Image result for frankenstein

    [On the left: You, on the right: AP12]


    While you are HERE, illuminating the REQUIRED SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT with the torch of your intellect, take a few moments to reflect on what you expect to take away from AP Literature, as well as why you enrolled in this college preparatory class.

    You should know:

    1. This course mirrors a freshman level college English course - that's part of its design and purpose.
    2. You WILL have homework.  Expect 4-6 hours a week, which is customary for an AP course.  Homework includes reading, annotating, thinking, making choices, and writing.
    3. You will need to use class time productively, AND BE PHYSICALLY PRESENT IN CLASS or your homework load may increase by an hour a day.  That's 9-11 hours a week.

    Still in?  YES!  Here are some good reasons to be in this course:

    1. You want to be prepared for college level work and standards in reading, thinking, and writing.
    2. You love to read all kinds of literature and are open to new (and difficult) reading experiences.
    3. You are willing to read a text, re-read and re-read the same text.
    4. You are willing to write a paper, revise and revise the same paper.
    5. You enjoy discussing and thinking about literature, poetry, and film.
    6. You set your own bar for excellence. 

    Here are some reasons NOT to be in this course:

    1. Your friends are taking the class.
    2. Your parents want you to be ready for college.
    3. You are bored in on-level English.
    4. You think annotating a text is busy work. (When, in fact, it's actually your new best friend and lifelong companion!)
    5. You are looking for a fun, creative class during senior year. Disclaimer:  While I believe this course IS indeed fun and creative, as much fun and creativity as we can have in English - fun and creativity are not the operative functions of the class.  My definition of fun is most likely different than yours.  AP Literature requires self-discipline, intuitive curiousity, a willingness to make mistakes, learn and grow, and most importantly - a solid work ethic.  Students who work hard will inevitably be more successful than naturally smart students.


    IF you are still IN at this point - press on!  The summer reading and annotating awaits your open heart and restless mind. No essays required at this point, just printed and annotated copies of the three short stories.


    FOCUS: Our Existential Dilemma – our power to create, to judge and to destroy. Is our condition a blessing or a curse? A privilege or a responsibility? Is there a limit to our limitless potential? Alchemy, the medieval ancestor to modern science – the transformation, transfiguration of matter. Of base metals into gold, of ignorance into enlightenment through the path of intellect and insight. Beyond this - how are our lives a kind of living story? How does our PERCEPTION of a story inform our PERSPECTIVE about its meaning? How does the narrator's GAZE shape the READER'S VIEW? How does shifting or changing these things fundamentally alter the meaning a story can have? How does knowing and understanding a story inform our lives with meaning and value? How do stories put the cult in culture?

    "There is something at work in my soul which I do not understand. I am practically industrious – painstaking, a workman to execute with perseverance and labour – but besides this there is a love for the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous, intertwined in all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men, even to the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore."

    [Letter 2 Robert Walton, Mary Shelley Frankenstein]


    WHAT TO DO?  Come prepared! {Discussions and analysis on these texts begin the first Monday of the school year.}

    ALL three texts should be printed, annotated and ready to submit for a grade.  3-4 annotations per page is a minimum.  Annotations may consider: facts (What's happening?) interpretations (What does it all mean?) themes (What are the author's messages and more universal connections?) literary and rhetorical techniques, author's style, tone and mood.

    1. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel T. Coleridge, a narrative poem that is the muse for Shelley’s Frankenstein.         @ http://www.casa-arts.org/cms/lib/PA01925203/Centricity/Domain/50/The%20Rime%20of%20the%20Ancient%20Mariner%20with%20guides.pdf
    2. "The Mortal Immortal" by Mary Shelley. You can find this story with built-in literature links at Romantic Circles: A Refereed Scholarly Website of Romantic Period Literature and Culture @ https://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/mws/immortal/mortal.html.  
    3. Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark." @ The Literature Network:  http://www.online-literature.com/hawthorne/125/
    4. End-note annotations should consider what these three texts have in common in terms of narrative structure and technique, alienated characters and universal motifs.
    5. Have a copy of Mary Shelley’s 1818 edition of Frankenstein, print or digital.  You will annotate all novels, so consider that in your choices.