Pre-AP English III Summer Reading Mrs. Sanders
Summer 2020 email@example.com
Summer Reading: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
You will be supplied with all the materials and examples you need to complete the work. If you want to purchase your own copy of the novel, you are more than welcome to do so. Having your own copy will make the annotation step much easier. The work is not intended to be easy busywork. Instead, this is a class meant to prepare you for AP English IV, a college-level course. If you don’t understand the assignment well enough to complete it, use the above email address and contact me as soon as possible. Please leave a phone number or email that I can use to reach you to discuss the work. I will be happy to answer any questions or clear up any confusing areas. Please read this entire document before beginning your work.
1. Read the entire novel THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER. Don’t start a week before school begins.
2. Keep a journal of these literary elements as you go - unusual diction (word choice), details, imagery, syntax (sentence structuring including punctuation), and the resultant tone (remembering that tone is a product of the preceding four). Please see the attachment for an example from Chapter One.
*Use a composition notebook for the journal entries. You may write in the composition notebook or type the responses and attach (glue) them into the notebook.
READ THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLE BEFORE TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF THIS SECTION. THIS IS AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING IN YOUR READING JOURNALS.
Please note the first chapter of The Scarlet Letter below. Note especially what has been placed in bold and italics.
A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bare headed, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.
The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. In accordance with this rule, it may safely be assumed that the forefathers of Boston had built the first prison-house, somewhere in the vicinity of Cornhill, almost as seasonably as they marked out the first burial-ground, on Isaac Johnson's lot, and round about his grave, which subsequently became the nucleus of all the congregated sepulchers in the old church-yard of King's Chapel. Certain it is, that, some fifteen or twenty years after the settlement of the town, the wooden jail was already marked with weather-stains and other indications of age, which gave a yet darker aspect to its beetle-browed and gloomy front. The rust on the ponderous iron-work of its oaken door looked more antique than anything else in the new world. Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. Before this ugly edifice, and between it and the wheel-track of the street, was a grass-plot, much overgrown with burdock, pig-weed, apple-peru, and such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison. But, on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him.
This rose-bush, by a strange chance, has been kept alive in history; but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness, so long after the fall of the gigantic pines and oaks that originally overshadowed it,--or whether, as there is fair authority for believing, it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison-door,--we shall not take upon us to determine. Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers and present it to the reader. It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.
Definitions of Terms and Journal entry examples
**Diction: Diction simply means word choice. Each word we select has a connotative value. For instance, a girl may be skinny or slender. Obviously, no one wants to be skinny, but we would all like to be slender. Skinny implies unattractiveness while slender implies good health and body tone. When looking for diction, students should look for words with value.
In Chapter One, please note the words in bold in chapter one. Each of these words has a connotative value. For instance, why use “throng” instead of crowd? Why are the garments “sad-colored,” and what does “steeple-crowned” remind us of? Why “edifice” instead of simply door? Why is it important that the “sepulchers” were built in “virgin” soil? What does this tell us about these people? Why is the prison referred to as a “black” flower that was “borne” instead of built? And what about the flowers that are referred to as “gems” instead of flower buds?
All these need to be answered in order to successfully study the rest of the novel. Does “throng” sound more like a gathering of angry people than crowd? Does “sad-colored” refer to the people themselves? Are they unhappy people? “Steeple-crowned” certainly refers to religious folk, but most people who have God in their lives today are happy people, or at least they have the peace of God. What would make these people so sad? Does it have anything to do with that prison that was built even before the town, “borne” from what? Fear? Anger? Hatred? If the prison is the “black” flower, or evil flower, then the rose bush that sprang from Anne Hutchinson’s footstep is the ray of hope for humanity and the flowers represent “gems” of truth. (Look up Anne Hutchinson’s theology for a clearer understanding.) And don’t overlook the fact that the town was built around death, not life. By simply looking at diction, we have a much clearer view of what we are about to read and what is being argued in the novel.
**Details: What details are left out is often as important as those the author chooses to include. Look for both details that are included and/or left out.
In this short paragraph, look at all the italicized phrases to gather an understanding of what details are and how they impact the reader. Many details are included in this short chapter that sets both the setting and tone for the novel. This is a town with only the hope of one little rose bush, a town built around the evilness of the world as evidenced by the prison and the graveyards.
**Imagery: Imagery is often a result of diction and detail. Here as elsewhere in the novel, symbolism is created by the imagery. The imagery in this chapter is one of gloom as evidenced by the “sad-colored” garments, death as evidenced by the graves, and decay as evidenced by the prison door. However, much detail and space are given to the rose bush, which should direct the reader to understand that this imagery is of greater importance than just a nice little rose bush for the prisoners to smell as they leave the prison. The rose bush represents the teachings of Anne Hutchinson, which is in direct contrast to the legalistic religion the people of this town are practicing. The town preaches fear and damnation, punishment and hell; Hutchinson taught the grace of God and His forgiveness. This, in fact, represents the two attitudes during The Great Awakening (look this up). In this way, the book can be seen as a representative of this great religious struggle.
**Syntax: Syntax includes sentence structuring and all the involved punctuation. In the first chapter of the novel, the remarkable syntax includes the very first paragraph that is only one sentence with multiple phrases and commas that slow the reader down and draw attention to all the details and diction that is of such importance. This type of sentence structure continues throughout the chapter whenever diction or details have great importance. The hyphens in the final paragraph are of great importance because within the hyphens is the mention of Hutchinson which leads directly to the purpose and meaning of the entire novel. Although Hawthorne says he is not going to try to determine if the rose bush survived from sheer chance or if Hutchinson had an impact on religion that is exactly the purpose of his novel.
**Tone: Tone is created by a combination of all the above. What can be said about tone is exactly the tone created, and nothing more. If students get a prompt that says to discuss the tone, students need to recognize that what they are being asked to do is to discuss diction, detail, imagery, and syntax and then to say what tone those devices created. In this brief chapter, Hawthorne has set a tone of anticipated gloom, fear, and perhaps anger.
In your journal entries, you may only find ONE of these elements, so journal about that. If you happen to find more than one literary element, you can choose to journal about all of them. The more you write, the easier the 4th step will be. (HINT: you can use what you journal to aid you in Step 4!!!)
3. You will be responsible for annotating and highlighting as you read the novel in the following manner: highlight materials that might be placed on a test; annotate by asking questions of the material or responding to the material in the margins of the book. I have attached an example of what annotations should look like. Remember, annotate what you feel is important, relevant, unusual, interesting, etc. Annotations are individual to the reader, but you should have at least ONE page per chapter well annotated.
Students with last names beginning with A-B will do chapters 2-4
Students with last names beginning with C-D will do chapters 5 and 6
Students with last names beginning with E-F will do chapters 7-9
Students with last names beginning with G-H will do chapters 10-12
Students with last names beginning with I-J will do chapters 13-15
Students with last names beginning with K, L or M will do chapters 16-18
Students with last names beginning with N-P will do chapters 19 and 20
Students with last names beginning with Q-S will do chapters 21 and 22
Students with last names beginning with T-Z will do chapters 23 and 24
4. Finally, write an essay discussing how the literary elements - diction, details, imagery, syntax, and tone - are used as devices that have advanced Hawthorne’s purpose. Purpose is defined as what point the author is trying to make. This essay will be 2-3 pages in length using MLA format and shared on Google Docs.
Due Date: Entire project due by Friday, August 14th
Test over the novel: Friday, August 14th
CAUTION: Some students have tried to read as little as possible and bluff their way through; this will not work in a pre-AP class. All students will be expected to discuss the entire novel the first week of school. I will randomly call on students to discuss an issue pertaining to a chapter that is being presented. I may call students to the front of the room for a random discussion. Don’t try to get through the class without doing the work. Students who do this will struggle.
Welcome to pre-AP English III!!!! I have an exciting year planned this year; I am looking forward to all the fun and activities. If you have any questions as you go through the summer assignment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will check this email every day in case of questions.
I will also make a video showing how to do the project for those who might be interested in watching it to get a better idea of what to do. As soon as I get the video made, I will email you a link.
There will also be physical copies of the novel/project packet at the school. I will let you know the date/time for that in an email once that has been determined.
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English III textbook link
Use this link to access the online textbook for the class.
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