Did I do this AP Language essay right? Please rate.

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2004 Archive: Did I do this AP Language essay right? Please rate.
By Musefinity (Musefinity) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 01:09 pm: Edit

Hey, would you guys mind grading my essay on a scale of 1-9 and telling me what's bad, good, needs to be worked on, or whatever else you have to say. I stole somebody's Queen Elizabeth prompt from another thread so I could practice. I would greatly appreciate it because I'm not in a AP Language class and this is my first essay. (Yeah, underprepared.) Thanks!


In 1588 Queen Elizabeth I of England made the following speech to her troops. They were assembled at Tilbury, a town on the Thames River, to repel an expected invasion of England by troops serving the king of Spain. Read the speech carefully. Then write an essay in which you identify the purpose of the queen’s remarks and analyze how she uses the resources of language--such as diction, imagery, and sentence structure--to achieve her purpose.

My loving people, We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay own for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

ESSAY: It is etched into the heart of every great leader: the ability to rise above ones weakness and shortcomings—be they physical or of some other means—in advancing the cause of the country.

Such is what Queen Elizabeth accomplishes in her 1588 speech to her people, who tremor on the brink of naval warfare. Aside from evoking a sense of nationalistic pride by employing several religious connotations which emphasize English grandeur, she also uses her imperial language in her own self-interest. That is, she uses the event of war to elevate her own status—that of a “weak and feeble woman”—above the sexist limitations of the times. She suggests she is capable not just of the success of a shrewd and intelligent woman, but of any shrewd and hard-stomached king.

Elizabeth’s speech is a dramatic address to a nation in fear; an assertation of English nationalism and superiority meant to assuage her kingdom as it unites for war. To evoke nationalism, she employs several religious connotations to England in backing its moral cause, being meticulously sure to address the country as “my God, my kingdom, and my people,” suggesting the likeness of God to even her subjects. She underscores this message by ending her speech with the repetition of it. Elizabeth furthermore creates an immediacy before continuing to arouse her people, coming down to the level of even the peasantry by claiming “I myself will take up arms” and that she will “live or die amongst you all,” as if she is not royalty but an equal.

This image of Elizabeth taking up arms is in direct opposition to her womanly frame but she remains calm and conniving in saying so. Ironically, Elizabeth utilizes this proud, over-assured, and richly religious language to escape the detail that her country is preparing to face the strongest fleet of Europe under the command of a woman. Such a tool of nationalism has not been so gracefully used since Joan of Arc took the reigns of her country in securing military victory. Elizabeth is capable not of the duties of a king, but of a “king of England, too,” a clause which denotes the superiority of both herself and her country.

These images mirror the general contrast between the fearing nation she begins to address and the imperial grandeur she eventually assigns to her listeners by promising “valour in the field” and a swift victory. Her tone is therefore that of a courageous hero unshaken by the threat of war; and the result is that of a nation which follows in her footsteps.

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 04:35 pm: Edit

mmmmmmmm, needless to say, we write in very different ways, Musefinity! I don't claim to know how to grade essays, but I'd say yours is definitely at least mid level. Perhaps a 6-7 also?

I like your beginning and your conclusion especially. I have trouble "adding stuff" to make a meaningful conclusion, but I think you're good there.

Aside from that, you see things differently than I do and your examples are different too. I'm concerned about the brevity of it, and also don't forget to use quotation marks around what you're quoting (or maybe you are doing that, but my computer is not showing it). I think you could use some more analysis too...but who am I to say? Yikes. I can't believe I am giving advice! I would say that they'll reward you for your unique approach too.

P.S> you're missing about the same as i am in mc. I think we can make at least a 4 by what we're doing now. SOmeone on another thread claimed they got a 4 by missing like 20 on the mc and getting 7-8's on all 3 essays; I think we'll be all right...

By Musefinity (Musefinity) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 04:37 pm: Edit

Cool, thanks. As long as it wasn't like a 3 or something. Good luck!

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 04:46 pm: Edit

Good luck to you too!

definitely not a 3, don't think a 5 either, cuz I've seen some 5's and they don't seem that great (glaring errors). Hehe, know what I'm really good at? I'm like, good at grammar and spelling. If only we were graded on that instead of all this insight/analyze stuff...(sigh)

By Ubercollegeman (Ubercollegeman) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 04:48 pm: Edit

The style is very strong, but I don't like how there are (I think) two lapses in analysis. However, the style really says something about the writer. I'd say it's an 8 because of those lapses, but the style is very fluid. Good job, musefinity--it's a fantastic essay. I wouldn't even be surprised if collegeboard gave that a 9--I tend to grade essays harder than they do :D.

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 05:19 pm: Edit


i didn't see much of a distinct difference in the quality of musefinity's essay and mine. are you just giving a high score b/c it uses the "right" examples of analysis? i mean, isn't that incredibly subjective? I also don't see how there's a lot of insight in it and I think it's quite different from the "high scoring" essays i've seen in books, mainly b/c of it's brevity. I'm not trying to bash you or musefinity or anything, i'm just trying to gain a sense of what you're looking for and how you grade.

By Ubercollegeman (Ubercollegeman) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 05:55 pm: Edit

The difference between the two essays is that musefinity's essay's style is better. The analysis is woven into the citations very nicely. I like how the voice used in the essay is confident.

For analysis, musefinity makes sure to pretty much relate all citations back to the thesis. It just goes citation->analysis->citation->analysis so nicely that it just sounds much better than what most people turn in.

I think an important thing that happens when reading that essay is that the reader is won over almost immediately. I've gone on grading sprees for essays in class before, and I can tell you how much a relief it is to read a competent paper. The majority of papers submitted are embarrassments to the English language, even though this is AP (don't get me started on SAT II Writing essays). To find a paper like this with such a strong voice and analytical techniques is rare.

I'm going back to read your essay one more time..

By Musefinity (Musefinity) on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 06:17 pm: Edit

Wow, just a thought: I meant CONVINCING, not CONNIVING.

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