• The College Board describesthe AP English Literature and Composition course this way:
     
     COURSE OVERVIEW:

    An AP English Literature andComposition course engages students in the careful reading and criticalanalysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading of selectedtexts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language toprovide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, studentsconsider a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as such smaller-scaleelements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.

    Reading in an AP course isboth wide and deep. This reading necessarily builds upon the reading done inprevious English courses. In their AP course, students read works from severalgenres and periods—from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century—but, moreimportantly, they get to know a few works well. They read deliberately andthoroughly, taking time to understand a work’s complexity, to absorb itsrichness of meaning, and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literaryform. In addition to considering a work’s literary artistry, students reflecton the social and historical values it reflects and embodies. Careful attentionto both textual detail and historical context provides a foundation forinterpretation, whatever critical perspectives are brought to bear on theliterary works studied.

     
    In short, students in an AP English Literature andComposition course read actively. The works taught in the course requirecareful, deliberative reading. And the approach to analyzing and interpretingthe material involves students in learning how to make careful observations oftextual detail, establish connections among their observations, and draw fromthose connections a series of inferences leading to an interpretive conclusionabout a piece of writing’s meaning and value.

    Writing is an integral part of the AP EnglishLiterature and Composition course
and exam. Writing assignments focus on thecritical analysis of literature and include expository, analytical, andargumentative essays. Although critical analysis makes
up the bulk of studentwriting for the course, well-constructed creative writing assignments may help studentssee from the inside how literature is written. Such experiences sharpen theirunderstanding of what writers have accomplished and deepen their appreciationof literary artistry. The goal of both types of writing assignments is toincrease students’ ability to explain clearly, cogently, even elegantly, whatthey understand about literary works and why they interpret them as they do.

    It is important to distinguish among the differentkinds of writing produced in
an AP English Literature and Composition course.Any college-level course in which serious literature is read and studiedincludes numerous opportunities for students to write and rewrite. Some of thiswriting is informal and exploratory, allowing students to discover what theythink in the process of writing about their reading. Some of the writinginvolves research, perhaps negotiating differing critical perspectives. Muchwriting involves extended discourse in which students develop an argument orpresent an analysis at length. In addition, some writing assignments shouldencourage students to write effectively under the time constraints theyencounter on essay exams in college courses in many disciplines, includingEnglish.
    -Takenfrom the College Board’s description of AP Literature and Composition, 2010

    COURSE OBJECTIVES:

    • To closely read and analyze challenging pieces of literature from a variety of time periods and genres.
    • To develop and appropriately use a wide ranging vocabulary.
    • To understand the ways in which an author uses tone/attitude, diction, detail/imagery, point of view, organization/structure, and syntax to enhance the meaning of the work of literature.
    • To consider the social and historical values reflected in a work of literature.
    • To write informal pieces of writing to improve fluency and comfort in the process of writing a literary analysis, and to prepare for seminar discussions.
    • To write critical analyses of literature including expository, analytical, and argumentative essays.
    • To write creative pieces of writing in order to understand and appreciate more fully the artistry and discipline in writing literature.
    • To understand the importance of language in developing meaning in a work of literature:  connotation, metaphor, irony, syntax, tone.
    • To contribute to seminar discussions of literature by using the skills of speaking, listening, analyzing, and synthesizing.
    • To appreciate the beauty and power of the written word.
    • To write in a variety of genres and contexts, both formal and informal, about a variety of subjects, employing appropriate conventions.
    • To correctly cite sources using MLA style.
    • To demonstrate understanding and mastery of standard written English as well as stylistic maturity in their own writings.
    • To move effectively through stages of the writing process, with careful attention to inquiry and research, drafting, peer review, revising, and editing.
    • To write essays that proceed through several stages or drafts, with revision aided by teacher and peers.
    • To practice answering the kinds of questions that appear on the AP and SAT.
     
    REQUIRED TEXTS: Students are asked to acquire the texts below when indicated. I notify them well in advance of when we willneed the texts for class. We will beusing specific editions of each text and I will communicate the ISBN numbers tostudents so we all have the same book. The list below is subject to change. Students will also get to choose an independent reading book.
    • The Bedford Introduction to Literature, 8th Edition (assigned to students on the first day of class)
    • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
    • The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
    • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
    •  Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
    IMPORTANT REMINDER ABOUT GRADES:

    ·        An A is reserved for truly SUPERIOR work that is far above andbeyond the requirements of an assignment (sparkling, unusual,special…).  (AP score 8 or 9)

    ·        A B is an EXCELLENT grade that goes above and beyond the requirementsof an assignment. (AP score 6, 7)

    ·        A C is an AVERAGE grade that meets all requirements of an assignment.  (AP score 5)

    ·        A D is a BELOW AVERAGE grade that is lacking in some requirements ofan assignment.  (AP score 3, 4)

    ·        An F is a FAILING grade that does not fulfill the requirements of anassignment.  (AP score 1, 2)