Analysis Essays for AP English Language
Are There Other Types of Analysis Questions on the Exam?
You bet. Another analysis prompt you can expect on the exam asks the student to analyze the author's intended effect on the reader and how the author re-creates an experience. Still another type is comparison and contrast. This prompt can be based on either a fiction or nonfiction passage.
What Am I Expected to Do When Asked to Identify the Author's Intended Effect on the Reader?
No one can ever know what an author intended, unless you could personally approach the writer and ask, "Tell me, just exactly what did you intend the effect to be on your reader when you wrote this passage?" And, we all know that this is not a possibility for 999 out of 1,000 authors. This said, keep the following in mind.
The AP Comp test makers obviously believe that there is a clear, definite effect on the reader; otherwise, they would not be asking you to identify it. When writing about effect, think about your personal reaction to the text. While reading it, or as a result of reading it, how do you feel (happy, sad, angry, amused, perplexed, uplifted, motivated, informed, inspired, "connected"? You get the idea.)
What Should I Try to Include in My Essay When I'm Asked to Analyze How an Author Re-creates an Experience?
Think about this. Have you ever tried to re-create your own personal experience for your friends, your family, or your teacher? Ask yourself what you did to ensure that your listeners would really feel as if they were actually there. Were you trying to be humorous or serious? You chose what you would say to introduce this experience, didn't you? Did you set up the scene with descriptions of the setting, the people? Did you tell them why you were there? What kind of details did you choose to include? Why those, and not others? What kind of language did you use? (You were quite aware that your audience responds to certain kinds of language manipulation.) Did you center the tale on yourself, the action, a person, or group of people? Did you emphasize actions, reactions, dialog? Did you tell the story in chronological order, or did you move back and forth in time? Did you interject personal comments? Did you tell the story so that the listeners felt a part of the experience or set apart from it? Did you emote or try to remain aloof?
Get the picture? This is the type of questioning that should be part of your process of analysis when asked how an author re-creates an experience.
What Do I Do About the Comparison and Contrast Essay?
The comparison and contrast essay is not difficult, but it demands that you have organizational control over your material. First, carefully read the prompt and understand what you are being asked to compare and contrast. With this in mind, carefully read and annotate each of the given texts, looking for major points to support and illustrate your thesis. Next, decide on the structure you want to use to present your points:
- Point by point
- Subject by subject
- A combination of both of the preceding
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