Create a Argument for the Best AP Prompt

Just to let you know that the technology department in the Crowsnest likes to connect literature to movies, enjoy this trailer from the interesting teen movie, Easy A. Though by no means a rendition of Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, you will find that some issues of reputations within a community, double standards, and the social dynamics when women can be treated as objects. Have you seen this movie? It came out when you were in middle school. If you have enjoy the replay; if now, save it for later when you have time to view it. In the meantime, click on the link below of past AP Essay prompts. Download and review carefully this PDF Document, which lists the essay questions on the past AP Exams. Please reflect on the whole list well and then select what you think is the best prompt to apply to The Scarlet Letter. Argue in 5-7 sentences, which prompt would help you create the optimal essay for The Scarlet Letter. You can refer to your prompt simply by the year. Again, compose your 5-7 sentence argument in a Word document so that you can conduct spellcheck and grammar check easily. Then paste your 5-7 sentence argument in the comment thread below this post. In other words, you will make comments on this post just as you did for the comments on the community text. AP.Prompts.1970-2015.


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I am an English teacher working with great students at an independent school in Ct.
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11 Responses to Create a Argument for the Best AP Prompt

  1. Nick Vardakas says:

    The AP Essay Topic from 2009 is the best essay topic for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. This topic asks about a symbol in a work of literature and how it is important to the plot and character development. The symbol that could be used for this topic is the symbol of Hester’s scarlet letter “A.” Much can be said about how the letter “A” is interpreted and how this interpretation changes throughout the story. One could also tie in how when the interpretation of the “A” changes, so do the characters in the story. This is why the AP Essay Topic from 2009 is the best essay topic for The Scarlet Letter.

  2. Max Shlafstein says:

    I think the 1995 AP prompt is the most suitable for The Scarlet Letter. Hester is a perfect example of a character that was, as the prompt describes, “alienated from that culture or society because of gender, race, class, or creed.” This topic will allow us to expand on the strict Puritan society that Hester was a part of. The scarlet letter on Hester’s chest along with her isolated home truly alienates her from her society. This isolation, as the prompt describes, “reveals the surrounding society’s assumptions or moral values.” Many of the Puritan values such as a double standard for women can be explained through this prompt. I believe that this AP response best suits the central ideas of The Scarlet Letter and the values of the Puritan society during this time period.

  3. Kate Rookey says:

    The topic for the 1995 AP exam seems like it would be a good topic for the Scarlet Letter essay. The topic asks the writer to address how a character’s isolation reveals norms and morals held by their society. In Hester’s case, her isolation reveals the stereotypes and assumptions that the townspeople have about someone who wears a scarlet letter. It also shows that people often focus on the outcast and fail to realize that others in the community are also flawed. This is shown when Mr. Dimmesdale finally tells the truth about his relationship with Hester. Additionally, Hester’s remote cottage is also a large component to the conclusion of the novel because it proved that Hester truly wanted to live a simple life and dedicate herself to helping others. Again, she defied the expectations the settlement had for her. These are only a few examples involving Hester’s home and it’s significance to the overall plot.

  4. Zoey Zheng says:

    The “Scarlet letter” by Nathaniel Howthorne depicts the atonement of the main characters Hester after the adultery. The “A” representing punishment and shame at the first beginning developed as how Hester develops her response to the social and cultural standard towards female. This theme is closely connected with the AP essay topic in 1970. The conservative and strict standard of the society forced Hester to marry the person she does not love and to respond to that, she has the adultery with Arthur. She chose to endure the shame and punish herself for that reason and that red “A” she wears represents her self atonement. When that atonement painfully and slowly saved her soul, she responds the insulting of the public by helping the poor. At last, the “A” develops to be the ability of kindness and forgiveness. The process of the development of her response reflects the human morality under the unreasonable standard of the society. The great themes of the cultural standard and Hester’s way to the salvation developed through her response to the society composed the great literature piece.

  5. Jenna Polidoro says:

    Villains enhance stories in many ways. The 1983 AP English Prompt explores this idea by prompting students to “select an important character who is a villain” and “in a well-organized essay, analyze the nature of the character’s villainy and show how it enhances meaning in the work”. This would be a fitting prompt for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” because Roger Chillingworth plays such a key role in the development of both Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale throughout the story. Additionally, Roger also serves as a symbol for revenge, which is made clear when he says “Thou hast escaped me!” and looks as though “the life seemed to have departed” from him. Based on his significance in the story, there would be lots to write about Roger pertaining to this prompt.

  6. Rishi Patel says:

    I think the 2002 Form B A.P. essay prompt topic is the best to use for the Scarlet Letter essay because the topic wants us to write about a key theme in the novel, secrecy. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne’s secret of who the father of Pearl, her daughter, is influences how the other characters and plot change throughout the story. Hester’s choice of keeping the father, Arthur Dimmesdale, of her daughter a secret affects Roger, Arthur, and more importantly, herself. This secret allows Hester to display the amount of compassion she has, which is shown when she sacrifices herself to the malignant Puritan society instead of giving up the name of Pearl’s father. This prompt can also show how Hester’s choice of keeping the secret till the end of the novel affects Arthur and his health, mental and physical. Roger Chillingworth’s nature is also greatly affected by the secret as he sought revenge against Arthur for having a child with Hester. There are more than these three ways that Hester’s secret, which was never revealed till the end of the novel, have influenced the plot and meaning of the story.

  7. Hattie Bauchiero says:

    Out of the several topics listed for the AP Literature open-ended prompts, the topic that I believe should be used as a compost topic is the one from 1970’s. This topic articulates that the writer should choose a character of literary merit, describe the standards of the society, and describe how the character is affected by and responds to these standards. This would be a good topic to write an essay on, as it relates to one of the main themes of the book; knowing your worth and living your life despite what others define you to be. The strict Puritan community the book is based in, has high standards that not everyone in the town could meet, especially Hester. Writing this prompt would not only develop our understanding of how society corrupts and changes the individuals within it, but also how individuals can persevere even through the hardest of times.

  8. Milan Ghosh says:

    The AP prompt from 1997 asks about the importance of social occasions and how they reveal values of characters and the society they live in. The Scarlet Letter has several scenes which add significant value to the story such as the beginning, when Hester is looked upon by the townspeople as she exits the prison. This scene successfully establishes the opinions of the townspeople and how harshly they looked upon her crime. This scene is also an insight into the Puritan society and how strictly they punish sinners. Hawthorne disapproves of their narrow minded views and uses scenes such as these to depict how much pleasure they take in punishing sinners. This prompt is ideal for The Scarlet Letter because it has several important scenes that reveal the views of the townspeople and the town as a whole and which also add to the story in its entirety.

  9. Juhi Rayonia says:

    The AP prompt from 1995 is most suited for The Scarlet Letter in my opinion. The prompt talks about the values of a certain culture or society that are made clear by the alienation of a certain character in that society or culture based on a feature about themselves. In The Scarlet Letter, Hester is alienated from the rest of her society and lives in solitude. Her isolation reflects on the morals of the Puritan society. The Puritans have a strict mindset, and a double standard for women. Hester’s social status and criminal reputation alienate from this idealist society, which reveals the idealist values that the Puritans hold. This prompt from 1995 would be a great essay topic to explain and elaborate on the main ideas of The Scarlet Letter, and it would connect to the Puritan society and standards.

  10. Lexi Mnich says:

    I agree with Max and Kate that the best option for the AP prompt is the one from 1995. This prompt is about highlighting the values of a society by alienating an individual for a specific reason. The obvious example for this prompt is Hester because she is clearly alienated from society due to the choices she made with Arthur while unmarried to him but still married to Roger Chillingworth. I believe that this prompt has a lot of different things to talk about relating to the different ways that the community made Hester feel punished and singled out for her sin. This 1995 AP prompt can also show the belief system in the society and their decision making between right and wrong due to how the community responds to Hester’s mistake. The main symbol that could be used in order to prove the society alienates Hester is the “A” that she is forced to wear because of how important it is to different parts of the work. Therefore, I feel that the best AP prompt is the one from 1995 because it is one of the most important themes throughout The Scarlet Letter.

  11. Bailey says:

    My two favorite prompts was the one from the year of 1995 and 2015. But between the two, I like the 2015 prompt better. This prompt discusses the effect of cruelty on an individual when a society decides that this person is deserving of it. In “The Scarlett Letter” there is an obvious alienation of Hester and Pearl but she eventually learns from it. There is an obvious change in Hester’s lifestyle and she is now accepted by the town. This is all because of the cruelty the town has put her through. The AP essay would not only be a challenge for the writer, but an interesting read for the teacher.

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