AP Language

Personal Narrative Essay – Focusing on an Aphorism

The following essay assignment expects you to:
  1. interpret an aphorism from the list below, and then,
  2. use an episode(s) or observations(s) from your life to reveal the meaning of the statement.
The aphorisms you may choose from include:
  1. “He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it” (George Orwell).
  2. “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatic are always so certain about themselves, but wiser people so full of doubt” (Bertrand Russell).
  3. “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion was once eccentric”
(Bertrand Russell).
  1. “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
  2. “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. Always.” (Mahatma Gandhi).
  3. “Nothing is more significant of men’s character than what they find laughable” (Johann Wolfgang Goethe).
  4. “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you” (Aldous Huxley).
  5. “Imagination is more important than knowledge” (Albert Einstein).
  6. “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity” (Albert Einstein).
  7. “Every man I meet is in some way my superior” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
  8. “Millions long for immortality but do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon” (Susan Ertz).
  9. “The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself”(Washington Allston).
  10. “That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest” (Henry David Thoreau).
  11. “There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted” (Henry David Thoreau).
  12. “There’s no underestimating the intelligence of the American public” (H.L.Menchen).
  13. You may submit another potential aphorism for approval if you want an alternate choice.

This essay may exclusively describe a personal experience; it may digress from your observations of life to brief descriptions of personal experiences; it may focus on an in-depth explanation of what the statement means, using brief personal experiences to back up your interpretation. In short, you have great flexibility. Consider these key questions:
1. Are you focusing on a legitimate interpretation of the aphorism?
2. Are you using quality descriptions/observations to reveal how the aphorism can apply to your
life or to how you see life unfolding?

This essay cannot be more than two pages, double spaced in length, using 12 point font. This demands that you control the quality of what you wish to include. I will use the six-trait rubric to evaluate your final draft.