Students in the junior and senior AP courses stay with the same teacher both semesters. This enables the teacher to plan a coherent and cohesive sequence of thematically linked texts and skill-building activities in preparation for the spring AP test. The fall course that students sign up for thus automatically links to a spring counterpart.
Juniors prepare for the AP Language & Composition Exam by taking one of the following sequences:
AP74/72: The Knight in Not-So-Shining Armor/The Journey Through Hell
This course employs a thematic analysis of classical literature as the main vehicle to study rhetoric. In the first semester, students will examine knighthood as a metaphor for standards of nobility and examine the often paradoxical relationship between the inevitability of error and the need for an ideal of perfection. The second semester will focus on sources of human suffering, the quest for justice and the locus of evil. Students will be trained to heighten their critical thinking, reading skills, analysis of language, writing and ability to produce cogent arguments. Required summer reading: The Song of Roland (Burgess translation) and Cormack McCarthy’s The Road. Major works for the school year include Beowulf (Heaney translation), Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (Hieatt translation), William Shakespeare’s Othello and Macbeth, Dante Aligheri’s The Inferno (Ciardi translation), Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Minor works (essays, short stories, poetry) will supplement major works.
AP75/AP73: Twentieth-Century American Writers/Literature and Philosophy
The fall section of the course focuses on works that explores race and identity in a modern multicultural American context that offers seemingly limitless possibilities for self-definition and, paradoxically, can often narrow perceptions of an individual based on preconceived notions and stereotypes. To help students prepare for the AP test, the course focuses on how the authors use rhetorical strategies to convey such ideas and includes specific practice in writing rhetorical analyses of fiction and non-fiction. Texts (including summer reading) will include some or all of the following: Richard Wright's Black Boy, Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker, Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, and William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. The spring section of the course examines fiction, drama, and poetry in the light of questions that are of concern to philosophers, including metaphysics, ontology, ethics, mortality, religious faith, and existentialism. As students encounter ideas addressed by Plato, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Guy Debord, and other thinkers, they attempt to discover how these and other ideas come into play in literary works by such writers as Walt Whitman, Henry James, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, Albert Camus, Richard Wilbur, and Vladimir Nabokov. In the spring students will continue to pay attention to authors' rhetorical strategies but will also consider strategies for argumentative writing and will practice writing argumentative essays. Throughout the year, the teacher will include short essays and excerpts from longer non-fictional works that link thematically to the literary texts and serve to further skill development. Students will work on a range of assignments from formal essays to creative projects to oral presentations.
AP75/AP77: Twentieth-Century American Writers/The Heroine in Literature
The fall portion of the course focuses thematically on literature that explores race and identity in a modern multicultural American context that offers seemingly limitless possibilities for self-definition and, paradoxically, can often narrow perceptions of an individual based on preconceived notions and stereotypes. The course also focuses on how the authors use rhetorical strategies and modern narrative styles to convey such ideas. Texts (including summer reading): Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Chang-Rae Lee’s Native Speaker, Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. The spring portion of the course steps back to the nineteenth century in order to expose students to a range of writing styles that will help prepare them for the AP test and focuses on literature that explores the struggles of women to define themselves and their destinies in patriarchal societies. The previous semester’s focus on rhetoric and style will continue. Texts: Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Throughout the year, the teacher will include supplemental texts (essays, poems, etc.) that link thematically to the main texts and serve to further skill development. Students will work on a range of assignments, from formal essays to creative projects to oral presentations.
Seniors prepare for the AP Literature & Composition Exam by taking one of the following sequences:
AP 80/86: Heroes, Comic and Tragic/Masterworks of Literature in English
AP80 will explore a variety of heroic types, ranging from Aristotle’s classical models to contemporary figures who challenge the notions of what a hero should be and blur the boundaries between comic and tragic. We’ll examine the attributes, roles, and expectations of a hero in different eras and places and consider how these figures relate to those of us who usually live far more ordinary lives. Common texts for the course include Oedipus Rex, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Hamlet, and Candide. In AP86, we’ll shift our focus to acclaimed literature written in English, analyzing the themes and techniques of writers such as Wharton, Austen, Wilde, Charlotte Bronte, and Eliot. Poetry will play a prominent role in both semesters, though poetry selections won’t follow course themes.
AP 83/84: The Individual and the Universe
This course features college-seminar-style discussions that demand active participation and collaborative projects that require each student to take an active role. The course stresses a strong understanding of genre, theme, and style in the works that are encountered. Each semester focuses on a specific theme that flows through the different literary works, providing the foundation for many of the course's writing assignments. Each semester focuses on a specific theme that flows through the different literary works, providing the foundation for many of the course's writing assignments. The course emphasizes analysis of literary works, including discussions of artistry and quality. All formal writing is held to high standards of correctness. Writing is required often, and your writing is critiqued on a regular basis. Summer reading: Middlemarch by George Eliot and The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. In the fall semester you will study Hamlet by William Shakespeare, The Stranger by Albert Camus, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, The Book of Job and select readings from Ecclesiastes. Poetry will also be covered in a two-three week poetry unit.
AP Language and Composition for Seniors
This college-level course in Language and Composition is designed for seniors who want to strengthen their reading and writing skills. It is a year-long course with a focus on rhetorical analysis of primarily non-fiction texts. The course trains students to become skilled readers as they analyze a variety of texts including essays, speeches, letters, ads and graphics, and non-fiction and imaginative literature. Students develop confidence in their writing style and skills as they write frequently for a variety of purposes, with an emphasis on argument and persuasive essays. This course is open enrollment for any Senior.
* All students enrolled in Honors and AP are to practice strict academic honesty. If a student is found to have plagairized--even once--they will be removed from the program and placed in regular English.