Ap english Literature Essays Must Do’s Must Don’ts The Essay’s Purpose



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AP English Literature Essays

  • Must Do’s
  • Must Don’ts

The Essay’s Purpose

  • The essay is intended to demonstrate your deep, analytical understanding of the text (whether or not it is provided).
  • The essay must represent your position on the prompt and provide well selected evidence to support that position.
  • The essay must demonstrate your command of language/vocabulary and your command of constructing an essay.

Thesis and More

  • Your essay must have a clear thesis. It is stated in the first paragraph along with the hook of the essay.
  • Your essay must have details/evidence that supports your thesis and all claims made in the text.
  • Your essay must contain analysis/interpretation of the details/evidence.

DETAILS/COMMENTARY

VERB TENSE

  • Always use the PRESENT TENSE in literary analysis!
  • Remember to avoid any use of the verb “to be”
  • Example:
  • Dorian Gray makes a deal with the devil, only to regret the exchange of his soul for enduring beauty.

QUOTATIONS

  • DO give them context.
  • Ex. - Lord Henry enticed Dorian, convincing him his “whole soul” was meant for “only pleasure” (Wilde 12).
  • DO NOT plop them into the text of your essay for decoration!
  • Ex. - “What a pity it was that such beauty was destined to fade.” There was discussion by Lord Henry of the value of beauty.)
  • DO NOT INTRODUCE THEM OR FOLLOW THEM UP EXPLICITLY.
  • Ex. - The meaning of this quotation is…

DESCRIPTORS

  • Add meaning to your observations
  • Ex. – In Smith’s poem, the speaker uses tone and literary devices to communicate theme. (THIS PROVIDES NO INSIGHT!)
  • WHAT KIND OF TONE?
  • WHAT KIND OF LITERARY DEVICES?
  • WHAT IS THE THEME??
  • You must avoid being vague!

PERSUADE!

  • DO persuade!
  • You must claim something and persuade the reader throughout the essay with evidence and analysis!
  • Use a minimum of two body paragraphs to persuade the reader!
  • IT IS CALLED ARGUMENTATION!

CONTRACTIONS

  • DO NOT USE THEM!
  • USE…
  • CANNOT
  • THEY ARE
  • IT IS
  • WE ARE
  • THEY WILL
  • See how easy it is?

TOPIC SENTENCES

  • You must have them!
  • You cannot use a quotation in place of a topic sentence!
  • Be specific and make certain you are building upon your thesis!

I, ME, MINE

  • AVOID THEM!
  • Never reference yourself as the reader.
  • Avoid the use of personal pronouns.
  • SO, AVOID. – I believe; I think; In my opinion; It appears to me

Avoid Bologna!

  • You are wasting my time when you offer only bologna!
  • You are wasting your brain when you offer only bologna!
  • You are wasting educational resources when you offer only bologna!
  • You are damaging your future when you offer only bologna!


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