AP LIT Students Study the Classics and Tragedies from a Beloved Teacher

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One of the books APLIT students read and study.

Megan Zentner, Contributor

AP Test season is approaching and AP Lit students are in the thick of studying classic literature and tragedies. Plays like Hamlet by William Shakespeare and novels like A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens can be found in the hands of these kids. Countless students love these bits of literature and the teacher, Sarah Strege.

Hamlet is a tragic play filled with emotion and famous lines. While A Tale of Two Cities is a classic novel that focuses on the French Revolution and an intense love triangle.

AP Lit students didn’t just have to read these pieces, they were also tasked with final projects, 100 point tests, and PowerPoint presentations. The course requires a great understanding of these two works of literature.

However, Mrs. Strege tries to keep things as fun and as upbeat as possible. Cassandra Herubin, an AP Literature student, said, “Mrs. Strege has a way of teaching where it’s not like here’s a book, read it. She elaborates on everything that has to do with the book and does in class discussions rather than just lecturing us about what happens.”

Classic books are not only well known, but also a huge part of English classes. Mrs. Strege feels that “It is important to read classic books because of a little thing called cultural literacy.” Cultural literacy is a base of knowledge other people share pertaining to other cultures. She also says classic novels can help students understand allusions — references in our world to things like religion, mythology, or other literary works.

Strege said, “I love teaching about tragedies and classic literature. They make you feel apart of something much bigger.” Learning from a teacher who is passionate about this unit substantially improved the AP Literature students’ learning experience.

These novels were not just read for a grade. They hold deeper meanings and life lessons. Herubin said, “I loved reading tragedies. Life doesn’t always end with a happy ending wrapped in a bow. It has ups and downs filled with struggles, and I think tragedies really bring out this idea.”

Students considered A Tale of Two Cities applicable to real life. Herubin said, “Even in darkness there is light and in darkness is when you really get to experience the grace and love of people.” She took themes from the novel and related them to her own life.

The list of tragic plays and classic novels that exist is quite long. Strege has many recommendations but she says to “stray away from the old dead white guys.” A good book is not defined by who wrote it or what it is about. Anything on the college board approved list is probably going to be well-liked also.

AP Lit is the perfect class for anyone interested in classic novels and tragedies. The teacher, the information, and the experience will not disappoint.

AP Testing Season begins on May 1st.  Good luck to everyone in all Advanced Placement classes!