Regents Review Guide
Terminology to Remember
Antagonist: A force that is the source of conflict in a literary work
Central Idea: The universal truth found in the story (ex: No matter what obstacle comes before you, it is important to always persevere). After reading a passage, ask yourself the question, “What did I learn about life?” This will become your central idea.
Characterization: The manner in which an author develops characters and their personalities. The two methods used are direct and indirect. Direct characterization is when the author tells the audience directly. Indirect characterization is when the reader must determine character traits through the character’s speech, thoughts, effect on others, actions, and looks (STEAL).
Claim: Your opinion on a certain topic (ex: The United States should not require citizens to vote).
Conflict: A struggle between two or more opposing forces. The two types of conflict are internal (a struggle within) and external (with an outside force).
Dialogue: Direct speech between characters in a literary work
Diction: Word choice to create a specific effect (choice of words)
Figurative Language: Language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. This includes the following:
- Metaphors- a comparison made between things which are not alike (ex: The classroom was a zoo)
- Simile- a comparison using like or as (ex: The water well was as dry as a bone)
- Personification- when something that is not human is given human-like qualities (ex: The leaves waved in the wind)
- Imagery: Language that appeals to the five senses (smell, sight, taste, touch, or hearing). For example: It was dark and dim in the forest. – The words “dark” and “dim” are visual images.
- Irony: A figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning. The three types are verbal (usually sarcasm), situational (opposite of what you expect to happen happens), and dramatic (when the audience knows something the character does not).
- Symbol/Symbolism: A figure of speech where an object, person, or situation has another meaning other than its literal meaning (ex: a heart symbolizes love, a dove can symbolize peace)
- Allusion: A brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing, or idea of historical, cultural, literary, or political significance (ex: Don’t act like Romeo in front of her—‘Romeo is a reference to Shakespeare’s Romeo’)
Flashback: The method of returning to an earlier point in time
Foreshadowing: Hint of what is to come in a story
Mood: Element that evokes certain feelings in the reader
Plot: Sequence of events in a literary work
Point of View: The vantage point or perspective from which a literary work is told. This includes:
- 1st person POV- The narrator is a character in the story (use of ‘I’)
- 3rd person POV- The narrator is outside of the story (use of ‘he’ ‘she’ ‘they’)
Setting: The time and place of a literary work.
Sources: A number of texts that are used to write a response (when something is source-based, it means you are using the texts provided to find examples in order to write an essay).
Stanza: Group of lines forming a unit in a poem.
Suspense: Technique that keeps the reader guessing what will happen next.
Tone: The author’s attitude toward the subject of a work. It stimulates the readers to read a piece of literature as a serious, comical, spectacular or distressing.
Difference between mood and tone: Mood = what the readers feels…Tone = the author’s attitude.
Part I: Reading Comprehension
Part I consists of three reading passages. You are to read the texts and answer all 24 multiple-choice questions. Make sure to annotate each passage in order to pull out main ideas. Break the passages down into smaller sections. Ask yourself, “What is this section about?” Write down your answer in the margin. Once you get to the questions, try and answer them without looking at the choices, and then match your answer to the closest choice. If you cannot do this, then use the elimination strategy and cross out the choices you know are incorrect. Make sure you can give a reason as to why each is incorrect. ALWAYS go back to the passage to look at the lines the question is referring to. You may have to look a few lines before and a few lines after the specified lines. You will have to read the poem at least 3-4 times. Read it once through without stopping. Then go back and see if you can figure out what each stanza is discussing. Try and summarize the poem in the margin. Again, go back to the lines referenced in the question. Take your time.
Part II: Argumentative Essay
Part II is the argumentative essay. Make sure you are using at least THREE texts. You can use multiple quotes from each; however, you need to make sure you are using THREE of the four texts. This is a five-paragraph response. Use the guidelines as a checklist to ensure you have everything you need in your response. You MUST have a claim! You also must discuss the counter-argument. It will tell you how to cite your sources in the guidelines. Make sure you introduce your quotes (The author states…). This is a long response. Highlight information you want to use in your essay. Next to each, write down “Reason One” “Reason Two” in the margin so you know exactly where to find them when you begin writing. When you locate the counter, write down “CA” in the margin so you don’t have to go back and search for it. Study the outline in this packet and read through the sample response.
Part III: Text-Analysis (Central Idea)
Part III is the text-analysis (central idea) response. You may have to read this passage twice. Your job is to determine a central idea and analyze how the author’s use of ONE writing strategy (literary element, literary technique, or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. A central idea is the universal truth found in a story. Ask yourself, “What does this story teach me about life?” Turn this into your central idea. It will be something like--No matter what obstacles you face in life, you should always persevere. If you are going to discuss the conflicts in the story that developed this idea, then make sure you are sticking with conflict. This is a 2-3 paragraph response. Study the outline in this packet and read through the sample response. Make sure that your examples are of that literary element, and ALWAYS EXPLAIN how that example develops your central idea. Your response to each example (use at least 2-3 examples) should be detailed. Connect the two together. Example: This example of conflict in the story develops that central idea because….
Common Core English Regents
PART I: Reading Comprehension
The reading passages on the regents involve much less thought than most people realize. The point of this section is to understand something you just read. It is literally a question of whether you read the passage. Not whether you understand it, not whether you know where to find a thesis, not whether you know what a thesis is.
Reading Passages- The Three “Don’ts”
- Don’t enjoy yourself- None of these passages are meant to be fun. You’re not going to LOVE them. They are usually on subjects you will not care about.
- Don’t know anything- Just because a passage is about particle physics doesn’t mean you have to know anything about physics. This is a reading test. You are being tested on what you just read. Everything you need is in the passage.
- Don’t remember anything- You do not have to memorize the passage. It is all on the page and it is going to stay on the page. If you can’t remember what was said in line 35, go back to line 35. Don’t waste time trying to memorize all the details; just get a sense of what it is about and move on to the questions.
Main ideas- One of the biggest problems students have with the passages is that reading them takes a long time. Instead of trying to memorize every single detail, look for the main ideas. Every paragraph is nothing more than a collection of sentences that have some common theme. Once you find the main ideas of the passage write it down in the margin.
If it is one large passage then split it up into smaller ones. If you are having trouble finding the main idea of the passage, look at the questions. You can actually learn a lot about the passage as you do the questions. You can always go back to the passage to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you can even look at the first and last sentence of the paragraph and it may help.
Answering the Questions
GO BACK TO THE @&#$*&% PASSAGE!!!!!!
We said you do not have to worry about the details when reading the passage. Now that you are actually asked about the details, you can worry about them. You do not have to rely on what you remember about the passage. This is an open-book test. You can look it up.
Most questions will give specific line references in the question itself. Once you read the question, go back to the passage and check the line reference. If they ask you a question about line 35, go back to line 35 and see what it says, before you even look at the choices.
Don’t just read the literal line mentioned in the question: read the whole sentence. Not only are all the answers written on the page, but they even tell you where the answers are. Think “thumb rule”.
After you have gone back and read the sentence then….. ANTICIPATE
Read the question, follow the line reference back into the passage, and see what those lines say about the question. That is your anticipation. Then look back at the choices and see which one matches your anticipation.
When you go back to the paragraph, think about what the lines say and what they mean. Try to paraphrase the lines in your own words. The correct answer will have the same meaning as your anticipation. It will just be worded differently. The line reference might not tell you where the answer is; it might just point you to the ballpark. If you don’t find the answer in the line you are given, check one sentence before and one sentence after.
We can pinpoint very specific reasons why each of the wrong answers is wrong. When you find something in an answer choice that makes the choice obviously wrong, you should literally cross those words out. The act of writing on a choice can help you focus your thoughts and be more certain of your elimination.
Eliminate the choices that are definitely wrong. The key is to eliminate them quickly.
Use your main ideas: Sometimes the question will ask you about a whole paragraph, or a large chunk of text. In that case, we can use the main ideas to answer the question.
When you anticipate successfully, you can often jump to the correct answer. But it is not always that easy. If we can eliminate the nonsense and guess from what’s left, we can greatly increase the odds of getting the question right.
You need to be able to defend your choice. Use scrap paper to write down the reason why you are choosing an answer, or write down the reason why you are eliminating an answer.
PART II: Argumentative Response
You will be given a topic, and you must construct an argumentative response using THREE out of the FOUR articles presented to you. You can use multiple examples from the same text; however, make sure you are using THREE of the texts. Use the “Guidelines” as a checklist. Make sure you do everything stated under this section. The directions will state:
Directions: Closely read each of the four texts provided and write a source-based argument on the topic below. You may use the margins to take notes as you read and scrap paper to plan your response. Write your argument beginning on page 1 of your essay booklet.
Your Task: Carefully read each of the four texts provided. Then, using evidence from at least three of the texts, write a well-developed argumentative response. Clearly establish your claim, distinguish your claim from alternate or opposing claims, and use specific, relevant, and sufficient evidence from at least three of the texts to develop your argument. Do not simply summarize each text.
Outline for Argumentative Response
INTRODUCTION- Paragraph #1
- PURPOSE: To introduce the argument and state one’s claim
- Make your introductory paragraph interesting. How can you draw your readers in? (Your hook!) This can be in the form of an interesting fact or statistic, a story, a series of interesting questions, or a sentence that grabs the reader’s attention. Discuss this in a few sentences.
- What background information do we need to know in order to understand your claim?
- Mention the idea that some people may disagree with you; however… (This leads directly to the next step).
- STATE your claim at the end of your introductory paragraph (Thesis). This is not a question. This should be a statement.PURPOSE: To prove your argument.
- Supporting Evidence- Paragraph #2
- Topic Sentence: Every paragraph should include a topic sentence that identifies the main idea of the paragraph. A topic sentence also states the point the writer wishes to make about that subject.
- Explain Topic Sentence: Explain why this is important.
- Introduce Evidence: Introduce your evidence either in a few words (As Dr. Brown states ―…) or in a full sentence (―To understand this issue we first need to look at statistics). If you are referring to an article then say, “In the article…”
- State Evidence: What supporting evidence (reasons, examples, facts, statistics, and/or quotations) can you include to prove/support/explain your topic sentence? Make sure you put this information in quotation marks and CITE (Text #, Line #).
- Explain Evidence: How should we read or interpret the evidence you are providing us? How does this evidence prove the point you are trying to make in this paragraph? This can be opinion based and is often at least 2-3 sentences.
- State Evidence: Find another piece of evidence to support your topic sentence. Introduce it the same way you introduced your first piece of evidence (The text also states…).
- Explain Evidence: How should we read or interpret the evidence you are providing us? How does this evidence prove the point you are trying to make in this paragraph? Can be opinion based and is often at least 2-3 sentences.
- Concluding Sentence: End your paragraph with a concluding sentence that reasserts how the topic sentence of this paragraph helps up better understand and/or prove your paper’s overall claim. How did the evidence you found support your ideas?
- SUPPORTING EVIDENCE- PARAGRAPH #3
- Repeat above steps
- COUNTER-ARGUMENT- PARAGRAPH #4
- PURPOSE: To anticipate your reader’s objections; make yourself sound more objective and reasonable.
- What possible argument might your reader pose against your argument and/or some aspect of your reasoning? What is the other side to your argument? Take one piece of evidence and refute it. But make sure you explain why this argument is invalid, and why you disagree.
- End paragraph with a concluding sentence that reasserts your paper’s claim as a whole.
- Example: Even though it is quite clear that every American citizen should be required to vote in national elections, there are some people who foolishly disagree. They believe… However, they are wrong because….
- CONCLUSION- Paragraph #5
- PURPOSE: Remind readers of your argument and supporting evidence
- Your conclusion should not simply restate your intro paragraph. If your conclusion says almost the exact same thing as your introduction, it may indicate that you have not done enough critical thinking during the course of your essay (since you ended up right where you started).
- Your conclusion should tell us why we should care about your paper. What is the significance of your claim? Why is it important to you as the writer or to me as the reader? What information should you or I take away from this?
PART III: Text-Analysis Response (CENTRAL IDEA)
Read the text and ask yourself, “What does this text teach me about life?” Turn this into your central idea and simply state: The central idea of the passage is….
The directions will state:
Your Task: Closely read the text provided on pages 19 and 20 and write a well-developed, text-based response of two to three paragraphs. In your response, identify a central idea in the text and analyze how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or literary technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea.
Use strong and thorough evidence from the text to support your analysis. Do not simply summarize the text. You may use the margins to take notes as you read and scrap paper to plan your response. Write your response in the spaces provided on pages 7 through 9 of your essay booklet.
Guidelines: Use these guidelines to ensure you have discussed everything they are asking.
Be sure to:
- Identify a central idea in the text
- Analyze how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or literary technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. Examples include: characterization, conflict, denotation/connotation, metaphor, simile, irony, language use, point-of-view, setting, structure, symbolism, theme, tone, etc.
- Use strong and thorough evidence from the text to support your analysis
- Organize your ideas in a cohesive and coherent manner
- Maintain a formal style of writing
- Follow the conventions of standard written English
Literary Elements That Help Develop the Central Idea
(You can only choose ONE to discuss in your response)
Symbolism is everywhere; symbolism exists whenever something is meant to represent something else. Symbolism is a figure of speech that is used when an author wants to create a certain mood or emotion in a work of literature. It is the use of an object, person, situation or word to represent something else, like an idea, in literature. Some common types of symbolism include:
Metaphor - a comparison between two unlike things without using the words 'like' or 'as.' For example, the phrase 'time is money' is an example of a metaphor comparing time to money. Money and time are two different things; this is an example of symbolism because these words show the importance of using your money and time wisely.
Allegory - an extended metaphor. An allegory can be an entire story, poem or book with symbolism that continues throughout the literary piece. In the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell, animals on a farm are used to represent the events leading up to the Russian revolution. The animals on the farm represent how greed and not having concern for others impact revolution
Function of Symbolism
Symbolism gives a writer freedom to add double levels of meanings to his work: a literal one that is self-evident and the symbolic one whose meaning is far more profound than the literal one. The symbolism, therefore, gives universality to the characters and the themes of a piece of literature. Symbolism in literature evokes interest in readers as they find an opportunity to get an insight of the writer’s mind on how he views the world and how he thinks of common objects and actions, having broader implications
Usually it is thought that imagery makes use of particular words that create visual representation of ideas in our minds. The word imagery is associated with mental pictures. However, this idea is but partially correct.
- It was dark and dim in the forest. – The words “dark” and “dim” are visual images.
- The children were screaming and shouting in the fields. – “Screaming” and “shouting” appeal to our sense of hearing or auditory sense.
- He whiffed the aroma of brewed coffee. – “whiff” and “aroma” evoke our sense of smell or olfactory sense.
- The girl ran her hands on a soft satin fabric. – The idea of “soft” in this example appeals to our sense of touch or tactile sense.
- The fresh and juicy orange are very cold and sweet. – “ juicy” and “sweet” when associated with oranges have an effect on our sense of taste or gustatory sense
Function of Imagery
The function of imagery in literature is to generate a vibrant and graphic presentation of a scene that appeals to as many of the reader’s senses as possible. It aids the reader’s imagination to envision the characters and scenes in the literary piece clearly.
Tone, in written composition, is an attitude of a writer toward a subject or an audience. Tone is generally conveyed through the choice of words or the viewpoint of a writer on a particular subject.
Every written piece comprises a central theme or subject matter. The manner in which a writer approaches this theme and subject is the tone. The tone can be formal, informal, serious, comic, sarcastic, sad, and cheerful or it may be any other existing attitudes. Consider the following examples of tone:
- “I want to ask the authorities what is the big deal? Why do not they control the epidemic? It is eating up lives like a monster.”
- “I want to draw the attention of the concerned authorities toward damage caused by an epidemic. If steps were not taken to curb it, it will further injure our community”
The theme of both tone examples is the same. The only way we can differentiate between them is their separate tone. The tone in the first example is casual or informal while, it is more formal in the second.
Function of Tone
Tone, in a piece of literature, decides how the readers read a literary piece and how they should feel while they are reading it. It stimulates the readers to read a piece of literature as a serious, comical, spectacular or distressing. In addition, tone lends shape and life to a piece of literature because it creates a mood.
Moreover, tone bestows voice to characters and it throws light on the personalities and dispositions of characters that readers understand better.
Characterization is a literary device that is used step by step in literature to highlight and explain the details about a character in a story.
It is in the initial stage where the writer introduces the character with noticeable emergence and then following the introduction of the character, the writer often talks about his behavior; then as the story progresses, the thought-process of the character. The next stage involves the character expressing his opinions and ideas and getting into conversations with the rest of the characters. The final part shows how others in the story respond to the character’s personality.
Author’s use both direct and indirect characterization. Direct characterization is when the author comes right out and gives the reader character traits. Indirect characterization is when the author shows the reader. Remember to use the mnemonic device STEAL (Speech, thoughts, effect on others, actions, and looks).
Characterization is an essential component in writing good literature. Modern fiction, in particular, has taken great advantage of this literary device. Understanding the role of characterization in storytelling is very important for any writer. To put it briefly, it helps us make sense of the behavior of any character in a story by helping us understand their thought processes. A good use of characterization always leads the readers or audience to relate better to the events taking place in the story. Dialogues play a very important role in developing a character because they give us an opportunity to examine the motivations and actions of the characters more deeply.
Internal and External Conflicts
Careful examination of the succeeding conflict examples will help us realize that conflicts may be internal or external. An internal or psychological conflict arises as soon as a character experiences two opposite emotions or desires; usually virtue or vice, or good and evil inside him. This disagreement causes a character to suffer mental agony. Any time a character is faced with a decision, they are experiencing an internal conflict.
External conflict is when a character finds himself in struggle with those outside forces that hamper his progress. The most common type of an external conflict is where a protagonist fights back against the antagonist’s tactics that impede his or her advancement.
Function of Conflict
Both internal and external conflicts are essential elements of a storyline. It is essential for a writer to introduce and develop conflict, internal or external, or both, in his storyline in order to achieve a story goal i.e. the resolution of a conflict often leads to the central idea.
Figurative language is using figures of speech to be more effective, persuasive and impactful. Figures of speech such as metaphors, similes, allusions go beyond the literal meanings of the words to give the readers new insights. On the other hand, alliterations, imageries, or onomatopoeias are figurative devices that appeal to the senses of the readers. Figurative language can appear in multiple forms with the use of different literary and rhetorical devices.
Types of Figurative Language
It covers a wide range of literary devices and techniques, a few of them include:
Function of Figurative Language
Its primary function is to force the readers to imagine what a writer wants to express. Poets and prose writers use this technique to bring out emotions and help their readers form images in minds. Thus, figurative language is a useful way of conveying an idea that readers cannot understand otherwise, due to its complex and abstract nature. In addition, it helps in analyzing a literary text.
Outline for Text-analysis
- Introduce the title of the passage, the literary element you are going to use, and the central idea you identified (what was the author trying to teach you/a message that you can find and apply to your own life).
Example: In the excerpt titled “He and I”, the author uses both internal and external conflict to develop the central idea that throughout life you will face a variety of obstacles; however, it is important to always persevere.
- In one-two sentences tell me what the passage is about.
Example: Throughout the text, the author describes the main character, Anthony, and his travels throughout the Netherlands. He goes into great detail regarding the complications Anthony faces throughout his journey.
- Discuss one of the main conflicts in the story that helped you come up with that central idea.
Example: There are a variety of conflicts in the story that help develop the idea that in life you will face a number of challenges, but you should always push forward. One such conflict is when Anthony is climbing the stairs to reach the cemetery where his father is buried. His legs hurt tremendously, and he was unsure of whether he was going in the right direction.
- Find a quote from the passage that shows how that conflict you chose develops that idea.
Example: The author states, “He travelled for what seemed like hours and had to stop throughout to rest” (Line 4).
- Explain in detail how your example develops this idea.
Example: The author’s use of conflict within this example helps to develop the idea that no matter what obstacle you are faced with, you should never give up because if Anthony gave up, then he would have never gotten to see his father’s grave. Even though his legs hurt and the journey was long, he knew that he would feel a sense of accomplishment after.
- Discuss a second conflict in the story that helps to develop your central idea, and find a second example from the passage that shows how that conflict develops that idea.
Example: The author goes on to say that Anthony faced a variety of mental struggles throughout his journey. He wanted to give up multiple times, but he managed to stay on course. It states, “He knew that if he stopped now he would regret it for the rest of his life” (Line 8).
- Explain in detail how your second example develops this idea.
Example: This internal conflict helps develops the idea that you should never give up and to always persevere because the main character had to decide whether or not he should keep going; ultimately, he decided to finish his journey.
- Conclusion- Restate your central idea and tie together all of your examples to show how that particular literary element developed the idea.
Example: The idea that no matter what obstacle you are faced with is reiterated throughout the passage through the resolution of the main characters internal and external conflicts. If Anthony would have given up, then he would have never felt that sense of accomplishment. He also would have never gotten to see the grave of his late father, something he wanted to do all his life.
Sample Text-Analysis Response
__________In the excerpt titled “He and I”, the author uses both internal and external conflict to develop the central idea that throughout life you will face a variety of obstacles; however, it is important to always persevere. Throughout the text, the author describes the main character, Anthony, and his travels throughout the Netherlands. He goes into great detail regarding the complications Anthony faces throughout his journey. Even though Anthony experiences a variety of hardships, he continues to move forward.___________________________________
There are a variety of conflicts in the story that help develop the idea that in life you will face a number of challenges, but you should always push forward. One such conflict is when Anthony is climbing the stairs to reach the cemetery where his father is buried. His legs hurt tremendously, and he was unsure of whether he was going in the right direction. The author states, “He travelled for what seemed like hours and had to stop throughout to rest” (Line 4). The author’s use of conflict within this example helps to develop the idea that no matter what obstacle you are faced with, you should never give up because if Anthony gave up, then he would have never gotten to see his father’s grave. Even though his legs hurt and the journey was long, he knew that he would feel a sense of accomplishment after. The author goes on to say that Anthony faced a variety of mental struggles throughout his journey. He wanted to give up multiple times, but he managed to stay on course. It states, “He knew that if he stopped now he would regret it for the rest of his life” (Line 8). This internal conflict develops the idea that you should never give and to always persevere because the main character had to decide whether or not he should keep going; ultimately, he decided to finish his journey. ____________________________________________________________________________
_________The idea that no matter what obstacle you are faced with is reiterated throughout the passage through the resolution of the main characters internal and external conflicts. If Anthony would have given up, then he would have never felt that sense of accomplishment. He also would have never gotten to see the grave of his late father, something he wanted to do his entire life._______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________