«EXEMPLAR CANDIDATE ANSWERS FROM THE 2013 GCE ENGLISH LITERATURE UNIT F661 EXAMINATION WITH EXAMINER COMMENTARY SEPTEMBER 2014 BRINGING ENGLISH TO ...»
AS/A LEVEL ENGLISH LITERATURE
Unit F661 Poetry and Prose 1800 – 1945
FROM THE 2013 GCE ENGLISH
LITERATURE UNIT F661
BRINGING ENGLISH TO LIFE
A LEVEL ENGLISH LITERATURE EXEMPLAR CANDIDATE ANSWERS
CONTENTSSCRIPT A, GRADE C 4 SECTION A 4 SECTION B 6 SCRIPT B, GRADE C 8 SECTION A 8 SECTION B 10 SCRIPT C, GRADE B 12 SECTION A 12 SECTION B 14 SCRIPT D, GRADE A 16 SECTION A 16 SECTION B 18 SCRIPT E, GRADE A 20 SECTION A 20 SECTION B 22 SCRIPT F, GRADE A 24 SECTION A 24 SECTION B 26 SCRIPT G, GRADE A 28 SECTION A 28 SECTION B 30 2
A LEVEL ENGLISH LITERATURE EXEMPLAR CANDIDATE ANSWERS
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• This Candidate received an C grade Section A ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world … ’ Discuss ways in which Yeats presents a sense of the world changing in ‘The Second Coming’.
4 ‘The Second Coming’ is a clear insight into the way Yeats’ poetry had changed and developed over his lifetime. He had dramatically changed from writing Romantic poetry such as ‘The Stolen Child’ – “Come away with me O’ stolen child” which was ideallistic; to writing in a Modernist style, which was much more harsh and realistic – “Surely some revelation is at had”. This change in Yeats’ style of poetry reflects on how he felt about the world changing around him. His views were that Ireland was once a great nation, with its own morals and values but British invasions had disrupted Ireland’s previous beauty. September 1913 and Easter 1916 are both other example of Yeats’ beliefs about how Ireland had changed into a broken nation due to world war I and Britains invasion – “Romantic Irelands dead and gone, it’s with O’leary in the grave.” This Modernist change in Yeats’ poetry is reflected in ‘The Second Coming’ as it has no clear structure or rhyme scheme.
I think that this help to bring out Yeats’ raw emotions towards the changing world.
Yeats’ use of the description “the widening gyre” relates to philosophycal work he had previously focused on in his life and still believed in. The image of the “gyre” is symbolic of time changing in a series of spiralling motions all linked together. It is Yeats’ belief that this “gyre” and times changing is inevitable. ‘The Second Coming’ as a whole shows Yeats’ belief that a “terrible” change is going to occur in the world and is inevitable.
Repetition of certain words such as “turning” and “surely” help to emphasise Yeats’ view of the world spiralling out of control. As well as this, Yeats’ use of enjambment helps to show how the poem was written from his stream of consciousness, emphasising Yeats’ feelings towards the changing world. This enjambment also helps to speed up the tempo of the poem creating a desparate atmosphere.
The description of “indignant desert birds” links with ‘Leda and the Swan’ as, like ‘The Second Coming’, in ‘Leda and the Swan’ Yeats uses the image of ‘birds or “swans” to represent the cause of war and destruction, giving birds negative connotations within his poetry.
‘The Second Coming’ heavily revolves around religious beliefs and imagary. The description “blood-dimmed tide” gives an apocalyptic feel to the poem. Also, Yeats uses descriptions like “Spiritus Mundi troubles my sight” and “rough beast” which give the reader connetations relating to the devil and hell. This apocalyptic imagary creates a negative view of the changing world.
The poem ends with a rhetorical question – “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” This gives the poem a eerie atmosphere and creates a feeling of uncertainty about what is going to happen in Yeats’ view of a ever changing world. The fact that is has ended on a question, leaves the poem unanswered, giving the reader views that the world is continuing to change and has not yet stopped.
COMMENTARY The introduction to this answer competently outlines ideas about change in Ireland’s history and in Yeats’s poetry; references to other poems are briefly made at this stage and lack detailed exploration. The candidate’s comment that the ‘Modernist change in Yeats’s poetry is reflected in “The Second Coming” as it has no clear structure or rhyme scheme’ is flawed; the structure of the poem is in fact strikingly clear. References to the ‘gyre’ are more successful, since this image is closely associated with historical change and upheaval. The discussion of repetition and enjambment which follows is generally developed, and would need more precision and exemplification to move into the B grade. The link to bird imagery in ‘Leda and the Swan’ is competent and clearly made. The final two paragraphs offer a competent analysis of the poem’s ‘apocalyptic’ tone, and focus sensibly on the poem’s concluding with a question, thus creating ‘a feeling of uncertainty about what is going to happen’. This answer needs fuller treatment of other poems and a more detailed exploration of language, imagery and verse form to gain a higher grade.
Section B ‘In Frankenstein, a man arrogantly takes on the responsibility of giving birth, and the female characters pay for his arrogance.’ How far and in what ways do you agree with this view?
‘Frankenstein’ is written within a frame narrative consisting of three different perspectives. However, Shelley deliberatly used an all male narrative in order to express her feelings about men in society. In the 1800s, when Shelley lived, men took the majority of power and the idea of ‘separate spheres’ for men and women were in place. Shelley was heavily influenced by her mother – Mary Walstoncraft – who was a huge figurehead in the suffragette movement. Within the novel ‘Frankenstein’ she created a patriarcle society in which only men were heard. Gilburt and Gubar once said the novel showed “women being ignored in a patriarcle and misogynistic society.” It is important to note that Shelley originally published ‘Frankenstein’ anonomously, some would say that this shows how little power women had in society.
Frankenstein takes a womens role in society away by creating life in the novel using electricity. However, his creation fails due to lack of nurture from its creator, Frankenstein. It calls itself an “abortion” and Frankenstein calls it “hideous” and a “wretch”. In many ways I feel it is not the women who suffer the consequences of Frankenstein’s selfish actions, but actually the creature itself at it is left to live a life of isolation and misery, without the choice or opportunities to improve its life, like Frankenstein – “cursed, cursed creator” “I am a miserable wretch”.
However, I am not disagreeing with the fact that the female characters do suffer for Frankenstein’s actions in the novel.
The majority of the women in the novel die due to Frankenstein’s unthoughtout and wreckless decisions. His choices led to his mother and Elizabeth being killed by the creature as an act of revenge, as well as his cowardess to not stand up for Justine in court led to her execution. The only woman to survive is Saffie who has previously escaped from a strongly patriarcle society, so is not part of Frankenstein’s mistakes.
Although, I cannot ignore the fact that as well as the majority of women dying in Frankenstein a number of male character’s die due to his wrongful actions, such as Cleval. This means that it would be wrong to say that the women were the only characters who suffered due to Frankenstein’s actions.
Some would even argue that in actual fact it is Frankenstein himself who suffered the most as he lost all he had due to his creation. However, I would completely disagree with this. Frankenstein had the chance to make the most of the nurturing & caring family he had around him, but instead isolated himself and caused their deaths through his choice to create a new life, aswell as failing to control it once it had been created.
In conclusion I do agree that the women in the novel suffered due to Frankenstein’s arrogance. However, I also that it was also many male characters which suffered in the novel, it was not just the women who paid for Frankenstein’s actions.
COMMENTARY The candidate starts the answer by writing about feminist contexts for the novel. The comments are generalised and sometimes wrong: for example, Mary Wollstonecraft is described as ‘a huge figurehead in the suffragette movement’. The candidate argues competently that both female and male characters suffer as a result of Frankenstein’s arrogance, especially the Creature;
s/he introduces and dismisses the idea that Frankenstein suffers too. The argument is straightforward and generally lacking in development and detail; there is some quotation relating to the Creature, but most of the answer remains at some distance from the novel, and reads more like an outline than a fully realised essay. To gain a higher grade, the candidate needs to offer a fuller and more detailed treatment of the text.
• This Candidate received an C grade Section A ‘… and though I knew that Spring Would come again, I knew it had not come … ’ Discuss ways in which Thomas presents hope in ‘March’.
3 March was written in early 1915 by Edward Thomas. Although the basis of this poem is hope, there is a sense of more a negative tone as well.
Edward Thomas portrays hope through a variety of techniques such as, in the first stanza, how he uses language to show his definite outlook; how ‘I Know’ that ‘spring will’. This seemingly iron hard belief shows Thomas’ undeniable hope that his wish will come true, that spring will return.
Thomas uses a juxtaposition between ideas and images to create his hope, and a hopeful outlook, when he states that the primroses were ‘torn by the hail’ which is then contrasted against the positive ‘The sun filled earth and heaven with a great light’ in the next line. Thomas’ jump from a negative death metaphor moving to one of rebirth, joy and life creates the sense that he is looking forward to the future with a happier and more hopeful ideal.
The Sun is an image that Thomas uses a fair amount in his poetry and here he gives an image of the ‘mighty sun wept tears of joy’, whilst using very positive diction here in ‘mighty’ and ‘Joy’ we also see a similarity between this poem and ‘The Sun Used to Shine’, in which we see the same image of the Sun shining out, signifying both hope and happiness.
An image that seemed to display hope was the one of the thrushes singing, shown through ‘on boughs they sang/, on gates, on ground’ this shows us the hope Thomas felt as thrushes are an image of innocence, innocence trying to live in a cold world, and he developes this image by showing their strength to sing in all different places against the dark and the cold.
Another poem that we can compare this to is ‘The Glory’ due to their similar idea that there is sweetness in their world, for ‘March’ it is the singing that is sweet, but for ‘The Glory’ it is the morning, both images of hope and happiness and perhaps a new beginning.
In the final stanza of the poem, Thomas re-affirms his earlier definitive outlook in how ‘they [The Thrushes] knew’ and how ‘I [Thomas] also’ but also expresses his hope onto a time frame by ‘Saying that spring returns, perhaps tomorrow.’ In saying ‘tomorrow’ Thomas shows his hope that Spring returns ‘any moment now’ in essence, giving us a sense of his optimistic expectation.
As Critic H. Coombe infers ‘Thomas uses external influences to show his inner feelings’, and here his natural imagery showing rebirth and energy show his hopeful nature. What was interesting about the verse form was that his definitive, affirming stanzas were relatively short and punchy, whereas his middle stanzas was longer, using imagery in order to convey his reasons for feeling this, such as the sun or the singing.
Overall I think Thomas is trying to show his hope by ‘using natural images which infer either life or strength, in some cases both.
COMMENTARY This answer offers a clear and firm approach to the question. Brief quotations support a straightforward argument that positive diction and imagery indicate a hopeful attitude. The link made to ‘The sun used to shine’ is apt, but again straightforward: the candidate points out that in both poems ‘we see the same image of the sun shining out, signifying both hope and happiness’;