Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category
To help you critically analyse texts a basic strategy to use is SAY – MEAN – MATTER. Remember that interpreting texts means looking for meaning and reading at a deeper level. This means not just finding out what happens in the plot. You also need to:
· Discover the reasons why the author/director may have constructed events they way they did
· Understand how the themes and ideas are conveyed
· Identify the style features and conventions used by the author
· Understand the authors point of view and how they position the reader
· Identify the cultural, social and historical values in the text
· Understand different readings and alternative points of view
If you are looking for excellence grades think about MATTER and integrate your ideas into your essays.
|What happens in the text?
Give a summary of the text.
Use quotes or paraphrase
Include the most important details.
|Read “between the lines.”
What do the characters’ words or actions make you think?
How do the actions affect the plot, themes or your view of the characters?
|What does the author want you (the reader/viewer) to learn?
What is the message, meaning or moral?
What do you learn about yourself, relationships or the world from this text?
Children of Men looks at the issue of how society defines responsibility, freedom and a sense of values when many people don’t believe humans will survive as a species. When there is no future generation, and the obsession is with the young, how does that affect a society?
I hope you are reading your study guide and preparing to write an essay on the film.
Here are a few topics to try:
1. Analyse visual / oral techniques used to establish a strong first impression of character(s) OR setting OR purpose AND how this ﬁrst impression was important to the text as a whole.
2. Analyse oral / visual techniques used to show changes in a main character or individual in a text you have studied AND why these changes were important to the text as a whole.
3. Describe a section / scene / episode with a strong sense of mood or suspense or atmosphere AND analyse production methods used to create this mood or suspense or atmosphere.
4. Identify what you consider to be the director’s main purpose AND explore, in depth, one or two main visual / oral techniques used to achieve this purpose.
5. Outline some potential limitations of the genre / form / type of text you studied AND how your text overcame these.
I have had lots of essays from Year 11 to grade but I don’t know if this one is going in the right direction …
Some important themes demonstrated in the television programme SpongeBob SquarePants are friendship, forgiveness and the importance of enjoying oneself. Stephen Hillenberg has used the town of Bikini Bottom as a setting to portray SpongeBob’s child-like innocence, which is key to making the viewer recognise the presence of these themes in SpongeBob himself. The sparing use of song is intended to particularly emphasise these themes in SpongeBob SquarePants.
The theme of enjoying oneself is effectively portrayed when SpongeBob sings the ‘FUN’ song, to teach Plankton what fun really is. “F is for friends who do stuff together,” SpongeBob is explaining to the audience and to Plankton what he believes fun is all about, simultaneously demonstrating that enjoying oneself is closely linked to friendship, another important theme of the show. The next lines “U is for you and me” and “N is for anywhere and anytime at all,” refers to the fact that true friends will always be there for each other and that SpongeBob himself views this as a vital element of ‘fun’.
Thanks Julia, you brightened up my marking pile!
Here is an essay from a student preparing for the exams. It was written in test conditions. Any thoughts?
Describe a strong relationship or conflict in the text. Explain how verbal and/or visual features of the text help you understand this relationship or conflict.
In the film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape directed by Lasse Hallstrom a strong relationship is developed between Gilbert and Becky. How they thought about each other was reflected in their actions and conversations and this helped me to understand why their relationship was so strong.
Gilbert Grape lives in the small American town of Endora. In the beginning of the film we hear Gilbert’s dull and dreary voice describing living in Endora as “like dancing to no music”, “it’s a place where nothing much ever happens and nothing much ever will.” This verbal introduction helped me to understand that Gilbert has lost all of the spark out of life; his monotonous voice represents his repetitve daily patterns. Since his father died and his older brother “got away” Gilbert has had the tedious job of looking after his unusual family. This has eaten away at him as he feels trapped and he now is a shell of a person – alive but not living.
When Becky unexpectedly arrives on the scene we are immediately made aware that she will bring a change to Gilbert. Visually in scenes we often see her connected with air or water which helped me to understand that she was there to cleanse Gilbert. We can also tell that Becky looks at everything in a positive way when she expresses, “I love the sky, it’s so limitless.”
Becky does bring to Gilbert change so that he can view his world in a different light. Their relationship develops into a strong one because for Gilbert he has met someone who for the first time demands nothing from him. Becky also opens Gilbert up emotionally which is demonstrated when she asks,”What do you want for you? Just for you?” only for him to reply, “I want to be a good person.” We also understand from the visual and verbal features that Gilbert trusts Becky which is represented when he takes her to visit his very obese mother. This is a significant turning point because usually he is ashamed of his mother the “whale” and has never taken anyone to her before. Their relationship eventually leads to the next level but through the features of the film we can understand that it is because they are both so in touch with one another, not because they want to use each other.
Gilbert and Becky’s relationship is a strong one and the features in the film can help us to understand why. Verbally Gilbert opens up and his voice takes on a happier tone. However, by visually watching it we can understand that Becky is the catalyst for change about and it was her that bought this change about. They may not get married with a fairytale ending but Gilbert is at last free of his repressed feelings and emotions and that is why their relationship is so strong.
Lots of essays on moodle for you to view. Here is the start of one on Lord of the Flies. You will find the rest on the Year 11 page on moodle.
Describe an important idea you learned about in the text. Explain why this idea was worth learning about.
An important idea in the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding is the idea that evil exists within all men. This idea was worth learning about because it is Golding’s attempt at explaining the atrocities of World War Two, and it helps us to understand the importance of laws and rules in our society.
William Golding experienced firsthand the horrors of World War Two, and Lord of the Flies was written to warn us that ‘what happened in Germany could happen anywhere. It could happen here.’ Golding shows us that evil exists not just in those who commit awful crimes, but in all of us. In his novel, a group of young schoolboys are stuck on an island, without adults, and without rules. At first this is an exciting prospect for them; a world without rules is paradise. But the boys start having nightmares about a strange beast. And very quickly, their behaviour begins to deteriorate. At first, Ralph diplomatically leads the group. But Jack decides to create his own tribe, and by the end of the novel Simon and Piggy have been killed, and Ralph is being hunted.
I have recommended this website before but it is one that many of you will find very helpful. Go to Englishbiz to learn how to write a better essay. Even if you are in Year 13 it will be useful to have a look.
Whatever the essay you have to write, whatever its title or question, you won’t find a better way of tackling it than to write it in the form of a well-structured and well-supported argument. This kind of essay is easier to plan, more fulfilling to write and, for your teacher (or the marker) more interesting to grade.
“A paragraph is unified when every sentence develops the point made in the topic sentence. It must have a single focus and it must contain no irrelevant facts. Every sentence must contribute to the paragraph by explaining, exemplifying, or expanding the topic sentence. In order to determine whether a paragraph is well developed or not, ask yourself: ‘What main point am I trying to convey here?’ (topic sentence) and then ‘Does every sentence clearly relate to this idea?”
Go here to read more.
It is important that you understand what a topic sentence is in order to write a unified and coherent paragraph. A topic sentence (also known as a focus sentence) encapsulates or organises an entire paragraph, and you should be careful to include one in most of your major paragraphs. Although topic sentences may appear anywhere in a paragraph, in academic essays they often appear at the beginning. If you are still unsure about topic sentences go to this excellent site.
In a literature essay what are connections beyond the text? I know that teachers wrote on lots of scripts in the recent prelims that students needed to make connections beyond the text – but what does that mean?
Here is a comment from the 2008 Level One Assessment Report:
Candidates can be assisted to develop the skills and knowledge required to achieve by: practising applying their knowledge by making comparisons, evaluations, and judgements within, between and beyond texts.
Making connections beyond the text basically means adding in a stronger personal response, commenting on how the issues raised in the text, or how a character acts, made you think about something in your world. You need to relate the studied text to your own life, your own experiences and opinions. Ask your teacher to help you with this!
When you discuss connections beyond the text remember they are an extra layer in your essay. Make sure that these connections do not dominate your description and explanation in your answer to the question. It is crucial that you always remain focused on the question asked and that you only add in personal response where it enhances your answer and not just for the sake of it.