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AP Style Analysis
Transcript of AP Style Analysis
sample prompt Common Verbs Used in Style Analysis Prompts Think of questions 1 and 2 as style analysis questions
Style Analysis Question - Poetry
sample prompt Below is a pair of poems by writers from different cultures. Read the poems carefully. Then write an essay comparing the views of war expressed in the poems. You should consider rhythm, tone, and any poetic devices that are important to the poems. Read the following passage from a contemporary novel carefully. In a well-organized essay, define the narrator's attitude toward love and analyze the literary techniques used to convey this attitude. Support your analysis with specific references to the passage. State, Define, Describe - express an opinion or judgement The prompt sets out two main tasks: compare views and show how each view emerges through literary techniques.
You're directed to use certain literary elements and others of your choosing. When asked to "compare," you need to discuss similarities and differences in a balanced way. That is, don't ignore one poem or write disproportionately about one and not the other
In sum, your job is to make frequent reference to specific literary techniques used in the poems that help you show similarities and differences between the two views of war expressed. The prompt sets out two main tasks: define an attitude and analyze how that attitude is conveyed.
No literary techniques are specified; you're free to choose significant ones yourself (but you must write about literary technique. The prompt's final sentence is a warning to avoid unsupported generalizations about the passage or love. In sum, your job is to make frequent reference to specific literary techniques in the passage that help you prove a specific thesis about the narrator's attitude toward love. The use of these verbs usually signifies the first or two tasks contained in a style analysis prompt.
"State" or "Define" may be implied. If a prompt asks you to "analyze how the poem reveals the speaker's attitude toward...," you must state or define the speaker's attitude as part of your answer.
"State," "Define," or "Describe" is usually paired with a more complex verb, such as "Analyze," and its associated task.
Explain, Analyze, Show, Illustrate - offer evidence to support an opinion or judgement. The use of these verbs signifies the most important and complex part of the prompt.
When the adverb "how" is used in connection with these or other verbs - which it almost always is - you're being asked to use literary techniques (for example, tone or figurative language) as the evidence to support your thesis. Compare, Contrast - distinguish between two things by stating them both and explaining differences and similarities. Avoid a simple list of similarities and differences when asked to compare and contrast.
Instead, when asked to compare, focus on similarities. For example, "discuss similarities" means you need to provide evidence of the similarities, explain the significance of those similarities, and perhaps relate those similarities to something else such as theme.
When asked to contrast, focus on differences.
Whether you're comparing or contrasting, strive for balance - don't ignore one poem if you're comparing two poems; don't shortchange one prose passage when contrasting two pieces of prose.
Integrate the two works you're asked to compare and contrast by writing a thesis that will force you to continually discuss both works. Add, Contribute, Express - discuss the theme (when used in conjunction with phrases such as "the value of the work"). These or similar phrases most often appear in the open prompt - question 3.
Such phrases direct you to connect the other elements in the core idea of the prompt with a discussion of theme.
Examples of how these words may be used include: "adds value to the work as a whole," "adds to the value of the work as a whole," "contributes to the meaning of the work," and "expresses the meaning of the work."