This course is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Exam in Literature and to introduce students to the type of rigorous literary analysis and theoretical approaches required by most college courses. As such, this course requires extensive reading from a variety of genres and cultures as well as significant works of Western culture. In reading these works, students will begin to identify emerging themes that arise from man’s condition and his spiritual and mental quest towards understanding, enlightenment and direction. In addition, students will develop an understanding of how writers use literary conventions to convey their perception of the human condition and more importantly discover that literature “…takes us into ourselves, helping us to process the events of our lives and to produce our own narratives. It provides case studies of successful lives and failures; of what to do and what not to do. Through literature, we live vicariously: we travel, both in time and place; we change genders; we experience melancholy and elation, fear and courage, ignorance and wisdom. We grow, and we know.” In this endeavor students will begin to realize that literature is grounded in morality, stated or implied and this can be seen in terms of such major themes as: Identity and perception; Truth and Illusion; the Nature of Good and Evil; Finding Purpose; and the Nature of Man. Hopefully, students will be stimulated to examine their own values and morals and hopefully develop a moral code that will enable them to live compassionate and fulfilled lives.