How would I respond to this?
In his 1998 book, “Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality,” Neal Gaber wrote the following:
“One does not necessarily have to cluck in dissapproval to admit that entertainment is all the things its detractors say it is: fun, effortless, sensational, mindless, formulaic, predictable and subversive. In fact, one might argue that those are the very reasons many people love it.
At the same time, it is not hard to see why cultural aristrocrats in the ninteenth century and intellectuals in the twentieth hated entertainment and why they predicted, as one typical ninteenth century critic railed, that its eventual effect would be “to overturn all morality, to poison the springs of domestic happiness, to dissolve the ties of our social order, and to involve our country in ruin.”
Write a thoughtful and carefully constructed essay in which you use specific evidence to defend, challenge, or qualify the assertion that entertainment has the capacity to ruin society.
Okay, so what exactly is the prompt asking me to do (like what does it mean by specific evidence, I’m not allowed to have any books or anything near me when I’m writing this essay, since it’s an example essay for the AP Language and Comp Test)? And do you have any ideas on what I can write?
I just want to get a feel of what this prompt is asking and then practice the rest in the book in an actual testing environment.
For an AP Language and Comp test, you typically have a series of books that you would be expected to read throughout your school career or specifically in that course.
This is described in the AP course page.
Hopefully your teacher did follow the AP course description and you have read books that the AP committee expects you to have read.
You will need to draw on your knowledge of those books as examples. The prompt doesn’t explicitly restrict you from using other examples such as maybe from modern movies or things not from your AP course, but they are really expecting you to use examples from the books you read throughout the class.
You aren’t expected to directly quote the books, but you are expected to recall and describe or paraphrase parts of those books from memory to use as your evidence. Same as if you were in a debate or argument with a friend.
As a meta-example on how to use evidence:
The way to write a AP comp essay is similar to the scene from Billy Madison, where Billy uses the “Puppy who lost his way” as evidence in the Academic Decathlon final scene.
However just like Billy, if you used “puppy who lost his way” in your AP test, you’d probably be awarded zero points as well.
So what books you read had anything to do related to Entertainment? What do you think was that author’s view. Does it support or challenge the quote in the prompt?
If you can recall several different examples, then you can write a more thoughtful essay.
If you can’t come up with any examples, then you are stuck and will get a zero.