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GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 1

Contents
GCSE English Literature Teachers Guide (Unitised)

PAGE
Overview

Contacts and resources

Summary of assessment

GCSE English Literature


Possible course plans

5-7

Controlled assessment (Shakespeare/Poetry Linked Task)

GCSE English Literature folder contents

General controlled assessment guidance

10

GCSE English Literature Reading controlled assessment exemplars:


Shakespeare / literary heritage poetry

11-26

External assessment (GCSE English Literature)


Overview

27-28

Past paper question types

29-30

Tips on tackling extract questions


Tips on tackling unseen poetry questions
Closed book examinations some advice
Examples of responses to unseen poetry questions
(Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)
Overview of assessment of spelling, punctuation and grammar (Unit 2)

31
32-33
34
35-42

43

Examples of responses to Unit 2a extract/essay questions

44-47

Examples of responses to Unit 2b extract/ essay questions

48-52

Acknowledgements and thanks

53

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 2

Overview
WJEC has revised its specifications in the English subject area for first teaching from
September 2012 (first award 2014) for GCSE English Language and September 2010 (first
award 2012) for GCSE English Literature. We are offering two qualifications:
- GCSE English Language
- GCSE English Literature (final award summer 2014. After this date, centres will need to
follow the strengthened GCSE English Literature specification for first award in 2015).
Information about the strengthened GCSE English Literature is on our website.
These specifications are fully accredited.
We hope that this online teacher guide to all aspects of the specification will prove useful to
teachers in both their planning for, and their delivery of, the course.
Key features of the specifications are:
*Direct email and phone contact with subject officer and administrative support
*Straightforward, efficient administration
*Training offered across Wales
*Tried and trusted assessment
*Reliable and well-established senior examiner team
*Online item level results analysis
*Free copies of the WJEC Poetry Collection
*Audio CD of poetry in the WJEC Poetry Collection
Further information on our specifications is available as follows:
Main GCSE English page: http://www.wjec.co.uk/englishgcse
GCSE English Language:
Specification: http://www.wjec.co.uk/uploads/publications/17195.pdf
Specimen assessment materials: http://www.wjec.co.uk/uploads/publications/17197.pdf
GCSE English Literature:
Specification: http://www.wjec.co.uk/uploads/publications/8319.pdf
Specimen assessment materials: http://www.wjec.co.uk/uploads/publications/8323.pdf
Please note the following:
- GCSE English is not available in Wales;
- For English Literature, controlled assessment tasks will be published on the secure website
in the April of the year preceding the unit award i.e. tasks for summer 2015 will be published
in April 2013. The course can be followed in either a unitised or linear way. Unit 1 is
available in the January series and all units are available in the summer series.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 3

Contacts and resources


Address

WJEC, 245 Western Avenue, Cardiff, CF5 2YX

GCSE English Team

gcseenglish@wjec.co.uk

Subject Officer

Kirsten Wilcock

029 2026 5023

Subject Officer

Nancy Hutt

029 2026 5374

Subject Support Officer

Matt Oatley

029 2026 5054

Subject Support Officer

Charlotte Dix

029 2026 5051

Subject Officer

Julia Harrison

029 2026 5074 julia.harrison@wjec.co.uk

Subject Support Officer

Fleur Andrews

029 2026 5070 fleur.andrews@wjec.co.uk

Entry Level

Electronic resources
Website

www.wjec.co.uk/englishgcse

Email bulletin
website

tick the Subscribe box at the bottom of the GCSE English page on the WJEC

Twitter feed

http://twitter.com/wjecgcseenglish

Printed resources
Bookshop

Follow link from www.wjec.co.uk to buy the following WJEC materials:


Oxford University Press WJEC 2010 resources
Heinemann WJEC 2010 resources
On Course for KS4 (WJEC National Language Unit):
1. Pre-1914 Anglo-Welsh Poetry;
2. Autobiographical, Travel, and Narrative Writing;
3. Modern Poems by Welsh Poets;
4. A Selection of Welsh Women Poets;
5. Real Welsh Lives 1: Contemporary Non-literary Resources;
6. Real Welsh Lives 2: More Contemporary Non-literary Resources.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 4

GCSE English Literature


EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT 35% (2 hrs)

Jan / June

Unit 1: Prose (different cultures) and poetry (contemporary)

(50 Raw Marks; 70 UMS)

Section A 21% (INDIVIDUAL TEXTS IN CONTEXT)


Different Cultures Prose: Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck); OR Anita and Me (Syal); OR To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee); OR I
Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Angelou); OR Chandas Secrets (Stratton)

Section B 14% (COMPARATIVE STUDY)


Contemporary: Unseen poetry comparison
EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT 40% (2 hrs)

June

Unit 2a: Literary heritage drama and contemporary prose

(68 Raw Marks*; 80 UMS)

INDIVIDUAL TEXTS IN CONTEXT

English/Irish/Welsh Literary Heritage Drama: Othello (Shakespeare); OR Much Ado About Nothing
(Shakespeare); OR An Inspector Calls (Priestley); OR Hobsons Choice (Brighouse); OR A Taste of Honey (Delaney) (20%)

Contemporary Prose: Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha (Doyle); OR Heroes (Cormier); OR Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro); OR About
a Boy (Hornby); OR Resistance (Sheers) (20%)

OR
Unit 2b: Contemporary drama and literary heritage prose

(68 Raw Marks*; 80 UMS)

INDIVIDUAL TEXTS IN CONTEXT


Contemporary Drama: The History Boys (Bennett); OR Blood Brothers (Russell); OR A View from the Bridge (Miller);
OR Be My Baby (Whittington); OR My Mother Said I Never Should (Keatley) (20%)

English/Irish/Welsh Literary Heritage Prose: Silas Marner (Eliot);OR Pride and Prejudice (Austen); OR A
Christmas Carol (Dickens); OR Lord of the Flies (Golding); OR Ash on a Young Mans Sleeve (Abse) (20%)

CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT (LINKED TEXTS) 25%

June

Unit 3: Poetry and drama (literary heritage)

(40 Raw Marks; 50 UMS)

English/Irish/Welsh literary heritage: Poetry [taken from WJEC GCSE poetry collection] and play
by Shakespeare chosen by the centre (but not Othello or Much Ado About Nothing).
*This total includes additional marks for spelling, punctuation and the accurate use of grammar.
ASSESSMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Unit 1

January 20132014

June 20132014

Unit 2a

Unit 2b

Unit 3

Subject Award

June

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 5

Possible course plans


We present these course plans to help teachers in their planning. However, we must
stress that there are many other ways of organising the specification content, and these
suggestions should not be seen as prescriptive. Clearly teachers will wish to consider
the needs and abilities of their students when planning courses. We hope that the
suggestions which follow might prove a useful starting point for this planning.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 6

English Language and English Literature course structure - presuming that both
subjects to be taught across two years
Year 10
English Language
Autumn
term

Explain course content


and general plan
Practise skills for
Descriptive writing
S and L: Practise and
complete Individual
presentation assessment

Spring
term

Set task and prepare for


Extended non-fiction text
essay

English Literature
Study poetry for
Shakespeare/poetry
linked task and in
preparation for the
Eng. Lit. unseen
poetry test (Unit 1)
Study Shakespeare
text; introduce
Shakespeare/poetry
linked task.
Assessment session
for Shakespeare/linked
poetry piece
Study different
cultures prose text
for Unit 1 English
Literature exam

Assessment session for


Extended text essay

Summer
term

Prepare for
Narrative/descriptive/nonliterary writing controlled
assessment. Revise
writing accuracy skills
Assessment session for
writing

Continue to study
different cultures
prose text
Revise approaches to
unseen poetry
comparison

Year 11
English Language
Prepare for and assess S
and L
group discussion work
Prepare students for Unit
1

English
Literature
Teach Unit 2a/b
chosen drama
text

Reading
comprehension
skills/question
types/approaches etc.
Imaginative writing
practice

Prepare students for Unit


2
Reading
comprehension
skills/question
types/approaches etc.
Writing:
formats/audience/tone
purpose/accuracy
Submit sample controlled
assessment to moderator
Practise responses to
exam type tasks

Teach Unit 2a/b


chosen prose
text.

Submit sample
controlled
assessment to
moderator

Revise set texts


and practise
responses to
exam style
questions

(Sit Unit 1)
(Sit Unit 2a or
2b)
Notes
Since the Shakespeare/poetry linked task is likely to take up the most time, it may be wise to get on with it early in
the two year course.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 7

Plan for students taking GCSE English Language in Year 10 and GCSE English Literature in Year 11

Autumn term

Year 10
English Language
Explain course content and general plan
Practise skills for Descriptive/Narrative/Nonliterary writing

Year 11
English Literature
Study poetry for Shakespeare/poetry linked task
and in preparation for the Eng. Lit. unseen
poetry test (Unit 1) and controlled assessment
Study Shakespeare text; introduce
Shakespeare/poetry linked task.

Assessment session for Description and


Narrative/expressive writing
S and L: Practise and complete Individual
presentation assessment
Study text for Extended Non-Fiction Text
controlled assessment
Spring term

Assessment session for Extended Non-Fiction


text essay
Prepare for and assess S and L group discussion
Submit sample controlled assessment to
moderator

Summer term

Prepare students for Units 1


Reading- comprehension skills/question
types/approaches etc
Imaginative writing practice

Assessment session for Shakespeare/linked poetry


piece
Study approaches to unseen poetry comparison
in preparation for sitting Unit 1 in January.
Study chosen different cultures prose set text
Sit Unit 1 (DC prose and unseen poetry)
Study chosen Drama and Prose texts (Unit 2a/b)
in preparation for exam

Submit sample controlled assessment to


moderator
Revise and practise examination responses for
Unit 2a/b

Prepare students for Unit 2


Reading comprehension skills/question
types/approaches etc.
Writing: formats/audience/tone
purpose/accuracy
Practise responses to exam type tasks
Sit Units 1 and 2

Sit Unit 2a/b

It is possible for students to retake controlled assessment tasks providing


that they attempt a completely different title

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 8

Controlled assessment: Shakespeare and poetry linked task


Overview

GCSE English Literature:


CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT (LINKED TEXTS) 25%
Unit 3: Poetry and drama (literary heritage)

June
(40 Raw Marks; 50 UMS)

English/Irish/Welsh literary heritage: Poetry [taken from WJEC GCSE poetry collection]
and play by Shakespeare chosen by the centre (but not Othello or Much Ado About
Nothing).
GCSE English Literature Controlled Assessment folder contents
Summary of requirements

One assignment linking English, Welsh or Irish Literary Heritage poetry and a
Shakespeare play but not Othello or Much Ado About Nothing. (Up to four
hours assessment time.)

Notes

Poetry choices are from the WJEC poetry collection. The stipulated themes and
linked group of poems for each assessment series can be located on our secure
website www.wjecservices.co.uk. These poems must be used. Students should
study all the poems on the list linked to the chosen theme. However, it is
recognised that students are likely to focus on two or three poems in their final
written controlled assessment. The WJEC Poetry Collection may be ordered
free of charge. Please email: poetrycollection@wjec.co.uk

Any Shakespeare play may be chosen except for those listed in the
GCSE English Literature set text list (currently Othello and Much Ado
About Nothing). The Shakespeare text chosen must be thematically linked
to poems from the relevant stipulated group, as published on the WJEC
secure website. Assignments must consider the ways in which the thematic
link is explored in the texts.

Students may have clean copies of the texts they are working on plus one A4
side of their own notes which must not include a plan or essay draft. All notes
must be collected and kept secure within the centre at the end of each formal
assessment session.

While comparison is not specifically required, showing the links between the two
texts will almost certainly result in some comparative work.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 9

Tasks and text choices are based on a number of common themes. The tasks
will be replaced each year. Centres must use the correct tasks for the year in
which certification will take place.

Generic tasks stressing the thematic link between the texts will be provided by
WJEC. Exemplar tasks will be in three parts requiring the study of each text in
turn before a final section where the student identifies the links and comments
upon them.

Planning and preparation time for the task is set out in the specification.

Completed assignments should be about 1,500 -2,000 words in length but this is
a guide only. Overlong responses will inevitably be self-penalising as will very
short responses that do not address all the assessment objectives

An example of folder content


Generic task
Many plays and poems are concerned with the relationship between men and women.
Choose a relationship in a Shakespeare play you have studied and compare it with the
way a similar relationship is presented in poetry.
Poetry selection
The Passionate Shepherd: ChristopherMarlowe
The Sun Rising: John Donne
Cousin Kate: Christina Rossetti
Sonnet 18: William Shakespeare
Valentine: Carol Ann Duffy
A Frosty Night: Robert Graves
How do I love thee? Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The Flea: John Donne
Twice Shy: Seamus Heaney
Whoso List to Hunt: Sir Thomas Wyatt
Porphyria's Lover: Robert Browning
A Married State: Katherine Philips
A Woman to her Lover: Christina Walsh
Sample tasks:
Examine the way Shakespeare presents the relationship between Romeo and
Rosaline in the play.
Examine the way Wyatt presents his love for the unobtainable woman in Whoso
List to Hunt. In your response refer to other poems that you have studied.
What is your response to the pieces of literature you have read? Make links
between them, considering how the theme is presented by each writer.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 10

General guidance on the controlled assessment units


In amending the suggested tasks, teachers should be aware of the ability of the
candidates. Some tasks are more challenging than others and it would be wise to steer
less able candidates towards those tasks in which they will be able to handle the
material competently within the prescribed time limit.
The final assessment session may be arranged in a number of ways. Candidates will
have a maximum of four hours for this assignment since two texts are being studied.
These time allowances may be broken into shorter sessions to fit into the lesson
schedule. Candidates are permitted one A4 side of notes in the assessment session
and the teacher must check these notes before the assessment begins to ensure they
do not contain a plan or a draft. All work and the A4 side of notes must be collected and
kept secure within the centre at the end of each formal assessment session.
Alternatively, teachers may wish to arrange an assessment session in the examination
hall. The latter approach would have the advantage of ensuring that all the candidates
complete their work under the same conditions. During the final assessment period,
candidates are allowed to consult clean copies of the texts they are using. Once the
assessment session is complete, students are not permitted to resubmit work.
After the completion of the assessment session, the work will be marked in the normal
way, in line with the existing structures. (See specifications for details).Candidates may
see their marked essays but it is important that the essays are kept securely in the
teachers possession to prevent any tampering with the work. All candidates must
complete and sign the appropriate controlled assessment coversheet(s). This is a JCQ
requirement.
Moderation will take place at two levels:
(i) Within the centre to ensure that a uniform standard has been applied across the
teaching groups. This internal moderation should be carried on a regular basis and
before marks are inputted to WJEC. It is useful if one teacher takes responsibility for
final the moderation procedure within a centre, sampling the work of each teaching
group.
(ii) Through the inspection of a sample of the work by WJEC moderators Details of
external moderation procedures can be found in our specification. The moderation
sample is generated by our computer system.
There is no prescribed time limit for teaching and learning when preparing the texts for
the Literature task. However, the preparation time for this assignment should be about
15 hours. During this period, the students can make suitable notes on their texts and
plan out their approaches. They may also look at critical texts and other aids.
Candidates are not permitted to write drafts of their essays. Please note that students
must have clean copies of the texts in the controlled assessment itself.
Given the nature of this assignment and the time limits, students will need to be focused
on the task from the onset of their writing. Candidates who spend time on extraneous
aspects, like biographical details, will put themselves at a disadvantage.
Despite the conditions set out in the specifications for conducting controlled
assessment, it is important that teachers are aware that plagiarism may still occur. If
plagiarism is discovered after the assessment session, it will not be possible for the
candidate to rewrite the work and no marks will be awarded.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 11

Linked Poetry and Shakespeare texts


Exemplar 1: Band 4
Examine Shakespeares representation of soldiers in conflict in Macbeth.
Examine Owen's representation of soldiers in Dulce et Decorum Est.. Refer
to the other poems related to conflict in your answer. What is your
response to the pieces of literature you have read? Makes links between
the ways writers have considered and presented the theme of conflict.
Recently we have been reading 'Macbeth' which deals with the issues of conflict
and fighting. If people are at war and they kill we see them as brave heroes but
when people kill out of war we see them as murderers. I will also be looking at the
links of conflict between Macbeth and War poetry.
In Macbeth, we hear the story of a man who starts off loyal at war and ends up
committing several murders including that of Duncan and Macduffs family.
During the play there needed be a lot of conflict to keep the audience entertained.
He started and ended the play with a battle because it makes people feel like
they have enjoyed the play because it has a tense start and a tense end. The
thoughts of Macbeth from the beginning of the play when he was a loyal soldier
and at the end when we see him as a murderer are completely different. I think
this is because you should kill in war when you are fighting for your own country
but committing murder whilst you are off of the battlefield is wrong.
At the beginning of Act 1 Scene 2, soldiers seem to be well-respected by the
king, "who like a good and hardy soldier fought ...... hail brave friend!" By using
the adjectives 'good' and 'hardy' to describe the soldier, we, know that the king is
praising his bravery. Also the phrase 'brave friend' emphasises that the king
views the soldiers who are fulfilling their duty as close to him.
Macbeth is represented as violent in Act 1 Scene 2.".... unseam'd him from the
nave to chops and fix'd his head upon our battlement walls." The word 'unseam'd'
shows that Macbeth is powerful and determined. Also he is praised for how
violent he is.
The soldiers thought well of and had lots of respect for the king. "So well thy
words become thee as they wounds; they smack of honour both. The fact that
the soldier has a lot of wounds suggests that he fought for his country to protect
the king and he is praised by the king for the way he fought.
Macbeth is described as brave. "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that
name." This shows that Macbeth has earned himself a 'name' and he is known
for killing and fighting".
In Act 5 of Macbeth, he has completely transformed from a loyal soldier fighting
for his country to a maniacal killer. He seems to have lost all sense of morality.
"Our castle's strength will laugh a siege to scorn. This shows that Macbeth is
laughing because he feels invincible. This also shows that he has believed the
witches' prophecies and thinks that no army can defeat him.
Also he has murdered so many people that he isn't scared anymore. "Forgot the
taste of fear". This shows that he has no conscience and he is no longer scared
to fight and kill.
Macbeth compares himself to a bear. "They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
but, bear-like, I must fight the course. What's he that was not born of woman?
Such a one am I to fear, or none.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 12

This." suggests that Macbeth is strong and powerful like a bear but he also feels
like part of their entertainment. Also, in this Paragraph it suggests that he feels
strong, invincible and unbeatable when he says "such a one am I to fear, or
none".
You will be afraid to hear his name because of what people think and say about
him. "Thou'll be afraid to hear it." This shows that his name is a symbol of fear
because of the name and reputation he has.
He solves his problems by fighting and by getting revenge. "I have no words: my
voice is in my sword". This shows that he solves his problems by fighting and
killing instead of arguing and shouting.
In the poem, Dulce et Decorum Est, Owen is describing the war and life as being
a soldier in a negative way the opposite to what Jesse Pope described in 'The
Game'. In the poem, Owen describes a gas attack and he says a lot about the
feelings and emotions of soldiers at war. The message he is trying to get across
is that there is nothing good or heroic about dying even if it is for your country.
But if you do live you would have to cope will remembering all of the pain that you
and your friends went through. During the First World War as soon as men turned
18 they were forced to join up. If they didn't join up they were given a white
feather which meant they were betraying the country and people would mock
them. They used recruitment posters to persuade people to join up and the
pictures on the posters made it look like they were talking directly to you. There
were also poems such as 'The Game' by Jessie Pope which persuaded young
men to want to join up by making it out to be fun and all a big game when it was
not because it was your whole life on the line.
The soldiers were living in bad conditions and they were suffering heroes. I know
this because Knock-kneed, coughing like hags we cursed through sludge. This
shows they are suffering because they have fought and walked for too long and
they feel tired so they are beginning to drag their feet through the sludge. He also
uses a simile to show even though they are young because of the conditions they
feel like old men.
The men die in agony. I know this because blood came gargling from froth
corrupted lungs. This shows they were suffering and they were in a lot of pain
because the poet uses onomatopoeic words like gargling to make the reader
imagine the scene and empathises with it.
In Dulce, men suffered inner conflict or trauma due to their experiences. I know
this because my friend you would not tell with such high zest, to children ardent
for some desperate glory". This shows that the soldiers wouldn't tell people about
their experiences with confidence. Also, he uses a bitter tone which brings out
and shows the fear of his experiences.
The soldiers are represented as naive dupes when the poet says "The old lie;
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori". This means "it is sweet and right to die for
your country." This phrase is to try to make people feel patriotic and to persuade
young people to join up for the army. It also makes people sound like heroes if
you die for your country. Owen calls it the 'old lie' because he doesn't agree with
the quote and doesn't think 'young people' are old enough to know what they
want and he doesn't think it is right to die for your country or live but live with,
terrors, regrets and remembering people dying.
We have also studied two other poems that have different views on fighting wars.
The first one was a poem by Rupert Brooke called The Soldier. In this poem he
has a very different view to Owen of dying in war. He was saying that war is good
and fun and using words such as laughter, gentle, peace and "English
heaven" and putting a positive view on war and dying.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 13

We have also read The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
and he also has a very different view to Owen. His poem was describing the
Crimean war and it was about sending people to war on horse-back with only
swords when the Russians was firing guns and canons at them. It also goes on a
lot about bravery and being noble, "Honour the charge they made. Honour the
light brigade, noble six hundred". This suggests that they will be remembered and
so will the way in which they died.
In the texts which we have read, there are some similarities in the way conflict is
presented. For example in both 'Macbeth' and The Soldier violence is glorified.
Also soldiers should be respected for their bravery and their honour. Similes and
metaphors are used in both Macbeth (where he is compared to animals) and
Dulce (where they are used to show the honour of war). There are also many
contrasting features including the purposes of the pieces. Shakespeare uses
conflict to excite and engage the reader whereas Owen uses graphic images to
shock his audience. In Dulce, violence is used to show the realistic side of war.
Finally Owen sees death in war as a waste of time and life.
My favourite poem out of them all was Owens poem. This is because it is the
most realistic and I think it is the only poem which shows the real horror of life in
war and the life of a soldier. I think it sounds more realistic because he isn't
saying that it is fun, gentle and peaceful. I think that some of the things in the
poem such as there will be a place which is forever England, is true but they
make war and dying for your country sound good when it is not.
So in the texts I have written about we get very different ideas of conflict and what
is and is not good behaviour. Sometimes it seems all right to kill while in others
killing and being killed is seen as something horrific and evil.
Commentary
In the students analysis of the theme of conflict in the Shakespeare play,
the opening comment sums up their basic view before moving on to look
specifically at Macbeth. The student makes general statements and there
are some comments on language. This analysis of language is at a fairly
simple level though. The student moves through the text and refers to the
text throughout with some simple analysis. The student finishes the section
on Shakespeare a bit abruptly but there are some clear views on the theme
of conflict in the play. The student then moves on to look at how the theme
of conflict is presented in the poetry they have studied. There is some
vagueness at the start and the white feather bit does not add much.
However, the analysis improves and later the student refers to the text
carefully with some analysis. Unfortunately, there is a slightly muddled
conclusion to the Owen section and the student partly misreads Brookes
poem. Overall there is not much done on Tennyson. The linking section is
a bit empty but some good points are made about Owens intentions and
there is some attempt to make connections to Macbeth. This response
fulfils Band 4 criteria at a low level.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 14

Exemplar 2: Band 5
Task:
Look at the way conflict is investigated in Romeo and Juliet and in poems chosen
from the selection. In your response, makes links between the ways the writers
have considered and presented the theme of conflict.
Throughout Shakespeare's play 'Romeo and Juliet', one of the main themes is conflict
and conflict gradually escalates as the play reaches its tragic climax.
From the start of the play, in the prologue, we are told of the futility of conflict as
suggested by ancient grudge. The word 'ancient' suggests that the 'grudge' started
long ago, meaning the real reason for it is long since forgotten, and therefore, the
'grudge' is petty though the resulting conflict is not. Additionally, the word 'grudge'
suggests the consequences of the conflict are long lasting.
We are also told how contagious conflict and the 'ancient grudge' can be, civil blood
makes civil hands unclean. The choice of the word 'civil' shows that the 'grudge' has
gone beyond private and spread into society, highlighting how infectious it can be.
Moreover, the word 'blood' implies death, proving the dangerous consequences of
conflict both physically and mentally. Furthermore, the word unclean reminds the
audience of blood stains which yet again remind us of the deadly consequences of
conflict, and also the long term effects of conflict, like the scars and the lingering guilt.
The prologue inevitably ends with a Shakespearean rhyming couplet just as the tragedy
will always end in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, 'Death-marks of love'. The
juxtaposition of the words 'death' and 'love', shows Shakespeare's beliefs that love isn't
just a sweet thing, but also a deadly one.
At the start of Act 3 scene 1, we are informed that it's set in a public place and are
immediately reminded of the Prince's warning, 'if ever you disturb our streets again,
your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace'. This immediately creates a tense
atmosphere as the audience anticipate conflict. Throughout the play, the Prince is used
as a voice of reason.
The first character to speak is Benvolio. His name is derived from the word
benevolent, so it is not surprising his character acts in the role of the peacemaker.
Nevertheless, this creates further tension, as when he gives a warning, its normally
because conflict is approaching: 'let's retire: The day is hot... these hot days is the mad
blood stirring'. This use reflects some beliefs in Shakespeare's time, that when the days
were hot, people would get hot headed, becoming animalistic and slipping down the
hierarchy of being. This mirrors Shakespeare's beliefs that conflict is degrading. The
use of personification creates a number of effects. Firstly, the word 'mad' further
highlights the beliefs that when it was hot, you could lose your mind. Additionally, it
suggests how insane conflict is and how 'mad' it is to shed blood because of a petty
grudge. It also suggests loss of control, of both mind and body, showing how easy it is
to get carried away by conflict.
The word 'stirring' suggests something being awoken and gradually made worse,
therefore indicating that dangerous conflict is on its way.
When Tybalt arrives, the atmosphere immediately changes, becoming much tenser,
because of his dangerous reputation, yet he remains polite to Mercutio as Mercutio is
not his real target. Mercutio's name is derived from the word mercury, a fiery
unpredictable element, mirroring Mercutio's fiery unpredictable personality, "by my heel I
care not." The line shows how Mercutio acts with his heart, making him a loveable
character but his personality is conflicting to that of Benvolio's, "by my head."

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When Mercutio is stabbed, he is outraged that it's the result of such a petty 'grudge' and
comments 'a plague a' both houses'. The word 'plague links to the infectious and long
lasting effects of conflict. It also shows that Mercutio wants their suffering to be long
and painful, just like the 'ancient grudge' and relates to how deadly something so petty
can be. The word 'both' shows that Mercutio blames the grudge for his death and wants
all involved to suffer, linking to the inevitability of the tragedy and Romeo and Juliet's
deaths.
We are informed once more of this inevitability, 'this days black fate on more days doth
depend; this but begins woe others must end'. The rhyming couplet inevitably suggests
importance, highlighting how pivotal this scene is. Moreover, the word black is
pessimistic, highlighting the negative effects of conflict. It also suggests the Black
Death, a deadly, fearful, and contagious plague linking to how scary and fatal conflict is,
as well as how fast it spreads. Additionally, the words 'black fate' show the inevitability
of death, and the pessimistic word 'black' shows what a bad thing conflict is to have to
die for.
Mercutio's death makes the audience want revenge, as Mercutio was the most 'alive'
character. This displays how easy it is for a conflict so petty to become so dangerous.
Romeo is banished and narrowly escapes a death sentence. The conflict, based as it is
on a flimsy and forgotten pretext, has ruined many lives and resulted in two deaths.
Shakespeare seems to suggest that the characters narrow-minded and childish desire
for revenge leads to conflict out of all proportion to the reason for it.
Wilfred Owen in his poem Dulce et Decorum Est conveys the futility of conflict on a
bigger scale. He was writing during the First World War and had direct experience of the
terrible suffering of the troops in the front line. He begins his poems with a comment on
the soldiers returning from battle who look like old beggars under sacks. The word
old portrays the fact that even though the people who signed up to become soldiers
were young, they experienced enough to last them a life time and their youth was swiftly
stolen from them unfairly. Moreover, the simile uses the word, beggars, showing how
even though men signed up believing they would gain honour and glory, they lost their
lives, in very unheroic surroundings and miserable ways, therefore making them poor
like beggars. Additionally, the word also shows how desperate the men were, initially
for glory, but in the end just to survive.
The word under suggests being weighed down, as a result indicating, both the physical
and psychological burdens conflict can bring. It also suggests how overwhelming the
experience must have been, and suggests being dragged down - possibly with the guilt
conflict brings.
Similarly, in Owen's poem, The Send Off we are told of the negativity of conflict. The
men go to battle Down the close darkening lanes. The words down and darkening
are pessimistic and create a gloomy atmosphere. Additionally, they suggest the effects
of conflict worsening and becoming more and more serious. It also creates a sense of
the inevitability of death as a consequence of war and conflict as the words suggest that
the men are going into night, perhaps a permanent one.
Throughout Dulce et Decorum Est we are also told of the serious effects of conflict: all
went lame; all blind. The repetition of the word all shows the inevitability that everyone
involved in conflict will feel its consequences. More over, the word 'all' demonstrates
how throughout the traumas of conflict and war, the men were united, creating a
poignant comment on their likely fate.

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The iambic pentameter highlights the unity, and orderly conduct of the men as it creates
a rhythm similar to that of men marching obediently. However, it also shows their lack
of independence and how the soldiers rely on each other, and follow orders without
question.
In the second stanza, the iambic pentameter breaks, creating a sense of disorder and
chaos: Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!. The use of caesura, along with varied punctuation
highlights the panic and breakdown of order. Repetition of the word, Gas! emphasises
how serious and deadly war can be. This is a danger which must be taken seriously.
Moreover, the word, Quick creates an even greater sense of urgency, and the word
boys emphasises how tragic it is for such young people to be put in the fatal situations
conflict leads to. It additionally links back to the word, old, showing how wasteful
conflict can be. The word boys also indicates the innocence of youth and the way they
obey orders without question.
Similarly, we are told of the scarring effects of the conflict, incurable sores on innocent
tongues. Again we are informed of youth's innocence, as well as the terrible effect
conflict and war can have, both psychologically and physically, indicating the tragic
wastefulness of the situation.
Again, in The Send Off, we are told of youth's innocence, breasts were stuck all white.
The colour white indicates purity and innocence and the soldiers innocent acceptance
of their fate, as well as their ignorance of war and conflict's consequences.
In Dulce et Decorum Est, we are also told of the unimaginable experience of war and
conflict, in all my dreams... guttering, choking, drowning. The words all and my, link
back to the fact that conflict is unforgettable and at times unavoidable. Moreover, the
word my shows how unimaginable the consequences of conflict are. Not only does the
poor soldier suffer awfully, the writer is scarred by the experience. The wounds are not
just visible; they scar the soul too.
The emotive words, guttering, choking, drowning, are very vivid and encourage people
to imagine what the experience must have been like. Further onomatopoeia, gargling,
helps to add emphasis on how vivid Owen's nightmares about war are.
Owen uses imagery in the form of metaphors and similes in an attempt to portray how
ghastly and disgusting war is: floundering like a man in fire or lime. The word
floundering creates images of drowning, therefore demonstrating how helpless the
men were and how overwhelming and powerful, as well as brutal, war can be.
Additionally, the word lime refers to lime gas demonstrating the deadly seriousness of
conflict, as well as the inevitability that if you're unprepared you'll die. There are no
second chances.
The word lime could also suggest the fruit lime and the fact that lime is sour, the
opposite of 'sweet' and the fact that soldiers signed up for glory but received the
opposite - death. Moreover, it could also indicate the fact that the war was anything but
'sweet' and happy. Also, limes are acidic showing the fact that conflict burns and eats
away at you.
Conflict's sourness is further indicated by the use of the old lie, Dulce et Decorum est
pro patria mori. Here Owen points out to those who have no experience of the realities
of the war believe that it is right and proper to die for ones country but we should never
pretend that it is sweet. As he has described, death in wartime is likely to be ugly, cruel
and painful and that those who by some miracle survive will live with the appalling
images in their minds forever.

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In these poems and others in the selection, the writers give a very negative impression
of conflict and suggest that it rarely brings anything but misery to those involved.
Although 'Romeo and Juliet' differs in form to the poems, they all share some common
ground in that they are all concerned with the unpleasant side of conflict.
In both 'Romeo and Juliet', as well as Rupert Brooke's poem 'The Soldier', the
characters appear to believe that conflict is honourable. In that poem the word richer,
indicates the glorious rewards of conflict. Throughout 'Romeo and Juliet', characters
like Tybalt and Mercutio, the main trouble makers, believe that they should fight to
remain honourable and to prove their masculinity, thus they are depicted in the play as
noblemen. However, Shakespeare appears to challenge this belief, as, by the end of
the play, the main catalysts of conflict are dead, proving the futility and pettiness of feud.
Likewise, the use of first person narrative in The Soldier, engages the audience,
depicting Brooke's patriotic beliefs, a body of England's, and as a result showing that
Brooke believes that he owes his life to his country. Moreover, the fact that Brooke
wrote The Soldier at the beginning of the war, indicates how strongly influenced people
were by propaganda at the time, it is sweet and right to die for your country, proving
that people thought that conflict and war was going to be glorious. After reading Owens
poems, Brooke could be accused of naivety.
In contrast, Wilfred Owen's poem, Dulce et Decorum Est, was written towards the end
of the First world, displaying the fact that conflict is the complete opposite of sweet and
right, instead suggesting that it is bitter and acidic, eating away at you and having a
scarring affect. We know this as in the poem it says, you would not tell with such high
zest. This displays how dangerous and unspeakable the consequences of conflict are.
There is also a sense of accusation here which reinforces his bitterness. The word you
seems to encompass all those who have no direct experience of the fighting.
We are also told of conflict's serious consequences, froth corrupted lungs, displaying
how tainted and dark conflict is and how it plays with your mind making you think that
you're being honourable when you are not. Furthermore, the pairing of corrupted lungs
indicates conflicts damaging affects both internally and externally, in body and mind. In
addition, it also shows how conflict makes you vulnerable and less independent, as well
as how deadly it is, as without our organs we could not survive.
Similarly, in 'Romeo and Juliet', we are told of how damaging and vile conflict is. Using
the word vile displays how disgusting Shakespeare believed conflict to be and
demonstrates how infectious conflict is. We are also told of this contagiousness when
Mercutio realises that he is about to die, "a plague a' both your houses", therefore acting
as a reminder of the black death, and Mercutio's disbelief that a conflict so petty, could
swiftly become a conflict so deadly. Furthermore, a' both shows that Mercutio blames
the grudge itself, more than the people involved in the conflict. This is surprising as
Mercutio was one of the characters that initially believed conflict noble and honourable,
showing how truly deceitful conflict is.
Likewise, in Tennyson's poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, at the very end we
are told of his beliefs on conflict and war, "honour the Light Brigade". This suggests that
Tennyson believes that the men who fight are brave and noble but that the blunder,
which caused their horrific deaths, was the result of a misguided understanding of the
word honour.

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In The Charge of the Light Brigade, Tennyson repeats the word 'hell', further
highlighting conflict's deadly consequences and, therefore, its futility. It also indicates
that conflict isn't rewarding to those who engage in it but instead ultimately futile, an idea
Owen investigates in a poem not in the Collection called Futility.
Brooke in his poem uses a different kind of imagery. Here he does not stress the
awfulness of the war scene but instead writes about flowers, dreams and a rural
dream world of ways to roam. He also tells us how patriotic he believes conflict to be,
indicating his beliefs that sometimes conflict is the key to peace, and that you have to
make sacrifices for the 'greater good', and in order to achieve your dreams. This would
be unlikely to impress Owen with his more realistic picture of death on the battlefield.
In The Charge of the Light Brigade, the inevitability of conflict is hinted at from the very
start of the poem, all in the valley of death. The fact this line is situated towards the
beginning of the poem, illustrates the fact that the men are already destined to die.
Moreover, the word all shows how no one can escape the death that conflict brings,
and the word in demonstrates how in a way the men are already dead, yet they're
noble as they continue fighting despite their helplessness.
Similarly, in the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet, we are told that Romeo and Juliet are
destined to die, star-cross'd. The phrase indicates that Romeo and Juliets destinies
are mapped out in the stars and are unavoidable. This links clearly with most of the
poetry mentioned where inevitability and fate lead the soldiers to a similar terrible
conclusion.
Moreover, the word cross'd could also have a reference to biblical teaching, as in
Christianity, it is believed that Jesus was crucified as a sacrifice for the greater good.
Correspondingly, at the end of 'Romeo and Juliet', Capulet uses the word 'sacrifices',
which further demonstrates the fact that Romeo and Juliet's deaths were a sad
necessity in order to end the conflict.
In 'Romeo and Juliet', we are also informed that conflict is animalistic and degrading, as
Mercutio says, a cat, to scratch a man to death. The word cat demonstrates how
those involved in conflict slip down the hierarchy of being, which is shocking for the
audience as Mercutio was one of the initiators of conflict, demonstrating how truly
dishonourable conflict can be. Moreover, the ironic word Mercutio uses about his injury,
scratch, stresses the fact that such petty conflict can have such serious consequences.
In contrast, throughout 'The Soldier', Brooke reveals his beliefs that conflict is glorious
and rewarding, hearts at peace under an English heaven. These words demonstrate
Brooke's belief that in order to get to heaven you must first prove your bravery and
masculinity, through conflict and appropriate conduct within it.
In Shakespeare's play, 'Romeo and Juliet', throughout the orderly iambic pentameter,
there are numerous scenes of conflict, demonstrating how conflict may seem ordered
and noble at times but really it's manic and dishonourable.
Most of the pieces of literature that I have studied are similar in that they depict conflict
as futile and dishonourable. Even 'The Soldier' has a melancholy tone despite Brooke's
claims that conflict is glorious, indicating that deep down, at some level, we are all
aware of conflict's inevitable, deadly consequences.

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Commentary
This student gets straight to the language making sensible comments about the
implications of the Prologue. She then moves to Act 3 scene 1 making some
good analysis of the language at the opening of the scene. The Shakespeare
section is strong with its consistent stress on the way Shakespeare has used
language to shape our responses about the idea of conflict. However, it ends
rather abruptly. In the poetry section she easily moves between the texts and
makes clear and interesting points. Although the reference to the significance of
lime as a fruit is questionable, it is pleasing that she is trying to probe the text.
The final section of the essay is very good. The student moves between the
poems she has studied and the Shakespeare text with ease drawing on her
extensive knowledge of the verse and the play to weave a convincing linking
section.
This student easily fulfils the Band 5 assessment criteria. Her work demonstrates
good selection, detailed reference to the texts, character evaluation and assured
exploration and evaluation of the ways in which the language of the works is
shaped for effect. The work is well organised and the final section is detailed and
developed. Able candidates will have little difficulty in writing more than the
word guide within the 4 hours allowed in this case nearly double. This itself is
not an issue: the only consideration is the quality of the response as judged by
the criteria, and it would be quite possible for work much nearer the word guide
to reach the top end of Band 5. In this case there is no sense of over-writing in
what is a cogent, critical response which demonstrates flair and originality of
interpretation. Subtle links are established between texts supported by apt
textual references. It deserves the highest mark.

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Exemplar 3: Band 5
Task:
Explore the developing relationship between Beatrice and Benedick up to the end
of Act Three, scene 1.
Discuss and compare the views of love and marriage expressed in two of the
poems you have studied.
What is your response to the pieces of literature you have read? Make links
between the ways the writers have considered and presented the themes of love
and marriage.

By the end of Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing we see that Beatrice and
Benedick are together. However, throughout the play, we are given mixed signals on
the characters relationship.
To begin with we get the impression that Beatrice dislikes Benedick when she asks the
messenger: I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned from the wars or no? Initially we
would conclude that this meant that she didnt like Benedick. However, the fact that she
showed any interest at all might indicate otherwise.
Shortly after this, we are lead to believe that Beatrice and Hero might have been talking
about Benedick in private. Hero comments: My cousin means Signior Benedick of
Padua. This suggests further, Beatrices interest in him. As the scene progresses,
Leonato refers to Beatrice and Benedicks exchange of insults as a merry war between
friends. At this point, we are unsure as to the truth behind this due to the harsh
comments previously made by Beatrice.
As we read on, Beatrice then asks the messenger of Benedicks new companion.
Although her remark is sarcastic, the fact that she shows an interest at all may indicate
an interest.
Furthermore, when Beatrice asks again of Benedicks new sworn brother we might
question her persistence to find out. As the scene progresses, Benedick is introduced
to the play. It may be the case that Beatrice simply wants recognition and attention from
Benedick when she voices: I wonder that you will still be talking Signior Benedick.
Nobody marks you. Though, of course, she has. In contrast, the comment itself was
clearly out of unkindness, and again we are unsure of the relationship between the
characters.
Benedicks reply is the first sign of retaliation and is equally as hurtful: What, my dear
Lady Disdain are you yet living? Although the comment is in self-defence, we see a
antagonistic relationship between the two characters, and are lead to believe it will stay
this way. Since the characters are clearly interested in each other and becuase this is a
comedy, we can presume that they will get together by the end of the play.
The next thing we notice is Benedicks opinion of himself and women. He states: But it
is certain I am loved of all ladies only you excepted and I would I could find in my heart
that I had not a hard heart, for truly, I love none. This is the first indication in the play of
Benedicks disdain for women and his ability to tease.
Shortly after when Benedick leaves the heated argument, Beatrices comment hints at a
previous relationship, You always end with a jades trick. I know you of old. We are
unsure if this indicates a romantic relationship or simply a relationship between two
characters. However, we are led to believe there is some sort of history between them.

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Later on in a conversation between Claudio and Benedick, we see Benedick state: Do


you question me as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment or would
you have me speak after my custom as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
This is the first indication in the play that suggests Benedicks disrespect towards
women and marriage is in fact a forged act. Shortly after, Benedick introduces the topic
of Beatrice to the conversation, which suggests some sort of attraction. He says:
Theres her cousin an she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in
beauty as the first of May doth the last of December. Despite his first remark,
describing her as possessed with fury gives the impression of spite, the following
comment, describing her beauty and the fact that he mentioned her before only
suggests an attraction to her.
Shortly after, Dan Pedro is introduced to the conversation and comments on Benedicks
supposed hate of women. He comments: Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the
despite of beauty. Claudio also backs this up with his comment of Benedicks efforts
stick to his act: And never could maintain his part but in the force of his will.
This gives us an insight as to what other characters in the play think about Benedicks
act, which as stated here, they believe, is merely put on.
In the next act, the first thing we notice is Beatrice bringing the topic of Benedick into the
conversation. In a conversation between her and Hero, Beatrice comments: He were
an excellent man that were made just in the midway between him and Benedick. This
quite obviously suggests that there is something about Benedick that she finds
attractive, this might lead us to believe in an attraction developing.
Reading on from here, we see Beatrice making a speech about her attitude towards
men and feeling about being controlled by one. She says: Would it not grieve a woman
to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust?
We start to see what it is about marriage that Beatrice disagrees so strongly with.
Throughout the play she continues to insist, she will never be wed, this leads us to
believe the relationship between her and Benedick will never develop into anything
more.
Later on in the play, we hear a conversation between Beatrice and Benedick. We know
that Benedick is in disguise as does Beatrice. However, Benedick himself is unaware
that she has learned this. After Benedick takes the opportunity to insult Beatrice, he
attempts to hear Beatrice compliment him: I pray you, what is he?
This might mean that Benedick is interested in her opinion of him, and has gone to very
extreme measures of disguising himself to find out. Shortly after when Beatrice has
insulted him, we see Benedick complaining and sharing his hurt with Don Pedro. He
states: She speaks poniards and every word stabs.
Benedicks speech indicates how much he cares about Beatrices opinion of him. He
also begins to exaggerate, suggesting he cares and is genuinely hurt by Beatrices
words. As the speech progresses, Benedick comments: I would not marry her, though
she were endowed with all that Adam had left before he transgressed. The rejection of
Eden suggests the strength of his apparent feelings.
Although initially the sentence describes disklike and hatred towards Beatrice, the fact
that he was thinking about the possibilities of marriage and introducing it to the
conversation, can only be described as a Freudian slip. Later on in the scene, in a
conversation between Beatrice and Don Pedro, Beatrice reveals, I gave him use for it,
a double heart for his single one. Marry, once before he won it of me with false dice.
For the first time in the play, we learn some details of Beatrice and Benedicks previous
relationship. We also learn that Beatrice was hurt in the relationship and we begin to
realise why she might feel so spitefully towards him. Shortly after in a conversation
between Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio, they decide to con Beatrice and Benedick
into loving each other. Dan Pedro comments: She were an excellent wife for
Benedick.

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This again gives us an indication to what other characters think about Beatrice and
Benedick. In this instance it suggests these characters see an aspect of the
relationship that Beatrice and Benedick dont.
In the next scene, to begin with, we see Benedick voice his thoughts through soliloquy:
May I be so converted with these eyes? Here, Benedick is opening up and
questioning if in fact, he himself could be in love like his companion Claudio. This might
suggest hes finally admitting his hatred towards women and marriage is an act, and
that he could in fact fall in love.
As the speech progresses, Benedick gives his opinion of the perfect woman: Rich she
shall be, thats certain: wise, or Ill none; virtuous or Ill never cheapen her, fair or Ill
never look on her: mild or come not near me, noble or not I for an angel; of good
discourse, an excellent musician and her hair shall be of what colour it please God.
Although at first, this may indicate an arrogance in Benedick, that he could attract such
a woman, we also see that Benedick is willing to commit to a woman if he finds one that
pleases him.
Shortly after, when Benedick is led to believe that Beatrice loves him, he shows us what
weve all suspected. He states: Love me? Why it must be requited. We now can see
that Benedick has always loved Beatrice for him to have changed his attitude so quickly.
Shortly after in the speech, Benedick describes Beatrice in the same way he earlier
described the perfect woman. This might suggest that hed earlier based his ideal
woman on Beatrice. A little later on, Beatrice is also tricked into believing Benedick
loves her. She states: Benedick, love on. I will requite thee, Taming my wild heart to
thy loving hand.
Beatrices apparent sudden change of heart clearly shows that she has had feelings for
Benedick all along. Ultimately, throughout the play, the readers have been lead to
believe that Beatrice and Benedick would end up together since they both protest too
much about their indifference to each other. By Act 3, scene 1, through trickery they
have been forced to face up to their real feelings.
The two poems I am going to explore are Valentine and Woman to her lover.
The first thing we notice is the title Valentine. This leads us to believe that the poem is
going to be, as suggested, romantic. However, the first line of the poem is a slight
contradiction: Not a red rose or a satin heart
This could have two meanings. We could assume that the writer is indicating that she
has no interest in giving her lover or husband anything. However, the fact that she is
specific about what objects she will not offer him may suggest that she is saying that
she doesnt want to be stereotypical.
In the second line, we are confused a little and introduced to an onion: I give you an
onion. This again indicates that the reason behind the first line in the poem was the
idea of not being so typical. The introduction of the onion prepares us for the idea and
depth behind it in the following lines.
We then see the writer dive into a delicate, beautiful side of what we as readers would
consider an average, dull onion: It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light
This indicates a reference to the inner beauty of a relationship, despite the often, typical
or dull exterior. As the poem progresses, the writer moves on to more emotional and
painful aspects of love. It will blind you with tears like a lover.
Readers could argue that this could be a reference to tears of joy. However, the use of
the word blind emphasizes floods of tears which one usually associated with tears of
sadness.
In the next two lines, the writer confirms the suggestion of tears being caused by
sadness, It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief. The use of the word
wobbling indicates being unstable and use of the word grief confirms the sadness
behind the tears as opposed to joy. By this point in the poem we start to question why
the writer is referring to all this grief on Valentines day. The next line may suggest a
reason behind it all. I am trying to be truthful.

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The sentence is presented by itself very forward and blank, suggesting that they may
have had a dishonest relationship previously. Reading on from here the poet uses the
words possessive and faithful to describe a fierce kiss and also their relationship.
She has used the words in the same sentence separated by the word and. This could
mean that she is suggesting that the possessiveness in the relationship is as good as
the faithfulness. It might also be that one person in the relationship is possessive, the
other faithful.
Towards the end of the poem the writer introduces the idea of marriage; Its platinum
loops shrink to a wedding ring if you like. The use of the word you may emphasize
that he wants marriage. This could suggest his dominance over her, however the fact
that she uses the word if suggests she is considering or questioning it as if she has a
choice.
The writer then asserts her opinion of marriage, Lethal. Its scent will cling to your
fingers, cling to your knife. The use of the word lethal and cling suggest her belief of
marriage being more like a vicious contract that will ruin the relationship. The use of the
word knife refers the reader back to the image of an onion and also ends the poem on
an unromantic, cold tone suggesting the danger within love.
A Woman To Her Lover
The first thing we notice is the title A woman to her lover, already this suggests that the
poems going to be about a womans role in marriage or a relationship. However, we
are unsure if the tone is going to be positive or negative, whereas in Valentine we are
more easily lead to believe that the poem will be romantic.
In the first few lines of A woman to her lover the poet describes the idea of possession
and being dominated. Do you come to bend me to your will. Although the writer of
Valentine doesnt emphasize anything on domination of possession, towards the end
of the poem the idea of her lover making the decision is raised when she emphasizes
the word you in the line if you like. However, the fact that she uses the word if
indicates that she is merely considering and has some choice in the matter. This is
unlike the sentiment in A woman to her lover.
Reading on from here, we see the poet of A woman to her lover describe the drudgery
and silence in marriage. This could be compared to the line in Valentine It will make
your reflection a wobbling photo of grief. Both women raise the point of being unhappy
in marriage. However, in Valentine we see more emotion and sadness, whereas in A
woman to her lover we see more frustration and anger.
A little later on, we see the idea of possession and dominance emphasised in both
poems. In A woman to her lover the poet refuses to be there only for her partners
clamorous desires. She emphasises her insistence to not be used by using the word
only in the line only for your sense delight. This links directly to the use of the word
possessive in Valentine. However, in Valentine we are unsure if the word
possessive is considered negative as it is paired with the word faithful in the line
possessive and faithful as we are.
Towards the end of the poem, A woman to her lover becomes more romantic as it
describes the passion and joy of marriage if both partners are treated with respect in
equality. This links to Valentine, when at the beginning of the poem, the writer
compares love to an onion.
It promises light
This line, like A woman to her lover, suggests the joys and light that love can promise if
done right.
Ultimately, both poems raise the same points and opinions, however the order in which
this is done and the tone of the end sentiment influences how we judge the poem by the
end, Valentine starting more romantic (though in an unusual way) and ending on a
harsher, negative attitude towards marriage, whilst A woman to her lover starts on an
aggressive tone and finishing on the joys of marriage and love.

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In Shakespeares Much Ado about Nothing, we see many links regarding love and
marriage, to the poems Valentine and A woman to her lover. One of the first is where
Benedick refers to marriage as like the yoke that is forced on to bulls. He considers
love a burden, similar to in A woman to her lover when the poet uses the word
drudgery and silence to describe marriage. This link is interesting because although
they are both genuinely the same opinion, one is of a man and the other of a woman.
Shortly after, we see Claudios more superficial, typical opinion of marriage.
Come thronging soft and delicate desires.
These desires could be what the writer of Valentine is trying to convince her lover that
marriage is not all about,
It will blind you with tears like a lover
In Valentine the poet sees marriage as more of a contract that will destroy the
relationship. As we read on, we see an aspect of possession and dominance but from a
father figure,
Father, as it please you
Although not directly linked to marriage the idea of a man owning and controlling a
woman is raised. The point is again emphasized in later points in the play when Claudio
accuses Don Pedro of stealing his new possession. This idea of a man trying to
dominate a woman is raised in A woman to her lover,
No servant will I be
The writer refuses to be over powered, much like Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
As the play progresses, we see Beatrice comment on marriage,
Would it not grieve a woman to be over mastered with a piece of valiant dust?
This is much like the attitude of the writer of A woman to her lover when she refuses to
be made a bondslave. The theme of possession and dominance is carried out for the
whole of the first paragraph of the poem and often raised in the play.
Later on in the play, we see Benedick describe the woman he desires. He expects
complete perfection, like many of the men the writer of A woman to her lover is
addressing,
A wingless angel who can do no wrong
The idea of a woman being lower than a man has been raised previously both in the
poem and in the play. However, here we see a different aspect, one where a woman is
seen as higher than a man, put on a pedestal, the writer of A woman to her lover
expresses her feeling about both extremes, she simply desires equality.
Ultimately, both poems share links with the play Much Ado About Nothing in the sense
of marriage and relationships. Both the poems and the play, alternate between positive
and negative aspects and opinions on the matter.

Commentary:
There is close probing quality to this essay and the linking section is both
detailed and thoughtful. The entire essay is centred on the actual words of the
texts and there is a close attention to detail. The investigation of the poetry is
thorough and mature. The pieces are seen in terms of their negative and positive
attitudes and the theme of dominance. It deserves a high band 5 mark.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 25

Exemplar 4 Band 3
Task:
The theme of love is the major one in the poems you have studied. Choose two
poems and write about the way love is expressed making links between the ways
writers have considered and presented it in their works.
Can you see any links between the views of love and marriage in the poems and
in Romeo and Juliet?
These two poems are written with so much love but they are totally different to each
other and I will explain later on. The Sonnet is a petrarchan sonnet with Iambic
pentameters. The Flea is written stanzas of rhyming couplets.
Sonnet is a huge emotional love poem. Every line makes you think of love and what
could be happening. Every line as well is about love. Even when you might not think
she is on about love here:
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
If you read this you wouldnt think its to do with love because it mentions then sun and
candlelight but it is because she is saying bright as sun and candlelight. So we can see
that the lines you dont expect to be about love mostly and will be about love and its just
representing something to explain it.
Moving on to compare the poems and explain how far apart they are in some cases but
are close in other ways.
To start to comparing them Im going to say that theyre both about love but that is the
only thing they really stands out and live is a common one.
Im going to start by saying what I think about Romeo throughout the play. Im going to
start by saying that he is a very mixed emotions person. He goes in and out of emotion
like no tomorrow. His attitude at the start is very mixed. He has one or two emotions
going on. He is very besotted in love and he is a very charming. He is charming and
nice in one or two lines.
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon
So he very charming here because he is relating to Juliet as the sun which means she
is bright coloured and everyone wants to be like the sun and everyone like to see the
sun.
Then further on he has more deep thoughts when Juliet asks him:
Why are you a Montague?
So now hes in deep thought thinking WHAT IF! Would I love to see her as much as I do
now?
Juliet is very sensitive girl. She isnt at a mature age but she acts very maturely for her
age. I think Romeo loves this in Juliet she speaks in a very mature way as well as
thinking.
If they see thee they will murder thee
So shes thinking very maturely and acting like an adult although she is 14. Most 14
year old girls want to be loved and throw themselves at boys older but she is as I repeat
again very mature and sensible girl. The audience in this I think would be pretty
shocked how mature this 14 year old girl is in her love for Romeo.
Then as we move on Juliet starts putting him in some awkward situations. She says
thing like:
O swear not by the moon, thinconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb
Less that thy love prove likewise variable

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 26

Then Romeo says:


What shall I swear by?
I think this puts him and the audience in quite an awkward situation because he may
have to swear by something he doesnt want to but then it all changes when Juliet says
the lines after him:
Do not swear at all
Then I think the tension disappears out of the play because Juliet thinks they have faith
and trust each other.
Conclusion:
Firstly in my conclusion I am going to say that Romeo is a very passionate lover. He
says all the right things to Juliet to make her feel like the best girl and the best treated
girl. Then, we move on to Juliet who is only 14 but looks at love very mature way. She
does not throw herself into Romeos arms. She waits to see whats occurring then she
becomes in love with him at first sight, but if we move back when she says:
Why are you not a Capulet?
Then we think she is thinking if only he was one of my family, would I love him even
more or even if he was in no ones family would they still think about each other like they
do? But at the end of the play, we find out how much they love each other and I suspect
a few more people think the same.
Commentary:
The essay is vague in all respects and relies on a mostly narrative approach but
there are some references to the text and a few reasonable points made. There
are very few links. It has an honesty about it but knowledge of the texts is limited.
It just fits the bottom end of Band 3 criteria.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 27

External assessment (English Literature Units 1 and 2)

GCSE English Literature


EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT 35% (2 hrs)
Unit 1: Prose (different cultures) and poetry (contemporary)

Jan / June
(50 Raw Marks; 70 UMS)

Section A 21% (INDIVIDUAL TEXTS IN CONTEXT)


Different Cultures Prose: Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck); OR Anita and Me (Syal); OR To Kill
a Mockingbird (Lee); OR I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Angelou); OR Chandas Secrets
(Stratton)
Section B 14% (COMPARATIVE STUDY)
Contemporary: Unseen poetry comparison
EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT 40% (2 hrs)
Unit 2a: Literary heritage drama and contemporary prose

June
(68 Raw Marks*; 80 UMS)

INDIVIDUAL TEXTS IN CONTEXT


English/Irish/Welsh Literary Heritage Drama: Othello (Shakespeare); OR Much Ado About
Nothing (Shakespeare); OR An Inspector Calls (Priestley); OR Hobsons Choice (Brighouse);
OR A Taste of Honey (Delaney) (20%)
Contemporary Prose: Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha (Doyle); OR Heroes (Cormier); OR Never Let
Me Go (Ishiguro); OR About a Boy (Hornby); OR Resistance (Sheers) (20%)
OR
Unit 2b: Contemporary drama and literary heritage prose

June
(68 Raw Marks*; 80 UMS)

INDIVIDUAL TEXTS IN CONTEXT


Contemporary Drama: The History Boys (Bennett); OR Blood Brothers (Russell); OR A
View from the Bridge (Miller); OR Be My Baby (Whittington); OR My Mother Said I Never
Should (Keatley) (20%)
English/Irish/Welsh Literary Heritage Prose: Silas Marner (Eliot);OR Pride and Prejudice
(Austen); OR A Christmas Carol (Dickens); OR Lord of the Flies (Golding); OR Ash on a
Young Mans Sleeve (Abse) (20%)
*This total includes additional marks for spelling, punctuation and the accurate
use of grammar
*Candidates are not permitted to take copies of the set texts into the
examination.

June

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 28

Unit 1 Section A requires study of a prose text from a different culture. It will require
candidates to answer two questions on the chosen prose text. The first question
(part (a)) will require close reading of an extract. The second question will offer a
choice of tasks (parts (b) and (c)) relating to the text as a whole.
Unit 1 Section B will consist of a question offering some structure for candidates to
explore, respond to, and compare two contemporary unseen poems. Candidates
should be prepared for this by studying at least 15 contemporary unseen poems of
the centres choosing. Past papers can be a useful resource for this.
Unit 2a requires study of a drama text from the English/Irish/Welsh literary heritage
and a contemporary prose text. It will require candidates to answer two questions on
each text. In each case the first question (part (i)) will require close reading of an
extract. The second question will offer a choice of tasks (parts (ii and (iii)) relating to
the text as a whole.
OR
Unit 2b requires study of a contemporary drama text and a prose text from the
English/Irish/Welsh literary heritage. It will require candidates to answer two
questions on each text. In each case the first question (part (i)) will require close
reading of an extract. The second question will offer a choice of tasks (parts (ii) and
(iii)) relating to the text as a whole.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 29

Examples of past paper question types


Higher Tier
Extracts

With close reference to the extract, show how ---------- creates mood and atmosphere here.
Look closely at how --------- speaks and behaves here. How does it affect your feelings
towards him/her?
Look closely at how --------- speaks and behaves here. What does it reveal of his/her
state of mind?
How does -------- suggest ---------s feelings in this extract?
Look closely at how ---------- and ----------- speak and behave here. What does it reveal
about their relationship?
Look closely at how ---------- speaks and behaves here. What impressions would an
audience receive of his/her character?
Look closely at how --------- speaks and behaves here. How might it affect an audiences
feelings towards him/her?

Essays

Write about the relationship between --------- and ------------ and how it is presented.
What do you think of ---------- and the way s/he is presented to the reader?
Imagine you are ---------. At the end of the novel/play, you think back over its events.
Write down your thoughts and feelings. Remember how --------- would speak when you
write your answer.
In your opinion, who or what had the greatest influence on --------? Support your answer
with detailed reference to the text.
Show how ----------- is affected by -----------.
To what extent is it possible to feel sympathy for ----------? Remember to support your
answer with detailed reference to the text.
How is the character of ----------- important to the novel/play as a whole?
Show how and why the character of --------- changes throughout the novel/play.
To what extent ....... ( is someone responsible, etc. )
Give advice to the actor playing --------- on how s/he should present the character to an
audience.
How does --------- present the theme of --------- in ----------?
Why do you think --------- called the novel/play ---------- ?
To what extent do you find ---------- an effective title for the novel/play?
How is ---------- important to the novel/play as a whole?

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 30

Foundation Tier
Extracts:
What are your thoughts and feelings as you read this extract? Remember to give reasons
for what you say, and to support your answer with words and phrases from the text.
What do you think of the way ----x---- speaks and behaves here? Give reasons for what
you say, and support your answer with words and phrases from the text.
What impressions of ---x---- do you have when you read this extract? Give reasons for
what you say, and support your answer with words and phrases from the text.
What does this extract show you about ----x-----s feelings? Give reasons for what you say,
and support your answer with words and phrases from the text.
What are your thoughts and feelings about ----x----here? Give reasons for what you say,
and remember to support your answer with words and phrases from the text.
Essays (similar to Higher, but more simply expressed and/or with more support, such
as bullet points ) such as:
What do you think of -------?
Imagine you are ------- At the end of the novel/play you think back over its events. Write
down your thoughts and feelings.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 31

Tips on tackling the extract questions


Before you start, check the focus of the question(s), then highlight or underline relevant details
(words/phrases, rather than big chunks) covering key relevant parts of the extract.
Its useful to ask yourself why this particular extract has been chosen: it may be a turning point
in the story, or it may reveal something new or significant about a character, for example. This
could be a starting point for your answer.
Then, establish an overview, summing up what you will say in the rest of your answer, clearly
addressing the question. Focus is really important here. You need to position yourself and
make clear what your point of view is: as long as you back up what you say with evidence from
the text, your interpretation is likely to be valid.
Be specific for example, if the question is about how the writer creates mood and
atmosphere, say straight away what the mood and atmosphere is, or if it is about a character,
make a clear point about the character in question.
Tackle the key areas of the extract, selecting and highlighting detail. DONT FORGET THE
QUESTION! Make sure you go right to the end of the extract there will be a good reason why
it starts and ends where it does.
If its relevant, you may make brief reference to other parts of the text - to put the extract in
context but your main concern is the extract. Dont, whatever you do, treat the extract as an
unseen (it makes the reader wonder why they are there).
Dont get so caught up by analysing the detail that you neglect the content what is actually
going on in the extract.
In the play extract, make full use of the stage directions, and analyse them as closely as you do
the dialogue look really closely at how the characters speak and behave. If youre doing
Shakespeare, remember that there are very few, if any, stage directions, in his plays, and all
the information is in the characters words: candidates often do not do themselves justice in the
Shakespeare extract because they do not look closely enough at the words and their
implications.
Foundation Tier candidates may be asked to give their thoughts and feelings or to write about
audience reaction to the part of the play featured in the extract. If so, you could write about the
mood and atmosphere, or how the extract relates to whats gone before, or on the behaviour of
characters. Avoid being general, and always support what you say with reference to the text of
the extract.
REMEMBER THAT EACH EXTRACT QUESTION SHOULD TAKE YOU ABOUT 20
MINUTES TO COMPLETE!

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 32

Tips on tackling the unseen poetry question......


Reading and writing about poems...where to start?
Before you start writing about a poem in detail, read and re-read it, ideally underlining and
annotating as you go. You may well find your initial opinions alter once youve read the poem
a couple of times!
Points to think about during these initial readings:

Take note of the title: it may be perfectly self-explanatory, or it may carry a deeper
meaning. Either way, it usually gives a useful lead.

What is the train of thought? The best way to determine this is to track through
systematically, reading in units of sense, not line by line. Its usually useful to read from
punctuation mark to punctuation mark, which will help break the poem into units of
sense. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE END OF A POEM! Often the poets key
message comes towards the end of the poem, so its important to be thorough.

Is there are specific voice? If so, whose? Poets sometimes write as if they were a
different character (sometimes called the persona), although often they write as
themselves, too. In either case, what is the effect of the voice?

Is it addressed to someone? Love poems, for example, sometimes use the second
person (you) which can create a very intimate feeling. If the poem is addressed to a
specific person, what is the effect of this?

What is the aim of the poem? Does it, for example, tell a story, describe an experience,
protest about something, describe a place? Try asking yourself why the poet wrote the
poem.

What is its mood and atmosphere? Does it change at all? How do you know? Pinpoint
words and phrases that help create the mood and atmosphere. (If youre a bit stuck,
some people find it helpful to think in terms of the sort of music or colours that would
provide a background to the poem.)

Focus closely on the words used, and their effects.

Is there any distinctive imagery, and what are the effects of any imagery used?

NEVER SPOT TECHNIQUES (There is a simile in the second stanza) Its fine to use
the terminology, but whats most important is to understand the effects of the actual
words and phrases used.

Remember to make a point, prove it with evidence, then explain how the evidence you
have selected makes your point (sometimes abbreviated to PEE).

What about the way the poem is put together, or organised - the lengths of lines,
significant pauses, the use of stanzas, any distinctive rhythm or rhyme? Again, dont
spot, but explain how what you select fits in with the overall meaning.

What is your personal response? Does it, for example, connect with any of your own
experiences or anything else youve read or seen?

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 33

When youre ready to write, here are some points to bear in mind as you do so:

sum up what the poems about;

say something about the title;

having divided the poem into units of sense, write about these units one at a time;

focus on words and what they suggest to you;

write about the mood and atmosphere;


say why you think the poet wrote the poem, which will include its theme or message;
give your feelings about the poem as a whole.
ALWAYS EXPLAIN YOUR POINTS CAREFULLY!

For comparing and contrasting poems, there are three main approaches:
Either: After a general introduction about both poems, write about poem 1, then about
poem 2, then make points of similarity and comparison between them.
Or:
After a general introduction about both poems, write about poem 1, then write
about poem 2, referring back to poem 1 and noting similarities and differences
as you do so.
Or:
Discussing both poems at the same time (sometimes called the integrated
approach)

Whichever you choose, make sure that you write a roughly equal amount on each poem,
and highlight similarities and differences between them, considering for example, the
similarities and differences in content, theme, tone, structure, language and imagery.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 34

Closed book examinations in GCSE English Literature - some advice


Implications for marking
Examiners are instructed to credit direct reference, which may take the form of direct
quotation, or the use of other types of evidence. This direct reference and detailed
knowledge (required for Band 3 and above) is shown through confident use of names,
specific details, paraphrase, and very short, embedded quotations (a word or two, a phrase
at the most).
Some tried and tested strategies
Whilst in no way wanting to stray into the tuition of egg sucking, colleagues may want to try
some of the following ideas, which are neither all-inclusive nor prescriptive. Most are of the
interactive type:

quizzes (with pupils setting questions, too);


Blockbusters and similar games using interactive whiteboards,
Who said? rounds;
Who am I? rounds;
group activities where pupils choose short, apt quotations to fit characters / key moments
(possibly utilising photos, particularly with plays);
simple question and answer sessions at the beginning/end of lessons (these can be a
useful and simple way of reinforcing detailed knowledge of texts);
mindmapping;
dividing novel/play into key episodes, highlighting themes, key characters, and events;
storyboarding with key quotations.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 35

Examples of responses to Unit 1 poetry comparison (Foundation Tier)


Specimen assessment materials: http://www.wjec.co.uk/uploads/publications/8323.pdf
Example 1
The first poem Woman Work has an effect on me by making me think how hard it must have
been for a black person to live. It also makes me think that she has a lot of work to do which
suggests that she is a slave and that she is working for a white person. This poem then goes
on to say, Storm, blow me from here with your fiercest wind let me float across the sky Til I
can rest again. This verse suggests she wants to fly away and be free. It also suggests that
she is not being allowed to rest.
In the next poem I Had Rather Be A Woman, the author is describing a woman who isnt
enjoying her life. She describes in the poem how the woman would much rather be an
earwig. The woman says that she wants to be an earwig because she says that earwigs
dont have to feed their children, feed the cat, feed the rabbits, feed the dishwasher, she
then goes on to say that They dont need clean sheets, clean clothes and clean carpets.
This suggests she is tired of having to do all of the chores and how she would like someone
else to do all of her work for once in her life. These poems are similar in the way that both
the poems talk about women having to do chores and work, they both talk about how both
the women dont want to work. Both the women want to be free of work.

This response shows an awareness of the subtext of both poems, and empathy with the
situations of the women. Simple points of comparison are also made. These are qualities
associated with the top of Band 3. To get a higher mark, more focus on selected detail would
be necessary.

Example 2
The poem Woman Work shows that she is doing non stop work all day every day. I Had
Rather Be A Woman is about a woman that feels as if she was an earwig. They are both
similar because they both talk about housework and they both talk about looking after
children. I Had Rather Be A Woman, the mood for this poem feels like she is not being
treated like a woman and feels that she is being treated like something else. The mood for
Woman Work is she feels like she is not getting any rest and always doing work. The poet
may have wanted us to think of words like in Woman Work - tend, mend, mop, shop
fry, dry, feed, weed, press, dress, cut, hut, sick, pick. Let me rest tonight
(she needs a rest from the work)
I Had Rather Be A Woman - earwig, crawl out of
bed, Next time I feel hysterical, Ill bite a hole in a dahlia. These words are important
because it makes you feel about what both the woman are doing.

This response has the gist of both poems, and make simple points of comparison. There is
an emerging awareness of subtext, mood and atmosphere. The response lacks
development, however, and too much time is taken up by copying out words and phrases,
with little, if any, discussion. This response represents achievement typical of grade low
Band 3/high Band 2.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 36

Example 3
The poems are both about women and about cleaning.
the content of the poems is about being a woman
the poets want us to think about what its like to be a woman
the mood and atmosphere of the poems is the first poem shows how bad it must be to be
a woman and the second shows how good it must be to be a woman
the poems are written differently the first poem rhymes and second poem uses words
that dont rhyme
I like the first poem because it rhymes and its easy to understand.
I didnt like the second poem because it doesnt rhyme and its not as interesting.
This response represents achievement at the lower range, around the bottom of Band 2, top
of Band 1. This is because of its minimalist approach - a comment per bullet point, and the
simple level of the comments. There is a basic understanding evident, however, which
merits reward.
Example 4
Woman Work is based on what jobs women have to do every day of the week, these include
looking after their children, mending clothes, all the other household jobs that mothers have
to do. This shows that women have a very busy life to uphold. The poet would have wanted
us to think about all the things women have to do all week long, also that they hardly ever
get a break from all of this. It states that women feel like they want to rest but know that
nothing will get done without themselves doing it, this is the quote
Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
Til I can rest
The atmosphere of the poem is women do all sorts of jobs every day and they get tired, that
they feel as if they need a break and just rest once in a while.
Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.
This stanza is stating that women just wish that sometimes they could just float away and
rest just for one night without all the jobs they have to do.
The words and phrases that I find interesting are Let me float across the sky til I can rest
again this is stating that she is extremely tired and just wants to go to sleep and rest with a
good nights sleep. Also Cold icy kisses and Let me rest tonight gets my interest
because again it is telling you how tired our parents can get when they have so many jobs to
do each day. Starshine, moon glow, youre all that I can call my own. This is telling us that
sometimes they only get a few things that are just theirs no one elses.
My response to the poem is that every day when women come back from work, they have so
many jobs that they have to do each night, not necessarily the same each night, different,
but still they have a lot to do every night and that maybe just sometimes we should help
them

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 37

The content of I Had Rather Be A Woman is based upon a woman who would rather be a
woman than an earwig, but they are thinking about all the jobs they have to do, like feed the
cat, feed the children, clean sheets, and many others. The woman is also thinking about her
mother-in-law staying for Christmas and what a job it would be to cook for everyones
Christmas dinner. She is also thinking about how earwigs can run around
being totally irresponsible, also next time she feels hysterical she will bite a big hole in the
flower.
In my opinion, I think that the poems message of this particular piece is that sometimes we
want to be something different than ourselves, we need to think about what will happen if we
did change.
The mood and atmosphere of the poem is about a woman that wants to become an earwig
because she thinks it would be easier and maybe more exciting than being a woman. Then
the woman realises that she should like herself for who she is and to not be anything
different from herself.
The part of the poem that interests me the most is line 6 to 16, it is listing all the things a
woman has to do and it also helps you to understand how much they have to do. My
response to the poem is that every day women have to do loads and loads of chores, which
makes them really tired. It is trying to get the message over that we should help them more
so that they get a bit of a break. Comparing these poems, they are both very similar. They
are trying to get the message across that women have lots of jobs to do every single day
and that we should help them, so the comparison is that they are both extremely similar.

This response represents achievement at the top band for Foundation tier. It is detailed and
quite thoughtful, and selects and highlights relevant detail to support the judgements made.
It would get a mark representing a clear Band 4.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 38

Examples of responses to Unit 1 poetry comparison (Higher tier)


Specimen assessment materials: http://www.wjec.co.uk/uploads/publications/8323.pdf
Example 1
Woman Work and Overheard in County Sligo are two poems that differ in several ways but
are essentially similarly themed. Both poems are written by women and follow the theme of a
woman whose freedom has been restricted. While Overheard in County Sligo is more
focused upon a womans yearning for freedom from the menial life as a housewife, and the
road runs down through the open gate and freedoms there for the taking, Woman Work has
more to do with the persecution and enslavement of black people in 19th century America.
This is indicated by the line, and the cotton to pick, as cotton was a booming industry in
colonial America, with black slaves being forced to pick it in the fields.
The mood of Overheard in County Sligo is a fairly negative one, building up what the woman
aspired to be then cutting it down in the final stanza by having the woman claim that she
ought to feel [she is] a happy woman whereas she clearly is not. The overall mood of the
poem is aspiration cut down by a feeling of hopelessness as the woman realises she is
doomed to live a housewife instead of live out her dreams. This poem reflects heavily upon
the image of the typical housewife and seems to be meant to represent what all housewives
wished they could be but were unable to become as a result of being forced into marriage by
society.
Woman Work is similar to Overheard in County Sligo in its mod but is less about what a
woman wishes to be and more about what comforts her after a hard day at work. This has
quite an impression on the reader with the sudden transition from the first stanza, a fast
paced declaration of all the work that has to be done, to the second stanza which has a very
calm feeling and is intended to be read out steadily and softly. In the final stanza the
character declares, Starshine, moonglow, youre all that I can call my own, which
indicates that the woman has little other comfort in the world except the sun and the moon.
The poem also indicates that the woman has little other comfort in the world except for the
sun and the moon. The poem also indicates that the woman simply wishes that she could
rest, and uses some very soft, gentle imagery with the word rest being used more than
once. The woman requests several components of nature to assist her in resting, including
the snow, Cover me with white cold icy kisses and let me rest tonight, and the wind, with
your fiercest wind, let me float across the sky til I can rest again. The use of nature is
symbolic of how she is tired of living and working in the cold, restrictive environment of the
home and the cotton fields.
In Overheard in County Sligo, the poet describes a square of yellow corn caught up by its
corners and shaken at her door. This square of corn caught up seems to be symbolic of
how she is being held back from her aspirations, and the shaking may represent her being
demoralised and weakened. The third stanza focuses on the womans aspirations, I had
thought to work on the Abbey stage or have my name in a book, to see my thought on the
printed page, or still the crowd with a look. This describes what she had hoped to do and
builds the reader up, allowing them to empathise with her. Her aspiration to see [her]
thought on the printed page is representation of how she wishes to reach out to people and
have her thoughts recognised and her wish to still the crowd with a look is symbolic of her
desire to have some control over the way people feel or act.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 39

After having seen the womans aspirations underlined by the poet in the previous stanza it
comes as a shock to the reader to suddenly see the woman instead announcing what she
has to do each day instead of doing what she would like to do. This is similar to the first
stanza of Woman Work wherein the character goes through each of the tasks she has to do
quite briefly. The fourth stanza is effectively capped off as she declares that during her work
she [finds] my face in the glass. This allows us to see that the woman cannot recognise
that she has become a housewife and it comes as a shock to her to see her own reflection.
Overheard in County Sligo ends quite bitterly, on a repetition of the first stanza wherein she
declared, I married a man from County Roscommon and I live in the back of beyond. This
bitterness is indicated by the repetition and her statement that she ought to feel [she is]
happy now. This is quite unlike Woman Work which ends on a softer note and indicates that
while the character is somewhat sad that she has nothing else to turn to, she is able to
endure her hard work because she had no previous aspirations and only wishes to rest.
This response is evaluative, analytical and sensitive, and represents achievement at the top
of Band 4.

Example 2
The two poems to compare are Woman Work by Maya Angelou and Overheard in County
Sligo by Gillian Clarke. Woman Work gives us an idea of what the poem will be about, the
jobs a woman has to do. Overheard in County Sligo is a more obscure title that does not
really tell us anything about the content of the poem.
Woman Work begins with a long list of jobs in rhyming couplets. This makes the pace fast as
the lines are read one after the other with very few pauses. This has the effect of
demonstrating to the reader how busy the womans life is and how she is very rushed.
The list comes to an end with Then see about the sick And the cotton to pick. This is the
only couplet which starts with and. This gives the impression that the woman is
exasperated and ends the list wearily with just another chore to do. The fact that she has to
pick cotton also seems to suggest that the voice of this woman is long ago.
The pace of the poem now changes and slows. This gives the reader the impression that the
woman is now praying for what she wants to happen.
She wishes for rain to cool my brow again. This tells us that she is hot and wishes for rain
to col her down.
Then the prayers get more violent, she hopes that a storm will blow me from here. This
impresses upon the reader how bad her life at the moment is, that she prays to be taken
completely away from it.
The final prayer certainly shows how desperate she is to escape from her life. She prays for
snowflakes to cover her with cold icy kisses and let me rest tonight. She is asking for what
seems to the reader to be death. This is a very shocking part of the poem, when the reader
realises that she would rather freeze to death than remain a slave to the family. However,
she talks about snowflakes, these are light and not often viewed as harmful. This gives the
reader the idea that she does not mind dying. The soft word snowflakes makes it sound
peaceful, which her current life certainly is not.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 40

Finally, there are two pairs of lines which end the poem. Once again the writer lists things
but this time it is a list of things the woman can call my own. All the words are natural and
this is showing that she has no material possessions herself, only nature. This is why she
prays for natural things to end her torment, that is all she has.
The second poem is much more regularly structured than the first poem. It is split up into five
stanzas of four lines. This is different from the first poem which was written like a train of
thought, this one is laid out like a conversation, hence the title, Overheard in County Sligo.
It starts off nicely, unlike Woman Work, with the first two lines in italics to show that this is
how the conversation starts. It describes the house that the woman lives in and how it is in
the back of beyond. The writer seems happy until she talks about the road running down
through the gate and freedom being there for the taking. This hints that the woman is
unhappy as she thinks about running away down the road to freedom.
Like the first poem, the opening stanza is used to set the scene, the difference being that the
stanzas are a regular size in contrast to the the longer stanza in the poem Woman Work.
The third stanza is the woman saying what she wants to happen with her life, the woman in
the other poem does not do this but prays for a way out of the life she she is in. The writer in
Overheard in County Sligo tells us the woman had thought to work on the Abbey stage.
Her life had obviously not turned out the way she planned.
The fourth stanza lists what jobs the woman has to do. There are not as many as in the first
poem and the layout of the verse suggests she is not as rushed as the first woman,
especially as she has time to find my face in the glass. The woman in Maya Angelous
poem does not have time to stop and look at her face in a mirror, she has too much to do.
In the final stanza, the woman looks back on her life and says, I ought to feel Im a happy
woman. She feels that because she lies in the lap of the land, she should be happy but
she evidently is not.
The last two lines are repetitions of the first two. This is the only poem to use repetition of the
two and this reminds us of the start of the conversation. At the beginning it seemed like the
woman had a good life but through the poem we discovered she is not happy. The repeated
two lines remind us of this.
I find the second poem more effective because the reader steadily comes to realise that the
woman is unhappy whereas we know straight away in the first poem. While both examine
the theme of women being slaves in their own home, the second is more effective as it does
it in a more familiar setting.

While this response gets off to a rather slow start, it becomes thorough, thoughtful and
sensitive, with just enough analysis of stylistic features to get it in the highest band. It would
get a mark just into Band 4.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 41

Example 3
Woman Work and Overheard in County Sligo are both poems written by women about two
womens lives. They are similar in theme and mood, as in both poems the women seem
unhappy with their lives, and the mood is fairly bleak.
Woman Work was written from the point of view of a black woman and the poem describes
her work and life in the southern states of America. The first stanza is written in a rhyming
style, and describes her list of jobs that she has to do. There are no commas, or pauses,
until the end of the first stanza. The writer is conveying a sense of urgency, and the reader
feels sympathy for the woman who obviously has to do so much on her own. It has a clear
and obvious link to slavery, as the woman has to do so much, such as the cotton to pick
which leads the reader to fully realise that she is a slave, as slaves were often used for
cotton picking. The second stanza links in with natural things; commanding the sun to shine
on her and for the rain to rain on her, and for dewdrops to cool their brow. This is a slower
pace to the frantic first stanza and it seems as if the woman relies on natural things to help
her, such as in the next stanza, where she calls on a storm to blow me from here, showing
how unhappy she is. There are more natural references, and she calls on the
snowflakes
to cover me....white so that she can rest tonight. This image has an effect on the reader,
as it seems as though she is wishing to be white, so that she may rest and not have to do all
her jobs. The last lines state how natural things such as the sun, rain, carving sky and the
starshine are all that I can call my own. This last line hits the reader, making them realise
how, despite how much work she does, this woman has nothing, and relies on praying to
natural things to help her, which makes the reader feel pity that this woman is obviously so
lonely and has no one to help her.
In comparison, in Overheard in County Sligo, the woman has plenty of things to call her own,
such as breakfast cloth and other homely possessions. However, it seems as if this woman
is just as trapped as the slave, despite the fact she is just a normal woman who lives in
Ireland. It says how she lives in the back of beyond, which makes it seem as if this woman
is isolated from people much like the slave from Woman Work. The second stanza states
that the road runs down through the open gate and freedoms there for the taking and this
affects the reader by making them wonder if this woman has any freedom or not. After, the
next stanza is about her dreams of working on the Abbey stage or to have my name in a
book but those nice images about her mood are cast aside as the poet, in the next stanza,
reminds us of her reality, that is to order and dust the tumbled rooms making it, again,
seem as if this woman is just forced to tidy the house.
Although the poems are different in style, Woman Work has short stanzas while Overheard
in County Sligo has longer ones, both convey similar images, Despite the fact the two
women are in different places, the message is conveyed that they are both equally unhappy.
The mood in both is bleak, with both women wanting to leave their conditions, but both tied
to where they are, by the people that own them.

This response is thoughtful and thorough, and would get a mark representing the top of
Band 3. The discussion of Overheard in County Sligo is rather underdeveloped as are the
points of comparison between the poems, but sensible points are made, and there is a
sound grasp of subtext.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 42

Example 4
The poem Woman Work is written by Maya Angelou and is about a black woman from the
south of the U.S.A. who speaks about her life. Overheard in County Sligo is written by Gillian
Clarke and is about a woman speaking about her life in Ireland.
These two poems are both about the womens own lives and how they are like slaves and
not doing what they want to be doing in life.
Woman Work starts by saying Ive got the children to tend, the clothes to mend. This
shows us straight away that it is her job to look after the children and also suggests that they
are poor or live in a harsh environment as she needs to repair the clothes. It then says, The
floor to mop, the food to shop, this again rhymes like the first two lines and states another
two jobs that she must do. Then the chicken to fry, the baby to dry, I got company to feed,
the garden to weed, this shows us that she is very busy and had got another child or at
least has to look after another one. Ive got the shirts to press, the tots to dress, the cane to
cut, I gotta clean up this hut, these lines show us that this woman is made to do everything
and has to cut the cane which is normally a mans job. Also this hut may be referring to the
womans house which backs up the fact that she is poor and possibly a slave. Then see
about the sick, and the cotton to pick, this shows that one of them is being sick and shows
that they may not be living in a very hygienic place and disease may be upon them. Picking
cotton is thought of as being a slaves job, a poor persons job, this could be why the woman
is doing it and would help to explain the poem.
Shine on me sunshine, rain on me rain, fall softly, dewdrops, and cool my brow again, this
tells us that she does not care about what happens to her. Cool my brow again suggests
she is working all day. The next three stanza are the same, with the woman asking for rest
on the last line of two of them, Let me rest tonight. The last line says, Youre all that I can
call my own. This shows us that she has no possessions and the only thing she can call her
own is natural things such as moonlight.
Overheard in County Sligo starts with a line that is overheard by people in County Sligo. It
then says, with a field of cows and a yard of hens and six white geese on the pond, this
relates to the first poem as it shows the work she has to do with farming which is similar to
the hard work in Woman Work.
The next stanza says she has a square of yellow corn which she most probably has to cut
down for food or money. This is very much like the cane to be cut in the first poem and is
starting to show she may not want to be there. The last line in the stanza says, and
freedoms there for the taking, this tells us she is considering escaping and may be forced
to work there much like being a slave in Woman Work.
The stanza that follows it talks about her dreams, her ambitions in life. She wants to be on
the Abbey stage or have her name in a book, all she wants in the first poem is rest, let me
rest tonight. They both do not want to be doing the work they are doing and want to be in
much different places.
But then she goes back to doing tasks, which are all listed very similarly to the ones in the
first poem. She feels she ought to be a happy woman because of what she has got. The
last lines are repeated as they are said in the first stanza. She makes you feel as though you
should be grateful for what you have and may be the theme in both poems.
This is an engaged response. The poems are tracked through, and details from both are
selected and highlighted. There is evidence of inference, and valid points of comparison
made. This response would get a mark representing the lower end of Band 3.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 43

Unit 2a/b
Assessment of spelling, punctuation and grammar in Unit 2a and Unit 2b essay
responses
For examinations from January 2013 in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, additional marks
will be awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) in GCSE English literature
across all awarding bodies.
Additional SPaG marks have been added to the extended writing (20 mark) questions in Unit 2
(a and b) (candidates attempt two of these questions in total).

Unit 2 (a and b)

%
40

Raw marks
68 (60 +4+4)

UMS
80

Assessment Criteria
0 marks
Candidates do not reach the threshold performance outlined in the performance description
below.
Threshold performance
Candidates spell, punctuate and use the rules of grammar with reasonable accuracy in the
context of the demands of the question. Any errors do not hinder meaning in the response.
Where required, they use a limited range of specialist terms appropriately.
Intermediate performance
Candidates spell, punctuate and use the rules of grammar with considerable accuracy and
general control of meaning in the context of the demands of the question. Where required, they
use a good range of specialist terms with facility.
High performance
Candidates spell, punctuate and use the rules of grammar with consistent accuracy and
effective control of meaning in the context of the demands of the question. Where required,
they use a wide range of specialist terms adeptly and with precision

Credit for SPaG will only be given where candidates clearly attempt to answer the question.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 44

Unit 2a higher tier extract responses


The following exemplars are taken from responses to the 2013 Unit 2 examinations.
Much Ado About Nothing
With close reference to the extract, show how Shakespeare creates mood and
atmosphere for an audience here.
In the extract from the play, Much ado About Nothing, Shakespeare creates a tense mood
and atmosphere by hiding Hero from Claudio, Sweet, let me see your face. This shows that
Claudio is still unaware that he is about to marry Hero, however Shakespeare has already
revealed to us that Antonios daughter is actually Hero. This perhaps makes us feel tense as
we await the unmasking of Hero, and are curious as to what Claudios reaction will be.
Alternatively, we may feel excited as we know that Hero and Claudio can be reunited. Let
me see your face may show that Claudio is eager to see his future wife, perhaps to see if
she is pretty. This suggests to the audience that Claudius is only interested in physical
appearance, as he was with Hero, and is only marrying Antonios daughter out of guilt for
Hero being wrongly shamed, for this I owe you. For the audience this may support the
tense mood that is created as we wonder if Claudio will go through with marrying who he
thinks to be a stranger and we may start to worry that the plan will fail. Shakespeares
intention was to perhaps make the audience feel tense during this scene so that they are
intrigued and continue to watch. Also, he perhaps masked Hero so only the audience know
who Claudio is to marry, so that it would build up the curiosity and excitement of the
atmosphere.
In the extract, Shakespeare also creates a nervous atmosphere for the audience, call her
forth. This may show that the wedding of Claudio and Antonios daughter is important and
formal, which gives the impression to the audience that getting married was a big deal.
However, this is contradicted with the fact that Claudius is willing to marry a complete
stranger. We perhaps see that the characters are nervous, as most know that Claudio is
about to be deceived, Why, whats the matter, That you have such a February face? Call
her forth sounds like a formal way of asking for the bride, which may suggest to the audience
that this wedding is important to the characters of the play. This perhaps adds to the nervous
atmosphere, as we are curious as to whether this important event will have a happy ending.
Shakespeares intention may have been to show the nervous atmosphere on the stage, so
that the audiences would be affected by this and also feel a little anxious. He does this by
building up the tension on the stage, Which is the lady I must seize upon? right up until the
unmasking of Hero.
This response is well focused and engaged, with thorough and thoughtful discussion,
although without the overview or close analysis associated with the highest marks. It is
solidly in Band 3, with a mark of 7.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 45

Hobsons Choice

Look closely at the way Maggie and Willie speak and behave here. How does this create
mood and atmosphere for an audience?
In this scene, Brighouse shows Maggie as a strong, single-minded woman, as she forces the
downtrodden Willie Mossop to marry her.
Willie creates a very nervous atmosphere around himself during this scene as he hesitates
before he speaks, showing the audience that he is not altogether comfortable with the
situation and isnt confident in what he is saying. This lack of confidence could even be
interpreted as weakness due to how easily Maggie can bend him to her will. When Maggie
says, You wont go home tonight to Willie he barely protests and in fact calls it a appy
dream, when in fact he is obviously uncomfortable with the idea. Maggie dominates Willie
so comfortably that it not only accentuates the air of strength around her, but it also
highlights the weaknesses of Willie to the audience. This could be seen to create quite a
sympathetic mood between Willie and the audience and also creates a very powerful mood
around Maggie.
This idea of Willies weakness and Maggies strength is backed up when Maggie simply
ignores Willies protests, cutting him off Im - Such is the strength of Maggies character
that she almost creates quite a feminist atmosphere in this scene.
When Alice and Vickey enter they create a shocked and one could even say outraged mood
by their reaction to Maggies news. Alice is so upset by the idea that she emphasises it by
repeating Willies name: Youre going to marry Willie Mossop! Willie Mossop!
This response starts off very confidently discussing the characters of Maggie and Willie,
although by the end it seems to be turning into a mood and atmosphere response.
Nevertheless, there is sufficient overview, evaluation, and appreciation of stylistic features to
tip it into Band 4, with a mark of 8.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 46

Unit 2a foundation tier extract response


Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

What thoughts and feelings do you have when you read this extract? Give reasons for
what you say, and remember to support your answer with words and phrases from the
extract.
When reading the extract it is straight away visible that Paddy is a ten year old boy by the
way he changes what hes saying so quickly. When he talks about Missis Bryrne being
called Specky Three Eyes and it was the only funny thing about her, Paddy then goes back
to talking about his human version of the Grand National. He flicks through what he wants to
say.
Reading the extract in a way makes you realise what it was like in the 1960s in Dublin,
Ireland and how the children had to make up their own games to have fun and enjoy
themselves and Paddy and his friends clearly like to be mischievous by jumping over their
neighbours fences and ruining their gardens as a way to have fun.
The fact that they scream and shout making as much noise as they can shows how naughty
and mischievous they are and when Paddy explains Once, Mr. McLoughlin had been
cutting the grass when we all came over the hedge. He nearly had a heart attack, shows
that it means nothing to Paddy because hes just a little boy getting into trouble with his
friends. He says how by the end you cant scream and shout because youre so tired and
itchy from the hedge shows that they arent really bothered if they get hurt, just as long as it
was fun.
This is an engaged response to the extract, with a clear awareness of what is going on,
supported by some apt detail, and including some appreciation of Doyles style (He flicks
through what he wants to say.) These qualities would place it in Band 4 (Foundation tier)
with a mark of 9 (just!)

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 47

Unit 2a higher tier essay response


Heroes
Francis says he felt like a fake rather than the hero he wanted to be. What do you think
of Francis and the way he is presented in Heroes?
In heroes, Francis Cassavant is presented to us as a shy boy with low self-confidence who
didnt have a best friend, this shows us that Francis enjoys being by himself.
I generally dont have a strong opinion about Francis because Robert Cormier has written
the book in a biased view. Francis is the protagonist and the author of what we read, and
because he has such a negative view of himself we dont really see a true view of him.
Francis introduces himself we dont really see a true view of him. Francis introduces himself
into the book as an ex army veteran. I have no face. This suggests that Francis has a dry
sense of humour because he has told us so bluntly about his injury.
I dont feel that Francis (as the first person) allows us to feel pity for him and he trys not to
create an emotional view of himself. One example of this is when Francis is explaining his
previous homelife to us, and when he tells us about both his parents dying When [he] was
6 and five years ago, he doesnt tell us how this emotionally affected him.
Francis says that he felt like a fake, by this he means that he doesnt believe himself to be
a hero, because he originally went to war to kill himself to be a hero, without causing
shame upon his family.
Francis first saw Nicole Renard in the 7th grade, he instantly fell in love with her, and from
that moment on he silently committed his love for her. This shows me that Francis is a
romantic person with a deep love for Nicole. Because of how strong his love is, it is quite
obvious that if something were to become between their love it would virtually end Franciss
life. Francis again gives us a biased view of Nicole because he is so deeply in love with her.
Nicole was described as having porcelain white skin black hair to her shoulders and a
slender body.
When Larry came back from the war for a break, he begins to make Francis jealous of the
way he treats Nicole, The casual way she said Larry made me instantly jealous. Larry
betrays their trust by raping Nicole, but also Francis betrays Nicole by not helping her when
he knew what he was doing. This causes Nicole understandable damage which she doesnt
really seem to ever recover from. Francis cannot forgive himself for leaving Nicole even
when she practically begged him and whispered in [his] ear Dont go. Francis seemed to
have acted in this way, because he considers Larry a role model and respects his every
word.
Franciss actions left him devastated and angry at himself, he considered jumping off the
church but didnt want to bring shame upon my family. He decided the only way he could
die honourably was to die in the war.
When he was fifteen, he enlisted in the war was soon off fighting the japs and the
Germans. Francis shot two young boys about the same age as him, which he was later
upset about.
Francis decided to jump on a sniper bomb to kill himself. One of the soldiers in the St. Judes
club said how many people did you save? How many men were you willing to die for?
when Francis is doubting himself.
We werent heroes, we were just there. Francis and the other soldiers were only young
apple cheeked boys who liked the glamorous idea of war.
The war left lasting damage on each of the soldiers.
This response starts off focused on the character of Francis; although by the end it seems to
be drifting into the one about war and its effects. Coverage of the novel is a bit patchy, but
there is sufficient detailed reference to the text to place it in Band 3, with a mark of 12, and a
SPaG mark of 3 (just!)

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 48

Unit 2b higher tier extract responses


The History Boys
How does Alan Bennett present the boys treatment of Irwin in this extract?
In this scene Irwin has asked the boys about Hectors teaching and they are comparing
Hectors teaching with Irwins. They are treating him like a fellow schoolboy mocking, and yet
slightly flattering him, at the same time.
Timms says that Hectors lessons are for the pursuit of (knowledge) for its own sake, but
Posner says that they are not useful. Lockwood contradicts Irwin, Oh no, sir, and is
insolent saying crap without any worry of retaliation. He is rude again, later, suggesting that
Hectors teaching is higher than your stuff, sir. Nobler. The boys do not worry about being
punished for their behaviour and in this way treat Irwin as a trusted teacher, who they like to
tease.
Akhtar brings up the fact that Irwin is very young and wonders if he is on his gap year. To
them Irwin seems only a few years older and in that way they treat him as one of their own, a
fellow schoolboy. They tease him further, asking if they are just a hiccup between the end of
university and the beginning of life.
Dakin seems to be the only one who views Irwin in a different way, pursuing the subject of
Auden, who, he says, snogged his pupils. This shows that Dakin treats Irwin differently
than the other boys and perhaps gives us a hint of what is to come later on.
Scripps also does not say much, in fact he says nothing. Perhaps this is showing us that he
does not like Irwin, but does not not like him either. He does not treat him in any particular
way other than how he would any other teacher.
In this passage Irwin is treated by most of the boys in a teasing manner, like a fellow
student. They call him sir thirty times as though to emphasise the bridge between them.
However, Dakin treats Irwin a slightly sexual way, hinting at possible future meetings.

This is a thoughtful and thorough response to the extract from the play, with points
supported by apt detail. It represents achievement at the top of Band 3, with a mark of 7.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 49

A View From The Bridge

Look closely at how Eddie speaks and behaves here. What does it reveal about him to an
audience?
From this extract, Eddie presents himself to the audience as being the dominant male figure.
He belittles Catherine who is a woman herself by referring to her in the beginning of the
extract as baby. It is revealed to the audience that Eddie is adamant that they listen to what
he is telling both women; You dont see nothin and you dont know nothin. Almost
threatening them. In addition, Eddie gives the impression that they can not say anything as
he tells them both, You dont understand. A direct statement telling them what they
supposedly do and dont know. This adds to the presentation of Eddie being the dominant
male that they rely on.
At the middle of the extract, Eddie uses short, snappy sentences in order to get his point
across to them as he is right, in his eyes. I dont care what question it is. You-dont-knownothin By using quick, short sentences, as well as pausing after each word, this not only
adds emphasis to what hes saying, but also shows to the audience that Eddie is serious
about what he said. You hear? Almost confirming what he has told them. Like Vinny
Bolzano, remember Vinny? Reassuring himself that they are fully aware of the
consequences. Eddie is shown to still see Catherine as a child who doesnt know much
when he says, Go ahead, tell her. Speaking of her as like she is a child. This extract also
reveals that Eddie full knows the consequences of telling on your family as he says, On his
own uncle! which shows that he is clear. Eddie begins to get angry towards the end when
the stage directions state rises during this. The first body language presented to the
audience to show his authority (as he gets up uneasily) as he speaks to Catherine, like he
is worried. Finally (He is standing now, stretching his back) implying to the audience he is
above them, revealing to the audience that Eddie is the man of the house.
This is a well focused response, where close analysis of detail and style and effect leads to
evaluation and overview, and is therefore placed in Band 4, with a mark of 8 or 9.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 50

Unit 2b foundation tier extract response


Ash On a Young Mans Sleeve.
What thoughts and feelings do you have as you read this extract? Give reasons for what you
say, and remember to support your answer with words and phrases from the extract.
My thoughts towards the extract is that when there is a game of rugby all the Wales
supporters become one. They are all backing their country to victory chanting and singing to
encourage the players to score of regain possession. Their feelings towards their country are
very strong as some of the Wales supporters would follow rituals which were shouting boo
and shame to the policemen when they ejected the intense supporters from the holy pitch.
I get a strong feeling when I read the extract because the characters show a lot of passion
towards their country and feel strongly about that.
I thought that everybody must be close because they can turn around and talk to strangers
about a game. The older spectator was keen to give his opinion on the team and claimed the
team was better in the olden days and now had been replaced by students. Other spectators
claimed that it was the referees fault that he couldnt manage the game correctly and
couldnt judge whether it was offside or not.
Everyone took part in shouting encouragement to the players and occasionally swore when
no one could hear them.
To me, the feelings are strong towards the extract because they were true believers in their
country and its good to read about.
This response is well focused, with aptly selected details to support the points made, and is
thus placed in Band 4 (Foundation tier) with a mark of 9.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 51

Unit 2b higher tier essay response


A Christmas Carol
Which character or characters have the greatest impact on Scrooge, in your opinion?
A Christmas Carol was first published in 1943. Charles Dickens wrote this novel to illustrate
the Victorian rich neglecting the poor. Dickens was a news reporter before this book and
experienced first hand the struggles of the poor. Scrooge is a solitary, miser who is
described Oh, he was a tight-fisted hand on the grindstone. A Christmas carol is about the
redemption of Scrooge from a self-serving man to a generous, jolly man. There are many
characters who help Scrooge on his path of salvation.
The three Ghosts each carry out a thematic function. Te Ghost of Christmas past personifies
memory - The Ghosts head is lit up to represent illumination and the power of free will we
have to put this light out and cut out the past. Scrooge attempts to do this but many positive
and negative lessons come from the past.
When Scrooge is with the Ghost of Christmas Past is where we first see him show any
emotion. Your lip is trembling, and what is that upon your cheek? said the spirit. Scrooge is
embarrassed as he preffers to stay confined and repress his emotions, he mutters and
claims it was a pimple.
the Christmas Present is a personification of generosity it represents the generosity of
material goods but mainly spiritual and kindness. Present has an important impact on
Scrooge as he learns what he is missing out on and how other people view him, and the
effect he has on the people he interacts with.
The final Ghost could also be seen as having the greatest impact on Scrooge. The Ghost of
Christmas yet to come personifies the end of time or could be seen as representing death.
Dickens invites the reader to form an individual opinion on the good the ghost brings.
Another character that could be seen as having the greatest impact on Scrooge is Tiny Tim.
In my opinion Tiny Tim has the greatest impact on Scrooge. When Scrooge inquires into the
fate of Tiny Tim. Tell me spirit what is Tiny Tims fate. This invites the reader to start to
believe Scrooge has a chance of salvation.
Tiny Tim is the son of Cratchits who represent the poor in the novel but still a full of joy and
are grateful of each others company.
The first step of Scrooges redemption occurs when his figurative adoption of Tiny Tim
happens. He becomes a second father to him.
Dickens impliys with this novel that nobody is too far past redemption and everyone can
have a chance of redemption. The redemption of Scrooge is only possible through free will
and the good will of the other characters. Scrooges redemption is laughed at and made a
mockery out of but when he states let them laugh it shows he is a truly changed man. He is
no longer bitter but generous to the people around him. I will live in the past the present and
the future. This suggests all three of the ghosts have had a great and important impact on
him. He has learnt from all the three ghosts as they all had a different meaning and purpose.
All 3 ghosts were successful.
Marleys Ghost could also be seen as part of Scrooges change as he warns him I wear the
chains forged in life This scares Scrooge and makes him need to change.
Overall I think these characters all played a key role in Scrooges redemption, and Scrooge
would not have been able to change for the better without him.
This is a thoughtful and thorough response, although closer focus on fewer characters may
have been advantageous. Nevertheless, the sustained discussion, including some rather
bolt-onreferences to historical context, represents achievement solidly in Band 3, with a
mark of 13, and 2 for SPaG.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 52

Unit 2b foundation tier essay response


Blood Brothers
Who do you think is the better mother, Mrs Johnstone or Mrs Lyons? Give reasons for what
you say, and refer to events from throughout the play to support your answer.
I think Mrs Johnstone is a better mother because firstly when she gives Edward away she
does it because she thinks about his well being And he wont need worry about where his
next meal is coming from. This shows that she has thought about what would be the right
thing to do for the child because at least one of her children will have proper education, toys
and most of all a nice house And if he makes too much noise outside in the garden the
neighbours wont mind. She gives Eddie away not just for his well being but also for her
other children. This shows that she is caring because rather than losing all the children she
would only lose one but yet she wont because the deal was she would be able to see him
And Ill be able to see him And Ill be able to see him right.
She tries to keep her children out of trouble. This is seen in Acts 1 and 2 she sometimes
does this by bribing the children and other times by ordering them Mickey! What did I tell
you, dont go near the park. This shows that she is a caring mother because she doesnt
want her child to get into any trouble firstly from the police and secondly so he doesnt mix
with the Lyons family.
In Act 2 she bribes the two boys Sammy and Mickey by telling them that if they stay out of
trouble she will make them their favourite dinner, Ill cook you your favourite dinner boys,
just stay out of trouble.
I would say that she is a very good mother because she tends to know a lot about her
childrens private life And our Sammy goes dancing, he has a thing for red heads. We are
able to see this again with Mickey this time when she is hustling him to get ready for school.
She does this by saying Is it Linda, who youve been dreaming about? She does this
because she knows Mickey would get embarrassed and want to leave the house faster,
which actually works because he does go out faster. This also shows that she is not only
doing it to embarrass him but so he goes to school because she thinks without education he
is going nowhere.
She also tries to protect her children even when she knows that they have done wrong. I
think she does this because she doesnt want anyone to say anything bad about her children
And our Sammy has burnt down the school, but I think its the teachers fault. This shows
that she is willing to deny anything wrong that the children do by blaming it on someone else.
This also shows that at times she can be reckless.
When she gives the locket with a picture of Mickey inside it to Mickey, it shows how much
she cares for each and everyone of her children. She does this so Edward will have
something to remember Mickey by.
We see that she cares for Edward as much as the other children because in one of the
songs she sings she says, And I miss that other child of mine, I sometimes wonder what he
is doing.
This is a detailed and engaged response, with fairly good coverage of the text, although the
ending is not really addressed. Nevertheless, there is clear focus throughout, and
judgements are supported by apt references to the text. These qualities place it at the top of
Band 4 (Foundation tier) with a mark of 17, and a SPaG mark of 3.

GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE TEACHERS' GUIDE 53

Further examples of candidates exam responses for both Unit 1 and Unit 2a and 2b can be
found in our CPD material which is on our secure website:
www.wjecservices.co.uk
Past papers and marking schemes can also be located on our secure website. Our
specimen assessment materials include further examples of question papers for the
externally assessed Units:
http://www.wjec.co.uk/uploads/publications/8323.pdf

Acknowledgements and thanks


I am grateful to Stuart Sage, Mair Lewis and Margaret Graham for their contributions to this
online resource, and the centres that gave us permission to reproduce students work.
Nancy Hutt
Subject Officer

GCSE English Literature Teachers Guide (Unitised)/HT


28 October 2013