Works of Literary Merit

Before joining this adversarial discussion, be sure that you’ve read the material in the last post very, very carefully. Also be sure that you’ve picked up the Regents Exam packet distributed on May 28; copies of that packet will not be made available online, although you will be able to pick up extras at any point in class.

Also note that there is a writing assignment at the end of this post. It is the same one given to you in class on Wednesday the 29th; check back here to be sure that you understand what you must do by the end of the day on Friday.

Have your Regents Exam packet handy as you read this post. Notice that the scoring grid in the packet splits the exam into two sections: multiple-choice questions and writing prompts. You will be practicing the multiple-choice all week through Castle Learning, where you will find a new set of assignments starting today. (You should be finishing the batch assigned to you in early May, as well.) For the writing portion, we’ll start with the lone essay: the critical lens.

Here is a copy of the prompt you will see on the exam day (it is also reprinted in your practice packet):

Write a critical essay in which you discuss two works of literature you have read from the particular perspective of the statement that is provided for you in the Critical Lens. In your essay, provide a valid interpretation of the statement, agree or disagree with the statement as you have interpreted it, and support your opinion using specific references to appropriate literary elements from the two works. You may use scrap paper to plan your response. Write your essay in the essay booklet.

Critical Lens [will be different on the exam, obviously]:

“Because of its tremendous solemnity death is the light in which great passions, both good and bad, become transparent, no longer limited by outward appearences.”
—Søren Kierkegaard (Journal Entry for July 17, 1840)


Be sure to

• Provide a valid interpretation of the critical lens that clearly establishes the criteria for analysis
• Indicate whether you agree or disagree with the statement as you have interpreted it
• Choose two works you have read that you believe best support your opinion
• Use the criteria suggested by the critical lens to analyze the works you have chosen
• Avoid plot summary. Instead, use specific references to appropriate literary elements (for example: theme, characterization, setting, point of view) to develop your analysis
• Organize your ideas in a unified and coherent manner
• Specify the titles and authors of the literature you choose
• Follow the conventions of standard written English

To insure the best possible score on this essay, you are going to prepare a list of the works you might use in your essay. The easiest way to do this: Make a list of all of the works you’ve read over the last three years that have some literary merit. For each, complete a Major Works Data Sheet. Use the template in your packet, and write your responses in your compendium.

When you’re ready, leave a comment below with a possible work. Give as much detail as possible, and discuss why it might work on any given critical lens prompt. Then return periodically to this post to discuss possibilities and fill in gaps in information (e.g., authors’ names, characters, setting).

Writing assignment: You must write a practice critical lens essay using one of the quotations in your packet by the end of the day on Friday. Follow the prompts and guidelines in your packet. Give yourself between 60 and 90 minutes, and write by hand. Submit this handwritten essay before leaving school grounds on Friday.

Bonus score: If you average as a class a 4 on this practice essay, I’ll enter a 100/100 bonus grade into the gradebook for all of you, regardless of your individual score. Otherwise, it’s your individual score.

Bonus score #2: If you average as a class a 4 on this portion of the Regents Exam itself, I’ll enter another 100/100 bonus grade into the gradebook for all of you, regardless of your individual scores.


36 thoughts on “Works of Literary Merit

  1. I personally find that this regents should be very simple if you put the time and effort into it. If you take the time to study you will be successful. If you look at the rubric for the scores on the regents all you really need to be confident you will pass is 15 right on the multiple choice. I believe we can all achieve that.

    • I agree John, we should all be able to achieve great scores on this exam. All we have to do is put some time and some effort, as you said. If we all do that, i feel like we can all do well.

  2. I agree with John. Also I believe that everything we have done all year has been preparing us to do well on the regents. Its just about the choices you made.

  3. I completely agree with you John. The regents is designed to test your knowledge on a specific topic, but it was never designed for failure. I feel that it should not be the goal JUST to pass but to excel. If our collective goal is to pass, than what does that say about the standards we have set? Our goal should be to have each student strive to “master” the exam . Even if this means that not everyone gets an 85 or above on the exam, that’s okay. But if we all work as hard as possible and study as hard as we can, than there will be no failures in this class.

    • I agree with you and John completely Erik, I believe that everyone has the capability to excel to the best of their ability, its whether or not they choose to is the question that really needs to be asked.

    • I agree to an extent with Erik and John. I think we can all agree that the test scores we receive on the regents reflects upon our reading comprehension and the work of which each individual has put into the subject. I think it is only fair if children who almost, in a sense, make an effort to be defiant and contrast directions given and work assigned should fail the regents. However, that the Regents Exams are designed to illustrate the mastery of the class, and the curve of the grades from the exams are necessary- to show how you measure up compared to everyone else. The Regents, the way it is should be designed, is not to show exactly who passed and who has failed (the curve allows for a large portion of grades to reach above 65) but to demonstrate the mastery that the 85 and above percentile. Thus as grades become higher on the regents, it’s much harder to achieve mastery, whereas pass, the bare minimal. Although majority of students do not find the Regents Exams enjoyable, I believe they are necessary, to illustrate subject mastery, however, not accurate with showing who’s failed or completed their work throughout the year. Therefore it’s a good idea, although not many kids will like it, but there should be two finals for a subject. A regents with is clearly to show mastery, whereas a final would be used to measure the overall comprehension of the subject over the school year.

    • I totally agree with you Erik. Looking at the rubric its not a challenge to pass. It should be everyones goal to master this regents. We all have our strengths and weaknesses in this class, some of us are better at multiple choice than short response and vise versa. We should all brush up on the things in this class that weaken our grade and pay attention these last couple of days. Mr. Eure has already given us a great guide to help prepare us for this exam and we should all use it to our advantage.

  4. I think that everybody in the class should put in hard effort into writing the critical lens because there are many people in the class who could use this 100. It will boost out 4th quarter grade a lot after this last piece of writing we completed.

    • I concur Chris. Lets be real here, who doesn’t want a nice 100 in the grade book? It will boost the majority of our grades tremendously and our overall grades will look a lot better.

      • I don’t think grades should be what you should be worried about. If you study and work as hard as you possibly can it will make you a better writer in the long run, and the grades will just be a bonus! All people do is focus on their grades and complain because they don’t like it, but think about what you have actually learned, i would have rather learned something i didn’t know how to do that to just strive to pass the quarter. Grades should be the least of our worries learning should be our number one priority.

    • I agree Chris. A lot of people were scrambling to get the argument essay in. We have to work a lot harder and manage our time better but we can all get better grades on this one.

    • Once again stop foccusing on the grade you will earn, and try foccusing on actually learninig of something, that will benifit you for the regents and long term skills for writting

    • Most of the students in my class, at least, were scrambling to get the argument essay done. As well as, the metacognition, reflection, citations, etc. That’s why I feel that everyone should work very hard to get this critical lens spot on and perfect to first, boost our grade, and second, to show Mr. Eure that we can manage our time. I know a lot of people haven’t for the essays in the past, but it’s not too late to show that we are mature enough to be on top of our game. Besides, this 100 could help most of Mr. Eure’s students, including myself.

  5. The regents is easy for those who have been doing their work in English and paying attention. For those who haven’t been paying attention, it might be a bit difficult but it is possible for them. I feel that everybody can pass, even if teachers say it’s hard, it really isn’t.

    • Castle Learning is also an important part to passing this regents, every assignment on there is designed to help you understand the topics/questions that will be discussed on our exam.

  6. I agree with most of your comments but one thing. Its not just your work in class. You can pay attention in class but if you go home and do nothing you get nothing out of it. You need to work hard in school and out of school if you want to be successful.

    • I agree with this completely, you can’t really expect to get a good grade on the regents if you don’t brush up on the vocab and the other things that are being tested that we don’t necessarily go over in class, because there are many things that we don’t do in class that other classes do, like the vocab, which we are indefinitely going to be tested on.

  7. I believe that overall a good effort is key to success. Their is a good quote by Erwin Rommel(The Desert Fox) that states “Sweat Saves Blood” what he trying to put across is the more effort and preparations you have the better of you will be.Now in this situation you will obviously not bleed but in some cases Grades may be ruined, which is the key to your future lives and success.

    • That is a great quote to compare our work ethic to our regents scores, Paul. If we put in the effort and time now to prepare for our regents, then in the long run we wont be bleeding from our regents scores because we were ready and prepared for them.

  8. All of the effort put in and out of class, especially in writing the practice critical lens essay, will be seen to improve our overall readiness for the exam. Due to all of the work that we are doing, there should be no worries about passing or failing the regents. This final is not designed for failure, but for our growth and success as English students.

  9. The book “To Kill A Mockingbird” has great literary merit. First of all, the book brings up a great question, will you live by your own principles or give into peer pressure? In TKAM, the main character Atticus finch is defending a black man in court during the 1930’s. Society frowns upon this but Atticus still pursues his belief’s despite what society says. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a writing piece with amazing literary merit.

    • I forgot to mention the author’s name is Harper Lee, and the book takes place in Honeycomb, Alabama.

  10. Nick, that is a great book of literary merit. The novel “The Invisible Man” is also another book of great literary merit. The novel takes place in the town of Iping as well as across the English countryside. The novel is about an Invisible Man who over time turns mad and begins to go on a Reign of Terror. Yet, it is those individuals in the book who step up and fight against the Invisible Man who define bravery and courage. This novel can be taken in so many directions in regards to writing a critical lens essay that it is truly unbelievable. The novel is written by H.G.Wells.

  11. I decided to do the diary of anne frank and twelve angry men… the literary elements i decided to so is conflict, setting and caracterization. To be honest i forgot how to write a critical lens paper so when we were given this assignment i beifited from it. I looked up how to write one and i feel as though the way i wrote it was the way i should here on out, i realized mistaked i made for pass critical lens essays and now i know how to fix them in the future.i chose quote number 13. ” The real hero is always a hero by mistake.” i feel as though the novels i chose expain this quote very well.

  12. i feel as though Mr. Eure has prepared us well for this exam yes we have to brush up on vocabulary but overall i feel as though i have improved in my writting, which in my opinion is what i needed the most. I agree with those who say the exam will be easy, but i disagree with those who say you can fail the exam because those who refused to do the work that Mr. Eure assighned, all the skills that i got from the assignments those who didnt do them didnt get the skills needed, those skills may the points you needed to pass regents.. and now you failed with a 64! Dont strive to pass strive for a good grade because if you did all your work all year and you prepared for this exam you deserve a good grade that shows all your hard work paid off.

  13. Going back to 9th grade, a novel that I believe has literary merit is “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. This novel took place during the Great Depression in California, when unemployment was high and jobs were scarce. Of Mice and Men had many scenes that can be analyzed further in an essay, like a critical lens. The last scene were George decides to shoot Lenny can be used with a CL that involves making decisions.

    • I like the idea that if a CL was a quote about making decisions then you would have one literary work that you could use in an essay. It would be the perfect idea to use this only if there was the perfect critical lens to match up with it. Certainly the quote, “The bravest of individuals is the one who obeys his or her conscience.” – J.F. Clarke, would work good because George decided to follow his conscience and kill Lennie for the best.

  14. Setting all Regents comments aside, I’d like to know everybody’s quotes that they used for their critical lens and how they applied it to that essay. What were the two literary works that you used and do you believe that our classes can get a 100 if we all work hard to get a 4 avg. or higher on the critical lens?

  15. Certainly, we did not do our best to complete the critical lens to avg. above a 4 because on my Parent Portal I didn’t receive a 100 but my actual grade so when the Regents comes around you guys need to step up your game and try your hardest.

  16. I believe that the book “To Kill A Mocking Bird”could be used on our regents since i am pretty sure that everyone read it last year and it is still fresh in our minds.

  17. Another book that could help us on our regents could be “The Invisible Man” because
    we all read this book and we did many things on the book.

  18. The book “Wonder” could also help us on our regent because it could relate to a lot of different prompts

  19. The book “Of Mice of men” could help us because it is a book that could relate to so many different things

  20. “This is now and that was then” could help you because i can relate to the book making it easier to write about maybe other people could relate to this book to.

  21. I noticed that everybody did not get 4s on the assignment. That is not fair to the people who have worked hard and tried to achieve that 100. During the time of your regents that 4 could be your difference between passing and failing or mastery and not mastery so I recommend pulling together and doing well.

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