Instructional Materials for Craig White's Literature Courses

AP & pre-AP English Workshop

for Students of Galena Park ISD

(10 November 2012)

Writing About Fiction

Question 3 sample marked / highlighted



Question 3


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


Palestinian American literary theorist and cultural critic Edward Said has written that “Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted.” Yet Said has also said that exile can become “a potent, even enriching” experience.


Select a novel, play, or epic in which a character experiences such a rift and becomes cut off from “home,” whether that home is the character’s birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the character’s experience with exile is both alienating and enriching, and how this experience illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. You may choose a work from the list below or one of comparable literary merit. Do not merely summarize the plot.


The American

Angle of Repose

Another Country

As You Like It

Brave New World

Crime and Punishment

Doctor Zhivago 

Heart of Darkness

Invisible Man

Jane Eyre


Jude the Obscure

King Lear

The Little Foxes

Madame Bovary

The Mayor of Casterbridge 

My Ántonia


The Odyssey

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

The Other

Paradise Lost

The Poisonwood Bible

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

The Road

Robinson Crusoe

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Sister Carrie

Sister of My Heart

Snow Falling on Cedars

The Tempest

Things Fall Apart

The Women of Brewster Place

Wuthering Heights






© 2010 The College Board.

Visit the College Board on the Web:



Notes and drafts toward essay-answer to Question 2

highlight or note the give-away terms: substantive nouns or value-terms that indicate what your readers or graders will be looking for.


Palestinian American

literary cultural


compelling + terrible

unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place

self and its true home

essential sadness . . . can become “a potent, even enriching” experience.


novel, play, or epic (literary)

 character (literary)

 rift, cut off from “home,”

birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place


Also highlight or note relational or transitional terms that give clues to logic or relations between terms or parts of the question.



can become


both alienating and enriching

meaning of the work as a whole.

Do not merely summarize the plot.



Selection of text: Volunteers?


Attempt at drafting an opening for essay in response:

The theme of exile appears as a defining characteristic of modern culture in one of Europe's first modern novels, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. The title of this book or the name of its main character are known all over the world as a symbol for being cast away or lost from one's home, and thus being forced to make a new home out of nothing.

Where would you take it from here? What possibilities does this open?






[ ]x