AP Literature Prose Essay Prompts (1970–2016)
Prose Essays and Interviews by Robert Bly
Just what is IT? In the prose analysis essay, Students are presented with a prose passage that can be drawn from various genres and time periods (but mostly from non-fiction). Students are asked to analyze the language, including rhetorical strategies and stylistic elements.
What does it mean to write a prose essay? - Quora
Apart from philosophical speculation, which most readers prefer in limited quantities, the favourite theme of many modern essays has been speculation on the character of nations. It is indeed difficult to generalize on the national temper of a nation or on the characteristics of a given culture. The authors who have done it—Emerson in his essay on English Traits (1856), Hippolyte Taine in his studies of the English people, in his Democracy in America (1835, 1840)—blended undeniable conclusions with controversial assertions. Rather than systematic studies, desultory essays that weave anecdotes, , and personal remarks, ever open to challenge, have proved more effective in attempting to cultures. In the 20th century, the masters of this form of writing were among the most able in the art of essay writing: Salvador de Madariaga in Spanish, Hermann Keyserling in German, and Elie Faure in French. Some nations are much more prone than others to self-scrutiny. Several of the finest Spanish essayists were vexed by questions of what it meant to be a Spaniard, especially after the end of the 19th century when Spain was compelled to put an end to its empire. Angel Ganivet in his essay on Idearium español (1897; Spain: An Interpretation), in España invertebrada (1922; Invertebrate Spain), and in almost every one of his prose essays dealt with this subject. A Spanish-born essayist, (1863–1952), was one of the most accomplished masters of written English prose; because of his culture and the subtlety of his insights, he was one of the most percipient analysts of the English and of the American character.
IN THIS CHAPTER Summary: Complete explanation of the prose passage essay and its purpose as it is presented on the AP English Literature exam
Key IdeasWhat should I include in the body of the prose passage essay?
1. Obviously, this is where you present your interpretation and the points you wish to make that are related to the prompt. 2. Use specific references and details from the passage. • Don't alwaysparaphrase the original; refer directly to it. • Place quotation marks around those words and phrases that you extract from the passage. 3. Use "connective tissue" in your essay to establish adherence to the question. • Use the repetition of keyideas from your opening paragraph. • Try using "echo words" (i.e., synonyms, such as death/loss/passing or character/ persona/personality). • Create transitions from one paragraph to the next. To understand the process, carefully read the following sample paragraphs. Each developsone of the categories and techniques/devices asked for in the prompt. Notice the specificreferences and the "connective tissue." Also, notice that details that do not apply to the prompt have been ignored. A This paragraph develops imagery. Joycecreates imagery to lead his reader to sense the cloud of death that pervades Gabriel's world. From its very title "The Dead," the reader is prepared for loss. Just what hasGabriel lost: his wife, his confidence, his job, a friend, a relative, what? As his "wife slept," Gabriel seesher "half-open mouth" and "listens" to her "deep-drawn breath." The reader almostsenses this to be a death watch. The images about the room reinforce this sense of doom. One boot is "limp" and the other is "upon its side." Picturing the future, Gabrielseesa "drawing-room dressed in black" with blinds "drawn down" and his Aunt Kate "crying" and "telling him how Julia had died." And to underscore his own feelings of internal lifelessness, he can only find "lame and useless"words of comfort. This paragraph develops the motif of time. Time is a constant from the beginning to the end of the passage. In the first paragraph, Gabriel is in the present while thinking of the past. He is an observer, watching his wife as he, himself, is observed by the narrator, and as we,asreaders,observe the entire scene. Time moves the reader and Gabriel through the experience. Immediately, we spend a "few moments" with Gabriel ashe goes back and forth in time assessing his relationship with his wife. He recognizesshe "had had romance in her life." But, "it hardly pains him now." He thinks of whatshe had been "then" in her "girlish" beauty, which may indicate his own aging. His "strange friendly pity," because she is "no longer beauti-