AP English Open-Ended Questions

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AP ENGLISH OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATIONS (Question 3)

Sample Question 1: In some works of literature the insanity (or a period of insanity) of a main character plays a central role. Choose a novel or play of literary merit and write an essay in which you discuss the mental illness of a central character and the specific ways in which that character’s illness relates to the larger themes of the work. Avoid plot summary.

Sample Question 2: “The struggle to achieve dominance over others frequently appears in fiction.” Choose a novel in which such a struggle for dominance occurs, and write an essay showing for what purposes the author uses the struggle. Avoid plot summary

Sample Question 3: In many works of literature, a main character has a mentor or mentor-like acquaintance whose influence dramatically changes how the character views not only himself or herself, but the world as well. Choose a novel or play in which a mentor exhibits such a strong influence, either beneficial or harmful, on one of the main characters. Then, in a well-organized essay, discuss the nature of the mentor’s influence and its significance to the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

Sample Question 4: In some works of literature, mothers or the concept of motherhood play central roles. Choose a novel or play of literary merit and write a well-organized essay in which you discuss a maternal character and the specific ways the character and the concept of maternity related to the larger themes of the work. Avoid plot summary.

Sample Question 5: An eating scene is common in drama and fiction. It may be a simple meal or a banquet, a holiday party or ordinary family dinner, but the work would not be quite the same without it.

Choose a play, epic, or novel which contains such a scene of eating, and write an essay in which you discuss what the scene reveals, how the scene is related to the meaning of the work as a whole, and by what means the author makes the scene effective. Do not merely summarize the scene.

1964: Frequently in novels, an important character violates the laws, the conventions, the rules of conduct of a society. In presenting such characters and actions, the author's purpose may be (1) to arouse our sympathy for the character who is violating the rules of society; (2) to divide our interest sharply between sympathy for the character and desire to support the principles of society; (3) to arouse our "satiric mirth" at the character who is violating the principles of society; and (4) to laugh with the character at the conventions that are being violated. Write a well-organized essay, illustrating in some detail two or more of these purposes. 1965: An individual's struggle toward understanding and awareness is the traditional subject for the novelist. In an essay, apply this statement to one novel of literary merit. Organize your essay according to the following plan: 1) Compare the hero as we see him in an early scene with the hero as we see him in a scene near the end of the novel. 2) Describe the techniques that the author uses to reveal the new understanding and awareness that the hero has achieved.

1966: An individual's struggle toward understanding and awareness is the traditional subject for the novelist. In an essay, apply this statement to one novel of literary merit. Organize your essay according to the following plan: 1) Compare the hero as we see him in an early scene with the hero as we see him in a scene near the end of the novel. 20 Describe the techniques that the author uses to reveal the new understanding and awareness that the hero has achieved

1967: In many novels and plays, minor characters contribute significantly to the total work. They often have particular functions, e.g., as instruments in the plot, foils to the main characters, commentators on the main action and theme, and the like. Write a well-organized essay showing how three minor characters function in the...
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