Here's what a star student thought of this essay
Quality of writing
The Quality of Written Communication (QWC) could do with a once-over. The candidate's QWC does not, on the whole, compromise the clarity of the essay but to have so many frequent typing and spelling errors is not acceptable at A Level. Candidates must re-read and spell-check all their essays for any inconsistencies in grammar or errors in punctuation and spelling to ensure that their written expression is as clear and precise as possible, because in a subject with such a great need for goof English skills, candidates cannot expect to achieve high grades if the essay reads badly.
Level of analysis
The Level of Analysis is not marked here. Instead the ability to express ideas critically and personally (AO1) and the ability to link these ideas with other people and the wide picture (AO2, contextual appreciation) are marked. This candidate presents there idea about death clearly - that death is actually a motivator, though the essay does come up a little short in satisfying the rather large claim made in the introduction that "Death is the meaning of life". With only the idea that, were we never to die, we would simply be lazy the candidate brings forth an interesting idea, but fails to explore it to what feels like it's full potential, only touching on the lack of motivation to get things done, or that death acts as more of a fact of life and therefore takes it's position as chief motivator without us really realising. To improve this answer, the candidate could bring in another point of view, to make it feel less subjective (ideally a contrasting point of view, which they would then critically dispute). For instance, what do Asian cultures believe about death? What happens when we die? How about Muslims or Hindus? Though this is very briefly touched upon in the mentioning of the afterlife, the candidate could look to be more explicit in how they incorporate external viewpoints into their essay (this would required plenty of research and, though this will require much effort, it will really pay off in the end because examiners love to see this).
Response to question
This English composition piece makes for a very thoughtful commentary on a very commonly brushed-aside topic. The candidate has written very candidly about their beliefs about death, but not before introducing the essay with an introduction about the presence of death in our lives. The introduction is odd; I would argue it comes across as a little 'too GCSE' in that it makes sweeping links between some intangible nouns (labelling it "mysterious", etc.) without really going into too much detail and then suddenly venturing off into the body of the essay they intended to write, so the introductory paragraph comes across as something laboriously obligatory rather that welcomes readers into the tone of the essay. Nonetheless, the introduction does encourage some very insightful comments about death and what it means to people and to the writer themselves. In many ways this is a very personal essay, and may benefit from adding another point of view, but more on this later.