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AS and A Level: Other Criticism & Comparison

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 11
  • Peer Reviewed essays 1
  1. Explain how the writers explore the idea of a relationship to a place in the short stories The People Before (by Maurice Shadbolt) and Billennium (by J.G. Ballard).

    An integral aspect of the father?s relationship with the land is his desire to assert dominance over it; his immense occupation with complete physical ownership of the land highlights his inability to form a deeper connection with it. The hyperbolic statement ?...history only began the day he first set foot on the land? reveals the father?s disregard for the land?s cultural and historical background; to him the land?s significance and value is only validated through his ownership of it. Furthermore, we are told that ?He?d hardly have said he loved the land....love [was] an extravagance?.

    • Word count: 1283
  2. Compare the ways in which The Colour Purple and What Maisie Knew portray inequality. In your answer, you must consider relevant contextual factors. (30 marks)

    Walker therefore portrays the dilemma of the patriarchal society in which the novel is set, whereby women had no voice and no control over their lives. However, in ?What Maisie Knew?, although males are presented as dominant over women, particularly in their access to greater opportunities, it seems that women have some power over he men. This can be seen through the relationship of Mr Beale and Miss Overmore whereupon despite Beale?s belief that ?the child should be put at school?, Miss Overmore can persuade him otherwise through her rhetorical question ?What am I supposed to be at all, don?t

    • Word count: 2108
  3. Barriers to love - Pre-1900 poetry and Atonement Comparison

    Post plague, Shakespeare may be giving hope to those who wanted to hold onto tradition and religion, as the Renaissance marked a time of new ideas and a movement away from the typical ideas around love, which could be much alike McEwan in the sense that Robbie and Cecilia?s love was not broken through the war times. In Sonnet 116, love can overcome all; initially, Shakespeare strengthens the idea of love by naming the poem after the form it takes: a sonnet.

    • Word count: 1072
  4. Compare the ways the writers of your texts create a sense of fear in their works (Dorian Gray and Beloved)

    repetition of the word ?sick? allows Morrison to emphasise the idea of Beloved being ?sick? and thus she should be weak too. Morrison allows it to become an important point to focus upon, so that the reader is able to see the juxtaposition in Beloved being ?sick? and weak, but still being capable of lifting ?a rocker with one arm.? This shows Beloved to be somewhat supernatural and these themes being created could spark a great sense of fear for the reader with regard to the wellbeing of the other characters, since they are living with Beloved, who may not necessarily be human at all.

    • Word count: 1767
  5. How is forbidden love conveyed in both Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet and Malorie Blackmans Noughts and Crosses?

    She shows here that she wishes not to live without Romeo and without their love. The idea of Juliet lacking control over her future was a key concern in the Elizabethan era in which the play was written. This is down to the fact that young women like Juliet would have had decisions on big life choices often taken out of their hands. Fathers (or the head of the family) would often have the final say over who the daughter marries.

    • Word count: 2916
  6. Compare and contrast the ways Margret Atwood and William Blake present the power of authority over the most vulnerable in society in 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'Songs of Innocence and Experience'

    The freedom of women is often presented through Moira, who is a lesbian: ?she?d decided to prefer women?, and a feminist. The lexical choice of ?decided? suggests Moira had complete control over her lifestyle choices; implying she had ?chosen? her sexuality in order to oppose patriarchal control and to not be subject to the vulnerability and oppression that men impose upon her. She also criticises Offred for having her ?head in the sand? because she is not particularly interested in feminist concepts; whereas Moira shares the characteristics of a radical feminist.

    • Word count: 2627
  7. The dehumanisation of a specific and manufactured social community is the most appealing characteristic of Dystopian Literature. To what extent do The Handmaids Tale and Brave New World support or refute this view?

    Bernard?s mere incapability to completely verbalise the word, strips the term ?mother? of its nurturing semantics and the reader is left with a meaningless nasal consonant. It is interesting that initially, Bernard is the reader?s point of reference, as he is an outsider from the moral turmoil. Here, however, they can no longer relate to his normalcy, as Bernard displays an otherness that the reader finds horrifying, yet compulsive. The employment of Malthusian belts and pregnancy substitutes warrants the need for another method of birth ? ?decanting? ? Huxley?s mechanised and impersonal way to engender humans in artificial wombs, making them a monotonous, scientific advance.

    • Word count: 2299
  8. Compare the ways in which Duffy and Heaney write about unhappiness and suffering. In your response you must include a critical discussion of at least three poems.

    The alliteration in Shooting Stars, is also a mind rhyme for Saal-Schutz, the Nazi SS Army. In Requiem for the Croppies, ?Requiem? defined as ?a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead? is intended to offer peace to the thousands that died at the hands of the English and those that died; being the ?Croppies?, the Irish men defending their land who cut their hair into a cropped fashion as a sign of rebellion. It is a gesture of praise and thanks and a wish for restfulness for those men whose lives were taken in the uprising of 1798.

    • Word count: 2751
  9. Compare the ways in which Larkin and Duffy present the reality of love.

    and low frequency lexis (?emblem?, ?horizon?, ?isolation?). As can be seen in ?Love Songs in Age?, Larkin deliberately uses a mix of formal and informal lexis, with the intention to reflect the supposed intimacy in the act of ?talking in bed?, but highlighting instead the abstract nature of time and the reality of love as time erodes the relationship depicted in the poem. ?Talking in Bed? is presented in a resigned tone, thus creating a mood of despair. This is established through the use of the modal verb ?ought to be? to express the couple?s discontent, implying from the beginning of the poem, that ?talking in bed? is not all that it should be.

    • Word count: 3319
  10. Compare ways in which Saki and Hawthorne use a particular narrative voice in "Sredni Vashtar" and "The Hollow of Three Hills".

    The influence of the instant exposure to Conradin?s reality offers the reader a sense of trust and authenticity in the statements made by the narrator, as well building sympathy for the young protagonist and reconciliation with his distorted view of life. This is in antithesis to the story The Hollow of the Tree Hills, where the reader is initially left feeling lost and unsure of the stories future progression. The narrator uses vague statements such as ?in those strange times? to build ambiguity and increasingly amplify the sense of mystery surrounding the meeting of the ?beautiful woman? and the ?old crone?.

    • Word count: 1023
  11. Dehumanisation is often integral to dystopian novels, consider some of the ways in which this issue is presented by Huxley in Brave New World (1932) and by Orwell in 1984 (1949)

    Both male protagonists are atypical, alienated and anti-heroic despite rebelling against the absolute prevailing order. The third-person narrative explores Winston Smith?s personal perspective, more detached than a first-person bildungsroman. Winston Smith?s name paradoxically combines ?an Everyman identity?[7]with the iconic wartime leader, Winston Churchill. A suffering ?wounded protagonist?3, Winston coughs chronically: a ?varicose ulcer? symbolises his ?mental and physical malnourishment?5; his physical inadequacy threatens his consciousness. Thus characterisation conveys dehumanisation. Winston and John are not one-dimensional; their behaviour and relationships connote humanity.

    • Word count: 2866
  12. How far can a feminist reading be applied to The Yellow Wallpaper?

    The Yellow Wallpaper is an extended metaphor and bildungsroman, a journey of emancipation: the suffering character empathises with a metaphorical woman within the wallpaper, finally acknowledging identity and independence. Gilman?s persona precipitated women being ?heard? understood? acknowledged?[3]: the triad of past participles, reinforce Gilman?s determination for social justice through syntactic parallelism. The Yellow Wallpaper figuratively addressed female subordination. Kate Millet?s Sexual Politics (1970) exposed ?denigrating, exploitative and repressive? relationships with women?1, demonstrated by D.H Lawrence and Henry Miller creating female ?negative stereotyping?.

    • Word count: 1673
  13. The Idea of Carelessness in "The Great Gatsby", Rosetti's poems and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".

    Their wealth is also shown by ?they had spent a year in france for no particular reason?, and this kind of carelessness is highlighted as their decisions are shown to be made just because they can. The carelessness shown by both characters when they cheat on each other, eg. with Tom showing his mistress off ?I want you to meet my girl? or ?he turned up to popular cafes with her? shows how careless he is about undertaking something so morally wrong.

    • Word count: 1163
  14. Identifying a hero in "The Great Gatsby" The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Small Island".

    Due to this fact, Gatsby is seen as somewhat of a hero and is the main interest and focus of the story. The whole text is mainly based around Gatsby and the period in which Nick?s character knew him. Even before meeting him as a person, the readers are given clues upon him, mostly rumours ?we heard it from three people, so it must be true?, which play a key part in the story. These rumours ?he once killed a man who found out he was nephew to Von Hinderburg and second to the devil? build up a mental image in the readers? minds which encourage us to want to find out more.

    • Word count: 1046
  15. Review of Julie Taymor's film version of 'The Tempest' Film (2010)

    Throughout the course of the film, I tried to remain optimistic. For every time Ben Whishaw pranced around butt-naked on my screen to my discomfort as Ariel, for every time the revolting, out-dated and overused CGI complemented by the irksome 70?s rock-like non diagetic score braced my senses, and for every time I sought to just wish a tempest upon Taymor, for tarnishing Djimon Honsou?s dignity by casting him as an abominable Caliban ? which dare I say John Gorrie?s 1980?s Caliban portrays more convincingly...

    • Word count: 584
  16. Charlotte Gray Part 2, Chapter 7 Pgs.225-227, comparison with Flare Path Pgs. 8-11

    Both have the love to be the reason because Charlotte wants to find Peter from the house (?It was from this house that she would find Gregory?) whilst in ?Flare Path? Peter wants to convince Patricia to leave the house with him. * The theme of love is present in ?Flare Path? as it carries positive connotations and during WWI times Rattigan was writing for an audience during WWII, so he didn?t want his audience to dwell on the war instead notice that there are still noble beliefs of love during times of war.

    • Word count: 1199
  17. You would never expect to find the same kinds of characters in Flare Path (1942) as in Charlotte Gray (1996). The public at the time wanted very different things. Discuss

    Moreover, the public has means different ideas are portrayed through the different texts in order to fulfil the desire of the audience and make sure that they witness what they want. ?Flare Path? was a play written for an audience during WWII which meant that they were experiencing the war first hand and the morale was very low. However, ?Charlotte Gray? was for an audience who were far from times of the war and hence they wanted a more excitement from the text.

    • Word count: 812
  18. Analysis of Chopin's use of linguistic features in her literary works.

    The novel as a form does not offer the opportunity for character development in the same way a series of letters/sonnets do. For example, Edna openly declares her love for Robert, at the time of her death: ?I?m the person who deserves your love.? The continuous sense of the author?s evaluation of the moral choices that her characters make is lost; they seem more autonomous throughout the sonnets because they speak for themselves without Chopin?s explicit authorial presence.

    • Word count: 509

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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