With a focus on both rhetoric and American Literature, AP English Language challenges students to read closely, recognizing nuances and underlying meanings, as well as to write cogently, employing a concise and sophisticated style. Different from the English courses in the freshman and sophomore years, AP Language explores the rhetorical strategies writers use to convey their messages effectively through language and style devices, also expecting students to use those strategies in their own writing. Students write an interdisciplinary research paper inspired by their summer reading assignment, and they write numerous shorter essays, both timed in class and at home. Besides the study of rhetoric, students read fiction to examine the artist's critique of American society and its ever-present moral conflict between the individual and conformity. Students read essays from authors like James Baldwin; Frederick Douglass; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Henry David Thoreau; Ralph Waldo Emerson; Toni Morrison; Jane Smiley; and Jonathon Swift. They also read classic fiction of the American literary canon such as All the King's Men, Death of a Salesman, The Great Gatsby, and Catcher in the Rye in addition to more recent works like The Things They Carried and Just Mercy.