AP English Language and Composition DBQ 1.1
AP® English Language and Composition: DBQ Drill 1, Problem 1. Read the following sources (including the introduction), then write an essay in which you analyze how women were represented in both the public sphere and the private sphere
|AP English Language and Composition||Document Based Question|
...and it also wants that essay to be coherent and well-written. Sheesh. So demanding.
All right... we're given this prompt: Read the following sources (including the
introduction) carefully. Then write an essay in which you analyze how women were represented
in both the public sphere and the private sphere.
So we need to read through the sources, and use the content to develop our position on
how women are represented in... a couple of sphere thingies.
Really, we can just ignore the "sphere" part. It wants us to analyze women's roles... in
the home as well as the working world.
Now... how do we attack this thing? Slow and stealthy, from the left flank?
First of all, we need to recognize that our prompt is telling us to analyze, not to argue.
So... no getting defensive and throwing a hissy fit. This is all about exploring and
evaluating the 8 different approaches to a single subject... not about trying to convince
our reader of something. We need to stay professional and unbiased...
like a television reporter who will lose his job if he's caught editorializing. Can't hurt
to make sure our hair looks nice either.
We also know that we need to discuss
BOTH women in the public sphere, the labor force ...and in the private sphere.
Some of the sources refer to one or the other... so we know we'll have to pull from a couple
of each to cover our bases. Sources A, F and H are all pro-public.
B, C and D... think that women should be home in the kitchen making babies.
E and G deal with women appearing in public,
even if they aren't strictly about them joining the work force.
So... which to choose? So many options... it's like trying to pick out a pair of pumps
when Diaz W is having a sale. Tough. If you read the passages carefully, you should
notice that some of them naturally work together. A and C, for example, even though they demonstrate
stances on each side of the issue, are both from the New Jersey Constitution...
so they're clearly linked.
Less obvious -- sources F and H are both about
women speaking and defending their rights... ...E and G are both about how men view women
appearing in public... ...and B and D... would probably be appalled
that today's women no longer wear hoop skirts and corsets.
In other words... they have some pretty old-fashioned ideas about a woman's role in society...
The tones and perspective may differ from one to another... but as long as we can draw
comparisons and make connections, we can compose an essay that is thoughtful, well-researched
and compelling. Don't forget to start with a thesis.
We can't know where we're going if we haven't first determined where we're starting from.
Remember not to insert your own opinion... it might be difficult in cases such as these,
where there are so many bone-headed, antiquated ideas being bandied about...
...but hey, it was a different time. And besides, it's our job to analyze the arguments
of others -- what they did make a good case for, how they structured their arguments,
et cetera. Include at least one pro-public and one pro-private...
...and get at the heart of what these writers believed, and why they might have believed
those things at that time. Before you start a-writin'... or maybe after
you're done... check out this sample essay to get an idea of what those AP gurus are looking for...