AP English Literature and Composition
The AP English Literature and Composition course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading of selected text, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work's structure, style and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.
Reading in an AP course is both wide and deep. This reading necessarily builds upon and complements the reading done in previous English courses so that by the time students complete their AP course, they will have read works from several genres and periods from the 16th to 21st century. More importantly, they will have gotten to know a few works well. In the course, they read deliberately and thoroughly, taking time to understand a work's complexity, to absorb its richness of meaning, and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form. In addition to considering a work's literary artistry, students reflect on the social and historical values it reflects and embodies. Careful attention to both textual detail and historical context provides a foundation for interpretation, whatever critical perspectives are brought to bear on the literary work studied.
Writing is an integral part of this course and its exam. Writing assignments focus on the critical analysis of literature and include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays. Although critical analysis makes up the bulk of student writing for the course, well-constructed creative writing assignments may be included to help students see from the inside how literature is written. Such experiences sharpen understanding of what writers have accomplished and deepen their appreciation of literary artistry. the goal of both types of wiring assignments is to increase students' ability to explain clearly, cogently, even elegantly, what they understand about literary works and why they interpret them as they do.
Emphasis is placed on developing the following stylistic maturity:
* a wide-ranging vocabulary used with denotative accuracy and connotative resourcefulness;
* a variety of sentence structures, including appropriate use of subordinate and coordinate constructions;
* A logical organization, enhanced by specific techniques of coherence such as repetition, transitions, and emphasis;
* a balance of generalization with specific illustrative detail; and
* an effective use of rhetoric, including controlling tone, maintaining a consistent voice, and achieving emphasis through parallelism and antithesis.