Meaning in my Essay!. The Stepping Stone to a “9”. General Format for Paragraph. The General Format is this: Sentence 1-- Topic Sentence Sentence 2 -- First Point in Support of the Topic Sentence (Claim) Sentence 3 -- Evidence to Prove Point 1 (Data)
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Meaning in my Essay!
The Stepping Stone to a “9”
A device creates an effect:
The quality of your commentary is THE main factor in determining whether you get a high or a middle score on the AP essay questions.
1. Commentary must actually explain, not just assert.
LOW-- Shaw says that his mother's cremation "is wonderful." This shows that he feels wonder at the ceremony. [This is an assertion, not an explanation]
MEDIUM-- In the actual cremation process, Shaw describes it as being miraculous, having"a garnet colored, lovely flame... and my mother became that beautiful fire." Shaw's attitude portrays no regrets, sadness or remorse. He explains his mother's cremation with descriptive details of wonderment and happiness.
BETTER-- Shaw uses words throughout this piece that are incongruously juxtaposed to the funeral setting. Shaw comments about the furnace used to cremate his mother: ...but it is wonderful." Contrary to convention, "wonderful" is not typically used to describe crematory furnaces, and therefore adds to the whimsical tone... (NOTE ALSO the correct use of a technical term)
LOW-- Shaw makes the furnace sound pleasant by using words like "clean, cool and sunny."
MEDIUM-- When waiting to see her cremated, he describes the furnace as being "cool, clean and sunny". By describing it as such, he conveys to his audience that the cremation is also beautiful and not a bad thing.
BETTER-- He uses words such as "wonderful, clean, cool and sunny" to describe the furnace. He does this not to sound crazy, but to show that where his mother is going is not a bad place. He is using the furnace to show his mother's entrance into heaven. Words such as sunny, miraculously, and beautiful all connote a heavenly aspect to the reader's mind.( Again, NOTE the correct use of a technical term)
Length is not necessarily good, but the "better" example took the time to state explicitly which words in the quote were important and exactly what the effect of the words in the quote was.
MEDIUM-- He ends the excerpt by giving a description of the preparation of
the ashes. He said, "the end was wildly funny; Mama would have enjoyed it enormously." He also says that it was a "merry episode." These last 2 comments show that he was at peace with his decision.
BETTER-- The persona is in first person singular, then it changes to first person
plural after the persona comes back to see the end of the cremation. Shaw's mother in spirit follows him back to the end of the cremation, "[enjoying] it enormously", which means she is free from her body and is now at peace to laugh, just like the persona.
NOT TRUE-- "O grave where is thy victory?" This comment shows that Shaw believes cremation is more dignified than burial. [no it doesn't]
OFF-TOPIC-- The entire piece moves like one interminable run on sentence, keeping the pace moving very fast. [While this may be true, it has nothing to do with Shaw's attitude toward either his mother or her cremation.]
1. When the reader comes across words like "snap and crackle" of the fire, he can associate it with other characteristics that fire has: burning, destroying, ashes, smoke and so on. Thus it creates the intended mood of destruction and agony in the reader. (Reasons this is good: it points to specific words in the quote; it deals with the connotative level of meaning; it connects to the point of the question, mood)
2. The persona notices an "old and fat and blue" fly and notes the "big, stained teeth of crunching horses." Many readers dislike thinking about these things and would get an uncomfortable feeling from these connotations. (Reasons this is good: it points to specific words in the quote; it deals with the connotative level of meaning; it connects to the point of the question, mood)
1. Take a hi-liter and mark any commentary you have in your own answer.
If you don't have any, you know why you got a low score. Write some for each of your examples NOW.
3. In the RIGHT margin, explain which rule(s) from the handout your Commentary follows or breaks.
4. In the LEFT margin, write the NUMBER(s) which describe(s) what your commentary does.
5. Underline the technical terms you used to state the techniques that the writer used to convey his attitude. If you explained without using the term, underline that.