Literature in English (Exemplar Scripts)

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Sample answers Literature in English 9695/51-53

These three sample answers are for 9695 AS/AL Literature in English Paper 5. They are intended to give an idea of the range of response and the requirements at the top, middle and middle/bottom of the mark range. They are not necessarily ideal or model answers, but are chosen as being representative answers on model texts.

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Example 1 Paying close attention to language and tone, consider Shakespeare’s presentation of Prospero and Ariel in the following passage. (Act 4, Scene 1, ‘Prospero: I had forgot that foul conspiracy…Prospero: …Even to roaming.’) The first essay on The Tempest is in Band 4, work that is ‘solid’. The candidate does address the task consistently, the presentation of Prospero and Ariel, maintaining focus throughout what is quite a short essay. There is some knowledge of the text applied to the task and there is a clear understanding of how the writer’s choices shape meaning – for example in considering the language of Prospero as ‘hard and strong’. However this is not developed into analysis nor does the essay move beyond the candidate’s generalised opinions. The focus though is on the ‘portrayal’ and there is a partial awareness of the dramatic methods: Ariel’s reaction influences the way the audience sees Prospero for example. The reference to King Alonso hints at a wider knowledge of the text, but crucially here the candidate does not give a context for the passage nor is there any placing of the passage in terms of characterisation and plot. This limits the development of the essay to a series of thoughts and opinions which are partly repetitive and though these are clearly expressed if simple, there is little sense of an argument or a view unfolding here and the essay remains assertive in tone. Opinions are offered on for example different views of Prospero but these are not rooted in the language or dialogue sufficiently to be evidence of discrimination. The literary features noticed such as Ariel’s ‘smooth, poetic lines’ are not analysed and the effects are merely asserted.

Paying close attention to language and dialogue, write a critical appreciation of the following passage, showing what it contributes to your understanding of Fanny’s role and characterisation. (Chapter 15: ‘ “Fanny,” cried Tom Bertram”…considering who and what she is.”’) The Austen essay, also on the passage, is somewhat weaker, mainly because there are fewer points relevantly made, though once again the essay is focused on the task. There is less evidence of the wider knowledge of the text and the simple ideas on Fanny’s position in the Bertram household are neither developed nor fully supported. Again the absence of any contextualisation or placing of the passage hinders the development and the subtlety of Austen’s dialogue and language is not considered. For example, Aunt Norris’s comment is seen only in the way it shows Fanny’s position and there is no comment on what it reveals about Mrs Norris and Fanny’s role in the novel as the method through which Austen reveals the hypocrisy and wickedness perhaps of Mrs Norris. This essay therefore remains in Band 5 as a basic attempt, relevant and showing limited knowledge, but not having any depth to the argument nor able to offer analysis of the literary features noticed by the candidate which are in the first place basic points.

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