• IB English Literature HL 

    Summer 2019

    Ms. Nina Duval



    A) COMMENTARIES (required)

    Text: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – required. Hard copy required.

    Before commencing your careful but leisurely reading, go to the NPR site below and read a transcript of the author’s interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross

     'Americanah' Author Explains 'Learning' To Be Black In The U.S. : NPR


    Jun 27, 2013 - When the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was growing up in Nigeria she was not used to being identified by the color of her skin.

     First of all, read the novel for pleasure marking up with sticky notes or marginal notes. Once you have completed your reading, select four 30-45 line passages (of your own choosing) from Americanah for close analysis and commentary.

    For each passage, copy/paste text from your hard copy text or an online version of the book.For each passage, write a well-developed 1-2 pages. (typed, double spaced 12 pt font) Select passages from throughout the novel with evocative language that illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole (themes); however keep your focus on the passages themselves rather than the overall novel. Do not summarize (that should be part of the process leading up to your writing-not the writing itself). Successful commentaries will be marked by close attention to the use of language and its significance, attention to the means of representation that addresses not only the question of WHAT is said but that of HOW it is said (e.g. voice or point-of-view), and a clear argument for your interpretation without discounting textual ambiguities or contradictions. In other words, you should be commenting on the writer’s craft and the use of literary devices.

    Each text is different and multiple interpretations may be effective, so there is no single recipe. Your work will be helpful in preparing for the IB Oral Commentaries towards at the end of the first semester.

    Attach hard copies of your selected passages to your own personal commentaries. This work will be collected August 21st, 2019. However, you will also be required to submit your commentary work to Turnitin during the first week of school once you have joined my Turnitin class account.The class Turnitin ID and class password for enrolment  will be given to you at the opening school.



    Choose from the following poets. Who pleases you the best? Why?

    Kevin Young, Mary Oliver, Carol Ann Duffy, Louise Gluck, Derek Walcott

    Choose ONE of the poets and find FOUR of the poet’s poems (from the same anthology if possible) to closely study. You need to complete the following assignments: 

    Objective: In your senior year of English, you will be expected to discuss a poem at length as part of the IB internal assessment (Oral Commentary) and poetry also appears on the IB Paper One exam in May 2020. Your responses to these poems will give you a running start for your oral commentaries.



    1) Print out a copy of each poem; complete the following tasks directly on the poems:

    - Identify the speaker, audience, and the occasion or situation of the poem. Note any ambiguities present.

    - Annotate the poem. Look for patterns, repetition, shifts, motifs, etc. Note important aspects of structure. Think about how the language of the poem helps to create meaning through tone, polysemy, figurative tropes and other literary devices.

    -  Develop an argument (1-2 sentences) about the overall purpose of the poem. It’s okay not to understand everything, but map out your difficulties clearly.


     2) Choose one of the poems and write a PASTICHE inspired by your study of that poem.

    - A pastiche is a literary work that imitates the style & structure of an original text. Note that you may also make your pastiche a parody - a comic send-up of the original.


    3) Create a COVER PAGE for your poetry packet which includes the following:

    - The poet’s name

    - Your name

    - An image that displays a central idea/theme/motif which is common to each of the poems. You may create your own image, use a computer-generated image, or create a collage, but your cover must show an understanding of your poet’s work.


    4) Selected Poems REVIEW OF REQUIREMENTS

    1. Cover Page with required elements
    2. 4 Annotated Poems; numbered & on separate pages
    3. Pastiche
    4. DUE August 21st,2019


    C)    Purchase Hamlet, Folger Edition onlyfor August 21st, 2019. (The ISBN number is 978-0-7434-7712-3. Absolutely no electronic copies. This text is required for the opening of school. Every student in the class must have a hard copy of this text that will also become your notebook. No personal text, no seat in the class!

    D)   Written assignment on World Literature-Paper One(Candide, Time of the Doves or The Stranger). This is optional revision during summer. Remember you can revise your Written Assignment now. The final version will be due later in the semester, but doing the task now while it is fresher in your mind is recommended.

    The IB Program places a premium on originality of thought and individual engagement with learning; you are expected to carefully read original texts therefore, use of Sparknotes, Cliff’s Notes, etc. is off-limits for this assignment.  The objective is not to spit out answers, but to demonstrate engagement with the reading and interpretative process. Americanah is one of three works we are studying in preparation for the Individual Oral Commentary exam in January 2019. You will need to know your texts well and eventually be able to speak about them with intellectual authority.



Last Modified on May 17, 2019