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Higher Critical Essays Advice:

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1 Higher Critical Essays Advice:
Focus on the question fully. Select relevant quotation, contextualise and analyse fully (the analysis here is the working out in maths.) Use varied and sophisticated vocabulary/sentencing. Fully evaluate what the writer/poet/playwright is doing, why and how this is effective. Link to key themes and the purpose of writer/poet/playwright – shows a full and comprehensive understanding of the key features of the text. Topic sentences – as far as poss. focus on ? No 2nd person, quote/quotation, in stanza 1, this shows etc. = informal/basic Refer to Duffy, the poet or her full name – not Carol.

2 In the Critical Essay paper of the exam you have 90 minutes to write 2 essays. Before beginning each essay you should spend 3-4 minutes constructing a plan; this is invaluable and ensures your essay is structured and fully focussed on the question selected. It also prevents you from rambling as you have already thought of the main areas you will need to write about it so straight away you focus on answering the question, rather than story-telling. Choose a poem in which the poet explores loss. Show how the poet explores the emotion and discuss to what extent he or she is successful in deepening your understanding of it. On your own you have 4 minutes to construct a basic plan – e.g. bullet points, spider diagram etc. This is the time you should spend on planning in the exam. Discuss with a partner what areas you have focussed on and justify each area to them – why they would be needed to answer the ?

3 One of the main problems of critical essays is not enough analysis
One of the main problems of critical essays is not enough analysis. For example: Stage 1:The bravery of the Jews is illustrated by their strength to ‘stand upright as statues’ despite the horrific torture they have endured. Stage 2:How? How is the bravery of the Jews conveyed through their comparison to statues? Stage 3: complete Stage1+2 and you will then have created a detailed and analytical critical essay that will achieve a pass at Higher. You must go through this stage to pass an essay. This is an understanding point – it tells us what the quote reveals – the bravery of the Jews. This is fine but it must be linked to stage 2. Every time you make a point in your essay (especially after using a quote) look over it and see if you have explained how that point is conveyed. After some practise – you should do this automatically.

4 Choose a poem in which the poet explores loss.
Show how the poet explores the emotion and discuss to what extent he or she is successful in deepening your understanding of it. Loss = possessions, identity, autonomy, lives. How explored – DM, list of names, enjambment of loosened 4 rape, rhetorical ? 2nd person, rep. of remember Why focussed on (poet’s purpose always needed in every ?) – conveys devast. effects of prejudice/intolerance/still occurring/ respect/remembrance for all those who lost their lives etc. Understanding - increased awareness of what occurred, so more knowledgeable of why occurred so will prevent happening again/aware women still oppressed today so need to take a more active role in preventing.

5 Introductions Name of text in inverted commas and writer Key words of question and how addressed by writer Use of evaluative vocabulary Use of varied sentencing (subordinate, participle clauses, adverb and comma) 2 areas that will be addressed in essay

6 Sample Introduction The poem ‘Shooting Stars’ is an eye-opening and haunting poem by Carol Ann Duffy. She adopts the persona of a dead Jewish woman in a WWII concentration camp and through the skilful use of imagery and word choice, Duffy conveys how the Jews lost everything in life and this makes the reader uncomfortably aware that events like this are still happening today.

7 Poet’s purpose (should always go in intro
Poet’s purpose (should always go in intro. or as an entire paragraph after intro.) Sum up the key reasons why Duffy wrote this poem Sum up what key themes it reveals Explain what it teaches the reader/us and what lessons we can extract from it for our lives today

8 Poet’s purpose exemplar
In writing this poem, Duffy’s intentions were solely set on alerting the reader to the sheer brutality and violence cruelly imposed on women. Loss cleverly explores how they were forced to give up normality and become subjected to such inhuman acts, whilst coming to terms with everything they had to lose. Undoubtedly, the poet is extremely successful in alerting the reader to the horrific treatment of the Jewish woman and getting a strong message in to our minds allowing us to understand the on-goings in more modern times. The loss of their identities, dignity and essentially their lives is sadly still an experience many women have to go through and she upsets us to the extent that we ourselves want to stop these unthinkable acts from reoccurring. Her brutal yet effective description within the poem makes us ‘remember those appalling days which make the world forever bad,’ which causes so much discomfort for the reader, that we feel we must morally prevent oppression towards women from happening again within our lifetimes.

9 Paragraph 2 – summary of loss in poem and why D focuses on (poet’s purpose)
Summing up nature of loss in the poem (set in WWII in conc. camp conveys the deplorable losses of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis: possessions, identity, lives etc.) and why poet focuses on this – will then link into subsequent paragraphs analysing at length, how loss is conveyed and how Duffy uses this to convey her key message – remembrance, consequences of intolerance, increased knowledge/awareness. Why the text has been written is a key part of each essay you will write – I recommend you focus on this right at the start of the essay – it helps to focus you on analysis rather than just story telling ( the main problem in Higher essays). Obviously make sure that you link this to the question!

10 Paragraph 3 – DM Use of a Dramatic Monologue - D used to give these women a voice that was lost amidst the violence/oppression – main purpose of poem so these women’s lives/deaths can not be lost in obscurity/history. Use of first person/present tense – conveys the central idea that today women are still being oppressed/ignored and D wants to shock us into reacting – does this through depicting the atrocities as they occur so we feel a sense of hopelessness surely what the Jews themselves felt, makes us engage emotionally with the tragedy of the victim, rather than perceiving them as a collective identity and not appreciating/realising what each of the six million Jews must have felt - gives the women back their voice which was lost during WWII. (analysing poet’s purpose in conveying loss through the use of poem structure – DM)

11 Paragraph 4 – loss of identity
List of names – ‘Rebecca Rachel Ruth Aaron Emmanuel David’ No commas to divide up names– conveys that they are perceived as one collective identity to the Nazis – not seen as individuals. Link back to Duffy – why she focuses on this (evaluation of what writer is doing and why): conveys the consequences of intolerance – genocide. Creates readers’ empathy that their identities, which denotes who they were, were completely destroyed by the Nazis’ oppression/cruelty.

12 Paragraph 5 – loss of autonomy/loss of lives
Brutality of rape – women have no free will – are being violently oppressed/treated in camp. Enjambment of: ‘Loosened his belt. My bowels opened in a ragged gape of fear.’ Conveys how the Nazis are deliberately taunting the women to torment them further etc. – analyse how enjambment conveys this. Analyse brutality of image/metaphor etc. to show the horrific consequences of intolerance and how the women were forced to lose their autonomy etc. ‘until I heard the click. Not yet. A trick.’ Taunting/know lives will be lost/hopelessness/nothing they can do to change – analyse how this quotation reveals this.

13 Paragraph 6 – use of rhetorical ?/second person
‘You would not look on me. You waited for the bullet.’ ‘How would you prepare to die, on a perfect April evening with young men gossiping and smoking by the graves?’ Forces us into the poem/can no longer be passive as we see horrors women endured and feel as if we are standing idly by allowing these tragedies to occur without trying to prevent/stop. D’s key point = that in today’s world these events are still happening but not enough is being done to ease/stop these women’s suffering. D forces us to be aware of what happened and why, so that we can no longer be passive – she puts us in the camp and asks us how we would feel to experience these torments and shames us with our own guilt/inadequacy etc.

14 Paragraph 7 – Remembrance
‘Remember. Remember these appalling days which make the world forever bad.’ Repetition of remember – ensures we do not forget what has occurred and learn that racism/prejudice is something we should always fight against, as if we do not, many others will suffer similar torments. Key message of the poem – D wants us to be aware of what these women endured, as if we fail to act, we knowingly are making this ‘world forever bad.’ They lost freedom, dignity, identity, lives, and if we fail to recognise this, we are dishonouring/disrespecting all they endured/fought for etc. Paragraph 8 = conclusion. Sum up answer to question.

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