STEP ONE: WHAT’S IT ASKING?
The prompt asks you to consider a range of ideas and questions. Remember that all prompts are launching off points for a discussion about the ideas you have developed regarding Encountering Conflict. Although there is no formula for a Context essay, there are certain questions that you should ask about each prompt to help flesh out your understanding. These questions include: Who? What? Why? Where? When? Which? How and Why?
In regards to this prompt, some of the questions you might consider include: * What does it mean by ‘brings out the worst’? Does it mean appalling / disgusting / selfish behaviour? * Who are the people who react to conflict? Is it the perpetrators? The victims? The participants? All of these? Is it all people or only some? You should note that few topics are seldom TOTAL in nature; that is, we would be reluctant to argue that ALL people respond in ONE way. (I.e. we wouldn’t normally argue that it ALWAYS brings out the worst in people or that it NEVER brings out the worst in people). Encountering Conflict is a complex idea and we would expect a variety of responses to it from people. It’s your job to think deeply and profoundly about why people may react in the way that they do. Your discussion and explanation of this complexity will reveal the thought and consideration you have put into the topic. * Why might people react badly / well to conflict? What are these characteristics? What shapes an individual’s response to this? * When do people behave badly? At all times? Under extenuating circumstances? When they feel trapped? When they feel powerful? When do these situations occur? * Where do we witness this? In real life? In history? In the texts that we are studying? What similarities and differences are there? How do you account for this? You should note that examiners often reward students who are able to explain differences in behaviour with higher marks as these students have demonstrated a solid understanding of the complexities of the prompt. * Which examples are you going to use?
* How is this behaviour manifested? What are the consequences of it?
STEP TWO: Brainstorming my Ideas
Now I need to think about my examples and ideas about the prompt. It is often help to think about the following approach when we consider conflict:
You should note that whilst this model is a helpful guideline, it is NOT the only way of approaching your prompts. Similarly, not all prompts lend themselves to this model. As you become more experienced with writing these essays, you will develop your own style. It is important, therefore, that you complete as many of these essays as you can. I will often start with the texts that I have studied:
The individual in crisis
THE QUIET AMERICAN
Other Examples from Literature / History / Personal life etc. It is very important that your essay is NOT full of examples; rather your essay should be full of IDEAS. The examples simply illustrate the points that you are trying to make. You should be using your examples to think about the IDEAS about Encountering Conflict! OSKAR SCHINDLER
* Chooses to obey his moral conscience and saves 1200 Jews during the Holocaust. At great personal risk / cost to himself he embarks on a commitment to saving them despite warnings and threats from the Nazis. * His moral compass determines how he will respond to the situation * Where others sit by or actively participate in the persecution, he is able to stand up. * How is he similar to / different to Fowler? Other collaborators at the time etc.? * His morally good actions stem from his moral conscience – perhaps this plays a part in people’s actions? (Why is that he was able to stand up where others weren’t? Can I make links to other great people throughout history? Rosa Parks? Benazir Bhutto? Gandhi? Romero? What are the qualities that unite them? Conversely, what can I say...