2010 AP English Free Response Question (Form B)
In this passage from The Horizontal World, Debra Marquart shows her love for the upper Midwest despite the common negative opinions that most would first think about the region. While others would say that the region is dull and monotonous, Marquart finds her hometown as a place of great significance to her life. By her use of similes and allusions, she attempts to overcome the common negative first impressions of the Upper Midwest to show the reader its unique characteristics in a more positive way.
In North Dakota there is “a road so lonely, treeless, and devoid of rises and curves in places that it will feel like one long-held pedal steel guitar note.” A “lonely, treeless” road would first seem to be quite negative. The world, “lonely,” gives off a tone of sadness while the word, “treeless,” shows that there is only open space. Although the reader would initially receive these words with a negative connotation, Marquart compares the road to “one long-held pedal steel guitar note.” One might find that one note would be uninteresting, but by comparing the road with a pedal steel guitar, something that the author might have enjoyed listening to, the reader can sense that the author has an appreciation for the long empty road. It is like listening to a song that is liked except one of those notes is held out. The note that is held out makes the song take more time, which means more time to embrace the song or in this case, the relaxing view of open land.
Marquart’s family has a relatively old history in the town of Eureka, and because she decided to explain the literal meaning of the word “Eureka” along with its mythical significance of the word the reader can conclude that she has a deep respect and love for the region. Marquart’s great-grandparents arrived in “what was then the end of the line - Eureka, South Dakota. Eureka – from the Greek word heureka,...
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