STEP ONE: STAY COOL » 55% of your total score comes from your writing. That’s about 18% per essay, since there are three. » You receive 120 minutes to write 3 brilliant essays—that’s 40 minutes per brilliant essay… in a row. » You’ll be writing by hand. You will not have a book to reference, though you’ll have a poem and a passage for the close reading sections. [THIS IS NOT ANYTHING LIKE GOOD LITERARY WRITING IN COLLEGE; IN FACT, IT’S KIND OF BOGUS!] Reading, thinking, writing, practicing… dealing with a demanding teacher… You have all the tools you need. You just need to use them. In the right order. At the right time. Quickly and gracefully. ANSWER THE QUESTION with a CLEAR, INSIGHTFUL THESIS ABOUT THE TEXT’S OVERALL MEANING. ARGUE TO PROVE the thesis throughout with SUPPORTING TEXTUAL EXAMPLES. BE INSIGHTFUL, ACKNOWLEDGE COMPLEXITY, and SHOW the INTENT OF THE AUTHOR AKA “PUPPET MASTER.” In close reading, mention (subtly) LITERARY DEVICES, fully INTERPRET quotations, and comment on the USE OF LANGUAGE. P.s. Stick to your thesis! “The following poem is by the contemporary poet Li-Young Lee. Read the poem carefully. Then write a well-developed essay in which you analyze how the poet conveys the complex relationship of the father and the son through the use of literary devices such as point of view and structure.” OR “The following passage is from the novel Middlemarch by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Ann Evans (1819–1880). In the passage, Rosamond and Tertius Lydgate, a recently married couple, confront financial difficulties. Read the passage carefully. Then write a well-developed essay in which you analyze how Eliot portrays these two characters and their relationship as husband and wife. You may wish to consider such literary devices as narrative perspective and selection of detail.” » CLARIFY: What does the prompt want me to talk about? » THESIS: What are important literary/stylistic moves made by the author and what specific message/meaning do they create? (Make sure to address prompt.) » ORGANIZE: 3+ examples of how thesis is shown by direct quotations from the text—jot down/think up outline » WRITE: Develop each paragraph. Put priority on strong thesis; brief, clear intro; and fully interpreted direct quotes that support the thesis. Make sure to get “close”—if there’s a metaphor, why that metaphor?, etc. (Conclusion if time). » PROOF: Quickly scan for mistakes, try to “hear” the words in your head as you re-read and edit. 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 for justice is successful, and the significance of this search for the work as a whole. You may choose a work from the list below or another work of comparable literary merit. Do not merely summarize the plot. All the King’s Men Atonement The Bonesetter’s Daughter The God of Small Things King Lear Medea Native Son The Poisonwood Bible The Stranger A Thousand Splendid Suns All the Pretty Horses Beloved Crime and Punishment The Grapes of Wrath A Lesson Before Dying The Merchant of Venice No Country for Old Men Set This House on Fire Things Fall Apart To Kill a Mockingbird Antigone The Blind Assassin A Gathering of Old Men Invisible Man Light in August Murder in the Cathedral Oedipus Rex The Story of Edgar Sawtelle A Thousand Acres The Trial » CLARIFY: What does the prompt want me to talk about? » SELECT A TEXT: Which work do I know best that relates strongly to the prompt? » THESIS: What meaningful insight does the work offer about the topic and how does the author achieve it? » ORGANIZE: 3+ examples of how thesis is shown by specific events or character actions in the text—jot down/think up outline » WRITE: Develop each paragraph. Put priority on strong thesis; brief, clear intro; and body that supports the thesis. (Conclusion if time). » PROOF: Quickly scan for mistakes, try to “hear” the words in your head as you re-read and edit. » Know your poetry terms. » Know how to find the subject of a sentence. » Go back to practice tests and define any words in the answer options that you don’t know. » Prepare a “go-to” text or two for the open response question, including some premade thesis statements. » Go online and find some poems. Practice interpreting them. » Re-read some Tale of Two Cities to get your brain warmed up for difficult prose.