Best Sat Essay Quotes Example

Order my e-Book about historical, literary, and personal examples to use for the SAT Essay, with quotes, impressive vocab words, and more!

Are your literary examples ready for the SAT Essay?

Many of my students complain about not having enough examples or about not having enough time to “think of stuff to say” when writing their SAT Essay.

If you need help with a similar problem, this post on literature examples for the SAT essay is a mini-preview of my e-Book on the best essay examples to use.

In the book, I give thirty examples to use, not just five, and provide, for each example:

That book can give you or your student some ideas if you worry about “not knowing what to say” when you see the SAT essay prompt.

Literary examples to write your SAT Essay about:

Although we won’t go as much detail in today’s post as in my e-Book, I think this will still get you started on developing your literary examples.

We won’t necessarily have the time to get into those interesting quotes, summary paragraphs, etc that are contained in the complete e-Book version, but you’ll get the basic idea.

Plenty of great books have been written to use for the SAT essay, but I like these five in particular – and you probably have heard of them already.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

1) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare:

The classic love story – betrayals, broken friendships, family rivalries, and resistance to authority build up to shocking tragedy.

 

Themes:

  • Revenge: Think of all the revenge killings, e.g. Mercutio.
  • Disobeying vs. following authority: Both Romeo and Juliet defy parental authority.
  • Love, friendship, loyalty: This one’s pretty self-explanatory… these forces can consume us, redeem us, cause us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. Romeo abandons his old friends to be with his lover.
  • Individual vs. society: Romeo and Juliet again, engaging in socially-forbidden love.
  • Fate vs. deciding your own path: Is the lovers’ destiny already written, or could they have changed it?

2) The Odyssey by Homer:

 One of the earliest epic stories that humanity has recorded – an series of amazing adventures by a daring hero, stranded with his fighting men, far from home, away from his wife and son.

Themes:

  • Duty vs. temptation: Odysseus and his men constantly indulge in minor distractions instead of continuing on their journey – e.g. eating the lotus fruit, or Odysseus strapping himself to the mast of his ship because he’s so curious about the song of the sirens.
  • Faithfulness and trust: Odysseus’s wife, who is trying to wait for him to return; the men on the voyage and their loyalty to each other and their leader.
  • Strength vs. cunning: The hero continually outwits his stronger enemies, such as the cyclops, and slays all of his wife’s rowdy suitors by disguising himself. Likewise, his wife Penelope delays her suitors by claiming to weave a burial shroud that she never intends to finish).

3) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley:

 Science-fiction fantasy clashes with human individuality as a “perfect” society slowly crushes anyone who decides they’d rather not take the feel-good pills.

Themes:

  • Technology: Mainly used as an instrument of control; Soma and entertainment control the population, sleep conditioning controls the social system.
  • Nature vs nurture: John, the outsider, lives more naturally and is able to appreciate Shakespeare’s poetry and see the flaws in the high-tech society, but the others around him are too shallow to understand what he means.
  • Truth vs happiness: It seems that the happiest characters, such as Lenina, are the ones most out of touch with reality, while John, who sees the truth of the world, is bitterly unhappy.
  • Authority vs. the individual: John rebels against and is eventually destroyed by an all-powerful authoritarian society.

4) Animal Farm by George Orwell:

Ever heard someone describe your government as “a bunch of pigs?” Orwell puts ownership of a farm in the hands of its animals, and imagines the consequences.

 

Themes:

  • Class in society: Despite mostly good intentions, the animals find themselves organized into higher and lower castes.
  • Exploitation of team efforts: The animals expect their Soviet-style socialism to benefit them all equally, but learn very quickly that the system will be exploited by “pigs” with more power and cunning.
  • Idealism vs. pragmatism: The most idealistic animals, like Snowball, are quickly taken advantage of by less-principled and more-practical animals like Napoleon who don’t truly believe in the rhetoric of the revolution.
  • Questioning leadership: Boxer, for example, never questions Napoleon’s decisions, preferring to keep his head down and assume that all is for the best.
  • Power and corruption: In Orwell’s view, power seems to inevitably corrupt those who hold it.

5) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton:

A coming-of-age story that pits two rival gangs against each other. The wealthy kids seem to have it all, but the bonds of young friendship make the Outsiders strong.

Themes:

  • Honor and ethics: The Greasers, perhaps because they don’t fit in to the larger society, must create and follow their own code of ethics. For example, Dally once let himself be arrested for a crime that Two-Bit commited.
  • Group identity: The Greasers identify them through their hair and clothing; the Socs set themselves with cars, rings, and nicer clothes. Each group speaks in a specific way. The clear social markers keep the groups seperate.
  • Similarities between enemies: Ponyboy begins to realize that although they seem very different, the Socs and the Greasers both share adolescent trials such as sadness, loss, and love.
  • Suffering, failure, violence: despite all the gang fights and shootouts, no group ever comes out “on top” – the cycle of violence merely causes losses, pain, and suffering for both sides.

Ready to keep preparing for the SAT essay?

These five literature examples can get you started on your SAT essay prep.

To go deeper into thematic analysis, supporting quotations, and broader selections of evidence, check out the e-Book with 30 more examples to use (the book goes way more in-depth on key vocab words and themes you can use in your own essays)!

Ideally, you should have between five and ten well-researched examples that you feel comfortable discussing.

You don’t want to get caught without something to say, panicking and freaking out while everyone else’s pencil scribbles loudly around you!

Now order your copy of Top 30 Examples to Use as SAT Essay Evidence to get the complete collection of SAT essay evidence, themes, vocabulary, and more!

Further Reading:
Top 5 Historical Examples for the SAT Essay
Why You Should Use Essay Examples You Care About
The Top 10 Tips For Your SAT Essay
How to Write a Great 5-Paragraph SAT Essay

Additional Resources:
Top 30 Examples to Use as SAT Essay Evidence (e-Book)
Write the Best SAT Essay of Your Life (e-Book)
Conquer SAT Vocabulary (Video Course)

Also, sign up for my mailing list to get free SAT-related content sent straight to your inbox!

I'm a professional SAT tutor and 2400-scorer on the SAT. Also, a blogger, website author, textbook-writer, musician, teacher, traveler, and environmentalist :) I love to beat standardized tests with students, because I think it's ridiculous to judge the value of a human being based on an SAT score - it's just a number! I also write for and run an SAT prep website and blog at www.eSATPrepTips.com Stop by and check it out!

 

Click Here to download my e-Book about historical, literary, and personal examples to use for the SAT Essay, with quotes, impressive vocab words, and more!

 

Do you know what to write about on the day of the SAT?

This blog post will get students started thinking about what evidence they bring to the SAT essay so that they always have something to say!

Preparing your evidence for the SAT essay in advance is one of my top 10 tips for the essay.

This post is a miniature version of my complete e-Book on 30 of the most effective examples to use as supporting evidence in your SAT essay body paragraphs.

I wrote that e-Book so that a student warming up for the SAT essay could easily get access to good SAT essay evidence examples that he or she can use to answer a broad variety of SAT essay prompts.

In the book, I provide a brief summary, an SAT vocabulary word and meaning, two memorable quotes, and 10 key facts about EACH of the 30 evidence examples (which come from a variety of fields like sports, literature, history, personal experience, etc).

That report will be incredibly valuable to you if you worry about “not knowing what to say” when you see the SAT essay prompt.

Today we’ll get a mini-version of those SAT Essay Examples:

In this post, I’m going to give a quick overview of some top historical examples for the SAT Essay.

We won’t necessarily have the time to get into those cool quotations, summary paragraphs, etc that are contained in the complete e-Book version, but there will still be a lot of great info.

There are many great examples from history to use for the SAT essay, but here are five that you may already know about. I’ve identified some common SAT essay topic themes that each piece of evidence will work for.

1) The Fall of Rome (476 A.D.)

The Roman Empire was among the most powerful civilizations, yet it crumbled into ruin. How can we write about it on the SAT?

Themes:

  • Leadership: Incompetent emperors and military leadership may have played a part in the decline of the empire
  • Civic duty: The spoiled Roman citizens began to hire more and more mercenaries to defend their borders – paid soldiers with no personal loyalty to the Empire. The Romans may have been better off if they had defended themselves, instead of paying and trusting outsiders to take care of them.
  • Imperialism: The Roman Empire was too big to govern effectively and outer territories were not well-defended.
  • Decadence: The upper-class of the Roman Empire had so much wealth that they may have been complacent about the dangers to their empire; the oppressed lower classes may have wanted the Empire to fall, as this would benefit them directly.

2) The American Civil War (1861-1865)

 

In the civil war, brother fought brother. Some fought for freedom, others fought for oppression. Says a lot about human nature, doesn’t it?

Themes:

  • Freedom: One of the major causes of the war was the country’s division over the possession of black slaves and some historians see the war as one huge battle for human freedom and independence.
  • Divided loyalties: Families were divided on the issues and often found themselves arguing or even physically fighting one another, in order to support their beliefs.
  • Leadership and authority: The southern states rebelled against Lincoln’s leadership and denied his authority over them; he was forced to go to war in order to reassert that authority and leadership.
  • Violence as a solution: The American Civil War is an historical example of violence being the only apparent solution to an impossible problem – reuniting a divided nation and asserting Lincoln’s presidential authority.

3) The Vietnam War (1955-1975)

 

A time of confusion and argument. Moral issues became clouded, making it very flexible evidence for a variety of SAT essay prompts.

 

Themes:

  • Power and imperialism: The powerful United States was staging a self-interested, imperial, political intervention in a foreign country; many have argued that it was not our place to do so, and we should have simply let the Vietnamese choose their own form of government.
  • Fear and violence: Fear of worldwide Communist takeover motivated a violent response: an armed military intervention in a distant foreign country.
  • Lost youth: The young male soldiers (frequently African-American) who were drafted to fight had little choice and were forced to risk their lives in a conflict that didn’t benefit them at all.
  • Exploitation by the powerful: It was mainly the poor males who were drafted; the rich and powerful politicians were looking out for their own interests at the expense of their less-powerful fellow citizens.
  • “Is more/bigger always better?”: The massive American army was still unable to dislodge the highly-motivated guerilla warriors of North Vietnam.
  • Courage facing impossible odds: The Viet Cong were facing an enemy enormously more well-armed and powerful than themselves, but believed so strongly in their cause that they refused to give up and eventually forced the more powerful U.S. army out of their country.

4) The American Black Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)

Forces fighting for change battle with forces of oppression as blacks in the USA fight for freedom and human rights.

Themes:

  • Change and Protest: Both violent and non-violent protests, like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Riders, and sit-ins were effective in calling attention to the plight of black Americans, and also put economic and social pressure on existing instutitions that encouraged racial discrimination.
  • Rebellion against authority: Rosa Parks, MLK Jr., and Malcolm X were all heros and rebels against the white establishment.
  • Personal rights: African-Americans demanded equal rights as human beings, and refused to allow their human dignity and rights to be violated any longer.
  • Oppression: Segregation was designed to oppress and control African Americans, and it worked for a time, but eventually it became unendurable and led to a form of uprising.

5) Woodstock (1969)

 

Ever heard of the Hippies? Woodstock was a music festival that represented hopes and dreams for a generation. Peace, love, rebellion, rock music, and a dark side.

Themes:

  • Art’s relationship to society: The music and lyrics greatly affected the society of the era, calling attention to the mistake of the Vietnam War and the equality of all human beings.
  • Youth vs. elders: Woodstock was attended mainly by young men and women who wanted something “different” than the lives that their parents and authority figures were offering them.
  • Rebellion and risk-taking: Drugs, nudity, loud rock music, and escape from authority were all major themes of this massive music festival.
  • Idealism vs. pragmatism: Woodstock was essentially founded on ideals of youth, rebellion, and free thinking; however, because the festival organizers were perhaps not the most practical people, the festival was overrun by 10 times as many people as was expected.
  • Extra: Jimi Hendrix shredding “The Star-Spangled Banner” on electric guitar (considered one of the defining moments of Woodstock; Hendrix called attention to the corruption of the once-pure ideals of the United States by incorporating violent and agonizing sounds into the national anthem. The electric-guitar version of the old-school anthem was a clear sign of the times and the upcoming social changes.)

Want deeper analysis and more SAT Essay Evidence?

These five top historical examples for the SAT essay are at least enough to get you started on your SAT essay prep.

Ideally, you should have between 5 and 10 well-researched history and literature examples that you feel comfortable writing about, supported by quotations and specific evidence, before the day of the test.

Ready to get deeper into thematic analysis, supporting quotations, and broader selections of evidence? Check out my SAT Essay Examples Book with 30 more examples to use for any SAT essay topic!

Further Reading:
What is the SAT Essay?
Top 5 Literature Examples for the SAT Essay
The Top 10 Tips for Your SAT Essay
How to Write a Great 5-Paragraph Essay

Additional Resources:
Top 30 Examples to Use for SAT Essay Evidence (e-Book)
Write the Best SAT Essay of Your Life! (e-Book)
Conquer SAT Vocabulary (Video Course)

Be sure to join my free SAT mailing list before you go! I’ll send my Urgent Report on SAT Reading and other exclusive test prep content for subscribers only!

I'm a professional SAT tutor and 2400-scorer on the SAT. Also, a blogger, website author, textbook-writer, musician, teacher, traveler, and environmentalist :) I love to beat standardized tests with students, because I think it's ridiculous to judge the value of a human being based on an SAT score - it's just a number! I also write for and run an SAT prep website and blog at www.eSATPrepTips.com Stop by and check it out!

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