Select ONE question from the topics below and write a BEAUTIFUL RESPONSE. Include a jazzy/pizzazzy opening and provide supportive details or examples. Do not merely summarize plot.
1. Writers often highlight the values of a culture or a society by using characters who are alienated from that culture or society because of gender, race, class, or creed.
Choose a play or novel (USE TSAR!!!) in which such a character plays a significant role and show how that character’s alienation reveals the surrounding society’s assumptions and moral values.
(1995 AP Lit. exam)
2. The British novelist Fay Weldon offers this observation about happy endings:
“The writers, I do believe, who get the best and most lasting response from readers are the writers who offer a happy ending through moral development. By a happy ending, I do not mean mere fortunate events --- a marriage or a last-minute rescue from death --- but some kind of spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation, even with the self, even at death.”
Choose a novel or play (USE TSAR) that has the kind of ending Weldon describes. In a well-written essay, identify the “spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation” evident in the ending and explain its significance in the work as a whole. (1996 AP Lit. exam)
3. Novels and plays often include scenes of weddings, funerals, parties, and other social occasions. Such scenes may reveal the values of the characters and the society in which they live. Select a novel or play (Use TSAR) that includes such a scene and, in a focused essay, discuss the contribution the scene makes to the meaning of the work as a whole. (1997 AP Lit. exam)
4. The eighteenth-century British novelist Laurence Sterne wrote, “No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time.”
From a novel or play (Use TSAR) choose a character (not necessarily the protagonist) whose mind is pulled in conflicting directions by two compelling desires, ambitions, obligations, or influences. Then, in a well-organized essay, identify each of the two conflicting forces and explain how this conflict within one character illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. (1999 AP Lit. exam)
5. Morally ambiguous characters – characters whose behavior discourages readers from identifying them as purely evil or purely good --- are at the heart of many works of literature. Choose a novel or play (Use TSAR) in which a morally ambiguous character plays a pivotal role. Then write an essay in which you explain how the character can be viewed as morally ambiguous and why his or her moral ambiguity is significant to the work as a whole. (2002 AP Lit. exam)
6. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899), protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess “that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions.” In a novel or play that you have studied, identify a character who conforms outwardly while questioning inwardly. Then write an essay in which you analyze how this tension between outward conformity and inward questioning contributes to the meaning of the work. (2005 AP Lit. exam)