Summer Reading -- Honors/AP IV

Summer Reading 2017
        Honors/AP English IV – Mr. MacArthurreading

The Works

Various Authors / Twenty Contemporary Poems

And I mean various – ten men, ten women, from all sorts of cultural milieus, writing on many different aspects of life.  One thing these poems and poets have in common is that they are all favorites of mine.
The idea behind these poems is that you should read them and enjoy them.  Some more than others, of course: we’re all individuals, after all.  I hope they will spark in you some new thoughts and ideas.
These will be available in my room, or available for download here.

Eugene O’Neill / A Moon for the Misbegotten

The heroine of this play, set in 1923 on a Connecticut farm, is Josie Hogan, “so oversize for a woman that she’s almost a freak”.  Josie is a fierce, independent woman who lives life according to her own rules.   The love of her life is Jim Tyrone, a Broadway actor who from time to time visits his family home (the family that owns the land the Hogans rent).   Jim claims he loves Josie, but unfortunately, he is a raging, self-loathing alcoholic, who had countless lovers.  (Josie, supposedly, also has many lovers in her 28 years.)
Is it possible for these two wounded souls to find each other, under the harvest moonlight?  Phil Hogan, Josie’s father, would like to see that, but is he concerned about his daughter’s happiness, or just trying to get his hands on Tyrone’s money?

John Updike / In the Beauty of the Lilies

        John Updike is now considered one of the preeminent American novelists of the 20th century.  We'll have to see how that goes.  Literary reputations have a way of rising and falling.  Melville died a miserable failure, and look at him now.
        In the Beauty of the Lilies (where did he get that title from, by the way?) is a saga that follows the fortunes of one American family down through four generations.  Two guiding threads throughout the novel -- religious faith, and the movies.  How are those intertwined, I wonder?
        In the beginning (of the novel) the Reverend Clarence Wilmot suddenly loses his faith.  His problem then is: how to you continue preaching the word of God to people, when you don't believe in God?  And he can't.  So he becomes a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman.  (Get it?  Secular knowledge substituting for religious faith?)  And so begins a slow decline for the family -- which is the opposite of how it's supposed to be in America.  With Clarence a shell of his former self, it's up to his wife to pick up the slack.  (And there's another thread for you to follow though the book.)

? ? ? ? / by ? ? ? ?

If you compare this reading list to other AP readings lists, you’ll find that, judging by number of pages assigned, your task seems pretty lightweight.  (Of course, that’s a silly way to judge.)  This I have done on purpose – to allow you to read something that you would like to read.


‚ÄčIn Addition to Reading

1)  We’ll continue with something that has worked pretty well over the last few years – a community blog.  As you start your summer reading (and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you take a few days off after the close of this year), you’ll no doubt find yourself either with some questions or some trenchant observations.  What to do?
Go to our class blog – “Summer Reading” at  Post your comments.  Read and respond to what your classmates are saying.  (Bookmark this site.  We may be using it during the school year, as well.)
  I expect that EVERYONE will post AT LEAST ONCE for EACH ASSIGNED WORK – that’s if you want a “C” – but hopefully a lot more.  The deadline for posting will be 6 a. m., Wednesday, August 30th.

2)  You’ll also have to write a 2-5 page essay – the traditional “Five-Paragraph” Essay.   
Now, by “five-paragraph”, I mean the traditional academic essay that starts with an intriguing introductory paragraph that concludes with a focused and definitive thesis.  Then, the body of the paper that endeavors to prove the thesis (a minimum of three paragraphs, but it can certainly be more), and finally, the concluding paragraph, which restates the thesis and reviews the gist of the (three) paragraphs.
Mrs. Grendzinski tells me that she thinks you can do this:  Experience tells me I should have some doubts.  This is your chance to prove yourself right off the bat.
        You can find suggested topics below. On the webpage you will also find a wealth of useful advice on the “Five-Paragraph Essay”.  Both of these can be found on the menu on the left of the page.  (Here’s a quick rule of thumb for writing a superior 5PE.  It’s like an iceberg: 80 percent of it is submerged.  That is to say, for as many hours as you actually spend writing the essay, you should spend four times as many in preparation.   Really.)
          The Essay will be due no later than 3 p. m., Friday, September 1st.  It may be turned in early at: .

[Warning: be sure to cite any and all sources consulted, other than the actual works themselves).  Avoid plagiarism like the plague!]

         To be announced!  Stay tuned and check back.