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2017-2018 Summer Assignment

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Why a Summer Assignment?

To prepare you for the intense AP English environment, you need to know some vocabulary and you need to have some practice critically reading. There are four assignments: I. vocabulary study, II. poetry literary analysis, III. one (or more) books of your choice of literary merit with literature analysis (task sheet link below), and IV. a first draft college essay/UC Freshman prompt. At the beginning of the year, we will be discussing and writing about the works you will read (see link below from 1976-2010 titles). You will need to read and take notes on one (or more) novels of literary merit that you choose to read; send me an email to be sure your selection is not one of the 12+ books or plays we plan to read this year.

I will be available over summer via email (mmeyer-ward@sandi.net) to help with any questions or concerns you miht have. To help you in your post-secondary aspirations, you will alsop prepare a draft of your college essay that we will use to practice peer revision and critique at the beginning of the year. If you plan to only apply to a UC school, you too will also need to complete a draft of the freshmen prompt posted on the UC college website. If you plan to attend an arts conservatory college, you will also need a draft of your personal essay and artist statement, depending on the requirements. 

What you don’t practice you lose, so it is imperative that you keep your mind sharp with activities during the summer, so read! Read magazines, short stories, essays, non-fiction books, novels, plays, and poems! And while you read, THINK about what you read: What is the author aiming to convey? How does the author communicate it? Do you agree or not with the position, why? Do you like the writing, why? Does the character/plot move you, why? Interact with what you read rather than passively reading without thinking about what you read-you will thank me later!

All works found on the exam from 1976-2010 and most popular titles through 2009 can be found here.

Summer Assignment Tasks

Part I: Academic Skills

1.Vocabulary Study

You will need to know a number of literary terms (see additional handout), allusions (see additional handout),and words used in writing (see additional handout). Find the definitions and examples to these terms and words. Study them over the summer. Within the first three weeks of school, you will have a test on these terms. The following are resources for literary term definitions.

  • Harris, Robert A. “A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices.” A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices. Virtual Salt, 22 Nov. 2011. Web.11 May 2012. .
  • Harris, Robert A. “A Glossary of Literary Terms.” AGlossary of Literary Terms. Virtual Salt, 25 Feb. 2012. Web. 11 May 2012.
  • Literary-Devices.2015. Web. 30 May 2015. .
  • Literary Devices. 2015. Web. 30 May 2015.

Part II: Poetry Literary Analysis

A. Annotations of “Ode to a Grecian Urn”
Annotate the poem, “Ode to a Grecian Urn” by John Keats (1819) by writing directly on the poem (you'll need to print it out).
  • Before reading, annotate the TITLE: What do you think it means? What impressions do you have?
  • PARAPHRASE each stanza in your own words: What is the situation of the poem and what are the major actions/ideas presented in each stanza? What do words mean that you don’t know or allusions reference?
  • Identify the SPEAKER of the poem: What qualities or characteristics does the speaker have? Who is the speaker (it may not be Keats)?
  • Circle significant words, phrases, or lines of the poem and identify the literary device in action and what CONNOTATIONS—meaning—is expressed: What is the effect of the literary device or technique, be it sound, structure, imagery, diction, syntax, or other.
  • Highlightwords, phrases, or lines that indicate the ATTITUDE or tone in the poem andidentify the tones found in the poem by listing them
  • Underlinemoments of SHIFTs in the poem. Identify the shift and explain the effect of theshift. Shifts can be structure, rhyme, meter, tone, and/or thematic topic
  • Revisitthe TITLE: What new insights do you have regarding the title? What significance/role does the title play in relationship to the poem?
  • Starlines that significantly indicate the THEMATIC TOPICs of the poem: What are they and what does the poet say about them?
B. Annotations of “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
Most of your analyses for English have used Formalist or New Criticism. This is only one way of analyzing literature. You will be exploring multiple approaches for each of the course readings. This requires you to often look beyond the text for information tounderstand historical and social context as well as understanding the work beyond the language and stylistic choices. Study up on the following LiteraryTheories/Critical Approaches (see list of Resources):
  • Formalist/New Criticism: examines the structure, language, and literary techniques of the author
  • Feminist/Gender Criticism: examines gender, relationships, and treatment of women in literature and female authors
  • Archetypal/Mythological/Jungian Criticism: examinesthe use of archetypes in the work
  • Historical Criticism: examines the historical context and how it relates to the work
  • Psychological/Psychoanalytic Criticism: examines the desires, conflicts, relationships, social rules, and psychology of characters and situations in the work

Annotate “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (1894) from each of these different theories. I highly suggest using a different color pen for each theory’s annotations for ease of distinguishing them. For some of these theories, you will have to do additional research on the work and author, so use the web thoughtfully. The following are resources for you to use in learning about these different literary approaches/theories:

Part III: Independent Reading, a novel of literary merit - complete this data sheet for week two of school


Part IV: College Preparation

A. Draft College Entrance EssayTo prepare you for college entrance requirements, you will write a draft of your college entrance essay. Select one of the questions from the UC application or the Common Application and write a draft. Keep in mind that these essays have a word cap (approx 500 for UC and 650 for Common App). Try this link!