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Summer Reading List 

AP English Language and Composition

Summer Reading- The Great Gatsby and “The Ways We Lie”


Dear Student: Welcome to AP English Lang and Comp. The summer reading selections offer students high-interest, contemporary text, as well as nonfiction reading and literary classics. I hope you will find the summer readings enjoyable as well as thought-provoking. You will be reading one fictional novel and one article (see Links here on my page). It is highly recommended that you purchase your own hard copy of the book, as that will provide you with the opportunity to highlight and make notes within your pages to help you read more critically. Discounted new and used books can often be found on websites such as DUE DATE: The first day of school. If you have any questions, you can email me at,, or sign up for Remind101- 81010- @aplang2019.

The Great Gatsby

The mysterious nature of the title character; the unreliable narrator; the secret double lives of Gatsby and Daisy, Tom and Myrtle; the chaos of Gatsby’s summer parties, the unseen nature of the major events of the novel; these all work together to communicate Fitzgerald’s idea of the chaotic nature of modern life and his questioning of the American ideal.

The book is built in such a way that much of what we learn about the Jay Gatsby and his story is

communicated by things other than Gatsby’s dialogue. The story is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway, his temporary neighbor, and as readers we can never be sure if what Gatsby tells us is true. Instead, we learn more by looking at other characters, in flashbacks to previous events, and in Fitzgerald’s use of repetitive images and ideas.

As you read the novel, look for some of the ways that Fitzgerald communicates information to us about Gatsby and what Gatsby stands for. Find the information specified below and fill out these charts to help you understand how the novel is put together.  

You can probably sit and read the novel in a day – probably about eight or ten hours. But I wouldn’t recommend it. Additionally, you will need some extra time to go through the book and find the information you are directed to find on the following pages. You can probably read the novel and complete this assignment in less time than it would take you to find the answers on the internet or watch one of the film versions of the novel. Now is a good time to get in the habit of doing things for yourself.

The first time you read the book, look for the following things: Descriptions of characters other than Gatsby




Car accidents


Mark them in your book – underline them and write yourself a note as to what you’ve underlined. Also, you’ll want to look for scenes in which Fitzgerald uses particular words that stand you, structures his sentences a particular way, or are otherwise interesting to you. Mark those too by underlining them, bracketing them, or otherwise indicating that there’s something interesting there.

          Once you’ve finished the book, fill out the charts below. This will be much easier if you’ve annotated your text. You will remember scenes more quickly and be able to find them in the book easily. When you return in the fall, you will have several assessments on Gatsby. You will be able to use these notes on the assessments. Additionally, you will turn them in to me, so it is important that you complete them.

           Please note, that whenever you are asked to cite a scene from the book, you will need to provide a citation for your example. If you are using a paper copy of the book, you will need to provide the number of the page on which the quote appears. If you are using an electronic text you may simply provide the chapter number, as the pages in an e-book are dynamic.


“The Ways We Lie”

Read and annotate “The Ways We Lie” by Stephanie Ericsson. Using the categories of liars presented in Ericsson’s essay, discuss the characters’ lies and where they fit in the spectrum.



For each of the characters listed below, explain how the character is described physically, what their personality is like, and what their role in the story is. Support your answers with citations where appropriate.


Physical Description (provide a quote, with page number citation)

Personality (provide a quote, with page number citation)

Role in the story

Discuss the Character’s Lies using the categories presented in Ericsson’s essay.

(provide a quote, with page number citation)









Jordan Baker























Myrtle Wilson









Another way Fitzgerald develops the characters in the novel and uses them to inform us about the society he is discussing, is in his use of a variety of different motifs. Remember that a motif is “a conspicuous element, such as a type of incident, device, reference, or formula, which occurs frequently in works of literature.” (Abrams) This is different from the theme, in that a theme is a guiding principle, a message that the author is trying to communicate. A motif is a repeated image or element that is used to help communicate the theme. Put simply, a motif is a thing for readers to see, a theme is a thing for readers to understand.  

Find two examples of Fitzgerald using eyes in the novel, quote and cite them below:





What do these scenes with eyes tell us about the themes of the book?




Find two examples of Fitzgerald using weather in the novel, quote and cite them below:





What do these scenes with weather tell us about the themes of the book?




Find two examples of Fitzgerald using car accidents in the novel, quote and cite them below:





What do these scenes with car accidents tell us about the themes of the book?





Fitzgerald also uses colors in a special way. He often uses them to identify certain characteristics or attributes – gold and yellow associated with money, for example. But he also uses them to indicate certain personality traits in his characters. Find two places in the novel where a particular color is used to show or reinforce an idea about a character’s personality.

Quote describing color and a character

How does that color help us understand that character?















T C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\Deanna\A--G\AP\07 Essay\50 Essays\12 Ericsson The Ways We Lie Rev. 12.05.doc 2 arrogance for anyone to decide what is best for someone else. Yet not all circumstances are quite so cut-and-dried. Take, for instance, the sergeant in Vietnam who knew one of his men was killed in action but listed him as missing so that the man's family would receive indefinite compensation instead of the lump-sum pittance the military gives widows and children. His intent was honorable. Yet for twenty years this family kept their hopes alive, unable to move on to a new life. Facades Et tu, Brute? —Caesar We all put up facades to one degree or another. When I put on a suit to go to see a client, I feel as though I am putting on another face, obeying the expectation that serious businesspeople wear suits rather than sweatpants. But I'm a writer. Normally, I get up, get the kid off to school, and sit at my computer in my pajamas until four in the afternoon. When I answer the phone, the caller thinks I'm wearing a suit (though the UPS man knows better). But facades can be destructive because they are used to seduce others into an illusion. For instance, I recently realized that a former friend was a liar. He presented himself with all the right looks and the right words and offered lots of new consciousness theories, fabulous books to read, and fascinating insights. Then I did some business with him, and the time came for him to pay me. He turned out to be all talk and no walk. I heard a plethora of reasonable excuses, including in-depth descriptions of the big break around the corner. In six months of work, I saw less than a hundred bucks. When I confronted him, he raised both eyebrows and tried to convince-me that I'd heard him wrong, that he'd made no commitment to me. A simple investigation into his past revealed a crowded graveyard of disenchanted former friends. Ignoring the Plain Facts Well, you must understand that Father Porter is only human. —A Massachusetts priest In the '60s, the Catholic Church in Massachusetts began hearing com- u plaints that Father James Porter was sexually molesting children. Rather than relieving him of his duties, the ecclesiastical authorities simply moved him from one parish to another between 1960 and 1967, actually providing him with a fresh supply of unsuspecting families and innocent children to abuse. After treatment in 1967 for pedophilia, he went back to work, this time in Minnesota. The new diocese was aware of Father Porter's obsession with children, but they needed priests and recklessly believed treatment had cured him. More children were abused until he was relieved of his duties a year later. By his own admission, Porter may have abused as many as a hundred children. Ignoring the facts may not in and of itself be a form of lying, but consider the context of this situation. If a lie is a false action done with the intent to deceive, then the Catholic Church's conscious covering for Porter created irreparable consequences. The church became a co-perpetrator with Porter. Deflecting When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff. —Cicero C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\Deanna\A--G\AP\07 Essay\50 Essays\12 Ericsson The Ways We Lie Rev. 12.05.doc 3 I've discovered that I can keep anyone from seeing the true me by being selectively blatant. I set a precedent of being up-front about intimate issues, but I never bring up the things I truly want to hide; I just let people assume I'm revealing everything. It's an effective way of hiding. Any good liar knows that the way to perpetuate an untruth is to deflect attention from it. When Clarence Thomas exploded with accusations that the Senate hearings were a "high-tech lynching," he simply switched the focus from a highly charged subject to a radioactive subject. Rather than defending himself, he took the offensive and accused the country of racism. It was a brilliant maneuver. Racism is now politically incorrect in official circles—unlike sexual harassment, which still rewards those who can get away with it. Some of the most skilled deflectors are passive-aggressive people who, when accused of inappropriate behavior, refuse to respond to the accusations. This you-don't-exist stance infuriates the accuser, who, understandably, screams something obscene out of frustration. The trap is sprung and the act of de-.ilection successful, because now the passive^aggressive person can indignantly say, "Who can talk to someone as unreasonable as you?" The real issue is forgotten and the sins of the original victim become the focus. Feeling guilty of name-calling, the victim is fully tamed and crawls into a hole, ashamed. I have watched this fighting technique work thousands of times in disputes between men and women, and what I've learned is that the real culprit is not necessarily the one who swears the loudest. Omission The cruelest lies are often told in silence. —R.L.Stevenson Omission involves telling most of the truth minus one or two key facts whose absence changes the story completely. You break a pair of glasses that are guaranteed under normal use and get a new pair, without mentioning that the first pair broke during a rowdy game of basketball. Who hasn't tried something like that? But what about omission of information that could make a difference in how a person lives his or her life? For instance, one day I found out that rabbinical legends tell of another is woman in the Garden of Eden before Eve. I was stunned. The omission of the Sumerian goddess Lilith from Genesis—as well as her demonization by ancient misogynists as an embodiment of female evil—felt like spiritual robbery. I felt like I'd just found out my mother was really my stepmother. To take seriously the tradition that Adam was created out of the same mud as his equal counterpart, Lilith, redefines all of JudeoChristian history. Some renegade Catholic feminists introduced me to a view of Lilith that had been suppressed during the many centuries when this strong goddess was seen only as a spirit of evil. Lilith was a proud goddess who defied Adam's need to control her, attempted negotiations, and when this failed, said adios and left the Garden of Eden. This omission of Lilith from the Bible was a patriarchal strategy to keep women weak. Omitting the strong-woman archetype of Lilith from Western religions and starting the story with Eve the Rib has helped keep Christian and Jewish women believing they were the lesser sex for C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\Deanna\A--G\AP\07 Essay\50 Essays\12 Ericsson The Ways We Lie Rev. 12.05.doc 4 thousands of years. Stereotypes and Clichés Where opinion does not exist, the status quo becomes stereotyped and all originality is discouraged. —Bertrand Russell Stereotype and cliché serve a purpose as a form of shorthand. Our need for vast amounts of information in nanoseconds has made the stereotype vital to modern communication. Unfortunately, it often shuts down original thinking, giving those hungry for the truth a candy bar of misinformation instead of a balanced meal. The stereotype explains a situation with just enough truth to seem unquestionable. All the "isms"—racism, sexism, ageism, et al.—are founded on and fueled by the stereotype and the cliche, which are lies of exaggeration, omission, and ignorance. They are always dangerous. They take a single tree and make it a landscape. They destroy curiosity. They close minds and separate people. The single mother on welfare is assumed to be cheating. Any black male could tell you how much of his identity is obliterated daily by stereotypes. Fat people, ugly people, beautiful people, old people, largebreasted women, short men, the mentally ill, and the homeless all could tell you how much more they are like us than we want to think. I once admitted to a group of people that I had a mouth like a truck driver. Much to my surprise, a man stood up and said, "I'm a truck driver, and I never cuss." Needless to say, I was humbled. Groupthink Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark, or the man afraid of the light? — Maurice Freehill Irving Janis, in Victims of Group Think, defines this sort of lie as a psychological phenomenon within decision-making groups in which loyalty to the group has become more important than any other value, with the result that dissent and the appraisal of alternatives are suppressed. If you've ever worked on a committee or in a corporation, you've encountered groupthink. It requires a combination of other forms of lying—ignoring facts, selective memory, omission, and denial, to name a few. The textbook example of groupthink came on December 7, 1941. From as early as the fall of 1941, the warnings came in, one after another, that Japan was preparing for a massive military operation. The navy command in Hawaii assumed Pearl Harbor was invulnerable—the Japanese weren't stupid enough to attack the United States' most important base. On the other hand, racist stereotypes said the Japanese weren't smart enough to invent a torpedo effective in less than 60 feet of water (the fleet was docked in 30 feet); after all, US technology hadn't been able to do it. On Friday, December 5, normal weekend leave was granted to all the commanders at Pearl Harbor, even though the Japanese consulate in Hawaii was busy burning papers. Within the tight, good-ole-boy cohesiveness of the US command in Hawaii, the myth of invulnerability stayed well entrenched. No one in the group considered the alternatives. The rest is history. Out-and-Out Lies The only form of lying that is beyond reproach is lying for its own sake. — Oscar Wilde Of all the ways to lie, I like this one the best, probably because I C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\Deanna\A--G\AP\07 Essay\50 Essays\12 Ericsson The Ways We Lie Rev. 12.05.doc 5 get tired of trying to figure out the real meanings behind things. At least I can trust the bald-faced lie. I once asked my five-year-old nephew, "Who broke the fence?" (I had seen him do it.) He answered, "The murderers." Who could argue? At least when this sort of lie is told it can be easily confronted. As the person who is lied to, I know where I stand. The bald-faced lie doesn't toy with my perceptions — it argues with them. It doesn't try to refashion reality, it tries to refute it. Read my lips.... No sleight of hand. No guessing. If this were the only form of lying, there would be no such things as floating anxiety or the adult-children-of-alcoholics movement. Dismissal Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! I am the Great Oz! —The Wizard of Oz Dismissal is perhaps the slipperiest of all lies. Dismissing feelings, perceptions, or even the raw facts of a situation ranks as a kind of lie that can do as much damage to a person as any other kind of lie. The roots of many mental disorders can be traced back to the dismissal of reality. Imagine that a person is told from the time she is a tot that her perceptions are inaccurate. "Mommy, I'm scared." "No you're not, darling." "I don't like that man next door, he makes me feel icky." "Johnny, that's a terrible thing to say, of course you like him. You go over there right now and be nice to him." I've often mused over the idea that madness is actually a sane reaction to an insane world. Psychologist R. D. Laing supports this hypothesis in Sanity, Madness and the Family, an account of his investigation into the families of schizophrenics. The common thread that ran through all of the families he studied was a deliberate, staunch dismissal of the patient's perceptions from a very early age. Each of the patients slatted out with an accurate grasp of reality, which, through meticulous and methodical dismissal, was demolished until the only reality the patient could trust was catatonia. Dismissal runs the gamut. Mild dismissal can be quite handy for forgiving the foibles of others in our day-to-day lives. Toddlers who have just learned to manipulate their parents' attention sometimes are dismissed out of necessity. Absolute attention from the parents would require so much energy that no one would get to eat dinner. But we must be careful and attentive about how far we take our "necessary" dismissals. Dismissal is a dangerous tool, because it's nothing less than a lie. Delusion We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves. —Eric Hoffer I could write the book on this one. Delusion, a cousin of dismissal, is the tendency to see excuses as facts. It's a powerful lying tool because it filters out information that contradicts what we want to believe. Alcoholics who believe that the problems in their lives are legitimate reasons for drinking rather than results of the drinking offer the classic example of deluded thinking. Delusion uses the mind's ability to see things in myriad ways to support what it wants to be the truth. But delusion is also a survival mechanism we all use. If we were to fully contemplate the consequences of our stockpiles of nuclear weapons C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\Deanna\A--G\AP\07 Essay\50 Essays\12 Ericsson The Ways We Lie Rev. 12.05.doc 6