AP English Literature and Composition 2015

Mrs. Gauthier

After School Help:  Wednesdays or by appointment


COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This Advanced Placement Literature and Composition course is a beginning college-level course in English Language Literature from around the world.  It adheres to the curricular requirements described by the College Board and prepares students for the Advanced Placement test for Literature and Composition in May.

Literature and Composition are not separable elements of the course.  Virtually every class will involve both reading and writing; the skills involved are mutually reinforcing.  Creative writing projects will be modeled on examples drawn from literature.  Analytical writing will focus on assigned texts, requiring students to recognize a wide variety of writing strategies.  Some writing tasks will go further, asking students not only to recognize strategies, but to compare multiple writers and strategies, evaluating their effectiveness.  Students will also write their immediate reactions to readings and will write responses to the writing of other students.  Frequent revision exercises are essential to the process of writing.  Experimentation and risk-taking will be especially encouraged as avenues of self-discovery, especially in creative work.

The assigned texts are assembled to help connect students’ personal stories to larger histories.  Classic texts from Europe and the Middle East acquaint students with the history of the Western writing tradition leading up to classics of British Literature.  These texts are balanced with non-European English Language Literature (from Nigeria, for example) and American Literature reflecting a variety of American subcultures.


GRADING SYSTEM:  This class is graded on a point system.  Points usually (but not always) are allotted as follows:

Timed Essays                                                                                           50

Papers                                                                                                       100

Projects                                                                                                    (May vary—usually 100)

Discussions                                                                                              20

Participation/Behavior                                                                             10

Homework (Thought Pieces, Prospectus Paragraphs, etc…)                   10-20

Quizzes                                                                                                    10-25

Multiple choice tests                                                                                50

Vocabulary tests                                                                                      Varies








Course Expectations AP Literature and Composition 2015-2016:

  1. Summer reading and interacting is required and graded.
  2. Summer reading assignments begin immediately after the end of the school year with deadlines throughout the summer and online interaction required with deadlines.
  3. The course primarily uses the Internet for communication and collection of assignments, and written assignments are also submitted to
  4. This course is taught at the college freshman level and includes excerpts from the Bible, Greek mythology, and other sources which may contain profanity and sexual references.
  5. We read and analyze at least ten complete works of fiction, a slew of poetry, and many short stories.  There is a reading assignment for most school vacations.  Thus, the typical reading load for a school night is 45 minutes to an hour.  It is the expectation of this class that students read the assigned materials and avoid consulting online sources that summarize the readings.
  6. If you have issues with anything in class, it is the expectation that, like a college freshman, you will advocate for yourself. 
  7. Graded discussions and presentations are a mandatory part of class.  You will be taught how to participate and, hopefully, improve as the course progresses.
  8. It is expected that you will take the AP exam.
  9. Buying your own books is recommended by former students because you may mark the reading with your own annotations.  A partial list below is in order of presentation in class.  It is important to get the proper edition for parenthetical reference and peer communication:


  1. Antigone (online)
  2. Things Fall Apart (ISBN:  978-0-385-47454-2)
  3. Odyssey (ISBN:  0-87220-485-5)
  4. Oedipus Rex (in Bedford)
  5. King Lear (ISBN:  0-451-52282-6)
  6. A Christmas Carol (ISBN:  978-0-8125-0434-7)
  7. Ethan Frome  (ISBN: 0-451-52766-6)
  8. Pride and Prejudice  (ISBN:  0-553-21310-5)
  9. The Great Gatsby  (ISBN:  0-7432-7356-7)
  10. Heart of Darkness (ISBN: 978-0-393-92636-1)
  11. The Bedford Introduction to Literature (ISBN: 978-0-312-47200-9)


Based on the availability and quantity of texts, selections may change.




Daily Classroom Expectations

  • Arrive to class on time (before the bell).
  • Be prepared for class and respectful of all classmates, teachers, and any visitors.
  • Keep a notebook—preferably 3-ring binder—and take appropriate notes during class.
  • Ask questions and generate discussion.
  • The Academic Honor Code is to be followed.  All essays must be submitted to TURNITIN.COM as well as other specified assignments.
  • All work must be given directly to the teacher unless otherwise indicated.  Do not put work in the teacher’s mailbox or leave it on the desk.
  • Teacher is not responsible for work submitted electronically to her email address.  The student is always expected to print hard copies of assignments.
  • You must adhere to deadlines.  Mishaps with technology are not acceptable excuses for missing deadlines.
  • Wikipedia and are not to be used as a reference source. Neither are Sparknotes/Cliff/Monarch/Barron’s, Lit Charts, Shmoop, Blogs,,, Betty, etc… The teacher will indicate what is acceptable.
  • Library Databases are always preferred.
  • All work is independent unless otherwise specified.

Academic Honor Code

Again, all work will be submitted to and you are expected to adhere to the Academic Honor Code.

Make-up Work

Work that was due the day you were absent is due the day you return.  Class work must be made up within 1 week’s time or you shall receive a grade of zero.  You are expected to take previously scheduled/announced tests even if you are absent the day prior. 


Class work (including tests and quizzes) cannot be made up for any class you skipped.  You will receive a zero.  (Clear any cuts as soon as possible.)


*Written Assignments:

All written assignments must respond directly to the question/prompt/task.  If your answer is off-task it will not be scored, not even for writing prowess.


Mid Term and/or Final Exams

Exams will not be returned but will be kept on file for one semester.







The reading for AP English Literature and Composition is “wide and deep” and will consist of works from the 16th to 21st century.  Students will

read deliberately and thoroughly, taking time to understand the works complexity, to absorb its richness and meaning, and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form.  In addition to taking into consideration 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 works studied.


Writing in an AP English Literature and Composition class “is characterized by the following”:

  • a wide-ranging vocabulary used with denotative accuracy and connotative resourcefulness;
  • a variety of sentence structure, 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
  • the effective use of rhetoric, including controlling tone, maintaining a consistent voice, and achieving emphasis through parallelism and antithesis.

(Above information taken from: CollegeBoard AP English Literature and Composition Course Description Fall 2014)






Helpful MLA websites: