AP Open.ended questions.docx - Open-ended Questions for...

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Open-ended Questions for Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition, 1970-2014, to be used with Independent Reading Project IMPORTANT : ALL of the questions below, implicitly or explicitly, ask you to show HOW what you’re discussing relates to the work’s over-all significance. Avoid mere plot summary. 1. It has often been said that what we value can be determined only by what we sacrifice. Consider how this statement applies to a character from a novel or play. Select a character that has deliberately sacrificed, surrendered, or forfeited something in a way that highlights that character’s values. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how the particular sacrifice illuminates the character’s values and provides a deeper understanding of the meaning of the work as a whole. 2. A bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel, recounts the psychological or moral development of its protagonist from youth to maturity, when this character recognizes his or her place in the world. Select a single pivotal moment in the psychological or moral development of the protagonist of a bildungsroman. Then write a well-organized essay that analyzes how that single moment shapes the meaning of the work as a whole. 3. “And, after all, our surroundings influence our lives and characters as much as fate, destiny or any supernatural agency.” Pauline Hopkins, Contending Forces . Choose a novel or play in which cultural, physical, or geographical surroundings shape psychological or moral traits in a character. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how surroundings affect this character and illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot. 4. In a novel by William Styron, a father tells his son that life "is a search for justice." Choose a character from a novel or play who responds in some significant way to justice or injustice. Then write a well-developed essay in which you analyze the character's understanding of justice, the degree to which the character's search or justice is successful, and the significance of this search for the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot. 5. In The Writing of Fiction (1925), novelist Edith Wharton states the following:
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At every stage in the progress of his tale the novelist must rely on what may be called the illuminating incident to reveal and emphasize the inner meaning of each situation. Illuminating incidents are the magic casements of fiction, its vistas on infinity. Choose a novel or play that you have studied and write a well-organized essay in which you describe an "illuminating" episode or moment and explain how it functions as a "casement," a window that opens onto the meaning of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary.
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