Honors English overview of summer reading:
I. Required reading:
1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
2. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
3. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
II. Required Tasks While Reading
1. Mark and annotate each book as you read (if you own the book).
Annotations may include your reactions, insights, responses, comments
or questions. Looking for patterns can be very useful. Annotations may be
brief—just words or phrases are acceptable.
Or, if you do not own the book, then
Identify page numbers of significant passages as you read, and take
notes on your reactions, insights, responses, comments or questions to
See the attached pages to learn the specific focus for your notes or
annotations in each book.
III. Due dates:
All of the reading and annotations or notes must be completed by the
second day of class in the Fall.
On the second day of class in the Fall
-Your notes/annotations will be checked AND
-You may expect to take a detailed comprehension quiz.
IV. Misc. info.
For your convenience, the information in this packet will also be posted
online. To access it you may check the school website, then academics,
then English, then Ms. Weverka’s webpage.
You are responsible for securing your own copies of these titles. We
encourage you to purchase a copy of each book so you can annotate them;
however, the PHS library has some copies of The Grapes of Wrath and The
Crucible, if you would like to check them out before the end of the school
year. It has very few copies of In Cold Blood. All three titles are also
widely available at public libraries and local or on-line bookstores.
Annotations or Notes
These annotations or notes will be the foundation of discussion and writing in
the first weeks of class. The goal is to add depth and insight to your reading, and
to help you make meaning of the work. It is important to be an ACTIVE, responsive
I. The Crucible
Choose ONE (or two, if you are feeling ambitious) of these basic literary
An important Character, Symbol, Conflict or Theme; or the Setting
Follow the development of this character, symbol, (or series of symbols)
conflict, setting or theme throughout the play as you read. Try to mark
references in the beginning, middle and end of the play.
Identify at least TEN quotes or passages that reveal this development.
Annotate or take notes on each marked quotation or passage. A brief
response, insight, questions or reaction is acceptable.
II. The Grapes of Wrath
Choose at least TWO recurring images, symbols, motifs or themes below to
follow throughout the book as you read. Try to mark references in the
beginning middle and end of the book.
For EACH thread you follow, identify at least TEN quotes or passages. (So, to
clarify: you will mark a minimum of 20 quotes or passages in the book, at
least 10 for each thread you are following).
Annotate or take notes on each marked quotation or passage. A brief
response, insight, question or reaction is acceptable.
Possible Images, symbols or themes to follow:
1) Nature (imagery or symbols associated with land, plants, weather etc...)
2) Animal (imagery or symbols)
3) Hunger (literal, spiritual, emotional) and food
4) The Journey/The Road/Movement/Migration (literal, spiritual, emotional etc...)
5) Unity (or lack of it)... the “I” vs. the “We”
6) Ownership (or lack of it)
7) Spirituality/religion/ Biblical allusions and biblical parallels
9) The role of women
III. In Cold Blood:
We will use this book as a foundation for our discussion of “how writer’s
write” and the writer’s craft. So, while of course we are interested the ideas
and themes of In Cold Blood, we will specifically examine how Capote’s
writing style or writing techniques help create meaning in this book.
See the attached list of rhetorical devices and other writing techniques for
Identify at least TEN quotes or passages in the book where Capote makes a
significant writing choice.
Annotate or take notes on each marked quotation or passage. How does the
writing choice (the technique or device) help create meaning? Looking for
patterns can be useful here.
A brief response, insight, question or reaction is acceptable.
Remember that your goal is to examine how Capote’s writing style helps
add to the meaning of the work overall, so you must keep overall themes in
mind to do this.
Simply identifying the example of the technique or device is not as useful as
considering how it creates meaning, or how it adds to the piece.
You do not need to pick a different technique or device for each quote.
Rhetorical Devices and other Writing Techniques
Remember, the goal is not to simply point out when a writer uses a
technique (“Wow- here’s a simile!”) but to understand the impact of that
writing choice. NEVER SUBSTITUTE TERMINOLOGY FOR ANALYSIS.
Aim to make meaning.
ad hominem argument- appealing to one’s emotion, rather than reason, as in attacking
one’s opponent rather than debating the issue
allegorical- using allegory (stories that have hidden or symbolic characters, items, events,
etc...); describes when ideas are presented through symbolic stories
alliteration- repetition of an initial consonant sound.
allusion- a reference; a casual or indirect reference
anaphora- repetition of words (at the start of a sentence); repetition of the same word or
phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses.
anecdote: a short, entertaining account of an incident; a story;
antecedent- that which comes before
antipathy- a strong dislike; an aversion
antithesis - the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases.
- ethos - that which appeals to our ethics or morals (trustworthiness, common
- logos- that which appeals to an audience’s reason (like facts, statistics, hard
- pathos- the quality in something experienced or observed which arouses feeling or
emotion like pity, sympathy, sorrow or compassion
apostrophe – breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing, some abstract
quality, an inanimate object, or a nonexistent character.
archaism- the use of archaic (antiquated, ancient, from a much earlier time period) words
assonance - identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighboring words.
begging the question- to use an argument that assumes as proved the very thing that is
beginning and ends (of the book, of chapters, of paragraphs…)
chiasmus - a verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against
the first but with the parts reversed.
circumlocution- roundabout speech
connotation- the idea or notion associated with or suggested by a particular word, phrase,
cumulative sentence: an independent clause which has at least one or more dependent
modifiers attached to it.
types of dependent modifiers: adjective phrase, present participle, absolute,
prepositional phrase, appositive, resumptive modifier, relative clause
denotation- literal meaning of a word (dictionary definition)
diction- word choice
ellipsis- the omission of word or words
epigram- a short, witty, pointed statement (often antithetical)
epiphany- a moment of sudden insight or understanding
epistle- a letter, especially a long, formal instructive letter; now generally a facetious use
(also, older: any of the letters in the New Testament written by an Apostle).
epithet- an adjective, noun or phrase used to characterize some person or thing, often a
disparaging one ( “egghead for intellectual); also: a descriptive name or title ( “Philip the
Fair” or America, the Beautiful.)
euphemism- a less offensive substitute for a phrase (not “higher taxes” but “revenue
genre- a kind or type of literature (or art)
hyperbole- extreme exaggeration an extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms
for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.
idiom- the language or dialect of a people, region, race, class etc... OR an accepted phrase
whose meaning is different from the literal (EX: he caught my eye)
imagery- pictures created by words, descriptions, techniques
invective (strong) verbal insult
irony- contrast, twist (between what appears to be and what is) the use of words to convey
the opposite of their literal meaning. A statement or situation where the meaning is
contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea.
juxtapose- place side by side
litotes - a figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is
expressed by negating its opposite.
metaphor- a direct comparison; or an implied comparison between two unlike things that
actually have something important in common.
metonymy - a figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with
which it is closely associated; also, the rhetorical strategy of describing something indirectly
by referring to things around it.
non-sequitur- a conclusion or inference which does not follow from the premises; illogical
conclusion; a remark that has no bearing on what has just been said;
oxymoron- contradictory words (jumbo shrimp); – a figure of speech in which incongruous
or contradictory terms appear side by side.
panegyric- a formal (often hyperbolic), public praise
paradox- apparent contradiction
parallel construction (also known as parallel syntax or grammatically parallel sentences):
a sentence (or series of sentences) which is crafted, so that its elements have the same
grammatical form and function.
personification - figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with
human qualities or abilities.
platitude- a commonplace or trite remark; a truism (obvious statement)
pun - play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar
sense or sound of different words.
rhetoric- using words effectively in speaking or writing (especially an argument)
riposte- a sharp, swift response or retort
satire-the use of irony, sarcasm or ridicule to expose our vices, flaws, follies etc...
screed- a long, tiresome speech or writing; a harangue;
simile- an indirect comparison using like or as
syllogism- an argument or form of reasoning in which two statements or premises are
made and a logical conclusion drawn from them; a logical model
EX: all mammals are warm blooded. All whales are mammals; therefore, all whales are
synechdoche - figure of speech is which a part is used to represent the whole, the whole for
a part, the specific for the general, the general for the specific, or the material for
the thing made from it.
syntax-sentence structure (this might also refer to anything else that helps constructs the
sentence like: punctuation, conventions of writing, sentence length or type, sentence
variation, paragraph length or type etc…)
tone- author’s attitude
understatement - a figure of speech in which a writeror a speaker deliberately makes a
situation seem less important or serious than it is.