Year 11: ‘How does the writer…?’

Hello Year 11,

Here is a sample answer to the question we had a go at today in class:

How does the writer convince us that he was not very academic or good at school work?

The writer also uses humour, describing his grades as a ‘line of Pac-Men doing the Conga’. The simile is a very light-hearted way of suggesting that he got a series of G grades, but the humour is convincing; we do not feel that he is exaggerating the truth, but that he has a clear view of what the situation was. Similarly, his tone of voice is convincing; even when describing painful memories of ‘chilly emptiness’ he remains he isn’t particularly upset or emotional. He seems detached and objective, which emphasises his certainty and makes us feel that we have no need to doubt him.

Rayner uses emotive language to convince us of his past failures. Words such as ‘dread’ and ‘humiliation’ are suggestive of the intense emotions that he felt as a child when unable to complete the homework tasks set. They make it seem as if he really struggled with his school work, and that his efforts were very much below the standards of his peers, and therefore humiliating.

The journalist also uses triplication in the list of three memories, which lends a certain truth to his writing. Even though these are, indeed, memories (and distant ones from years ago, at that), the effect of listing three of them makes them seem factual. Structurally, this long sentence is then followed by a short one: ‘The fact is that I was not especially academic.’ This makes Rayner sound certain; he presents his opinion as fact.

When describing his attempt to complete his son’s maths homework, the writer comments: ‘This I used to be able to do. Or at least I think I used to be able to do this.’ This is interesting, because it suggests that his memory is not perfect. It is an admission of his humanity which, rather than suggesting that we should doubt his memory of the past, only confirms that he is flawed, like everyone else, and that in all probability he was never any good at maths at all.

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AQA Spec B: Integrating AO1 and AO2

When you first begin to use critical theories such as Marxism in your essays, AO2 can easily be forgotten. You are having SUCH a nice time considering all the ways in which Marxist theory can be used to interpret a text, that you forget all about caesura and assonance.

The following extract is from ‘Eveline’, a short story from James Joyce’s brilliant Dubliners.

One time there used to be a field there in which they used to play every evening with other people’s children. Then a man from Belfast bought the field and built houses in it – not like their little brown houses but bright brick houses with shining roofs.

 

Here is an example of how you could comment on this paragraph using both interpretation (AO1) and analysis (AO2):

 

Here , the field, suggestive of a natural state of communal existence and the freedom to play / rest after the day’s labours, is ‘bought’ and ‘bright brick’ houses are ‘built’ on it by ‘a man from Belfast’. What was once the setting for human interaction and creativity is sacrificed at the altar of Capitalism. The use of the indefinite article serves to keep the ‘man’ anonymous; he represents the landowning class (or bourgeoisie) and his coming from Belfast – centre of industry and commerce – further emphasises this. The alliteration of b sounds creates a harsh effect, hinting at the heartlessness and lack of remorse for his actions.

Task:

Have a go at writing a paragraph like the one above from other extracts from ‘Eveline’.

 

Moving on up the Bands: LITB1 AO2

"If only I could stare at those woods a bit longer," thought Robert. "They are so lovely."
“If only I could stare at those woods a bit longer,” thought Robert. “They are so lovely.”

Here be the notes from today’s lesson on Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods’. Just a note: the responses are cumulative. (You’d need to all 3 things to get a Band 6…)

The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

Band 4: In these lines, Frost appeals to us to listen closely; what can we hear? Only two things: the sound of the wind and the sound of the snow falling. The first is a more common sound – it would be impossible for us to hear the sound of snowflakes falling – precisely because they are ‘downy’, they make no sound. (You are explaining the quotation.)

Band 5: The sibilant sounds contribute to the sense of silence Frost describes here. Like the sounds of the wind and snow, they are soft. Similarly, the alliteration of the voiceless ‘only other’ lends a hollow, spacious quality to the sound. The metre creates movement across the lines; the enjambement: ‘sweep / of’ allows the iambic tetrameter to remain unbroken, building the pace towards the end of the stanza. It is almost as if the poem is brought to a sudden halt at the end: ‘flake’ suddenly stops the rhythm, abruptly. The harsh ‘k’ consonant emphasises this, and the A rhyme with ‘shake’ and ‘mistake’ lends the line a sense of closure, as if it has finally reached its destiny. (Here, you are analysing the quotation.)

Band 6: In this way, Frost creates a ‘sense of sound’ (his own phrase), whereby the sounds of the lines capture something of their content. The halting feeling at the end of this verse is precisely the feeling of ‘stopping’ in the title. The hollowness of ‘only other’ emphasises the importance of space – we must make space in our lives for contemplation. (Finally, you are evaluating the quotation.)

AS Homework: Tuesday 24th January

Helloo.

Here is the PPT on the Hardy poems in which we currently have our heads:

The 'swan-necked' Emma.

Poems about Emma

The next essay is due in on Tuesday:

How does Thomas Hardy tell the story in ‘The Going’?

Remember that you are only assessed on AO2 for this type of question.

Here is the mark scheme:

Band 1

(0-3)

AO2 very limited discussion of how form shapes meanings

AO2 very limited discussion of how structure shapes meanings

AO2 very limited discussion of how language shapes meanings

 

Band 2

(4-6)

AO2 some awareness of how form shapes meanings

AO2 some awareness of how structure shapes meanings

AO2 some awareness of how language shapes meanings

 

Band 3

(7-9)

AO2 consideration of how form shapes meanings

AO2 consideration of how structure shapes meanings

AO2 consideration of how language shapes meanings

 

Band 4

(10-13)

AO2 consideration of how specific aspects of form shape meanings

AO2 consideration of how specific aspects of structure shape meanings

AO2 consideration of how specific aspects of language shape meanings

 

Band 5

(14-17)

AO2 exploration of how specific aspects of form shape meanings

AO2 exploration of how specific aspects of structure shape meanings

AO2 exploration of how specific aspects of language shape meanings

 

Band 6

(18-21)

AO2 exploration and analysis of key aspects of form, with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings

AO2 exploration and analysis of key aspects of structure, with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings

AO2 exploration and analysis of key aspects of language, with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings

Good!