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AS and A Level: Other Criticism & Comparison

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 11
  • Peer Reviewed essays 1
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    (Schonmuller, B., 2008:13) The identity of the patient is the mystery around which the novel revolves. "Everyone assumes he is English because of his refined speech and mannerisms." (Ha, K., 2001: 52), but this is just a hypothesis as he is unrecognisable and lacks any identification. Later in the novel and through the patient's fragmented memories, the irony of the book is revealed: the English patient is not, in fact, English. Actually, he is called Alm�sy and is Hungarian by birth, having been in the past a desert explorer and map-maker, part of the National Geographical Society expedition to map the Libyan Desert.

    • Word count: 53965
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Within the three texts, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Look back in Anger by John Osborne and The Whitsun Weddings by Phillip Larkin, each writer explores the concept of a changing world.

    4 star(s)

    This disdain can be seen most clearly in Brideshead Revisited through the character of Lieutenant Hooper. Waugh?s unsympathetic portrayal of Hooper as an ignorant and graceless army officer, lacking the sense of tradition present in the character of Charles, is representative of Waugh?s presentation of the working class in the novel and the changing world where they are becoming more prominent. Waugh?s description of Charles seeing Hooper as a ?symbol? of ?Young England?[2] presents Charles? and also Waugh?s view of a new generation whose pragmatism was at odds with the romanticism and splendour of the upper classes.

    • Word count: 3400
  3. Compare and contrast how the destructive nature of love is presented in Shakespeares Othello, Websters The Duchess of Malfi and Mcewans Enduring Love

    Iago does not believe in love or affection, 'Heaven is my judge, not I for love or duty/But seeming so, for my peculiar end.' (A1 s1 l58) he only desires his revenge on Othello for disregarding him as his lieutenant. In contrast to Iago, John Webster's Duchess of Malfi has Ferdinand deal with his jealousy directly; he wants the Duchess for himself but when he finds she has remarried he turns violent 'Go to, mistress,/'Tis not your whore's milk that shall quench my wildfire,/But your whore's blood!'(A2 s5 l47)

    • Word count: 3063
  4. Compare the opening pages of The Bell Jar and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. How do Sylvia Plath and Ken Kesey use form, structure and language to explore aspects of mental illness and how is this expanded on through

    'Tingle, tingle, tremble toes' is evidently the Big Nurse, who catches the inmates like hens and encourages them to peck one another to death in the 'pen' of the ward, where they are all locked in. That she is 'a good fisherman', a 'fisher of men,' recalls Mcmurphy's fishing expedition. On the other hand, the title of The Bell Jar is simplistic in comparison to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, nevertheless it does encompass some striking allegorical connotations. A bell jar is a bell-shaped glass cover used to protect and display delicate or fragile objects.

    • Word count: 3070
  5. Comparison between The Tell-tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and Misery by Stephen King.

    Right at the beginning of the extract, Paul compares what is happening to him, to his past childhood experience. Through this comparison, the writer introduces the possible idea of Paul getting caught and what will happen to him if he is. The flashback takes the reader back to when Paul had been twelve and decided to try some of his mother's cigarettes. As the room filled with smoke, his mum returned in search for her forgotten purse. We are not told about what his mother did to him when she caught him, but you can guess from the words "It will be more than a spanking this time" that it was going to be bad.

    • Word count: 3374
  6. Margaret Atwoods The Handmaids Tale, and John Fowles The French Lieutenants Woman are both classic novels conveying the constrictions placed upon women by society and how they fight against the

    The very fact that the protagonist of the novel has a patronymic slave name (Of-Fred) conveys to the reader her function, in that she belongs to her Commander, Fred, and clarifies the oppression of Gileadean society. Although being set in different periods of time, both novels' presentation of the constrictions of women can be seen as timeless, with some of these constrictions occurring in modern day times. In Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and similar South Asian countries there are many rules and restrictions likening to that of Gileadean policies, such as the rule that all women must cover their entire bodies with veils.

    • Word count: 3309
  7. Discuss the ways in which Frayn introduces the key features of Spies in the opening chapter.

    We are introduced to the novel in the present tense which draws the reader in and acquaints them with the same knowledge as the narrator. "June" helps establish a time. Moreover "it" is an unknown factor which is introduced with the third person pronoun that helps create intrigue by giving "it" an importance. "...again:" suggests that the narrator has formally been acquainted with this unknown factor but is withholding this information from the reader. The use of a colon in the quotation allows readers a moment to pause and so the pace gathers suspense.

    • Word count: 3122
  8. Explore the motives which have driven the villains in Othello by William Shakespeare and We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

    Arguably Rebecca is revealed as a villain too, in so far as her name entraps the narrator. It will be interesting to explore the different interpretations of the villains' motives for the destruction of others. What unites these texts is the way each villain has their own purpose for their crime. In Shakespearean's tragedy, a villain is used as an element to cause the downfall of a noble person. Iago is the "villain" in Othello. Iago's enters the stage with "S'blood" therefore Shakespeare presents him as a highly blasphemous character. There is a suggestion that Iago's character is based on a Spanish Saint of "Santiago Matamoros" which means St James the Moor-killer.

    • Word count: 3697
  9. Compare and contrast three examples of gothic fiction

    What draws us to this tale is the very nature of what Frankenstein's experiments. Sometimes in the gore of Hollywood's version of the tale, it is possible to forget the magnitude of his accomplishment. He does not reanimate a corpse, he fashions a new being and through his own knowledge imbues it with life. Only one other being has every accomplished that feat; namely God. That Shelley's anti-hero is usurping the role of the Divine is evident from the outset.

    • Word count: 4152
  10. How are male/female relationships explored in the texts? William Shakespeares Macbeth; Carol Ann Duffys Havisham demonstrating the bitter, loneliness, Christina Rossettis Cousin Kate presents the betrayal and William Shakespeares Sonnet 130 an

    This shows that Lady Macbeth is in control of the relationship as she has the confidence to say these things; in the time of when this play was written women were not meant to be the ones making the decisions in the household. Lady Macbeth then goes on to question Macbeth's manhood when she challenges him mentally and says "when you durst do it then you were a man" suggesting that by not doing it, he would not be a true man.

    • Word count: 3403
  11. Otherness in The merchant of Venice, The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible

    makes reference to his status as "the other", referring to himself in the third person as "old shylock" and "a Jew" - emphasizing his detachment. His status as an outsider is made clear, mainly by the ways in which the plays other characters refer to him - for example, Antonio several times refers to Shylock as "the devil", possessing an "evil soul", "a goodly apple rotten at the heart", and this mode of mocking address is shared by almost all the play's characters.

    • Word count: 3222
  12. Compare and contrast the writers presentation of the consequences of obsessive love in: Othello, Notes on a Scandal and The Yellow Wallpape

    In the 17th century Europe, black people were not well educated or even of such high rank, as Othello. Black people were either servants or slaves, so for Othello to be at such a high status he must have been incredible in the battlefield in Europe. However Othello is not educated in terms of understanding women and love, and this is another one of Othello's flaws. Othello being a man of action, is able to lead an army to war, but he cannot lead his own heart. Othello becomes obsessively in love with Desdemona, when Iago makes it his priority to 'set down the pegs that makes this music'.

    • Word count: 3155
  13. How are women portrayed in The Millers Tale, The Handmaids Tale, and The Crucible?

    Alison from The Miller's Tale is eighteen years old, and described as passionate and highly attractive. Her faithfulness in marriage to her husband is very questionable when she allows herself to be easily taken in by this other man, her neighbour, and commits adultery with him without much care for her own husband. Near the beginning of the Miller's Tale, there is a clear, physical description of Alison, being a lively woman who might want to have an affair. For she is "wilde and yonge", meaning that her behaviour is rather uncontrolled, and her older husband is jealous and possessive of her.

    • Word count: 3047
  14. The enticing themes of human desires and dreams in the city acts as a vessel for the American Dream, reinforcing its slow emergence into reality. This is demonstrated in both Toni Morrisons Jazz and Arthur Millers A View from the Brid

    With its irregular off beat structure, it "almost forces dancers to use jerky half-steps, and invites immoral variations." 2 However it can be argued that "it is hard to define jazz, because it is neither a definite form nor a type of rhythm; it is rather a method employed by the interpreter in playing the dance or song." 3 It is the focalisation of this irregular beat which is emphasised that makes the jazz effect seem more alive and unambiguous.

    • Word count: 3400
  15. Translations and Things Fall Apart, examine how Friel and Achebe present the issue of linguistic imperialism and how successful they are.

    He goes on to question it, by asking "Why should human beings speak thousands of different, mutually incomprehensible tongues?" (1998, p. 51), that homo sapiens are basically biologically the same; why have we not evolved to speak one common language? Steiner's study of language and communication concludes that with the death of a language comes the dissolution of cultures and identities: "Each takes with it a storehouse of consciousness" (1998, p. 56). This was of consequential influence to Brian Friel and Translations, notable throughout the play. For instance, the various ways in which Friel portrays translation - the cartographers; Owen's "not-completely-correct" translation of Lancey; Maire and Yolland's romantic tryst and so forth - create the notion that the English language is not compatible with Irish culture.

    • Word count: 3139
  16. How do the writers of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights use setting and atmosphere in the development of their novels?

    Emily and Charlotte Bronte's novels display rebellious undercurrents of their feelings against these expectations, making their stories atypical. Their experience of being governesses and living in a parsonage next to a graveyard on the Yorkshire Moors resonates in their novels and is related to the complexities of human relationships within the parameters of the Victorian Era. Emily Bronte inventively creates the setting for Wuthering Heights within a malevolent atmosphere which radiates throughout the novel. The outsider Lockwood arrives on a tempestuous night with the intention of renting Thrushcross Grange. The Heights impresses Lockwood as being an archetypal, gloomy house, embedded into the "bleak hill top", defended by "large jutting stones" and "gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun".

    • Word count: 4015
  17. Euthanasia should never been introduced. Persuasive essay.

    The fact that we are human has value in itself. Our inherent value doesn't depend on anything else - it doesn't depend on whether we are having a good life that we enjoy, or whether we are making other people's lives better. We exist, so we have value. Most of us agree with that - though we don't put it in philosopher-speak. We say that we don't think that we should use other people - which are a plain English way of saying that we shouldn't treat other people as a means to our own ends.

    • Word count: 4703
  18. Trying To Find No Place

    " 'Jack fell as he'd have wished,' the mother said." (Sassoon, S. The Hero) This quote is expressing Jack's patriotism, and how he wished to die for his country. This also implies that Jack was excited to go to war, and viewed it as a positive thing, or even fun, to go and fight for his country. When he got there he was nothing but horrified, this is made obvious in this passage from the poem: "He thought how Jack, cold-footed, useless swine/ Had panicked down the trench that night the mine."

    • Word count: 3405
  19. In what ways are Gatsby and George Wilson similar or dissimilar, to whom is Nick more sympathetic towards?

    The idea behind this pretentious displayal of the opulence that he has acquired, may be a method used by Gatsby in order to stand out from the crowd and to break away from periphery and into East Egg high society. This is a means to an end that he requires so that he can get even closer to retrieving Daisy and thus accomplishing his distorted version of the American Dream. In comparison, George lives in the rubbish tip that is the 'Valley of the Ashes'.

    • Word count: 3070
  20. An exploration of Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World

    This includes the lower and upper Party members and the proletarians, who are defined as lower class. The proles are similar to that the savages in Brave New World; they are not controlled as the rest of the population are and live separately. Although control can be imposed on them, the proles and savages do not pose a threat to the government and live uninterrupted by the rules of society. The Proletarian sector makes up the majority of the population of Oceania. Although proles appear to have more freedom, they are easier to control. A party slogan says that "Proles and animals are free", they are unconfined and unrestrained unlike the Party members.

    • Word count: 4657
  21. Compare and contrast the ways in which the writers of 'Frankenstein' and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' encourage the reader to apportion blame for the crimes committed in the novels.

    and marvellous untroubled youth'3, so the reader is led to believe that Dorian, at least at the beginning of the novel, is a true innocent, and can therefore not be entirely blamed for his later crimes: rather, the blame rests with his corruptors. Part of the initial response to the monster is formed by the narrative just prior to the awakening of the monster. This is stilted and jumpy due to excessive punctuation and contains dark, bleak images, creating a tense atmosphere and already leading the reader to form a fearful and less sympathetic reaction to the monster - 'It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out'4.

    • Word count: 3549
  22. A comparison of the satirical techniques in Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock with those of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

    Unsurprisingly, therefore, striking similarities can be traced between the targets of Pope and Wilde's ill affections, despite the distance of time between writing. Although both display some common characteristics, each author presents his social satire in a unique way, through skilful use of a variety of techniques including characterisation, language, form and style. Cecily and Belinda, the leading ladies, are characterised as sickeningly sweet and moral; proverbial innocence incarnate. This is a somewhat excessive hyperbolical presentation of two upper class young women.

    • Word count: 3877
  23. Are Willy Loman and Oedipus Rex true tragic heroes?

    This suggests that although Oedipus is treated almost god-like, he can identify with the average person. This helps with the audience's identification with Oedipus. Towards the end the audience see Oedipus' large capacity for love and affection - even after his downfall. He loves his daughers: 'But my unhappy daughters, my two girls, Whose chairs were always set beside my own' This beautiful insight into the relationship between Oedipus and his daughters shows Sophocles' uncanny ability to express emotion, and would appeal to the audience, we can all identify with familial love.

    • Word count: 3240
  24. A Comparison of the imagery and symbolism in Birdsong and Fair Stood the Wind for France

    The fact that he even tells us he never wanted birds to symbolise 'new life' or 'fresh hope' shows us the obvious connotations which would normally follow birds in a war novel are not the reason for their enclosure. The main use of birds in the plot, as to be expected, is when tunnellers Stephen Wraysford and Jack Firebrace try to save a bird which was being used to smell for gas underground. Apart from this though, the only other real insertion of birds is when they are heard outside.

    • Word count: 3469
  25. Compare and Contrast the ways in which the Doyle and Walker present and explore domestic violence within relationships in 'The Woman Who Walked Into Doors' and the 'The Color Purple'.

    Talking to God, Celie uses the words "titties," "pussy," and "his thing" without any sense of embarrassment. These words are the only words that Celie knows for these terms. The opening line is an enigmatic yet troubling line because of its ambiguity. The reason why Celie writes to God is that she would like to tell her mother what happened, but Celie's father has warned her not to, to tell "nobody but God," especially not Celie's mother because, according to him, "It'd kill your mammy." Whilst we go on to know it is Alphonso her stepfather (who Celie believes to be her father until many years later)

    • Word count: 3211

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Focusing On a Clockwork Orange and Frankenstein compare some of the ways authors explore the idea of what it means to be an outcast.

    "In conclusion, the authors of both A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess - and Frankenstein - Mary Shelley have don e well in concealing the ideas of an outcast in their novels, using the actions of the characters and knowledge of systematic psychological and sociological emotions the ideas of an outcast in the novels were unveiled."

  • Compare and contrast the presentation of the past in The Handmaid's Tale and 1984

    "In conclusion the past in both 1984 and HMT are represented through dreams and flashbacks for both the main characters. This representation is seen constantly throughout the novel and we are reminded that the past holds memories, however minor, for both characters. Both Winston and Offred have lost the past and seem unable to get it back, even though they long for it."

  • Compare and Contrast the presentation on Edmund and Edgar in Sheakespeare's King Lear

    "In conclusion, Shakespeare primarily focuses on creating contrasts between Edgar and Edmund opposed to similarities between the two characters. However one striking similarity does arise. Shakespeare chose to names the brothers Edgar and Edmund; the names are very alike, which is unexpected when their characters differ so greatly. This may be Shakespeare's way of explaining how difficult it is to distinguish between good and evil. The most important contrast he presents is how the two characters represent good or evil. In performance, the colours each of the characters wear reveal the distinct contrast between Edmund and Edgar. This is specifically shown in the battle between the two brothers at the end of the play. Edgar wears white to suggest innocence and goodness and Edmund wears dark colours, which represent evil and sin. The colours symbolise their mental attitudes and personalities. Edmund is presented as a cold malevolent character while Edmund is shown as a trustworthy and loyal who is devastated by losing his family and livelihood. However, it is Edgar who represents morality and is one of the few characters who survives the play, in consequence, presenting the legendary moral that good will always defeat evil. Approx"

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