AP Literature & Composition

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Flying Changes

by Amanda Batchelor

Light from bright sun shines through the green, lush forest behind my house. I crouch under a fallen tree hiding from my seeker. Quiet, I try to hold my breath so he cannot hear my gasping exhales but I have to take a breath sometime. I breathe in hot, moist air and suddenly wriggle my nose, trying to conceal a sneeze. Ah-choo, Ah-choo, I quickly put my hands over my nose and mouth hoping he did not hear me. Footsteps turn fast on the wooded earth behind me. Closer and louder the steps become until finally they are right in front me. His black bare feet are dirty. However, I would not have noticed if I were not an inch away from them. He stops and his breathing is loud from the running.

Suddenly, he giggles and says, "Found you, you're it! Find me if you can." He quickly runs deeper into the woods. I rise from my hiding spot, and Jed is nowhere to be seen.

Jed and I had met that summer. We would play hide n' seek in the woods where no one could see us. I never understood why anyone, especially Mama, spoke badly about the Negros. She does not like me going near the Negro boys who live in our neighborhood but I don't see any problem with them. She says they are not well-fitted people to be playing with. A couple weeks ago she set me up on a play date with a girl named Mary Sue from down the street. I guess Mama is a friend of her Mama but it ain't matter. I just want to hang around the neighborhood boys. They like to play games - - tag, baseball, and football. Mama says that it is just a phase I am going through -- something called a "tomboy." But I absolutely hate all girly stuff: dolls, dress, ruffles and pretty much anything pink. Every time I play with Mary Sue, she wants to dress up dolls and find the man of their dreams. It grosses me out. Although I told Mama that I loathe it, she says it would make me into a fine young lady one day.

As we walk down the neighborhood, Mama talks nonsense about being nice to Mary Sue. My underwear and dress bunch up as we walk down the sidewalk to the white picket fence driveway. I start to pick my wedgie, but Mama slaps my hand and says something about manners. I tune her out when she tries to give me a lecture about being lady-like. We arrive at Mary Sue's house; Mama leaves me there alone to be thrown into a room with pink walls, pink sheets, and pink curtains - - my favorite color. Mary Sue shoves a doll and a brush into my hands, expecting me to groom her little monsters. I get up, drop the doll, and march out of her house. Walking quickly down the street, I notice one of the little black boys who lives a couple of houses down from me. He is playing hopscotch alone. Skipping over to him, I watch while he finishes picking up the rock in the last square. He looks surprised a girl would talk to him. I ask him, "What? Never talked to a girl before?"

He looks up and says, "No, people like you do not talk to people like us."

I thought that was silly, not understanding him completely. I continued to tell him about my day and that I did not want to play with porcelain, curly haired dolls anymore. He took my hand and dragged me into the woods that lie behind the houses on our street. I looked at him confused.

"You wanna play Hide n' Seek?" I shrugged, accepting his request sounded like a better offer than going back to Mary Sue's house. We played for hours until I heard Mama yelling my name. I told Jed to meet me in the woods tomorrow while I ran out to the clearing. I sure got a lecture that afternoon but it was worth it for my new friendship.

Every day that summer, Jed and I would meet and play our usual game in the woods. Mama thought I was playing double-dutch with some of the neighbor girls; if only she knew I was playing Hide n' Seek with a Negro boy. She would probably banish me to my bedroom with nothing to do.

Some afternoons, I would not see Jed because Mama made me play with Mary Sue. He understood. We were like two peas-in-a-pod that summer and ain't nobody knew about it. However, summer was winding down and school would start in a couple of weeks.

Mama woke me up early for the first day of school. She wanted me to look like the little young lady she had raised me to be, but I had no idea where she would find that girl. She brushed my hair, put it up in pigtails, forced me into a dress, and pushed me out the door. I hopped and skipped my way to the bus sign, hoping to see Jed. I stood waiting for the big, yellow school bus with all the other neighborhood children. Some looked older and bigger but none were familiar. I saw Jed and a few other Negro children come up to the curb; immediately, I went to talk to him. I got odd looks from the fair-skinned kids, but I scowled and stuck my tongue out at them. Nobody seemed to think what I was doing was normal, but I went about my business.

When everyone saw the yellow bus in the distance, they started to get anxious and excited. I did not understand; it was school. They make you read, write, and solve story problems about how many marbles Susan lost. Who cares about that stuff? I was just excited that Jed would be my bus buddy for the rest of second grade. As I was about to get on the bus, I looked back to see that Jed and his friends were not moving towards the bus.

"What are you doing, Silly? The bus takes us to school." He stared at me, not understanding what I had said.

He then told me, "We ain't allowed on this bus." He pointed to a sign behind me that read "No Negros Allowed." I continued up the steps of the bus to find an open seat, not understanding what was wrong. I rode the bus in silence all the way to school hoping Jed would be in Mrs. Lewis's second grade class with me. He never showed up. As I looked around when the school bell rang, I noticed that no Negros were in my class; only white, freckled Jane and John Does filled the desks. I guess Mama was not the only one who did not like Negros.

Pool Hall Murder (1915) by Luc Sante, Evidence
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by Savannah Summers

It was a cold October night and I had just left work from the nearby textile factory. Earlier, the girls and I had all agreed to head over to Dusty's Bar after work for my nineteenth birthday. As soon as the clock struck ten, I left my sewing machine and fled the factory with my celebratory friends to the bar. The pub was full of laughter, booze, and life as I sauntered in. I was used to every eye being on me as I entered the bar, not because I was a drop-dead beauty, but because I don't fit the stereotypical image of the wild flapper who wears astonishing short dresses and heels higher than her standards. I have always been a modest woman, never daring to let my dress rise above my calves. My mother taught me to dress like a respectable women so suitable men would flock to me, but times have changed since dad courted her. Now, men are more interested in mysterious women who attend rumored speakeasies. My mother had also lectured me about the dangers of liquor, but after her passing a couple of years ago I decided to try alcohol for myself. Three years later and here I am, sitting at a bar tossing the poison back.

The night was just what I needed; we kept ordering round after round of drinks, playing billiards, and dancing the night away. Margaret and Dorothy both surprised me with gifts: a lariat pearl necklace and a jeweled cigarette case complete with four Lucky Strike cigarettes. As the night continued, my friends decided it was time for them to turn in for the night, but going home to a dark and lonely apartment did not appeal to me. I resolved, sat at the bar, and limited myself to one more drink as I ordered a shot of gin. To my left I noticed the man who seemed to have been sitting there all night.

"The name's Elizabeth Swank," I slurred. He quietly introduced himself as Jessie Markos, a Greek man who had just arrived in town two days earlier. The night had to have been closing in on one in the morning but it was no matter. We continued to talk about our lives, each interested in every aspect. After his father and mother had succumbed to polio, Jesse left Greece hoping to find a new life in America and securing some riches along the way. I told him about my modest parents and how disappointed they would be that I was within ten yards of alcohol.

Before long, we both became more interested in dancing than drinking. Jessie admitted he was having continual shortages of breath, but we continued to dance, not taking our eyes off of one another. After all the alcohol, I decided to visit the restroom, leaving Jessie at the bar. Just as I reentered the bar, I heard a flop and saw Jessie grab his chest, gasping for air. Collapsing, he seemed to be barely conscious. I ran over and yelled at someone to help him. Seconds later, a man appeared at my side and explaining that he was a doctor. Nothing seemed to work; Jessie would not wake up.

"There's nothing I can do, I am truly sorry," the doctor said. He lectured me about the dangers of alcohol, noting that too much can be deadly. I had heard this from my mother several times. An ambulance arrived ten minutes later and would not let me ride with the man I had just met that night. I will never know if Jessie survived or succumbed. Perhaps my mother was right: liquor is poison and nothing good can ever come of it.

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go to REGISTRATION & Class Lists

3rd Quarter Unfinished Pieces

                Assignments: 91% [E]/ 90%[C]
                AP & SAT essays = 61%
                Vocab/Mult. Choice practice = 51%
                Exam = 3


                Assignments: 92% [E] / 90% [C]
                AP & SAT essays = 66%
                Vocab/Mult. Choice practice = 53%
                Exam = 3


Grammar, key terminology, and vocabulary items that we have discussed in class are on the AP Vocabulary Archive. The sooner you get started, the sooner (comparative degree) you will know all your terms.


Participation = 30%
(purely subjective, based on my perceptions of your initiative, interest, self-motivation, & tenacity)

Assignments (two parts of grade)

1st Semester EFFORT = 20%; CONTENT = 10%
2nd Semester EFFORT = 10%; CONTENT = 20%

Vocab/Multiple Choice tests = 15%

AP Portfolio essay grades = 15%

Exams = 10%

An explanation of the assignment grades above. The grade you see is an average of the CONTENT grades you have received over an average of the EFFORT grades you have received. We will have this on hand in class as a graph, which I expect to see rise over the course of the year. There will, of course, be dips, too...During the first semester, the effort grade will be weighted more; during the Spring semester, I will look at the content average as the more significant part of your grade.

REVIEW key terminology & vocabulary on the AP Vocabulary Archive OR play to study on Quizlet!

Check all papers for these skills before turning them in to me.

Click on the icon at right to access Editors' Links and directions for email editing: Editors' Links

During the year, choose books from the College Reading List.

See 2014-2015 AP English pieces by clicking HERE
See 2013-2014 AP English pieces by clicking HERE
See 2011-2012 AP English pieces by clicking HERE
See 2008-2009 AP English pieces by clicking HERE
See 2004-2005 AP English pieces by clicking HERE
See 2003-2004 English III pieces by clicking HERE

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