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AS and A Level: Other Criticism & Comparison

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Write a comparison of these two proposal scenes, considering the authors' differing attitudes to love and marriage and the ways in which these are conveyed in these two passages.

    In addition, passion often coincides with spontaneity and hesitation in language, which is explored by Bront� on numerous occasions with the use of dashes ('I would not - I could not - marry Miss Ingram. You - you strange - you almost unearthly thing! - I love as my own flesh. You - poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are -'). The broken sentences display how Mr Rochester is simply blurting out how he feels - very different to a normal, planned proposal; signified further by the way he describes Jane ('unearthly', 'poor and obscure'.)

    • Word count: 930
  4. Compare how Celie and Jeanette deal with the influence of Mr.____ and Mother in 'The Color Purple' and 'Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit'. Refer to the way structure and language demonstrates their resilience.

    It is unsurprising that both characters react almost identically when suffering, due to not receiving the physical comfort they deserve from those that should provide it. There is no doubt, however, that finding this comfort from another source does help Jeanette and Celie, even if it is only temporary, "I was delighted. She was my friend, and I wasn't used to that." This is particularly true in 'The Color Purple': Shug, throughout the novel, gives Celie passion, confidence, and reassurance, "For the first time in my life, I feel just right" and is everything that Mr.____ is not.

    • Word count: 2532
  5. "Compare and contrast Orwell and Atwood's presentation of dystopian societies so far in Gilliard and Oceania"

    As Offred is sent to Gilliard to produce a child for the commander and his wife, she is not allowed to have simple things like cigarettes, or even caffeine, "I looked at the cigarette with longing. For me, like liquor and coffee, cigarettes re forbidden." In the dystopian society of Gilliard, desirable pleasures and possibly addictions, like smoking, are forbidden to the handmaids. However, Winston is able to smoke freely in his society, yet he is still placed under restriction by the fact these "luxury items" are under ration, "The new ration did not start till tomorrow and he had only four cigarettes left."

    • Word count: 963
  6. Compare and contrast the presentation of the past in The Handmaid's Tale and 1984

    They struggle to live with the memories of the past, significant change since and their life compared to then and now. However Winston and Offred have different degrees in remembering the past, this is displayed through different techniques and language used. Winston uses dreams in 1984 to sub-consciously remember his past, he can picture particular imagery in his dreams, "Winston remembered especially the very thin soles of his father's shoes." But cannot remember what exactly happened to his mother, father and sister.

    • Word count: 1181
  7. How do the two main characters in your comparison novels compare? (The Great Gatsby and The Secret History)

    Gatsby has only told her 'once', which in itself reinforces his unrevealing nature, as he does not care to make repeated attempts at convincing others of his secrets. A similar scenario is created in The Secret History, as Bunny tells Richard 'He can read hieroglyphics.' However, a different atmosphere is created by this portrayal of hearsay; a true sense of admiration is reinforced by the emphasis on 'hieroglyphics', which contrasts directly with Jordan's lack of belief in Gatsby. The social setting of both characters appears to be a significant factor - Gatsby revels in the fact that he associates with 'celebrated people', but does not describe them as friends or even acquaintances.

    • Word count: 1264
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Consider the use of first person narrative in Frankenstein and at least one other Gothic text.

    phrases such as 'I can' or 'I do' when coming from Walton. Of course, when it is Walton relaying what the creature has said, or what Victor Frankenstein has said, naturally it must be in the past tense, but the fact that when he thinks to himself it is in the present tense gives it more of a sense of immediacy, increasing both the tension and the reader's awareness of what is happening. In both the texts, it is never just one character who has the first person narrative like it is in other texts, such as 'The Raven': 'this

    • Word count: 1340
  12. The story focuses on the difference between rational, scientific thought and Romantic, religious thought. Explain and Comment.

    It could also be argued that the differences between the two opening lines provide the reader with an understanding of Joe's apprehension of religion. As the text begins to unfold further Joe's rationality and scientific thought become more apparent. The constant digressions in narrative delay the story and at times can be quite frustrating as a reader. However, this was an intentional device used by McEwan. Not only does it force to reader to continue with the story it also gives the reader an insight in to Joe's rationality and how frustrating it could be to live with at times.

    • Word count: 1481
  13. How does Alice Walker present Celie and Albert in the 'The Color Purple'

    However, Albert is a key character when observing Walkers comments on the unnecessary and wrong socially constructed gender roles. The similarities between the two characters situations show the bonds between them from very early on in the novel. The use of Black American English is clearly a conscious and prominent decision by Walker. As the characters speak in the non-standard form of English she is able to remind the reader of the socio-historic context of the novel which is of course a relevant and highly important feature of the novel.

    • Word count: 1510
  14. consider the use of place in two poems you have studied.

    Duffy uses the idea of disease to describe what is happening in her house: "our house a coldness of rooms, each nursing a thickening cyst of dust and gloom". She associates her destructed relationship with an unattended houseby using metaphors alon the poem: "Dead flies in a web", "deaths of lightbulbs pining all day", "a bowl of apples rotten to the core". The persona finds that the house is oppresive because there is no sound of life there, therefore she can hear all the low noises that the house makes: "humming fridge", "lightbulbs pining all day", "screaming alarm", "banging door", and these noises irritate her.

    • Word count: 1678
  15. "Eating and drinking are valued by Dickens as proofs of sociability and ceremonies of love." Discuss the significance of food and meals in the novel Great Expectations.

    By showing his good-natured teasing of his "Aged Parent", Dickens emphasizes the inner goodness beneath Wemmick's callous exterior. The heart-warming atmosphere in Wemmick castle makes Pip happy and thus commented that "the supper was excellent" and he was "heartily pleased" even though "the Castle was rather subject to dry-rot insomuch that it tasted like a bad nut". Through the scene, Dickens shows that Wemmick is a creative and sensitive man who is stuck in the drudgery and soul-killing job of a law clerk. is trying to support himself and his father on a meager income. Struggling to get by, he is, out of necessity, very interested in any "portable property" he can acquire.

    • Word count: 1299
  16. Compare and contrast the following poems, "To An Athlete Dying Young" by A.E. Housman (1859-1936) and "Ex-Basketball Player" by John Updike (born 1932)

    Even though he has died, people still remember him and gives him the glory. The "Ex-Basketball Player", however, uses third person narration, and we notice that the poem begins with the description of an ordinary and unattractive urbane place, and it is only at the end of the first stanza, "Flick Webb", the athlete is introduced, this shows the insignificance of the athlete in people's heart, and gives us a feeling that when retired, the athlete is been forgotten by the town.

    • Word count: 836
  17. A Comparison between the Setting of Pride and Prejudice and Brother Man.

    The novel is written with a linear plot and the language used reflects the language of 18th century England. Jane Austen incorporates humour, satire and irony to bring about authorial intrusion where she uses subtle hints to let the reader know her thoughts on the society of her time, and this can be linked to the social setting of the play. Austen's use of humour is evident in her character Mrs.Bennet, whose goal in life is to see her daughters married.

    • Word count: 834
  18. What is your opinion of the way Shakespeare presents Claudius in Hamlet?

    R�rik Slyngebond, king of Denmark, gave his daughter to Horwendill and she bore him the son Amleth. But Feng, out of jealousy, murdered Horwendill, and persuaded Gerutha to become his wife. Here we see that as Shakespeare actually based King Claudius on a character who committed the same crimes that Claudius would later commit, so one could say that the second view is the view that Shakespeare had in mind for the presentation of Claudius. The idea that Claudius is the murderer of the rightful king and the central villain in the play, with his lying and hatefulness is the most popular view of King Claudius among scholars and students.

    • Word count: 1543
  19. Wise Children's Narrative Voice

    The point of view of the reader changes as the book progresses, for example, within the first pages of the book the narrator directly involves the reader within the surroundings, for example, Dora states 'this is my room' although the room or any event leading up to entering the room is never described the scene is immediately set and the reader can imagine the room. Carter subtly adds features to the room as the paragraph continues. For example, she suggests the reader 'take a good look at the signed photos stuck in the dressing table mirror' causing the reader to focus on the idea of the object as though they were actually shown around the room.

    • Word count: 1441
  20. discuss the relevence of witness to a film festival entited crime, contrast and relationships

    The washing of McFee's hands shows that the life of the man he just killed serves no significance to him anymore. This murder scene shows that the film has elements that this panel is looking for when choosing films for their festival. This murder scene shows that Witness is exciting, capitalises on its techniques to heighten tensions and it emphasises their objectives. Witness capitalises on its techniques in this murder scene through the use of an extreme close up of Samuel Lapps eye, through the gap in the bathroom door, as he watch's intently as the good cop is killed.

    • Word count: 1223
  21. Compare how Nathaniel Hawthorne & Alice Walker portray the struggles of the central character to achieve fulfilment.

    The conversational language used and the short pungent sentences, rich dialect and the honest yet somehow crude expression along with deadpan humour is in stark contrast to the measured elegance of Hawthorne's mid-nineteenth century prose with long, convoluted sentences used in The Scarlet Letter using many asides and subordinate clauses. There are clearly examples of poetic and symbolic language used throughout the novel along with gothic overtones. Many of the sentences and paragraphs he uses tend to be somewhat verbose, but at the same time very helpful in giving the reader an accurate representation of the exactly how Hester feels when she first sees Roger Chillingworth.

    • Word count: 3144
  22. Wise Children- Peregrine Hazard's Character

    Like a father he sticks up for them, for example, when the Chance twins see that Melchior is performing at a theatre, he takes them backstage to show them to their father. Unfortunately, Melchior takes to them coldly. Peregrine stands up for them "it's a wise child that knows its own father," hissed peregrine... "but wiser yet the father that knows his own child"'. However, Peregrine soon gets bored of England and wants to travel again; leaving no means to communication he takes off, sending the cheques and gifts to them, but leaving them without a father figure.

    • Word count: 1468
  23. The Knife thrower

    The personal pronoun emphasizes that this is not an experience or acknowledgment emerging to merely one man, but to a whole community and with all probability the reader as well. Another narrative technique is the use of colours. There are two conflicting colours throughout the story which create a certain mood when they are mentioned. The two colours are black and white which in this short story may symbolize innocence and guilt. Right from the beginning Hensch wears black clothes whereas his assistant is dressed in a white gown.

    • Word count: 828
  24. Eating sugar

    Another narrative technique is the use of flashback. It is being used two times in the story where the father thinks back at his youth with Eileen. The first flashback is about one time where Alex and Eileen had taken a tab of LSD. Eileen had had a bad trip and ate a lot of sugar because she thought that it would help. He compares this incident with the foreignness of Thailand. "You couldn't comprehend how different a culture could be till you experienced it A perceptual door was opened and could never be reclosed.

    • Word count: 1094
  25. 1984 and Oryx and Crake

    The spirit of Man" This is a very religious idea; that good will always prevail over evil and that the soul lives on after the body has died. Coincidentally, this is in some relation to one of the parties' beliefs - which human people die but the body goes on forever. The dictatorship style of the Big Brother society is somewhat like that of a religious sect, or perhaps cult, where beliefs are not, using the process of doublethink, and all members must have absolute love for Big Brother.

    • Word count: 1103

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