ap english literature

ap english literature

Exploring the Evolution of Literature: An In-Depth Analysis of AP English Literature

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1. Introduction to AP English Literature

Taking the AP English Literature course really tests your abilities. This wields you into a well-informed individual. Moreover, literature should be examined and thoroughly explored. Who is better to do this than students with a background of life experience? The basic purpose of literature is to expand our knowledge of life by exploring the similar situations we all encounter but with different interpretations. As Cheslonenson writes, “literature is truth.” Its function is “to enlighten and guide our individual selves toward understanding of deeper truths, and we cannot feign truth when we are independently motivated.” The exploration of literature teaches us to recognize a human being in all people, to deal humanely with one another and the situations we get into, and to appreciate the aesthetic values of life. The universal circumstances presented to help people think thoughtful about different underlying meanings of these works. Indeed, the purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the ideas addressed by other authors in their works.

There are many trodden paths of literary exploration, and advanced knowledge of literature is the idea behind the AP English Literature course. With other AP classes, there is an exam that is taken at the end of the course. The purpose of this is to get advance placement in college. This means that you are able to get three to six hours of credit for your exam score. The AP English Literature course is the most commonly taken AP exam. In fact, in 1993, over 100,000 students across the country took this exam. The exam tests your knowledge of literature and recommends that you become a well-read person that you should be. Nevertheless, this is no small feat to be accomplished, as it is reported that the AP English Literature exam does have the lowest pass (3) rate of any other exam.

2. Key Themes and Movements in English Literature

While some of these thematic strands represent isolated moments in history, other themes form trends that run continuously from one era to the next. Consequently, certain works discussed in our curriculum can represent several of these themes at a time. In this way, our curriculum samples the English Literature canon in terms of both historical moments and thematic concerns. This allows students to develop an enhanced appreciation of recurring historical and thematic concerns in world literature, see the connections among world literature, and, ultimately, make sense of world literature. While the NMSI Thematic Book is our bible of sorts with a thematic progression, the required reading in every teacher’s class should include a blend of the AP Exam and Canonical works, using outside readings to supplement the abbreviated literary anthology that would dominate the classroom.

In our curriculum, we study poetry, prose, and drama in a chronological and thematic manner. Throughout the year, we develop a list of key themes and movements in English Literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present and show students how artifacts from each period reflect these key themes. The study of literature lends itself well to the study of these themes as literature has often reflected the societal issues or problems of the culture and time period. For one or more thematic surveys, we use the NMSI GERPE book, exploring the thematic ideas associated with many works in the general anthology. Each thematic unit in this book begins with a single primary work that is representative of the theme, then essay(s) about the theme, and a follow-up suggested required read. While the NMSI’s thematic units are beneficial to expose the students to the various themes, we also utilize several strategies to tie in themes from the literary canon (works from a single author).

3. Analyzing Literary Devices and Techniques

Throughout the first and second chapters of Virginia Woolf’s novel, “To the Lighthouse,” there is considerable confusion and contention amongst the characters as they attempt to define Mrs. Ramsay. When the male characters initially describe her, literature previously written about women, power, and relationships is given in the form of a long and disordered list. The male characters who try to understand Mrs. Ramsay combine her with each of these literary characters depicted through these extracts. It is their ironic and clumsy way of grappling with Mrs. Ramsay. Although their intentions are genuine, they fumble over her beauty, her loveliness, her power as a hostess, and her providing comfort. These descriptions and their emulated actions about Mrs. Ramsay provide a discussion of human behavior that is useful for feminist criticism by an insight into the prevailing social expectations and the literary allusions that are used to maintain these subjective views.

Throughout the first three books of Virginia Woolf’s novel, “To the Lighthouse,” there is considerable confusion and contention amongst the characters as they attempt to define and describe the expectations of Mrs. Ramsay. This leads, in part, to her legend. Mrs. Ramsay challenges traditional feelings and meanings held about her, contemplating how others see her. As Mrs. Ramsay journeys through this psychological tumult, different comparisons and allusions come to mind as these characters struggle to describe and place their socially powerful mother and their beautiful, submissive wife. These allusions at producing a disordered view of Mrs. Ramsay contribute to her overall mystery and legend. Mrs. Ramsay’s daughters and husband face varied and twisting psychological connections to her; they will never resolve her influence on their lives. By using specific references and allusions to Mrs. Ramsay, James’ The Portrait of a Lady and Arnold’s poems lead to a better understanding of To the Lighthouse and its effect on literature and feminism.

4. Comparative Analysis of Major Works

In classes specifically designed for literature majors or classes designed to provide an academic rather than preprofessional education, it has been possible to require works to be read in English or to require the use of bilingual texts. Although many successful programs at high schools across the country do require double language reading and, in the process, certainly achieve important educational policy objectives, most programs that introduce English literature to high school students in level-four and level-five courses tolerate a more modest effort. English versions only are used at levels one and two without status competition between Latin and French versions. At level four, the nonbilingual course uses primarily English versions. Generally, whatever a scene, an act, or a page contains, a single-reading course hopes that literature will not be ignored.

Students in highly selective book-length courses on literary analysis or research often study everything or nearly everything written or published by a particular author. Students in the high school courses that can be compared with college-level English literature courses typically read only a few major works by an author out of a lifetime of writing. The typical American high school student experiences large (often unmanageable) doses of literature in “teaspoon” samplings. The advanced placement course generally involves more reading at less depth. However, more literature in the more depth or in book-length courses is not necessarily different literature. It does suggest different lenses through which centuries of criticism were generated. This study provides a college freshman look through a high school junior’s lens and estimates in considerable depth both sequential and current preferences of fifty-five recent advanced placement literature and composition students.

5. The Significance of AP English Literature in Academic and Professional Development

This study categorizes the course according to specific events that are given attention within the curriculum and presents the materials that are assigned to students in order to afford them the opportunity to explore associated concepts in depth. Though there has been extensive material written regarding the teaching methodologies for the class, little attention has been devoted to a comprehensive overview of skills and concepts gained through the successful completion of the course. This framework provides a clear and detailed breakdown of the targeted concepts and objectives and offers a detailed reference for instructors of the class. AP English Literature and similar classes claim to offer students ultra-preparation for the college setting, but as the curriculum is based upon material that is studied in a standardized fashion, it is of the utmost importance that a comparison of college-level material and skills be explored.

According to the College Board, the AP English Literature course is a “college-level class [that] provides a learning experience in literature that will prepare students for college-level reading and analysis” and is “the preparation in literary analysis and writing offered by [the] course [that] is designed for students majoring in English, communications, or a related field, which requires an exceptional ability to read fluently, write formally, and discuss the content and context of both the history and the future of world literature.” During a personal interview with Ms. Clare Cohen, an undergraduate admissions officer for Washington University, she cited AP English Literature as a particularly useful tool in preparing a student for first-year writing. According to Ms. Wendy Medd, a Writing Consultant for The Writing Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students often come to the Writing Center unsure of how to approach a critical analysis and having difficulty with close readings.

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