English I Honors – Summer Reading Assignment Overview This course is a survey of World Literature. Your summer reading list contains one work of fiction and two works of nonfiction, all of which explore the choices humans make when their survival is threatened. The notes and questions below are intended to guide your thinking, reading and writing for this assignment. Red Scarf Girl is Ji-Li Jiang’s memoir about coming of age in China during the Cultural Revolution. Before beginning the book, you should conduct some brief, basic research on the events that occurred in China from 1966 – 1976. Find out who Mao Zedong was and what his Chinese Communist Party did during this era. This pre-reading exercise is intended to enhance your understanding of Ji-Li Jiang’s story and is highly recommended. [Please bring in your research notes on the first day of class.] While you are reading Jiang’s memoir, be sure to focus on how ordinary people respond when their survival is threatened. Look for examples of courageous responses and cowardly responses. Identify those who exhibit compassionate behavior or its antithesis. Discern why people make the choices they do, and what their behavior tells us about them. The Chocolate War is Robert Cormier’s young adult novel about a ninth-grade boy’s struggle against powerful and corrupt forces in his high school. When protagonist Jerry Renault resists the control of the school’s gang by boycotting a mandatory school fundraiser, he becomes the target of intense ridicule and harassment. While you are reading, compare the motives and methods of the characters. Analyze what happens when Jerry takes a moralistic stance against the vindictive powers-that-be at his school. Specifically, identify the steps he takes to survive in such a hostile environment. Decide whether – in your opinion – Jerry makes any mistakes, or whether he performs as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Finally, think deeply about the ending of the story. Do you agree with Jerry’s final analysis of events? Why or why not? Night is Elie Wiesel’s memoir about coming face-to-face with death in concentration camps during the Holocaust. Wiesel describes how he adjusts from being a typical 15 year-old-boy to being a brutalized prisoner of the Nazis. He speaks hauntingly of his struggle to survive while maintaining his dignity as a human being, even as his captors descend into savagery. To prepare for reading the story, conduct some research on the Holocaust during WWII. Look up basic facts about the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. [These notes should be brief. Bring them to class on the first day.] As you read, focus not only on how Wiesel survives, but how he retains his compassion and upholds his moral code. Compare man’s inhumanity to man, as shown by the Nazis, to Wiesel’s refusal to give up or in. Writing Prompt: The following questions are intended to guide your thinking process as you begin to formulate your ideas for a thesis. Once you have contemplated them, compose a thesis that provides a definitive answer. • In what ways do the main characters (in these three stories) respond when they are confronted with dehumanizing, life-threatening conditions? • What are their motives? Why do they choose one response over another? • How do they come to terms with what they have seen and done? Remember, your thesis statement must explicitly state the topic (the main characters’ responses to dehumanizing, life-threatening conditions) AND the position you are taking on that topic (you decide this). Your position must be defensible, which means you must be able to prove its legitimacy. You will accomplish this by citing details from the stories and providing your own analysis of how those details prove the thesis. Requirements: • Your essay must contain an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. • Your thesis statement must be the last sentence in the introduction and should set up your paper for analysis, NOT basic plot summary. • The body paragraphs must contain details from the text (either paraphrased or quoted directly) as well as your explanation of how those details prove the thesis. • The essay must be a minimum of 2-3 pages in length. It must be word-processed in black ink on white paper and double-spaced. Use 12-pt. Times Roman or New Times Roman font only. • Set up the document with 1” margins all around; insert a header with your last name and the page number on every page (including the first page). Align it at the top right-hand corner of each page. • Include a title that previews your thesis. Do not use “Essay” as a title. • Proofread! Revise and edit! Your paper should be error-free. Avoid all of the basic writing mistakes by staying away from personal pronouns (no “I” or “you”); weak, unclear and awkward sentences; commentary that does not relate directly to the thesis; and weak paragraph structure. Do not abbreviate or use slang/informal diction; this is a formal essay, not a conversation or text message! • Write in the present tense. Literature is happening now. Your essay and research notes will be collected on the FIRST DAY OF CLASS…no exceptions! If you have questions, please feel free to contact me over the summer via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy reading and writing! I look forward to meeting you in September. Mrs. Biagio ☺ English II Honors Summer Assignment A Utopia is an ideal place; sometimes a visionary but often impractical system of social or political perfection. A Dystopia is a place or state with bad or imperfect conditions; it is the opposite of a utopia. Using what you know about Utopia/Dystopia, create a thesis and write a paper that clearly addresses the following: In all three books, the characters are searching for perfection, a Utopia. They are searching for an ideal. In the two novels this ideal is represented in a future world and in the non fiction piece, it is a place free from the materialistic constraints of society. What parallels can be drawn between the books that link them thematically and speak to the authors’ individual and collective opinions on the search for perfection? Please make sure that you spend your time analyzing the texts in search of both common beliefs despite stylistic differences, as well as thematic and idealistic contrasts. PLEASE AVOID PLOT SUMMARY!! The only time plot has a place is if it needed to directly support analysis. Requirements for the essay: • Must be a minimum of 5-6 pages TYPED • Must have an introduction with a clear thesis and a conclusion • Must use at least two quotations from each book to prove your point and support your thesis • Must be written in the present tense – when you write about literature you always use the present tense. PLEASE make an effort to avoid common mistakes like word choice errors and confusing or awkward sentences. You will receive 2 grades for this paper, a content grade worth a test grade and a mechanics/structure grade also worth a test grade. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me via email: JSomersmhs@hotmail.com This paper will be collected ON THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS…no exceptions!! GOOD LUCK! ☺ Mrs. Walsh English III Honors – Summer Reading Assignment English III is a study of American Literature. The books chosen for the summer reading assignment offer a cross section of American life – some real and some fictional. All of these books revolve around the ideal of the American Dream. Keeping this in mind, use the three novels to answer the following: America is the “great experiment” in providing “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It is a promise that was made by our forefathers to every American citizen. However, many citizens might see the American dream as something elusive and often unattainable. Does the American Dream exist? Is it really a “dream” or is it a “nightmare?” Use the three books to explore these questions, making sure to link the novels in a common way as well as contrast each author’s individual perspective. Your thesis statement should provide a definitive answer to the above questions and set your paper up for theoretical analysis, and NOT for basic plot summary. Requirements: • Minimum 6-8 typed pages • Direct quotations from each of the novels, cited in the correct MLA format • A works cited page • Your paper should be void of all of the basic writing mistakes – stay away from personal pronouns, weak and awkward statements, weak paragraph structure, etc. This paper will be collected on the FIRST DAY OF CLASS…no exceptions! If you have questions, please feel free to contact me over the summer via email: JSomersmhs@hotmail.com Good Luck!! ☺ Mrs. Walsh Summer Reading Assignment – English Composition – Mr. Irilli Students will read The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli Suggested: Students are encouraged to also annotate (underline and take notes in the margins). This is a common practice in any college or university. It will be expected in this course as well, so get used to it. However, I realize that you may be borrowing the book so this assignment is not a required part of your grade. Required: Students must construct a 4-6 page double spaced typed outline (A sentence outline is preferred for this particular assignment). The outline (based upon your reading/notes/etc) should be standard MLA style with Roman Numerals, Capital Letters, and Numbers etc. Also, include a brief paragraph synopsis at the top. The synopsis should include the literary work’s main purpose and style. The outline will count as points towards your first marking period average. It may also be used to write your first major paper in the course. *Outline is due on the first day of school and will be collected. You will then be able to use it for your Summer Reading Essay (This paper will be assigned the second week of school).
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