Viewpoint(s)

 

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.

This is a typical question for P2 Q4 Comparison of viewpoint:

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AQA Paper2, Question 4 asks for a comparison of writer’s view/perspective and what methods (techniques) the author/writer used to convey them. You need to meet these skill descriptors:

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What do you think the viewpoint of these short extracts are?

TEXT (A)

I don’t think it is coincidence that it’s taken a few hours of the morning sun warming the water for the bigger fish to be found more regularly in shallower water. It’s not always the case, but most reports of bigger fish have come after a couple of hours of sunlight.

(Source)

Techniques: 1st person POV, long and complex sentence, short paragraphs, building up excitement, alliteration, repetition of idea, present tense.

View/Perspective: anticipation, patience, mysterious.

TEXT (B)

It seemed like a bit of a joke at first. “I’m making my family German,” I would announce to friends in glee, delighting in their surprise and interest. My enthusiasm motivated my mother to apply for her own dual citizenship. The paperwork for my five-year-old nephew is almost ready to be submitted for his own certificate and passport. But it seemed too far-fetched to take seriously: I couldn’t quite believe we would be accepted, despite our cultural right to be.

(Source)

Techniques: 1st person POV, anecdotes, emotive, direct speech, informal, past tense.

View/Perspective: positive, upbeat, pensive, scared.

TEXT (C)

Parenting is a complex job and it is not uncommon for modern parents to need a little help along the way. Parenting is a huge responsibility, especially in the times we live in. And there are many different kinds of parenting classes, designed for different stages of parenting. So whether first time parents need a little help with the basics of baby care or even more seasoned parents need some advice on potty training or bullying at school, it is important for parents to seek help and advice.

(Source)

Techniques: 3rd person POV, emotive, present tense, repetition of ‘parenting’, opinion. present tense, persuasive.

View/Perspective: serious, informative, biased tone leads to persuasion.

TEXT (D)

Hines’s research, the most up to date, did however identify a gendered divide in the preference for toys. Although not a strict rule, boys were more likely to look at cars and girls at dolls. Previous studies have found that this not only relates to the gender of children but their exposure to androgen (“male” hormones) in the womb. This American research even showed that there is a similar gendered preference for toys in monkeys leading some to conclude that children are born with gendered tastes in toys.

(Source)

Techniques: 3rd person POV, formal, serious, long complex sentences, facts, technical language, mixture of tenses (mainly past)

View/Perspective: formal and concluding, respectful

TEXT (E)

Millions of young men were slaughtered during the first world war – “body-bagged for life”, in Sainsbury’s parlance – and doubtless as they lay dying in foreign fields, gazing down at what remained of their mud-caked, punctured, broken bodies, gasping their final agonised breaths, it would have been a great source of comfort for them to know their noble sacrifice would still be honoured a century later, in an advert for a shop.

(Source)

Techniques: 3rd person POV, informal, emotive, hyperbole, imagery, alliteration, one long complex sentence/paragraph, quotes, deliberately inappropriate humour.

View/Perspective: Sarcastic, informal, scathing, scornful, mocking, facetious

 

Thanks for reading

 

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Summarising – doing it well!

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.

These are the skill descriptors you need to meet:

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and, a typical question will look like this:

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To summarise means: give a brief statement of the main points of (something).  In other words recap, review or condense the important parts of a text.

A summary is a short, focused statement about an article.

Summary Writing:

Read Carefully and Closely: Your key to success in writing an article summary is your understanding of the article; therefore, it is essential to read carefully and closely.

Common mistakes in writing a summary: The most common problem that students have when writing a summary is that they misunderstand the point of summarising. When writing a summary about an article, your job is to write about the key points and make an inference.

Let’s look at an example (1):

During my vacation last May, I had a hard time choosing a tour. Flights to Japan, Hong Kong and Australia are just too common. What I wanted was somewhere exciting and exotic, a place where I could be spared from the holiday tour crowds. I was so happy when Joan called up, suggesting a trip to Cherokee, a county in the state of Oklahoma. I agreed and went off with the preparation immediately.

(73 words)

What are the key point(s):

  • The text is about selecting a holiday
  • Picking the right holiday wasn’t easy because they wanted something unusual
  • They wanted something interesting/thrilling/breathtaking but free from ‘tourists’
  • Joan made a suggestion to Cherokee which the writer liked.

How would you write the bullets into a cohesive summary? Remember you need to write only the key points. Which of these do you prefer?

  1. The writer struggled to think of a suitably thrilling holiday without tourists, but he did like his friend’s suggestion of Cherokee. (21 words)
  2. Cherokee offered the thrill they wanted from a holiday without the tourists. (12 words)
  3. Jan’s suggestion of Cherokee was exactly what he wanted. (9 words)

Number two is my choice, it picks out the key elements – Cherokee, thrill, holiday and tourists.  Remember for AQA P2 Q2, you also need to include a quote and inference and COMPARE to a 2nd text.

Cherokee offered the thrill they wanted from a holiday without the tourists, “they wanted to be spared from the holiday tour crowds”. A reader could infer the couple are older and want to discover new places.

 

Here’s a second example text linked.  This is also clearly about another holiday:

There is so much to see and do in Beijing that if you are visiting this city for the first time or the even the tenth time, it can feel overwhelming. Prepare to have your tastebuds delighted with the most delicious food you have ever tasted (don’t be afraid to try something new!). Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for amazing architecture, both old and new. And brace yourself for a cacophony of unfamiliar sounds and smells that fill this bustling, hustling city that will make you realise, happily, that you are truly halfway around the world.

(98 words)

What are the key points?

  • They are in Beijing and there’s lots to do
  • It’s for people who’ve never visited before or people who have visited many times
  • Sights, smells, sounds will be a highlight
  • It’s completely different to (England)

How would you write the bullets into a cohesive summary? Remember you need to write only the key points. Which of these do you prefer?

  1. Regardless how often you’ve visited before, Beijing always has something new to offer. Even though the city is full of everyday sounds, smells and tastes, it’s nothing like home. (29 words)
  2. New and old visitors to Beijing are sure to discover something new every time. (14 words)
  3. Beijing always surprises travellers with new adventures and experiences. (9 words)

Number two is my choice, it picks out the key elements – new, old, Beijing, discovering.  Remember for AQA P2 Q2, you also need to include a quote and inference and COMPARE to a 2nd text.

New and old visitors to Beijing are sure to discover something new every time which“fill this bustling, hustling city” which could suggest that there are still many places to discover in the busy city.

 

Now put the two together, remember the question will give you a focus (eg how are they similar/different-so read the question carefully), however, the majority seem to ask for a summary of differences:

(SUMMARY POINT) Text A points to how Cherokee offers the thrill the couple wanted from a holiday without the tourists, (QUOTE) “they wanted to be spared from the holiday tour crowds”. (INFERENCE) A reader could infer the couple may be older but still want to discover new places. (CONJUNCTION) Whereas Text B (SUMMARY POINT) is different, commenting on how new and old visitors to Beijing are sure to discover something new every time which (QUOTE) “fill this bustling, hustling city”. (INFERENCE) This could suggest that there are still many places to discover in the busy city and the lively nature would suit tourists that like energetic places, unlike Text A.

You can read more about P2 Q2 here.

Thank you for reading.

Say what you mean (exactly)!

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.

When writing how do you make the best choices? Hopefully, this blog may help you! This blog matches the one I did for P1 and tackles P2 Q5 (non fiction writing).

Your question will look/be worded similar to this:

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AQA Section B: Writing You are advised to spend about 45 minutes on this section and you are are trying to hit these skill descriptors:

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This blog will show you how to pick the best words/sentences etc. I apologise again for the differences in colour but hopefully, they will help you:

  • Blue – a possible choice
  • Red – synonyms and alternatives
  • Grey/black – my thoughts/explanation for choices

Write a letter to your local MP arguing against the closure of the library in your town.

If you are writing a letter, then note the min/detailed requirements:

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The first thing you need to do is add the name of the sender, I realise you may not know it, but you could do this:

  • Name of MP
    Address

Then add the mode of address:

  • Dear Sir or Madam (or add the name of person if you know it – eg Mary, Uncle, Miss)

Now we’re ready for the main part of our letter, remember you are writing to a ‘person’ and you are appealing to them, so your letter needs to be polite, persuasive, emotive and personal.

  • I am writing this letter (do you need to state the obvious)?
  • I am writing to you (makes it personal)
  • I am writing because (gets to the point)

I like (2), this can then lead on to the reason for your letter.

  • because (after) depends on what you want to say next.
  • reading a (an) many choices depend on your next point – this is why planning is important!
  • story (article) in the (local) newspaper about the (ourI prefer ‘our’ is a determiner and is used in formal contexts by a writer to refer to something belonging to or associated with himself or herself.
  • local the adjective means relating to a particular area or one’s neighbourhood and will emphasise the importance of the library.
  • library closing due to cuts (cutbacks, lack of fundingcutbacks is the better word as it suggests a person has a choice.
  • I want to ask you (by including the pronoun you are directly talking to your audience)
  • why is this happening? (the question works, not just as a rhetoric, but you are also directly speaking to the MP and requires an answer. It also conveys your outrage).

Your opening needs to be brief and get to the point quickly. You can go into detail in the rest of your letter/article/speech etc.  Let’s put that together to see how it looks:

Name of MP
Address

Dear Councillor 

I am writing to you after reading an article in Town Life about the closure of our local library due to cutbacks. I want to ask you – why is this happening?

You need to begin a new paragraph. Although a list of your main reasons shows the examiner you are able to prioritise information.

  • Public library (or plural -ies) is/are essential because (I prefer plural, is sends out the message that there are libraries all over the UK/World and are essential). Once I decide on that I can move onto the next part
  • they play (the verb suggests engaging in an activity for enjoyment rather than a serious or practical purpose an active role in society)
  • I want to point out they are needed effective, operating, active I like active
  • part in society (humanity, community, nation, public)
  • they level (match, align) the playing field for everyone (all)
  • they provide an important (necessary, vital, crucial, key) service to a community

Put that together, to see how it looks:

Public libraries are essential because:

  • they play an active role in our community
  • they level the playing field for all
  • they provide a vital service for our town

Listing your key points ensures your intended audience can clearly see the important information. It also shows the examiner you can select key points and summarise effectively. Now we can continue with the main body of our letter. It would be nice to have an anecdote here (make it personal):

  • I remember walking with my mother to the library in town. Re-ordering this sentence makes more sense. Walking with my mother to visit the library was a highlight for me as a child. 
  • walking through the doors and the first thing that hit me was the smell. Then 
  • I remember the colours, and rows; rows and rows of books, every colour, every shape, every size.  I would sit on a comfy chair, or the floor and look at the pictures of wild animals, snakes and tigers. And over the years I grew until I could reach all the shelves myself. It’s a place I associate fond memories of learning about the world we live inthis is too long for a letter, whilst anecdotes are effective, if they go on, they turn into waffle!
  • you also must comment on the community benefit (it’s in your bullet!) this is also the case for the many other families and local schools that use the services provided by the library.
  • (remember your techniques, why not use a list of three here?) The library also hosts; poetry reading, quiz nights and summer school activities for under 11s.
  • (try changing clause order around, begin with a negative word) Removing these services from the community (by repeating services and community I am emphasising the importance to my audience) would affect many townsfolk.

Now start a new paragraph and add another argument.  Begin with a connection to join/link your ideas.

  • Furthermore (moreover, additionally, what’s more) Libraries provide (list community benefits – a triple) those unemployed, on low incomes or those on disability benefits with the ability (capacity, potential. capacity) to search and apply for work easily (effortlessly, comfortably, conveniently) developing their digital and literacy skills Here I’m focusing on the technology libraries also provide.
  • Additionally, again another conjunction joins my ideas cohesively they (third-person plural pronoun reminds the audience that a library has more than ONE purpose) ensure that all children, including those from the poorest backgrounds, are not left behind. They help children escape (beat, liberate) the poverty trap (net, pitfall) Simple exclamatory sentence emphasises the importance of libraries.

I now need a new paragraph to introduce my last bullet point.

  • Many of the services (again repeats the idea that the library offers more than just books) offered by libraries are crucial (essential, imperative, vital) to rural areas and small (by repeating the words rural and small I’m reminding my audience that it’s a needed facility) town such as ours. Free internet access (again repeats the idea that not everyone can afford it) has a key (principal, fundamental, main) role in ensuring that those seeking work have the best possible chance of being successful (prosperous, blossoming).

So far which of the DAFOREST techniques (most year 11s will know those!) have I covered: direct address, opinion, rhetoric question, emotive language, triple. So, I need to include a few others like some facts/statistics and some imagery if possible.

  • After your article appeared in the paper (joins the beginning of the letter and end back) social media (makes it relevant in today’s world) reported overwhelming (amazing, astounding, staggering, crushing, devastating) statistics of 70% (stats!!) wanting the library to stay open. If you (by placing pronoun in italics I am emphasising the importance of the direct address/recipient) are here for the people, then you must listen to the people! The end complex sentence begins with a clause making the recipient the subordinate clause, and ends with another exclamation.

Add an ending to the letter

  • Finally, public libraries provide a vital service for many and any cuts to the service only puts increasing pressure on other services.

Now I need to put it all together and proofread it for errors! Do not forget to do that. It’s at this point I make some last changes, including an appropriate ending to the letter.

Here’s the finished letter – what do you think?

Name of MP
Address

Dear Councillor 

I am writing to you after reading an article in Town Life about the closure of our local library, due to cutbacks. I want to ask you – why is this happening?

Public libraries are essential because:

  • they play an active role in our community
  • they level the playing field for all
  • they provide a vital service for our town

Firstly, I remember visiting the library with my mother: it was the highlight of my week. These types of trips are also important for many other families and local schools that use the services provided by the library. The library also hosts; poetry reading, quiz nights and summer school activities for under 11s. Removing these from the community would affect many townsfolk. What will you replace the services with?

Furthermore, Libraries provide those unemployed, or on low incomes with the ability to search and apply for work easily, developing their digital and literacy skills. Additionally, they ensure that all children, including those from the poorest backgrounds, are not left behind. They help children escape the poverty trap! How are you going to ensure every child matters?

Also, many of the services offered by libraries are crucial to rural areas and small town such as ours. Free internet access has a key role in ensuring that those seeking work have the best possible chance of being successful. What support are you putting in place, once these services are removed? How will you ensure every member of your constituent will be treated equally and have access to the same facilities?

After your article appeared in the paper social media reported overwhelming statistics of over 70% of people wanting the library to stay open. If you are here for the people, then you must listen to the people!

Finally, public libraries provide a vital service for many and any cuts to the service only puts increasing pressure on other services. I implore you to reconsider the implications of a possible closure.

Yours sincerely

(335 words)

Thanks for reading.

Minimum to well, maximum! (P1 & P2)

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.

When you scroll down this list, please don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s long, I know, but most of these you would have learnt in primary and will have used right up to year11 in both your literature and language units of English GCSE. In other words, it’s not as bad as it looks!

When approaching Question 2 (language analysis) as a minimum you need to be secure in the following terms:

  • Adjective
  • Adverb
  • Alliteration
  • First person narrative
  • Hyperbole
  • Images
  • Metaphor
  • Noun
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Personification
  • Point of view
  • Repetition
  • Simile
  • Tension
  • Tone
  • Verb
  • Vocabulary

However, try to get to grips with the following for in-depth analysis:

  • Atmosphere
  • Description
  • Emotive
  • Extended image
  • Extended metaphor
  • Flashback
  • Foregrounding or emphasis
  • Foreshadowing
  • Motif
  • Narrative perspective
  • Parallel structure
  • Rhetoric
  • Short but dramatic narrative
  • Sibilant sound
  • Symbolise

For Q3 Structure you will also need to know the following terminology:

  • Bias (what is present or omitted)
  • Chronologically
  • Colloquial
  • Complex sentence
  • Complex sentences with multiple clauses
  • Compound sentence
  • Conjunction
  • Connectives
  • Dialogue
  • Direct address
  • Direct quote
  • Direct testimony
  • Distant and formal mode of address
  • Emotive assertions
  • Extended list
  • Facts
  • Factual language
  • First-person
  • Foregrounding or emphasis
  • Humour
  • Imperative
  • Impressions
  • Inform
  • Intensifier
  • Interrogatives
  • Interview
  • Journal
  • Long complex sentence
  • Newspaper report
  • One-sided view
  • Persuasive and rhetorical tone
  • Point of view
  • Present participles
  • Present tense verbs
  • Pronoun
  • Questions
  • Reporting
  • Second person
  • Short sentence
  • Structure
  • Superlative
  • Testimonies
  • Third person perspective
  • Time shift
  • Tone and focus
  • Triples

 

There’s a subject terminology mat here if you want it (Subject terminology mat)

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(I didn’t make this – it was a twitter share – I will credit once I find author!)

Thanks for reading.

Analysing language in non-fiction

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.

A question will be worded like this:

Q3 You now need to refer only to source B

  • How does the writer use language to describe a Victorian Christmas

This is using the same skills as analysing language for Paper 1 Q2. However, non fiction texts will not be full of imagery in the way fiction texts are. Analysing the right words might be harder.

Source B – Christmas Day -Christmas in Grantham, Lincolnshire 1894

Everyone loved the Christmas crackers again this year. Who would have thought that Tom Smith, a London confectioner started adding a motto to his sugared almond bon-bons which he sold wrapped in a twisted paper package some years ago, and they have become these Christmas crackers now ?

It`s fun crossing your arms to pull all the crackers at once. Holding the cracker in your right hand and pulling the other person`s cracker with your free left hand. Young Tim were laughing away, Bless him !

Molly and I even had a go. Inside we all got a paper crown made from tissue paper, and we laughed at all the silly mottos.Young Tim started singing `Polly Wolly Doodle` again and we all joined in with him.

Archibald got the coin in the Christmas Pudding. 2nd time in a row, he did last year too ! Bless him ! We all cheered and laughed.

All the family went up to the Front Parlour and they asked Molly and I do join them in a while which we did. Master James had lit the candles on the Christmas tree today and they had given out their presents to each other earlier while we was preparing Christmas Dinner. When Molly and I went in, I was given a grand present of the book, `The Story of a Modern Woman` by English author Ella Hepworth Dixon , a copy of Cassell’s Family Magazine edited by H. G. Bonavia Hunt and some money for Christmas. Molly got some money too.

We was both well pleased, we were.

 

Possible choices to analyse are:

  • The writer uses the collective pronoun ‘everyone’ followed by past tense verb ‘loved’. Immediately the reader is aware of the importance of Christmas to the narrator and the Victorian ‘family’.
  • The sheer delight at opening a cracker with a chocolate, using patterns in language such as ‘fun’ ‘laughing’ and ‘singing’ when pulling the cracker. The emotive first two abstract nouns have strong positive connotations associated with extreme joy and happiness.
  • This is soon followed with the joy at finding a coin in the pudding again ‘all’ were happy. This gives the reader the impression this is a really special time for the family.
  • Finally the family all join in singing and finally giving out of presents; a book, a magazine, handkerchiefs etc. All of the gifts are purposeful items which will be used by the recipient connoting to a time when it wasn’t about receiving but the giving of gifts.

 

You MUST identify:

meaning+method+evidence+effect

You need to identify a method the author has used and discuss why it’s important/successful in context of the text.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

P2/Q2 Summary

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.

 

 

Viewpoint(s) & Perspective(s)

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. Your question will be worded like this…

For this question, you need to refer to the whole of source A together with the whole of source B.

Compare how the writers convey their different ideas and perspectives of being kidnapped.  In your answer, you could:

  • compare their different ideas and perspectives
  • compare the methods they use to convey their ideas and perspectives
  • support your response with references to both texts.

TEXT A – John McCarthy talks about the moment he was taken hostage

‘Back in 1986, it was my first big adventure, going off to the Middle East, working as a journalist for a television news agency. The civil war in Lebanon had been running at that point for around ten years, and was one of the world’s big stories. So I was excited about being given the chance to go and work there with our Lebanese camera crews for a month.

While I was there, there wasn’t much fighting going on. It was a peaceful period of the war which gave me the chance to learn the ropes as a field producer without too much anxiety. And then a number of Westerners started being picked up and no one knew why. So it seemed like a good idea to get out of town until the situation became clear again.

TEXT B – Press ganged, 1811

Twenty-two year old Robert Hay was a ship’s carpenter who had made one voyage aboard a British merchant ship. We join his story as he walks through a London neighbourhood:

“I was, when crossing Tower Hill, accosted by a person in seamen’s dress who tapped me on the shoulder enquiring in a familiar and technical strain, ‘What ship?’ I assumed an air of gravity and surprise and told him I presumed he was under some mistake as I was not connected with shipping. The fellow, however, was too well acquainted with his business to be thus easily put off.

He gave a whistle and in a moment I was in the hands of six or eight ruffians who I immediately dreaded and soon found to be a press gang.

In this question, you must make a clear statement in response to the question about the two texts/articles ensure you answer the focus eg differences (comparison ‘could’ be similarity or differences), then detail the methods/techniques used by the “authors” to convey their viewpoint. Use range connectives (conjunctions).

Statement+method+explain+link to Q+evidence+effect+meaning or inference

Suggested Q4 answer – comparison of viewpoint, requiring analysis

Both texts retell different stories of a kidnap. In source B Hay is powerless as he quickly realises the danger he is in.  He attempts to disguise his fear using emotive language such as ‘gravity’ and ‘dreaded’ showing he understood the seriousness of his abduction.  The verb ‘accosted’ identifies his view at being stopped as one of aggression.  The word choices convey how he understood the gravity of being taken and a reader would also sense he was helpless as he didn’t put up a fight.   In contrast text A McCarthy conveys his lack of awareness of the danger he was in. He uses language connected to happiness and anticipation showing the kidnap came as a complete shock. The trip was described as an ‘adventure’ and with the verb ‘excited’ both suggest he viewed the trip similar to a holiday and would return home soon. This is unlike text B, where Hay’s language conveys he knew his abduction would be for a long time.

This quick realisation is the difference between text A and text B. Both are taken against their will, but Hays understood his fate, whereas McCarthy is unaware until it’s too late.

In text B Hay shows a perspective of resignation with the use of language such as the adjective ‘dreaded’ which suggests a great fear or apprehension and ‘immediately’ showing the speed at which Hay’s was abducted. The reader can infer that Hay’s viewed his abduction as a harrowing experience. This is different to Text A, McCarthy who’s view continues to be one of a brief trip seen in the use of noun ‘a month’ and ‘peaceful’. Both indicate his perspective of Lebanon: it was tranquil and calm. Even when ‘westerners’ were abducted McCarthy’s view is still one of being untroubled as he comments on how they were ‘picked up’ almost as if they were collected by taxi. His perspective conveys a sense of dread from the reader as McCarthy didn’t sense the danger.

The pattern of language associated with glee and merriment are key in illustrating how McCarthy was oblivious to the peril his life was in, seen in “good idea”. This gives an impression that there wasn’t any real threat. Alternatively, text B, attempts to escape his situation seen in his language used such as ‘mistake’. This gives the reader an awareness of Hay’s attempt to talk his way out of the situation and evokes a sense of panic and fear for him and his life. Both texts discuss how the men were abducted, but they are different in their attitudes and thier perception of what was happening.

 

This is a simple sentence frame to help you:

The author in text A clearly feels (link to question) this is seen in (method), the author used (XXX) seen (evidence) because (ensure links to question). This would (discuss effect) and could suggest (meaning or inference).

Thank you for reading.

Tips for Non-fiction writing/reading

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.

Below are some useful lists to help you when reading/analysing/writing non-fiction texts.

Try to answer these questions to help you understand the text:

  1. Who do you think is the intended audience?
  2. What is the purpose of the text?
  3. What form is the text written in?
  4. What type of language is used in the text?
  5. Who is the narrator?
  6. Have they used any techniques/methods?
  7. Has the structure of the text contributed to meaning?
  8. What is the mood/tone of the article?
  9. What atmosphere is created for the reader?
  10. Do you think this is a (*enter topic* eg survival) story?
  11. If so, why (or why not)?

 

Here’s a downloadable table of Paper 2 expectations (minimum/detailed expectations)

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Thank you for reading.

Non-fiction Practice (a real one)!

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.

This wasn’t written by me but by a year 11 student at my school (A.Butler). He gave me permission to add to my blog as a Paper 2, Question 5 practice.

Paper 2 question 5 practice

‘Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and landslides – we see more and more reports of environmental disasters affecting the world and its people every day’.

Write the text of a speech for a debate at your school/college in which you persuade young people to take more responsibility for protecting the environment.

Children torn away from the caring arms of their families; entire communities wiped from the face of the planet; villages and towns that have been centres of culture and trade for generations obliterated by our carelessness, our lack of respect, our failure to do our duty to other members of the human race, and the planet on which we all cling to those few  things that matter to us.

Natural disasters are of course phenomenon’s that can often be attributed to the workings of our planet. But in this day and age they are becoming more and more frequent, and causing more and more catastrophes and chaos. We must face up to the truth: disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes are approximately 40 % more common in our time due to the actions of not just global corporations and national industries, but of the heartless, ignorant manner in which so many of us choose to live our lives today.

It is all too easy to point the finger of blame to developing countries with large populations such as China and India, or to the economic powerhouse that is the United States of America. However whilst these do of course have an undoubtedly huge effect on our environment (it would be foolish to suggest otherwise), it is the common people and citizens of countries around our fragile world that make the greatest impact.

Today I am beseeching that you all take into consideration the obvious fact that the choices you make today will have ever-lasting actions on those less-fortunate that have to suffer on a daily basis.  If you are all part of the new generation of people who are coming to this basic realisation, you will be improving the lives of millions, no, billions. Taking responsibility for your actions doesn’t require a life-time commitment, where you sacrifice your basic human rights in order to protect others, instead, something as simple as dealing with your litter correctly, using public transport, or avoiding cooking excess food can completely alter the lives of other that would otherwise have suffered by our common ignorance. If you take care of your litter, it would negate the need to landfill sites, which still plague our country to this day. Furthermore reducing the use of fast depleting natural resources, and limiting the use of electricity which is still on the whole produced by fossil fuels, all helps the limit the effects of climate change which causes the frequent natural disasters that cause so much suffering today.

My aim here today was not to dictate to you how you should live your own life, but to offer an insight into some of the consequences of failing to make minor, insignificant changes, that you could make to help our environment, and in turn helping others in their lives. I hope you can appreciate this speech and take away the knowledge that if you are just one of the thousands of others who are making new changes in their previously harmful lifestyles, you can make a real difference in our world. This is what I hope you can take from this, and I would ask that you makes small changes in your life, to make a huge difference in somebody else’s own less fortunate life.

Thank you for reading.

 

If I was marking this I’d put it in the top band.

AO5: 23 and AO6: 14.

Spelling is not quite perfect – and there is an errant apostrophe and a sentence or two! So lacking perfect control.

Also, AO5 says thanks for reading not quite top – you must remember context!

 

 

Question 5 Practice (a real one)!

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.

This wasn’t written by me but by a year 11 student at my school (A.Butler). He gave me permission to add to my blog as a Paper 1, Question 5 practice.

 

Write a descriptive short story based on the following image:

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A high pitched scream pierced past the roar of the burning buildings. A sorrowful shriek accompanied it through the crescendo of collapsing hovels. A mournful wail of grief threw itself through the crackling flames. Mean whilst a dense cloud of choking ashes; thick, black smoke; and a heavy pallor of dust surged upward against the background of the evening dusk. The scream was cut short, an evil laugh echoed in the emptiness it left behind. Seeing the houses burning ferociously, emitting a seemingly ghostly glow that worked its way into the surrounding gloom, I noticed there were bodies scattered in the paths between the huts and shacks. Where once children had played, obscene sights of mutilated corpses remained, working away into the back of my mind. I stepped out from the bushes warily, in disbelief at the horror before me.

Steadily a strangely familiar smell: that of roasted pork, wafted into my nose, as the fierce heat of the raging fires embraced my entire body. My stomach rumbled at the anticipation of pork, juxtaposing the reality of what I was seeing. With a sickening realisation, it dawned on me that it wasn’t quite the smell of roasted pig flesh that I was being provoked by, rather it was the smell of my burning neighbours. Their flesh was consumed by the fire, whilst others outside smouldered in the puddles of blood and dirty water that were rapidly evaporating. Acid burned the back of my throat, as it bubbled up from my stomach. I heaved, heaved, and heaved again, but did not fully vomit. My stomach rumbled again, and I cursed my stomach for thinking it was to be fed. A dribble of acid, mucus, and saliva fell from my mouth, mixing with the manure that had recently been spread over the field I was entering. It tasted of despair, of hate, of regret.

I staggered, confused at what I was seeing, through the field of new wheat. The ears of corn were oblivious that their creators had perished, and waved gently as a breeze rippled through them, even now carrying layers of soot and ash. The sharp prickling of the corn made itself aware to me, but I ignored it, as I stumbled towards the outskirts of the village.

Mortified, I turned my head to see a scarecrow’s face. It stared at me. In its eyes, there was no remorse, just an empty black. I stepped further forward, and suddenly tripped over a large black object. As I scrambled away, I realised I had shouted out. I stopped and listened. A grim voice sounded out: “there’s another one!” Silence. “Sounds like he was in the field!” another suddenly cried. Much quieter a sinister, closer voice mumbled to me. “Keep your head down if you want to live, boy.” Startled I turned to where I had tripped, and saw the face of a man I had never seen, a traveller perhaps. I could only see the whites of his eyes, which contrasted with the soot-black of his face. There was something in those eyes, anger, pain, resent perhaps, that made me shiver. I shook my head and crawled away from him, out of the field, and into a narrow gully at its edge, all the while I felt his eyes piercing into my back like spearheads.

The voices came closer. Petrified, I dared to lift my head above the lip of the dyke, to see to men, clad in thick leather, their faces masked, their heads covered in dark hoods, so even their eyes were hidden. One, holding a worn and rugged sword, looked to the other, who could maybe match the same description of his friend’s sword, and spoke words of cruelty, and morbid sadism. “I can’t be bothered to search for whatever straggler hides in this field. Let’s just burn it, besides, no one will be coming here for a long time.” He barked what he must have thought was his interpretation of a laugh. Recalling his words I realised with a horror what that meant…

As the man who had remained silent picked up a nearby fallen branch and plunged it into the flames of a burning thatch roof, I almost called out. With great effort I managed to stop myself, instead only a pitiful keening that I was sure they would hear emerged. They didn’t. Holding his makeshift torch, the second man called out “you can burn alive or feel my axe in your neck, heathen!” Heathen. Heathen. Who called innocent villagers heathens? These men were not broken men, marauders, they, they were members of The Order…

Without waiting for a reply he threw his torch in a high arc towards the middle of the field. It spiralled gracefully, like a dancer, through the night sky (for now the sun had fled the atrocity), before descending like some fell beast into the young corn. The flames quickly caught the dry ears, swiftly multiplying and intensifying. The murderers, for that is what they were, stamped their feet rhythmically. I thought I heard some kind of chant or prayer, put the burning crops were too loud. With a roar of pain the traveller rose from the field and sprinted for the killers, his cloak burning brightly. “YOU BASTARDS!!!” he screamed, “YOU FILTHY BAS”- his voice was cut short as a crossbow bolt pierced his windpipe. A pitiful, gurgling, gasping sound emerged from him as he fell into the flames. A vapour of blood rose into the sky, the heat evaporating his life before him.

Hurriedly, the men of The Order ran to their horses, as the mounted crossbowman, clearly some kind of Purifier, called after them “glee not in the death of that infidel, for we will cleanse this world of many more tonight!”

Echoing into the distance the sound of many hooves and shouts of pride departed. I waited in the silence, sobbing into my cloak, until dawn, to be sure they had left.

****

Bewildered, I shuffled down the central lane of the village, or rather, its smouldering ruins. Smaller yet still threatening fires continued to consume anything that was flammable, and flames still insisted on catching my cloak as I walked past the village hall. Much of its lower part was made of stone, yet under the heat many had cracked. The Order has smashed most of it down, and set afire to what could be burned. Bodies were strewn haphazardly around the old market square, some with their throats opened to the elements, some with bolts protruding, most with stab wounds of various descriptions. Some blood continued to trickle down the lane towards the only wholly stone building, our shrine to the spirits of the surrounding hinterland. The Order had been most brutal there. Corpses hung from the Sharwood trees that formed a grove around the shrine. I remembered being told by a fervent believer that Sharwood burnt at a temperature higher than that at which iron would melt, and that it could only be cut down after a week’s chopping. That man now dangled from a tree, his eyes gouged out by the wicked blades of the Purifiers. A few piles of smouldered corpses lay scattered around the building, work more of the Purifiers. I shuddered at the thought. Amongst them lay women and children, impaled by stakes. I could not bear to describe nor look at any more of the scenes.

The Order, or in full The Sacred Order of the Blackstone Sanctity, were merciless killers and cultists I knew, but this was far worse than I had originally believed. I turned at the sound of another man’s movement. Startled, I saw my sister’s husband emerge from under a pile of corpses that blocked a doorway. He looked at me, and his shoulders sunk with relief. “I thought you were one of them” he muttered. “They have already left” I responded in a likewise volume and tone. “Rumours say that they always leave men behind to kill survivors and people who are returning from other places” he said, ignoring me. “They burned your sister alive, on the other side of the village, I saw her as I tried to fight off some of the Order’s men, and they knocked me over and thought me dead.” He spoke with no emotion, his eyes blank. He had seen too much I knew. I nodded, not knowing what to say or do. He stared at me, then past me. “By the sprits the rumours are true!” I turned my head even as I instinctively started running to drag him to safety…

Three men, red cloaks on their backs rode towards us, one with an axe, one a lance, one a bow. No sooner did I see the bowman draw his bow did I feel the arrow graze past my ear, and thud into my brother-in-law. I jumped over his body. I had to survive. I had to ignore what I had lost and could not save in this moment so that I might avenge them. I ran. What a fool I was. No man can outrun a horse, nor escape the lance fate has aimed for him.

The thundering hooves came closer. I feebly ducked my head. An arrow struck me in the back. I collapsed as my legs ceased to function. I felt no pain below my chest. I realised it had struck my spine, and felt the head scraping against it. A scream of agony burst from my lips. I sputtered some blood out of my mouth. I heard a man dismount behind me, and another one further back. A whimper, my brother, was cut short, and steps were taken toward me. I tried to move, but was too weak. Rough hands clasped my hair, and pulled my head up. I faced toward the steadily brightening sky. “Old ways won’t open new doors, infidel. It is so sad you could not convert to the truth. Know that eternal fire awaits you. You were quite quick I must say, for a heathen. I suppose the fire inside you burned brighter than the fire around you. Such a sad, sad waste.” I tried to spit blood and contempt onto his hands, which held my chin up to the sky. It came out as more of a trickle. I closed my eyes. I felt the warmth of the sun on my face. I felt the cold of the blade on my neck. A sharp cut. A burst of pain, my eyes rolled back. Darkness. Silence. Peace.

 

Thank you for reading.