Free Response section of the ap lit Test: Poetry, Prose, and Open Question



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Everything but the Kitchen Sink
Your assignment over the break is to review all of the major concepts we have studied so far; hence, “the whole kitchen sink.” The three parts of this assignment mirror the format of the Free Response section of the AP Lit Test: Poetry, Prose, and Open Question. Start this assignment by reading The Metamorphosis, which is the text I have chosen for you for Question 3. Once you have done that, set a time limit for yourself of 2 hours to write your essays (40 minutes per essay). You will turn in these three timed writes PLUS you will revise one of these into a final process paper (typed, double-spaced) and turn that in as well. All work is due the Tuesday after break.
I. Question 1: Poetry Essay (2012): In the following poem by Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), the speaker addresses the subject of desire. Read the poem carefully. Then write a well-developed essay in which you analyze how poetic devices help to convey the speaker’s complex attitude toward desire.
Thou Blind Man’s Mark

Thou blind man’s mark,1 thou fool’s self-chosen snare,

Fond fancy’s scum, and dregs of scattered thought;

Band of all evils, cradle of causeless care;



Line Thou web of will, whose end is never wrought;

5 Desire, desire! I have too dearly bought,

With price of mangled mind, thy worthless ware;

Too long, too long, asleep thou hast me brought,

Who should my mind to higher things prepare.

But yet in vain thou hast my ruin sought;

10 In vain thou madest me to vain things aspire;

In vain thou kindlest all thy smoky fire;

For virtue hath this better lesson taught—

Within myself to seek my only hire, 2



Desiring naught but how to kill desire.
1 target 2 reward
II. Question 2: Prose Essay (2008): Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey (1818) opens with the following passage. Read the passage carefully. Then, in a well-organized essay, analyze the literary techniques Austen uses to characterize Catherine Morland.


No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard—and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings—and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on—lived to have six children more—to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features—so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief—at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such were her propensities—her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid—by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinner; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs. Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life. Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character!—for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.
Such was Catherine Morland at ten. At fifteen, appearances were mending; she began to curl her hair and long for balls; her complexion improved, her features were softened by plumpness and colour, her eyes gained more animation, and her figure more consequence. Her love of dirt gave way to an inclination for finery, and she grew clean as she grew smart; she had now the pleasure of sometimes hearing her father and mother remark on her personal improvement. "Catherine grows quite a good-looking girl—she is almost pretty today," were words which caught her ears now and then; and how welcome were the sounds! To look almost pretty is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the first fifteen years of her life than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive.

III. Question 3: Open Essay: Read Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis (Diyanni 393) and respond to the following prompt using it as your text:


AP-Lit 1978 Open Question: Choose an implausible or strikingly unrealistic incident or character in a work of fiction or drama of recognized literary merit. Write an essay that explains how the incident or character is related to the more realistic of plausible elements in the rest of the work. Avoid plot summary.


AP® ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION 2012 SCORING GUIDELINES

Question 1


(Sir Philip Sidney’s “Thou Blind Man’s Mark”)
The score reflects the quality of the essay as a whole — its content, style, and mechanics. Students are rewarded for what they do well. The score for an exceptionally well-written essay may be raised by 1 point above the otherwise appropriate score. In no case may a poorly written essay be scored higher than a 3.
9–8 These essays offer a persuasive analysis of Sidney’s use of poetic devices to convey the speaker’s complex attitude toward desire. The essays offer a range of interpretations; they provide convincing readings of both the complex attitude and Sidney’s use of poetic devices. They demonstrate consistent and effective control over the elements of composition in language appropriate to the analysis of poetry. Their textual references are apt and specific. Though they may not be error-free, these essays are perceptive in their analysis and demonstrate writing that is clear and sophisticated, and in the case of a score of 9, especially persuasive.
7–6 These essays offer a reasonable analysis of Sidney’s use of poetic devices to convey the speaker’s complex attitude toward desire. The essays are less thorough or less precise in their discussion of the attitude toward desire and of Sidney’s use of poetic devices, and their analysis of the relationship between the two is less thorough or convincing. These essays demonstrate the student’s ability to express ideas clearly, making references to the text, although they do not exhibit the same level of effective writing as the 9–8 responses. Essays scored a 7 present better developed analysis and more consistent command of the elements of effective composition than do essays scored a 6.
5 These essays respond to the assigned task with a plausible reading of Sidney’s use of poetic devices to convey the speaker’s attitude toward desire but tend to be superficial in their analysis of the attitude and of the devices. They often rely on paraphrase, which may contain some analysis, implicit or explicit. Their analysis of the speaker’s attitude or of Sidney’s use of devices may be vague, formulaic, or minimally supported by references to the text. There may be minor misinterpretations of the poem. These essays demonstrate some control of language, but the writing may be marred by surface errors. These essays are not as well conceived, organized, or developed as 7–6 essays.
4–3 These lower-half essays fail to offer an adequate analysis of the poem. The analysis may be partial, unconvincing, or irrelevant, or it may ignore the complexity of the speaker’s attitude toward desire or Sidney’s use of devices. Evidence from the poem may be slight or misconstrued, or the essays may rely on paraphrase only. The writing often demonstrates a lack of control over the conventions of composition: inadequate development of ideas, accumulation of errors, or a focus that is unclear, inconsistent, or repetitive. Essays scored a 3 may contain significant misreading and/or demonstrate inept writing.
2–1 These essays compound the weaknesses of those in the 4–3 range. Although some attempt has been made to respond to the prompt, the student’s assertions are presented with little clarity, organization, or support from the poem. These essays may contain serious errors in grammar and mechanics. They may offer a complete misreading or be unacceptably brief. Essays scored a 1 contain little coherent discussion of the poem.


  1. These essays do no more than make a reference to the task.

— These essays are either left blank or are completely off topic.

AP® ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION 2008 SCORING GUIDELINES

Question 2

(Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey)


The score reflects the quality of the essay as a whole—its content, its style, its mechanics. Students are rewarded for what they do well. The score for an exceptionally well-written essay may be raised by 1 point above the otherwise appropriate score. In no case may a poorly written essay be scored higher than a 3.
9–8 These persuasive essays reflect astute readings of the Austen selection. They analyze with clarity and precision the strategies and/or techniques of characterization that Austen uses to create the complex portrait of the “unaccountable” Catherine Morland. They articulately describe Catherine’s personality and, with apt and specific references to the text, illustrate Austen’s strategies and/or techniques. These essays need not be flawless. Nonetheless, they exhibit the students’ abilities to discuss the passage with understanding and insight, sustaining control and writing with clarity and sophistication.
7–6 These competent essays coherently describe Catherine’s personality and identify some strategies and/or techniques of characterization used by Austen. Their assertions about her characterization may be less convincing or they may provide fewer supporting examples from the text than do the highest- scoring essays. In essays scored a 6, analysis may be more implicit than explicit. These essays demonstrate the students’ abilities to express ideas clearly, but they do not exhibit the same level of mastery, maturity, or control as the very best ones. They are likely to be briefer, less incisive, and less well supported than essays in the 9–8 range.
5 Although these plausible essays suggest awareness of the complexity of Catherine’s character and the techniques employed by Austen, they are generally superficial and less convincing than the ones in the 7–6 category. Discussion in these essays, though not inaccurate, tends to be overly generalized and inadequately supported by references to the passage. Although the writing is adequate to convey ideas and is not marred by distracting errors, these essays are not as well conceived, organized, or developed as those in the 7–6 range.
4–3 These lower-half essays reveal an incomplete or oversimplified understanding of the passage. Their assertions about the nature of Catherine’s personality or the methods of characterization employed by Austen may be implausible or irrelevant. They may rely almost entirely on paraphrase. Often wordy and repetitious, the writing may reveal uncertain control of the elements of college-level composition and may contain recurrent stylistic flaws. Essays that contain some misreading and/or inept writing should be scored a 3.
2–1 These essays compound the weaknesses of those in the 4–3 range. They may seriously misread the passage. Often, they are unacceptably brief. Although some attempt may be made to answer the question, the observations are presented with little clarity, organization, or support from the text. These essays may be poorly written on several counts and may contain distracting errors in grammar and mechanics. Essays scored a 1 contain little coherent discussion of the passage. Especially inept, vacuous, and/or unsound essays must be scored a 1.


  1. These essays do no more than make a reference to the task.

— These essays are either left blank or are completely off topic.

AP® ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION 1978 SCORING GUIDELINES

Question 3

(Open Question: The Metamorphosis)



The score reflects the quality of the essay as a whole—its content, its style, its mechanics. Students are rewarded for what they do well. The score for an exceptionally well-written essay may be raised by 1 point above the otherwise appropriate score. In no case may a poorly written essay be scored higher than a 3.

9-8: 
Superior papers specific in their references, cogent in their definitions, and free of plot summary that is not relevant to the question.  These essays need not be without flaws, but they demonstrate the writer’s ability to discuss a literary work with insight and understanding and to control a wide range of the elements of effective composition.  At all times they stay focused on the prompt, providing specific support—through direct quotations where appropriate—and connecting scholarly commentary to the overall meaning.

7-6:
These papers are less thorough, less perceptive or less specific than 9-8 papers.  They are well-written but with less maturity and control.  While they demonstrate the writer’s ability to analyze a literary work, they reveal a more limited understanding and less stylistic maturity than do the papers in the 9-8 range.

5: 
Safe and “plastic,” superficiality characterizes these essays.  Discussion of meaning may be formulaic, mechanical, or inadequately related to the chosen details.  Typically, these essays reveal simplistic thinking and/or immature writing.  They usually demonstrate inconsistent control over the elements of composition and are not as well conceived, organized, or developed as the upper-half papers.  However, the writing is sufficient to convey the writer’s ideas, stays mostly focused on the prompt, and contains at least some effort to produce analysis, direct or indirect.

4-3: 
Discussion is likely to be unpersuasive, perfunctory, underdeveloped, or misguided.  The meaning they deduce may be inaccurate or insubstantial and not clearly related to the question.  Part of the question may be omitted altogether.  The writing may convey the writer’s ideas, but it reveals weak control over such elements as diction, organization, syntax, or grammar.  Typically, these essays contain significant misinterpretations or the question or the work they discuss; they may also contain little, if any, supporting evidence, and practice paraphrase and plot summary at the expense of analysis.

2-1: 
These essays compound the weakness of essays in the 4-3 range and are frequently unacceptably brief.  They are poorly written on several counts, including many distracting errors in grammar and mechanics.  Although the writer may have made some effort to answer the question, the views presented have little clarity or coherence. 


  1. These essays do no more than make a reference to the task.

— These essays are either left blank or are completely off topic.



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