Below is the list of questions that could potentially appear on the AP Language Wilderness exam. The test will have two portions: one section in which you identify the author of a passage and one section in which you write fully-developed paragraph responses to four of these questions. For the paragraph portion, plan to write detailed, specific arguments that demonstrate knowledge of the text and our class discussions. During your answers, you will need to make reference to at least seven sources.

Potential Paragraph Responses

  1. Contrast the attitudes of John Muir and Aldo Leopold when it comes to the human response to nature. How does each see our role?
  2. Does the life led by Chris/Alex reflect Thoreau’s attitude about simplicity? Or does he go too far in his pursuit of uncomplicated, natural life?
  3. Why does Rachel Carson believe that the American definition of progress is threatening our future and what we should do to respond?
  4. Using at least three sources, make an argument for what should be done to the national parks.
  5. Chief Seattle asked, “what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lovely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night?” and Emerson argues that the solitude of nature is essential for the soul. Using these and at least one more source, discuss the argument that nature is necessary for a healthy soul.
  6. Explain Aldo Leopold’s idea of the Land Ethic and apply it to a contemporary environmental dispute.
  7. How does Henry David Thoreau use his examination of nature to explain human behavior?
  8. Time appears as a central concept in many of the pieces we read. Using at least three sources, discuss how environmental writers argue humans should adjust their perception of human time and the natural world.
  9. Using at least three authors, one of whom should be Wallace Stegner, explain how some authors believe that humans only tend to appreciate certain parts of aspects of nature.
  10. Using Thoreau and at least one other source, explain how writers who defend the natural world believe that simplifying our lives is essential for our survival.
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