Al Past Paper English Literature 1994

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Literature in English
Paper Two Part 1 Comprehension and appreciation
(Comparative Discussion)

Essay (1994 Past Paper)

Women’s status has always been a controversial issue, especially after the Second World War ended. Since then, people from all over the world have noticed the importance of women and how much they have contributed as they have helped out a lot in the therapeutical work. Women’s works in some ways are even harsher than men’s, these can include the numerous housework, preparing meals, taking care of the children, to name but a few. Passage (a) is an excerpt from A.S. Byatt’s Still Life and passage (b) is entitled “Thoughts after Ruskin” from Elma Mitchell. Both passages showed the hardship of women, how tough their work can be and how they are being treated.

Passage (a) is a narration of a woman’s day of life. It is almost impossible that the woman only realize she has been working so long for nothing in return, metaphorically like a dog “faithful and loving” mentioned in the passage. The woman and the dog had lot in common and the passage starts off with “one day” just as sudden like this, that “she judged her husband daily now in a silent rush, making up for years of suspended disbelief, of retreat” suggesting the idea that she may have had enough and want to escape from this harsh reality. “She shelved, randomly, heaps of books she would once have circumspectly moved aside and dusted” But it just seems that she is not willing to do this anymore, not again, because she has grown tired of all these. Moreover, if her husband had noticed her hard work all these years, “he did not speak”, not even a thank you.

Passage (b) is told in the male’s perspective in the beginning. The passage talks about the daily work of women and how hard they must work everyday, while contrasting with the men’s work. The gender role then switches as the passage tries to change our perception of women, as their work may not necessarily be less tiring as seen...
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