Lindenhurst Senior High School
Dear AP Literature and Composition students:
Welcome to what will be an extremely rewarding and challenging course for your senior year. Because the background required for a course of this magnitude is great, it is invaluable to assign some work over the summer. It not only allows us to begin the vast preparation necessary for college and the national exam in May, but it keeps you actively involved with critical analysis of literature throughout the summer months. This course will require you to read a lot!!! If reading isn’t a habit of yours, you might consider taking a different English course during your senior year. The summer assignment consists of two tasks. One focuses on researching important background knowledge that you must acquire in order to strengthen your cultural literacy. The second requires you to learn about approaches to analyzing literature and asks you to apply those approaches to a novel that you will read during the summer.
Part One: Mythological & Biblical Allusions
Fully comprehending literature is often dependent upon a reader’s understanding of common Biblical and Greco/Roman mythological allusions. Writers utilize these allusions to add depth of meaning to their works. Picking up on an allusion in your reading opens up new levels of understanding and interpretation.
This part of the summer assignment requires you to learn about and/or review frequently alluded to items from Greco-Roman mythology and the Bible. Since mythological allusions are so widespread, researching the items on the list should give you a better foundation to recognize and interpret these allusions when you encounter them. (Note: An invaluable resource for information on classical mythology is Mythology by Edith Hamilton. This book gives you a great overview of Greek and Roman mythology, but it is, by no means, the only resource for this information. The internet is a cornucopia of information about classical mythology and the Bible. Hey, was that an allusion???)
Furthermore, because literary works draw so commonly on knowledge of the Bible, selections from the Bible are also a part of your allusions research list. These items from both the Old & New Testaments are among the most frequently alluded to in English literature and should become a part of your cultural knowledge since they show up in much of the literature we will be covering during the year. Realize that you should NOT feel that you are being made to research these selections in terms of faith but rather as an academic endeavor to increase your cultural literacy.
Listed on the back of this sheet are 25 Biblical allusions and 25 allusions from Greco/Roman mythology. Research the story associated with each item listed. For each allusion, create a log in an allusions journal that will help you to refresh your memory in the future if you encounter that specific allusion. Your log entry should include the following information:
WHO is involved? (When necessary be sure to describe who the characters are. Do not simply provide names without characterization.)
WHAT is the basic plot of the story being referenced?
WHAT common human concern(s) or question(s) does the story seem to address? Why do you believe this?
NOTE any other allusions or noteworthy items that come from the story, if you notice any.
EXAMPLE: Biblical-Noah & the Flood
Who is involved?: God, Noah (a good man who trusts God) &Noah’s Family
Plot: The world had become evil so God decided to punish the corrupt people on the Earth by flooding the world and killing them all. God gave Noah the order to construct an ark (large ship) and sent two of each type of animal to board the ark in order to save them from total extinction. When the rain began falling for 40 days…