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Literature/Historical Examples for SAT Essay

skatjskatj 751 replies86 threads Member
edited December 2013 in SAT Preparation
Is there a list of generic literature/historical/other examples you can adapt for a variety of prompts?

For example,
MLK - courage, sacrifice
Ghandi - courage, sacrifice, standing up, etc
Catcher in the Rye - Frustration, change, immaturity
Stem cell research - two sides to an issue, practicality vs. morality
Hitler - Power, corruption, propaganda
Julius Caesar (play) - Pride, downfall


If not, let's make one!
edited December 2013
165 replies
Post edited by skatj on
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Replies to: Literature/Historical Examples for SAT Essay

  • LavaplatosLavaplatos 94 replies18 threads Junior Member
    This is a great idea. I'll start with an example I used on my essay :)

    Spider-Man - Responsibility that comes with power, perhaps loss of innocence
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  • D-YuD-Yu 966 replies29 threads Member
    American Revolution : Tenacity, courage, British being overconfident
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  • skatjskatj 751 replies86 threads Member
    Ender's Game - severe pressure, emotional distress, deception
    Marc Antony (in the play) - style over substance, manipulation, trickery
    Beloved - dwelling on/getting over the past, starting a new life, effects on human psyche
    Advertising/Marketing - How first impressions/how something is presented affects a person's view on something
    Brave New World - role of technology in people's lives, does personal freedom have to be sacrificed for a happy society?, etc


    Cmon people add some more
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  • Handyandy58Handyandy58 751 replies4 threads Member
    Lord of the Rings is infinitely usable.
    Twain Novels are decent.
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  • buffalowizardbuffalowizard 330 replies7 threads Member
    Abe Lincoln- courage, working hard/persistence/self-made man
    Song of Solomon- self-discovery
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  • dchow08dchow08 3206 replies61 threads Senior Member
    I used Frederick Douglass and Winston Churchill for big expectations.
    Do you guys really think this is a good idea? I mean, you're supposed to be showing your ability to think about and write a good response to a prompt in a short amount of time. You're not supposed to have answers plugged into your brain before you even see the question!
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  • D-YuD-Yu 966 replies29 threads Member
    FDR - overcoming hardship, innovative
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  • guptasaintxguptasaintx 45 replies13 threads Junior Member
    i mean there is nothing wrong with preplanning examples. u should kind of have a good idea of things u can use that way u don't waste time. now u may have to adjust ur examples.

    Macbeth - discrepancy of appearance v reality (Fair is foul and foul is fair)
    Henry CLay - compromises
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  • guptasaintxguptasaintx 45 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Munich conference - appeasing others' wishes
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  • skatjskatj 751 replies86 threads Member
    Do you guys really think this is a good idea? I mean, you're supposed to be showing your ability to think about and write a good response to a prompt in a short amount of time. You're not supposed to have answers plugged into your brain before you even see the question!

    Believe me - I hate formula writing, which is why personally I think the SAT essay is a load of crap, but unfortunately that's how ETS made it, and it's up to us to beat them at their own game. Even though I would never use this approach in a real english class, its an effective strategy on the ETS. (gj testing us on our writing skills Collegeboard...)
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  • BandTenHutBandTenHut 1050 replies48 threads Senior Member
    Why pleplan examples when you can make up examples that do not actually exist... with no penalty!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
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  • goblue10nisgoblue10nis 541 replies43 threads Member
    I have work both 1984 and Frederick Jackson Turner into about 70% of the essays I have written for the SAT, ACT, and practice tests. Look these up, they are good examples for getting a high score, which really doesn't have that much to do with how well you write. 1984 is pretty well known, FJT's thesis is a little less, but it will impress the reader.
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  • patelpatel 238 replies19 threads Junior Member
    Frankenstein: dangerous knowledge, secrets of science, monster being rejected by society, abortion.
    The Great Gatsby: decline of America in the 1920s, deals with upper class throughout the novel.
    And Then There Were None: justice, guilt.
    Bill Gates/Warren Buffet: wealthy people who strive to donate to charities: money can or cannot be powerful - can argue either side; also, grew up with nothing, and accomplished a lot of things.
    Malcolm X: civil rights leader - anti-racism.
    The Once and Future King: force and justice, knighthood (bravery and becoming a man).
    Adolf Hitler: power/corruption/ambition.
    Animal Farm: corruption/communism, abuse of power.
    King Lear: justice - believing humans get what is just since God is just.
    Beowulf: bravery, loyalty - Wiglaf stays and helps Beowulf while the dragon ends up killing Beowulf; Wiglaf never leaves his side, while Beowulf's other men have already fled.
    To Kill a Mockingbird: prejudice, educating children's innoncent minds.
    The Hobbit: heroism - Bilbo who develops from an average, ordinary person into a hero.
    The Odyssey: temptation.
    Fahrenheit 451: censorship, knowledge vs. ignorance.
    The Scarlet Letter: sin, identity.
    The Outsiders: the rich and poor, when male and female interace = chaos, doing things to honor him and his gang.
    Rosa Parks: anti-racism, stood up for what she believed in - equality among race.
    Michael Jackson: abused fame - got abused by dad during childhood, then grew up to be a child molester. (Maybe this isn't a good example to use.)
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  • LiistLiist - 1741 replies46 threads Senior Member
    Well, we get all this good stuff, so pretty much anything is applicable.

    Just go on Sparknotes and look up the themes and motifs and you pretty much have your answer.

    However, I wonder if we can apply pop culture. References to things that SAT essay graders would know about would be a plus.
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  • tapedDucktapedDuck 685 replies20 threads Member
    I did what Liist described whenever I took the SAT; I'd just go to Sparknotes the night before the test and look over the themes & motifs for the books I had read -> I got a 9 on the essay (ok...), but 800 writing.
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  • llpitchllpitch 4238 replies80 threads Senior Member
    9 essay but 800 writing, nice job =D
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  • sports61khsports61kh 933 replies92 threads Senior Member
    ^ good thread
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  • Harvey33Harvey33 152 replies88 threads Junior Member
    I've been able to work Galileo or the Civil Rights Movement into about every essay prompt.
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  • guptasaintxguptasaintx 45 replies13 threads Junior Member
    u can also use stephen glass - a writer who cooked up stories, personal gain, manipulating the system, deceptive
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  • D-YuD-Yu 966 replies29 threads Member
    American Revolution has many themes in it you can use
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