Course title

Post-AP: Rhetoric of World Religions and Philosophies


AP English Literature & Composition or AP English Language & Composition

Course description


This class aims to improve student reading; writing; and composition via thematically selected texts that represent diverse worldviews and perspectives. The core of most English classes is to develop reading and writing and critical thinking skills.  Just as an AP English Language course may do a unit on "Education" or "Nature" (See The Language of Composition; a classic textbook used in teaching AP Language) this course has aligned its texts to thematically represent writings from different religious traditions or lack of traditions.  For example; we will read and analyze the novel The Plague by Albert Camus (often described as Nihlist); "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor (a Catholic writer); and excerpts from "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse (Buddhist). Literary analysis is a major component of the course; and students are expected to write papers analyzing use of stylistic devices and plot structure and how works of fiction and nonfiction employ these devices in order to convey their view on a subject matter.  This course employs analysis of literature; drafting and redrafting of that analysis; and functions as an advanced extension of AP Literature with a bent towards handling novels; short stories and poems that address a world view.  Unlike AP Literature; the novels; short stories and poems; reflect a diversity of religious traditions and perspectives. However; the analytical skill set being developed by students are intended to be a continuation and enhancement of those from AP Literature.  Additionally; philosophical texts are woven in to build on students’ AP Language experience and are analyzed according to SOAPStone; rhetorical style; and reasoning.  For some; who have only taken AP Literature or AP Language; the course functions as an introduction to literary analysis or rhetorical analysis depending on the student's background.  It is meant to model an advanced college-level English class; even integrating some graduate school source material.


Final Paper: In a well-crafted; 4-page MLA paper; respond to this prompt: Examining Camus' The Plague; examine literary techniques employed by the novel in making an argument about how people respond to a major disaster and what that it tells us about the human condition.  Cite textual evidence to defend your claims.  Avoid plot summary.     


Smaller assignments building to that: 

Write a paragraph examining how the novel portrays Tarrou and whether it appears more or less sympathetic to him than other characters.  


Read and annotate Nussbaum's Poetic Justice: Literary Imagination and Public Life on the role of literature in policy and philosophy.  


Write a paragraph examining the main idea of chapter 4 in the novel. Identify how foil characters work in the novel.


Annotate your novels in a way that explicitly examines character motivations and symbolism.


Explain how Gibran portrays his ideas about Islam in his poetry; paying very close attention to his use of syntax.


Final Presentation:

Using MLA research citation; examine how three or more nonfiction philosophical pieces address a certain subject.  Examine their rhetoric and choices of expression when dealing with the issue and compare and contrast their rhetorical choices.  In addition to the presentation; students must submit a written summary of their findings.  


Smaller assignments:  

Write a composition piece in the style of Descartes.  Name how your work parallels rhetorical choices he makes in Meditations.  


Rewrite the piece based on instructor feedback.


Annotate the poem by Thicht Naht Hanh and at the bottom of the poem write how its main idea compares and contrasts the main idea of Thoreau.


Identify syllogisms and logical fallacies in James Rachels' Created From Animals .  


Identify absolute and appositive phrases and use them in a grammatically correct way to enhance your writing.  


Create an annotated bibliography.  


Employ correct in-text MLA citation and a Work Cited page.  


Journal your thoughts on in-class readings.  


The rhetoric of philosophers and their varying styles of communicating their ideas.

Logical fallacies and syllogisms; critical thinking in a case study on artificial intelligence.

Literary analysis and extrapolation of theme in O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

Compare and Contrast styles; Russian existentialist writing versus American existentialist writing.

Analyze journalistic pieces on the problem of Ganges pollution and its effect on Hinduism.

Writing and rewriting papers: How to analyze your own writing for improvement.


Advanced literary analysis: Post Modernism; Reader Response; New Historicism; Post Colonialism.

Modes of interpretation: Reading texts through many different lenses.


Using colons and semicolons to make your writing more sophisticated.

Literary analysis versus rhetorical analysis: how to write about style in works of nonfiction versus fiction.

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United States

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Approved competency code

  • ENGL
  • 4 years of English

Approved date

Online / Virtual