Regents Task 4

The Critical Lens
Task 4
 Task 4 is the second task of the second day of the
NYS Regents exam.
 Like the other three tasks, it requires you to write a
4-5 paragraph essay.
 Like the other essays, it is graded on meaning,
development, organization, language and
 It is also graded on a 0-6 scale.
There is one major difference however…
 The Task 4 essay is the only essay that requires you
to base your essay on outside information.
 For this essay, you must discuss two appropriate
works of literature and certain literary elements
relevant to those pieces of literature.
 You should come into the test with four pieces of
literature that you are very familiar with and would
like to use for this essay.
So what is the critical lens?
 The Critical lens is a quotation through which you
can examine two pieces of literature.
 For example:
 “You must take life the way it comes at you and
make the best of it” - Yann Martel Life of Pi
(August 2007 Regents)
 The task requires you to agree or disagree with the
lens using two pieces of literature to prove and
support your position.
Your introduction paragraph should follow
this formula
 Repeat the quotation: Yann Martel once
said, “ blah blah blah…”
 Explain the quote: “This means….”
 Agree or Disagree: Do not use “I”! Try
something like, “This statement is true.”
 Literary Works: Name the literary works
and elements that you will write about.
Yann Martel once declared, “You
must take life the way it comes at you
and make the best of it.” Simply stated,
this quote means that it is solely up to
each person to do their best with the
circumstances presented in life. Two
works that support this thematic idea
especially well are The Secret Life of
Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and Night by
Elie Weisel. These two works of
literature both use the literary elements
of characterization and setting to prove
that it is the individuals responsibility to
make the best of whatever challenges life
may present.
Let’s try our
hand at a
few past
lenses, in
order to get
a better
sense of
what is
and what is
to be
The most difficult part of this
task is analyzing and
interpreting the critical lens and
choosing appropriate literature
and literary elements.
Complete the following exercise
quietly in order to become more
familiar with this practice.