• Required Summer Assignment: AP English 4

    Teacher: Sommer Sneed Husbands

    If you have any questions, please contact the teacher at ssneed@oxfordsd.org.

    Students entering AP English 4 at Oxford High School must have completed the following assignments (both Part 1 and Part 2) before the first day of class.

      Assignment Part 1

      • Assignment Part 1

        Click here to download a printable version of the assignments and book list.

        1. Read the three books on the following Book List. You have a couple of choices to make, but the Hurston novel is mandatory for all AP 4 students.
        2. Come to school prepared to:
          1. take a comprehension test and/or produce writing entries on the selections and
          2. discuss thoroughly and in-depth the concepts and themes of the books.
        3. Annotating the texts is strongly suggested, as you will need working knowledge of all three texts when you return to school in August. It will be easier to review your notes than reread the whole book.
        4. Also, look for connections between the three books in terms of theme, characterization, function of setting, use of language, etc.

        Book List:

        1. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (1937).
          One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years — due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist — Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature. (Note: the dialect can be challenging at first; remember to read phonetically when encountering dialect in regional novels. You can also find dialect guides online as needed.)
        2. Brontë Sisters option: You may choose either Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights.
          • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (1847).
            Immediately recognized as a masterpiece when it was first published, Jane Eyre is an extraordinary coming-of-age story featuring the strong female protagonist — poor and plain Jane. Orphaned and oppressed throughout her childhood, she manages to emerge into adulthood with her spirit and integrity unbroken to become a governess in the household of the dark, impassioned Mr. Rochester. Mystery and secrets lurk in Rochester’s household that will affect Jane in very personal ways. One of the world’s most beloved classic novels, Jane Eyre is a startlingly modern blend of passion, romance, mystery, and suspense.
          • Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë (1847).
            Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and frenzied love affair between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, an orphan her father takes in. After Mr. Earnshaw's death, Catherine’s brother bullies and humiliates Heathcliff who leaves the estate (called Wuthering Heights), only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the descriptions of the lonely moors, and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique frame novel a masterpiece and classic.
        3. Shakespeare option: You may choose either Twelfth Night or Macbeth.
          • Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare (comedy, c. 1602).
            Named for the twelfth night after Christmas, Twelfth Night plays with love, gender, and power. The Countess Olivia, a woman with her own household, attracts Duke (or Count) Orsino. Two other would-be suitors are her pretentious steward, Malvolio, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Onto this scene arrive the twins Viola and Sebastian; caught in a shipwreck, each thinks the other has drowned. Viola disguises herself as a male page and enters Orsino’s service. Orsino sends her as his envoy to Olivia—only to have Olivia fall in love with the messenger. The play complicates, then wonderfully untangles, these relationships. This text can be easily accessed for free online.
          • Macbeth, William Shakespeare (tragedy, c. 1606).
            Set in medieval Scotland and partially based on historical accounts of Scottish royalty, the play charts the bloody and ambitious rise to power of the soldier Macbeth. Encouraged by his ruthless wife and the prophecy of a trio of witches, a once honorable warrior becomes a deceptive and paranoid king and pays the price for his political ambition. This text can be easily accessed for free online.

        Finding/Purchasing Books:

        • OHS Library has a summer reading resource with digital copies here.
        • All of the listed books should be available at Square Books and/or Square Books, Jr.
        • For cheaper or used copies, there are many bargain book websites available now, and all titles are currently in print and readily available.
        • These books can be found at the public library.
        • Classmates are welcome to share books throughout the summer, so as to alleviate the cost of purchasing all four books.
        • Feel free to look for online versions, as well, but make sure you do not read an abridged version of any of the texts.

      Assignment Part 2

      • Assignment Part 2

        1. Download the “Allusions in Literature” document. It is split into classical/ mythological and Biblical allusions, and the tests will be separated into those categories as well.
        2. Study the document’s contents.
        3. Come to school prepared to take a test on these allusions.

      Notes for Making Annotations

      • Notes for Making Annotations

        Download a printable version of Notes for Making Annotations.

        When reading, you should habitually annotate your text (make marginal notes). For texts of your own in print, you can write directly on your copy. For books that belong to the school/library, you can make notes on a separate piece of paper. For digital texts, you can use the annotation tools in various programs or apps. Annotating helps you to dissect texts and discern meaning from them. Following you will find a list of items to look for as well as suggestions for training yourself to be an excellent annotator.

        How to Begin:

        1. Summary
          • Summarize as you read.
          • You may do this by paragraph, by stanza, by page, etc. depending on the complexity of the text.
          • The more dense or complex the text, the more summarizing you will need to do.
          • When summarizing, stick to the plot and be as concise as possible.
          • You will look for other literary elements, as well, but your summary is your first (and basic) level of comprehension.
        2. First Impressions — As you read, write down first impressions:
          • Likes and dislikes.
          • Questions that arise (self-questioning is an excellent way to improve comprehension).
          • Points that are unclear or that you don’t understand and the reasons why.
          • Any initial revelations/discoveries/reflections, etc.
          • You will likely be able to answer some of your own questions by the end of the text or after a second read. Those that remain unclear should be brought up in class.
        3. Patterns — Look for patterns:
          • Repetition and recurring elements including (but not limited to): images, symbols, phrases, situations, mood, etc.
          • Mark these repeated elements and make connections.
          • Ask yourself why these repetitious elements are important. Why is the author using them? Do you derive any meaning from them?
          • Answer these questions in the margins or on a separate piece of paper.
        4. Significance
          • Identify any passages that strike you as highly significant and note why.
          • Don’t just highlight or bracket a passage without writing an explanation for the indication. Even though you find it important at one point, you might very well forget what you saw in the passage initially.
        5. Other Texts
          • Relate elements of the text you are reading to other texts you’ve read.
          • Are there commonalities in theme, character, symbolism, etc.?
        6. Context — Read the text in context. Consider the following:
          • The time period in which it was written (and set).
          • The social and political atmospheres of the time/setting.
          • Author’s background.
          • This may take a little research on your part to identify such context.
          • How does the author reveal these contextual elements in the literature?
          • Does the author tend to take a position on any issue? How does the author accomplish this?


        1. Number the paragraphs (and pages if necessary), so that you can make easy reference in discussions or find information quickly and easily when writing about the text in an assignment.
        2. Circle unfamiliar words, look them up, and define them. Also, practice using context clues to identify possible meanings of unfamiliar words.
        3. Underline, bracket, or highlight anything of importance that you notice and make notes to identify why that section is important or significant. Likewise, indicate any passage that you might have a question about so you can bring it up in discussion. Write your question in the margins or on another sheet of paper.
        4. Underline sentences/ideas that stand out to you and note why in the margins.
        5. Connect important ideas, words, or phrases with arrows or number them in groups.
        6. Summarize each paragraph/stanza/page in the margins for quick reference.
        7. Use different symbols, abbreviations, or highlight colors to represent different concepts. (For example, you might highlight all unfamiliar words in yellow or all metaphors in green, etc.)
      Last Modified on May 29, 2024