Question 1 Rubric Question 2 Rubric Question 3 Rubric
  Sample 1   Sample 1    
  Sample 2   Sample 2    
  Sample 3   Sample 3   Sample 3
  Sample 4        
  Sample 5   Sample 5   Sample 5
  Sample 6   Sample 6   Sample 6
  Sample 7   Sample 7   Sample 7
  Sample 8   Sample 8   Sample 8
  Sample 9   Sample 9   Sample 9

Back to AP HOME

LANGUAGE AP 1998- Question 1

Suggested Time: 40 minutes

Carefully read the following letter from Charles Lamb to English romantic poet William Wordsworth. Then, paying particular attention to the tone of Lamb's letter, write an essay in which you analyze the techniques Lamb uses to decline Wordsworth's invitation.
January 30, 1801

I ought before this to have reply'd to your very kind invitation into Cumberland. With you and your Sister I could gang anywhere. But I am afraid whether I shall ever be able to afford so desperate a Journey. Separate from the pleasure of your company, I don't much care if I never see a mountain in my life. I have passed all my days in London, until I have formed as many and intense local attachments, as any of your Mountaineers can have done with dead nature. The Lighted shops of the Strand and Fleet Street, the unnumerable trades, tradesmen and custormers, coaches, wagons, playhouses, all the bustle and wickedness round about Covent Garden, the very women of the Town, the Watchmen, drunken scenes, rattles; -life awake, if you awake, at all hours of the night, the impossibility of being dull in Fleet Street, the crowds, the very dirt & mud, the Sun shining upon houses and pavements, the print shops, the old (italics)Book stalls, parsons cheap'ning books, coffee houses, steams of soups from kitchens, the pantomimes, London itself a pantomime and a masquerade, all these things work themselves into my mind and feed me without a power of satiating me. The wonder of these sights impells me into night walks about the crowded streets, and I often shed tears in the motley Strand from fulness of joy at so much (italics)Life. -All these emotions must be strange to you. So are your rural emotions to me. But consider, what must I have been doing all my, not to have lent great portions of my heart with usury to suchscenes?-

My attachments are all local, purely local -. I have no passion (or have had none since I was in love, and then it was the spurious engendering of poetry & books) to groves and vallies. -The rooms where I was born, the furniture which has been before my eyes all my life, a book case which has followed me about (like a faithful dog, only exceeding him in knowledge) wherever I have moved, old tables, streets, squares, when I have sunned myself, my old school, -these are my mistresses. Have I not enough, without your mountains? I do not envy you, I should pity you, did I not know, that the Mind will make friends of any thing. Your sun & moon and skies and hills & lakes affect me no more, or scarcely come to me in more venerable characters, than as a gilded room with tapestry and tapers, where I might live with handsome visible objects.


LANGUAGE AP 1998- Question 1


9 Essays earning a score of 9 meet all the criteria for 8 papers and in addition are especially full or apt in their analysis or demonstrate particularly impressive stylistic control.

8 Essays earning a score of 8 effectly analyze how Lamb uses techniques of language to decline Wordsworth's invitation. They refer to the text, directly or indirectly, and are likely to describe cogently how strategies such as irony, humor, syntax, and use of examples contribute to the passage's tone. Their prose demonstrates an ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not flawless. 7 Essays earning a score of 7 fit the description of 6 essays but provide more compolete analysis or demonstrate more mature prose style.

6 Essays earning a score of 6 adequately analyze Lamb's techniques of language as he replies to Wordsworth's invitation. They refer to the text, directly or indirectly, and they may discuss or implicitly recognize the tone of the passage and how it is conveyed by strategies such as irony, humor, syntax, and use of examples. A few lapses in diction or syntax may be present, but generally the prose of 6 essays conveys their writers' ideas clearly.

5 Essays earning a score of 5 analyze Lamb's techniques in his letter but their development of Lamb's strategies is limited. They may treat techniques in a superficial way or develop their ideas inconsistently. A few lapses in diction or syntax may be present, but usually the prose in 5 essays conveys their writers' ideas.

4 Essays earning a score of 4 inadequately respond to the question's tasks. They may misrepresent Lamb's tone, analyze techniques inaccurately, or identify them without much development or understanding of how techniques contribute to Lamb's tone. The prose of 4 essays may convey their writers' ideas adequately, but may suggest immature control over organization, diction, or syntax.

3 Essays earning a score of 3 meet the criteria for the score of 4 but are less perceptive about how techniques of language convey tone or less consistent in controlling elements of writing.

2 Essays earning a score of 2 demonstrate little success in analyzing the techniques of language Lamb uses in his letter. They may substitute simpler tsks for the one at hand, summarizing Lamb's letter or simply listing examples. They may misunderstand or ignore tone. The prose of 2 papers often reveals consistent weaknesses in writing, a lack of organization, grammatical problems or control.

1 Essays earning a score of 1 meet the criteria for the score of 2, but in addition are especially simplistic in their ideas or weak in their control of languge.

0 Indicates an on-topic response that receives no credit, such as onethat merely repeats the prompt. Indicates a blank response or one that is completely off topic.


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 1

Although Charles lamb would like to see William Wordsworth, he does not go into the mountains because he loves the city. lamb does not want to be secluded from the world by going into the mountains because he likes to be surrounded by people and things. he does not think that anyone can be truly happy living in the woods. He loves to be in the city and would advise Wordsworth to do the same. lamb feels that the mountains have nothing to offer him. Lamb trys to declin Wordsworths invitation by suggesting that Wordsworth should come to the city to see him.


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 2

In Charles Lamb's letter to English romantic poet, William Wordsworth, Lamb declines Wordsworth's invitation into Cumberland. He sites reasons not to go based mainly on his appreciation of the familiarity of his home in London.

To display his love of London and his reasons to stay, Lamb writes of everything in the city that is dear to him. He first describes the “lighted shops of the Strand and Fleet Street,” and the people and places that line it. He writes of the liveliness of the area as he states the “impossibility of being dull in Fleet Street.” The activeness of the vicinity feeds him and fills Lamb with joy, emotions that he compares with the way Wordsworth feels of the rurals.

Lamb also describes his attachments to as purely local and he finds no passion for the groves and vallies Wordsworth might love. “The rooms where (he) was born” the furniture, and streets are all that are dear to him and believes that he cannot find pleasure with the hills and lakes of Cumberland.


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 3

Really, the invitation is declined in a way that is less apologetic than self-excusing. Charles Lamb seems here to have no great love of “groves and vallies” and, in writing his letter refusing an invitation to Wordsworth's home, apparently in the country. It is not the company he dislikes, he explains, but the cost of such a trip and the scenery it entails.

Already late to reply to Wordsworth's kind invitation, Lamb seems embarrassed both for being late and that he has neither the money nor the volition to go out to the county. He says, frankly that he “(doesn't) much care if (he) never sees a mountain in (his) life...” seperate from his two friends—trying to snow them that, really it's not their company he has no wanting for, but rather the desolate, deserted country. Lamb seems to love the world that the city is—bright, noisy, dirty, cheap, and never dull—“life all hours of the night...”—loving the falseness and probably the anonimity of it all. He acknowledges that the love he professes for the city must seem strange to the sister and brother who live in the country, but, he says, “So are your rural emotions to me.” Perhaps, then, considering Lamb's intense love of London, it is not just a monetary price that he is wary of. “I have passed all my days in London,” he says,”until I have formed as many and intense local attachments, as any of your Mountaineers can have done with dead nature...”Perhaps Lamb is cautious about leaving the city not only for the toll it will take ton his pocketbook, but also for the toll it will take on his connections to the city.

In this manner (one of regret and nearly one of shame?) he allows his friends to know that, although he loves them dearly, he loves his city as much, and would no more leave it that they would their “sun & moon and skies and hills & lakes.”


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 4

Charles Lamb writes a letter of pity and condescention to reply to the invitation of William Wordsworht.

The tone of pity that Lamb uses to reject his inventation is apparent throughout the letter. he speaks of “the impossibility of being dull”which points to the possibility of dullness in some other place. Lamb describes his awe of London and how the wonder of the sights draw him in. He states that he often sheds tears “from the fulness of joy at so much life.” Lamb pities Wordsworth for not knowing or understanding his joy. the condescending tone of this letter carries his decline further. Lamb makes it clear that he has no desire to accept the invitation because of the location. Although they are friends, lamb does not much care to see the mountains. he makes a most condescending remark when he says “the Mind will make friends of anything.” His unacceptance of the country makes the statement clear when he asks” Have I not enough, without your mountains.” Lamb is fervent about his dislike of the mountains and that leads to his decline of the invitaiton from a friend. Charles lamb gives his reply to Wordsworth in a tone of pity and condesention which stems from his feelings of the mountainous country.


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 5

Throughout Lamb's response to Wordworth's invitation into Cumberland, there is a tone of near boredom. It is almost as if, other than the fact that he likes Wordworth, Lamb resents the invitation. He says, “Separate from the pleasure of your company, I don't much care if I never see a mountain in my life.” This could either be seen as rude or as Lamb's natural personality. Lamb seems to be saying in this letter that nothing can compare to his way of life and where he lives, why leave? He then lists a number of events that occurr on a regular in his hometown to give Wordworth an idea of why he doesn't want to go to such a rural place. He states in that passage that he is often compelled to take night walks, and frequently finds himself crying tears of joy at the sight of so much life. He goes on to explain that this way of life is all he has ever known, and that he could never adapt to anything different to it. The crowds and shops and restaraunts are no match to Wordsworth's” sun, moon, skies, hills, and lakes, which simply don't affect Lamb anymore. He has found his niche and feels that London is where he belongs.

This method of rejection may cause Wordsworth to become angry, but it might cause him not to invite Lamb anymore. This seems to be what Lamb is trying to achieve. He is trying to convince Wordsworth that the city life is for him and that there would be no point in his accepting the invitation. This does not let Wordsworth down lightly seeing as not only does Lamb give a direct rejection, but he continues to go on and explain why where he lives is better and that he pities Wordsworth for having to live in such a rural area. Some may consider this rejection rude, but it definitely gets the point across and accomplishes what Lamb wants to say. His statements, opinions, conclusions are short and to the point, which contributes to the almost resentful tone. The diction of the passage is very direct and leaves nothing else to be said about the letter. This essay can be summarized by the statement, “Cumberland is boring, London is fun; I don't care about what's over there, and I feel sorry for your having to live there...I'm not coming!”


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 6

Lamb's tone is a fairly condescending and occasionally unfriendly one. He refers to “dead nature”, implying that what he has is alive, and therefore better. The technique of comparison is rampant throughout the letter, as in “I have formed as many and intense local attachments as any of your Mountaineers can have done with dead nature.” Lamb's main thrust is to make Wordsworth's world seem small compared to his own large one. He refers to nature in terse, single words—“mountain,” “groves,” “lakes,” while spinning a wondrous tale of the glories of the “mud and dirt” and “drunken scenes” of London.

As you no doubt have noticed, my tone is very similar to that of Lamb's. However, Lamb does not maintain this entirely. He admits that “rural emotions” are strange to him, and there is even a hint of regret when he writes he lost his passion for nature when he fell out of love. Comparison arises multiple times as lamb defends his “pantomime and masquerade”—the city of London. He calls the sun and moon no more important to him than “a gilded room...where I might live with handsome visible objects.” He obviously feels passionately about the life and imperfect vitality of London, and has no experience with and therefore disdain for, Wordsworth's nature. This is attributed to the length of time he has spent in London relative to the time he has spent in the outdoors. This also is a comparison.

In order to impart the lovable chaos of London, Lamb briefly utilizes one technique of repeating multiple and random aspects of London's streets. In this way he gives a good impression of his own passion while simultaneously attempting to convert Wordsworth.


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 7

In declining an invitation from fellow poet William Wordsworth, Charles Lamb attempts to convey his utter satisfaction with his present life along with his apathy for entering anything new into it. Lamb simply decrees himself as one with the city, of all its lights and sounds and excitement; and he describes his utter lack of desire to experience nature, that Wordsworth and his sister find so entrancing. Lamb's use of a sympathetic and apologetic tone, coupled with proper diction make his refusal firm but yet polite at once.

Lamb opens his letter with a polite introduction to his rejection, without even an addressing “To__;” this immediately sets up a respectful but a negative response. He goes on to describe how although the mountains and nature have created such an attraction for Wordsworth, he doesnt feel it at all, but rather gravitates towards the city. This provides a parallel transition into his argument to decline the invitation. Lamb then goes on to vividly recount the numerous attractions of “his” London; clear imagery through precise diction to convey his emotive state of euphoria and excitement the city causes him.

Lamb alters his goals from the first paragraph to the second though. While in the first, he strove to keep his distance from the intended activity, in the latter he outright questions why his friend could feel so strongly about something so lifeless and ordinary. His diction and tone alter for effect, and instead of restraint, distance and respect for both his friends and their passion, he expresses his contempt with sharp, caustic diction. This paragraph seems more an invalidation and renunciation rather than a true conclusion. He actually concludes by saying that those things found in the city are the same, if not better than those parallels in nature. Lamb's letter is a convincing one because he clearly outlines why he does not want to leave, why he likes the alternative better and backs each with much detailed description. Effective use of both tone and imagery make this an effective and clear message of denial.


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 8

Romanticism: Effusiveness, Masquerading, Beauty and Effectiveness It is a distinctly nineteenth-century phenomenon that language, in itself, can be employed and applied on such an immense and elaborate level that the content of the writing is completely dominated by the technique—whether for good or for bad, for emphasis or distraction. In the twentieth-century world of blunt, terse wording, it is interesting and informative to analyze a piece of writing from the romantic era—to seperate the strands—to determine what, exactly, gives it its sheer effectiveness. This examination can best be done on the most characteristic method of nineteenth-century writing, one which is so sadly rare today—not the oft-assumed novel, but the letter—the art of correspondence. In the first month of the first year of the last century, Charles Lamb sent a message to the poet Wordsworth declining the latter's invitation to visit him. In today's world, such a rejection would be short and perhaps even brusque, and certainly no explanation would be given; after all, “ain't I entitled to be rude?” But Lamb would have had none of this; and so, in the course of two short paragraphs, he manages, through effective use of phrasing and tone, to offer a substantial and rich reason for his rejection of the invitation.

Lamb's first reason given for being unable to come is a timeless and understandable one: he would like nothing better than to see the poet, but he cannot afford the journey. The reader takes this in on the basest level—Lamb has no money. For a moment while the writer charges ahead: spiritually he says, he could not bear to depart the City to visit his friend in the Country. What an interesting reversal this is: instead of the standard romantic declaration of love for life in the Country, the writer understands that he is firmly at home in the City! And so he explains why...

Lamb, having “passed all (his) days in London” has completely absorbed the sights, the sounds, the bustle of that superorganism. His sentences pour forth, with hallmarks of the city rapidly declared, with only a slight pause before the next one: “The lighted shops...the unnumerable trades, tradesmen and customers, coaches, wagons, playhouses...,--life awake, if you awake, at all hours of the night, the impossibility of being dull in Fleet Street”—here a bit of rhyme, possible purposeful, to keep the diatribe flowing—“the crowds, the very dirt and mud...the pantomimes, London itself a pantomime and a masquerade...” and so on, and so on. It is a remarkable sentence, both in the imagery presented and in its own spark of life. It is joyful, flowing, cascading, all the words which themselves could have been part of the sentence.

Yet a proclamation of love for the City is not enough; he must explain why exactly, he does not want to leave it for the Country. Here Lamb seemingly falters a bit—or perhaps not. In no uncertain terms he tells Wordsworth that the Country holds no appeal for him: “I have no passion (or have had none since I was in love, and then it was the spurious engendering of poetry and books) to graves and vallies,” meaning that Wordsworth's land is silly, trite, and ultimately childish and useless. “I don't much care if i never see a mountain in my life” writes Lamb, and though one may be shocked by his seeming offensiveness in his decline to an invite, there is no reason not to believe him.

It may be unusual to find an urban-and antirural-romantic, but, as demonstrated, such an occurrance is possible. More important than the ideology is the base: at the heart of the matter, does Lamb indeed succeed in his writing? Has he effectively communicated to his friend the fact that he must decline? Does he delineate this with pure explanation, and couch it in a language that complements—not overwhelms—enhances the sentiment? Has he done his job?

The answer—to all of these questions—is a resounding “yes.” Charles Lamb gracefully allows his rejection of the invitation to gently float down, cushioned in proper and contemporary and complete language. He has done his duty and done it well.


1998 Question One Sample Response: Rated 9

Philosophical and practical associations of the definition of the quality of life often conflict and contradict their counterparts in literature; romantic ideals of nature are often justaposed with the kaleidoscopic actions of society. Such a clash of facons de vivre, although implicit and insinuous, is expressed in lamb's letter to the Romantic poet Wordsworth; lamb in a slightly mocking, condescending, yet amiable tone, emphasizes this duality. Through the reiteration of contrasts, the near deifiction of urban life, and the debasing of the aesthetic aspects of nature, lamb demonstrates that transcendentalism versus urbanity was not a mere subject of controversy in early nineteenth century literature, but in life as well. Lamb repeatedly insinuates the existence of marked differences between the tranquility and repetivieness of Wordsworth's lifestyle and the bustle and dtransient nature of his own. Although not glorifying or teaching an undue perfection to the character of London—he admires “the very dirt and mud,” “the wickedness about Convent Garden,” and “the drunken scenes”—he infuses the image of the city with a sense of vivaciousness and excitement and rejoices in the fact that he can revel in its baseness and vulgarity. London to lamb, is a place of action, a sensual and exciting habitat; it is “itself a pantomime and a masquerade,' a piece du theatre in which he longs to participate.

This convivial swirl of images and personnages is presented in stark contrast to Wordsworth's rual existence; although starkly and briefly mentioned, Lamb's disparaging comments regarding such “a desperate journey” to Wordsworth's “mountains, groves, and valleys” lead one to assume that he could glean little joy from such a peaceful, routine life. Lamb speaks quite frankly, affecting a tone of near haughtiness and superiority when addressing so-called `rural emotions”: I do not envy you, I should pity you, did I not know the Mind will make friends of any thing.” Althugh revered as the salvator of the individual in Romantic post-Elizabethan poetry, nature serves merely as a detractor, a sluggish ingredient in lamb's recipe of an active life.

Through this unadorned spurning of a natural existence, lamb not only refuses Wordsworth's sociable invitation, but his entire presuppositional system of thought. The satiating and stimulating affect London exertsas Lamb writes,” the fulness of joy at so much life”—is the antithesis of the reclusive, somewhat misanthropic lifestyle endorsed by the Romantics; a preference for society and learning, despite its defects, heralds the arising neoclassical period. Thus by labeling his bookcase and his human compatriots as the sole qualifying elements of his life, Lamb represents the struggle between Reason and Emotion, nature and humanity—themes represented thoroughly in the literature and politics of the time. one can say that this letter is not merely an amicable rejection of an invitation, but of a worldview; lamb and Wordsworth were but pawns in the ideological battles of their time.


LANGUAGE AP 1998- Question 2

Suggested Time: 40 minutes

The following passage, from Henry Jame's novel The Portrait of a Lady, is a conversation between two characters, Madame Merle and Isabel Archer. Read the passage attentively, noting the conflicting views about what constitutes the self. Then write a carefully reasoned, persuasive essay that demonstrates which of these two conceptions of the self has greater validity. Use specific evidence from your observation, experience, or reading to develop your position.
“When you've lived as long as I you'll see that every human being has his shell and that you must take the shell into account. By shell I mean the whole envelope of circumstances. There's no such thing as an isolated man or woman; we're each of us made up of some dcluster of appurtenances. What belongs to us--and then it flows back again. I know a large part of myself is in the clothes I choose to wear. I've a great respect for things! One's self--for other people--is on'e s expression of one's self; and one's house, one's furniture, one's garments, the books one reads, the company one keeps--these things are all expressive.”

This was very metaphysical; not more so, however, than several observations Madame Merle had already made. Isabel was fond of metaphysics, but was unable to accompany her friend into this bold analysis of the human personality. “I don't agree with you. I think just the other way. I don't know whether I succeed in expressing myself, but I know that nothing else expresses me. Nothing that belongs to me is any measure of me; everything's on the contrary a limit, a barrier, and a perfectly arbitrary one. Certainly the clothes which, as you say, I choose to wear, don't express me; and heaven forbid they should!”

“You dress very well,” Madame Merle lightly interposed.

“Possibly; but I don't care to be judged by that. My clothes may express the dressmaker, but they don't express me. To begin with it's not my own choice that I wear them; they're imposed upon me by society.”

“Should you prefer to go without them?” Madame Merle enquired in a tone which virtually terminated the discussion.


LANGUAGE AP 1998- Question 2


8 Essays earning a score of 8 effectively evaluate and take a position on the conflicting notions about the self discussed by the characters in James's passage. They present carefully reasoned arguments in support of their position using appropriate evidence from their knowledge and/or experience. Their prose demonstrates an ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not flawless.

6 Essays earning a score of 6 adequately evaluate the conflicting ideas about the self and take a position on the competing claims. They present arguments that are generally sound and use appropriate evidence although they may be less developed or less cogent than essays earning higher scores. A few lapses in diction or syntax may be present, but for the most part the prose of 6 essays conveys their writers' ideas clearly.

4 Essays earning a score of 4 inadequately respond to the question's tasks. They may misunderstand, misrepresent, or oversimplify the arguments advanced by the characters or use evidence inappropriate or insufficient to develop their own case. The prose of 4 essays usually conveys their writers' ideas but may suggest immature control over organization, syntax, or diction.

2 Essays earning a score of 2 achieve little success in identifying and evaluating the conflicting positions about the self advanced by the characters. These essays may seriously misread the passage or substitute a simpler task, not developing an argument but merely summarizing or tangentially responding to the question.


1998 Question Two Sample Response: Rated 1

In this ecerpt the charaters have very different veiws on how they should live. Madame Mearle believes that a lady should dress very professional and also act it. While Isabel Archer believes we should dress how you believe and not worry about it. Both of these women have their own points. I suggest you should develope yours.


1998 Question Two Sample Response: Rated 2

Madame Merle and Isabel Archer are “two very, very different women. One is a materialistic socialite while the other does not care about society and pleases herself. Henry James portrays these two traits in The Portrait of a lady; the former in Madame Merle and the latter in Isabel Archer. A materialistic life is one that does not focus on what is good and important, but what feels good and important. Isabel Archer displays the good traits and becomes an admirable character.

Materialism obeys what society says is good and good to own or have. A person obsessed with getting things will not pay attention to what they need, but what will make them look good to others. It takes away from a person's self and individuality. Individuality is what keeps us from being drones. Isabel Archer's way of life is admirable because she recognizes the importance of self and self-respect. She does not think that clothes express one's character unless that person made the clothes himself. Madame Merle seems to believe that society chooses what is good for everyone.

*I really believe that space aliens took over the body of Madame Merle to think so stupidly. They must have taken me over too, for me to take this test.

*The starred item was found at the very bottom of the page by the test-taker.


1998 Question Two Sample Response: Rated 3

Both women, Madame merle and Isabel Archer, have somewhat good ideas on what “self” is. When I started reading the passage I thought that I would side with Madame Merle when she stated that we are all made up of a shell, and by a shell she meant the whole envelope of circumstances. However, she went off on entirely different direction than I had in mind. Her idea of the “self” and the “shell” came to physical things. She had a `great respect for things.” The expression of one's self is through one's clothes, one's house, one's furniture, the books one reads, and the company one keeps. I do not agree with this and neither did Isabel. She stated that nothing that belonged to her is a measure of her. One's self is not a measure of what one has. So the statement i found so witty at the beginning, that “self” is the whole envelope of one's circumstances, is not true after all. Self is a measure, the whole envelope, of one's experiences. Everything that happens to me makes me who I am. It does not matter if I am rich or poor.

So in closing I guess I'll have to agree with Isabel. I do not care to be judged by my clothes; they do not express me. I wish to be judged only by who I am inside, not by what I wear.


1998 Question Two Sample Response: Rated 5

“My clothes may express the dressmaker, but they don't express me.” Isabel Archer becomes very disturbed over Madame Merle's opinion on how material items can “express” the person who owns them. Archer thinks “just the other way.” She feels nothing can express herself better than herself, “..nothing else expresses me. Nothing that belongs to me is any measure of me...”

Society has always encouraged its people to express themselves through what they buy and wear. With sayings like, “You'll never have a second chance to make a first impression,” it encourages people to dress like who they are and to buy things that reflect their personality, or at least reflect the personality they want others to think they have. In the conversation, Archer states, “To begin with it's not my own choice that I wear them; they're imposed upon me by society.” Today society says that if someone wants to be successful, he needs to look professional. A man could be the most rude, unintelligent, and slobbiest person on earth, but if he is walking down the street wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, society thinks he is expressing his inner formalism, politeness, organization, and professional personality.

Clothes and possession do not express who someone is directly. Actually, in a way, the clothes can reflect the person who chooses to wear them in a round about way. The man in the suit and Madame Merle can be identified as expressing their superficialness when they dress “for other people.” Dressing for other people might actually express a side of the man's personality he did not want to show. But, Archer's interpretation of what clothes are not “holds more water” than this indirect expression of one's personality.

Clothes and possessions cannot express the person as well as the person. All they do is express the person he wants himself to be. Through this conversation it is clear that Archer is much more secure with herself compared to merle because of her lack of possession obsession.


1998 Question Two Sample Response: Rated 6

The debate on what constitutes the human “self” has been discussed and analyzed by many different people. Henry James captured this debate in a passage of his novel, The Portrait of a Lady. The two main characters, Madame merle and Isabel Archer, argue whether the expression of one's self is the true self. I believe that the true self is not an expression of oneself.

First, Madame Merle believes that a person's “shell”, or the way people view a person's actions and appearance, reveals the true self. Merle asserted that her home, furniture, clothes, books, and friends all expressed her true self. She believed that all her actions and experiences made up her personality, not to mention her outward appearance. Second, Isabel Archer believes that nothing in life aptly expresses her true personality, her true self. Completely opposite to Merle's opinion, she believes her belongings are “no measure” of her. Her “shell” might be imposed on her, and therefore does not reflect her personality. She gave the examples of her choices of clothes; they did not reflect her true liking, but rather society's standard.

I agree with Isabel Archer's opinion that one's “shell “ is not a reflection upon one's true self. Each and every person on earth is unique. I have observed people and found that a person's belongings and appearance is never necessarily a mirror of his or her true personality. I for one, enjoy reading, but never have the time to do so! I like sports cars, but drive a Cadillac. I am tall and thin, but have never dieted. I love animals, but do not have any pets. My home, possessions, friends, and appearance do not always reflect my true personality. Thank goodness! Therefore, Isabel Archer's philosophy was quite correct, in my opinion. For why base someone's “self” on his or her “look”? I put the “my” in “self”, not my appearance.


1998 Question Two Sample Response: Rated 7

I remember my elated smile of surprise and pleasure at my birthday party during sixth grade upon receiving a pair of jeans I had longed for all year. A critical period with hormone heightened emotions, the entry into adolescence pushed me to fit in and conform. As with many other middle schoolers, I was terribly conscious of the necessity to wear the right clothes, to listen to the popular music, and to think the things that hundreds of others said I should. I wanted to be the same as everyone else. There was a comfort in conformity. But now I look back and realize how stifling those years were. The clothes, books, music, and places i associated with were a part of me but a part that failed to convey my true nature, my true self. I agree with Isabel in that these merely exterior barriers are hardly a “measure of me”; rather, they are limits to the thriving self behind the shell.

I hid behind the shell of Girbaud jeans, nice shoes and pop music in sixth grade because I strove to be a part of a particular middle school crowd. Though i consciously chose what tangible objects surrounded me, i chose them to fit a pre-set mold full of requirements of what to wear, who to speak to, what to read. They repressed my individuality. And now when I am aware of their strong hold on my identity, I realize that these extensions of myself that “overflow into everything” urge others to make incorrect assumptions about myself. Since I read this book and wear that shirt, I am automatically placed into another pre-determined catagory that can not accurately describe my self. Even people who claim they are non-conformists and are expressing themselves through eccentric clothes and music fall into the pool of nonconformity. The continuing shell that surrounds the self is inescapable.

Rather than claim this shell as an extension to the self, I agree that it is nothing but a barrier and acknowledge that nothing can truly express me. I do not desire for people to take one cursory glance at my `shell” and immediately acquire a true definition of my self. Hopefully others will look deeper, hear my words, and perceive my actions. Then will they know me.


1998 Question Two Sample Response: Rated 8

For eighteen years I have attempted to grasp the slippery form that is the self. I have tried to seek him out, grab his slimy body and bring him into the sunlight where i can clearly see the sun reflect off his cold scales. But this is a difficult task. Instead, I have had to look for quiet windows into the self. In essence I have had to look to self-expression for an understanding. From the books I read to the friends I keep, I find a reflection of myself. The freedom of choice has allowed me a nearly limitless canvas upon which to paint my likeness. Books, activities, and friends have become my oils, watercolors, and charcoal. As a young boy I was given things to read. I was given books that would develop phonetics and grammar. As I grow older, however, I chose my own books.—books to feed my thoughts. I consumed, and still do, the fast-food fiction of Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton. Such books satiated a need for action and enthrallment. However, I do not hold a single facet. My tastes run everywhere. When reading John Cheever's “the Swimmer,” I found myself stopping midstory in awe of the images and diction that I felt so clearly spoke to me. The description of levity at a coming storm absorbed my mind. Since that time I have often found myself drawn to various works of literature as an expression of myself. Garcia-Marquez's “A Very Old man with Enormous Wings” or Kafka's “In the Penal Colony” have been reflecting pools for me. Undoubtedly this is in part due to my desire to be a writer. In any case my selection of what I read expresses the person I am.

So too does the manner in which I spend my time illustrate my character. Those unique opportunities that have let me make my own choices have become building blocks of who I am. On one side the competitive rower and swimmer I have discovered the value of cooperation and the thrill of victory, as well as loss. At the same time I find myself often alone in contemplation or staring at my computer pulling another short story or stanza of a poem from my mind's deeper corners. The duality of my love for a group of teammates and athletics and my love for solitary creation and shaping of imagination sculpts the self. The fact that I choose these things makes them all the more personal. Making the decision to sit for hours with a pen or a paintbrush and create something out of my own imagination clearly expresses my makeup as an individual.

This ability to choose presents itself again, in my choice of friends. I look for those individuals who share my interests—or at the very least respect them. In surrounding myself with fellow oarsmen or fellow writers, i continually surround myself with—myself. The loyalty, humor and concern that each of my friends exhibits reflects upon my character. Who they are reflects who I am. This marvelous correction embodies intricacy of self expression.

I see myself, not always as clearly as I would like to, but I see myself.

From my books, to my activities, to my friends a common thread is woven. Every so often I calmly step back and take a breath, eye the waters, and plunge my hand in. Sometimes I almost grab him. Sometimes I do not. I know he exists though, that slippery, fishy self, I have seen him in those choices I have made.


1998 Question Two Sample Response: Rated 9

The Self. The oldest question in the world—and the one that is the basis for most philosophy—pertains to what, exactly, a human is. The debate over how life exists and self-perpetuates will never be answered, but there are some potential answers as to questions on the human state. “Cogito ergo sum” is not good enough—too limiting.” What defines a person as himself? Much work has been based on this wondering; an excerpt from Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady presents two of the most often taken sides on the debate—and leaves it to the reader as to which is true. The first concept of the self could be characterized as the more “civilized” of the two—at least in some ways. The character Madame Merle declares that “the self” is defined as a matter of “the whole envelope of circumstances”, meaning that everything which affects each person in the slightest forms some part of that person's “self”. Madame Merle's stance assumes environment above nature, that development in any form is always gradual, that all things are as close and interlocking that a person is not really himself—he is instead parts of many other people, each of whom is a part of many other people. Madam merle also, in one of those less-than-savory turns in which good motives are employed for means less than (kind? word unreadable), firmly believes that only through “things”—acquired things, be they physical or otherwise—can a person be complete.

Madame Merle's young friend Isabel believes quite otherwise. According to Isabel's thought, a person is only what he is. Whatever defines a person is purely within that person—natural and inborn. No one else can truly change the basic characteristics of a person's self. Attempted changes can be made, but actually to the person they will be nothing more than a hinderance of the true self, not a replacement of it or part of it. Thus, argues Isabel, it is perfectly all right to have material things—as long as it is remembered that those things are a reflection of their makers only. Extraneous additions provide no part of the self's character. These are the two primary arguments: that the self is defined by others, and that the self is set and unassailable, which, then, is correct? Leaving aside the accusations of youthful idealism with which one taking the stance might be called, it is safe and accurate to say that the second statement—Isabel's—is correct. This can be proven both on its own merits and on the faults of the other argument.

Madame Merle, in stating that the self only comes about through process, ignores the fact that something must be there for things to be able to be added. She assumes that various elements can combine in nothingness to form something new; and nothing could be farther from the truth. There must be something already there—Isabel's conception of the self—if anything is to meld. Perhaps just as important, Madame merle's argument is morally unsound in its seemingly inevitable justification of material gain as the highest goal. For such a resolution to flow from philosophical argument renders the whole thing treacherous, immoral, and unclean. Isabel, on the other hand, begins with the coorect concept of the base-self. While not denying the influence of outside factors, she very quietly and effectively denies madame merle's belief that these influences form the whole of the self. Isabel recognizes that the truth must come from what is, not what is added to what is. In addition, Isobel does not deny some benefits from material gain—both for the creator and the recipient—but she never strays from her self-as-base stance, nor does she ever invoke material gain as an inevitable outcome of her philosophy. Therefore, on the whole, her argument is more morally sound and has greater validity.

It is probably impossible to convince every person of a correct ideology, though it is certainly desirable—it may just be that constant philosophical strife is what sustains humankind. But it is possible to state that the correct view is, indeed correct, and at least to try to convince the world. Therefore, it is possible and right to state that of the two opinions given in this passage. Isabel's—that of the self existing purely on its own character and terms—is the correct one.


LANGUAGE AP 1998- Question 1

Suggested Time: 40 minutes

The following letters constitute the complete correspondence between an executive of the Coca-Cola company and a representative of Grove Press. Read the letters carefully. Then write an essay analyzing the rhetorical strategies each writer uses to achieve his purpose and explaining which letter offers the more persuasive case.
Mr. R. W. Seaver March 25, 1970

Executive Vice President

Grove Press, Inc.

214 Mercer Street

New York, New York 10012

Dear Mr. Seaver:

Several people have called to our attention your advertisement for Diary of a Harlem Schoolteacher by Jim Haskins, which appeared in the New York Times March 3, 1970. The theme of the ad is “This book is like a's the real thing.”

Since our company has made use of “It's the Real Thing” to advertise Coca-Cola long prior to the publication of the book, we are writing to ask you to stop using this theme or slogan in connection with the book.

We believe you will agree that it is undesirable for our companies to make simultaneous use of “the real thing” in connection with our respective products. There will always be likelihood of confusion as to the source or sponsorship of the goods, and the use by such prominent companies would dilute the distinctiveness of the trade slogan and diminish its effectiveness and value as an advertising and merchandising tool.

“It's the Real Thing” was first used in advertising for Coca-Cola over twenty-seven years ago to refer to our product. We first used it in print advertising in 1942 and extended it to outdoor advertising, including painted walls--some of which are still displayed throughout the country. The line has appeared in advertising for Coca-Cola during succeeding years. For example, in 1954 we used “There's this about Coke--You Can't Beat the “Real Thing” in national advertising. We resumed national use of “It's the Real Thing” in the summer of 1969 and it is our main thrust for 1970.

Please excuse my writing so fully, but I wanted to explain why we feel it necessary to ask you and your associates to use another line to advertise Mr. Haskin's book.

We appreciate your cooperation and your assurance that you will discontinue the use of “It's the real thing.”


Ira C. Herbert

Mr. Ira C Herbert March 31, 1970

Coca-Cola USA

P.O. Drawer 1734

Atlanta, Georgia 30301

Dear Mr. Herbert:

Thank you for your letter of March 25th, which has just reached me, doubtless because of the mail strike.

We note with sympathy your feeling that you have a proprietary interest in the phrase “It's the real thing,” and I can fully understand that the public might be confused by our use of the expression, and mistake a book by a Harlem schoolteacher for a six-pack of Coca-Cola. Accordingly, we have instructed all our salesmen to notify bookstores that whenever a customer comes in and asks for a copy of Diary of a Harlem Schoolteacher they should request the sales personnel to make sure that what the customer wants is the book, rather than a Coke. This, we think, should protect your interest and in no way harm ours.

We would certainly not want to dilute the distinctiveness of your trade slogan nor diminish its effectiveness as an advertising and merchandising tool, but it did not occur to us that since the slogan is so closely identified with your product, those who read our ad may well tend to go out and buy a Coke rather than our book. We have discussed this problem in an executive committee meeting, and by a vote of seven to six decided that, even if this were the case, we would be happy to give Coke the residual benefit of our advertising.

Problems not unsimilar to the ones you raise in your letter have occurred to us in the pasat. You may recall that we published Games People Play which became one of the biggest nonfiction best-sellers of all time, and spawned conscious imitations (Games Children Play, Games Psychiatrists Play, Games Ministers Play, etc.). I am sure you will agree that this posed a far more direct and deadly threat to both the author and ourselves that our sue of “It's the real thing.” Further, Games People Play has become part of our language, and one sees it constantly in advertising, as a newspaper headline, etc. The same is true of another book which we published six or seven years ago, One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding.

Given our strong sentiments concerning the First Amendment, we will defend to the death your right to use “It's the real thing” in any advertising you care to. We would hope you would do the same for us, especially when no one here in our advertising agency, I am sorry to say, realized that you owned the phrase. We were merely quoting in our ads Peter S. Prescott's review of Diary of a Harlem Schoolteacher in Look which begins “Diary of a Harlem Schoolteacher is the real thing, a short, spare, honest book which will, I suspect, be read a generation hence as a classic....”

With all best wishes,

Sincerely yours,

Richard Seaver


LANGUAGE AP 1998- Question 3


9 Essays earning a score of 9 meet all the criteria for 8 papers and in addition are especially full or apt in their analysis or demonstrate particularly effective stylistic control.

8 Essays earning a score of 8 effectively analyze how the rhetorical strategies in each letter achieve the author's purpose and explain convincingly which letter makes the more persuasive argument. They are likely to recognize how specific strategies (for example, syntax, tone, and diction) contribute to the writer's purpose. Their prose demonstrates an ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not flawless.

7 Essays earning a score of 7 fit the description of 6 essays but employ more complete analysis or more mature prose style.

6 Essays earning a score of 6 adequately analyze how the rhetorical strategies of each letter achieve their author's purposes and evaluate which letter makes the more persuasive case. They may discuss rhetorical elements such as diction or tone that contribute to the letter's effect, but their discussion may be incomplete. A few lapses in diction or syntax may be present, but generally the prose of 6 essays conveys their writers' ideas clearly.

5 Essays earning a score of 5 analyze strategies used in each letter to make their case but their development of these strategies is limited or inconsistent. Their focus may be unclear or their analysis insufficiently developed. A few lapses in diction or syntax may be present, but usually the prose in 5 essays conveys their writers' ideas more or less clearly.

4 Essays earning a score of 4 inadequately respond to the task. Their analysis of rhetorical strategies and effectiveness is limited in accuracy or purpose. They may misunderstand purpose or paraphrase the letters more than analyze them, or they may focus on only one letter. The prose of 4 essays may convey their writers' ideas adequately, but may suggest immature control over organization, diction or syntax.

3 Essays earning a score of 3 meet the criteria for the score of 4 but are less perceptive about how rhetorical strategies connect to purpose in these letters or less consistent in their control of elements of writing.

2 Essays earning a score of 2 achieve little success in analyzing how rhetorical strategies contribute to relative effectiveness in the two letters. These essays may pay little attention to rhetorical features and generalize about, or seriously misread, tone or purpose. They may simply paraphrase or comment on the letters without analyzing their strategies. The prose of 2 papers often reveals consistent weaknesses in writing: a lack of development or organization, grammatical problems, or a lack of control.

1 Essays earning a score of 1 meet the criteria for the score of 2 but in addition are especially simplistic in their discussion or weak in controlling elements of language.

0 Indicates an on-topic response that receives no credit, such as one that merely repeats the prompt. Indicates a blank response or one that is completely off topic.


1998 Question Three Sample Response: Rated 3

I think we should not have a limit on the words we use to describe different advertisements such as “it's the real thing” because when people buy the merchandise they know wether they want a coke or a book. I don't think having the same slogan will interfere with any of the sales because people ar not buying the slogan they are paying for the merchandise in this certain situation. I would understand if they named the book “Coca-Cola Classic” that would make different because there would be questioning on what the book is about and in business many say “Anything Goes”, I also feel it was a sign of ignorance of the person complaining on what the slogan is being used on because he felt ownership towards the slogan “it's the real thing” this has become part of the English language so it really should'nt of affected Mr. R. W. Seaver.


1998 Question Three Sample Response: Rated 5

The rhetorical strategies of these two letters represent the differences between both the manners of the writers and the companies they work for. As a beverage producing company and a printing press are nothing alike, so Mr. Seaver and Mr. Herbert re very much two totally different individuals. Mr. Herbert, the Coca-Cola employee of unknown status, puts up a weak and selfish arguement. True Coca-Cola may have owned the slogan first, by business standards of course. The fact of the matter is, however, that no one can truly own words, phrases, sentences and so forth. Statements come and go all the time. They are repeated daily by hundreds of people in multiple languages discussing a wide variety of topics. Past possession is generally a good argument, but in this case it is very, very weak. However, Mr. Herbert was polite and to the point, which are very commendable qualities.

Now on to the oppossition, Mr. Seaver. Mr. Seaver being the Executive Vice President of a well reknowed printing press certainly has the right to argue his case with our mean Mr. Herbert, but he really does go about it in a rather vicious manner.

Although the letter is written in a formal syntax it is full of sarcasm and undesirable insults to his recievers intellegence. Obviously no one would ever mistake a book for a beverage and it was entirely rude for Seaver to imply that Mr. Herbert might be thinking that.

Overlooking these faults, however, Mr. Seaver does carry the stronger arguement. He goes about it in a much more aggressive way and has more backing in the fact that words cannot truly be owned. Also seeing as how they are two very different companies it can be undeniably assumed that their products will not be confused.

I guess this is one of those case where the loud obnoxious man just happens to get the better hand and thus wins the game.


1998 Question Three Sample Response: Rated 6

Mr. Seaver and Mr. Herbert both pose convincing arguments concerning the subject. Their approaches are found to be quite different. Both address the problem with people using other people's or something similar to other people's ideas to sell their product. Although not always intentional, it does at times occur. Mr. Herbert's approach was kind, courteous and considerate throughout. He informed Mr. Seaver's of Coca-Cola's claim on the slogan and asked that they dismiss it from their ad campaign. Mr. Herbert went into the history of the slogan and how it dated back 27 years. Mr. Herbert seemed genuinely concerned that the two products carrying the same slogan might get confused. Mr. Seavers saw the congruence in a very different light. His reply was very playful, cunning, vindictive, and slightly rude. In the first paragraph he pokes fun at Mr. Herbert's concern for the confusion the two products would cause by carrying the same slogan. In the second paragraph he says that he believes that it will help Coke sales and that his company has no problem with that. Next, he goes into how the same situation has happened to them in the past and that they fully understand. Lastly Mr. Seaver's describes his loyalty to the Coke company and the backing of their slogan. In turn he asks for their loyalty as well. Mr. Seaver's explained where the slogan originated from and that it was not to spite them at all but from a review of the book.

I believe that they should both be able to use the phrase. Unless Coke patented it, it is fair game. Mr. Seaver's article contained harsh and informal (childlike) undertones but was a trully compelling argument at explaining just how neurotic Mr. Herbert appeared for even bringing up the subject. The two should be able to coexist using the same slogan. A person should hardly confuse a novel and a drink. The two are very distinct and can stand proudly on their own and without worry about a confusion. If the two companies have faith in their products, then the people will too and not by association to a catchy phrase.


1998 Question Three Sample Response: Rated 7

Coca-Cola certainly is “the real thing,” and who would ever guess that one could ever use this slogan in relation to another product, especially when the two products differ so much in composition. One product is obviously a beverage ment to quench one's thirst; while the other product is a book, ment to be read for pleasure or to gain information. The connection between these two items is almost non-existant, accept for one little phrase, “it's the real thing.” (In a correspondence between the Coca-Cola company and Grove Press, the delima concerning these four little words, “it's the real thing, is apparent; however, it is the Coca-Cola Company who succeeds in presenting a more sound argument for the discontinued use of the slogan on Grove press' account.)

In addressing the Grove Press on the issue of this slogan, the Coca-Cola Company writes a letter to the executive vice-president of Grove Press. In this letter, Ira C. Herbert addresses the Grove Press in a polite manner, requesting that they discontinue the use of the slogan that Coca-Cola has possessed for so many years. Coca-Cola states that “It's the real Thing” was first used in advertising for Coca-Cola over twenty-seven years ago to refer to our product.” They continue to give historical data concerning the slogan and its end endorsement of their product. They also say that “we believe you will agree that it is undesirable for our companies to make simultaneous use of “the real thing” in connection with our respective products.” In making this assumption, they then proceed in telling about the confusion that could result. Then, in the end, they thank the Grove Press their cooperation and their discontinued use of this slogan. Therefore, the rhetorical devices are used to support assumptions and provide factual data to support their claim.

However, on the flip side of the coin, Grove Press was not so respectful when responding to Coca-Cola's letter and request. Grove Press' vice-president Richard Seaver made such sarcastic comments as “...I can fully understand that the public might be confused by our use of the expression and mistake a book by a Harlem school-teacher for a six pack of Coca-Cola.” “Remarks such as this one decorate his letter, and he fails to provide factual data to support his assumption. This he relies on sarcasims to support his point. However, he does address the first Amendment claiming that “we will defend to the death your right to use `It's the real thing' in any advertising you care to. We would hope you would do the same for us...”

It quickly becomes evident to the reader who the more persuasive writer is. It is the Coca-Cola Company for their effective use of rhetoricl devices to support their claims. They not only provide a factual base for their request, but they also use a curtious tone when addressing the Grove Press Comapny. The Coca-Cola Company didn't rely on false and sarcastic remarks. In also looking at the organization the letter from Ira C. Herbert was much more uniform, presenting an argument and then supporting it. On the other hand, Richard Seaver was repetitive at times claiming that the stealing of another's slogan is no big deal and will serve beneficial in the long run.

In conclusion, a well thought out and argued letter, lacking rude sarcasim, will alway prove the best in the end. If one wants to achieve a goal or respond to someone's request, they shouldn't rely on bitter tones. They, insted, should rely on good, strong, sound arguments to achieve their goal. So, it is evident that by using these techniques, the Coca-Cola Company's letter offered a more persuasive case than the Grove Press' letter.


1998 Question Three Sample Response: Rated 8

The violation of copyright law is a serious offense in society, but free speech is still an institution, the opinions of Coca-Cola executives notwithstanding.

The first letter written by Mr. Herbert of Coca-Cola uses historical anecdotes to strengthen Coke's claim on the phrase “It's the real thing.” After a lengthy (and pedantic) recitation of the merits of Coke and its advertising, Mr. Herbert concludes that Grove press will, as a foregone conclusion, aquiesce to Coca-Cola's demands and thanks the publishers in advance for their cooperation and assurance.

Mr. Seaver's reply though much less “professional,” is far more effective. The reply is written as soon as the original letter is recieved, a certain assurance of the importance of Coca-Cola's concerns to Grove press. Mr. Seaver then adopts a heavily sarcastic tone and expresses his concern for the public's confusion (alluding to the final letter), and the possibility of their mistaking a “book by a Harlem schoolteacher for a six-pack of Coca-Cola.” Salesmen have been instructed, apparently, to ensure prospective buyers of the book really want the book, not Coke—the absurdity of which statement serves to highlight the absurdity of Coke's claim.

Since the Slogan is “closely identified” with Coke (this despite the fact that no one in a presumable quite large publishing institution knew of Coke's claim on the phrase.) Coke is, according to Seaver, welcome to any “residual benefit” of Grove advertising—not quite as “undesirable” as Herbert said.

Seaver goes through Herbert's letter and refutes it piece by piece. There is first an almost direct quote stating that Grove “would certainly not want to dispute the distinctiveness of Coke's trade slogan nor diminish its effectiveness.” Seaver even uses Herbert's strategy of historical anecdote to explain a situation with spinoff's from a famous book, the possible repercussion of which cause Coca-Cola's worries to pale in comparison. Freedom of speech for Coke is defended by Seaver with an allusion to Voltaire's famous “I will defend to the death your right to sy it” statement. Surely, then, common citizens such as Peter S. Prescott may have the same luxury, and Grove Press can quote his opinion without fear of repercussions. Seaver concludes despite trials of unenlightened Coca-Cola executives on an upbeat note with “best wishes” to the author of what must be one of the most absurd arguments of history.


1998 Question Three Sample Response: Rated 9

Irony and cynicism have often assumed a dual vote throughout literature, both degrading an opponent when used rhetorially and supporting one's own argument. By elevating the petty and insignificant points of the opposition's argument to a universally consequent status, an author can lead his audience to an unconscious identification with his cause by convincing them of the ridiculous and often unnecessary nature of the other's complaint. Through insiduous mockery and blatant insincerity, a previously sound and cordial argument can appear inconsequential or fallacious.

Such is the case concerning the correspondance between the Coca-Cola company and Grover Press; although one may initially assume Coca-Cola's conclusions and be in accordance with the legitimacy of their complaint—in this case, the usurpation of an advertising slogan—all sympathies are dispelled by the cynicism and sarcasm of the Grove rebuttal. Coca-Cola speaks amiably and respectfully, never lowering to the level of mockery or debasement, and outlines two main arguments concerning the dual use of the slogan in question, each of which is disdainfully refuted in an ironic, witty response.

The Coca-Cola Company initially asserts that the simultaneous usage of their slogan will engender public confusion regarding the identification with a particular product; the corporation also states that the catchphrase's effectiveness will be diluted as a merchandising tool. They argue logically solely on the basis of historical precedent; their main weapon is a simple appeal to reason. Although not strictly limited to the traditional western “modus ponens” logical form, the argument follows in general traditional debate form: an assertion supported by concrete evidence (for examples the writer insinuates that his corporation should use the slogan in question simply because it has done so prior to Grove Press' usage; he supports his claim with a detailed history of that particular advertising campain.) His case seems objective, unbiased, and entirely rational.

All trappings of reason are annulled, however, by Grove Press' bitingly ironic rejoinder. Coca-Cola's primary argument concerning public confusion and disassociation with the motto is attacked, bearing the full brunt of the author's sarcasm. Phrases such as, “I can fully understand that the public might be confused by our use of the expression and mistake a book...for a six-pack of Coca-Cola” and “we have instructed all sales personnel to make sure that what the customer wants is a book and not a Coke” mock the previously seemingly logical argument and demonstrate the frivolity of the complaint. Although illogical and vituperative, the author's “ad homineum” style of rhetoric exerts a more lasting and convincing sway on the reader. By duplicating exactly phrases from the Coca-Cola letter, the very cordiality of the style is made a target of ridicule as well, undermining the credence and effectiveness of the first letter. The Groves Press' more familiar tone and ease of expression the formal, respectful adornment of the Coca-Cola letter is scorned as well—also supports their argument in the eyes of the reader. Although obstreperous and critical, irony and sarcasm—when liberally applied—can often emotionally undermine the arguments of an opponent to such an extent as to cause the reader to favor it over simple logic. Occasionally, it pays to be rude.