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Summer Reading for Fall, 2019:

Seniors: Advanced Placement English in Literature and Composition

Slaughterhouse-Five -  Kurt Vonnegut 

How to Read Literature Like a Professor (Revised Edition) Thomas Foster

Seniors: World Literature Honors

Rings (Ring Series, Book 1) by Koji Suzuki. Translated by Robert B. Rohmer and Glynne Walley.


For Tuesday,  6/11: Analytical Test on The Great Gatsby.  I will collect you textbook during the test.

For Wednesday, 6/12Regents Review.

You must get in touch with me if you miss the test or the Regents Review.


Daisy (p. 92): “They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such–such beautiful shirts before.”

What an odd reaction to shirts. I believe that she’s crying about shirts and only shirts. She has the oddest reactions to things and she says the silliest things (94: “Look” at the pink cloud; 12: “Look” at my knuckle; 129: “Look” at the mint; 11: “Do you always wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it?”; 14: “I love to see you at my table Nick. You remind me of a–of a rose, an absolute rose”; 93: “You never told me you had a pompadour–or a yacht.” She’s a moron.

Anyway, the word “sad” does resonate in the novel. Yes, Daisy has plenty of reasons to feel sad about her decision to marry Tom instead of waiting for Gatsby to return from the war. On pages 16-17, read what she has to say about giving birth to a girl. And notice that Tom wasn’t around when their only child was born. Where was Tom? He’s probably off somewhere with another woman. Three months after their marriage, he was already cheating on his wife . See pages 76-77, where we read about a car accident involving Tom and the chambermaid from the hotel he and Daisy were staying at. (Tom likes to have affairs with women whom he considers beneath him: chambermaids, Myrtle. It’s a male control thing with him; he’s a Man’s Man.)

So, why did Daisy marry him? Did she have any doubts? Yes. See pages 75 (bottom)-76. Great scene. The letter! Fitzgerald doesn’t tell us what was in the letter or who sent it; he doesn’t have to. It was from Gatsby. Read pages 150 (bottom)-151. On the bottom of 151 there’s a reference to a letter that Daisy wrote to Gatsby about her decision to marry Tom. After receiving that letter, Gatsby probably wrote back, explaining to Daisy that he will be coming home soon and that he loves her. That’s the letter Daisy squeezes into a wet ball in the tub on page 76. On page 151, note what Nick has to say about Daisy feeling the “pressure of the world.” She’s a society girl who had her “debut” shortly after the Armistice (end of WWI) and before Gatsby came home (page 75). A debut is a “coming out party,” a family’s way of announcing that their daughter will be available for dating and, eventually, marriage. On page 151, Nick tells us that Daisy wanted her life shaped “now,” and the decision of whether or not to get married must be made by some “force” (read the last 2 paragraphs on 151). The “force” who made up Daisy’s mind for her was Tom Buchanan, who is the embodiment of “force.”

Tom: see that first image of him on pages 6 (bottom)-7. Notice diction: “sturdy,” “supercilious,” “hard,” “dominance,” “aggressively forward,” “enormous power,” “strained,” “pack of muscle,” “cruel,” “leverage.”  To has a  “body capable of enormous leverage.” Leverage means “power to act, to influence.” See page 11/middle:  “wedging his tense arm imperatively under mine, Tom Buchanan compelled me from the room as thought he were moving a checker to another square.”  See page 24, paragraphs 3, 4, and 5, where Tom grabs Nick’s elbow and “literally force[s]” Nick off the train.  (He wants Nick to meet Myrtle.  Yes, Tom shows off that he has a mistress, knowing Nick is close to Daisy.)  See page 141, where the word “authoritative” is used twice. Tom reads “authoritative” books (see pages 12-13). “The Rise of the Colored Empires” was an actual book, but it wasn’t written “by this man Goddard.”  It was written by Lothrop Stroddard, and it’s all about racial hygiene, or the extermination of undesired populations. It’s scientific racism and it’s called eugenics and Tom is interested in it. I hate him. Notice how he met Myrtle on the train and how he “pushed” her into a taxi.

 Then, there’s Myrtle; a sensual sexy woman for Tom to play with. Notice her sexy entrance into the novel on pages 25-26. I wonder how she ”wet her lips” on page 26. Tom lets her play dress-up. She’s playing the part of the society girl mistress. Notice the details that Fitzgerald uses to make her character happen on pages 27-31. Notice what she buys at Penn Station, and how many times she changes her clothes, or “costume” (30). Listen to how obnoxiously phony her conversation is on page 31. As much as I feel sorry for her, she’s the perfect character for a writer to lock up in a room above a garage in a “valley of ashes.” Fitzgerald must’ve has a great time torturing her like that (124). Poor thing. She’s so dumb and desperate.


See the time line for the novel. It’s under “Topics” on the Notes page. 

Some notes on Nick and Gatsby at the end:

Nick: Immediately after Gatsby’s funeral on page 175, there’s a lovely passage about Nick returning home after Gatsby’s death.  The passage is lyrically beautiful; its imagery is innocent and simple. Nick remembers: coming home for Christmas from school when he was younger; the personal exchanging of invitations; the midwestern air and snow, so “real” and pure; the houses in his town that everyone knows by the name of the families that has been living in them for generations; the images of Christmas.  All of this is a reaction against the phony, careless and impersonal attitude of the east and its people.  And, yes, even though the midwest “beyond the Ohio [River]” is boring and rigid, “with its interminable inquisitions” that spare “only the children and the very old”—everyone is always judging you and holding you up to some kind of standard—Nick needs to be in an environment like this after what happened during that crazy summer of 1922.  At the beginning of the novel, he says that he wants the world “to stand at moral attention forever.”  He wants no more misbehaving.  He wants a clean, personal, and innocent place to live for awhile.  His image of the east on the bottom of page 176 gives us an image that contrasts starkly with the way he imagines life in the Midwest.  Notice in his image of the east, the fake “cold” of the jewels, as opposed to the “real” cold of the snow and air in the midwest; notice the image of the four men carrying a woman whose name they don’t know on a stretcher into a house.  It’s the “wrong house,” and “no one knows the woman’s name and no one cares.”  How impersonal. And notice how he imagines the east as night scene in one of El Greco’ paintings, with the houses “at once conventional and grotesque, crouching under a sullen, overhanging sky and a lusterless moon.”  Scary. Chilling.  Not good. 

Gatsby: An interesting scene is when Wilson shoots Gatsby 160-162).  Gatsby asks the butler to let him know if anyone calls.  But by 4 PM, Gatsby was dead.  Nick wonders if Gatsby expected Daisy to call.  Nick has an idea that Gatsby didn’t believe she would call.  And if that’s the case, maybe he’s better off dead because the world must’ve felt and looked “unfamiliar” to him.  Leaves probably were “frightening” and a rose “grotesque,” and the sunlight “raw.”  Knowing Daisy wouldn’t call would mean that Gatsby “lost the old warm world” he knew as “Jay Gatsby.”  (Remember: “Jay Gatsby” dies during the scene in the Plaza Hotel, “broken up like glass against Tom’s hard malice,” page 148).  It’s interesting how Wilson, who is lurking in the trees across the way, is described as an “ashen figure.”  Oh those valley of ashes that used to be the fresh green breast of the new world.  It’s the “foul dust” that “floated in the wake” of Gatsby’s dream (page 2).  Remember how these ashes come together and with a “transcendent effort” even form men (page 23).  Wilson is on of those men.  As for Tom, he’s one of the many who “prey[s] on Gatsby” (page 2).  Look again at the diction in the Plaza Hotel scene.  Look at the notes on Tom above.



For Monday, 5/13: In Barron's, do Passages 1, 2, & 4 in Practice Test A, which begins on page 227.

For Monday, 5/13: Print out Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (see link) and annotate it. Note the rhetorical strategies he uses and try to figure put why/how he uses them. Bring this to class.

For Monday 5/13: Bring Barron's and The Great Gatsby to class.

 For Wednesday, 5/8: In Barron's do Passage 2 in Diagnostic Test (pages 48-51).  After you do the questions and check your answers, reread the passage and annotate it, looking for the following: diction, antithesis, parallel structure,repetition, syntax, sentence length, punctuation, structure, allusion, quoting.  Try to understand why/how Anthony uses these rhetorically.

For Monday, 5/6: In Barron's, do reading passages 1, 3, and 5 in the Diagnostic Test that starts on page 45. Check your answers on pages 72 and following. Write down questions. Mark up the pasages. Look up stuff you don't know in Barron's and the text. See below for what we covered in class in the Barron's book.

What to Study for A.P. Test:

1. Know the literary terms posted on here.  The link is on the left of the web page.

2. Know ethos, pathos, and logos.  See link on left.

3. Study these pages on the textbook: Read these pages carefully and intensively (no need to read them more than once, but just make sure you're paying attention):     pages 1-25;     35-37;    middle of page 51-59 (on page 59, don't bother with "hortative," "antimetabole", "zeugma";     pages 167-171;     252-255;     339-343;  420 (bottom)-423;                 498 (bottom)-501;      592-593;      698-703;   790 (bottom)-793;     892-897;   999-1003.  Let me know if there's anything here that you don't understand.  You may e mail me.  Use the Barron's book as a backup.  There are a glossary and index in the back of both books.


Study these pages in Barron's:

xiii; 2-7; 21-39; 117-152; 153 and following (as needed—and everyone will need something from these pages; so, look at all of them); 208-216.

I covered these pages in class out of order, obviously, for the purpose of making connections among the different parts and sections.

Use the glossary and index in here—and in your textbook.


Take home essay on The Catcher in the Rye due on Monday, 4/29.

If you click on "Files," there are notes posted on Catcher in the Rye.  The page numbers refer to my edition.  These are notes I posted  for a class in the past when i had to skim parts of the book.  They will reinforce what we covered in class the last week or so.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Here are a few poems that you might consider using in your essay.  (Don't ignore the poems we did in class:  the ones by William Carlos Williams (never ignore those!); and the poem by Robert Bly that you're carryimng in your wallet ("Watering the Horse"), and Jack Gordon's "Highlights and Interstices.").





Charles Bukowski, a poet you would like very much. (I read "Bluebird" and "Laughing Heart" in F period.)  The link for "Laughing Heart" is above.)  This what he said about being crazy: 

"Some people never go crazy.  What truly horrible lives they must lead."

Here is a page of amazing quotes by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862).  I spoke about him in class (Walden).  Read these.  A good number of them apply to Catcher in the Rye.


One of my favorite quotes is this one: 

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. 

                                           Henry David Thoreau

This resonates in a profound, powerful way in Catcher in the Rye.


Here is a famous excerpt from Walden.  Read carefully the part about living simply and "keeping your affairs on your thumbnail.":

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever." Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men; like pygmies we fight with cranes; it is error upon error, and clout upon clout, and our best virtue has for its occasion a superfluous and evitable wretchedness. Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion. Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment. The nation itself, with all its so-called internal improvements, which, by the way are all external and superficial, is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense, by want of calculation and a worthy aim, as the million households in the land; and the only cure for it, as for them, is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose. It lives too fast. Men think that it is essential that the Nation have commerce, and export ice, and talk through a telegraph, and ride thirty miles an hour, without a doubt, whether they do or not; but whether we should live like baboons or like men, is a little uncertain. If we do not get out sleepers, and forge rails, and devote days and nights to the work, but go to tinkering upon our lives to improve them, who will build railroads? And if railroads are not built, how shall we get to heaven in season? But if we stay at home and mind our business, who will want railroads? We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us. Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad? Each one is a man, an Irishman, or a Yankee man. The rails are laid on them, and they are covered with sand, and the cars run smoothly over them. They are sound sleepers, I assure you. And every few years a new lot is laid down and run over; so that, if some have the pleasure of riding on a rail, others have the misfortune to be ridden upon. And when they run over a man that is walking in his sleep, a supernumerary sleeper in the wrong position, and wake him up, they suddenly stop the cars, and make a hue and cry about it, as if this were an exception. I am glad to know that it takes a gang of men for every five miles to keep the sleepers down and level in their beds as it is, for this is a sign that they may sometime get up again.

And read this excerpt--it's beautiful-- from the very end of Walden.

“Every one has heard the story which has gone the rounds of New England, of a strong and beautiful bug which came out of the dry leaf of an old table of apple-tree wood, which had stood in a farmer’s kitchen for sixty years, first in Connecticut, and afterward in Massachusetts — from an egg deposited in the living tree many years earlier still, as appeared by counting the annual layers beyond it; which was heard gnawing out for several weeks, hatched perchance by the heat of an urn. Who does not feel his faith in a resurrection and immortality strengthened by hearing of this? Who knows what beautiful and winged life, whose egg has been buried for ages under many concentric layers of woodenness in the dead dry life of society, deposited at first in the alburnum of the green and living tree, which has been gradually converted into the semblance of its well-seasoned tomb — heard perchance gnawing out now for years by the astonished family of man, as they sat round the festive board — may unexpectedly come forth from amidst society’s most trivial and handselled furniture, to enjoy its perfect summer life at last!”

Here is the excerpt from the end of Song of Myself that I quoted in class a few times while teaching the book:

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself.

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a contemporary of Whitman's and Thoreau's.  He was considered by many to be the "leader,"  or philosophical spokesperson of this loose collection of 19th century writers and thinkers whom we now refer to as Transcendentalists.  In his famous essay "Self Reliance" (his other famous essay is called "Nature"), Emerson wrote this:

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds , adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines.  With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."

This, too, is heard and felt in the book.


Bring Barron's book to class on 4/29.

Buy The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The edition I'm using has 180 pages.  Have it when you get back from break. You can get it here:




"so much depends upon":

every breakfast with Michiko

a woman picking up her child when crossing Waller Street

a girl playing a game of hide and go seek with her dog

a snowflake falling on a horse's mane

a red wheelbarrow

a boy singing while he walks next to the curb in a straight line

a skate key... or a child being nice and polite when you tighten her skates

holding hands with Jane


terrific whistlers

the drummer at Radio City


gasoline rainbows



Allie's baseball mitt



Little Shirley Beans


riding on a train at night

"now" with Phoebe

feeling a goodbye when you leave a place


What to Study for A.P. Test:

1. Know the literary terms posted on here.  The link is on the left of the web page.

2. Know ethos, pathos, and logos.  See link on left.

3. Study these pages on the textbook: Read these pages carefully and intensively (no need to read them more than once, but just make sure you're paying attention):     pages 1-25;     35-37;    middle of page 51-59 (on page 59, don't bother with "hortative," "antimetabole", "zeugma";     pages 167-171;     252-255;     339-343;  420 (bottom)-423;                 498 (bottom)-501;      592-593;      698-703;   790 (bottom)-793;     892-897;   999-1003.  Let me know if there's anything here that you don't understand.  You may e mail me.  Use the Barron's book as a backup.  There are a glossary and index in the back of both books.


Study these pages in Barron's:

xiii; 2-7; 21-39; 117-152; 153 and following (as needed—and everyone will need something from these pages; so, look at all of them); 208-216.


I covered these pages in class out of order, obviously, for the purpose of making connections among the different parts and sections.


Use the glossary and index in here—and in your textbook.


Relevant links:

"I carry your heart with me":     https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/49493/i-carry-your-heart-with-me i-carry-it-in

"my sweet old etcetera":   http://plagiarist.com/poetry/312/

"A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall":     https://www.bobdylan.com/songs/hard-rains-gonna-fall/

"Masters of War":   https://www.bobdylan.com/songs/masters-war-mono/

"I'm Fixin' to Die Rag: The Vietnam Song":   https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/countryjoeandthefish/ifeellikeimfixintodierag.html

performance at Woodstock of "I'm Fixin' to Die":"   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qPUJhy0Dz4

Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner":   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKAwPA14Ni4

Iconic photo ("Saigon Execution"):    http://100photos.time.com/photos/eddie-adams-saigon-execution

Iconic Photo of napalm girl:     http://100photos.time.com/photos/nick-ut-terror-war

news footage:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arfMd_ar91o

(listen to and watch the soldier from 3:12 until 3:27 in above link)

more news footage:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0AmOw06lA0

Green Beret in The Deer Hunter:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyqr-hGGpQg

"Lemon Tree":   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eceRvPx3wrs


Here are the directions for Wednesday's in-class writing assignment (12/19). (I changed the format of the writing from an essay to paragraph(s):

You must answer both questions.  Pace yourself: approximately twenty minutes for each question. The writing is rough draft quality.The best you could do in forty minutes. 

Write a well-developed paragraph or two that analyzes how the writer uses at least three rhetorical strategies to make his meaning happen.  Your topic sentence will state what’s going on in the passage and cite the rhetorical strategies you will analyze.  Organize your paragraph well.  Try not to make it read like a list of rhetorical strategies.  Consider the order of your sentences. Remember: paragraph unity, coherence, and development.  

If you find it necessary to write two paragraphs, understand that your first sentence is the topic sentence for both paragraphs.In this case, the topic sentence of the second paragraph is more like a sub-topic sentence of your first sentence in the previous paragraph. Don’t forget to include a transition.

Rhetorical Strategies: imagery, figurative language, literal language, paragraph length and content, diction, syntax (kinds of sentences, sentence length, sentence structure), white space, juxtaposition, parts of speech, repetition, structure, rhythm (includes alliteration and assonance); tone.

I will choose from among the following: passages from the chapter "The Things They Carried"; passages from "The Killers" (from the scenes when Nick visits Andreson and returns to the restaurant); poems ("Feeling Fucked Up"; "my sweet old etcetera"; "I Carry Your Heart--"; "Love After Love."


Some notes on "The Lottery"

so much pointless violence....it's a lottery...who's "chosen"

the wicked selfishness of individuals (Tessie: it's "not fair" when she's the one; the children: "both beamed and laughed" when they discover that they aren't)

ther persecution of innocent people for absurd, ridiculous reasons:  What did Tessie ever do wrong? African Americans? homosexuals? Jewish people? etc...so many people have been "marked" for no reason..

all of this is passed on to the next generation ("Here Davey")

people blindly follow tradition (the danger of conformity)

Why do they stone and kill Tessie?  Because they're expected to (mob psychology: everyone follows everyone else and no one follows his/herself).

Why is there a lottery?  "There's always been a lottery."


For Monday, 10/15: Read "The Killers" and explore the possibilities of these questions:

1. Whose story is it? (Choices: Nick Adams, George, Ole Andreson ("the Swede), the killers.)  Why? (Explain your answer.)

2. What is the story about (thematically)?  What idea(s) does the story dramatize?  Explain.

3. Why is the end of the story like stretching a rubber band to the point just before it snaps? What event would make the rubber band snap?

Bring "The Lottery" and We Have Always Lived in the Castle to class on Monday, 10/2.

Thursday, 9/27: Test on poetry and rhetorical strategies. Know these poems: "good times"; "homage to my hips"; "Merry-Go-Round"; "Harlem"; "Negro Speaks to Rivers"; "Still I Rise"; "What Do Women Want."  Know these rhetorical strategies: rhythm, the dash, repetition, allusion, living language (slang, etcetera), parallel structure, image (imagery), simile, rhetorical question, style (colloquial, informal, conversational, etcetera), tone, "show don't tell."


for "The Negro Speaks of Rivers": 

Euphrates: river flowing through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq into the Persian Gulf.

Congo: river flowing through west central Africa into the Atlantic.

Nile: river flowing through Egypt into the Mediterranean.  Each passes through lands where ancient civilizations once flourished.