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Covering the Bases


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#1 englisher

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 01:20 PM

Hi guys.

I'm learning the following texts for Friday's exam:

Romeo and Juliet - Turning Point; Fate; Change In Juliet's Character
To Build A Fire - Setting
A Hanging - Moral Issue
Mr Bleaney - Loneliness / Isolation

Do you think I'll be sufficiently prepared? It's just that I really want an A but I got ~60% in the prelim, getting 12 for one of my essays. sad.gif

Also, I'm having a real hard time with the Evaluative questions in Close Reading papers, anyone got any advice?

Cheers,
Englisher

EDIT: Is anyone in here a marker/teacher? I've been told my teacher marks essays very generously and I don't really know how many marks they would be worth, would it be possible for someone to look at them over an email? Thanks

#2 floss

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 01:55 PM

Well, first of all, hello! You got roughly the same result in your prelim as me, so I think I might be able to help you, even if it's only a little bit. I know I appreciate even the tiniest little hint on here, so hopefully you'll feel the same!

I've prepared four texts for Friday as well, not the same ones of course (!) but I would say that you seem seem pretty much sorted with those, as they cover a wide range of questions that could be asked.
If you've put the effort in over the past few months then there's absolutely no reason why your grade shouldn't improve. I've gone from a C to a low B and now I'm borderline between a high B and an A, just by doing a few questions every few days and practising writing the critical essays.

As far as the Evaluation questions go, in my opinion, these are by far the hardest questions. This is taken from a booklet I was given by my teacher...

Questions on imagery and word choice (evaluation)
These are questions most Higher English candidates find especially difficult. It's not easy to 'learn' how to do them, since your ability here depends on your sensitivity to language, and this is something that has been growing gradually since you started learning to read. The following pieces of advice, however, might help:
  • You never get any marks for simply quoting a word or identifying an image - the marks are always for the 'quality' of the comment
  • The comment must be specific to the word of image being talked about - vague remarks which could apply to any word or image will get no marks, and you get no marks for repeating the questions
  • When answering on word choice, try to go beyond what a word means, and explore what it suggests (in technical terms: connotation rather than denotation).
  • When answering on imagery try to show how the literal root or origin of the image is being used by the writer to express an idea in a metaphorical way.

Sentence Structure
Also difficult. As with questions on imagery and word choice, it's not easy to 'learn' how to do thesee. You have to be able to recognise relevant features of sentence structure (eg brevity, length, use of listing, climax, anti-climax, repetition, use f questions, balance, period), but the marks are given for the quality of your comments on their effect in context

Tone
Possibly the most difficult area of all. Not only will you have to identify the writer's tone at a particular point in the passage (eg anger, contempt, regret, nostalgia, irony, humour) you'll also have to explain how the writer establishes the tone. The 'how' part is often done best by exploring other aspects of language such as sentence structure, imagery, and word choice since these are often used to convey tone.

I don't know if any of that will help you at all; some of it seems pretty obvious, but hopefully there might be something there that will help you. And good luck for Friday.
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#3 englisher

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 04:24 PM

Thanks a lot for that advice on evaluation questions. Will see how I get on with the 2003 Past Paper later on.

A 35/36 or so in the Close Reading would set me up so nicely for the Critical Essays... sad.gif

Hope it goes well on Friday for you too.

Thanks again,
Mark

#4 floss

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 04:38 PM

No problem whatsoever! I have a lot more stuff I can quote at you if you ever want more help...
Wow, it's usually me who needs help in this forum biggrin.gif
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#5 lucyrobyn

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 02:03 PM

for Qs on imagery.

identify the image
say what it is out of context to show you know what it means.
describe the image it provokes

eg.

"leech"
the writer describes the people around Ali as 'leeches' on his money, this gives the impression that they are sucking Ali dry of money, much like a leech sucks blood from people. it also gives the idea that Ali is a victim to these people.


#6 Pete

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 03:01 PM

Also for imagery: if the question asks you, "how effective do you find this image?" you must first decide whether or not it is relevant: if it is relevant, then it is effective. Using the above example, the image of a leech is relevant since it is describing the people around Ali and how they treat him, therefore it is effective as it emphasises this treatment. Since the question involves a slight element of personal response, you could also argue the converse, possibly that an image is clichéd, but that may be a lot more difficult depending on the question and the image to which it refers. It is usually a lot easier to argue in favour of effectiveness.





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