Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Last minute advice for the A2 Edexcel English Literature Exam for Unit 3

For section A of Unit 3 - The unseen poem

Remember where the marks are for each assessment objective: AO1 10 marks and 30 marks for AO2. So language form and structure are all important here. Check your booklets, the one with the face of the war poet, Wilfred Owen's face on the front. Pages 54-64 are a must read before the Exam. Mull over the ideas on these pages as they are vital for understanding what you need to do and the skills you are expected to show.

Read the poem least twice to try to understand it. Look for where the first sentence ends to get a leg up on its meaning. What and where is the poem's central tension? (Its contradiction - stretching - the interplay of conflicting elements?)

Think about titles careful as they will help you with your understanding of the poem. Are they literal, ironic, etc.?

For words/phrases you do not understand, read around them their contexts should give you clues as their meaning.

Use CAAP to try to get hold of the poem's meaning: Context, Attitude (tone/s) Audience and Purpose.

Then use FLIRT (Form and Structure, Language, Imagery, Rhythm and Rhyme, Theme(s) and Tone) to annotate the poem. Some of these may be more appropriate than others.

Make a plan! So you can add to it when necessary as you write.

Remember to use the Point - Evidence - Comment or Assert - Quote - Comment approach when writing your answer.

Begin with an introduction which sets out what the poem is about and how it is communicated. (i.e. first or third person and nominate its form, if you can do so.)

Write a proper conclusion in which you sum up or restate your main ideas by answering the question again.

Proof read for errors in meaning, punctuation, apostrophes, capital letters, etc.

For Section B

Go over those booklets I gave you. There is lots of terminology and ideas in them!

For the Gatsby, Corelli, Duffy question you need to read the prompt carefully as the AOs will be targeted in its words and phrases. Read the rest of the question and make sure you pay careful attention to the AO 1 - 10 marks ( Understanding the texts, writing the essay and using appropriate literary terms.) Annotate the question: circle or underline key words and phrases. Use marker pens if necessary to make things stand out.

The key AOs and marks for this question are:
AO2 - 10 marks Language, Forms and Structure.
AO1 10 marks Understanding the texts, writing about them and using literary terminology to fortify your points.
AO3 - 20 marks Comparing and contrasting, using your own arguments/interpretation of texts and showing awareness of other readings. Modern readers, etc.
AO4 - Modern readers and how these texts would have been read by others over time.  Historical and cultural contexts, includes, philosophy ideologies, etc.

As the question is so far away from where you are expected to begin your answer in the booklets, write out the key exam theme and how it is focused:

Relationships: texts which confront the reader with powerful emotions.

Read the prompt carefully and deconstruct it for its AOs Notice that it often has an AO2 words and phrases like "presentation" or "how successful is the writers in engaging" is intended to get you to to think about the writers' techniques in evoking these powerful emotions in parts/passages of the texts you have studied. You should then cross over from AO2 to AO3-4 by using the AO2 words, etc. as a springboard into your AOs 3-4 points. By noticing that CCM is a polyphonic novel you are commenting on its structure (AO2) but by arguing how its use of polyphony is postmodern and that its structure represents a more complicated sense of reality for readers, you have crossed over into AO4. "Historiographic fiction" is an AO2 term for the novel's form; but you can cross over into AO4 by explaining how for modern readers this is a popular form which blends real events with fictitious characters to arrive at the a "truthful representation of reality." The "truth" in "The Great Gatsby" is mediated through one narrator, Nick Carraway, who filters it through several frame narratives within his own narrative. Note how he says he is writing about Gatsby early in Chapter 1. Similarly, characters who are writing (Dr (Ianis, Pelagia, history and the past, Carlo's testament, Mandras' letters) are also present in CCM. Truth and reality is arrived at in different ways through each texts' readers. Also for AO4, early readers of The Great Gatsby in 1925 had no idea that there would be a a depression just a few years later. The early reviews suggest as much. In our time, we are only too familiar with the consequences of credit, corruption and waste. Indeed the theme of waste connects the texts: wasted lives and love, wasted wealth, corruption; what the Greeks are going through today influences how modern readers will read these texts. They will also be aware of the consequences of the pressures now on our own banks not just in this country but throughout the world. We are living with the consequences of greed, power-hungry melgamaniacs (rich bankers) has left us with: 1930s style austerity and poverty.

Select passages or events from chapters and make a plan. If you include Duffy you could make a chart-like plan. Otherwise a line down the middle on a page will help you compare. You can use passages, evidence from elsewhere in the texts to show you have an overview but it should not be at the expense of your overall argument. It is that overall argument which should have your overview. Use themes to help you compare and contrast: i.e. honour, love, waste, position of women, etc.

Consider relevant themes which will help you compare and contrast each text. For example, various forms of love, change, honour, education, the position of women, the past, writing in its various forms, the underlaying Greek mythology and Christian imagery which underpins the CCM. Remember that the newly rich, former Roman slave, Trimalchio, lays behind the representation of Jay Gatsby. Other themes can be found be looking at past posts on this blog. See the Corelli link on the right for past posts.

If you go for the blunderbuss approach by trying to say lots of mini arguments you may risk depth at the expense of breadth.
You need an overall argument and three or four supporting arguments to back it up

Use terminology (AO1) where appropriate. For example, third person narrator, imagery, lexis, contrast, parallel characters, foregrounding, etc. Much of this will carry over into AO2.

Assert - Quote - Comment should be your method. Always ask yourself, "Have I proved my point?)

Don't allow yourself to end up telling the story. The authors have done it much better than you can! If you are doing that you are not arguing and using evidence. Check that your points are relevant to the question.

Revisit the prompt and its key words, regularly and use them to show that that your answer is relevant in a frequent manner.

Use the anchor text method by beginning with your favoured text and then comparing from that. Do this if it helps you.

A brief introduction is fine but set out your lines of argument and identify the passages or events you intend using to construct your argument. You could, perhaps lead with the theme that connects the texts from your question. Be prepared to evaluate - "how far you would agree," etc. You can contradict to an extent if you wish. Use a third person approach. Avoid "I" until the end of your essay where it might find its way into your conclusion.

Write a proper conclusion which sums up your main argument.

Build in time to proof read for sense, punctuation, apostrophes, spellings, capitals, etc.

This is your chance to prove what you know and can do. It is a test of your skills as an A2 student of English Literature and you are expected to give and analytical - and emotional response.
Good luck and show what you can do.


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Structure in poetry and prose

Of course, this is just a smattering of what you could analyse and apply.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Doing Good Deeds (in Russia)

Kindness makes us human and part of humanity

Friday, 3 May 2013

First Listen: Music From Baz Luhrmann's Film "The Great Gatsby"

First Listen: Music From Baz Luhrmann's Film 'The Great Gatsby'

The soundtrack to The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann's latest high-end refurbishing of a lived-in classic, doesn't try to re-imagine Jazz Age tunes in a modern context. Instead, it attempts to transplant the sensibility of the 1920s to the hip-hop era, with genre-busting...

What makes The Great Gatsby great?

The noted F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar offer her views. This is great reading for AOs 3 and 4.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Professor Sarah Churchwell on The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

Professor Sarah Churchwell on "The American Dream" and its "real" application to "The Great Gatsby".

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.