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This is the "AP Introduction Assignment" page of the "Mesa High School AP Literature and Composition" guide.
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Mesa High School AP Literature and Composition  

Mr. Garcia's AP Literature and Composition resource page.
Last Updated: Feb 4, 2016 URL: http://libguides.mpsaz.net/mhsap Print Guide RSS Updates

AP Introduction Assignment Print Page

Iliad Companion

Here you can read and even download your own digital copy of a companion to the Iliad. You may find that this will be very useful in your interpretation of the epic poem.


Be Ready for the Test!

Here are a few ways you can prepare for The Iliad test during the first week of school.

1. Become familiar with all of the different names used to refer to major characters.

2. Be sure you understand the plot and major characters.

3. Be sure you understand the nature of the conflict between the Trojans and the Achaeans.

4. Be sure to identify and study crucial quotations by characters.

5. Think about the role of the Gods in the war.

6. Think about the role of fathers/sons in the war.

7. Know who the Gods are and who they allied with.

8. Know all of the major heroes who emerge from the story and their roles in the war.

9. Know the Greek honor code.

10. Think about the imagery in the long battle scenes.


AP Summer Assignment




You can also find supporting materials on the LibGuide page for AP Literature and Composition at:  http://libguides.mpsaz.net/mhsap

 The introduction assignment is designed for students in the Mesa High School honors classes so that students:

Ø  continue active reading

Ø  have read a literary work that forms a discussion foundation for the semester

Ø  critically analyze and respond to a classic piece of literature, and

Ø  are prepared to write as the semester begins

 The required book, The Iliad by Homer (Penguin Classics version translated by Robert Fagles, ISBN 0-14-044592-7) may be purchased from any on-line bookseller or bookstore, checked out from a library, or checked out from a teacher prior to the end of second semester. 

Please see Mr. Garcia in Room 127 during lunch or after school to check out a book by Thursday, May 23rd.

Students enrolling in AP Literature and Composition after the end of spring semester may obtain copies of the required reading assignment and books in the MHS counseling office.


 Required Pre-Summer Meetings

You must plan to come to one of the following Pre-summer meetings to pick up a copy of the book and receive instruction about the summer assignment. Choose any one of the following days and times:

May 15, 2013—B Lunch, After School

May 16, 2013—After School

Welcome to AP Literature and Composition!  Your teacher has designed this summer assignment for enjoyment, enlightenment, and educational preparation for your next honor’s course.  All of these introduction assignments are expected to be completed during the first three weeks of the fall semester on your own time, outside of class. However, since we will be completing other assignments as well, you are receiving this early so that you may choose to complete this assignment before the beginning of the fall semester. This is not due the first day of school, but will be due by a specific date which will be about three weeks into the fall semester.  

Assignment Part A:   The Iliad by Homer

  1. Check out from the school, purchase, or borrow a copy of The Iliad by Homer.  Be sure to get the right copy! Otherwise you might have a different translation than the other students in the class. A digital copy of the book can be found at http://libguides.mpsaz.net/mhsap

Citation: Homer, Robert Fagles, and Bernard M. G. W. Knox. The Iliad. New York: Penguin Books, 1991. Print. ISBN:0-14-044592-7

There is an abundance of material available about the epic poem on the internet, but you should only use the sources on the AP Literature and Composition LibGuide Page found at http://libguides.mpsaz.net/mhsap. 

  1. As you read the epic poem, take one whole page of dialectical journaling on each of the following “books:” 1-3, 6, 9, 15-24.  You will have a total of 15 pages of dialectical journaling. Each page should have at least five entries.  DO NOT TYPE. This should be in your own writing on notebook paper. See an example of a dialectical journal near the end of this packet.

Your dialectical journals should focus on one of the writing prompts you have chosen from Assignment Part B. The purpose of the journal is to collect quotations that you could possibly use as supporting evidence in your written response.

Your purpose for reading this classical epic poem is to appreciate and analyze the literature, while also building a foundation of classic Greek mythological knowledge. Since we will begin the year with a brief study in Greek mythology and many of the poems, novels, and plays we read will depend on your knowledge of mythological allusions, this epic poem provides a necessary foundation for the course. Reading the translator’s preface, the introduction and maps will help with your analysis.  While reading and creating the dialectical journals, focus on the following:

Ø  Characters – take note of the different characters that are introduced in each book, including the Gods.  Try to analyze the motivations of the characters.  Also look for similarities and differences between characters.

Ø  Plot – take notes on the rising action, significant events that advance the plot, climax, falling action and the denouement. 

Ø  Theme – take notes on the message or insight about life that Homer presents.  Look for his comments on love, friendship, honor, gender roles, and the role of the gods.

Ø  Connections—make observations about connections between the story and other literature, your own experiences, or real world situations.

Ø  Interpretations—make your own interpretations as to the meaning of significant events.

Ø  Challenge the text—ask questions that challenge the meaning of the text and attempt to answer the questions.

A note on reading the epic poem:

This is an epic poem and does not read easily like ephemeral modern works of fiction. For this reason, concern yourself with reading for the larger ideas while not fretting over detail. Interact with the book regularly by asking yourself questions, reading from the companion texts on the LibGuide page, and stopping to understand after each book.

This poem is best read in manageable chunks and not all at once. Pace yourself and allow yourself plenty of time to read.

Read the introduction. Although this will take a larger time investment up-front, you will have a much better context and understanding of the text.

Use the Name Glossary on page 639. This glossary will help you keep track of the many character references in the poem, which can be overwhelming. Often-times, characters are referred to by more than one name.

Additionally, you should focus primarily on the books where the most crucial plot points occur and skim the rest. There are also epic battle scenes that need only be skimmed. If you read one battle scene thoroughly, the rest will be similar. The most crucial books are: 1-3, 6, 9, and 15-24. You are only required to read these parts, but may read the whole poem for a larger contextual understanding.

Assignment Part B:  Short Essay Response

1.     Choose one of the following prompts from the AP Literature and Composition Exam.  Write a 750-1200 word response to the prompt in the form of a well-organized essay.  This will act as your pre-test for writing, so do your best to provide the best possible sample of your own writing. You should provide substantial textual support for your claims by including direct quotations from the poem and in-text citations.  UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU REFERENCE (DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY) ANY OUTSIDE SOURCE. We are interested in your own interpretations and ideas.

The essay should be hand-written on the paper provided in this packet in blue or black pen.

Prompt choices (use The Iliad to answer the one of your choice):

1. Discuss Homer’s portrayal of the gods in The Iliad. What is their relationship with mortals? With fate? What are their various functions in the work? How are they or aren’t they companionable? What larger statements does Homer seem to be making by depicting the gods as he does?

2. Achilles and Hector are alike in some ways but different in many others. Write an informative essay, which compares and contrasts Achilles and Hector. Consider their personalities, their motivations, their leadership qualities, their relationships and standing with those around them, their skills as soldiers, and their moral and ethical values.

3. It has been claimed that Western literature begins with the Iliad. We still use expressions like “Achilles’ heel,” “Trojan horse,” or “the face that launched a thousand ships,” all with origins in the Iliad or the mythology on which it is based. In terms of the number of copies to survive from antiquity, the poems of Homer are second only to the Bible in popularity. Taking this into consideration, what value does Homer’s story possess in today’s culture? Consider discussing specific lessons expressed overtly or subtly, elements of Homer’s writing and/or specific styles Homer employs in his work.

4. The criteria which develops and code which governs the Homeric hero are straightforward but unique; the aspiration of every hero is to achieve honor. Honor is essential to the Homeric heroes, so much so that life would be meaningless without it. Thus, honor, which can only be won in battle, is more important than life itself. The heroic ideal in the Iliad is sometimes offensive to contemporary sensibility for a variety of reasons, but what is required here is not the reader's approval, but understanding of these heroic principles according to Homer. Therefore, examine the elements evident in the Iliad’s heroes that contradict our westernized expectations and discuss an individual character, who most epitomizes the Homeric hero archetype.

***Regardless of the topic chosen, your response must include the following elements:

*an introductory paragraph which captures the reader's attention, previews your organization, and states your basic argument in a formal THESIS STATEMENT.

*body paragraphs, which provide evidence to support your argument as well as critical analysis of the evidence.

                        - Clear topic sentence presenting your subject

                        - At least three (3) examples of text to support claims

- Insightful analysis detailing the significance of each quote and the connection each has to your thesis

*a conclusion paragraph which logically signals the end of your argument and gives the reader a parting thought to consider.

Now is the time to review your introductory assignment and be sure you understand what is required.  If you have questions, please see Mr. Garcia in Room 127 during lunch or after school, or leave a message at Mesa High School (480) 472-5721 before May 23rd.  Enjoy your summer and enjoy reading!

On the specified due date, which will be about three weeks into the fall semester, be prepared to do the following:

Ø  submit copies of dialectical journals on The Iliad to your teacher

Ø  complete an objective test on The Iliad

Ø  compose an in-class essay on The Iliad





Looking for the text? Get it for $4.00 ($0.01 for the book, $3.99 for shipping) at Amazon.com.


Helpful Tips for Reading the Iliad

1. Read the introduction. Although this will take a larger time investment up-front, you will have a much better context and understanding of the text.

2. Use the Name Glossary on page 639. This glossary will help you keep track of the many character references in the poem, which can be overwhelming. Often-times, characters are referred to by more than one name.

3. Skim the battle scenes. The Iliad has several violent and detailed battle scenes. Although you should read some of these in full to get a flavor for the narrative style of Homer and oral improvisers of the time, you don't need to pay too much attention to ALL of the details. Battle scenes are good sections to skim over quickly as they tend not to contribute as much to the plot.

4. Start early. This is a long read. You can hardly expect to cram this book into a day or two. Start now!

5. Use the companion text and online guide I have provided as digital companionsfor you to read. If you read a chapter that is particularly confusing, then refer to the companion texts for summary and analysis.


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