Writing essays is a great way to practice prose analysis and prep for the AP exam! Review student responses for an essay prompt and corresponding feedback from Fiveable teacher Candace Moore.
The Practice Essay Prompt
Here’s the prompt:
the 2013 exam prompt with a passage from The Rainbow.
D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow (1915): The following passage focuses on the lives of the Brangwens, a farming family who lived in rural England during the late nineteenth century. Read the passage carefully.
Then write an essay in which you analyze how Lawrence employs literary devices to characterize the woman and capture her situation.
Try to give yourself a timer to do this – 45 minutes
Keep in mind everything about setting and social environment, diction as choice, and symbolism of spaces and thoughts.
Your completed essay should include:
- introduction optional
- thesis for sure
- at least two body paragraphs
- organized for complexity instead of by device
- a conclusion
- broader context application for sophistication
Student Responses and Teacher Feedback
Student Response 1
In D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow, a woman wants to explore urban life but is restricted by her situation. Lawrence’s curious diction and juxtaposition of inquisitiveness and complacency portrays Mrs. Brangwen to be an ambitious yet judgmental woman who looks down on her husband and almost idolizes city people.
By using diction that implies a strong spirit of inquiry, the author establishes the ambiousness of the woman. She looks towards the cities and governments and wonders about the “scope” of man. The land outside of the village being “magic” in her eyes. She proclaims it is where “secrets” are revealed. Such words characterize her curiosity. She wants to know what their secrets are, how far can man go, what can he achieve? The author yet again uses similar descriptors such as “enlarge” and’ “range.” These imply that there’s a plethora of knowledge outside of her rural home in England. Although she is physically limited, her mind constantly wonders about the world outside. Her desires are not met as a wife in a farming and believes there’s other things that will fulfill her interests. Her word choice of describing outside life not only shows admiration for urban life, but her disdain of the village lifestyle.
Throughout the excerpt, Mrs. Brangwen’s husband is contrasted with urban men. When describing the farmers day to day life and activities, the author repeats “it was enough”. “Enough” meaning that menial physical activities and mother nature satisfied him. Unlike her husband, the men outside are “dominant and creative.” They strive to answer questions and problems. “whilst her husband looked out to the back at sky and harvest and beast and land, she strained her eyes to see what man had done in fighting outwards to knowledge.” Compared to her husband who enjoys farm life and passes time by looking at the sky and attending to his crops, city men are adventurous. They fight each day to expand their horizons and apprehension: hoping to increase their grasp of the world. Although it’s enough for her husband, it isn’t sufficient for Mrs. Brangwen. She wants to join the “war” with the men. Her husband represents a complacent farming lifestyle while the vicar (city man) represents a superior, inquisive lifestyle. She later expands her views by proclaiming it’s not power or money that makes the vicar a “master” over her husband: it was his knowledge. It’s knowledge that makes him more appealing. She yearns to appease her intellectual curiosity: what her current situation is not providing.
The curious diction and juxtaposition of inquisitiveness and complacency in the passage showcases Mrs. Brangwen’s ambitiousness and longing to obtain more knowledge, though she’s restricted by her rural life. She represent people who want to achieve more in their life, but are tied down by their circumstances.
Very nice! I see that you have tightened your evidence points – these are word by word, as opposed to longer phrases or sentences, and this emphasizes your choice to analyze diction.
Your thesis is written well, although I’m not completely clear on what the situation is, in your argument. You have analyzed her character, and the devices that create it, but not the situation. Be sure to address all parts of the prompt, and if a concept is given (like “situation”), make sure that you qualify it and establish your interpretation. However, your use of 'restricted" implies your understanding. 1/1
Your evidence supports your assertion, but your commentary stops at interpretation of the words. In order to increase the effectiveness of your commentary, you would need to show more clearly not only how the words show her curiosity, but also how that curiosity shows the reader who the woman is. In the second paragraph, you show the contrast, but the paragraph’s focus on the men overshadows your argument about Mrs. Brangwen, although your thesis made a claim about her. This separates your commentary from your thesis, and therefore veers away from your line of reasoning. 2-3/4
I see your application of a broader context, which could have been more present throughout, but does push toward sophistication. But because your line of reasoning and argument are not supported consistently, and a few grammatical mistakes, you haven’t earned the sophistication point. 0/1
Student Response 2
Sometimes, viewing history, we find ourselves drawn into the trap of believing that oppressed groups completely lacked strength and power. This was not so; for years, minorities have fought for their empowerment and found communities within one another, enough to grant them the strength to persevere in a society that rejected them or that attempted to reduce their social power to nothing at all. People are not as altogether weak as we sometimes assume. But that strength can only come from community, from forcibly pulling that power out of the solidarity that comes from co-existing with people who are like you; it cannot exist in isolation. And thus is the plight of the woman in D. H. Lawrence’s “The Rainbow,” who finds herself surrounded by men, forced to live on a farm, and trapped in a life far away from any urban area where she could hope to better herself or find a community of like-minded women. Thus, she begins to idolize the city as a miracle cure for all her ails, growing more and more resentful toward the men who keep her trapped in a life she never wanted nor chose. In “The Rainbow,” D. H. Lawrence characterizes the woman as unsatisfied with her traditional life and desperate to escape it by comparing her attitudes to those of the men, highlighting her interest in the outside world, and revealing her obsession toward the vicar.
Early on in the passage, Lawrence contrasts the woman’s attitudes toward her lifestyle with those held by the men in her family. Particularly, he uses the imagery of staring into the distance. Both the woman and the men, each drawn to certain lifestyles, engage in this action. However, the men stare toward “the sun […] the source of generation,” whereas she faces “toward where men moved dominant and creative.” Interestingly, both the men and the woman are seeking something similar. They are interested in “generation,” and she in creativity, both of which deal explicitly with creation and invention. However, by having them be physically turned in different directions, the author shows us that the woman wants to achieve her desire for creation elsewhere, somewhere where she is not burdened by her obligation to them as a wife and homemaker. Again, this disparity is given a physical description, with the men “faced inwards,” and her “faced outwards.” The repetition of this shared language, modified only slightly by a few letters at the beginning of the second word, helps to establish both the shared desires of the woman and the men, as well as their differences in approach. She seeks to find this “[creativity]” in the outside world, while they are already able to find it within themselves. Interestingly, this language suggests that, on some personal level, the woman is not satisfied with herself, or else she should, supposedly, find strength and meaning internally. Perhaps the problem exists within and cannot be solved by the outside world at all.
Lawrence also characterizes the woman’s dissatisfaction with fanciful language to describe the way that she views the outside world. The author uses the metaphor of a battle, saying that men have “[fought] outwards to knowledge” and that woman wants to be “of the fighting host.” The metaphor of physical conflict is so strong that it shows the extent to which the woman feels trapped in her life, as she is literally being subdued and kept at bay by malevolent enemy forces, rather than by where her family happens to live. For her, living in the city is not just a dream, but a noble fight against all the social norms that keep her down and bound to these men. Furthermore, the repetition of the word “outwards,” already used to interesting effect much earlier in the piece, reinforces the woman’s desperation to find this satisfaction in something outside of herself, something larger and more significant. She has constructed the image of this battle in order to justify that thinking, despite the fact that her desire and feeling of being trapped is something in which she is, as a result of being trapped in the country, utterly alone.
Finally, the author uses the woman’s obsession with the vicar to reveal just how dissatisfied she is with her life and her husband. Observing the vicar, she notes that he is “little and frail,” whereas her husband is like a “bull.” None of these words have especially positive connotations, but “bull” is still much harsher. “Little and frail” have to do with physical observation alone, whereas the word “bull” is very much tied to the imagery of destruction and physical power over intellectual power, such as in the idiom of “a bull in a china shop.” This word alone reveals much about her thoughts toward her husband, whom she also describes as seeming “dull and local” compared to the vicar. Throughout the piece, her husband has been described as having similar, though differently oriented, desires as her, but now we see just how much she has come to resent the situation in which she lives—so much so that her resentment has turned toward people. Yet with the vicar, she observes that he has “power” over her husband, despite his size and physical strength, or lack thereof. She is entranced by this notion, probably because she is envious of him. She, too, wishes to have some power of her husband, as she feels that he represents her trapped state in a rural area. Being a woman, it makes that she herself would also be “little and frail” compared to her husband, and she is astonished that someone like the vicar can be so powerful, in spite of his relative physical weakness. Although she does not make this connection explicitly, it is obvious that her obsession with the vicar comes from a desire to, like him, have such freedom and power that has been denied to her as a result of her gender.
Through the use of comparison between the woman and the men, fanciful language in the woman’s description of the city, and her obsession with the vicar, D. H. Lawrence creates a complicated and nuanced character, struggling to find a place for herself in a world where, isolated from other women, she is forced to become subservient, her opinions not a factor in her own life. The piece is a fascinating look into a time long gone, set almost 200 years in the past. And yet, much of the reality of that time still exists today, with women across the world, irrespective of all other factors, still not granted the same privileges as those given to men. In this way, “The Rainbow” is not simply a spyglass from which to view history, but a mirror to hold up to our own time, even in a world as different from the woman’s as ours today.
Good job bringing broader context into your introduction, which helps to show that it is a part of your line of reasoning. Your thesis establishes an argument about both the woman and her situation. I like that you’ve done so by referencing what the author’s language does. 1/1
Good insight on the direction of the woman’s attention vs. the men’s. For your analysis, the contrast is stronger as evidence than the imagery, but your commentary does bring it together. The end of your first body paragraph seems slightly disjointed, as you go in various directions in your interpretation of the woman facing inwards, and don’t fully manage to bring them all together to connect to her dissatisfaction wth her traditional life. Your analysis of the diction of conflict is also strong, but the relationship between that language and “outwards” is tenuous. In the final paragraph, you also make clear arguments about the comparison of the vicar and her husband, but your evidence does not connect to your final insight about her desire for power like the vicar. The obsession with the vicar is an inference that you wrote as a device, so your evidence was unable to serve its purpose. Overall, you make plausible arguments, but the evidence is inconsistently supportive of them. Your commentary is therefore much stronger than your selection of evidence. 3/4
You have explored a broader context to this passage, and written persuasively, but the inconsistencies in your analysis/evidence relationship preclude a sophistication point. 0/1
Student Response 3
It is a common saying that knowledge is power. In the passage given, the author follows a woman’s search for dominance to demonstrate that knowledge, and therefore power, is available only to a select few. The author uses grimy imagery and combative but yearning diction to convey the woman’s dissatisfaction with her life on the farm and her ambitious character, which causes her to hopelessly seek power through knowledge and intellectual conquest.
The author begins by presenting dingy images of the mens’ labor on the farm, which portrays the life on the farm as primitive and unpleasant. The men must “ferret the rats from under the barn” and “br[eak] the back of the rabbit with a sharp knock of the hand” in order to maintain their lives on the farm. The descriptions of rats and the killing of the rabbits evoke images of disease and death, which are reinforced by the author’s mention of their “teeming life” of “blood-intimacy,” which implies that the woman’s life has been infested by her rural lifestyle. By selecting images that portray the lowliest aspects of farm living, the author illustrates the woman’s belief that her life is primitive, repulsive, and unwanted.
The woman’s dissatisfaction for her life manifests in her deep desire to seek a higher, magical knowledge to feel fulfilled. The author employs combative diction to develop the woman’s ambitious character and her futile attempts to gain knowledge and power. The woman wants to “enlarge [her] own scope and range and freedom” and wage a war “on the edge of the unknown.” She “crave[s]” knowledge of “conquest” as she believes that it will bring her “dominan[ce] and creativ[ity].” The author selects aggressive language that reflects the woman’s longing for control over her life. By implementing both assertive and longing language, the author characterizes the woman as ambitious while demonstrating her yearning for power that she cannot have. The author further develops the woman’s unfulfilled desires by repeating the word “man.” Despite the woman’s ambitious character, she acknowledges that she can only learn about “man[’s]” conquests, and experience “man[’s]” dominance and creativity. The woman craves higher knowledge “not in herself,” but in her children. By repeatedly mentioning mens’ accomplishments and failing to mention the accomplishments of women, the author suggests that men are the only ones capable of being dominant. The woman, therefore, is constrained by her gender and is unable to achieve the knowledge and power that she desires. Thus, by using assertive and longing diction to characterize the woman and by only associating men with knowledge and dominance, the author develops the woman’s unrealistically ambitious character and establishes her unfulfilled desires as the result of her gender.
Through primitive imagery and assertive but longing diction, the author characterizes the woman as ambitious and power-hungry and demonstrates that her gender confines to her distasteful rural lifestyle and prevents her from achieving the knowledge and control over her life that she craves. Much like rats on a farm, the passage reminds readers of the gender inequality that infests society and prevents people from achieving their dreams.
Grimy imagery! Love it. You fit all of the pieces into your thesis, which was quite a task for this prompt, and created a line of reasoning about power and knowledge that could wind through your essay and create a sophistication to your argument. 1/1
In your first body paragraph, I think you gave a solid analysis of the images, but missed the opportunity to make that connection to your argument about the woman, beyond that her life was infested. It would have been strengthened to point out there that the primitive life was good enough for the men, but the woman’s perspective showed her dissatisfaction. In the second paragraph, combative diction is appropriate and analytical, but I wonder if you have overcomplicated your argument by conflating the aggressive and longing language, and then how those show her ambition and her yearning. I appreciate how you continued the thread about power and gender, which adds to the insight you planted the seed for in your intro, but your ideas are entangled in each other, muddling your argument. It’s a great idea to have two bold and effective paragraphs, but it’s also a good choice to have your paragraphs be as streamlined as possible, so the diction of yearning and craving could have been its own paragraph. 3/4
However, noting the broader context and acknowledging the complexities of the woman, in addition to your mastery of language, I believe you have earned a sophistication point here. 1/1
Student Response 4
In D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow, the author characterizes the woman with her sensible and perceptive observations. The author emphasizes her mental journey and desire for knowledge through figurative language and a third-person limited, inquiry-like narration. The contrasting descriptions between the vicar and the Brangwens further indicate the woman’s desire for a more intellectual life not only for herself but also for her children.
A sense of urgency and conflicting mind can be perceived by the woman’s inquiry-like tone and repeated diction: The passage opens with a parallel structure that describes the mundane farming tasks of the Brangwens. Yet the pervasive descriptions all started with the phrase “it is enough”. These lively scenes are so common to the woman as everyday events on repetition that they are emphasized and imprinted upon the woman’s mind. Though the woman half reserved her comments on those “dominant” tasks, which are full of strong senses and actions and with the “heat of blood”, she believes that her need is much more. The woman desires a greater range of freedom, like town life that is “perceived yet not attained”. The distance between the woman’s expectation and the reality she is living is also underscored by the repeated diction such as “face out”, “look out”, “outwards” and “far-off”. This emphasis on the imagery of “out” further indicates the woman’s pressing need and endless curiosity outside the limited worldview she possesses. She describes Brangwens living on the “desert island”, but that is her true reflection on her feeling about being trapped by the farmhouse.
Lawrence uses an interesting analogy to describe the woman’s passion toward the world beyond her. The writer shows that the woman desires the same level of freedom her husband enjoys: “strained her eyes to see what man had done in fighting outwards to knowledge.” She seeks to be a gladiator or an adventurer who is called out for a battle waged by the knowledge, a conquest of inquisition. The description is mirrored with the opening actions of the Brangwens, painted with masculinity and an “active scope of man”. The reader is able to perceive how the woman breaks the boundary of her social expectation and takes an active role of a woman who is secretly full of desire and makes future plans for her family on the journey toward civility.
The woman’s desire for more education in her household is punctuated by the juxtaposition between the vicar and Brangwens: Lawrence makes deft use of colorful contrast to show the conflicting value between a peaceful village life “pulsating the heat of creation” with a life of inquisition, a broader ambition, and meaningful conquest of knowledge, “waged on the edge of the unknown.” A lively analogy between Brangwens being cattle and the vicar being their master shows the woman’s astute opinion on the power of knowledge. While the vicar is week and frail, his scholarship exceeds the physical boundary of robust Brangwen men. The spiritual existence of the vicar is so appealing to the woman that she makes a final resolution acknowledging the importance of knowledge.
Through the woman’s mental journey, the reader can relate to the woman for not only her desire of knowledge but an elevated expectation for her children, and this cannot be better achieved by Lawrence’s skillful use of figurative language, inquisitive tone through questions she asked, and the contrast between the vicar and the Brangwens.
What a great insight about the narration – that’s a perspective I haven’t seen often. Your thesis is strong on the characterization of the woman, but slight on your argument about her situation, although perhaps her mental journey is her situation? Even with that lack of clarity, you have an argument and the plan for analysis. 1/1
Your body paragraphs are solid, although the first paragraph ends up in a different analytical point than it began. Your analysis of the language establishes your characterization of the woman as seeking and curious, but not urgent or conflicted. The repetition of “it is enough” is misinterpreted as her thought, as opposed to her attribution to the man. This paragraph suffers from an organizational weakness, since your evidence matches your commentary, just not your assertion. The second paragraph, though shorter, is still stronger because it all supports her desire for knowledge beyond her gendered expectations. It seems as though your commentary goes farther than your evidence supports, however, because the idea that she has broken the boundary is beyond the reach of the passage. The third is also slight on commentary, and does not sufficiently explain your own argument. Your commentary is more interpretation of the juxtaposition than application to the woman. Your line of reasoning is not clear throughout the essay, and your commentary is inconsistent in its connection to the thesis and between paragraphs. 2/4
You have reference to a broader context, and you have a line of reasoning about inquiry and knowledge that is introduced and concluded, but the body of your essay is not in line. 0/1
Student Response 5
In life, we often feel confined in our situation and are in a state of utter bewilderment as to how to rectify it. This passage, taken from The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence, speaks of a woman who feels trapped and confused in her calm, simple pastoral life. In the society she lives in, one is meant to pledge allegiance to the vicar and the church, to work the fields, and to stay inward, yet the woman is stuck because she understands that there is more to explore in the world and she wants to get out and see it. She also is not convinced about the vicar’s authority and ponders over the fact that he seems to have all power over her dear husband. The author uses vivid religious imagery, anaphora, and the symbol of light and heat in order to convey the message.
In the first sentence, the author uses anaphora with the refrain of “it was enough” and the second sentence with “so much”. This paragraph describes the contentment of the men in the society as the author prepares to introduce the woman and contrast her with the members of the opposite gender. These men are simple, and they do not need much in order to be happy. Their duties on the farm, such as plowing, hunting, and harvesting, are of utmost importance to them, but this is their main goal. The paragraph has two mentions of blood which points to this work as a sort of life force for them.
On the other hand, the woman feels that she needs something more than this basic life force of blood in order to feel fulfilled. She wants to see the outside world and see how other people live. It seems that she is tired of her way of life and wants to live a different way. All the men around her have “turned their back on the pulsing heat of creation.” This sentence has the religious imagery of creation and the heat and light energy. As opposed to the men who create with their hands, the woman wants to create with her mind. She feels stifled, as the church may control what people are allowed to think and she does not want to be controlled anymore. The men get their fulfillment of free thinking from working the farm, but she needs to be able to think for herself.
The woman, as we all are, is a product of her society. She presumably was brought up in a farm town, to farmer parents, married off to a farmer and is expected to raise a farming family. However, she deviates from this accepted norm as she wants to live in a city, away from the “magic” of the town. She feels conflicted, and by the end of the passage, she decides that the vicar is to blame. He has the most knowledge out of all the farmers, and this is what makes him superior. This passage brings truth to the cliche, “knowledge is power.”
Your introduction does a great job of establishing your line of reasoning about the woman and her situation – “trapped and confused in her calm, simple, pastoral life”. Your statement on her society also begins to open up a window into the broader context that could be followed through the essay. 1/1
Your analysis paragraphs clearly assert which device you are analyzing, and what the author’s language implies, but fall short of establishing why the author made those choices in his characterization of the woman. In the first body paragraph, you cite the anaphora, and then interpret it as the contrast between the woman and the men, but the commentary does not push deeper into the connection between these instances of anaphora and your line of reasoning about the woman. In the second body paragraph, there is a missing connection between Lawrence’s choice of religious imagery and the woman’s desire, so the line of reasoning is dropped. Because of these gaps in analysis, your evidence loses its relevance to your argument. 2/4
While you have made references to a broader context, that reference does not expand your own argument. 0/1
Student Response 6
Set in the late 20th century, the main character is the wife of a farmer who is satisfied by the routine of a rural farm life. The men are satisfied with the physical work they are performing, however the woman feels as if her life is missing the intellectual stimulation and this is made especially clear when she dotes over the vicar at her home. Through extrapolating the personification of the landscape to an abstract image of intellect and the nonchalant jabs at mens’ spirituality threaded throughout the story, the woman initially appears to be dissatisfied with the routine of being the wife of a farmer. With the introduction of the vicar, she becomes inquisitive and a sense of longing is communicated over her boredom in her current situation.
The story opens with an introduction of the men, although it is the earth that is personified, given living traits of ‘heaving’ and the wind is ‘blowing’ the wheat that the men planted. This structure establishes the static character of the men by drawing attention to the actions of the scenery that the men tend to. The men are static, unwilling and physically unable to change their ways because they are satisfied with their agricultural progress and developments on the farm alone. Despite having invested a significant amount of hard work, it remains that they live the same routine of tending to the crops and animals without intellectual challenge. However, this is what the woman craves. The verbal parallel between her house facing out toward the road, the church, and the earth beyond and herself facing outward highlights her desire to expand her sphere of contact to the outside world, she would feel at home in places that mentally challenge her. However, she herself is shackled to the men who work tirelessly to control the possibilities of the earth to something that they themselves can consume in a cycle for their own benefit. Her longing for adventure, even contingency, is why she is suffocated by the men who do not wonder for more.
For the woman, the vicar was a form of home because of the vast intellectual depth he offers. Emotional cracks in her marriage are hinted at in her comparison of her husband to the vicar, where she declares the vicar the winner if both were stripped and set on a desert island. Her husband Tom Brangwan was of greater physical might and could control the cattle which translated to food, a fundamental need of living, but the woman believes the vicar to be mightier than her husband because he was of greater intellectual and spiritual depth. This reveal hints at the woman being a sapiophile, as she focuses on his knowledge and soul when she decides him as the winner in a true, life-and-death situation of being stripped and thrown into the desert. Her attitude toward the vicar is so admiring because she wanted to be like him, and her stable marriage is something that keeps her from achieving the closeness she wants to feel with the mystique of a universe she does not know. To the woman, the vicar represents the emotional depth that she longs for and because of this, she establishes the vicar to be greater than all the other men she knows.
The woman craves intellectual and spiritual exploration, which is evident in her interest in the vicar despite being the least physically noticeable man in the story. The immediate world she experiences is not of her interest, instead she wants an abstract life and this is highlighted in the juxtaposition of her husband and the vicar. The woman is discontent because of the mens’ secure aims of agricultural tending, and this is expressed through the narrator corresponding action with what is in the landscape rather than the men that tend to it. Her interest in the vicar indicates her shift from mere boredom to someone that desires to know more about the abstraction in the world she lives in.
Through your introduction, you have thoroughly established your interpretation of the woman’s situation, and your argument about her character. 1/1
I strongly recommend using more quoted text as evidence, instead of paraphrase, summary, or even your interpretation. It strengthens your argument when you ground it in the author’s specific words and language devices (evaluated in the rubric), and then make connections between those two essay elements in your own voice. Quoting evidence also helps to distinguish your analysis, and make sure that you are not restating the text as commentary. In this essay, your thesis clearly establishes the woman as dissatisfied and inquisitive, but your analysis paragraphs do not analyze the creation of these traits (through the author’s language and devices) as deeply as the portrayal of these traits. The second analysis paragraph also is less grounded in the literary language of the text, although it is still making inferences about the character of the woman. Your evidence is not consistently specific, therefore your line of reasoning, while established by the thesis, is not thoroughly supported by the evidence. 2/4
Your style of writing is clear, but you have not analyzed complexity or a line of reasoning that explores broader context, so this essay does not earn a sophistication point.
Student Response 7
Society’s progress has been driven because humanity craves knowledge of the unknown, because it gives them power. When deprived of knowledge, a person is left powerless. This deprivation can stem from many places: youth, willful ignorance, and, most notably, societal expectations. In “The Rainbow,” D. H. Lawrence’s use of contrasting foils, monotonous listing, repetition, and conservative setting convey that the woman longs for knowledge and power, but is trapped in a stagnant situation by the rural area and society’s expectations for women.
The passage first speaks of the men, content with their station in life, not wanting anything more. These men are then used as a foil to contrast their contentment with the woman’s longing for something greater, for knowledge of what is unknown to her. Lawrence writes “Her house faced out from the farm-buildings and fields, looked out to the road and the village with church and Hall and the world beyond.” This by itself characterizes the woman as unsatisfied, yearning for the world beyond her rural life. By contrasting it to the previously mentioned contentment of the men, Lawrence places the woman and her desires on a stark background, highlighting the intensity and bizarreness of her wanting. This is further highlighted by the repeated use of diction meant to indicate longing. Lawrence writes that the woman “strained” to see more than her situation, that the “wanted to know” more, that she “craved to know” and “craved to achieve.” This language is pervasive, appearing throughout the passage. By repeatedly using this language, Lawrence depicts the extent of the woman’s longing and further solidifies that her craving is unique to her, a defining character trait that sets her apart from her surroundings. Additionally, the vicar is used as another foil. Lawrence writes, “the vicar, who spoke the other, magic language, and had the other, finer bearing, both of which she could perceive, but could never attain to,” and later “She decided it was a question of knowledge.” In the first quote, Lawrence sets the vicar aside from the rest men in the area, who are content with their lives and their ignorance. He also establishes that the vicar has what the woman wants, which is, as shown in the latter quote, knowledge. The vicar is characterized as a powerful man, starkly contrasting the woman, who longs for that which the vicar has but cannot attain it. Through character foils and repetitive diction, Lawrence characterizes the woman as someone who longs for knowledge and power.
The woman cannot obtain the knowledge and power she so craves because she is stuck in a stagnant, rural area and chained by conventional gender roles. The stagnancy of her situation is shown when Lawrence lists the life of the men, and then contrasts that to how the woman feels about that life. The listing uses no commas, instead joining each item with “and” or “or”. This gives the writing a dreary feeling, showing the monotonous nature of the woman’s situation. This is partially due to the fact that she is in a rural area, where “the world beyond” and “the battle that she heard” are far from her grasp. This highlights the powerlessness of the woman’s situation, because she is trapped in her house that faces out but cannot go out to see the battles that she has heard of and wishes to take part in. The reader may infer that she cannot take part in these battles because she is a woman, which is forms the other aspect of her stagnant situation. The setting of the passage is the late eighteenth century in rural England. It can be inferred that due to the sentiments of the time, women were not expected to have power or knowledge, showing that the woman was stuck in her powerless situation by gender roles.
Through his use of contrasting foils, dreary listing, fervent repetition, and conservative setting, D. H. Lawrence depicts the woman as someone who wants knowledge and power but cannot achieve it because of her stagnant situation.
My feedback is brief, but this is a very strong essay. Your thesis establishes an argument that is defensible and thorough. 1/1
Your evidence and commentary support the thesis, although some of the devices are analyzed more effectively. Your second paragraph analyzes the syntax succinctly, but the second half of the paragraph is less strong. Your first body paragraph feels a little disorganized, although you have a reference to your argument as both a first and last sentence, which brings the focus back. I don’t think the diction section feels connected to the men and vicar as foils argument in style or content. However, overall, you chose significant evidence and explained its role in the characterization of the woman thoroughly and consistently. 4/4
The essay does not earn a sophistication point, although it strongly meets the criteria for other points.