Help, tips and assistance for students. This blog is part of a range specifically for students and can be found, along with others, under Student GCSE Blogs.
For the purpose of this blog, I’ve only used a ‘section’ of each article as an example. In an exam you will have the ‘full’ article to analyse.
You must refer to both sources – or your mark will be capped in level 2. The exam board will provide you with a specific point of focus, some textual detail to look for that connects both texts either because something is similar, or something is different.
The scope of the question will not require you to consider writers’ techniques or effects. The question will not reference writers for this reason.” However, you must use quotes to support ideas and make inferences.
- identify what a text is about – the main point being raised/discussed. (If you had to summarise a text in one point what would it be?)
- Ensure you comment on the question focus eg the differences
- Ensure any point you makes is linked to the question focus
make a point+evidence from each text+interpret (make an inference)
Text A – Entering the Forbidden City of Mecca, 1853
Mecca was the birthplace of the prophet Mohammed and is the home of the Kaaba, a small cube-shaped building enclosed within a mosque that is revered as the holiest site in Islam. In the year 630, Mohammed conquered Mecca and declared the Kaaba as the center of Islam, requiring that the faithful make a pilgrimage (the Hajj) to the site at least once in their lifetime. Because of its sacredness, Mecca became, and remains, a “forbidden city” – off limits to non-Muslims.
In 1853 intrepid British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton disguised himself as an Islamic pilgrim and made the trek into the heart of Arabia visiting the holy cities of Medina and Mecca. If his true identity as a European Christian had been exposed, the penalty for his indiscretion would have been death.
TEXT B – The Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)
In London, I obtained an East German entry visa and by the afternoon was on a plane to West Berlin. Once there, I took a taxi with the intention of crossing into the East at Checkpoint Charlie before the crossing point closed for the night. In the back of the cab, I was chatting with a young Irish reporter on his first foreign trip. The radio was on, just a low background sound, and suddenly I saw the driver stiffen and sit bolt upright. He turned up the sound and I asked him what was happening. He said: “It’s amazing. They’re opening the crossing in an hour.”
The border guards looked confused and numb, as if uncontrolled events had overwhelmed them. People from the East surged past them and me and over the next hours I photographed incredible scenes of emotion. Some waved their passports at me as they headed West and often into the arms of strangers waiting to greet them.
SUGGESTED Q2 Answer
- (POINT) Text A begins with a description of ‘Mecca’, it is the (EVIDENCE) “centre of Islam” and sacred to Muslims. (INTERPRETATION) This suggests it only has value to people of that faith and people who aren’t Muslim are banned. However Stoddart’s account of (POINT) bringing down the Berlin wall is different because its political implications are just as dangerous shown when the locals (EVIDENCE) ‘stiffen and sit bolt upright’ at the news of the wall. (INTERPRETATION) It suggests that the breaking of the wall symbolically ends years of danger for the people of Germany.
- British explorer Burton (POINT) gained entry to Mecca by masquerading as a (EVIDENCE) “Islamic pilgrim”. A (INTERPRETATION) reader could infer that he was aware of the dangers and if his true identity was uncovered he could have been killed. Whereas the Berlin text is different, after years of control the guards are (EVIDENCE) “confused” and unsure how to deal with the crowd that are ‘uncontrolled’ as the inhabitants ‘surged’ past them. (POINT) Possibly the guards struggled with this sudden turn of events and (INTERPRETATION) unlike Burton’s experience, the guards were no longer considered dangerous.
Thanks for Reading.