In what you are designating as your AP Language and Composition Journal, complete the following for each of the five essays where five different writers offer different takes on the idea of happiness (in the heading, somewhere indicate that this is journal entry #2 – you’re also encouraged to give the entry some sort of clever title):

  1. Identify the phrase/sentence/passage you feel best encapsulates the main idea, purpose (or thesis). (What are they saying about happiness?)

  2. As you go through, identify specific instances where the writer uses some of the stylistic elements elaborated on in last night’s reading – that’s anything from sentence structure (length, parallelism, etc.), to punctuation, to diction (word choice), to figurative language (tropes, schemes).  And try to go broad with this; don’t just pick out the metaphors in each essay.  In addition, write a little bit about the effect of these choices – think about how the writer’s style works with what the writer’s saying.

  3. Finally, for each essay, write a little bit about how the author’s definition of happiness compares to your own?  Was your idea of happiness challenged? Confirmed?  Try to be specific (vivid, concrete) with regards to both the text and your own thinking.

A Tip: Think of this entry as five separate written analyses/reflections. Don’t approach it as if you’re answering three separate questions five separate times. Me mindful not just of what you say, but of how you say it.

And here are links to the essays:


Think about your own experience as a writer.  To what extent do you think you’ve cultivated a distinct style?  What are some things that have helped, or impeded this process?

Looking back through the “Style in Argument” chapter (as in make explicit references to chapter 13 in Everything’s an Argument), which stylistic elements do you feel fit you best, the way you naturally think and express yourself?  For example, my cognitive process like 90% analogy-reliant and I find myself frequently interrupting my thoughts to clarify my thoughts.  As a result, my writing tends to be analogy-heavy, and I tend to use a lot of appositive phrases – you know, non-essential, clarifying interruptions set off by dashes, my favorite form of punctuation.

Set some goals for yourself this semester: which stylistic elements do you want to become more competent with as you develop a more authentic voice in your writing?