2 Let’s start off with a reminder Summarise what happens in MacCaig’s “Assisi”. 3 marksSummarise what happens on the writer’s journey in “Visiting Hour” marksSummarise MacCaig’s thoughts on his aunt in “Aunt Julia” marksSummarise what happens in “Basking Shark” 3 marksSummarise the poet’s thoughts on death in “Memorial”. 3 marksSummarise what happens in “Sounds of the Day”. 3 marksTotal marks = 20
3 The wording of the questions This is last year’s Scottish set text paper for “Basking Shark”. Try to identify each type of question. There will be no codes in the exam:45. Look at stanza 1. What event is described in this stanza and how does MacCaig react? Refer to the poet’s language in your answer. 346. Referring closely to stanza 2, show how MacCaig uses word choice to convey how he feels about the encounter. 447. “He displaced more than water”. Explain what this line means and show how the poet in the rest of the stanza develops this idea further. 348. Choose an example of word choice in stanza 4 and explain how effective you find this example49. MacCaig often describes his personal experiences in his poetry, using these to explore wider themes. Referring closely to this poem and to at least one other poem by MacCaig, show how he uses personal experience to explore wider themes
4 So what do the SQA want for each question? Let’s look at question 45:45. Look at stanza 1. What event is described in this stanza and how does MacCaig react? Refer to the poet’s language in your answer. 3Now let’s look at the answer scheme:1 mark for incident1 mark for reaction1 mark for reference to textPossible answers:At sea/rowing/sticks oar in water/disturbs/hits a shark/shark rises up (1)ANDdisorientated (1) “a rock where none should be” (1)ORthreatened (1) “rise with a slounge” (1)
5 Word Choice QuestionsQuestions 46 and 48 are pretty straight forward, they are just word choice questions.46. Referring closely to stanza 2, show how MacCaig uses word choice to convey how he feels about the encounter. 448. Choose an example of word choice in stanza 4 and explain how effective you find this exampleNice and simple. Give these a try and we’ll go over them. You have 12 minutes.
6 Word Choice Questions Question 46: Your marks are made up of Quote (1) and Explain (1) and you need to do that twice.“not too often though enough” (1) rare occurrence but still prompted reflection (1)AND/OR“I count as gain” (1) valuable/ thought-provoking experience (1)“roomsized monster with a/ matchbox brain” (1) humorous/not that frightening/insulting (1)
7 Word Choice Questions Question 48: All you’re doing here is Quote (1) and Explain (1)Possible answers:“Swish up the dirt” (1) disturbance of the water and disturbance of MacCaig’s thoughts/views (1)OR“a spring is all the clearer” (1) once water settles, it is clearer as are MacCaig’s thoughts/views“I saw me in one fling, emerging from the slime of everything” (1) makes him reflect on his own origins/“slime” – primordial, viscous (1)
8 Trickier Questions Question 47 is a little trickier. 47. “He displaced more than water”. Explain what this line means and show how the poet in the rest of the stanza develops this idea further. 3Meaning of line (1)Evidence later in poem (1)Comment (1)upset/changed/questioned MacCaig’s certainty/perspective/ view of evolution (1)AND“he shoggled me centuries back”(1) use of humour/made MacCaig think about origins/ evolution/life (1)OR“this decadent townee” (1) thinks of his own position culturally (1)“Shook on a branch of his family tree” (1) evolution/that they are different/same origin (1)
9 The Final Question49. MacCaig often describes his personal experiences in his poetry, using these to explore wider themes. Referring closely to this poem and to at least one other poem by MacCaig, show how he uses personal experience to explore wider themes. 8This is the big one that you really want to get right.Before we attempt to answer this, let’s think about how the poems link together:
10 Some possible linksPrivate vs Public: A deeply personal poem contrasting with one that makes a comment on aspects of society.The way that MacCaig shows his compassion / sympathy for his subject (through, for example, imagery)A clear sense of mood or atmosphere in his poetry.How MacCaig expresses the idea of distance between himself and his subject.Barriers to communication.A strong sense of place. MacCaig’s use of surprising description and imagery to describe his subjects.
11 Linking MacCaig’s poetry Commonality linkPoem 1 + commentPoem 2 +commentPersonal experienceAssisi – trip to church, sees beggar, makes bigger point about lifeBasking Shark – out fishing, sees scary shark, makes bigger point about lifeTheme -Sense of placeMood -
12 The Final QuestionHowever, there’s an easy way to ensure that you get the most marks available:State commonality (2)What is exam text about? (with reference to question) (1)What is other text about? (with reference to question) (1)Quote and explain from exam text (2)Reference to text (1)Comment (1)Quote and explain twice from other text (4)
13 The Final Question Using that formula, give question 49 a shot. Commonality link poem 1Commonality link poem 2Quote poem 1Explain poem 1Quote poem 2Explain poem 2
14 The Final Question Answer Scheme Candidates should discuss how MacCaig uses personal experience in this poem and in at least one other poem to explore wider themes.Themes explored through experience:the temporariness/ insignificance of manThe relationship between man and other species, man and natureThe randomness of the process of evolutionThe scale of human evolution vs species which have remained unchanged/ unevolvedPossible references:“Assissi” The hypocrisy of the church/desensitization to poverty and suffering.“Aunt Julia” - How lack of common language prevents can be frustrating/prevent communication BUT despite this a real bond between speaker and Aunt is clear. On a wider level, this experience is a comment on the loss of some traditional aspects of Scottish heritage that is in danger of being lost.“Memorial” – Grief/Permanence, lack of relief from sense of loss/Impact on death and grief on the artistic process.“Sounds of the Day” - Impact of love and loss on the psyche/ Whether experience of relationship worth the pain.“Visiting Hour” - Death and loss and our own attitudes towards mortality.
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