1. Open Essay Prompt (1988):
Choose a distinguished novel or play in which some of the most significant events are mental or psychological; for example, awakenings. discoveries, changes in consciousness. In a well-organized essay, describe how the author manages to give these internal events the sense of excitement, suspense and climax usually associated with external action. Do not merely summarize the plot.
2. Open Essay Prompt (1982):
In great literature, no scene of violence exists for its own sake. Choose a work of literary merit that confronts the reader or audience with a scene(s) of violence. In a well-organized essay, explain how the scene or scenes contribute to the meaning of the complete work. Avoid plot summary.
3. Open Essay Prompt (1980):
A recurring theme in literature is the classic war between passion and responsibility. Choose a literary work in which a character confronts the demands of a private passion that conflicts with his or her responsibilities. In a well-written essay, show clearly the nature of conflict, its effects upon the character, and its significance to the work. Avoid plot summary.