U5 AP MyAP In-Class Essay FRQ Practice

Q1: “Lucy” by Jamaica Kincaid

Kincaid highlights and exaggerates the conflicting values and upbringings of Lucy and Maria through her choice of point of view and narrative voice. By using first person, readers are given an insight into the perspective of Lucy as she navigates life in America and her complex relationship with Maria. The choice of first person allows the audience to learn more about the differences between the characters especially through Lucy’s viewpoint as Kincaid opens the window into the character’s head. We hear her thoughts about Mariah as she recounts her experiences with spring and her fascination with “flowers bending in the breeze”, questioning “how does a person get to be that way?” This allows the reader to solidify their suppositions that their may be some tension between the characters by explicitly showing them Lucy’s view on the situation. In addition, the fact that the story is in first person allows us to understand Lucy’s history and contempt of “daffodils” and that representation of springtime. This confession to the readers first and then to Mariah allows the audience to fully understand the path of reconciliation and understanding that Mariah and Lucy embark on by the end of the passage. If the story had been in any other tense, we as readers would not have the same understanding of the relationship between the characters that seems to be driving both character development and plot of the book.

Q2: characters and their differing perspectives/values

In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the tension between John Proctor’s desire to stay in good faith and Abigail William’s selfishness illustrates Miller’s negative view of the different facets of human nature. Abigail, is the antagonist of the story. After having had an affair with John Proctor, a married man, and being kicked out of their house by his wife, Elizabeth, Abigail transforms her bitter sentiment into ambition to accuse Elizabeth of being a witch so she can be rid of her. She acts in ultimate greed and selfishness, believing this action will allow her to have John Proctor all to herself. Abigail is an explicit depiction of evil, ironic because she is the one who is accusing others of the same. On the other hand, John appears to be a selfless man who loves his wife and is a good neighbour and Christian. On the surface level to everyone in the town, he is an ideal man. However, below the surface, the biggest chip on his shoulder is the affair he had with Abigail. This relationship with her contradicts the view of perfection he seems to have on the surface level. This presumed perfection before discovery of something much darker is representative of Miller’s view of human nature. Even those who appear good are inherently bad. The fact that he had an affair with Abigail, the established face of evil in the book, further taints his character, something that Proctor himself realises by the end of the play when he laments over the ruination of his “name”. These two characters illustrate another two sides of human nature as well: Abigail, so obsessed with herself, and John Proctor, so concerned by how others view him. This dynamic between the characters, where they seem like opposite sides if the same dice, drives forward Arthur Miller’s assertion that human nature is tainted by evil in many different forms.

U4 Original Poem: Villanelle



I watch the fading of the light

The sun looks down from scarlet skies

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.


Darkness falls and sorrow bites

Fallen stone, protection’s guise

I watch the fading of the light.


Mother says it’ll be alright

Shaking hands and stifled cries

“Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.”


Out of mind and out of sight

Of gunnèd men and hounding eyes

I watch the fading of the light.


Battered bodies, battle’s blight

Satan sings, and man’s demise

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.


Heart of darkness, wartime spite

A crumbling city’s Hopeful dies 

I watch the fading of the light

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.

U4 Q1 Revision “Plants”

Q1: “Plants”, Olive Senior

In her poem “Plants”, Olive Senior explores the interactions between plants and humans, as well as their persistence in our society. However, she takes an unconventional approach as she builds relationships amongst the speaker, the audience, and the plants by focusing on characterizing the plants as intrusive and overpowering. Senior uses a variety of literary techniques such as personification, diction, and enjambment to emphasize the interconnectedness of the parasitic nature of plants on humankind.

By using diction and personifying the plants, Senior effectively creates an imbalance of power on the plants’ behalf. She describes roots that are “bent on conquest”, seedlings that “seek wide open spaces”, “armies of mangroves”, and burrs that have “colonizing ambitions”. Utilizing verbs such as “bent” and “seek” creates a sense of an action that the plants are carrying out and therefore humanizes them. She convinces the audience that plants aren’t just dormant organisms that live in the backdrop of our lives, but hold so much autonomy and power that they can be compared to other people. This relationship is given a negative tone with the phrases “colonizing ambitions” and “armies of mangroves”, implying that the plants have the capability of acting in such a way that they consume the areas around them. The reference to colonization also evokes images of exploitation and despair in the minds of the readers, thus paralleling the same tragedy with the actions of the plants. The word “colonizing” also allows the reader to infer that the plants behave in a similar manner to colonizers, feeding off the land and the people (in this, case society) for personal benefit and providing nothing in return. Furthermore, the use of the word “armies” incites images of weaponry and violence. Personification adds to this parasitic view of plants because it implies that as organisms comparable with humans, the plants are acting consciously to “conquest” and fulfill their “colonizing ambitions”. These comparisons convince the reader of the interconnectedness of the lives between plants and themselves, showing how prominent the plants are in the world around us. Senior uses personification and diction to highlight to the reader that plants are powerful creatures that can a significant negative impact on humankind.

Senior uses enjambment to depict the invasive nature of the plants on society. Enjambment creates a sense of displacement and almost discomfort as Senior urges the reader to hurry to the next line or stanza to complete a thought. This is most effectively displayed as she discusses the “parachuting seeds and other//airborne traffic dropping in” as well as advising the audience that “we must infer/a sinister not to say imperialistic//grand design” when considering plants. The enjambment teases the end of phrases and ideas when referring to “and other//airborne traffic” as well as starting with “we must infer” and giving the audience directions on what exactly they should infer on the next line with “a sinister not to say imperialistic//grand design”. This encourages the reader to progress from idea to idea in the very chaotic poem by providing a hook at the end of the lines. In addition, the awkward places at which the enjambment occurs has a jarring effect on the reader, paralleling the message of the poem that the plants are intrusive and dominating our world. By interrupting the flow of the words with enjambment, Senior embodies the nature of the plants in her poem, suggesting that plants take on the same invasive role in our world as well.

In conclusion, Olive Senior uses a variety of literary devices to emphasize her point to the audience that plants have taken on a role that is intrusive, parasitic, and destructive. She does so by characterization of the plants with personification and diction, thus creating gravitas and importance behind the actions of the plants as well as enjambment to highlight the invasive role that they play in society. 


EQ Reflection

Are stories “all one story” or rewarmed versions of one another?

The smell of paper and musty books worn down to bone fills the room.

The bookshelf stands in the middle of the floor. Despite its frailty, it wears the proud shine of younger wood, incandescent in the reflection of the stark white walls.

I run my hand over the bottom shelf, watching the dust gather underneath my fingernails. The layers become finer as a I reach up the shelves, until the last book is nearly pristine. The spines tell a plethora of different stories from thousands years of humanity, from thousands of lives, from thousands of experiences, but the tongue that reads them to me in my head remains the same. The same lilting accent with which my mother speaks.

I pull the first book from the shelf. It’s on the verge of crumbling between my hands, my fingerprints making a home with the ghosts of others. The papers are yellowing, more so than the rest of them, tears and notches creating artwork in the flaking leather. Gently, I pull it open.

The words don’t stay on the page. I watch them leap from age-old paper, dancing through the air around me. They spin and they tumble and they laugh, illuminated by the glow of my wonder. They race each other to the other books, and all of a sudden they all fall open in a thunderous clatter.

Stories of all sorts surround me. Of limerence, of loss, of desperation, of desire. They hum through the air, a chorus of words that crescendos into a wave of raw emotion. They soar to the walls with purpose, painting themselves on the surface until not a hint of ivory white can be seen. When the clattering dies down, I take a step back.

The books lie empty on the floor. On the walls, symphonies of colours and textures and lights stand proudly on display. From facades seemingly so different, so unfamiliar with each other, their words worked in unison to create the great painting before me. From so many experiences and loves and losses and lives, came one story.

Original Poem A

someone to you

he’s the only one who cares for me
who’s with me through and through
please let me be
someone to you.

from the thud of my heart which beats
deafening in this silent room
please let me be
someone to you.

he cradles my face
till from my cheeks roses do bloom
please let me be
someone to you.

my lips are split and stained
crimson and purple too
please let me be
someone to you.

and even when it hurts
i know it hurts him too
please let me be
someone to you.

he beats me down to bone
till i’m bleeding black and blue
then holds me tight
and speaks words true
“you know you love me, you know you do
and i in turn
do love you too”
and i know then
like i always knew
that my cuts he carved
and my scars he drew
were just a mistake, or maybe a few
and all of this
it was my fault, too

thank you for letting me be
someone to you.