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This class was tough.
For those students looking for a challenge, but also to further their knowledge of literary giants like Shakespeare, George Orwell, and John Steinbeck, this class is perfect. A.P. English IV is usually the highest level English class in high school, and covers everything from poetry, to prose, to novels. This class deals with the great debates of human kind like prejudice, government influence, societal pressures, and death. Each work studied forces the reader to see beyond their own eyes, to think more deeply than with words, and to feel outside of their life and time. It is a mature course, but it is more rewarding than it is difficult.
The highlights of this class have been mostly the events planned by my teacher, Mrs. Sweeney. She is an expert at taking the lessons of a novel that we cannot possibly empathize with, and bringing them to life. When reading 1984, a novel that takes place in under all-seeing totalitarian government, we do an annual project. For one week, we are given a list of thirteen rules that range from "everything must be written in the standard issue blue pen" to "after every announcement each student must announce loudly 'Go Tigers'". She employs teachers and official student spies to report misdemeanors. Most importantly, we can discuss the project with no one. It is embarrassing and annoying, but it brought the students so much closer as a group, and it made the themes of 1984 so much more memorable.
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Work ethic is important. It is a high level English class, so there is a lot of writing involved. It is important to stay focused and, sometimes you just have to make yourself read the Shakespeare. However, I think it is equally as important to keep an open mind and be willing to participate in discussion. My teacher always says that poetry is meant to be read aloud, and the same is true that one of your most important tools is your mouth. Literature is all about interpretation and opinion, and you can't have variance in those things, if you don't talk about what you are reading.