English 7-8 AP/IB Summer Reading 2018-2019

Dear Class of 2019:

Kendrick Lamar’s album "Damn", contains song titles that are brutally fundamental—”Blood,” “Element,” “Love,” “DNA,” Fear,” “Feel,” “Loyalty,” etc.—and Lamar spends the album detailing how modern life is shaped by these primordial forces.

“DNA” takes the idea of original sin literally, packing the entirety of human experience into both fate and possibility, incarceration and freedom, and as he peers deeper into the microscope, he sees the human condition and himself with new clarity.  

That’s what literature does. The titles of his album, these forces of humanity, can also be found directly in your summer reading.

Your task this summer is to read John Steinbeck’s  "East of Eden". Just read it. Be ready to talk and write about it on the first day of school. We will spend quite a bit of the first quarter on this sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley. It follows the intertwined destinies of two families--the Trasks and the Hamiltons--whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

How much are you destined to be the person you are today? How much can you control?

Your family history is important. Like the characters in the novel, your family and ancestors have experienced quite a bit!  They may not be famously portrayed in the literary world (yet!) or by Hollywood actors, but they have had valuable lives that may even mirror your own journey.

As Steinbeck looked into his own family ancestry, you will become your family’s historian. The purposes here are to deepen your appreciation of Steinbeck’s construction of what he called his greatest work as well as connect personally to his quest for understanding family and the meaning of “home.” You may also discover the perfect topic for your College Application Essay (which is one of our first major assignments in the fall).

The following project will not be due until near the end of Quarter 1. Why tell you about it now, you ask? Well, the summer is a time to reconnect with your family. You can choose to start this process when you have time to actually sit down, listen to some stories, and consider what your family history reveals about who you are today.

The Arizona English Language Arts Standards that this assignment meets are listed on the final page of this packet.  Please don’t hesitate to email me with questions. I check my email quite regularly during the summer. Remember that you must use your pvlearners account for all communication.

Best regards,

Sally Henzel, M.Ed

English Teacher
Instructional Division Leader
North Canyon High School

Part 1: Family Overview

This response is a broad overview of your family. Please do not feel compelled to respond to all questions. Write in paragraphs, not bulleted points.

Part 2: Family Tree

The Trasks and the Hamiltons had quite the family tree! You will create your own family tree going back three generations (including your own--you can go back farther if you would like, but it is not required).

Include full names, birth date, date of death (if applicable). The following sites have templates that can assist you:

Family Echo





Part 3: Photographs with Anecdotes

Include 3 photographs with an anecdote to accompany each (this is narrative...so consider voice, tricks, etc.)

What is an anecdote? It’s a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person. Strive for approximately 150-200 words for each anecdote.

You may stretch the truth (Steinbeck certainly did!), and try to capture the heart of the picture. Each anecdote must also include a short quote from the novel that helps encapsulate the nature of the photograph. Parenthetically cite the quote. (Chapter. Part. Page)

Here is a student example:
4 school boysRaymond Young, as seen in the center of this photograph always loved a little adventure. My great grandfather was a man that would try to succeed at ten new things every single day if he was able to. Basketball was not excluded when it came to facing new and unknown territory for Raymond. He thought it was an amazing sport, but he had never played on a team until his senior year of high school. When his school announced that basketball season was upon them, Raymond thought long and hard about if he would do it or not. He even went home to his family to discuss whether trying out was worth it since he had never actually played before; he didn’t even know all of the rules of the game! Eventually, his parents convinced him that since it was his senior year, he wouldn’t have any more opportunities like this to play on an actual team. Raymond went up to the sign-up desk the next day at school and nervously wrote down his name. Tryouts came later that week; who would’ve thought that Raymond, someone who had only touched a basketball when it was thrown at him in the gym during P.E. would make his school varsity team and later become their MVP?!

Quote: “They looked at me and thought they knew about me. And I fooled them. I fooled every one of them. And when they thought they could tell me what to do—oh! that's when I fooled them best" (39. 2. 90).

Part 4: All About You

Describe two important turning points or events in your life. When did each event occur? What was the impact of each event? How did it change you? What did you learn?

Connect your journey to character’s experiences as well. Direct quotes are not required; however, explicit parallels should be drawn in the process.

General Guidelines

Arizona English Language Arts Standards

  • Describe your family. Give all the names (pets count too if you want!) Both parents? Single parent? Divorce? How many brothers and sisters? Was/is there any sibling rivalry (major theme!)
  • Where do you live? How long? Where else have you lived? Are you a close family or not? Is religion or faith important in your family? Is there a parent who ‘runs the show’ and is the head of the family? Any basic activities (vacations/outings) you all do together? Ethnicity and national origin?
  • Is your extended family close or spread out geographically? Do some still live in another country? Can you write about any immigration experiences? Write about any family members who first came to the U.S., telling who they were and where they came from and when. Tell what life was like in their former country, what the actual immigration process involved, and tell what life was like in their first years in the USA: Any trouble getting jobs? Language and culture problems? Prejudice? Consider Lee’s character and his story as you consider your own family’s journey. Why did your family members immigrate to the U.S.? Typically, the reason would fall into one of these categories:
    • Push – people leave a country (feel pushed out) because of economic hard times, and/or because of political, ethnic/racial, or religious persecution, etc.
    • Pull – people are attracted to the (feel pulled to) U.S. for reasons such as political freedom, job opportunities, education, religious toleration, etc.
  • Can you make some generalizations about your family and its character? Easy-going, serious, conservative, liberal, mixed? Think of any words that describe your family and explain briefly. Is there someone who is the ‘head of the clan?’ (Think Samuel Hamilton). Any famous or notorious relatives?
  • Sometimes we find that family doesn’t always mean a biological tie. We know in the novel that Lee has an indelible impact on the family. Do you have someone who you consider family, but isn’t technically (for all intents and purposes) part of it? Describe this person and his/her role in your family and/or your own life specifically.
  • Steinbeck wrote about his mother’s side of the family. Whose side would you write about and why? 
  • Only divulge what you are comfortable sharing. Your family’s history should be honored in this process, so please let me know if you have any challenges along the way that you feel compromise your ability to complete part of the project.
  • Your submission must be typed and clearly organized.
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well‐chosen details, and well‐structured event sequences.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
    • Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).
    • Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative. (11‐12.W.3)
  • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self‐generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. (11‐12.W.7)
  • Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation. (11‐12.W.8)
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • Apply grades 11–12 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth‐, nineteenth‐, and early‐twentieth‐century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.” (11‐12.W.9)