AP English: Appreciating Literary Imagery

At The White Mountain School, we believe that passion matters and we hope to guide our students as they develop curiosity, as well as critical thinking and communication skills.  We also believe that subject matter and content are vitally important in preparing our students for college. Our Advanced Placement courses reflect this unique blend of inquiry and content.

In Caroline’s AP English Literature course, White Mountain juniors and seniors are working on preparing for the AP Exam this May.  Last Friday, they spent their class time parsing through a number of poems with one goal in mind: imagery.

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree

Toward heaven still,

And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill

Beside it, and there may be two or three

Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough…

Reads the beginning of “After Apple-Picking” by Robert Frost.  Just as the poem’s speaker grasps for this signature fruit of New England, so too did our students reach for methods to break down and analyze this and other poems in the class. Just before presenting this poem to her students, Caroline listed several different forms of imagery that can appear in literature: visual, olfactory, auditory, kinetic/kinesthetic, tactile, gustatory and organic/subjective

Students then had to look through the Frost poem and a number of other pieces of verse, and label each form of imagery they could find.  Thankfully, a poem about apple picking caters well to the senses. Students spent much of the class discussing the gustatory image of biting into the fresh fruit, the olfactory image of “the scent of apples” and practicing the craft of poetry analysis.

Other fun AP English terms: anachronism, aphorism, cacophony, conceit, chiasmus…for another class!


Leave a Reply