EXPOSITORY AND LITERARY ANALYSIS – June 2019
“To a Mouse” Explicitation Paper
by Alex Dietz (’20)
Throughout Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse”, heartfelt vocabulary and an empathetic tone are used to convey remorse and contemplation about the disparity among not-so-different members of nature. This poem outlines the tragic destruction of a mouse’s home, and captures the reaction of the farmer who unwittingly causes this hardship. What starts as a surface level apology digresses into a more pensive monologue about the state of humanity and the trials that all living creatures face. In the second stanza, the farmer offers his first apology to the mouse, and introduces the idea that mice and humans are not that different after all.
“Layers of Conflict”
by Rylee McKinney (’20)
Cold beaten eggs, cups of dense flower, and hours of arm-cramping mixing produce a wondrous stacked palace, carefully decorated with smooth white frosting and topped with illustrious piped flowers. The internal appearance, although undercooked, is shielded by the beautiful exterior. Blinding its critics from the dull innards in the form of an elaborate cake, beauty is recognized over quality. Only when the cake is cut, does the unbaked batter spill out showing its imperfections. This metaphorical cake symbolizes more than a laborious task, as the cake symbolizes today’s society. Like a cake, people often mask their internal struggles with a smooth white frosting and illustrious piped flowers.
by Trevor Wise (’19)
As if people don’t have a right to remember. Even with her blood boiling, Nikki Giovanni is composed when she counters those who disrespect her celebration of heritage. In spite of the tensions present, Giovanni placates the situation. Instead of mimicking the coolness of her opposition, she “warms the earth” and our hearts. After all, she is planting the seeds of tolerance. The frail exterior of a seedling cannot withstand brutal conditions, and that is why she must “encourage [it]”. She speaks with a striking calmness that resonates with the reader, under circumstances where fiery diction would be excusable. Through a carefully chosen example, Giovanni proves that compassion will always grow to overshadow the callous.
Poetry One-Pager: Robert Browning
by Kayla Solino (’19)
Victorian England is best characterized by all that is prim, proper, and poised. In a time draped in opulent luxuries for the rich and barren necessities for the poor, the structure of the Victorian Era allowed for massive chasms between the wealthy and the working class, the young and the old, and of course, undoubtedly the man and the woman. Here women wore tight corsets, couldn’t speak up to a man, and participated in tea as one of their only noteworthy responsibilities. They were dolls, dressed up and made pretty and paraded around on the hips of men like prizes. Much of these prominent Victorian ideas are reflected in art, literature, and the social structure of the time. The Victorian mores poet Robert Browning uses to frame his writing set up a traditional relationship between the sexes, in which men have power over women, and to explore the consequences of that power when it is unchecked and uncontrolled.
Poetry One-Pager: Sharon Olds
by Hope Simpson (’19)
For those of us who have been on a subway, even just once, the sardine closeness of the experience is not easily forgotten. If the discomfort is put on hold, just for a second, something else shines through the subway tunnel too. Everyone rides the subway- lower class kids on their way to school, Wall street brokers who know how to swindle within the law, tourists who’ve never taken the train before, politicians, etc. Within this boxed in structure there is a lot to look at; in fact there is little else to do besides stare at your fellow travels as you zoom to you destination. In Sharon Olds’ poem “On the Subway”, using imagery the persona of a white subway rider conveys the sharp racial contrast between her and another passenger.
Timed AP Essay: Alice Walker’s “The Flowers”
by Gwen Bernick (’19)
Post-civil war, most ex-slaves continued farm work for little pay on the same plantations with the same white bosses that they had before they were “freed”. They called it something different, and they housed workers somewhere different, but nothing really was different. Alice Walker explores these themes of abandoned promise, racism, and the poignant, blinding trudge of time in the progression of her short story “The Flowers.”
Timed AP Essay: Revolutionary Road
by Nick Paulter (’19)
In cinema, many times it is not the words the actors say, themselves, that convey the significance of a scene to the audience: it is the lighting, the scenery, or the soundtrack that do this. In a book, however, the reader is not presented with the same luxuries as a person viewing a film. What they do have is narration, a detailed description of what is going on at that particular moment, in that particular place. A good narration can make a significant difference in the way a reader perceives a scene, especially one as intricate as this. In chapter eight of Revolutionary Road, Yates uses a vast arsenal of literary techniques, such as internal monologues and irony, combined with his detailed narration of events in order to enhance to tragicness of April’s death.
Timed AP Essay: Sharon Olds’ “On the Subway”
by Kateryna Voznyuk (’19)
In the polarizing environment of a subway car, Sharon Olds comes to realize the contrasting, unnerving power of the black boy across from her, birthed from the social enforcement of the racial imbalance between blacks and whites. In her poem, “On the Subway”, Olds’ use of imagery in reference to their appearances and the racial tensions that existed during slavery times enforces the idea that they have become symbols of the modern racial conflict.