AP Literature & Composition
Description: Most of the literary and rhetorical devices that we discover in literary analysis are subordinate—they find their meaning in the central one idea of the novel, poem, or play. So we will often ask, “What literary elements are present that contribute to the central one idea?” These questions will help us determine the qualities of great literature. We will consider form, structure, style, plot, point of view, character, setting, tone, symbol, theme, imagery, irony, figures of speech, and many others. We will consider literature in the context of philosophy, culture, and the history of ideas. Yet we will be careful with “analysis,” remembering that a novel, poem, or play is an organic whole, a living work of art.
Additionally, writing well about literature can be as enriching as reading great literature. Like other works of art, the artful, sophisticated essay can be a model of form, grace, and beauty. Students will be prepared for the AP Literature and Composition Exam. It is worth 1 high school credit in Literature, Language Arts or English.
Grade Level: 11-12 (and strong 10th graders). Students are expected to take the AP Exam at the conclusion of the class. This is taken at a local testing center and entails a separate fee to the College Board. Details will be provided by the instructor.
Prerequisites: Students should be strong readers, willing to work hard, and able to write grammatically correct, complete sentences.
Required Materials: Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, 9thed (must be 9th ed), The British Tradition II: Poetry & Prose text, Poetry III text, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Student Guide (Teacher Guide optional), Dickens’ Great Expectations (any published version is fine), C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, and 5 Steps To a 5: AP English Literature (any edition between 2015-present). Students will also need a USB headset microphone (built-in microphones also work), and a journal.