Rough draft due Monday, November 19th
Final draft the week beginning Monday, November 26th
In a well developed essay of 800-1200 words, explore one of the essay topics below. Include quotes and specific references to the text to support your thesis. Developing an organic structure for this essay is essential. Refer to the information on the back of this sheet for suggestions about organizing an essay in this way.
Automatic deductions will be taken for the following:
—Not including the author’s full name and title of the work in the essay —Not citing quotes using the following format: (Author’s Last Name Page Number) —Not falling within the word range
The following essay prompts have been culled from Advanced Placement English Literature exams. Each one appeared as Question 3, the open-ended question. These prompts require a response that shows how specific elements of a story work to reveal something larger, a task which lends itself to organic structuring.
1.Some novels and plays seem to advocate changes in social or political attitudes or in traditions. Choose such a novel or play and note briefly that the particular attitudes or traditions that the author apparently wishes to modify. Then analyze the techniques the author uses to influence the reader’s or audience’s views. Do not merely summarize the plot. (1987)
2.“The true test of comedy is that it shall awaken thoughtful laughter” –George Meredith Choose a novel, play, or long poem in which a scene or character awakens “thoughtful laughter” in the reader. Write an essay in which you show why this laughter is “thoughtful” and how it contributes to the meaning of the work. (1993)
3.In a novel or play, a confidant (male) or a confidante (female) is a character, often a friend or relative of the hero or heroine, whose role is to be present when the hero or heroine needs a sympathetic listener to confide in. Frequently the result is, as Henry James remarked, that the author sometimes uses this character for other purposes as well. Choose a confidant or confidante from a novel or play of recognized literary merit and write an essay in which you discuss the various ways this character functions in the work. (1993)
4.In questioning the value of literary realism, Flannery O’Connor has written, “I am interested in making a good cause for distortion because I am coming to believe that it is the only way to make people see.” Write an essay in which you “make a good cause for distortion,” as distinct from literary realism. Analyze how important elements of the work you choose are “distorted” and explain how these distortions contribute to the effectiveness of the work. Do not merely summarize the plot. (1989)
5.A critic has said the one important measure of a superior work of literature is its ability to produce in the reader a healthy confusion of pleasure and disquietude. Select a literary work that produces this “healthy confusion.” Write an essay in which you explain the sources the “pleasure and disquietude” experienced by the readers of the work. Do not base your essay on a movie, television program, or other adaptation of a work. (1984) Organic Essays
The easiest way to explain an organically structured essay is first to look at a common structure that is not organic, the five paragraph essay: |I. Thesis with Three Parts |or | | |II. Idea One | | | |III. Idea Two | | | |IV. Idea Three | | | |V. Conclusion...