The good, the bad, and the ugly - St. Johns County School ...
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY FROM MIDTERM EXAMS LEARNING GOALS Examine essays from this years batch and recognize strengths and weaknesses in writing. Understand possible missteps (and how to avoid them) in writing the AP Open Question Prompt. Identify elements of introductions and body paragraphs that work effectively
Understand what makes a good thesis sentence. An introduction: In F. Scott Fitzgeralds novel The Great Gatsby, the death scene of Jay Gatsby himself helps to illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole by reinforcing the idea of the rise and decline of power. Whats good? Short, to the point (maybe too much) Clearly notes the tool (the death scene) AND the significance and relationship to the work as a whole (rise/decline of power) Good vocabulary (function words: illuminate, reinforcing)
Whats not good? For an in-class essay or timed AP Essay, not much is wrong at all! For an edited, final draft outside of class, a more developed intro would be expected. Try to avoid if possible saying MOTWAWW A body paragraph: Fitzgeralds use of the pool in Gatsbys death scene is one main tool for conveying Gatsbys rise and decline in power. Throughout most of his adult life, Gatsby has lived a life of privilege and luxury. The pool in this final scene represents this power. It represents all Gatsbys life has given himmoney, material objects, power, and a position at the top. When Gatsby is floating around in the pool, there is a literal mirroring of his position in life: the top. But when Gatsby is shot, he sinks to the bottom, representing that he is now on the same level, if not below, everyone else, which was something that could only be achieved through his death. Whats good?
Very clear topic sentence states purpose of paragraph Follows TIQA structure Contains insightful and unique analysis. Whats not so good? More analysis at the end would be better (why only through death could he be brought down? Was he so great? What made him so? Editing necessaryremove lard, combining sentences for fluidity Another body paragraph: The breaking and entering that Gatsbys killer endures also serves to illuminate this rise and decline of power. The transition that the killer makes from the outside worldwhere he lives in povertyto Gatsbys mansion is also a direct reflection to a rise in power. Before, the killer was just a mechanic in a loveless marriage living on the outskirts of town. Now, he had the power of Gatsbys life in his hands, a very dramatic change and status raising situation. This also directly mirrors Nicks transition from the Midwest to the glamorous East, Daisys move to an affair with an old flame, and Gatsbys change from a penniless soldier to a multi-billionaire. All of these situations and experiences (including the killers) are examples of rises in power.
Whats good? Again, great insight and ideas. Nuanced understanding! Lots of details in one paragraph (loveless marriage, mechanic, Nicks transition, midwest, glamorous East, penniless soldier) Whats not so good? Odd word choice (endures?) Again, the end of the paragraph could be stronger with a more
explicit connection to THEME. An introduction: In the play, The Visit, Claire initially comes off as a villain throughout the story. Yet once the reader learns of her troubled past with Ill, her actions are justified. We see her actions as justified because they are appropriate responses to Ills actions which include claiming their baby was not his, lying which caused Claires whole life to change. Whats good? recognition of Claires initial status as a villian Whats not so good? There is no thesiswhat is the argument? It appears that the claim which will be argued is that Ills actions are justified because they are appropriate responses That doesnt sound like a literary analysis, but perhaps a psychological study?? Does not address the prompt. Introduction: In The Visit, Claire Zachanassian is introduced to the reader as a caricature. She is wildly unreal both in her appearance and her actions. Despite her age, somewhere near her sixties, Claire has bright red hair, representative of her
youth. She has a porcelain hand and a fake leg as well. She owns a black panther, arrives in Guellen with her eighth husband and before even entering the town, throws thousands of pounds at the train worker.These physical features and actions are incredibly unrealistic, yet they provide a parallel to the very real type of superficiality and fixation and youth and wealth within the story. Whats good? Insight, insight, insight=knowledge of work Stylistic elements (parallelism, vocabulary) Thesis is a complex sentence (this is often a good strategy!) Because, while, unless, although=subordinate clauses An introduction: In The Visit by Friedrich Durremnatt, the death of Ill was one of the most anticipated scenes in the play. How Durrenmatt ended Ills life helped piece the entire story together. Whats good?
Its brief The mention of anticipation is a very good idea. The rest of the essay DOES address some of the issues noted below. But still. Whats not so good? There is no explicit thesis. Vagueness (piece the entire story together) What is the significance of the death scene? Where are function/purpose words? A body paragraph: Additionally, it is common for the war to change people. Therefore, sentimental items like a picture of a girl create the thought that life will continue. It invests hope into the future that each soldier will return home to the girl of their
dreams. Although war may change the perspective of people, soldiers still hope deep down that everything will turn out ok. This glimmer of hope keeps the soldiers fighting and not losing theirselves completely in the madness. Whats good? Clear topic sentence and focus for the paragraph Second sentence is strong toointeresting syntax, alluding to Jimmy Cross/Martha. Whats not so good? That one allusion to Cross was not enough to sustain the paragraph. Need MORE detail and examples. Too redunant. Could be edited down a lot. Pronoun errors (theirselves; each soldier will return home to the girl of his dreams) An introduction: The opening scene of The visit introduces many themes that occur throughout the play. These themes include the poverty of Guellen, Claire Zachanassians power, and Ill and Claires relationship.
Whats good? Brief, focused (maybe too short) Thesis is easily identifiable. Whats not so good Laundry list thesisdull and a bit cliched. Try to avoid these. They are like 5 paragraph essays. Sometimes functional, but you will never earn a high score with them. These are not themes but elements No analytical statement or insight. Another body paragraph: The playwright also juxtaposes Claires sense of home with that of the other Guelleners. While her pain has caused her to turn on it, many others, such as the
Schoolmaster turning down the job, stand by it in the face of adversity. Ill also stands by his home town when he accepts the trial rather than running in fear. This contrast of loyalty and treachery helps illustrate the theme of the play. Whats good? Very insightful ideawell supported, nuanced, creative Two solid examples Focused paragraph. Whats not so good The phrase the theme of the play is vague. Specify instead the abstract idea illustrated by these details. WHAT MAKES A BAD THESIS SENTENCE?
Plot summary No reference to meaning or significance (or only a hint) Probably no function or purpose word Mysterious Saying the words meaning of
the work as a whole instead of actually identifying the MOTWAAW WHAT MAKES A GOOD THESIS? Insight Precision in language Addressing the meaning of the work as a whole (without saying the words meaning of the work as a whole)
Accuracy Depth and complexity WHAT MAKES AN UGLY THESIS SENTENCE? .Not actually having one! THESIS SENTENCES: GOOD OR BAD (OR JUST UGLY)? In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, there is a very specific death scene at the end of the novel. The author portrays this death scene in a very specific way to help illuminate or bring to light the true meaning of the story as a whole.
The character whose actions alone causes the reader define them as evil or immoral is unsurprisingly Claire. In TTTC, the first chapter introduces two important themes of the book: the separation from real life and how death is nothing when at war. The scene [in The Visit] reflects on how cruel and shameful are the people who are supposed to be the authoritative protectors of the town are the ones who kill him. Lastly, the death scene reflects on how the town uses Ill as a scapegoat for all the problems in the town.
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