Monday, March 31, 2008

AP--April Assignments

We have two reading and writing projects yet to complete. The first, reading a novel from the AP authors list, researching critical literature on that novel, and writing your final paper for the course, is described on the "April Reading List" document from Wednesday March 19 on this blog. Give me your choices by Wednesday, April 2. As part of this assignment, post THREE blog entries while you read your novel (due April 11, 17, and 25), the second of which must include your list of research articles found on JStor.

The second project is a poetry unit, the one genre we have not formally considered. The components of this assignment are as follows:
1. Select a poem from a list I will post.
2. Memorize your poem. If your poem is longer than 25 lines, you may memorize part of it--at least 20 lines--and read the rest.
3. Recite your poem to the class as you begin your in-class presentation.
4. Post on your blog (and read as part of your presentation) a 600-700 word essay (approximately) discussing one of the elements of the poem. Discuss either the poem's form, control of tone, diction, use of figurative language, use of imagery, use of irony, or portrayal of its speaker. Whichever element you choose, use specific examples to illustrate how that element of the poem contributes to our understanding of the poem's meaning.
5. Lead a brief discussion.

Finally, our test and quiz schedule is as follows:
April 4--Vocabulary 28-30 (Last vocab quiz of your high school career)
April 11--Multiple choice--12 minute quiz
April 28 & 29--60 minute multiple choice test (section 2 Monday, Sections 1 & 3 Tuesday)
May 2--Papers on novels due
Thursday, May 8--AP exam

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

April Reading List

AP English--Reading list
Select a novel for independent reading during the month of April. You may choose from the list below, from the first semester list, or another 20th century novel of comparable literary merit (with my approval). Also look for three critical analyses of the novel in a local library or on J Stor. Write a paper of 1500-2000 words (5-7 pages) developing in some depth a key aspect of the novel’s meaning, using both direct quotations and your 3 outside sources. Papers are due Friday, May 2.

Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
Handmaid’s Tale; Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood
Go Tell It on the Mountain, James Baldwin
My Antonia; O Pioneers!, Willa Cather
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich
Light in August; Absalom! Absalom! , William Faulkner
Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Howard’s End; A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
Catch-22 , Joseph Heller
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
The Trial, Franz Kafka
Sons & Lovers; Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
All the Pretty Horses or The Crossing, Cormac McCarthy
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner
Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
All the King’s Men , Robert Penn Warren
Age of Innocence , Edith Wharton
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
Native Son, Richard Wright

Also, consider one of the selections from the October list: Jane Austen (Persuasion, Emma, Sense and Sensibility),Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre),Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights), Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities), George Eliot (Silas Marner), Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary), Thomas Hardy (The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Return of the Native), Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court).

Finally, if you are up to a significant challenge this late in the year, Crime and Punishment or Anna Karenina are excellent but lengthy choices.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Best negative review of the week

From Ron Liddle, in The Times of London, reviewing an autobiography by British politician Menzies Campbell: "This book is drier than an urn full of crematorium ashes."

(thanks to Paper Cuts, the blog of the New York Times Book Review, for this tip.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

AP English--Week 10 (March 10-14)

Reading: Am I Blue by Beth Henley, for next Monday, March 17. Page 1959 in your anthologies.

Writing: In-class essay Friday March 14

Blog: Post 5-10 comments (observing the amenities of civilized discourse and appropriate school language, please) for the blog posts of your peers from either A Doll's House or Fences. Be thoughtful; give praise where praise is due; add an idea of your own.

Links: Information on the Negro Leagues of the 1920s through 1940s;

An article on the life and career of Josh Gibson, the character Troy is partly modeled on;

Further information about the career of Beth Henley;

A photograph posted by Katie Senzig, class of 2006, with her request that we "vote" for her picture to help her qualify for a scholarship opportunity.

Submit your poetry and short prose pieces for publication in Daybreaks. Send them to,, or

PS--in my world, Thursday the 13th is my daughter-in-law Adrienne's birthday, Friday March 14 is the birthday both of my brother Grant and his slightly better known physicist counterpart Albert Einstein, the 15th is, of course, Beware the Ides of March Julius day, the 16th is my stepson Noel's birthday, and the 17th is our annual corned beef and cabbage dinner in honor of St. Paddy. A week crowded with incident. And my grades are due Monday also. Fun fun fun.

Monday, March 3, 2008

AP--week 9

Reading--Fences, p. 1996 in your anthology. (N.B.--this play was not included in the 8th or 9th editions of the textbook,so if you are using one of those you'll need to find another source of the text.)

Complete the reading by Wednesday, March 5.

Quiz--vocab 25, 26, 27 for Friday March 7. Also a brief video interview with August Wilson Friday.

In-class essay next week. If you didn't blog last week on A Doll's House, please do so this week for Fences.

Here's a list of August Wilson's plays.

Wilson saw writing a play as akin to writing a poem: "you use metaphor and condense." How might this philosophy apply to this play? What cultural forces or historical processes are embodied in his characters?