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AS and A Level: Other Criticism & Comparison

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  1. Analysis of Robert Cormiers We All fall Down and John N. Smiths Dangerous Minds.

    As the story moves towards its climax the narratives begin to merge. In Cormier's We All Fall Down Buddy felt the need to lie to Jane about his drinking 'had to keep Jane from the knowledge of my drinking'. With the technique of alternating points of view, Cormier has explained Buddy's true motives of lying 'because the world is sometimes a rotten place and it takes all the rotten things away' this makes the responder feel sympathy for Buddy. Dangerous Minds also portrays lies during juxtaposition. It is a result of juxtaposition that the responder is able to be informed of the lies created by the composer.

    • Word count: 932
  2. Compare the ways in which Aldous Huxley in Brave New World and Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange present control in society.

    Burgess' novel captures the anti-mechanistic spirit of the 60's culture and was targeted at the American psychologist B.F. Skinner who believed that his work on behaviour modification in animals could be applied to humans. Burgess felt that the work threatened the freedom of individual choice; he was also disturbed by a new behaviourist method of reforming criminals which is reflected greatly in the novel. Burgess's underlying moral dilemma portrayed in the novel is, is it better for a man to be bad than be conditioned to be good? He conveys this in the novel through the prison Chaplain who says: 'when a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.'

    • Word count: 1948
  3. Compare the Role of Magic and the Supernatural in The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Miranda here is challenging Prospero's actions in causing the tempest. No Jacobean daughter would dare to disrespect her father in this way. On the other hand, one of the anagnorises of the play, we discover what a more traditional upbringing at the time would seem like in the way in which Hermia was brought: "know of your youth, examine well your blood, whether if you yield not to your father's choice, you can endure the livery of a nun". Shakespeare's language is strict, offering no compromise between parent and child as we might see today, but an order from the father with the certainty of his daughter's instantaneous obedience.

    • Word count: 2041
  4. Consider the presentation of characters, settings and narrative in chapter 1 of Enduring Love and Wuthering Heights

    However, unlike Catherine, Clarissa does not bear the same arrogance and obsession with social class. Joe appears to have a touch of arrogance about him, suggesting "I knew that if I had been the uncontested leader the tragedy would not have happened", in reference to the balloon incident, which could hint towards a biased and unreliable account, yet he still describes himself as a "clumsy, balding fellow" in relation to the "beautiful woman" that is his wife. This suggests that he believes in practical and logical areas, he is dominant, yet when it comes to love and feelings, he is not.

    • Word count: 1377
  5. Human relationships, whether in the public or private arena are about power and control. Power is essentially a struggle for control. This essay will attempt to prove these ideas in relation to the play, Julius Caesar and the documentaries, The Men who Ki

    The play begins when Caesar has defeated Pompey and we understand that this is merely a political move toward a greater degree of power and control. We further observe how he tried to maintain this absolute power by silencing Marullus and Flavius, who are seen as obstacles to his success. The relationship between Cassius and Caesar is also one dominated by power and control. Cassius' reason for trying to kill Caesar is that he does not want Caesar to hold such high levels of power and control.

    • Word count: 912
  6. Relationships at all levels involve complex Powerplay. How is this complexity represented in the texts you have studied? This essay will attempt to prove this idea and the form of its representation in relation to the play, Julius Caesar, the docume

    The relationship between Cassius and Caesar is no doubt dominated by power. Cassius' reason for trying to kill Caesar is that he does not want Caesar to hold such high levels of power and control. Similarly, Brutus' relationship with Caesar, although they are good friends, also involves powerplay. Brutus too fears the potential in Caesar to become a tyrant, as his soliloquy in Act II, scene one shows. He sees Caesar like a serpent's egg, bound to inflict injury if it is allowed to hatch, "And kill him in the shell." After the death of Caesar the struggle for power does not stop and in Act IV, scene one there is a clear illustration of the complex powerplay involved in human relationships.

    • Word count: 1117
  7. The essence of powerplay is that those who inspire also create powerful enemies. This essay will attempt to prove this statement in relation to the play, Julius Caesar, the documentaries, The Men who Killed Kennedy and Hitler and the film, Wag the Dog.

    However, with this inspiration he created powerful enemies in Cassius and the other conspirators. He was brave, successful and generous and the citizens loved him. But some of the senators and aristocracy were afraid that he would become a tyrant and make slaves of the people. Chief among these were Cassius and Brutus who had both fought against Caesar with Pompey. Although Brutus had nothing personal against Caesar and was in the conspiracy because of his love for Rome, it is Cassius who turned out to be a powerful enemy. Cassius was the inspirer and organiser of the conspiracy against Caesar, whom he hated.

    • Word count: 874
  8. Analyse the ways in which Shakespeare uses dramatic conventions in his plays and why they are significant.

    Much Ado About Nothing was written in 1598/1599 this was known as Shakespeare's comedy period. This was Shakespeare's last comedy written in this period, before he went into the tragic period. Hamlet was written in 1601 this was known as the tragic period. Othello was written in 1602, it was also written in the tragic period. The Globe Theatre on London's Bankside was the theatre were most of Shakespeare's plays where performed. The Globe Theatre was built in 1599. In Shakespeare's time many people attended the theatre to watch plays. It was about the only time the upper and lower classes came together in public.

    • Word count: 2624
  9. "Educating Rita" and "Pygmalion". Russell and Shaw present Rita and Eliza's struggle to attempt to change by learning new languages. They both develop an identity through education but they have contrasting effects as one creates happiness the other sadne

    "The Flower Girl: I want to be a lady" Eliza's desires set her apart from her social class. At the beginning of the play, Eliza doesn't have a name yet which is important to show us that she doesn't have an identity yet; it needs to be formed. Also at the beginning of the play, Eliza is treated unpleasantly by Higgins 'put her in the dustbin' but Grene in his introduction to the Penguin Classic 2003 edition of Pygmalion, argues that 'what Higgins endows [Eliza] with is the confident articulateness that allows her to withstand him' [1]. I think he purposely treats her with disrespect so she can gain the confidence to withstand him; she learns how to talk back.

    • Word count: 1896
  10. Comparing "Educating Rita" and "Pygmalion"You taught me language, and my profit ont / is I know how to curse.

    They are both 'out of step' with their social class. Both women feel isolated in their social class because they are distant from everybody else, they don't fit in. Rita expresses her dissatisfaction of her life by confiding to Frank. "I've been realisin' for ages that I was...slightly out of step...I should have had a baby by now; everyone expects it...I wanna find myself first, discover myself." It becomes apparent that Rita is dissatisfied with her life; she isn't happy.

    • Word count: 2088
  11. Intertextuality essay Macbeth. The intertextuality of Macbeth and a variety of modern texts such as films, plays and songs is still representing the play in todays society. The genre of a tragic hero can be intertextually linked to Roger Chillington (

    At the beginning of the play, the audiences can identify that Macbeth is good. However, throughout the play the audience can recognise the transition of Macbeth from good to bad as he commits more murders. Macbeth's fatal flaw was his ambition to become King, which has leads him to his death as Macduff battles him for revenge since Macbeth murdered his family. There have been many tragic heroes throughout the history of literature, including the tragic hero of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

    • Word count: 1937
  12. Write about how writers use endings in 3 of the texts that you have studied. Dickens, Hardy and Roy.

    to me, call to me/Saying that now you are not as you were", as the structurally rich lines of enjambment and romanticised passion contrast with the impersonal, antagonised end. This reveals the idea of the poem having a diminuendo quality, as Hardy uses his ending, and its contrast to the opening, to successfully reflect the depreciation in his relationship that he saw, the depreciation of the colourful "air blue gown" to the neologistically bleak "wan wistlessness". This diminuendo idea also features in "At An Inn", as it flows from an opening of promise, of "bliss like theirs/That would flush our day", as enjambment highlights the depth of bliss that is crucially perceived, rather than physical.

    • Word count: 1966
  13. Women in the Gothic are often presented as one-dimensional as either the virgin or the temptress. How far do you agree with this assessment of the female characters in the Gothic texts that you have studied?

    say first what cause/Moved our great parents in that happy state/... to fall off from their creator"), but in both books only one female appears in the course of the narrative: Sin. Even from her initial description, it appears that she is not 'one-dimensional', that she is a complex character, though admittedly not as complex a character as Satan. She is shown to be beautiful, a "fair" woman, but also "foul", with a "serpent armed with mortal sting" and "hell hounds... about her middle round". This description of Sin as half beautiful, half terrible is indicative of a split personality; indeed, there is evidence of her being both a damsel in distress and a seductress.

    • Word count: 1598
  14. compare the ways roths the plot against america and mcewans saturday present and balance the personal and the political

    Here, the term 'idiot' does not relate to the simple stupidity which it has come to denote; instead, it relates more to the 'idiot' in Athenian democracy, one who is characterised by self-centredness, concerned solely with their own private affairs rather than wider public affairs. With Herzog's strong viewpoint tempering what follows, Perowne's transition from a relatively smug 'idiot' to someone who is more aware of the dangers of trying to close off the outside world becomes apparent to the reader.

    • Word count: 2104
  15. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and If Sleep and Death be Truly One by Alfred Lord Tennyson COMPARATIVE STUDY

    It is also perhaps Frost's most frequently taught and anthologized poem. The speaker in the poem, a traveller by horse on the darkest night of the year, stops to gaze at a woods filling up with snow. While he is drawn to the beauty of the woods, he remembers he has obligations which pull him away from the allure of nature. The lyric quality of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" can be heard in the enchanting final stanza: "The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, / But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep."2 The poem is elegant, yet very mysterious when it comes to its core significance.

    • Word count: 2981
  16. How do Emily and Charlotte Bront portray the characters of Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester as Byronic heroes in their respective novels, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre?

    The pair share a soul and neither could survive without the other's sustenance. Realising this is what drives Heathcliff to his grave - he loses his will to live due to the futility of his revenge, crying 'but where is the use?' as he sees that however much pain he causes, it will not return Catherine to him: he must continue in his 'earthly hell', representing his inner-turmoil until the reunion of his soul's halves. Terry Eagleton describes this downfall as Heathcliff's 'self-destructive decline'3, evident in the character of Rochester as he pursues Jane despite his marriage to Bertha, bringing about his ruin.

    • Word count: 1753
  17. The Times, they are a'changin. Views of women in A Streetcar Named Desire, The Female Eunuch and the film Shirley Valentine.

    "Blanche is characterized as a psychologically fragile female, exemplified through the element, "a cat screeches near the window," which is used as a marker of the psychological fragility of a woman who is constantly on the verge of hysteria," states Bender. References to Blanche's smoking and drinking, "nervously tamping a cigarette," suggests a causal connection between emotional stress and her recourse to props. Williams greatly uses recurring aural and visual devices, such as "Varsouviana" and the "locomotive...heard approaching outside" to suggest the mental trauma of her husband's death.

    • Word count: 1685
  18. How do Arthur Miller and Tenessee Williams explore the blurring of reality and fantasy within the plays A Streetcar Named Desire and All My Sons?

    Other critics have also seen this outlook of the past through Williams' eyes, for example, C.W.E. Bigsby stated that he "acknowledges the impossibility of recovering the past. Indeed he accepts the equivocal nature of the past, stained...by cruelty and corruption." This could be seen as being displayed through the character of Blanche; who is swallowed within the past, making this all the more of an important issue by the controversy that surrounds her psychological frame of mind, but could arguably be the portrayal of Crane Hart.

    • Word count: 2167
  19. To what extent is society to blame for the mental decline of Nicole Dive in Tender is the Night and Esther Greenwood in The Bell Jar

    The lack of a father in Nicole's life allowed Dick Diver to become both a replacement father figure and husband giving him escalated dominance which ultimately caused the pressure on Nicole as an individual to increase significantly. Nicole's world had shattered, 'but it was only a flimsy and scarcely created world' due to the incestuous relationship she was a part of. These flaws in Nicole's upbringing resulted in her inability to create a life for herself as the past still troubled her.

    • Word count: 1627
  20. Compare the ways in which Stoppard and Bront use multiple timeframes to create effect in the scenarios which occur in Arcadia and Wuthering Heights.

    An example of this is Bernard's complete faith in his theory of Chater's death while we know that this cannot possibly be true due to previous events seen in the regency period scenes prior to this. Bront´┐Ż's more subtle approach to timeframes in her structure means that, although mysteries are created, they are less obvious and we as an audience are in a reversed position to when we looked at Arcadia - the characters are up to date but we are in the dark.

    • Word count: 1344
  21. 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
  22. Short stories often climax in moments of insight for the central character. Discuss the extent to which you agree with this statement, with reference to at least two different authors.James Joyce's 'Araby',Louise', by Somerset Maugham and 'The Necklace',

    Coming of age sees him develop a crush on his friend Mangan's sister. This truly set off a whirlwind of imaginative visions and too- romantic thoughts. For example, the narrator remembers that "Her name sprang to my lips (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself into my bosom". His vision of her is as an angelic figure. For example, he sees, "her figure defined by the light", "bowing her head towards me" and also the way he only notices " the white curve of her neck" and the "white border of her petticoat", white being the symbolic colour of purity.

    • Word count: 1857
  23. Close reading on the Island

    "Mother" is repeated frequently throughout the extract to show the loathing she feels. The narrator goes on to use "you", which shows a connection between the reader and the narrator, this inclusion gives the reader the desire to read on. "Swing high on the swing, Mother can worry about what if you fall", at the beginning of the sentence, a sarcastic impression is apparent, as the narrator is making a direct demand, to swing high. This could be linked back to the bitterness we suspect is felt between the narrator and their mother.

    • Word count: 876
  24. Focusing On a Clockwork Orange and Frankenstein compare some of the ways authors explore the idea of what it means to be an outcast.

    Victor Frankenstein is technically an outcast, in the relationship between him and the monster, because of the way he created a monstrosity who has to suffer with being an outcast himself. He may have refused to create a mate for the monster because, like himself, the monster has no-one else and by creating a female for the monster would leave him as the remaining character in the novel that is not accepted. However it is not society that doesn't accept Victor, instead it's himself and the alienation that he has created, not purposely obviously, but created nevertheless, when he made the monster that has killed family members and driven friends to their death also.

    • Word count: 1378
  25. 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

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