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Sophomore English Summer Reading & Annotation Assignment

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was literally a world-changing text when it debuted in 1852. It ignited passions and social conflict in both Northern & Southern states. It was (and is!) so controversial that it has been banned in many states – initially for its stance on abolition, more recently for its overt religious tones.

  1. Before you read this historical text, do some quick research to understand what the social/historical climate in America was in 1852.

–  Write down some of these important facts (can be bulleted information) on a separate piece of paper you will turn in when school begins.

  1. Read the brief biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe included here.
  • As you later read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, think about and look for influences of Stowe’s personal story (biography) in the text. Mark these places with marginal notes (these are called annotations).
  1. Read Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  • As you read, note religious references throughout the text (underline/highlight these references).
  • Notice, right away, Harriet Beecher Stowe tells us in her “Preface” that she is approaching the topic of slavery from a Christian perspective.
  • Add marginal notes (short phrases/questions) about what Stowe is trying to achieve through these religious references.
  • Of particular interest, notice how Harriet Beecher Stowe sets up certain “Christ” figures in her novel (there are at least 2, but arguably more). Note these characters and their actions by underlining/highlighting what they say and do when they are displaying “savior” like qualities. In the margins, use one or two words to annotate what the Christ-like qualities are (e.g. humility, selflessness, mercy, etc.).
  • Honors English 10 ONLY: Written Reflections
  • You need to obtain a Composition Notebook (NO spiral bound books allowed!). We will use this notebook all year long in class.
  • SKIP the first 3 pages front & back (if you count the front as “1” and the back as “2,” you are skipping 6 pages).
  • You need to write 5 THOUGHTFUL responses to Uncle Tom’s Cabin as you read.
    • Consider breaking up the text into 5 manageable sections (approx. every 75 pages).
    • Stop and write a MINIMUM ½ page written reflection at least 5 times throughout reading the novel.
      • These can be emotional responses, factual responses, questions about what is going on, responses to the style. The idea is to THINK, REFLECT, and demonstrate that you are a thoughtful reader.
    • Label the top of each reflection with the date and the current page number you have read to within Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

If you are having trouble reading this text, consider using an audio book. Be sure to follow along with the printed version and make annotations in your book.

Summer Reading books will be collected for an Annotations grade at the beginning of the school year.

All summer reading and associated work is expected to be complete by the time school begins.