Thursday, January 16, 2014

AP Elements of Style Project

AP Students, this project is due February 13, 2014.

Each student will write five (5) essays on elements of style found in The Heart of Darkness:
  • allusion
  • atmosphere
  • connotation
  • details (concrete or abstract)
  • diction
  • figurative language
  • figures of speech
  • imagery
  • irony
  • metaphor
  • mood
  • narrative devices
  • point of view
  • stylistic devices
  • symbols/symbolism
  • syntax
  • theme
  • tone
  • voice
You will need to make sure that you clearly distinguish and define the elements that you choose.

Each essay must be a minimum of one typewritten, double-spaced, no-larger-than-12-font-sized, page long. Begin your essay with the definition of the element; then apply this definition in a general sense to the novel. The rest of the essay consists of specific details, quotations, plot and character references from the novella to prove your point about the particular element of style. Document internally citing chapter and page number. This essay is NOT to be written in a standard introduction-body-conclusion format. You are essentially writing several EXCELLENT paragraphs of commentary on the element. (This is good preparation for the Big Exam in May because you will need to focus on body paragraphs more intently than on flowery introductory and concluding paragraphs.) You will need to make brief introductory and concluding statements within each paragraph.

You will need to have a title page and a table of contents for your elements. Full credit is achieved in two areas: completion and content. Completion is based on having all five elements covered, each page written clearly and without errors in syntax, spelling, or grammar. The second grade is based on being able to defend clearly the assertions about the elements. For example, if you do not clearly define an element, or your thesis is unproved in your paper, you lose points. Incomplete projects will not be graded.

Fair warning:
  • Do not use Cliff's Notes or Sparknotes.
  • Do not leave this until the night before.
  • Do not use first person or other forbidden elements (consult an MLA guide as necessary).
An example:
      Diction is the author's distinct word choice used to establish an idea within the work. Conrad uses diction in Heart of Darkness to portray the nature of death and mystery in the Congo. In the jungles of Africa, one can find "...death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush..."(Signet 69). "Skulking" denotes death merely lying in hiding; however, its connotation depicts a more active role, waiting to seize its victims. By nature, death "lurks" in dark corners to conceal its "hidden evil" (Signet 105). It creeps up on its victims without being seen or anticipated. This "concealed" image of death depicted by Conrad's diction serves to intensify the fear of death and establish death's role in the novel. In the sunshine, "pure, uncomplicated savagery was a positive relief" (Signet 139). In the daylight, evil is "uncomplicated;" this connotes a simple danger known to all. It is a "relief" to know that the potential hazards are visible and are not going to be a surprise. Conrad also uses mysterious diction throughout the novel: "It had ceased to be... a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness." The "white" connotates a blank space for the imagination to run. However...

Get the picture?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

AP/IB Character Mandala Project

This mandala project is due Thursday, February 6, 2014.

 Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning center and circle. It conveys the notion that any center is tied to its circumference and any circumference is always determined by its center. Together they represent wholeness. The character mandala project represents the student's analysis of the whole character in The Heart of Darkness.

After choosing your character, consider what traits that character displays and what happens to him/her in the story. Using the color symbolism chart, color the mandala according to the characteristics you have determined about your character. Whichever traits/characteristics are the most important or most evident should be represented by the corresponding colors from the chart and be dominant on the mandala. Any character you choose should have at least three characteristics and/or traits, and those colors should be evident on your mandala. Under the mandala, write the name of your character. On a separate page, type one paragraph about your character by first introducing him/her, followed by an explanation of what each color represents, the significance of their placement, and textual evidence and personal commentary for support of each characteristic you displayed. Conclude your paragraph with a theme statement of the selection. Be prepared to present your finished product to the class. Yes, you will have to read your paragraph.

The completed project should meet these criteria:
  1. a choice of characteristics appropriate to the character showing careful, close reading,
  2. a pattern of colors that are pleasing to the eye (or meaningfully harsh) and represent the characteristics the colors symbolize,
  3. effective paragraph organization, sentence fluency, word choice, and attention to conventions,
  4. and appropriate evidence correctly notated.

AP/IB Graphic Project

The summative project for the Heart of Darkness unit is a graphic project.

The student will select one quote from the novella which encapsulates one of the themes. Then the student will find an image (from the Internet or a book, et cetera) that he or she feels illustrates the quote from the novella; center the image and caption it with the selected quote from the novella. On the back of the page, the student will properly cite the source of the image as well as the quote from the novella.

Students will present their graphic projects to the class on Thursday, February 20, 2014.

An example is below:

"We live as we dream... alone."

AP/IB Final Essay Exam

The final exam for our Heart of Darkness unit is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19, 2014. Students will prepare to respond to one of the four essay prompts below. On the day of the exam, students will be allowed to use their book and one handwritten sheet of notebook paper's worth of notes. Students are advised to prepare one notebook page for each essay and to bring them all on test day where they will draw one of the essay topics randomly.

These are the questions:

  1. In many pieces of literature, the setting plays an important symbolic role in the thematic development. Explain the roles the settings play in developing one of the themes in Heart of Darkness.
  2. Authors often grapple with the essential questions of what leads people to commit evil and whether evil is inherent in all people. Explain Conrad's implications about the nature of evil in Heart of Darkness.
  3. When we come to the end of a novel or play, a consistent mood should have altered or intensified our consciousness of certain aspects of life. Discuss the mood of Heart of Darkness and point out ways in which it has intensified or altered your consciousness of history and/or certain aspects of modern reality.
  4. One definition of madness is "mental delusion or the eccentric behavior arising from it." But Emily Dickenson wrote, "Much madness is divinest Sense--/ To a discerning Eye--." Novelists and playwrights have often seen madness with "a discerning Eye." Consider how a character's apparent madness or irrational behavior plays an important role in Heart of Darkness. Then write a well-organized essay in which you argue the extent to which this behavior is delusional or eccentric and how it might be judged reasonable. Explain the significance of the "madness" to the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

AP/IB 4th Six Weeks' Extra Credit

The Subjects:
Here they are: the movies to watch for extra credit for the 4th Six Week Grading Period. They are all exceptionally good and exceptionally relevant to the material in Heart of Darkness.
 *Warning: these last two are harsh. Very harsh.

The Assignment:
Write a one page, double-spaced, twelve font position paper on the issues raised in any one of the films. Be sure to cite specific examples from that film to justify your stance on the subject. Your aim is to convince your audience 1) that you are knowledgeable about the film, and 2) that your response is the most rationale stance to take.

This assignment is repeatable (i.e. you can do four separate papers on four separate films for four separate extra credit opportunities.

Please turn in all extra credit work by Wednesday of the last week of the six week grading period.