Presentation on theme: "Writing the Critical Essay. Identifying the Key words To pass, your understanding must be show to be appropriate to the task set This means that you."— Presentation transcript:
Identifying the Key words To pass, your understanding must be show to be appropriate to the task set This means that you must apply your knowledge and carry out the task exactly as it is asked in the question A strategy to help with this is to identify clearly the key words. The key words are those that provide details of the task
They will appear in both the first and second sentences of the question. Highlight or underline them and then repeat them throughout your essay.
Example Choose a play in which a character feels increasingly isolated from the community in which he or she lives. Show how the dramatist makes you aware of the character’s increasing isolation and discuss how this affects your attitude towards the character
Because you will be repeating these words throughout your essay, it is a good idea to jot down some synonyms for the key words so that you can vary your language E.G. Isolated – alienated, separate, separated, set apart, cut off, etc Task 1
Breaking down the task It is essential that you focus on your task from the planning stage if you are to gain a good mark. Having identified your key words, you should then try to break down the task into the various elements that it involves
Example Choose a poem that deals with a childhood experience. Discuss to what extent the poet’s description of the experience leads you to a clear understanding of the poet’s theme. Once you have highlighted the key words of the task you now bullet-point the strands you must include in your discussion
Identify a childhood experience Analyse how the poet describes the experience Relate your understanding of the theme to the description of the experience
Once you have done this you would relate each bullet-point to your own text. E.G. Lockhead’s poem ‘Revelation’ Experience: being shown the farm’s bull Description: use of sense – colour, smell, shape, sound; contrasts with hens Relation to theme: awareness of dark side of life, sexuality, danger leading to loss of childhood innocence. Task 2
Writing the Introduction –Don’ts Start by talking about the life of the author. Give a detailed account of the plot. Go into detailed discussion about the characters, themes, etc. Include quotations or examples. Try to be amusing or dramatic.
The 5 step formula. 1. Identify the text and author 2. Use words from the beginning of the question and explain why the chosen text is suitable for the question. 3. A sentence or two summarising the text – but no more. 4. Refer to the words that set the task in the second sentence of the question. 5. Give an idea of how the rest of the essay is going to develop.
Sample Introductions – task 3 In pairs/small groups read over the introductions and check the 5 steps then complete the table on strengths and weaknesses within each intro. The question is ‘ Choose a play which you feel has a memorable opening section. Show how the content or atmosphere of the scene or section provides an effective starting point for the development of the characters and the theme of the play. Show how the content or atmosphere of the scene or section provides an effective starting point for the development of the characters and the theme of the play.
Task 4 Individually – write an introduction for ‘Death of a Salesman’ using the same question. You have 5 minutes. Pass your introduction to the person next to you and they should assess it against the 5 steps.
Plot summary – yes or no? Do not do a outline of the plot paragraph. You just need to remember that new ideas should be put in context when they are first introduced. –When a character is mentioned for the first time he or she should be introduced briefly. –The setting of the story should be explained, if relevant. –If an event is mentioned it needs to be placed in context, e.g. where does it fit into the sequence of events?
Structure Points S tatement – topic sentence E vidence – quotation A nalysis – explanation of quote and detailed comment L ink – use words from the question to link back to the main idea.
STATEMENT The topic sentence will make a general point and not detailed one. It should refer to words from the question. Think of it as a signpost – indicates the direction which the rest of the paragraph is going to travel. Task 5 – Look at the examples of topic sentences and discuss how effective each one is.
Evidence A statement must be backed up by evidence. This might be: –A direct quotation – the actual words from the text. –An indirect reference to something that happens in the text e.g. a summary of the incident in Howard Wagner’s office with the wire recorder to show Willy’s inability to cope with the modern world.
A quotation needs to be put in context- introduce it properly by making it clear who spoke the words, where it came in the text, etc. NEVER introduce a quotation by saying ‘The quote shows…’
For example ‘We’ve got to decide if this is an island’ Ralph takes command and tells the others what to do. – INCORRECT – Don’t begin a paragraph with a quotation, always have the statement first. In ‘Lord of the Flies’, Ralph is a character who exhibits strong leadership qualities, ‘We’ve got to decide if this is an island.’ INCORRECT – Quotation is not in context.
For Example – Correct way In ‘Lord of the Flies’, Ralph is a character who exhibits strong qualities of leadership. For example, at the first meeting of the surviving boys it is he who stresses, ‘We’ve got to decide if this is an island’. –Statement is followed by a quotation that is placed in context.
Explanation and Link Follow the quotation with a comment e.g. What does is show about the character/theme/setting... Always link points back to the main idea of the essay – the simplest way to do this is to use key words from question.
Example paragraph point – task 6 Willy's sons illustrate other significant areas of this central theme of failure: Biff opts out of the competitive world which his father wants for him. And it is Biff who finally analyses the root cause of their domestic friction when he says: 'We never told the truth for ten minutes.' It is Biff who finally blames his father for his own failure because: 'We've been walking in a dream for fifteen years', 'I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air.' The playwright presents us with a dramatic turning point when Biff comes to understand that he has been blinded by false values, unable to honestly address who he is or where he belongs in life.
The ‘so what?’ test Don’t include quotations or comments for their own sake. For each quotation used or point made ask yourself ‘so what?’ If the quotation doesn’t tell you anything about theme/character/etc or the point doesn’t add anything to your essay then it should be removed.
Paragraph plan PARA 1 – INTRODUCTION Use the 5 step guide to write an introduction relevant to the question. The direction of the whole essay should be clear from this point onwards.
Paragraph 2 Start with a topic sentence that picks up one of the points mentioned in the introduction and develop it using the SEAL pattern. There may be several SEALs in each paragraph but they must all link logically to the original topic sentence.
Paragraph 3/4/5 onwards Develop these paragraphs in a similar pattern. Each should start with a linking word/phrase to give your essay coherence and should develop a new point.
Conclusion The final paragraph should sum up each of the main points that have been covered in the essay and relate your answer to the question.
The linking word/phrase Paragraphs should begin with a linking and topic sentence so that your essay has coherence. Examine the following Topic sentence and discuss why it is a good linking sentence.
In addition to his depressing physical surroundings, Tom Curdie’s family background contributes to his difficulties.
In addition to his depressing physical surroundings, Tom Curdie’s family background contributes to his difficulties. Linking phrase, indicating that a second point is to follow This has been examined in the previous paragraph. How his family background contributes will be the topic of this paragraph.
The pattern of these sentences is: –Linking expression at the start of the sentence –Reference back to the topic of the previous paragraph –Reference forward to the topic of the next paragraph. –Hand out – Linking words sheet.
Now it’s your turn! Choose a play in which the opening provides us with a clear idea of what is to come. Discuss the various ways in which the opening 'sets the scene' and introduces us to the main themes and concerns of the play. 1. Identify the key words.
Choose a play in which the opening provides us with a clear idea of what is to come. Discuss the various ways in which the opening 'sets the scene' and introduces us to the main themes and concerns of the play.
Now break this up into the different elements 1. Identify the elements of the opening that provide a clear idea of what is to come. 2. Discuss the ways Miller has set the scene (techniques) 3. Relate the opening of the play to the main themes/concerns.
It is up to you to now plan and write the essay.