This edition of Othello is a great way for students to learn about Shakespeare’s great tragedy and prepare for their Leaving Certificate exam

Othello – Leaving Certificate English

This edition of the Gill Shakespeare Focus ’s Othello sets students up for success in understanding Shakespeare’s great tragedy and preparing them for their Leaving Certificate examination.

Only edition to include comparative Study exemplars!

Why Othello?

Focused scene-by-scene analysis:.

  • Summary and in-depth Critical Analysis
  • Detailed study of Shakespeare’s Language
  • Key Quotes plus commentary
  • Exam-style questions and Sample Paragraphs with Examiner’s Comments

Essential study notes:

  • Characters – concise analysis
  • Central Themes and Issues
  • Dramatic Techniques (Imagery, Soliloquies, Dramatic Irony)
  • Macbeth as a Comparative Text – modes defined, detailed explanatory notes, exemplar paragraphs, using key quotes, essay plans and FAQs on successful answering
  • Exam Focus – purposeful use of key scenes, paragraphing succinctly, quoting effectively
  • Writing Top-Grade Essays – advice and prompts for responding to the question and planning the essay
  • Full Sample Essays – marked and graded with invaluable Examiner’s Comments
  • Sample Leaving Certificate exam questions relevant to the latest changes in the exam

Leaving Cert Notes and Sample Answers

Leaving Cert Comparative Study – Theme or Issue – Othello, A Doll’s House and The King’s Speech #625Lab

“some texts leave readers with a largely idealistic impression of a theme or issue, while others leave readers with a more realistic or believable impression of the same theme or issue.”, with reference to the above statement, compare the impressions of the same theme or issue you formed when studying three texts on your comparative course. support your answer by reference to the texts..

Angelina Ryle as Desdemona and Marcus Bale as Othello in ‘s “The Othello Session”. (Photo by Joleen Cronin)

buy leaving cert English notes

Leaving Cert English essays are marked using “PCLM”

Clarity of purpose:, coherence of delivery, efficiency of language use, accuracy of mechanics.

625 points Leaving Cert Notes

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  • Post author: Martina
  • Post published: September 26, 2017
  • Post category: #625Lab / A Doll's House / Comparative / English / Othello / PCLM / The King's Speech

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Othello - Essay Samples And Topic Ideas For Free

Othello is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, exploring themes of jealousy, betrayal, and racism. Essays on “Othello” could delve into character analyses, thematic explorations, and the play’s historical and social context. They might analyze the play’s treatment of race and the character of Othello as a tragic hero. Discussions could also explore the play’s modern-day relevance, adaptations, and its reflection of, or comment on, the societal norms and racial attitudes of both Shakespeare’s time and today. A substantial compilation of free essay instances related to Othello you can find at PapersOwl Website. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

Role and Character of Iago in Othello

In Othello by William Shakespeare, Iago a power hungry ancient drives the plot through his cruel and manipulative ways. In the play Othello and Desdemona are happily married, Othello gives Cassio a promotion to lieutenant, he chooses Cassio over Iago and gives Iago a more trusted and honorable job. Through manipulation Iago is able to bring the downfall of every character he pleases. Iago uses subtle cruelty to manipulate other characters into doing heinous acts which may of otherwise seemed […]

Women’s Role in Othello

Othello presents us with three female leads; Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca. The way the play is worded implies woman as somewhat slanderous and adulterous and yet in the beginning depicts women mostly as virtuous. All these characters are implied to be whores through the play. During Act 2, Scene 2, Othello’s wife is being referred to as “a maid that paragons description and wild fame” and that “she excels the quirks of blazoning pens”. This states that she is so […]

Iago: the Main Antagonist

In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, the main antagonist Iago guides the audience through his path of deception to justify his revenge towards Othello. As a result of Iago being humiliated and disenfranchised by Othello, he takes from Othello what he values most; the security he feels in Desdemona's untainted love and commitment. Iago justifies his action though: his jealously of Cassio being appointed as lieutenant instead of him, the misconception he has that Othello had sex with his […]

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Misogyny and Violence in Othello

William Shakespeare's play “Othello” makes it clear that women have been vulnerable to male slander and assault for ages. Othello is a story of domestic abuse and male violence. Male violence remains a tragedy for many girls and women. Many victims of intimate partner violence will recognize their experiences in this play. The terrifying transformation of a beloved into an aggressor, the closing off of escape routes, the urgent assertion of fidelity. The #MeToo movement opens up a new way […]

Othello Manipulation Essay

Manipulation is all around us; we frequently do not notice it because it is hidden very well. Humans manipulate others in order to get their requests, they expect them to reveal their flaws to use it against them. In Othello, Iago demonstrates he is the master of manipulation over all characters who had formerly trusted and confined him. Shakespeare’s Iago effectively showcases how humans can use others weaknesses to serve their demands which causes them to expose their faults. Shakespeare […]

Shakespeare: Obedience and Powerless in Women

In Hamlet and Othello, Shakespeare criticizes the feminine issues that were present in his time, bringing awareness to the standard roles and ideal expectations of women by characterizing them in a space of being obedient and powerless. As women are portrayed as having ideal feminine values such as chastity and passiveness, the frailty of women is also brought to the surface. On the other hand, Shakespeare also seems to be suggesting that internal destruction is generated in the sense that […]

Theme of Jealousy in Iago, Roderigo, and Othello’s Characters

Shakespeare explores the theme of jealousy in Othello through Iago,Roderigo, and Othello. Iago starts off the jealousy theme in Othello when he gets jealous of Cassio. Othello puts Cassio as his 2nd in command while he signed Iago to be his ensign which means third in command. Iago then goes crazy and starts plotting to ruin Othello’s marriage and get Cassio fired. He then starts putting words in Othello’s head and starts to make him question everything. “O, beware, my […]

Racism and Racial Prejudice in Othello

In the book, Othello, by William Shakespeare, we see a big impact of racism and racial prejudice. Othello shows a lot of this and how it gets in the way by restraining love in society. He is a black man who is also a great and successful war soldier. He dedicates himself to serve society's goals by fighting for his country. Even though, Othello is a Moor, he is the most hardworking and the most respected. When it comes to […]

Imbalance of Power between Men and Women

Social imbalance can be termed as the presence of inequality opportunities as well as rewards for different gender statuses and social function within the society. The act of imbalance can be attributed to various important dimensions that involve cultures, employment opportunities as well as earnings. Furthermore, an aspect of inequality much revolves around power which is primarily discussed in this paper. The power imbalance between men and women in areas such as religion not only occur in western and British […]

Deaths of Characters in Othello

How many people die on Othello? Knowing Shakespeare, he kills off a majority of his characters. In Othello alone, eighty-five point seven percent of the roles die in the end. Whether killed by a sword or strangled out of jealousy, there were no justified reasonings for the deaths. Emilia, Desdemona, and Othello all fall blind to the truth and die because of it. Desdemona, one of Shakespeare's more naive and innocent character, was killed by her own husband in the […]

Reasons of Othello’s Tragedy

Othello's tragedy is a product of not just Iago, but himself. Though Iago may appear to be the primary cause of Othello's downfall, based on how manipulative, evil, and deceptive Iago was throughout the story. It can also be said, after having read the story, Othello's own insecurities were the product of his own self demise. A combination of putting trust into Iago due to male pride, his lack of confidence of Desdemona and the perception of infidelity and racial […]

Was Iago a Real Villain?

The Considering Iago as a "Villain" in  the play Othello, the character Iago plays a main role in the destruction of Othello and all of those around him. People could say that Iago's actions are simply a scheming liar and that he is a purely evil character. Others say Iago's talent for understanding and manipulating the desires of those around him that makes him both a powerful and a compelling figure that represent some greater force. We find soon in […]

Description of Othello’s Character

Othello is the main character in the play Othello by William Shakespeare. He is a well-respected African general in the Venice army and is happily married to Desdemona, a white woman. Othello being African already makes him an outsider and highlights racism in Venice. Throughout this play, there are slurs that have been used to describe Othello, "Moor, is an example of one. Even though Shakespeare did not make race the main theme in the play it is a huge […]

Iago’s Jealousy in Othello

William Shakespeare is prolific for his plays of love, revenge, deceit and jealousy. Among his most celebrated plays is the tragedy Othello, in which the themes of jealousy and deceit play a central role. In Othello, one of his most recognized tragedies was revolving around the central theme of jealousy and deceit. The themes of jealousy and deceit go with love. Love consumes all those who take part in it and in Othello’s case, his love for Desdemona has blinded […]

Literary Devices Used Othello

In Othello by William Shakespeare, Othello considers and thinks about all his actions before going through with them. By analyzing his soliloquies, we can understand his thoughts, and his reasons behind his actions. In act 5 scene 2 the first soliloquy Othello contemplated him killing his wife. This monologue gives you an inside scoop of Othello's thinking process because he doesn't want to kill his wife but feels as if he needs to. Othello makes choices that he might not […]

Lies, Revenge and Betrayal in Othello

Lies are extremely common in our society today, with millions of people masking their true intentions. In Shakespeare's play titled Othello, one of the characters, Iago, is no different and in fact the same as those deceptive individuals in society. Behind his act as a trustworthy friend, Iago is a manipulative and deceptive character creating disorder and causing many mishaps to occur. Iago uses many acts of manipulation to undermine every single character's weaknesses to get exactly what he wants, […]

Insanity Within the Plays of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare in his many plays and other pieces of literature created some of the most well thought out characters of all time. The characters often had reasons for what they did or what they thought, shedding new light on what it meant to actually be “insane”. The characters’ motives were often shown during his stories, Because of that, Shakespeare, through his use of literature and understanding of the human mind, shaped western culture’s perception of insanity from negative feelings […]

Othello as an Ideal Representation of the Tragic Hero

William Shakespeare's Othello is a clear representation of the downfall of a tragic hero. Set in Venice and Cyprus during the 16th century, Othello, a moor, deals with the manipulative actions of a general of the Venetian army, Iago. Due to losing his desired position of being Othello's lieutenant to another solider Cassio, he plots is revenge in deviousness. Othello becomes persuaded by Iago 's rumors, framing, and miscommunications, causing him to kill Desdemona, his believed unfaithful wife. In realization […]

Sexism in Shakespeare’s Play Othello

"In the book, Othello written by Shakespeare, there is a main theme of sexism present throughout the book, Although the book was written in the 1600s, and there have been great decreases in sexism around the world, many of these ideas and scenarios are still present to this day. Sexism is defined as prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. Sexism has been present for centuries, in many different forms, such as wage gaps, gender […]

Power and Control in Othello

In modern society, there are instances where one person has power over another. It is found in professions, school, and everyday life. What is meant by control is having some sort of influence in the way you act, make money, or are seen by others. This in no way means that someone completely owns another person. Power and control of others can be found by lying to others for benefits, men taking a higher role than women, and higher-ranked people […]

Othello Gullible Essay

The start of the Renaissance marked a time of a creative movement that promoted the greatest artists and creators to come forth and produce the best that their minds could think up. One of these artists that today still hold a position of being greatly respected and admired by the public is William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was a poet, writing over 154 sonnets, and a playwright, and in each of the 37 plays, he was able to “capture the complete range […]

With Love, Violence and Vengeance

Through the twisted minds of human nature, love is shown through acts of violence and vengeance committed by mankind. William Shakespeare's, Othello and Homer’s The Odyssey violence and vengeance are portrayed through jealousy, prejudice, justice, and honor. Their roles are woven throughout these books to portray the idea that love is a violent concept. Violence and vengeance can be found in several ways. It can be expressed physically, verbally, and mentally. Othello shows how envy and jealousy can overpower and […]

Importance of Literary Devices in Othello

This passage highlights Iago's character through the use of diction, imagery, irony, and other instances of figurative language. In this exchange, Iago continues to inconspicuously accuse Desdemona of being unfaithful to Othello and accuse Cassio of being disloyal to his superiors. He inserts various remarks at different times to execute this plan. At the end of this echange, Iago has effectively created an unfaithful and untruthful image of Cassio and Desdemona, and planted a seed of jealousy and doubt in […]

A Short Review of the Othello Play

In Act 1 of Othello, we are introduced to Iago and Roderigo. Iago is upset because Othello gave Cassio the position Iago wanted. Iago felt Cassio was not qualified for the position because he had never been in actual situations unlike Iago. The true colors of Iago are shown because this is the first time the audience has been exposed to the deceitful side of Iago. He talks about only following Othello just so he can turn his back on […]

My Attitude to Othello and Iago

Iago the antagonist within Othello written by William Shakespeare. I am so engaged with Iago because I want to secretly be like him. To get away with all the destruction he exerts. I get bored of the good guys always succeeding. He embodies both attraction and repulsion. The character of dramatic irony gropes us into his story and makes me agree that the most effective villain is one that both attracts and repels, which is why a villain is a […]

Characters in the Play Othello

The play Othello written by Shakespeare in the 1600s takes place in Venice, and Cyprus an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Shakespeare’s tale focuses on love, jealousy, and betrayal. Main characters being; Iago, Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Bianca, and others. While some of these main characters go through some minor and big changes throughout the play. The character Othello undergoes many changes from start to finish, although some of the other characters in this play have a part in the way […]

A True Reason of Othello Demise

The novel Othello is about a General man named Othello and his wife Desdemona, just trying to be a normal couple, but problems occur when Iago starts to stir things up and starts to put lies in Othello's head. Iago starts to stir things up because Iago wanted to get the rank as lieutenant but Othello thought Cassio deserved it more and gave it to him so Iago wants revenge and wants to mess up Othello's relationship with Desdemona. Iago […]

Racism in Othello

Throughout history, men have the tendency to seek power. They may initially intend on pursuing the greater good, but eventually, pride rules out. And according to Cornelius Tacitus, senator of the Roman Empire, “the lust for power, for dominating others, inflames the heart more than any other passion” (Tacitus). This desire that is stained within our human nature gradually instigates tension between individuals and is largely influenced by race. Therefore, while those who triumph usually become centered, those without, get […]

Othello as an Aristotelean Tragedy

Legendary playmakers, such as Aristotle and Sophocles, held an influential position in the history of theatrical performances. In creating works like Oedipus the King, such experts seemingly knew how to intertwine human emotion with the actions of the narrative. This prowess eventually adopted by other artists led to the creation of some of the greatest plays in history. Interestingly, most of these plays entailed a protagonist, covered in splendor and valor throughout the play. The lead character often gained high […]

Prominent Theme in Shakespeare’s Othello

Within the play "Othello, written by William Shakespeare, the main and prominent theme of the play concerns with Othello's primary flaw, his jealousy. Thus, it is evident within the play the term "The Green-Eyed Monster whom Iago refers as jealousy suggests why The role of jealousy within Othello is focused from his delusional jealousy described as "Othello Syndrome, how his jealousy can resonate with readers and the connection with real-life marriages. In Shakespeare's Othello, he introduces the term of the […]

Originally published :1905
Author :William Shakespeare
Adapted from :Un Capitano Moro
Characters :Iago, Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo, Brabantio
Location :Venice sparknotes.com

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How To Write an Essay About Othello

Understanding the play 'othello'.

To write an effective essay about Shakespeare's 'Othello,' it's crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the play. 'Othello' is a tragedy that explores themes such as jealousy, love, betrayal, and racism. Start by familiarizing yourself with the plot, characters, and Shakespeare's language. It's important to understand the historical and cultural context in which Shakespeare wrote the play. Research the Elizabethan era's attitudes towards race and gender, as these are central themes in 'Othello.' Understanding the play's context and themes will provide a solid foundation for your essay.

Formulating a Thesis Statement

Your essay should be driven by a clear, concise thesis statement. This statement should offer a unique perspective on 'Othello.' You might choose to focus on a character analysis of Othello or Iago, explore the theme of jealousy, or examine the play's treatment of race and ethnicity. Whatever focus you choose, your thesis should guide your analysis and provide a central argument for your essay.

Gathering Evidence from the Play

Once you have your thesis, gather evidence from the play to support your argument. This involves closely reading the text to find relevant quotes, dialogues, and scenes. For example, if you're discussing the theme of betrayal, identify instances in the play where betrayal is evident and examine the consequences of these actions. This evidence will form the backbone of your essay and strengthen your arguments.

Analyzing Shakespeare's Techniques

In your essay, analyze how Shakespeare uses various techniques to convey themes and develop characters. This might include his use of language, imagery, symbolism, and dramatic structure. For instance, explore how Shakespeare uses irony or foreshadowing to enhance the tragic elements of the story. Your analysis should provide insight into how Shakespeare's techniques contribute to the overall meaning and impact of 'Othello.'

Concluding the Essay

Conclude your essay by summarizing the main points of your analysis and restating your thesis. Your conclusion should tie together your analysis and reinforce your overall argument. It's also an opportunity to reflect on the broader significance of 'Othello' in terms of its relevance to contemporary audiences or its place in Shakespeare's body of work.

Reviewing and Refining Your Essay

After writing your essay, review and refine it for clarity and coherence. Check for grammatical and spelling errors, and ensure that your essay flows logically from one point to the next. Consider seeking feedback from peers or instructors to further improve your essay. A well-written essay on 'Othello' should not only demonstrate your understanding of the play but also your ability to engage critically with Shakespeare's work.

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Comparative essay structure

UPDATE – September 2014.

Again and again it’s been pointed out at marking conferences and in marking schemes that YOU MUST RESPOND TO THE QUESTION. Stock learned off answers are not being rewarded – and rightfully so! Using what you know to offer your opinion is what counts – agree, disagree, partially agree, partially disagree – it’s doesn’t matter as long as your essay is directly responding to the Q asked throughout and is doing so in a comparative way.

Here’s an extract from the Chief Examiner’s Report

“ examiners were pleased when they saw candidates trust in their own personal response and demonstrate a willingness to challenge the ‘fixed meaning’ of texts. The best answers managed to remain grounded, both in the question asked and in the texts ”.

Examiners complained that students had pre-prepared answers which they refused to adapt to the question asked. Don’t get confused here: in the comparative section you have to have done a lot of preparation prior to the exam. The similarities and differences are unlikely to simply occur to you on the day under exam conditions and the structure of comparing and contrasting, weaving the texts together using linking phrases and illustrating points using key moments is not something you can just DO with no practice. It’s a skill you have to learn. But you MUST be willing to change, adapt, and select from what you know to engage fully with the question asked.

This compliment, followed by a warning, was included in the 2013 report:

“ Many examiners reported genuine engagement with the terms of the questions, combined with a fluid comparative approach. As in previous years, examiners also noted that a significant minority of candidates were hampered by a rigid and formulaic approach “.

At the 2011 marking conference, a huge emphasis was placed on students engaging with the question – and the point was made that all too often they DON’T. You may have a general structure in your head but if this structure doesn’t suit the question that comes up DON’T just doggedly write what you’re prepared anyway. Use what you know to answer the Q. The basic structure will remain (text 1 key moment, link, text 2 km, link, text 3 km, general observation) – it’s not rocket science. But you must prove (if you want a grade above 70% in comparative) that you can engage with the question throughout your answer (not justthrow it in @ beginning and end) and conclude by showing how your essay engaged with the question asked. So the moral of the story is, if you puke up a pre-prepared answer & completely ignore the question, don’t be surprised when you then do badly!

Anyway, you still want to know what the basic comparative structure IS but remember you do not know what you will write until you see the question. Even then, your brain should be on fire non-stop as you write your answer. This is not about ‘remembering’ stuff – this is about knowing it so well, that it’s all there in your brain and you just have to shuffle it about so that it makes sense as a response to whatever question is asked.

Sorry, I don’t intend to scare you – but nor do I want to you be under some illusion that you just write one essay for each comparative mode during the year and that will do. IT WON’T…

UPDATE OVER

Right, here goes…

The quality of your links is REALLY SUPREMELY important. This section of the course is called ‘comparative studies’ for a reason. The more detailed a link is the more marks you’ll get for it. Thus just using the words ‘similarly’ or ‘by contrast’ isn’t really enough. Link individual characters from different texts, establish the ways they or their circumstances are similar but also point out subtle differences. You can extend this comparison throughout your paragraph/section if necessary (in fact this is a good idea) – but don’t simply repeat yourself.

Here’s some general advice on how you might structure your comparative essay, but I repeat, adapt, adapt adapt to the question asked .

Introduction:

Theme or Issue : Address the Q, introduce your theme, then your texts – genre, name, author and mention the central character who you will focus on in your discussion of this theme.

General Vision & Viewpoint : Address the Q, introduce the idea of GV&V (briefly), then your texts – genre, name, author and mention the major emotions you associate with each.

Cultural Context: Address the Q, introduce the idea of cultural context (briefly), then your texts – genre, name, author, plus where and when they are set. You may want to mention the aspects of cultural context you intend to discuss.

Literary Genre: Address the Q, briefly introduce what literary genre means, then introduce your texts – genre, name, author. Outline the aspects of literary genre you will discuss (depends on the Q asked).

Look at the following examples. Imagine the Q is “Exploring a theme or issue can add to our enjoyment of a text”

“I found it fascinating to explore the central theme of plagiarism in my comparative texts. In the novel ‘Old School ‘ (OS) by Tobias Wolff I was intrigued by the narrator’s self delusion after he entered a competition with a short story he had not written. By contrast, I found the film ‘Generous’ (GEN) directed by Frank Faulkner quite disturbing. It explores a young girl’s obsession with becoming famous as she ‘borrows’ outrageous online articles to make her blog more popular. Finally I found the play “IMHO” by Judy Price hilarious. It looks at how we all ‘copy’ ideas from others and pass them off as our own at dinner parties. Thus exploring this theme greatly added to my enjoyment of each text”.

Now look at how this changes for a different mode. Imagine the Q is “The general vision & viewpoint of a text often offers the reader both joy & despair”

“ All of my comparative texts took me on a rollercoaster ride through the highs and lows experienced by the central characters . In the novel “Old School” (OS) by Tobias Wolff I experienced the narrator’s joy at the visit of Robert Frost, and his despair when his cheating was uncovered. Similarly, the film “Generous” (GEN) directed by Frank Faulkner begins in elation for Emily as her blog goes viral but ends in complete mental and physical collapse. By contrast, the lighthearted play “IMOH” by Judy Price offers a hilarious look at the falseness of modern dinner parties and the only despair the audience feels is lamenting the complete lack of self-awareness of the central characters. Thus the vision & viewpoint of each text offered me a  wide and varied range of emotions  from joy to depair”.

Now look at how this changes again: Imagine the Q is: “Characters are often in conflict with the world or culture they inhabit”

“ The novel ‘Old School’ (OS) written by Tobias Wolff is set in an elite American boarding school in the 1960’s and the unnamed narrator certainly comes into conflict with his world. This text explores cultural issues such as social class, ethnic identity and authority figures. Similar issues are explored in the film “Generous” (GEN) directed by Frank Faulkner and set in modern day London as Emily comes into conflict with her parents, peers and teachers. My third text the play “IMOH” by Judy Price set in Celtic Tiger Ireland also looks at the conflicts which occur as a result of people’s social snobbery and their desire to escape their cultural identity and heritage. In this text the major authority figure is Susan, the host of the dinner party, who desperately tries to keep her guests in line. Thus I absolutely agree that these three texts made me more aware of the ways in which people can come into conflict with the world or culture they inhabit”.

Finally look at this literary genre question : “The creation of memorable characters is part of the art of good story-telling” .

The unnamed narrator in Tobias Wolff’s novel ‘Old School’ (OS) is a fascinating and memorable character because he is struggling to come to terms with his own flaws. Similarly, the film ‘Generous’ (GEN) directed by Frank Faulkner has a central character Emily who we emphathise with despite her many flaws. Finally, the play ‘IMHO’ by Judy Price with its emsemble cast creates many memorable characters but for the purposes of this essay I will focus on the dinner party host Susan. These characters live on in our memories because of the writer’s choice of narrative point of view, because of the vivid imagery we associate with them and because the climax of the action revolves around their character.

NEXT you need to think about structuring the essay itself. The most important thing to decide in advance is what aspect you wish to compare for each page/section but this may need to change to adapt to the Q.

For theme or issue you might plan it out like this but at all times focus on answering the Q:

  • How is this theme introduced? How does this theme affect the central character/characters?
  • How is this theme developed? Do the central characters embrace or fight against it? How?
  • Do other characters influence how this theme unfolds?
  • How does the text end & what are our final impressions of this theme as a result?

Asking the same question of each text allows you to come up with the all important links (similarities & differences).

For general vision & viewpoint you might plan as follows but at all times focus on answering the Q:

  • What view is offered of humanity (are the main characters likable or deplorable?)
  • What view is offered of society (is this society largely benign or does it negatively impact on the characters)
  • How does the text end & what vision are we left with (positive or negative) as a result?

Alternatively you could just take a beginning, middle, end approach but you must at all times focus on whether the vision/feelings/atmosphere is positive or negative and how this impacts on the reader/viewers experience.

For literary genre you must focus on the aspects mentioned in the question – possibly some of these:

  • Genre – diff between novel/play/film
  • Narrator / point of view
  • Characterisation
  • Chronology – flashback / flashforward
  • Climax / twist

For cultural context you must decide which of the following issues are most prominent in all three texts – try to find links before you decide. At all times focus on answering the Q asked

  • Social class / social status
  • Wealth / poverty
  • Job opportunities / emigration
  • Authority figures
  • Sex / Marriage (attitudes towards)
  • Gender roles
  • Stereotypes / Ethnic identity

You may find some overlap between 2 of these – for example social class often influences a person’s wealth or poverty; religion often effects attitudes towards sex and marriage; marriage can often be a financial necessity for those with limited job opportunities (mostly women, so this overlaps with gender roles). Choose your sections carefully so you don’t end up repeating yourself.

You might plan as follows for the example given above but everything depends on the texts & the question.

  • Social status
  • Ethnic identity
  • How does the text end? Do the main characters escape or remain constrained by their cultural context?

Once you’ve decided what sections to include your structure for each goes a little something like this:

STATEMENT – ALL 3 TEXTS e.g. All of the central characters are deeply aware of their social class and wish to ‘climb the ladder’ as it were in the hope that they will achieve recognition, the envy of their peers and ultimately a better life.

STATEMENT – TEXT 1 e.g. In OS, the narrator hides his background (he comes from a broken home) from his wealthier peers.

KEY MOMENT TEXT 1 e.g. This is evident when he discusses how, at school, your social class was defined not just by your clothes but also by how you spent your summers – in his case “working as a dishwasher in the kitchen crew at a YMCA camp” a fact which he vows never to reveal to his classmates.

LINKING PHRASE & STATEMENT TEXT 2 e.g. Similarly, in GEN, Emily comes from a broken home, but it is her family’s absolute impoverishment which she keeps hidden from her classmates. Like the narrator in OS, she fears their pity but unlike him she is already dealing with the harsh reality of being a social outcast at school.

KEY MOMENT TEXT 2 e.g. During one key moment she describes leaning down to tie her shoes, all the while talking, only to look up and find her friends have walked off and are now laughing at her for talking to thin air. Thus her desire to escape the limitations of her background is more urgent than in OS.

LINKING PHRASE & STATEMENT TEXT 3 e.g. By contrast, in IMHO, Jane, Lucy, Joel, Zach & Max all come from upper middle class backgrounds. Their social status is more secure than the narrator in OS or Emily in GEN, yet they are all obsessed with creating the impression that they have links to the aristocracy – or in Zach’s case, royalty.

KEY MOMENT TEXT 3 e.g. Several key moments spring to mind, the funniest of which is when Lucy boasts about the diamond necklace she’s wearing being a family heirloom bequeathed by her Aunt Tess, only to have one of the so-called diamonds fall into her soup. Joel the jeweller then delights in pointing out the evident ‘fake’ in the room (the woman AND the diamond).

STATEMENT ALL 3 & PERSONAL RESPONSE TO QUESTION ASKED e.g. Thus I found it fascinating, tragic and at times hilarious to see how all of these characters were so deeply affected by their obsession with their social status and to observe the conflicts – both internal & external – which resulted.

This all sounds very technical but if you break it down as follows it’s not so complicated (easy for me to say!)

STATEMENT ALL 3 TEXTS

STATEMENT TEXT 1 & KEY MOMENT

LINKING PHRASE & STATEMENT TEXT 2 & KEY MOMENT

LINKING PHRASE & STATEMENT TEXT 3 & KEY MOMENT

STATEMENT ALL 3 & PERSONAL RESPONSE TO QUESTION

Now look at how the paragraph/section flows when you put it all together.

All of the central characters are deeply aware of their social class and wish to ‘climb the ladder’ as it were in the hope that they will achieve recognition, the envy of their peers and ultimately a better life. In OS, the narrator hides his background (he comes from a broken home) from his wealthier peers. This is evident when he discusses how, at school, your social class was defined not just by your clothes but also by how you spent your summers – in his case “working as a dishwasher in the kitchen crew at a YMCA camp” a fact which he vows never to reveal to his classmates. Similarly, in GEN, Emily comes from a broken home, but it is her family’s absolute impoverishment which she keeps hidden from her classmates. Like the narrator in OS, she fears their pity but unlike him she is already dealing with the harsh reality of being a social outcast at school. During one key moment she describes leaning down to tie her shoes at her locker, all the while talking, only to look up and find her friends have walked off and are now laughing at her for talking to thin air. Thus her desire to escape the stigma of her background is more urgent than in OS. By contrast, in IMHO, Jane, Lucy, Joel, Zach & Max all come from upper middle class backgrounds. Their social status is more secure than for narrator in OS or Emily in GEN, yet they are all obsessed with creating the impression that they have links to the aristocracy – or in Zach’s case, royalty. S everal key moments spring to mind, the funniest of which is when Lucy boasts about the diamond necklace she’s wearing being a family heirloom bequeathed by her Aunt Tess, only to have one of the so-called diamonds fall into her soup. Joel the jeweller then delights in pointing out the evident ‘fakes’ in the room (the woman AND the diamond). Thus I found it fascinating, tragic and at times hilarious to see how all of these characters were so deeply affected by their obsession with their social status and to observe the conflicts – both internal & external – which resulted.

This paragraph only establishes that the characters want to hide or improve their social class. You could now look at some of their attempts to improve their social status.

If a paragraph gets too long, break it into two. The linking phrase will make it clear that you’re still talking about the same issue.

For the 30 / 40 marls question just take all of your statements & key moments for Text 1 and put them together, all the while answering the question and offering personal response. This is your 30 marks part.

Then take all of your statements & links for texts 2 & 3 and put them together, all the while answering the question and offering personal response. This is your 40 marks part. You will refer back, in passing, to Text 1 but only when establishing your links.

Also, I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: the more detailed a link is the more marks you’ll get for it. Thus just using the words ‘similarly’ or ‘by contrast’ isn’t really enough. Link individual characters from different texts, establish the ways they or their circumstances are similar but also point out subtle differences.

This structure applies no matter what the mode – theme or issue / general vision or viewpoint / cultural context / literary genre.

P.S. If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of the film Generous or the play IMHO, I can explain. I made them up.

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