Presentation on theme: "TIMED WRITINGS…THE FEAR FACTOR AP essays are written under intense time-pressure, without a lesson: “Here’s a passage – read it- write about it – go!”"— Presentation transcript:
TIMED WRITINGS…THE FEAR FACTOR AP essays are written under intense time-pressure, without a lesson: “Here’s a passage – read it- write about it – go!” This goes against all that you have been taught about good writing: drafting, revising, revising again. “Ready, set, write” is difficult for all of us, but understand that every student is working under the same conditions. SCORING AP essays are graded on a 1-9 scale. A 5 is the most common score. The problem with 5 essays is their superficiality. The grader can tell that you understand the content and literary/language technique of the given passage, but he also sees that you have missed the complexity of the piece. 5 responses are typically commonplace, poorly conceived, poorly organized, or simplistic. The good news – You can write a 5 in your sleep, but 7, 8, and 9 is your conscious goal.
Three recent AP English Language exam essay prompts: 2010: Benjamin Banneker, the son of former slaves, was a farmer, astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, and author. In 1791 he wrote to Thomas Jefferson, framer of the Declaration of Independence and secretary of state to President George Washington. Read the following excerpt from the letter and write an essay that analyzes how Banneker uses rhetorical strategies to argue against slavery. 2009: The passage below is from “The Indispensable Opposition,” an article by Walter Lippmann; it appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1939. Read the passage carefully. Then write an essay in which you analyze the rhetorical strategies Lippmann uses to develop his argument. 2008: In the following passage from The Great Influenza, an account of the 1918 flu epidemic, author John M. Barry writes about scientists and their research. Read the passage carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how Barry uses rhetorical strategies to characterize scientific research. What’s the commonality in all of these? They all focus on rhetoric and argument! What are the CONCRETE aspects of the prompts? The rhetorical strategies! Look for these as you annotate. For each of the prompts, what ABSTRACT question should you be answering? 2010: What, specifically, is his argument against slavery? 2009: What specifically, IS his argument? 2008: How does he characterize scientific research? For any of these prompts, your paper must ANALYZE how the author’s argument is strengthened or weakened by his use of rhetorical devices. You have to understand the argument before you can talk about the rhetorical devices.
NEATNESS COUNTS Unless Ms. Smileyapples told you in 5th grade that you have beautiful handwriting, print! Write dark, write large, write legibly! Think about this. First impressions are hugely important in writing. Superficial as it may seem, your book WILL be judged on its cover. INDENT! First impressions! Your essay should look neat, organized, and clear. Make your paragraphs obvious. Indent twice as far as you normally would.
THE FIRST TWO SENTENCES ARE CRUCIAL Again, first impressions! Make sure the grader recognizes your skills as a writer by starting off well. The glow of the first sentences can carry you through the rest of the essay. The grader has looked at your writing, is immediately attracted to it, and wants to give it a good grade. He or she will tend to be more lenient towards your errors if you have made that initial good impression. ATTT AQA
VOCABULARY There is a reason we have been forcing you to learn the words in Vocabulary Workshop. Now is the time to use the particular verbs and nouns you wrote on those flash cards. This does not mean that you are given license to participate in an exercise in verbal gymnastics or soil your essay with verbal nonsense. What the grader wants is that which is less than generic. A dash of glitter is better than none at all. Just don’t go fully disco on them.
SOME BASIC REMINDERS (THIS IS ON YOUR BLUE SHEET—YOU’VE READ THAT, RIGHT?) When you get the prompt, underline the concrete and the abstract. Concrete—the specific devices you should be looking for. Abstract—the “theme” or argument Underline the concrete devices that create the abstract concept. Focus on your commentary. –Insight and understanding –Balance evidence with interpretation –Make sure you answer the question! Focus on the prompt. –Must explain how or why the concrete elements create or illustrate the abstract concept.
CONCLUSION Make it meaningful Reflect an understanding of the passage as a whole, as well as an understanding of the author’s craft. Address theme, or meaning, in the conclusion. Tie it all together.
Quick Reminders: The author will use the CONCRETE (rhetorical devices, language, appeals) to develop the ABSTRACT (the argument/assertion, meaning/theme). A basic BABY thesis—but aim for something more mature: The author effectively develops his assertion that (insert abstract concept here) by utilizing (identify the concrete, such as rhetorical devices). Note: try to be more specific than “by utilizing logos, ethos and pathos.” By effectively blending logical, rational facts with taste bud-tempting imagery, Herrin effectively argues that Thin Mints are superior to Peanut Butter Patties.
Tying it all together with a military analogy: The FOOT SOLDIERS (The Myrmidons) help the GENERAL (Achilles) in his pursuit of THE CAUSE (Winning glory) Rhetorical terms and triangle DIDLS SOAPSTone help build Logos Ethos Pathos TONE to prove or develop Assertion Argument Message Theme
Tone Passage D Example The author’s disappointment with the American society is expressed as she explains her observations. The author scrutinizes Americans as they “seem to [her] to be strangely spoiled and ‘old-fashioned’”. She uses the word “strangely” which explains her disappointment; she claims that “I was surprised to find many very set in their ways…” The author again uses words of shock (“surprise”) to express her dissatisfaction with America. Throughout the passage, the author’s fixed idea of America is ruined with the observation she made upon visiting the place.
Another Passage D example The tone of this passage is disappointing because the author states “Americans seemed to be strangely spoiled and ‘old fashioned’. They seemed to be lost in the forties and fifties.” This, to me, is disappointing because they seem like we didn’t live up to what the author expected us to be. Also the author clearly expresses disappointment by saying, “I expected to find Americans more forward and progressive but I was surprised to find many very set in their ways…” This clearly sets the “disappointing” tone because he says “I expected…but.”
Passage G Example Human death is something of peace and natural order while murder persists as a product of evil. To perform this act, one must blatantly diverge or detach themselves from their instincts. The man “scarcely conscious of himself” had to separate himself from reason in order to “mechanically” swing the axe onto her head. He had to dehumanize himself to bring himself to kill her.
Another Passage G Example There is a detached tonei n the author’s passage. He illustrates the character’s actions as “without effort, almost mechanically”. No emotion is expressed, or mood created. Near the end, the character’s “strength returned to him,” proving that he really was indifferent and distant in his actions. The author’s detachment leaves a netural mood to the audience.