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​​AP English Literature
Instructor: Francesca Morrissey
Age: 15+ and/or with permission of the instructor

Duration: 36 weeks (Aug. 27- June 14), meeting 1x/week for 3 hours, excluding holidays & breaks
Day/Time: Wednesdays, 10 AM-1 PM

Credits: 1.5
Cost: $1650/student (includes $350 worth of books)


Course Description: This course is broken into themed trimesters and is designed to develop critical literacy – the interpretation, understanding, analysis and evaluation of British and American literature covering the 16th century to contemporary times - as specified in the College Board's AP® English Course Description from which this course's goals and objectives are adapted. The AP Syllabus number assigned by the College Board to this class syllabus will be provided to students on the first day of classes.

The ability to read, contemplate, analyze, evaluate and write about diverse literature is integral to your success in this course. For this reason, students are required to read How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster (ISBN#: 978-0-062-30167-3) over the summer. Reading this text is not a passive activity. Students are expected to either 1) keep a dialectic journal in which they record page numbers and specific observations about what they've read on those pages or 2) annotate the text directly and extensively by highlighting significant passages and making notes in the margins of the text. This book (and journal, if used) is to be brought to our first class and will be reviewed and assessed by the teacher. More importantly, these materials will be used to craft an argumentative essay that will be worked on throughout the academic year and that addresses the question of whether or not all literature can fit neatly into one of seven basic themes:
man vs. man
man vs. nature
man vs. self
man vs. God
man vs. society (norms/conventions)
man caught in the middle
man and woman

Students will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the instructor on this essay, as well as on their other individual writing assignments throughout the year. In total, students can expect to write 4 short essays (3-6 pages each) and one longer culminating paper (the essay mentioned above) due the penultimate week of classes. Additionally, there will be 2 in-class timed essays per trimester.

The focus of the first trimester is the epic in literature. We will study the epic in the context of Arthurian legend, point-of-view, satire, and the history and culture of a specific period and setting. Readings include Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, excerpts from Tennyson's “Idylls of the King” and other poems, Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat, Beowulf, Gardner's Grendel, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, and Shakespeare's Henry V


The second trimester's theme is “Women, Men and Marriage.” Texts include Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, Austen's Sense and Sensibility, excerpts from James's The Bostonians; short stories by canon authors (Hawthorne, Chopin, Wharton, Hemingway) and contemporary authors (Morre, Straub and Lahiri) and Albee's play “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” 

The third trimester delves into “Immigration and the American Dream” as depicted in the works of a variety of authors. Readings may include Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Doctorow's Ragtime, selected poems and short stories by Harlem Renaissance authors, selected poems and prose by the Beat Poets, the plays “Death of a Salesman” and “Glengarry Glen Ross” and the post-modern novels Middlesex and Native Speaker

The Student Portfolio
Independent student-teacher 30 minute conferences, outside of class time, are strongly encouraged for students during the writing process and are mandatory when drafts have been evaluated and are ready to be returned to students for revisions. I review, evaluate, and provide feedback in areas where I notice weakness. For some, that may be specific to the strength of a particular position; an ineffective argument; more summary than synthesis; poor word choice and weak vocabulary; lack of variety of sources; too many generalizations and a lack of details; relying more on the passive than the active voice; trouble with paragraph transitions; inappropriately using quotations, etc. These meetings may also include short lessons centered on a specific element of writing: vocabulary, grammar, sentence & paragraph structure, punctuation, style and voice. The purpose of these lessons is to provide students with a greater awareness of how their language and structural choices impact their writing and to encourage them to better evaluate their own work.

Class participation is an integral element of this college-level course. In the event a student cannot attend regularly scheduled classes, it is strongly recommended that the student make arrangements with the teacher to Skype or Facetime the class. Students understand that exceeding 12 absences in this course will result in the inability to list the course on a transcript as an “AP” and will disqualify them from receiving a letter or numeric grade. They will be encouraged to continue in the class on an audit basis and will receive a Pass/Fail at the end of the year. A student who chooses to discontinue the course at any point in the year or who does not complete all assigned work will receive a grade of INCOMPLETE.

Grading & Evaluations: Students are evaluated based on the strength of their portfolios which include not just final drafts, but all revisions, as well. Each portfolio assignment is weighted as follows:
text annotations, student glossary, one-on-one meeting attendance = 20%
class attendance and participation = 20%

in-class timed tests = 20%
semester essays (including all drafts) = 20%
in-class final exam = 20%

Summer Reading:
How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster. ISBN#: 978-0-062-30167-3

With the exception of the summer reading text, all books used in the course of this class will be purchased by the teacher and provided to students on the first day of classes. The fee for all books is included in the cost of the class. Teacher will provide online links to or handouts for assigned poems, short stories & essays.

Recommended text, but not required:
Barron's AP English Literature and Composition, 6th edition. ISBN#: 978-1-438-00738-0
MLA Handbook, 8th ed. ISBN#: 978-1-60329-262-7
A Handbook to Literature, William Harmon & Hugh Holman, 10th ed. ISBN#: 978-0-131-34442-6
The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White, 4th ed. ISBN#: 978-0-205-30902-3


To secure enrollment in this course, after speaking with and receiving the permission of the instructor, a non-refundable deposit of $650 is required at time of registration. A second installment of $500 is due on or before Sept. 1, 2018 and a final installment of $500 is due on or before Jan. 1, 2019. Payments can be made by mailing a check payable to:
Access Success LLC
6 East St., Unit B
New Milford, CT 06776