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AP English: Take-Home Exam

All the Pretty Horses


Section I: Quotation Identification and Analysis

For each of the following quotations, a) identify the speaker (or the character described), b) describe the context (the scene, who’s listening, where in the book), c) analyze the meaning and significance of the quotation. Be sure to analyze any symbolism, irony, syntax, or other stylistic device.


1.     “What he loved in horses is what he loved in men, the blood and the heat of the blood that ran them. All his reverence and all his fondness and all the leanings of his life were for the ardenthearted and they would always be so and never be otherwise.”


2.      “Ever dumb thing I ever done I my life there was a decision I made before that got me into it. It was never the dumb thing. It was always some choice I’d made before it. You understand what I’m saying? . . . Meaning this is it. This is our last chance. Right now. . .”


3.     “He rode with the sun coppering his face and the red wind blowing. . . horse and rider and horse passed on and their long shadows passed in tandem like the shadow of a single being. Passed and paled into the darkening land, the world to come.”


4.     “He thought the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.”


5.     “Blevins’ boot was still lying in the grass. One of the guards bent and picked it up and pitched it into the weeds.”


6.     “John Grady turned again and hacked at the cuchillero with his tray and the cuchillero squatted and he saw him there thin and bowlegged under his outflung arm for one frozen moment like some dark and reedy homunculous bent upon inhabiting him.”


7.     “. . . a cold blue cast had turned the does’ eyes to but one thing more of things she lay among in the darkening landscape. Grass and blood. Blood and stone.”

Section II: Analysis
Write about a page on each of the following questions.


8.     Explain how All the Pretty Horses fits into the genre of the hero’s journey.

9.     Analyze the central theme of terrible beauty in the novel. Be sure to use a quotation or two.

10.  Analyze McCarthy’s writing style. Describe it (several of the devices he uses) and explain the effect of his style on the novel. Use the knife fight scene on this question to focus your examples.


Section III: Timed Writing


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Question 3

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

In a novel by William Styron, a father tells his son that life “is a search for justice.”

Choose a character from a novel or play who responds in some significant way to justice or injustice. Then write a well-developed essay in which you analyze the character’s understanding of justice, the degree to which the character’s search for justice is successful, and the significance of this search for the work as a whole.


You may choose a work from the list below or another work of comparable literary merit. Do not merely summarize the plot.



Due Tuesday May 1