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The final hour. There was rampant and piercing gunfire opened by the enemy; there was a forceful flow of lethal bullets.

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The final hour The night was dark; I could barely see shadows moving through the trees. I chose a thick thorny bush, to entwine, in the pursuit to escape. It was a tryst between faith and me, who would survive. The thorny bush, the dried leaves and the entire battlefield was in the clutches of fire. This was a scene from hell. The relentless flames had ended not only peace and tranquility, but also the lives of many. It had changed the destiny of the generations to come. They would have had to live with the history of the time, where mankind had committed the most heinous crime. I shut my eyes, to detach myself from the massacre. I could not reach out to them, neither could they to me. Animals, we all were, savage and without ethics. Yet a tear rolled down, for my friends, but in joy, for they were free now, free from this hell. ...read more.


Night sprang into action, as motion gave me goose bumps. Everyone carried above everything the the painful memory of living in the bunkers this never ending hide and seek with death. Even if you lived, you survived to see another day of hell. Was death better or life? The tear dropping down asked the same question. I held my tears, and assertively put my foot forward. The sound of the D siren echoed sending ripples of fear all around; the Nazis had attacked once again. Once again they would target many for their heinous crime. In a flash, we scampered out of our bunkers like cockroaches. Pulling on my gas mask, I stood and listened, as barracks emptied swiftly. It was a cold frosty night and the winter was biting my toes. The mist left dew drops which quenched my parched throat. The biting cold only added to our woes and misery. ...read more.


Taking a step forward, I sensed an enemy, before he could gun me down, I slaughtered him down. Now, while nearing him towards death, I too sensed death. But that hardly created a fear in my pounding heart. The deaths alienated me from any emotion. I was but, a volume of mass, which did breathe. Instinctively I turned; there it was slicing through the air like a knife, a model of aerodynamic precision, headed straight towards me. I could envision my name written on it and I knew that was the end of me. Time seemed to come to a standstill and my life flashed before my eyes. Strangely I was glad, glad to be set free from this personal hell. People speak of the glory, the honour of fighting at the border, little do they know of the torture that eats away one's soul. My fingers and toes fell short when counting the number of lives I had taken in the name of patriotism. Ironically life has come full circle and I too am dying on the battlefront. The last thing that went through my head was the bullet ... ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is an essay response to a Writing to Describe task, most probably orientated around being caught in the Second World War due to the presence of the Nazi Party. The candidates ability to describe is well-explored through this answer, ...

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Response to the question

This is an essay response to a Writing to Describe task, most probably orientated around being caught in the Second World War due to the presence of the Nazi Party. The candidates ability to describe is well-explored through this answer, though a lot of the time their answer can prove clunky with odd bits of dialogue having their flow disrupted by a bad choice of adjective (e.g. - "I thrived forward"). Whilst it is very important to show an adeptness with the English language in Writing to Describe tasks with a variety of lexes, candidate must be aware of the full definition and gravity of the words they use. Words like "pounding" and "piercing" are not a very conventional synonymous pair of adjectives, not least for describing the voice of an Army general ("pounding" might describe the typical voice, but "piercing", not so much).

Level of analysis

The Level of Description here is good, though it often bogs down the narrative and by the end examiners are left wondering what has actually happened during this piece of writing - has anything developed? Also, the ineffectual use of some adjectives makes for ambiguous descriptions where the image in the readers' heads is hard to shape and piece together (e.g. phrases like "Now, while nearing him towards death, I too sensed death") and the result is quite a confusing piece of writing from a candidate who clearly knows a lot of words but fails to construct them into a good piece of description.
The use of short vs. long sentences is good, and shows that the candidate knows how to create some tension in writing. The candidate did quite miss a trick when they placed lots of long clauses in one sentence though, separated by commas. Not only is it grammatically incorrect, it could've served better purpose if separated by full stops, resembling the rhythm of a beating heart. This is the kind of description that GCSE candidates must write into their answers if they are to achieve high grades - emotive language that is both coherent and effective and conjuring up and image of genuine threat. It's all fine enough if the candidate wishes to describe first-hand what is going on around them, but the best writing to stir up the readers' emotions is writing that talks about what the protagonist is feeling on the inside - how their innards feel; how fast their heart is beating; the sweat oozing for their pores and dripping down their temples, etc., etc. This attention to detail is what examiners love to see, and all candidate should try and integrate some of it into their answer, rather than just trying to shock the reader by describing an open battlefield because, like most open battlefields - it becomes impossible to document everything hat goes on and the writing just doesn't live up to the real experience.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication (QWC) is very poor. Comma splice riddles this answer and prevents the candidate scoring any higher than a C/D borderline. "Taking a step forward, I sensed an enemy, before he could gun me down, I slaughtered him down" is simply not acceptable at GCSE level, nor are any grammatical inconsistencies. Spelling-wise, this candidate does make a good effort any the majority of their answer is spelt with relative ease, even with the tricky vocabulary, but the punctuation is extremely poor with comma splice, a misuse of full stops, semi-colons and apostrophes. This must be addressed if the candidate is to succeed in written tasks because if they cannot express their answer clearly and adhere to the standards of English writing, then regardless of the quality of their answer, the examiner will lower the marks because of the poor QWC.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 04/03/2012

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