How to Write an Essay/Free Response

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  • Pay attention to the text--the methods the author uses, or the language the author uses (preferably both). Get your ideas through to the reader before labelling something as a rhetorical technique. If you do use names of rhetorical techniques, do not simply throw them out there. Explain why.
  • The rules for grading the FRQ change radically on the different AP tests. Be careful.


Ex: "One nation of the people, by the people, and for the people" is famous in part because Abraham Lincoln made a grammatically appealing statement. (Topic sentence) By using the prepositions ("of", "by", "for"), he reinforces his point by using parallel structure, and a repetitive vocative anaphora which harkens back to the role that the "people" play in making up a "nation".

Reasons why this is a good passage:

  • It uses quotations from the passage.
  • It analyzes the parts of speech (prepositions) that add meaning, the sentence structure (my reference to parallel structure).
  • It has a nice sentence to conclude the paragraph, naturally and effectively. This could be seen as a negative if it detracts from the topic of the paragraph or adds irrelevant or extraneous information.
  • It uses the word "vocative" and "refers" and has a high level of diction. I really think that your ideas are always more important than diction, so please do not memorize a vocabulary list and agonize over diction during the 40-minute essay period.

Vocative comes from the Latin (vocare) and is similar to other English word such as "vocation". It means "call". The "-ive" postfix normally means you are looking at a noun.



Wikibookian

Miss Winter

AP English

11 September 2003

Free response: A person's identity is determined at birth
When a person is born, their identity is mostly unformed. The experiences in a person's life form their values and views, the most important part of their identity. However, many cultural barriers, like race, are determined at birth; these later impact the formation of their identity.
A person's identity is mostly taught to them. This is demonstrated by the actions of True Son in "The Light in the Forest" by Conrad Richter and of Thomas Black Bull in "When the Legends Die" by Hal Borland. When both boys were forced out of living in the lifestyle of the Native Americans, they both held closest to the values taught to them in their childhood. When True Son was forced out of his Native American family and into his biological, white family, True Son hated being with the white people because he had been taught that they were his enemies.
Yet why, in the end, was True Son sympathetic to a boy who reminded him of his biological brother? This is a combination of two parts of True Son's life. The Native Americans had told True Son about the slaughtering of Native American villages, including children, by the white man, and had told True Son that Native Americans didn't kill children. After seeing that the Native Americans of True Son's tribe had killed and scalped a white girl, True Son knew the Native Americans wouldn't go out of their way not to kill a child. The other experience in his life that impacted True Son's decision was when he was forced back into his biological family. The only person who accepted True Son as acting like a Native American was True Son's brother. Because of True Son's experiences, a boy on the raft that was going to be ambushed reminded True Son of his own brother. Experiences later in life can influence a person's identity, in addition to experiences in a person's childhood.
Thomas Black Bull was also heavily influenced by his early boyhood. The lifestyle that Thomas held on tightest to was the lifestyle Thomas grew up in – the way of the Native American. Even after being forced into white culture, Thomas remembered how he was brought up. Thomas' mother's thriftiness is remembered by Thomas when Ray is drunk and has several thousand dollars. Thomas prevented Ray [editing needed] At the end of the book, Thomas finally finds peace in returning to his roots by living for a short time in the “old way,” the way of the Native Americans, and then going back to live in his home town.

Dkon (discusscontribs)