Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
horizontal line

2016 MCAS
Grade 10 English Language Arts
Question 27 - Score Point 4

This response provides a clear, complete, and accurate explanation of how the author creates suspense in both excerpts. The response explains that "Benchley builds…suspense in Jaws by starting right in the action" when "the reader is told quickly about weapons" as well as Hooper's descent into the ocean with only enough oxygen for "half an hour." The response continues by discussing the impact of the image of the shark as the "'angel of death'" and notes that as the shark draws closer, the reader is made "to feel like [s/he is] in Hooper's place." The response explains how the reader of "Swimming with Nightmares" is held in suspense because of Benchley's timidity and the sense of "impending doom since he [Benchley] knows about the danger." This "feeling of doom builds" as Benchley describes the shark with specific details that emphasize its threatening presence, and the feeling intensifies as the shark draws closer. When the rope becomes stuck, "the suspense reaches its peak." Relevant and specific details are included from both excerpts that clearly and accurately describe how Benchley is able to build suspense in both pieces of writing.
Answer for Score Point 4a



[ 4 Points | 4 Points | 3 Points | 2 Points | 1 Point | 0 Points]

horizontal line
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education