2006 AP Lit Free Response
“The following passage is an excerpt from Lady Windermere’s Fan, a play by Oscar Wilde, produced in 1892. Read the passage carefully. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how the playwright reveals the values of the characters and the nature of their society.”
Author A answers the prompt. They point out the differences in character between the women and the Lord Darlington. However, this response focuses too much on what is being revealed, rather than how. The prompt is asking for how the writer reveals details about the characters. Author A says about that is “a mundane situation to reveal character”, and then picks apart a few lines of dialogue to show how and what it means for the character. I feel that they could have included more dialogue, and started with the dialogue, rather than their impressions of the characters. The last paragraph is the most organized of them all, and it finishes out a strong argument. The author is able to back their claims with solid quotes, and I found myself agreeing with them on a few points. Overall, this response is quite good, but the author could have been more direct in answering the prompt. EDIT: After reading the other responses, I feel like I was too critical of this one. This response is the strongest one of them all, but it could use a little bit of work, like I mentioned above.
This author barely answers the prompt. There are very few direct quotations, and they only talk about their impressions about the characters. The introduction is okay. The author simply rephrases part of the prompt and then provides what they thought of each character. The second paragraph deals with what they thought of Lord Darlington, which happens to agree with the first author. In this paragraph, the author mostly talks about how the lord is funny and doesn’t judge people based on their “scandals”. While I agree with the author, this does not answer the prompt. There is very little analysis on how the author reveals the character. The piece reads more as an argument for what each character is like. In the second to last paragraph, author B references the text a lot more, trying to answer the prompt better. In the last paragraph, they conclude by mentioning that dialogue is shows the personalities of each person, but they don’t mention how or why.
This response is the weakest of them all. It only covers one character, artificially limiting the author to a set amount of content. The response also spends a lot of time directly “translating” the dialogue that is said, rather than analyzing it. This author also does not really answer the prompt. In their conclusion statement, they talk about how our society and the society mentioned in the play are not that different. Their central claim is based on comparing our world to the world described in the text. This response makes it feel like they’re answering a completely different prompt than the one that is mentioned. They talk far too much about the world, and they end with a call to action, on making the world a better place. This read like an essay that was based on a similar prompt. It does all the right things, but it doesn’t even remotely answer the prompt, and it doesn’t have the content that was in the other two responses.