Reading

Summer Reading

Our School’s Mission and Yearly Guiding Principles

The mission of Bishop O’Connell High School is to provide students an education rooted in the life of Christ and to foster the pursuit of excellence in the whole person. To serve that end, each year of our curriculum has been devoted to the study of one of four guiding themes, and texts are selected across the curriculum to serve each of these guiding principles by grade level:

    • Grade 9 - Dignity of the Human Person
    • Grade 10 - Spirituality of Community
    • Grade 11 - Using Faith as a Guide
    • Grade 12 - Living Your Faith in the World Today
Bishop O'Connell English Department

The mission of the English department is to foster excellence in critical thinking, analytical writing, public speaking, and engaged reading. The department strongly believes that reading is a habit to be cultivated and nurtured throughout one’s life and is a habit that does not take a hiatus during the summer months. In the words of American author Ursula K. LeGuin, “We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel . . . is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.”

Purpose of Summer Assignments

The purpose of summer reading is to help establish a common literary experience for discussion to set the stage for the year’s guiding principle. To that end, students are asked to read and annotate a series of texts throughout their time away from school, and they should be prepared to return to school and use these annotated texts for in-class discussions and written assessments. To aid in your studying, each text is accompanied with an overarching “essential question” -- by keeping this question in mind as you read and annotate, students will be able to develop a clearer understanding of the broader message of the assigned work and how it relates to the guiding principle for your course and grade level.

How to Annotate Summer Reading

Before embarking on the works assigned for summer reading, please check out Mortimer Adler’s short essay entitled How to Mark a Book.” This will offer you some insights and helpful tips on annotation, which is a skill you should employ with your reading this summer, as well as carry into our class when we meet this August.

Summer Assignments by Courses

English 1 College Prep

English 1

The mission of the English department is to foster excellence in critical thinking, analytical writing, public speaking, and engaged reading. The department strongly believes that reading is a habit to be cultivated and nurtured throughout one’s life and is a habit that does not take a hiatus during the summer months. In the words of American author Ursula K. LeGuin, “We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel . . . is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.”

The following assignment is designed to introduce students to acknowledged literary classics, to enable students to expand their critical thinking skills, to assist students to acquire the necessary vocabulary to discuss the works, and to provide a framework for students to write cogent analytical essays.

Please read the following novels and consider the essential questions listed below. You are not required to write out responses to the questions; however, you should annotate as you read and take notes that will provide the basis for discussion when you start school in August. Please bring your annotated copy of each book to class. Assessments will be in the form of a test and/or essay during the week of September 4.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This novel presents an opportunity for students to examine prejudice and kindness through the eyes of Scout Finch, its young narrator.

Essential Questions:

a) As you read, consider the ways in which a person can be discriminated against and how witnessing injustice affects the various characters.

b) In what ways do the various characters affirm the value of others?

2.The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. This novel reimagines a hero’s classic journey of growth and success in a mythical fantasy world. The journey allows the main character, Bilbo, to examine his expectations of himself and his self-worth more closely.

Essential Questions:

a) How does a physical journey represent the growth of various characters?

b) At what moments during his journey does Bilbo reflect on his own qualities, both positive and negative?

English 1 Honors

English 1 Honors

Students enrolled in English 1 Honors MUST read:

The Chosen by Chiam Potok
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton**

**For Mythology, students are required to read the Introduction, Part One, Part Three, and Part Four and complete the assignment below (a-d). Please annotate and underline as you read.

The responses to sections (a-c) must be word-processed in Times New Roman 12 font with one inch margins, double-spaced, and limited to THREE pages total for all three sections combined. Your responses will demonstrate your ability to comprehend, synthesize, and succinctly summarize the material. The response to section (d) should be turned in separately; it may be any length or format that you deem appropriate as this will be your study guide for the summer reading test on Mythology.

  • (a)Paraphrase the main ideas from the Introduction focusing on the five or so elements of the “Greek miracle.” Include why Greek culture is still so influential today. Then read Part One.
  • (b)Summarize the main ideas from Part Three.
  • (c)After reading Part Four, write a paragraph each about the Trojan War, the Fall of Troy, and the Adventures of Odysseus. We will pursue these stories in greater detail when we read The Odyssey.
  • (d)After reading Part One, create a list of the main gods and goddesses (Greek and Latin names) found in Chapter One. Include their characteristics, symbols, and associated stories.

For both novels (The Chosen and To Kill a Mockingbird), annotate as you read and take notes for your own benefit, paying special attention to plot, characters, setting, and theme.

You are expected to have a copy of each book for class discussions. An assessment will be administered the week of September 4.

English 2 College Prep

English 2 College Prep

The theme of the sophomore year is the spirituality of community. The required texts, Night by Elie Wiesel and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, allow students to enter their sophomore year with a common literary foundation and to begin to explore the topic of community from two very different perspectives.


Night
by Eli Wiesel

This work discusses the challenge of maintaining a sense of faith, community, and self amid the horrors of the Holocaust. Night discusses how an individual’s faith can be shaped or changed by the faith of his or her community, and how an individual’s personal relationship to faith can change as a result of the world around him.

When reading, keep the following essential questions in mind:

  1. How does faith affect Eliezer’s community?
  2. What happens to Eliezer’s faith when he faces trauma?

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

The protagonist of this novel relies on the people he meets along his journey to accomplish his destiny. This introduces the idea that community is not just the group of people you have grown up surrounded by, but that it grows and changes as you do. The Alchemist also explores the idea that there are certain “truths” that remain constant.

When reading, keep the following essential questions in mind:

  1. How does Santiago’s faith affect his many communities throughout his journey, and how do his communities affect or shape his faith in return?
  2. How do various cultures and religions share common faith-related values?

Upon returning from summer break, students will write an essay comparing and contrasting the common themes presented in the two works. While reading and annotating, students should focus on thematic elements, including faith development and community. After reading, students should review plot, character, setting, and point of view, and pay particular attention to common themes in both works. The essay will be assessed on proper formatting, use of standard formal written English, use of textual evidence, and ability to follow instructions.

English 2 Honors

English 2 Honors Summer Assignment

The theme of the sophomore year is the spirituality of community, with the English department’s focus on a diverse selection of world literature from antiquity to contemporary times. The characters in our three summer reading selections, Les Miserables, Lord of the Flies, and Night, present different definitions of community and explore the joys and challenges of living as a united body. The way in which this unified body forms also affects the identity and interaction of its members. Each community is based upon different concepts, which in turn, affects how different characters participate in and react to the community and community values.

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (Fawcett Abridged Edition)
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, & Elie Wiesel’s Night

As you read and annotate each of these works, keep the following essential questions in mind:

One concept that transcends time, culture, and language is that of the enduring nature of community.

1. In what ways does community manifest itself in each of the three works? How does it challenge the major characters? How does it sustain them?

2. What notable spiritual elements are represented in the communities found in each work?

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (FAWCETT ABRIDGED EDITION). This novel presents one man’s journey from desperation to love and redemption.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This novel tells the story of a group of young schoolboys, who, when trapped on an island, gradually resort to savagery.

Night by Elie Wiesel. This work discusses the challenge of maintaining a sense of faith, community, and self-worth amid the horrors of the Holocaust.

Upon returning from summer break, students should be prepared to write a properly formatted textually-based essay on Les Miserables that will focus on an analysis of the various communities presented in the novel and how the actions of an individual character (such as Jean Valjean, Eponine, or Javert) affect his or her role in that community.

For Lord of the Flies and Night, students should be prepared to participate in a graded class discussion on the theme of “Community: What meaning does it hold in the contexts of both works?” Students will prepare three questions (what is the text about; what do you think about ideas in the text; what does the text mean to you). Students will be assessed on their clear, persuasive, and textually-based contributions to the discussion; their listening and communication skills; and their prepared questions and responses.

English 3 College Prep

English 3 College Prep Summer Assignment

The theme of the junior year is maintaining your faith and using your faith as a guide throughout times of difficulty. Both of the summer reading selections for the Junior College Prep English classes deal with 20th century struggles where characters find their faith in crisis and must re-evaluate what they hold dear in order to survive and discover deeper meaning in their lives.

A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway. The title of the “Lost Generation” was given to Americans who served in World War I. After experiencing the unprecedented trauma and loss of life in this military engagement, an entire generation of Americans returned home feeling directionless and detached from the lives they once knew. The detached experiences of the Lost Generation writers and their struggles to make meaningful connections to the world around them is a major influence in the style and thematic content of 20th century American literature.

When reading this work, keep the following essential questions in mind: This novel is set during World War I, but the actual military conflict plays out in the background of the story, leaving individual characters largely detached from the armed conflict that unfolds behind them. During the trauma of war, how do characters forge meaningful connections with one another? Is authentic human even possible when you’re forced to detach from a traumatic experience?

As you read, make note of how individual characters are detached from the war, and pay close attention to exchanges in dialogue between these characters as they try to connect with one another and reveal their respective world views, hopes, and fears.

Upon returning from the summer break, students will complete a quotation identification test where they will identify: a) speaker b) context, and c) significance of the quote, paying particular attention to how these excerpts reveal deeper themes of human connection and/or detachment.

A Raisin in the Sun - Lorraine Hansberry. Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun draws its title from a Langston Hughes poem which asks “What happens to a dream deferred?” The concept of the American Dream (and its deferment) plays a critical role in many works of American Literature, and this play grapples directly with the question of whether or not “The Dream” is denied to people based on their race or social class.

When reading this work, keep the following essential questions in mind: This play deals from the perspective of an urban working class African American family in an era of segregation and racial tension. During the escalating tension of this drama, how do the family members connect with one another? How do they reconcile the pressures from their family, the influences of their environment, and their innermost desires to achieve their dreams?

As you read, make note of how the family members deal with their dreams being deferred and the ways in which they express or demonstrate the frustrations that come from being the victims of a segregated society that systematically denies them opportunities.

Upon returning from the summer break, students will complete a short answer test consisting of 8 prompt items. Students will select any 5 of these items and write answers of three or more sentences in which they demonstrate an understanding of individual characters’ dreams, attitudes, morals, and behaviors.

English 3 Honors

English 3 Honors Summer Assignment

The theme of the junior year at Bishop O’Connell High School deals with the concept of maintaining your faith and using your faith as a guide throughout times of difficulty. Two of the selections for the Honors American Literature summer reading deal with characters who experience moments of profound insight, and must re-evaluate what they hold dear in order to survive and discover deeper meaning in their lives. The third text deals with the concept of what it means to be a “hero” in the face of such personal hardships.

The Awakening (Kate Chopin)
The Moviegoer (Walker Percy)

Throughout the American literature canon, one of the recurring themes we will be discussing is the concept of the so-called “American Dream” -- the freedom to pursue it, the opportunity to redefine it, and the ability to achieve it. Both of these works have been assigned because each deals with a protagonist experiencing some sort of existential crisis leading to an “epiphany” that radically reshapes the way that (s)he lives their lives or pursues their passions in the story thereafter.

When reading each of these works, keep the following essential questions in mind:

  1. Edna's "Awakening" is inspired by many events throughout the novel. Identify specific instances that prompt Edna to rethink the way she lives. What events (or individuals) challenge her “fixed” mindset and cause her to reevaluate the way she lives? How?

  2. Though the novel does not feature much external action, The Moviegoer offers a great deal of introspection, psychological growth, and internal character development. Identify specific instances that challenge his “fixed” mindset and prompt Binx to rethink the way he lives. What events (or individuals) cause him to reevaluate the way he lives? How?

Upon returning from the summer break, students should be prepared to write a properly formatted synthesis essay relating to both of the protagonists and the way that their mindset is challenged and changed throughout the course of each novel. For a clearer idea of what is meant by the term “mindset,” click here. For a complete scoring rubric, click here.

For Whom the Bell Tolls (Ernest Hemingway)

Throughout the American literature canon, one of the defining concepts that we will be discussing this year is the ever-evolving concept of “the hero.” This work has been assigned because “The Hemingway Code Hero” is a striking reflection of the values and attitudes of the early 20th century.

When reading this work, it may be helpful to keep this essential question in mind:

  1. Ernest Hemingway famously developed his own conception of what it meant to be heroic, and he wrote many of his protagonists in such a way that they embody the particular traits that he felt defined a hero. Based on Robert Jordan's behaviors, what specific traits do you believe that Hemingway felt were essential to be a "hero?" Be prepared to offer specific text evidence to support your claim.

Upon returning from the summer break, students should be prepared to write a properly formatted analysis essay tracing specific examples of the heroism shown (or lacked) by particular characters throughout the novel, ultimately using this textual support to construct an argument regarding how a particular character succeeds or fails to embody the traits of “The Hemingway Code Hero.” For a complete scoring rubric, click here.

AP English Language & Composition (Grade 11)

AP English Language & Composition

The AP English Language and Composition course focuses primarily on the analysis of rhetoric and the composition of sound argumentation. Throughout the year, we will read a variety of both fiction and nonfiction works to refine skills in comprehension and analysis. The texts assigned as summer reading, which are all non-fiction, will ask you to contemplate the value of argumentation in its many different forms. More importantly, these works will challenge you to reflect on social and ethical issues to determine the role of your faith in answering life’s difficult questions.

Required Texts:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)
In Cold Blood (Truman Capote)
The Writing Life (Annie Dillard)

Choice of ONE of the following texts:
102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers (Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers)
Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell)


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This work deals with many questions which pervade any discussion of rhetoric and language. Most interestingly, this book deals with the question of who does and doesn’t have a right to information. It follows Henrietta and her family through their difficult journey of understanding how Henrietta’s cells were taken, how the cells have changed the face of modern science, and how, ultimately, they as a family have no claim to any of the money made off of the cells. Skloot poses a balanced argument, a skill that students will later learn in this class, that questions which pillar of American life is more important: the right to property and privacy, or the advancing of medicine and science. This text is a perfect representation of the power of journalism and argumentation both for good and for evil.

When reading each of these works, keep the following essential questions in mind:

1) Skloot uses the Lacks family’s dilemma with the HeLa cells as a jumping off point to make a larger argument about the treatment of underprivileged populations in the US. What is her argument?Do all people deserve the same treatment? Why? How and why do we treat people differently based on appearance and socioeconomic status? What are the consequences of such treatment?

2) Skloot attempts to present a balanced argument, incorporating evidence from all different perspectives (scientists, family members, historical documents, other medical cases, etc.) Why does she do this? What is the power of concession and refutation when crafting an argument? What unique language, structure, and style does Skloot use to convince you of her argument, or at least convince you that this issue is something that deserves our attention? Ultimately, why is it important to understand all facets of an issue?

Upon returning from the summer break, you should be prepared to take part in a Socratic Seminar which asks you to reflect on the dignity of the human person and the responsibility of all humanity to preserve that dignity. This seminar will require you to prepare your own open-ended questions as well as write answers for those questions, which you will submit in class. You should be able to reference specific passages to succeed in this seminar. You will be graded on the quantity and quality of comments during discussion.


In Cold Blood

Capote used this “non-fiction novel” as a representation of what he called “New Journalism.” This new genre blurred the lines between strictly reporting fact, as a nonfiction writer or journalist would do, and fabricating details to fill in stories based on what has been reported, as a novelist would do. This text is assigned to challenge students’ ability to decipher true argumentation from manipulated fact, an essential skill when learning the craft of rhetoric.

When reading this work, it may be helpful to keep these essential questions in mind:

1) At what points is Capote reporting straight fact versus manipulating facts and fabricating conversations? Why does he do this? Is it ethical to manipulate information in order to achieve an end goal? If this manipulation of fact brings into light pressing issues, such as the injustice of the court system, is it still wrong?

2) If a person does an evil thing, does that make him an evil person? Who is responsible for an individual’s actions -- himself or his circumstances? Who deserves more empathy: the victims or the criminals? Why?

Upon returning from the summer break, you should be prepared to answer a series of short answer questions (3) along with one short essay (1). The topics of these questions will vary, but they all will require references to specific text evidence.


The Writing Life

Dillard’s work rounds out our summer reading by asking students to reflect on their own writing process (the second part of the course’s title is “Composition” after all!). Through a series of anecdotes and metaphors, Dillard analyzes the purpose of writing and makes invaluable suggestions for the process of editing one’s writing -- a skill all students in AP English Language and Composition will need to master. Dillard also represents one of the most unique voices we will read all year as her thoughts meander from one memory to another. This text is a challenge for students, as it reads more like a handbook than a novel or essay, but it demonstrates the power of idiosyncratic rhetoric and style.

When reading this work, it may be helpful to keep these essential questions in mind:

1) Why do we write? What is your purpose not as a student, but as a writer? What power do your words hold? At what point must you destroy your own work (aka, edit), why is it so hard to do this? Despite such difficulty, why is it so important to be self-critical not only in writing, but in life as well?

2) How does Dillard use her rhetoric to create such a unique voice for herself? What is the power of voice when crafting an argument?

Upon returning from the summer break, you should be prepared to write an in-class essay which reflects on the value of Dillard’s thoughts. You will be given one passage which they should use as a starting point to analyze at least three other anecdotes/metaphors from the text.


"Choice Text"

102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers
-or-
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
-or-
Outliers

These texts represent three different kinds of nonfiction writing: journalism and reporting (102 Minutes), memoire (Heartbreaking Work), and psychology/sociology (Outliers). Students are given a choice between the three to demonstrate just how far reaching the use of rhetoric truly is. Each of these works presents an argument (some in more subtle ways) which stands as a unique example of the different forms rhetoric can take.

When reading this work, it may be helpful to keep this essential question in mind:

1) How does rhetoric and writing style affect the way you perceive a book? Why is rhetoric so significant not only in this class and in academics, but in life in general?

Upon returning from the summer break, you should be prepared to write a well constructed essay which focuses on your chosen author’s unique use of rhetoric. What rhetorical/literary devices does the author use to construct his or her argument? How does the use of those particular devices make the argument effective? Essays will be scored using the College Board’s rubric for Q2 essays (this is a sample rubric for the 2016 essay. More details provided upon start of the year).

In-class assessments for each book will be administered within the first two weeks of school. Along with these assessments, students will also complete a writing assignment over the summer, which will be due at the end of the first week of school. See instructions below.


Summer Assignment

All of the books on your list are very different in style and substance, but what I want you to do for the writing portion of your summer reading assignment is to find (and subsequently make) the connections among these various works.

Assignment: Write a 3-ish page (please stick to this page length; this assignment need not be 5+ pages!), MLA-formatted essay in which you explore some common theme or thread that you find in your four works (click here for OWL guide to MLA formatting). This theme should relate in some way to style and written expression – its importance, its purpose, its effect. Here are some questions to think about (but don’t feel like you need to answer all of them):

●What do the authors do with language that is intriguing?
●What effect do the authors’ choices make concerning their use of language?
●All of these authors fall under the category of non-fiction, but beyond that, their subcategories are very different. What are those categories, or genres? What effect does using those genres have on the ideas they are trying to convey?
●Of the genres that these authors use, which is most compelling to you? Why?

This assignment should give evidence of your having read the material and should include direct quotes from your reading. In order to remember important quotes, be sure to annotate well as you go (click here for a basic guide). More importantly, you must show that you have synthesized the information and have begun to look at authors’ stylistic choices more analytically. This assignment is, in a nutshell, what you will be doing all year in AP Language & Composition: reading, analyzing, synthesizing, and producing.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me via email over the summer with any questions you might have: agibeily@bishopoconnell.org. See you in August!

This assignment will be due shortly after returning to school in August/September and summer reading tests will be held during the second week of school!

English 4 College Prep

English 4 College Prep

The guiding principle underlying senior year is "living your faith in the world today." The selections for summer reading for seniors provide opportunities to reflect on good and evil, on the effects of choices beyond their original intent, and on the power of relationships.

While reading and annotating these works, focus on the essential questions described below.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. In this novel, a scientist creates a hideous monster.

Essential Questions:

1) As you read, be aware of the three narrators who tell the story. In what ways do the narrators, Walton, Dr. Frankenstein, and the monster, differ in their viewpoints, motivations, and purposes?

2) Even though Frankenstein’s creation is often depicted as hideous and terrifying, do you sympathize with the monster who is eloquent and persuasive?

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. This novel is about a respectable doctor who transforms himself into a savage murderer and pays dearly in the end.

Essential Questions:

1) What is the importance of Mr. Utterson’s observations as Dr. Jekyll’s lawyer and lifelong friend; what value do these observations have for the reader?

2) The author’s use of flashbacks occurs throughout the novel. What can be learned from Mr. Utterson, Dr. Lanyon, and Dr. Jekyll himself as they look back in time?

Assessments:

Frankenstein
Upon returning from summer break, students will:

1) Complete a test on elements of plot, character, theme, and setting.

2) Write a short essay discussing the struggle between good and evil as evidenced in the novel. Responses will be scored based on specific textual evidence, thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the responses, and the use of correct standard written English.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Upon returning from summer break, students will:

1) Complete a test on the elements of plot, character, and narrative voice.

2) Complete a series of short answer questions that will focus on thematic elements and point of view. Responses will be scored based on specific textual evidence, thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the responses, and the use of correct standard written English.

Note: Please bring your annotated copy of each book to class.

English 4 Honors

English 4 Honors

The guiding principle underlying senior year is "living your faith in the world today." The selections for summer reading for seniors provide opportunities to reflect on good and evil, on the effects of choices beyond their original intent, and on the power of relationships.

While reading and annotating these works, focus on the essential questions described below.

In 1984 by George Orwell, evil lurks as a result of the underlying abuse of power and the misuse of information.

Essential Questions:
1) How do the misuse of information and the abuse of power affect the protagonist, Winston Smith?
2) The Importance of Language. Doublespeak is language that is evasive, deceptive, self-contradictory, or misleading. Focusing on the misuse of language, Orwell satirically describes the effects of doublespeak on the welfare of the citizens of Oceania. How important is truth in human language? What effect does our need for honesty pervade our opinions, decisions, and perceptions? If language is the glue that holds us together, be ready to discuss what happens to human society when the language of public discourse is no longer clear, complete, or direct, as in the case with the protagonist, Winston Smith.

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson states, "With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two."

Essential Questions:
1) How does Dr. Jekyll's character reconcile the duality of human nature?
2) Is the war between good and evil, in one's soul, a necessary part of existence?

The Once and Future King by T.H. White tells the mythical story behind King Arthur who has come to epitomize the heroic, chivalric ideal. Arthur stands for the new concept of God-given kingship at the start of the Medieval Renaissance in Europe, and reaches ahead through every century in the course of modern history to symbolize that period’s most noble pursuits.

Essential Questions:
1) Arthur’s wise mentor, Merlyn, teaches Wart significant life lessons. What life lessons does Merlyn teach Wart? Or rather, what has Wart learned about the causes of human strife that mold his character? How powerful is the relationship between Merlyn and Wart in terms of Wart’s growth as the future king of England?

2) Arthur is described as “the good king of Britain whose noble qualities teach us that we ourselves should be honorable and courtly” (Fife 39). Arthur’s story, in every telling, is dominated by Quests of one sort or another (to seek a saint, to hunt the white hart, to pursue love and worship a noble lady, or to seek the Holy Grail) that mold his character. In reading of the early days of Arthur, is Arthur more than a symbolic hero? What aspects of his quests and education effect his choices as future king? For what reasons is Wart able to pull the sword from the stone when other, stronger knights fail?

Assessments:

1984 - Upon returning from summer break, students will write an essay responding to Orwell's use of satire. The essay will be scored based on use of specific textual evidence, the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the response, and the use of correct standard written English.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Upon returning from summer break, students will write an essay responding to the question of the duality of human nature. The essay will be scored based on specific textual evidence, the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the response, and the use of correct standard written English.

The Once and Future King - Upon returning from summer break, students will:

1) Complete a test on the elements of plot and character.
2) Complete a series of short answer questions that will assess an understanding of the main characters' motives about the theme of the human condition. Responses will be scored based on specific textual evidence, thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the responses, and the use of correct standard written English.

Note: Please bring your annotated copy of each book to class.

AP English Literature (Grade 12)

AP English Literature (Grade 12)

The mission of the English department is to foster excellence in critical thinking, analytical writing, public speaking, and engaged reading. The department strongly believes that reading is a habit to be cultivated and nurtured throughout one’s life and is a habit that does not take a hiatus during the summer months. In the words of American author Ursula K. LeGuin, “We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel . . . is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.”

The following assignment is designed to introduce students to acknowledged literary classics, to enable students to expand their critical thinking skills, to assist students to acquire the necessary vocabulary to discuss the works, and to provide a framework for students to write cogent analytical essays.

Please read the following three novels and consider the essential questions listed below that will help guide your reading and writing. Be sure to annotate as you read and take notes that will provide the basis for discussion when you start school in August. Please bring your annotated copy of each book to class. In addition, please read one of the novels from the list given. Assessments will be in the form of a test and/or essay during the week of September 4.

The summer assignment is to read:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

You must also read ONE of the following:
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

Due dates are listed for each of the following assignments; all work must be word-processed in correct MLA format:


Wuthering Heights

This novel follows the lives of two families, the Earnshaws and the Lintons and their respective households (Wuthering Heights and Thurshcross Grange) and explores the impact of one character in particular, Heathcliff, on the lives of all he encounters.

Essential Questions:

  1. This novel is a frame story. How do the various narrators add to your understanding of the characters and their actions?
  2. Heathcliff is often described as a villain. Is he? Why or why not.

Assignment: Select THREE (3) passages you found particularly compelling. Type the passage (include chapter number) and a ½ page explanation for your choice (Sept. 1).


The Turn of the Screw

This novella is a ghost story told by a woman who once was a governess to two small children.

Essential Questions:

  1. How does the governess’ state of mind affect her actions?
  2. Consider under what circumstances the ghosts appear to the governess.

Assignment: Are the ghosts real or do they exist only in the mind of the governess? Take a position and argue your point with at least three specific references to the novel (2 pages) (Sept. 1).


The Sun Also Rises

This novel follows the narrator, Jake Barnes, as he attempts to come to terms with the hopelessness of his love for a woman in the post-World War I generation.

Essential Questions:

  1. Hemingway has a very distinct style of writing. Take note of his use of syntax, diction, and figurative language as you read.
  2. Who is the real hero of this novel?

Assignment: Write a two-page reflection paper in which you focus on a passage, a chapter, a character, a sentence, a word, an image, or anything that strikes your interest in the novel. Your paper should include at least five questions about the subject of your reflection (Sept 5).


"Choice Novel"

Assignment due Sept. 11:

  1. Read one scholarly literary criticism for your novel.
  2. Write a brief summary of the criticism; then in separate paragraphs, answer the following:
      • What is the author’s thesis?
      • Did the author prove his or her thesis? If so, was he effective in doing so? If not, why not?
      • What is one insight you gained from reading this criticism that you would not have thought about otherwise?
      • Would you recommend this criticism to another student? Explain.
  1. Attach a copy of the criticism to your paper
  2. Provide a bibliographic entry for the criticism.

5. Writer Anna Quindlen said, “The books that have spoken to me most powerfully are the ones that made me feel as if they let me in.” In a one to two-page response for the book you chose to read, speak to the truth (or untruth) of this statement as it applies to your novel. Please use specific details. (Sept 11).