Thursday, 15 March 2012

Important Information- The Literature Exam

The exam will focus on key Assessment Objectives. Below is a list of questions and the assessment objectives for each section. Below each question is an indication of how you might answer the question/ things you might include.

An Inspector Calls is Section A
Of Mice and Men is in Section B

Literature Exam Outline

Skills targeted in Section A


Respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations.


Explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings.

Skills targeted in Section B


Respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations.


Explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings.


Relate texts to their social, cultural and historical contexts; explain how texts have been influential and significant to self and other readers in different contexts and at different times.

Section A Questions and things you might include

Arthur Birling says, ‘If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it?’ How does Priestley present ideas about responsibility in An Inspector Calls?

May refer to Birling’s quote and thus his attitude to responsibility – and other characters’ attitudes to responsibility and how they are different.
The Inspector’s attitude to responsibility – ‘each of you helped to kill her’ – and his final speech to a wider audience – ‘millions and millions of Eva Smiths...’
Socialist views about responsibility – collective responsibility – everyone in society linked.
Ideas about the play as a warning about how we should be responsible for our actions.

The words ‘responsible’ and ‘responsibility’ are used by most characters in the play – comment on some examples fire and blood and anguish’ – significance of the choice of these words.
The use of stage directions to reveal the characters’ reactions to what the Inspector has to say about how they treated Eva Smith.
How Priestley creates a sense of self-satisfied smugness about the Birling family, where and how they live – thus little sense of their need to move outside the family and think of others [except Sheila/Eric].
How do you respond to Gerald in An Inspector Calls? How does Priestley make you respond as you do by the ways he writes?
Aristocrat – ideas about class system – essentially engaged to someone ‘beneath’ him
Not as willing as Sheila to admit his guilt – at first pretends he never knew Daisy Renton – link with Mr Birling?
Seems to have some genuine feelings for Daisy Renton
In Act 3, Gerald tries to come up with as much evidence as possible to prove the Inspector is a fake – wants to protect himself rather than change himself.
Which generation does he ‘fit’ most readily with?
Regular references to Gerald’s ‘disappearance’ the previous summer makes the audience wonder about him.
References to any stage directions which reveal Gerald’s attitudes / feelings.
How Priestley creates a sense of self-satisfaction in Gerald when he thinks ‘Everything’s all right now’.
Presentation as an ‘easy, well-bred young man-about town’.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Notes on An Inspector Calls

  • Antithesis: opposition, contrast, the antithesis of right and wrong. The direct opposite (usually followed by 'of' or 'to') 
  • In An Inspector Calls, Birling is the antithesis of Priestley's views. Priestly follows the Labour Party and Birling was a Capitalist. 
  • Also the Inspector is the antithesis of Birling. We can already gather that upon the arrival of the Inspector, Birling has suddenly become quite hesitant due to the Inspector's calm and profound attitude towards duty. 
  • The Inspector is a mouthpiece for Priestley's philosophy, meaning that his views are shown through the Inspector and are used against Birling causing him to look idiotic with the use of dramatic irony. 
  • In the play a protagonist and antagonist are presented. The protagonist is the Inspector, meaning that he the main character and is most perceived to be a hero as is a more prominent figure in the play. The antagonist (which is the complete opposite of protagonist) is Birling, he is lost as a character when under pressure, certain exploits about his business are forced and excessive references to successful people seem pointless. 
  • When the family are explaining their knowledge on the case, the Inspector repeats back to them. This makes what they say seem idiotic and ambiguous. Although this is not for all characters, Sheila and Eric represent youth and show hope. 
  • By the Inspector continuously reminding the family of the situation of the crime, arguments are provoked and tension builds. 

Friday, 2 March 2012

The Play So Far

The Play So Far

  • J.B Priestly was a famous play writer born in 1894. Much of his writing was ground-breaking and controversial - he included strong political views and often critised the Government. He was also concerned about social inequality in Britain.
  • At the beginning of the play, Priestly presents a versimilitude of a traditional family celebrating an engagement. They are all very posh and well-spoken. The tone set is quite relaxed. We automatically get an impression of the characters from the stage directions at the beginning of Act 1.
  • Birling is presented as quite arrogant and often gives long speeches, in which Priestly incorporates dramatic irony (putting the audience in a stronger position) when talking about how 'the Germans don't want war' and how the Titanic is 'absolutely unsinkable'. This makes Birling seems idiotic and the audience does not really value his views.
  • The arrival of the Inspector conveys a feeling of mystery to the audience and possibly worry. His arrival is unexpected and should slightly startle the audience.
  • The Inspector is described as someone who can make 'an impression of massiveness' just from walking into a room. Even though he means well and is just doing his job, people may still be wary of him and his superior knowledge.
  • At first, Birling seems welcoming to the inspector - offering him a seat and some port. The Inspector is quite cold with him and Birling soon gets frustrated and impatient with him and his mysteriousness. Birling does not like how the Inspector controls the conversation and is knowledgable about something he is not.

by Sally Abel

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Friday, 24 February 2012

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Compare the way two of the poems use language to convey emotions

A variety of emotions are presented throughout the relationships section of the Anthology. It is conveyed as something that can affect a relationship, whether that be for better or worse.  Emotions also imply connections to the author giving the poem a more secluded meaning and allowing the reader to uncover a story of their own.

Certain emotions are shown in the occasional poem, 'Born Yesterday', Philip Larkin, named one of the best post-war poets in 2008, tells the story of a girl named Sally Amis, displaying the nascent stages of her life. As there is simplistic language used throughout the poem most readers will not notice many deep emotions conveyed from this poem. However, the meaning behind this poem is quite despairing, within the first line care is shown, "I have wished you something", this phrase shows a unique style of care for someone. This also shows that the speaker has great admiration for this newborn baby. The first two stanzas express natural, deep and genuine emotions for Sally. Larkin uses the idea of a promise and with the use of enjambment to keep the mellifluous tone to the poem. These all signify positive emotions.

Nevertheless the tone and mood of the poem changes with the use of the conjunction, 'but'. Now, the poem conveys spite, this presentes a juxtaposition between the two emotions, care and spite. Spitefulness is firstly shown with the use of the adjective within the phrase, "May you be ordinary". The adjective, 'ordinary' devalues the feelings that he had for her in the first two stanzas of the poem. This shows two oxymoronic phrases as the first line of the poem shows a unique feeling for someone and line 12 contradicts that and refers to her as ordinary. The acerbic tone continues with the repetition of the adverb, 'not' to describe her appearance, it also distinguishes any feature of her appearence. The idea of someone being normal and ordinary continues to show, "In fact may you be dull", this connotes harsh, pessimistic feelings towards her. Following after that line, the poem ends with a cluster of fast paced adjectives, 'vigilant, flexible, unemphasised and enthralled'. These all broaden the meaning of a dull sense of realism.

Similar to Born Yesterday, To His Coy Mistress begins with implying genuine love for someone and using hyperbole expressions, it enhances the passion that the speaker had for his lover. Instead of relating to the future in Born Yesterday, To His Coy Mistress focuses more on physical attributes, "Two hundred to adore each breast", this conveys a flattering, romantic tone to the poem. Also To His Coy Mistress uses enjambment to add a mellifluous effect to the poem, same to Born Yesterday, both these poems show a significant juxtaposition, the conjunction, 'but' is evidence for this. It instantly changes the mood in both poems which has an effect on the language. For example, "The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace", in this example there is an acerbic sarcastic feel. The last rhyming couplet, "Thus, though we cannot make our sun. Stand still, yet we will make him run". this summaries the impatience and reluctance shown in the poem.

In conclusion both these poems display a divide of emotion, from positive to negative. In my opinion, the meaning behind To His Coy Mistress is more acerbic and goes into much finer detail about the negatives in comparison to Born Yesterday, in result conveying deeper emotion. To expand on this, the meaning beyond Born Yesterday, Sally Amis lived a wild lifestyle due to drinking. The speaker wished a healthy, better lifestyle for her. Sadly she died at the age of 42, adding to the sorrow of the poem and noticing that the first two stanzas reflected the past and the last two stanzas unraveled the drastic present that she was living.

Luke Murray