Tuesday, May 10, 2011

AP Lit Essay

Imagination Station:

Sorry I haven't written in awhile guys.  I've been busy with my AP exams.  I learned this lovely little fact about AP essays.  You can write whatever you want and if you cross it out, it won't be graded... he he he...  And no, this was not my real essay. 


© 2011 The College Board.
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Total time—2 hours
Question 1

(Suggested time—40 minutes. This question counts as one-third of the total essay section score.)

The following poem is by the contemporary poet Li-Young Lee. Read the poem carefully. Then write a well developed 
essay in which you analyze how the poet conveys the complex relationship of the father and the son 
through the use of literary devices such as point of view and structure.

A Story

Sad is the man who is asked for a story
and can’t come up with one.

His five-year-old son waits in his lap.
Not the same story, Baba. A new one.
The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.

In a room full of books in a world
of stories, he can recall
not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy
will give up on his father.

Already the man lives far ahead, he sees
the day this boy will go. Don’t go!
Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more!
You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider.
Let me tell it!

But the boy is packing his shirts,
he is looking for his keys. Are you a god,
the man screams, that I sit mute before you?
Am I a god that I should never disappoint?

But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story?
It is an emotional rather than logical equation,

an earthly rather than heavenly one,
which posits that a boy’s supplications
and a father’s love add up to silence.

Here's the brilliant, well-crafted essay about the poem: 

Li-Young Lee's poem "A Story" conveys the complexity of the father-son relationship through the shifting tone and shifting points of view, making the poem more complex, thus mirroring the complexity of the relationship discussed.

You have lovely hair.  It brings out the color in your eyes.   Lee first uses shifting point of view in order to mimic the complexity of the father-son relationship.  The unitalicized portion of the poem is in third person, while the italicized portion is in first person.  However, the narrator in the italicized portions of the poem shift as well, further adding to a complexity.  You know what's complex, my relationship with Joe.  That's some complicated ass shit man.   In the second and final stanza, the narrator is the son as a young boy.  He asks "Baba" for another story, begs him, "Please, Baba, another story?" I wonder if he likes me.  No, not Joe.  Bob.  It's complicated.     In the fourth and fifth stanza, the narrator is the father.  He begs his son, "Don't go!" and offers to tell him stories from the boy's childhood that he used to love.  I personally like the story about Cinderella.  You know, the typical rags to riches story, and she meets a handsome prince.  I want to meet a prince.  I'm so lonely.  Match.com didn't work for me.  Guaranteed my ass.   

Lee also uses shifting tones to further the complexity of the poem and illustrate the complexity in the relationship between father and son.  I'm a little teapot. The first stanza is sad.  Short and stout.  The second is loving, with a cute, little kid asking his Baba to tell "not the same story," but "a new one."  The fourth stanza is pleading and anxious, with a father, who feels abandoned, asking his son to not go, begging him to "let me tell it." I'm tired.  And thirsty.  Is this almost over?  Okay buddy or lady, let me just level with you.  I put about 0.000000006 effort into this class, so you're lucky that I even know what a stanza is. So, do you think you could just give me an 8 for being honest?  Please?  I will mail you cookies. Or, you know what, here's a quarter.  I hope it's still in there when you get it.  They won't let me have access to tape. 

Alright, the truth is I really hope you give me a nine.  I'm an orphan and my mother and father take turns beating me.  Mom on even days and dad on odd days.  Dad is a blind gambler and Mom is a fat prostitute.  So they don't bring in any money or food.  I haven't eaten in months.  And I need this college credit because I won't be able to afford the class... because my family can't get money.  So... yeah... please give me a good grade.  

Enjoy the pretty picture I drew for you. 

Puppy face.  Don't fight it.


  1. Oh Julia...this is amazing. I was so tempted to actually do this. Thank you for fulfilling my dreams. HA!


  2. I think I might do this on my ACT XD I want to thank you for this post because I finally found quote un-quote "complex father-and-son relationship poem", which, even more astounding, I need to use for my AP English Summer Homework.

  3. @Kayla- You're welcome. Now I can officially say that my blog is educational :)

  4. Thanks for official blog

  5. funnysideoftheforestDecember 13, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    wow. you are too cool. i love it!!!