English literature

Cultivate your understanding of literature through reading and analyzing texts


This course fulfills the requirement for the compulsory ENG4U credit needed to achieve the Ontario Secondary School Diploma while also preparing students to write the AP Literature exam. AP Literature engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure. Students will consider the significance of writing conventions, including structure, style, and theme, as well as rhetorical strategies and figurative language. Writing instruction will focus on developing and organizing ideas in clear, coherent, and persuasive language. By taking this course, students can assure universities that they are working at the highest level of English studies offered at their school. AP Literature students are evaluated on the ENG4U Achievement Chart set by the Ontario Ministry of Education and will write the ENG4U Board-wide examination at the end of the semester; this exam will count toward their course grade. Students should be prepared to do summer reading and plan to attend additional practice sessions in April, prior to the AP Literature exam in May.

Play Video
book, read, old
books, pages, story
Taught By:

Course Content

The AP English Literature and Composition course focuses on reading, analyzing, and writing about imaginative literature (fiction, poetry, drama) from various periods. Students engage in close reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature to deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as its use of figurative language, imagery, and symbolism. Writing assignments include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays that require students to analyze and interpret literary works.

In the AP English Literature and Composition course, students devote themselves to the study of literary works written in—or translated into—English. Careful reading and critical analysis of such works of fiction, drama, and poetry, selected locally by responsible educators, provide rich opportunities for students to develop an appreciation of ways literature reflects and comments on a range of experiences, institutions, and social structures. Students will examine the choices literary writers make and the techniques they utilize to achieve purposes and generate meanings.

Course Content

The course content is organized into units that have been arranged in a logical sequence. This sequence has been developed through feedback from educators as well as analysis of high school and college courses and textbooks. The units in AP English Literature and Composition scaffold skills and knowledge through three genre-based, recurring units. This course framework provides a description of what students should know and be able to do to qualify for college credit or placement. The AP English Literature and Composition curriculum is made up of nine units. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

Units Exam Weighting
Units 1, 4, and 7: Short Fiction
Units 2, 5, and 8: Poetry
Units 3, 6, and 9: Longer Fiction or Drama
Skills Exam Weighting
Explain the function of character.
Explain the function of setting.
Explain the function of plot and structure.
Explain the function of the narrator or speaker.
Explain the function of word choice, imagery, and symbols.
Explain the function of comparison.
Develop textually substantiated arguments about interpretations of a part or all of a text.

Contact Us

29 Lisgar st, Ottawa, ON K2P 0B9

(613) 239-2696