IB Senior Summer 2016 Reading 

    Incoming 12th Grade 

    English Literature HL 

    Mrs. Nina Duval




    a) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – required reading Purchase your own copy.

    Read once for enjoyment. Reread with sticky notes, highlighter and notebook at hand.  Complete passage commentaries.

    Reading and passage commentaries due August 22, 2016. (See details below)


    b)   Selected Poems (required)

    See details below. Due August 22, 2016

    c)    Purchase Hamlet, Folger Edition only for August 22, 2016. 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.


    d)   Written assignment on World Literature-Paper One (Optional)

    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.



    a) The Handmaid’s Tale Passage Commentaries

    Select four 30-45 line passages (of your own choosing) from The Handmaid’s Tale 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 1-1.5 pages. Select passages from throughout the novel with evocative language that illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole; 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 of contradictions.

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

    Attach copies of your selected passages to your own personal commentaries. This work will be collected August 22nd, 2016.

    b) Selected Contemporary Poems

    Choose from the following poets still writing today. Which pleases you the best?

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

    “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”  - T. S. Eliot 

    “I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond

    all this fiddle. Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one

    discovers in it after all, a place for the genuine.” - Marianne Moore

    Choose ONE of the poets and find FOUR of the poet’s poems (from the same book 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 this coming year as part of the IB internal assessment (Oral Commentary) and poetry also appears as an option on the IB Paper One exam in May. Your responses to these poems will give you a running start for your oral commentaries.



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

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

    2. 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.

    3. 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.


    B. 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.

    C. 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.

    D. Selected Poems requirements:

    1. Cover Page with required elements

    2. 4 Annotated Poems; numbered & on separate pages

    3. Pastiche

    DUE August 22, 2016

    N. B. The IB Programme places a premium on originality of thought and individual engagement with learning; 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.

Last Modified on June 8, 2016