AP Lit Presentations

The following areas must be covered when leading discussion. Each item needs to be typed up and a copy provided the teacher. The discussion leaders will meet with the teacher the week before leading discussion (this meeting will account for 50 of the points). If there are handouts for the class, the teacher will make the photocopies. All revised presentation materials must be given to the teacher one class day prior to presentation. (Failure to do so will result in a lowered presentation grade.) For works that require multi-week presentations, the teacher will coordinate presentations between or among groups so that there will be no duplication of effort. There is no excuse for missing a presentation. Communication is vital to your grade.

1. Context: A) Write a one-page history of the time period when the text was written. Think broadly here. What were some major events or developments (social, economic, political, religious) that the author was dealing with? History books, both general and special field may be consulted: cite your sources. Your information should be correct and appropriate for the text and should reveal a full awareness of the text and it’s place in history.

B) Write a one-page literary history of the book and author. Handbooks on literature are good sources for information about these matters, as well as your current and past teachers. No doubt the internet can point you in the right direction at times, but never substitute solid research with lame, last minute web-surfing. Cite your sources.

C) Write a one-page biography of the author. What are the important points in the life and the work of the author as they relate to the text? We don’t want to hear a boring timeline of irrelevant information. Everything about the author’s life that you present should have some relevance to our discussion. Cite your sources.

2. Criticism: A) Contemporary reaction to the text. Give an annotated bibliographic entry for three major critics who lived when the author wrote; different schools of thought should be covered. For each critic you should develop one statement or question for discussion.

B) Current reaction to the text. Give an annotated bibliographic entry for three major critics from the last fifty years; different schools of thought should be covered. For each critic you should develop one statement or question for discussion.

To annotate an essay you first need to write correctly the bibliographic information for that essay. Follow the MLA style for this. Then you need to give 1) question the essay is exploring, 2) the main claim or thesis that answers this question, with relevant terms and sub points explained, 3) a discussion of the assumptions and the school of criticism the author is working with, and 4) commentary on the tone, style of the writing, and believability or usefulness of the essay. Clearly, merely downloading material will not be accepted. Moreover, reputable sources are required.

You may want to use the 20th Century Literary Criticism and the Contemporary Literary Criticism to find articles that are relevant to your presentation, but then you will need to find the complete article for reading.


  1. 3. Text: A) Provide a single-page study sheet on characters, plot points, and themes. (These will be useful for review for the AP exam. This is to be original and relevant to your presentation.

B) Write an AP-style text analysis question on a specific passage and explain why it is a good question.

C) Write a page of analysis on the author’s style throughout the book, complete with examples. Examine how the author uses language (diction, literary devices, syntax). You may include motifs and themes. Examine how the author uses the elements of story (plot, point of view, character, theme, setting) and the elements of fiction (dialogue, scene, description, exposition, tone mood, symbol, etc.). This analysis parallels the text-analysis question on the AP exam.

D) Create critical questions about the text designed to explore several passages in the text. This is related to the page of style analysis. The point is to connect the author's style and particular use of literary devices to larger issues of character, plot, and theme.

E) Write an AP-style open-ended essay question that is applicable to your text and other texts, real or hypothetical. Explain why it is a good question for the text.

F) Also create critical questions about the text designed to explore themes and to foster class discussion. These parallel the open-ended essay questions on the AP exam. These questions should be yours, but they might emerge from the reading of criticism.

Again, there is no excuse for missing leading your discussion except the death of a family member or your own. Failure to lead your discussion will result in a “0” (not a gentleman’s “F”) for that grade.

No later than one school week after your presentation, you will write a 4-5 page mini-research paper analyzing a specific topic you explored with the class. This paper is NOT to be a mishmash of the various ideas brought up in class discussion and by your presentation, but is to be a unified, sustained exploration of a problem, topic, or issue concerning your text or your portion of the text. (200 points)