What is the best AP Question to apply to The Scarlet Letter?

Here’s a funny cartoon to show that we in the Crowsnest have a little sense of humor. After you catch yourself from laughing out loud in study hall, settle down and download the pdf below. It is a list of essay questions asked on previous AP Exams. Please review it well and argue in 5-7 sentences in Standard English which question would be the best essay prompt to use in class.

Open-ended Questions for Advanced Placement Literature, 1970-2008

 

 

Advertisements

About bsullivan35

I am an English teacher working with great students at an independent school in Ct.
This entry was posted in American Literary Studies, AP Mindset, Honors English III and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to What is the best AP Question to apply to The Scarlet Letter?

  1. Jackie Foley says:

    The best essay prompt to use in class is the one from the 1980 AP exam. This prompt asks to identify a character’s private passion(s) as well as their responsibilities, and how these two conflict. In The Scarlet Letter, a variety of characters face this challenge, especially with the responsibility of the strict Puritan religion. In addition, responsibilities regarding social status and expectations can be examined in this prompt, and the passions could widely range as well. While one could discuss Hester’s passions with reference to the letter, others could examine Arthur Dimmsdale’s or even Roger Chillingworth’s. Therefore, the 1980 prompt allows a variety of characters and conflicts within The Scarlet Letter to be explained in a multitude of ways and with different insights.

  2. Loni Mnich says:

    The essay question that bests suits a prompt designed for The Scarlet Letter is 1979 AP. The question is regarding a main character of a novel, why in the text people see their actions as immoral, and why from reading the novel and getting to know the character the readers see that the character is not evil. This relates to The Scarlet Letter because in Puritan life, everyone is a conservative, and to them Hester has committed the ultimate sin. However, viewing Hester’s position with 21st Century vision, we see the person she is, and not judge her by the actions that put the red A on her clothing. This would be the best essay, because the whole book was about how Hester was an outcast from society, although by today’s standards she was a strong single mother.

  3. Riley Moore says:

    I also chose the AP prompt from 1979, however I believe that the best way to answer the question is to choose Arthur Dimmesdale, who, to me, would seem like a less obvious choice at first. I believe that this is the best essay prompt because one can express their understanding of the multi-facits that is A.D. In the beginning of the novel, I saw him as an insensitive minister who judged and condemned Hester as much if not more so than the others, and as read I grew to find myself finding him more and more hypocritical as the novel unfolded (e.g. where he was revealed as the father of Pearl and co-adultuer with Hester, reflecting back to when he demanded she tell who impregnated her amongst the town), however it is at the end of the novel where he shows his remorse that had been eating him inside out all these years and he’s confronted with a myriad of emotions of guilt that truly show, to me at least, how truly apologetic he was of Hester in the highest extent, in that it killed him. With that, I believe this is an opportunity for the writer to take a different approach to the prompt than what might have been expected, and thus my most favorite choice.

  4. Natasha Grayson says:

    I chose AP prompt 1995 because it adresses how authors commonly base their plot off of a discriminated character or class. After I read the prompt I found it to be interesting that this is a common theme in many books, such as The Scarlet Letter. Aside from The Scarlet letter, many books of literary merit are found with this subject, mainly books that of colonial america. For instance, the play The Crucible takes place in Salem where the Salem Witch Trials originated, and gives examples of if one was of lower class or if one’s reputation was not palatable to the community they were accused of witchcraft. Therefore, the book is not entirely about the Salem Witch Trails, however, more of society’s craving for perfection. If one was not living society’s beautiful expectations, they were discriminated against and as many of us wish our enemy’s would disappear, society found a way to make that happen by accusing them of witchcraft. Therefore, if a novel of literary merit is about discrimination of any sort, chances are it is more about society’s and how unreal it really is, because society has one general idea of how everyone should live and look, however, no one actually lives that way.

  5. Olivia Poulin says:

    I believe that the essay prompt from the 2008 AP exam, form B, is the best choice. This essay prompt discusses the portrayal of childhood and adolescence in literature. Using the Scarlett Letter, one could illustrate and analyze the behaviors of Pearl. Pearl is a suitable example because not only does she show innocence and wonder, but she is also depicted as wicked and elf-like. Instead of writing about one characteristic, one could write about the double identity she possesses. There are an abundance of examples in the Scarlett Letter of Pearl’s behavior that represent childhood and adolescence in many works of literature.

  6. Larke Nimocks says:

    In my opinion, the 2008, Form B. AP Literature question is best to be used on the Scarlett Letter because it allows the writer to discuss the character of Pearl, a major influential and intriguing role to reflect on. This prompt encourages the writer to focus on childhood and adolescence and understand how this time period shapes the meaning of the work as a whole. There are several different directions a writer could use to describe Pearl’s insight, important relationships, and symbols to utilize in this AP Literature question. Some could think of Pearl as a reflection of her mother’s inner pains, but someone else could describe her life as the conflict of the novel and the catharsis could be when she finally finds out who her father is. Consequently, Pearl is a very interesting character to look into and explore on a deeper level, keeping it broad enough for the writer to make it there own but specific enough to start them off in a good direction.

  7. Cheryl Kuo says:

    I find the 2002 (Form B) to be the most suited prompt for Scarlet Letter because it regards the necessity of secrecy in this novel, which is, indeed, one of its most important themes. One can talk about how secrets keep the readers in suspense, for example, like the unrevealed ones about Pearl’s father and Hester’s husband in the beginning of the story. More can also be discussed about how secrets increase the significance of multiple parts of the story, such as when Dimmesdale and Chillingsworth’s secrets are revealed towards the end. In addition, secrets are what absolutely transform characters like Dimmesdale. There are so many possible ideas when it comes to the topic of secrecy for the Scarlet Letter. The entirety Scarlet Letter’s conflict, in fact, revolves around characters keeping secrets. Therefore, I chose this prompt. It will allow writers to discover the crucial points of the Scarlet Letter.

  8. Georgina Blakeley says:

    I believe that the 1976 AP essay choice is most relevant and best suits the Scarlet Letter. It refers the moral issues and conflicts the character faces by going against the majority. In the Scarlet Letter, Hester faces conflicts with society after committing adultery, in the way she raises Pearl, how she acts towards others, and the style in which she dresses Pearl. Hester is not the only one who faces these conflicts, Dimmesdale as well as Chillingsworth go against the norm in their actions. This essay question best fits the story and issues within the Scarlet Letter, the whole story is filled with actions that go against the majority. By choosing this prompt the readers will be able to analyze and get a better understanding of the conflicts and moral issues in the Scarlet Letter.

  9. Paul Metscher says:

    I think the 1983 prompt is perfect for The Scarlet Letter. This prompt deals with villains and how they contribute to, change, or enhance a work. Chillingworth is perfect character for this prompt. Without his infiltration of Dimmesdale’s estate, the landscape of the story would be substantially changed. His health may never have declined as poorly, and deliberate torment of Hester and Arthur could not have been performed without Chillingworth. Most importantly, without Chillingworth, Hester and Arthur may have been able to escape Boston on the ship. I think this prompt is perfect to write an interesting essay about Chillingworth because he is not a villain in the traditional sense of the word.

  10. Jasmine Rayonia says:

    I believe that the 2009 AP Question prompt is the best to apply to The Scarlet Letter because it enables the writer to convey the different meanings of the scarlet letter itself. The prompt asks to identify and analyze an object that creates a range of associations beyond itself. The scarlet letter is perfect for this because it has a multitude of different meanings. It not only stands for “Adulterer”, but the reader goes on to find out that it also can be taken as “Able”, “Affection”, or even “Angel”. These different meanings reveal different aspects about Hester, the wearer of the scarlet letter. It also relates to other characters, such as Pearl, who can recognize her mother by the “mystical token” that lies upon her breast. Therefore this prompt will allow the writer to give further insight on the many different meanings of the scarlet letter as a symbol and theme.

  11. Anna Strzempko says:

    The best prompt to apply to an essay on The Scarlet Letter is that of 1990 because it would take a closer look at a very important relationship, Hester and Pearl’s. There are several examples of conflict and resolution in the relationship between Hester and Pearl, as well as an air of curiosity surrounding Pearl’s being. These factors would contribute to a thoughtful, meaningful essay on their relationship. Because Peal is the manifestation of Hester’s sin, her existence contributes to the meaning of the work in the greatest way. Hester’s relationship with her daughter is one of the most revealing and interesting inter-character relationships in the book. Because this relationship is so remarkable, the question from 1990 would be the perfect prompt.

  12. scp94 says:

    The best AP question on the list would have to be the 1983 question. The question deals about villains in stories and the nature of the villains. This is the most important question because in all stories there is some form of antagonism. The malicious character enhances the story because there can’t be positive without negative. Having a villain provides a challenge for the main character and also makes the work more interesting. For instance, Iago in Othello has more lines than the title character, Othello, and is a very interesting character. He enhances the work by being a formidable opponent to Othello and those who stand for good in the play. People are intrigued by the villain because he is the negative aspect of the story and without the villain there is no protagonist.

  13. scp94 says:

    The best AP question on the list would have to be the 1983 question. The question deals about villains in stories and the nature of the villains. This is the most important question because in all stories there is some form of antagonism. The malicious character enhances the story because there can’t be positive without negative. Having a villain provides a challenge for the main character and also makes the work more interesting. For instance, Iago in Othello has more lines than the title character, Othello, and is a very interesting character. He enhances the work by being a formidable opponent to Othello and those who stand for good in the play. People are intrigued by the villain because he is the negative aspect of the story and without the villain there is no protagonist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s