In preparation for the AP Literature and Composition exam that’s coming up on Thursday, I was scrolling through Google for information on one major work – one that I am going to use for my free response essay on the basis of my teacher’s advice: “All I’m saying is, everyone who knew everything there is to know about one major work made at least a four on the AP Literature exam.” While scrolling, I stumbled upon what has become my new favorite site for all things literature: shmoop. In my opinion, it is better than sparknotes, classicnotes, and the like.
In reviewing for the major work, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, I discovered that the site allowed me to look at several things that are the basis of AP Lit essays. It reviewed things that are usually what the prompt is asking for, ie. literary devices. The literary devices page for The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example, consist of several subsections, including: symbolism, imagery, allegory, setting, narrator point of view, genre, tone (which helps with “DIDLS” too – for those of you who are not aware of the anagram, it stands for diction, imagery, detail, language, and syntax,) writing style, analysis of the title, analysis of the epigraph, analysis of the ending, plot analysis, tragedy analysis, three act plot analysis, trivia, steaminess rating, and allusions.
Wow, that was a mouthful. So hopefully now, you can see the glory that I see coming out of this! All I did was search in Google, “The Picture of Dorian Gray theme” and this is what came up. Never before has Google given me exactly what I needed and then some!
In addition to going into extreme detail about literary works, the site also offers several helpful sections to those studying for AP exams, including a section dedicated to AP Exams. For the price of 17$ per prep course, you can purchase help in a certain AP subject.
In reviewing for AP literature, the other helpful sections that I was referring to are as follows: Bible (which would help if you needed to review Biblical allusions), Poetry (which would obviously help in learning lingo of poetry (ie. couplet, Shakespearean sonnet, etc..,) Shakespeare (because they always tend to throw a prose or poetry passage in there using Shakespeare lingo,) Mythology (if you need to know Mythological allusions,) among SAT help. The reason I include SAT help is because Collegeboard, who runs the SAT, also runs the AP courses and tests. Therefore, it’s a good idea to review a little bit of both.
So, yes. Shmoop is a great site for students. But that’s not all it can do. Teachers – I imagine that you should become increasingly aware of this site and its helpfulness. It even offers Teacher Resources. Now, I’m not one for plagiarism either – which is why this site needs to be known by teachers for future reference. Of course, a simple Google search should reveal if someone was – but nonetheless, better safe than sorry.
So here’s Shmoop. There is so much to do on this site, it’s unbelievable!