02 August 2012

What My AP English Teacher Taught Me



    1. Emily Dickinson was brilliant
    2. (At the beginning of the year) You, on the other hand, need help 
    3. You get brownie points for making outside connections with your reading and bringing them into your essays
    4. The concepts of "Frankenfoods" and cloning
    5. How to write a thesis statement
    6. The Oedipus Complex
    7. Paradoxes versus oxymorons
    8. Jane Eyre could not possibly have almost died from starvation after only being on the run for only 24 hours
    9. Give yourself time to go over and check your work
    10. The world is not pink flowers and blue skies; open your eyes anyway
    11. The Victorian Era was just a cover up
    12. Ethan Hawke as Hamlet? Really?
    13. Sometimes the people with the least to say are the ones you can write the most about
    14. The technique of Bowdlerization
    15. You can bring Star Trek into a literary conversation
    16. 2+2=5
    17. Books have a feel and a smell that ereaders can never duplicate
    18. Address the prompt
    19. If you ever read Cold Mountain, be ready to throw it onto the floor when you've finished it and kick it around your vacation cabin for three days afterward
    20. How to understand Hamlet
    21. The correct pronunciation of "St John"
    22. The etymology of expletives
    23. How to analyze a book
    24. Take a stand; defend it throughout
    25. There are no free passes
    26. Disillusionment: learn to breathe it in or you'll drown in it (literarily speaking)
    27. How to love watching Shakespeare
    28. Writers are people who use paper and pen(cil); typists are people who don't
    29. As I Lay Dying is rife with brilliance and depth, even if it comes across as juvenile
    30. Deus ex machina
    31. Less is more
    32. You might actually get this English thing 
    33. Don't take anything at face value
    34. Marry for love, not for convenience
    35. Charlotte Bronte was a feminist at heart
    36. Sophomores...
    37. You need to sleep well for at least two nights before a test
    38. People read books with happy endings; they discuss books with unhappy endings
    39. The difference between A Doll House and A Doll's House
    40. You respect books, and you respect me
    41. Transitioning
    42. Don't EVER use "paints a picture for the reader" in your writing
    43. Character is defined by crisis, not by ease
    44. Nora did the world a favor by leaving Torvald
    45. Realism isn't going away
    46. Don't test on an empty stomach
    47. You can get a 5 on the AP test as long as you don't have to write about Tess of the D'Urbervilles
    48. Big Brother and doublespeak aren't fantasies
    49. Archetypes
    50. Carpe diem
    51. Hero's Journey
    52. How to get up in front of people and present
    53. If you have a Y chromosome, I'm talking to you
    54. Pay attention to the title of a poem
    55. Catholics, Mormons, atheists—we can still discuss literature
    56. Every word is important
    57. Don't argue with me; I've got a few more degrees than you do
    58. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger—and more cynical
    59. Cut the fluff
    60. Ophelia and Queen Gertrude are complex characters
    61. Words mold minds
    62. Choose them well
    63. A woman can have an insane amount of sass and authority, even if she is shorter than all of her students
    64. Black pointy-toed heels clicking across the school halls help maintain this persona
    65. Keep "I" and "me" out of your essays
    66. All about Freud, Jung and Campbell
    67. Darwinism
    68. You'd better be able to back up what you say
    69. Don't repeat yourself
    70. Imagery, personification, symbolism, and every other literary technique in the glossary
    71. Don't use words you don't know
    72. Listen carefully
    73. Take notes
    74. Work hard
    75. Stay on task
    76. The most memorable books are often the ones that broadside your idea of the world (like every single one we read in this class)
    77. Despite such conceptual sabotage (and perhaps because of it), you'll never leave English alone for the rest of your life
    78. This class is your priority
    79. The world is a sad, gray place—at least the authors think so
    80. Don't make excuses
    81. Love English
    82. Heroines can die
    83. Communicate
    84. (At the end of the year) You rock!


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