Craft A Concise Argument for the Best AP Prompt to Illuminate Cather’s Art

In 4-6 sentences (of Standard English), make an argument for the best AP Prompt that illuminates the most profound literary qualities of Cather’s novel, My Antonia. If someone else has claimed the same prompt that you had in mind, then write another perspective to that argument. Profound topics elicit complex responses. Here is a copy of the document: Open-ended Questions for Advanced Placement Literature, 1970-2008


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12 Responses to Craft A Concise Argument for the Best AP Prompt to Illuminate Cather’s Art

  1. 16ard says:

    The free response question from 2003 (Form B) is the best AP prompt for the novel My Ántonia. This prompt asks the test taker to describe a character’s response to colliding cultures such as, national, regional, ethnic, religious, or institutional differences. When writing on this prompt, the test taker can describe how the Shimerda family’s culture collides with Jim’s. Jim and his grandparents practice a different religion, eat different food, and live differently than the Shimerda’s. The test taker may also choose to describe how moving to Nebraska effects Jim since this is a turning point in his life and the beginning of the novel. There is clearly a lot to write about on this prompt and would help to create the best AP essay.

  2. 16ht says:

    The AP prompt question from 1976 is the optimum topic for Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia. As much as Jim is wandering about whether to be part of the social norms or not, Ántonia grew up to break away from the social boundaries. Thus, she is the essential character that this topic is based on, since she became a direct opposition towards the 1900s society. In order to adjust to their new life in the West, immigrants like Ántonia’s family rely mostly on hard labor. Her character and mind begin to change after her father’s death, where she started to do work that a girl was not meant to do. Her independence and sudden change alienates her from the society; hence, providing a good overview and structure to this AP prompt.

  3. 16nh2014 says:

    The free response question from 1999 is the perfect topic for “My Ántonia”. It asks to identify the two forces that pull a character in two conflicting directions and how those forces illuminate the meaning of the work. This perfectly applies to Ántonia, who is torn apart by her obligations to her family and her friendship to Jim. After her fathers death Ántonia has to help with the daily work and therefore changes from a good mannered girl to a strong worker, and although she doesn’t openly admit it, she would still like to keep living a real childhood as before. This inner conflict significantly changes her relation to Jim, which ultimately illuminates the meaning of the book, since the whole book talks about her and her connection to Jim.

  4. hnewman9 says:

    The AP prompt from 1995 is the most effective for writing an essay based on Willa Cather’s My Antonia. The prompt asks the writer to focus on the values of cultures and society by examining how characters are alienated from that society based on gender, race, class, or creed. My Antonia has many of these moments, such as when Jim is told not to hang out with the country girls because they are of a lower class. Another example of class showing societal values in Jim’s love for Antonia being forbidden due to her immigrant status. Other members of Black Hawk frown upon Jim because Antonia is not in his class, therefore he should not associate himself with her. Jim’s defiance of this as well as Antonia’s rejection of the normal role of females during that time period are both strong essays that can be written based off of this prompt.

  5. kjness says:

    The AP prompt from 1980 offers the ideal essay opportunity for utilizing themes from the novel “My Ántonia”. The prompt asks about the recurring theme of passion versus responsibility and the role of these two conflicting obligations in a novel. “My Ántonia” is a novel that has a very interesting focal point on the relationship of Jim and Ántonia, which correspond directly with Willa Cather, the author’s, relationships in life. The question can be explicated in two important ways, by focusing on Jim’s relationship and the author’s connection to this. Jim and the author both go through a struggle between what they want and what is expected of them, making this the perfect AP question to choose.

  6. JGeng says:

    The AP Prompt of 1986 best illuminates Cather’s masterfulness in her My Antonia. Cather accelerates time in her novel to evince changes, such as growth and self-realization in characters. Her manipulation of time, especially shifting from different seasons, shows profound changes in characters’ mood and how they act. Thus, the AP prompt of 1986 is the best option to develop a strong essay on Cather’s art.

  7. 16ohs says:

    The AP prompt from 1970 perfectly embraces one of the main themes in “My Ántonia”. It asks about the social standards of the setting in the book and how one character responds to it. Ántonia’s attitude in the story is opposed to the usual feminine role of the time. For example, instead of letting the men do all the work in the fields, she worked right alongside them. After her father dies, she remains the pillar of strength in her family. As one can see, she defies the usual gender norms.

  8. 16hiw says:

    The AP prompt from 1996 is the most effective for writing an essay based on Willa Cather’s,” My Ántonia.” The prompt asks about the kind of happy ending depicted in “My Átonia. From the British novelist Fay Weldon, “The writers, I do believe, who get the best and most lasting response from their readers are the writers who offer a happy ending through moral development. By a happy ending, I do not mean mere fortunate events — a marriage or a last minute rescue from death — but some kind of spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation, even with the self, even at death.” This fits so perfectly with Cather’s conclusion of “My Átonia”, because of the question many readers are left to ask themselves once the novel is over. Should I be happy for Jim and his new life, or should I be sad that Jim and Ántonia did not end up together? Though Jim and Ántonia did not run of into to the sunset with the conclusion of the story, Cather unquestionably bestows Jim and the readers with a sense of moral and spiritual victory.

  9. okdotes says:

    The AP prompt from 1974 would be the best choice for the Novel My Ántonia by Willa Cather. This prompt asks the test taker to write about how the novel is both relevant and irrelevant in 1974, however, this could be changed to 2014 in order to make the prompt more relevant. With this prompt, one could develop an argument describing how Ántonia breaks gender roles and does many things that woman could not do. Describing how the book is an autobiography by Cather, describing how she was in love with Ántonia and longed to have a life of a boy could also help to answer the prompt. It would be relevant since it ties into the rising debate over LGBT rights during today. When talking about its irrelevance, you could describe the technological as well as the social differences of the eras.

  10. 16crs16crs says:

    I have chosen the 1975 AP prompt to answer for my My Ántonia paper. The prompt is as follows, “Although literary critics have tended to praise the unique in literary characterizations, many authors have employed the stereotyped character successfully. Select one work of acknowledged literary merit and in a well-written essay, show how the conventional or stereotyped character or characters function to achieve the author’s purpose.” I think that this is the best prompt for the novel because one of the most significant themes, and literary devices, is the individuality, and conformity that each character possesses. Willa Cather expertly expresses the common, stereotypical Kentucky adolescent character, Jim, and juxtaposes him to an exotic, Bohemian girl. I believe that this prompt will help me to create a wonderful essay

  11. A says:

    The AP prompt from 1987 helps to efficiently highlight very intentional literary techniques and patterns throughout “My Antonia”. This prompt asks the writer to focus on things in society like traditions and attitudes that the author clearly wishes to change, and use the author’s techniques to support this idea. The issue of gender roles in the novel is something that Cather emphasizes, and her use of Antonia’s characteristics at times matching those of a typical male in her time period show how Cather wishes to cross the line between gender stereotyping. The gender role theme is something that comes up often in the novel, and is something that can be developed well throughout an essay, because of the many controversial role reversals. Cather’s use of characterization, and making females the stronger and males the weaker characters is also something that can help a writer develop their ideas in an essay, and take advantage of Cather’s techniques to emphasize gender roles as an aspect of society she wishes to change.

  12. 16msd says:

    The 1970 prompt is one of the best to fit My Antonia by Willa Cather. This is due to the fact that the titular character Antonia both defies and conforms to social standards throughout the book. And it is little wonder, she has three courts of social standards to live up to, the standards of females from her time period, the standards of immigrants (as seen by those born in America), and those of her family. We get a unique perspective on Antonia especially because all her actions are seen by Jim who is often privy to reaction society has to her actions.

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