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Literature & Composition Reading, Writing, Thinking

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2017-02-03
  • Publisher: MPS HIGH SCHOOL

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Literature & Composition provides you with everything you need to analyze and write about literature in order to succeed in class while effectively preparing for the AP® Literature exam.

Author Biography

Carol Jago taught AP Literature and was department chair at Santa Monica High School for thirty-two years. She has served on the AP Literature Development Committee and as a content advisor on AP Central. She is the author of many books, including With Rigor for All: Teaching the Classics to Contemporary Students; Beyond Standards: Excellence in the High School English Classroom; and four titles in the NCTE High School Literature series. In 2010, Carol is the president of NCTE and an advisor for the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Renée H. Shea is professor of English and Modern Languages at Bowie State University and former Director of Composition. She is coauthor of The Language of Composition: Reading  Writing  Rhetoric and two titles in the NCTE High School Literature series on Amy Tan and Zora Neale Hurston. She has been a reader and question leader for both AP Literature and Language readings.
Lawrence Scanlon taught at Brewster High School for more than thirty years. Over the last fifteen years he has been a reader and question leader for the AP Language exam. As a College Board consultant in the U.S. and abroad, he has conducted AP workshops in both Language and Literature, as well as serving on the AP Language Development Committee. Larry is coauthor of The Language of Composition: Reading Writing Rhetoric and has published articles for the College Board and elsewhere on composition and curriculum.
Robin Dissin Aufses is director of English Studies at Lycée Français de New York. She is coauthor of The Language of Composition: Reading  Writing Rhetoric. Robin also has published articles for the College Board on the novelist Chang Rae Lee and the novel All the King's Men.

Table of Contents

1 –Literature as Conversation: The Active Reader    
One must be an inventor to read well... There is then creative reading, as well as creative writing. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘The American Scholar’
What Is Active Reading? 
Telling It Slant 
Emily Dickinson, Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —  
Activity: Mary Oliver, Spring in the Classroom 
 Becoming an Active Reader  
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29  
Activity: Mark Doty, Golden Retrievals 
Reading Journal 
Alice Walker, from Everyday Use  
Activity: Claude McKay, The Harlem Dancer 
Think Aloud Dialogue 
Activity: Karen Russell, from Swamplandia! 

2 – The Big Picture: Analyzing Fiction and Drama  
“Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.” — Nadeem Aslam, The Wasted Vigil

Elements of Fiction 
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One of These Days  
Jane Austen, from Pride and Prejudice 
Activity: James Welch, from Fools Crow 
Edgar Allan Poe, from The Masque of the Red Death 
John Steinbeck, from The Grapes of Wrath 
Henry Roth, from Call It Sleep 
George Orwell, from 1984 
Activity: Thomas Hardy, from Tess of the D’Urbervilles 
Point of View 
Dinaw Mengestu, from The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears 
Mark Twain, from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 
Katharine Mansfield, from Miss Brill 
Shirley Jackson, from The Lottery 
James Joyce, from Mrs. Ulysses 
Activity: Brad Watson, Seeing Eye 
Suzanne Berne, from A Crime in the Neighborhood 
Emily Bronte, from Wuthering Heights 
Activity: Colm Toibin, from Brooklyn 
Symbol and Metaphor 
Ernest Hemingway, from The End of Something  
Stephen King, from The Gunslinger 
Activity: Naguib Mahfouz, Half a Day 
Edward P. Jones, The First Day  
Activity: Jamaica Kincaid, Girl 
Analyzing Drama 
George Bernard Shaw, from Pygmalion 
William Shakespeare, from Richard III  
Henrik Ibsen, from A Doll’s House 
Activity: Hansberry, from A Raisin in the Sun 
D. L. Coburn, from The Gin Game 
Activity: Terrence McNally, Andre’s Mother 
From Analysis to Essay: Writing an Interpretive Essay 
Susan Glaspell, Trifles  
 Analyzing Literary Elements 
  Developing a Thesis Statement 
  Planning an Interpretive Essay 
  Supporting Your Interpretation 
A Sample Interpretive Essay: Aneyn M. O’Grady, Student Essay on Trifles 

3 – Close Reading: Analyzing Passages of Fiction  
“A writer only begins a book; a reader finishes it.”  — Samuel Johnson,

What Is Close Reading? 
From First Impressions to Questions 
F. Scott Fitzgerald, from The Great Gatsby 
Talking with the Text 
Activity: Zora Neale Hurston, from Their Eyes Were Watching God 
Literary Elements 
Willa Cather, from My Antonia 
Figurative Language
Activity: George Eliot, from Middlemarch 
Tone and Mood 
Activity: Sarah Orne Jewett, from A White Heron 
Connecting Literary Elements of Style 
Thomas Hardy, from Far from the Madding Crowd 
Activity: V. S. Naipaul, from A House for Mr Biswas
From Analysis to Essay: Writing a Close Analysis Essay 
John Cheever, Reunion 
Preparing to Write 
Developing a Thesis Statement 
Organizing a Close Analysis Essay 
Integrating Quotations 
A Sample Close Analysis Essay: A “Reunion” Gone Wrong
Activity: Toni Morrison, from Song of Solomon 
4 – Close Reading: Analyzing Poetry
Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings. — W. H. Auden, New Year Letter

Close Reading Poetry 
Step 1: Reading for Literal Meaning 
Seamus Heaney, Digging 
Activity: Christina Rossetti, Promises like Pie-Crust 
Step 2: Consider the Speaker 
Tone and Mood 
Activity: Jacqueline Woodson, the right way to speak 
Step 3: Reading for Detail 
A. E. Housman, To An Athlete Dying Young 
Figurative Language 
Activity: Derek Walcott, XIV 
Activity: Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, Sonnet 
Activity: Marilyn Nelson, The Century Quilt 
Connecting Poetic Elements of Style 
Robert Herrick, Delight in Disorder 
Activity: John Keats, Bright Star, would I were stedfast as thou art 
From Analysis to Essay: Writing a Close Analysis Essay 
Maxine Kumin, Woodchucks 
Preparing to Write 
Developing a Thesis Statement 
Organizing a Close Analysis Essay 
Integrating Quotations 
Documenting Sources 
A Sample Close Analysis Essay: Antoine Assaf, Student Essay on
Activity: William Stafford, Traveling Through the Dark 
Working with Two Texts: The Comparison and Contrast Essay 
Developing a Thesis Statement 
Organizing a Comparison and Contrast Essay 
Documenting Sources 
A Sample Comparison and Contrast Essay: Javier Echevarria, Student Essay on
Woodchucks and Traveling Through the Dark 
Activity: Lucille Clifton, in the inner city and Claude McKay, The City’s Love 

5 – Home and Family
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. — Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Central Text
 August Wilson, Fences  

Classic Text
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

Texts in Context: The Metamorphosis and the Modernist Vision  
 T. S. Eliot, from Tradition and the Individual Talent (nonfiction)
Otto Dix, The War (painting) 
 Robert Burns, A Red, Red Rose and H. D., Sea Rose (poetry) 
Amy Lowell, The Emperor’s Garden (poetry) and A London Thoroughfare, 2 AM (poetry) 
Fernand Leger, La Ville (painting) 
 T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (poetry) 
 Virginia Woolf, from Mrs. Dalloway (fiction) 

Tillie Olsen, I Stand Here Ironing
 Helena Maria Viramontes, The Moths  
 Alice Munro, The Progress of Love 

Ben Jonson, On My First Son 
Anne Bradstreet, Before the Birth of One of Her Children 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sonnet: On Receiving a Letter Informing Me of the Birth of a Son, 1796 
William Wordsworth, We Are Seven 
William Butler Yeats, A Prayer for My Daughter 
Langston Hughes, Mother to Son 
Richard Wilbur, The Writer 
Simon Ortiz, My Father’s Song 
Sharon Olds, Rite of Passage 
Naomi Shihab Nye, My Father and the Fig Tree 
Mary Oliver, Wild Geese 
Michael Afaa Weaver, My Father’s Geography 
Li-Young Lee, The Hammock 
Suzanne Rancourt, Whose Mouth Do I Speak With 
Kevin Young, Cousins 
Rebecca Hazelton, My Husband 

Paired Poems
Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays 
Theodore Roethke, My Papa’s Waltz 

Marilyn Chin, Turtle Soup 
Adrienne Su, Peaches 

Close Reading: Connotation
Suggestions for Writing: Home and Family

6 – Identity and Culture
No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another ot the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. —Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Central Text
Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies  

Classic Text
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness  

Texts in Context: Heart of Darkness and the Legacy of Colonialism  
 Chinua Achebe, An Image of Africa (nonfiction) 
 Binyavanga Wainaina, How to Write About Africa (nonfiction) 
 Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden (poetry) 
 H. T. Johnson, The Black Man’s Burden (poetry) 
Amedeo Modigliani,  Woman’s Head (sculpture) and Fang Ngil Mask (sculpture)
Doris Lessing, The Old Chief Mshlanga
 Felix Mnthali, The Stranglehold of English Lit (poetry) 
 Leopold Senghor, In Memoriam (poetry)   

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown 
Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? 
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Apollo 

Alexander Pope, The Quiet Life 
William Wordsworth, The World Is Too Much With Us 
Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Apology 
Emily Dickinson, I’m Nobody! Who Are You? 
Countee Cullen, Heritage 
Robert Frost, The Most of It 
Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill 
Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool 
Sylvia Plath, Mirror 
Mahmoud Darwish, Identity Card 
Kamau Brathwaite, Ogun 
Nathalie Handal, Caribe in Nueva York 
Natalie Diaz, The Facts of Art 
Molly Rose Quinn, Dolorosa 
Gregory Pardlo, Written by Himself 
Juan Felipe Herrera, Half-Mexican 

Paired Poems
John Milton, When I consider how my light is spent 
Jorge Luis Borges, A Blindman 

Natasha Trethewey, History Lesson 
Natasha Trethewey, Southern History  

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill, Where You Fell 
Dara Barnat, Imprint 

Close Reading: Figurative Language

Suggestions for Writing: Identity and Culture

7 – Love and Relationships
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
— William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Central Text
James Joyce, The Dead  

Classic Text
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest  

Texts in Context: The Importance of Being Earnest and The Satiric Tradition  
George Bernard Shaw, from A New Old Play and an Old New One  (nonfiction)
The Onion, School “Fine,” U. S. Teens Report  (nonfiction)
Jane Austen, from Pride and Prejudice  (fiction)
Jonathan Swift, A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General  (poetry)
“I Want Out” and “I Want You” (propaganda posters)
Sherman Alexie, How to Write the Great American Indian Novel  (poem)
Ishmael Reed, Points of View  (poetry)

Katherine Mansfield, Bliss

William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily

Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek

Poetry [Renee]
Sir Thomas Wyatt, They flee from me

Sir Philip Sidney, Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to dust

John Donne, The Flea

Robert Herrick, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Lord Byron, She walks in Beauty

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Love is not all

Margaret Atwood, Siren Song

Elizabeth Bishop, One Art

Audre Lorde, Movement Song

Billy Collins, Weighing the Dog

Cornelius Eady, I’m a Fool to Love You

Jane Hirschfield, This was once a love poem

David Hernandez, Lisa

Major Jackson, Urban Renewal XVIII
 Warsan Shire, For Women Who Are Difficult to Love

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Chess

Paired Poems
William Shakespeare, My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun
Pablo Neruda, Mi fea, Sonet XX
Pablo Neruda, My ugly love, Sonnet XX

John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
Adrienne Rich, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

Close Reading: Irony

Suggestions for Writing: Love and Relationships

8 – Conformity and Rebellion
Not all those who wander are lost. — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Central Text 
Edwidge Danticat, The Book of the Dead  

Classic Text
William Shakespeare, Hamlet  

Texts in Context: The Character of Hamlet  
Marjorie Garber, from Hamlet: The Matter of Character (nonfiction) 
 Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Philip Kemble as Hamlet (painting) 
Hamlet and the Ghost of His Father (painting) 
William Hazlitt, from The Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays (nonfiction) 
 C. S. Lewis, Hamlet—The Prince or the Poem? (nonfiction) 
 Zbigniew Herbert, Elegy of Fortinbras (poetry) 
 Margaret Atwood, Gertrude Talks Back (poetry) 
 Meghan O’Rourke, The Long Goodbye (nonfiction) 

Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street

Zora Neale Hurston, Spunk

Karen Russell, The Prospectors

Alexander Pope, Sound and Sense

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Song: To the Men of England

Emily Dickinson, Much Madness is divinest Sense—

Wallace Stevens, Disillusionment at Ten O’clock

E. E. Cummings, anyone lived in a pretty how town

Dylan Thomas, Do not go gentle into that good night

Gwendolyn Brooks, The Chicago Defender Sends a Reporter to Little Rock

Anne Sexton, Her Kind

Frank O’Hara, The Day Lady Died

Allen Ginsberg, Is About

Terrance Hayes, Talk

Barbara Jane Reyes, To Be Walang Hiya

Robin Coste Lewis, Art & Craft

Jamila Woods, Ghazal for White Hen Pantry

Paired Poems
Matthew Prior, An Epitaph
W. H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen

Carol Ann Duffy, Penelope
A. E. Stallings, The Wife of the Man of Many Wiles

Close Reading: Tone

Suggestions for Writing: Conformity and Rebellion

9 – Tradition and Progress
The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Central Text
 Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find  

Classic Text
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein 

Texts in Context: The Ethical Implications of Frankenstein  
 Stephen Gould, from The Monster’s Human Nature (nonfiction) 
 Jericho Brown, Dear Dr. Frankenstein (poetry) 
 Brian Aldiss, Super Toys Last All Summer Long (fiction) 
 Jon Turney, from Frankenstein’s Footsteps (nonfiction) 
 Stephen Dunn, Mary Shelley in Brigantine (poetry) 
Alison Hawthorne Deming, Science (poetry)  
Cari Romm, The Enduring Scariness of the Mad Scientist (nonfiction) 

James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues

Alice Walker, Everyday Use

Hanif Kureishi, We’re Not Jews

Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

William Blake, London

Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

Gerard Manley Hopkins, God’s Grandeur

Emily Dickinson, Crumbling is not an instant’s Act

Robert Frost, Mending Wall

William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

James Wright, Autumn Begins in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio

Seamus Heaney, Bogland

Yehuda Amichai, The Eve of Rosh Hashanah

May Swenson, Goodbye, Goldeneye

Toi Derricotte, Black Boys Play the Classics

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Indian Movie, New Jersey

Amit Majmudar, To the Hyphenated Poets

Richard Blanco, Mother Country

LeConté Dill, We Who Weave

Paired Poems
Walt Whitman, Mannahatta
Carl Sandburg, Chicago

William Wordsworth, London, 1802
Paul Laurence Dunbar, Douglass

Close Reading: Syntax

Suggestions for Writing: Tradition and Progress

10 – War and Peace
Do dreams offer lessons? Do nightmares have themes, do we awaken and analyze them and live our lives and advise others as a result? Can the foot soldier teach anything important about war, merely for having been there? I think not. He can tell war stories. — Tim O’Brien, If I Die in a Combat Zone

Central Text 
 Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried  

Classic Text
William Shakespeare, Othello 

Texts in Context: Critical Perspectives on Othello  
 Isaac Butler, Why Is Othello Black? (nonfiction) 
Charles Lamb, from Othello’s Color: Theatrical vs. Literary Representation (nonfiction) 
Jennifer Hill Coucher,
Reading Othello and Watching a Girl Skip Rope (poetry) 
 Nicole Galland, from I, Iago (fiction) 
 James Earl Jones, from The Sun God (nonfiction) 
Andrew Davies, from Othello (screenplay)  
 Toni Morrison, from Desdemona (fiction)


Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl

Bharati Mukherjee, The Management of Grief

Phil Klay, Ten Kliks South

Julia Ward Howe, Battle Hymn of the Republic

Walt Whitman, Vigil strange I kept on the field one night

Thomas Hardy, Channel Firing

Siegfried Sassoon, Lamentations

Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est

Anna Akhmatova, The First Long-Range Artillery Shell in Leningrad

Henry Reed, Naming of Parts

Richard Wilbur, First Snow in Alsace

Uri Zvi Greenberg, We Were Not Likened to Dogs

Margaret Atwood, It Is Dangerous to Read Newspapers

Wislawa Szymborska, The Terrorist, He Watches

Yousif al-Sa’igh, An Iraqi Evening

Dunya Mikhail, The War Works Hard

Brian Turner, Sadiq

Solmaz Sharif, Safe House

Cathy Linh Che, Split

Jill McDonough, Twelve-Hour Shifts

Amit Majmudar, Welcome Home, Troops!

Paired Poems
Richard Lovelace, To Lucasta, Going to the Wars
Robert Graves, To Lucasta on Going to the War—for the Fourth Time

Thomas Hardy, A Wife in London
Yusef Komunyakaa, Between Days

Wilfred Owen, The Parable of the Old Man and the Young
Wilfred Owen, Arms and the Boy

Close Reading: Imagery

Suggestions for Writing: War and Peace

MLA Guidelines for a List of Works Cited

Glossary of Terms


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