12th Grade Honors English

Required Reading For All Students Taking 12th Grade Honors English During The 2018-2019 School Year

Part I: Read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

As you read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, choose one of the following topics. Write a well-developed essay, making sure you have a supportable thesis in the introduction that you support in the body of the paper. You must use specific quotations from the novel to support what you say (at least two in each body paragraph). This will be due on the first day of school and will be used to practice process writing (taking the draft through editing, revision, and final steps).

  • How does the father-son relationship throughout three generations shape the personalities of Okonkwo, and Nwoye? Comment on their characteristics and the role their father plays in making them who they are.
  • "The story of Okonkwo is in a way the story of our culture; he pays a price because he places too much emphasis on strength and manliness." Discuss this quote as it applies to both the novel and our own modern American culture.
  • Discuss the ways in which the District Commissioner symbolizes intolerance and disrespect for cultures he considers inferior.
  • Okonkwo suffers because he does not understand himself. Do his experiences help lead him to self-awareness or not, and why?
  • "[Okonkwo's] whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness." Explain how fear, in an ironic way, is the catalyst for destruction and failure in the novel?
  • Comment on how Achebe, through this novel, counters the Imperialist stereotypes on Africa as an uncivilized continent. What aspects of Ibo culture contradict this commonly held stereotype? Perhaps use the District Commissioner’s comments to help convey the imperialist view.Your grade will be based on the quality of your writing and the depth of your analysis.

Evaluation: Your grade will be based on the quality of your writing and the depth of your analysis. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation will all be counted. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your writing talents and show your teacher that you deserve to be in an advanced course. See the attached rubric for evaluation expectations and guidelines.

Essay Rubric.pdf

Part II: Read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

As you read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, take active reading notes and prepare answers to the questions below. The following topics will be discussed in seminar format during the first week of school. Prepare and type notes on each question (copy the questions) and bring a copy of your notes to turn in after the discussion. The use of relevant textual support is crucial to earning a high mark for this seminar. Additional questions not listed below may be asked, and are expected to be asked, during the seminar.

Each student will have eight formal opportunities to comment. Students should attempt to comment early, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE PERIOD TO PARTICIPATE. After each student has used their formal comments, the discussion will take on an open format and previously discussed topics may be revisited. It will be your responsibility to keep track of how many times you have answered prompts, questions, asked questions, and mentioned page numbers.

Keep in mind that these questions are purposely open-ended. Do not seek to find the right answer; instead, interact with the text to form your own defensible opinions about each topic.

  1. How would Hemholtz define happiness (see p. 182) and how and why would his definition agree with that of the average citizen?
  2. In Chapter 17 is Mustapha Mond right in some way when he criticizes the words of Cardinal Newman and William James? If we discover that we don’t need God because we can be independent of him, because there are no losses for which we need to be compensated, Is Mond right? Or is this another reason that we need God? What would the savage say? Does the savage make the right choice?
  3. What is Procrustes’s bed, and to what extent has Huxley’s prophecy about Procrustes’s bed been realized? (foreword)
  4. Do you agree with Huxley’s choice as presented at the end of the foreword? Which of these alternatives does the human race seem to be choosing? (foreword)
  5. Do you agree with Mond that happiness and truth are opposed to each other? (ch. 16)
  6. What is the difference between feelies or the scent organ and high art? (ch. 16)
  7. Is the happiness the Savage first experiences through work the same as the happiness experiencedby the people of the BNW? (ch. 8)
  8. Is “rapture in which there [is] no trace of agitation or excitement” a good sort of rapture? Is this what the Buddhists seek? (ch. 5)
  9. What does Huxley suggest is “the final end of man?” Aristotle claims that the end of man is happiness. Would Huxley agree? How do you think Huxley would define happiness, and how would you? Is there a difference between happiness and pleasure? (foreword, chapter 12)
  10. Discuss the significance of the title. Source? Meaning?
  11. What do you think Mond means when he says, “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery”? Is this true? (ch. 16 or 17)
  12. Why does the Savage claim the right to be unhappy? If he does not pursue happiness, what is he seeking? (Chapter 17)
  13. Is Hemholtz’s happiness, mentioned in chapter 12, the same kind of happiness that his fellow citizens feel? Is the fact that Hemholtz is happy in conflict with Huxley’s statement in the foreword that happiness should be secondary to the pursuit of humanity’s final end? Is it possible for troubles or unpleasant experiences to make one happy?
  14. In his conversation with Mond, what is the Savage’s primary criticism of life in the brave new world? Do you agree or disagree with the Savage? Use examples from the novel to support your answer.
  15. Do you agree with the Savage that “tears are necessary”? Why? (ch. 16 or 17)
  16. Look up a summary of the plot of Shakespeare’s King Lear on the Internet. What is the significance of the Savage’s question to Mond about Edmund in chapter 17?
  17. Do you agree with the Savages claim in chapter 17 that God is the reason for everything noble and fine and heroic? Is it possible for us to create a utopia in which there is no need for heroism?
  18. Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south- west; then paused, and after a few seconds turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south- west, south, south-east, east…” (p.259). What is Huxley’s message here at the very end of the novel?

Evaluation: During the first week of school you will participate in a Seminar. You will be graded on answering four prompts and four questions on the sheet below on Brave New World (sheet is attached after 1984). You must also reference four page numbers or chapters within your responses (quotes would be best and ask at least four questions to your peers to keep the seminar going. This is a grade along with the questions above. Yes, you will also be answering four prompts and four questions in reference to 1984.

Part III: Read 1984 by George Orwell

As you read 1984 by George Orwell, take active reading notes and prepare answers to ONLY four prompts and four questions on the sheet below. Yes, you are also completing this for Brave New World.

Each student will have eight formal opportunities to comment. Students should attempt to comment early, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE PERIOD TO PARTICIPATE. After each student has used their formal comments, the discussion will take on an open format. ​​It will be your responsibility to keep track of how many times you have answered prompts, questions, asked questions, and mentioned page numbers.

Keep in mind that these questions are purposely open-ended. Do not seek to find the right answer; instead, interact with the text to form your own defensible opinions about each topic.

Dystopian Socratic Seminar-Summer Reading

Questions about the assignments above should be directed to the teacher.

Kari Rappold - krappold@nkcps.k12.va.us

Below is a printable version of the summer reading requirements outlined above:

12th Grade English Honors Summer Reading