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  • Message 1. 

    Posted by U15669916 (U15669916) on Sunday, 19th May 2013

    Hello smiley - smiley

    I would appreciate your help with a few things please.

    The first is in relation to Romeo and Juliet essay questions. Is it possible to answer questions on sacrifice, contrast between two characters/contrast between views of characters and society or a relationship between a male and female that changes? And could you answer a question on a scene that is shocking (the last scene)?

    The essay question “Choose a play in which the dramatist creates tension at the beginning or at the end. Explain how the tension is created and discuss how it contributes to an effective introduction or conclusion to the play,” do you just discuss the tension at the conclusion to the play or the tension built up throughout in addition? This style of question in general confuses me as I am not sure how to answer questions relating to a certain scene in the play.

    I did a close reading paper yesterday and only managed to gain 41% and today 55%, can you give me any advice on how to improve this please?

    Many Thanks

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by bitesize_english_teacher (U15197928) on Sunday, 19th May 2013

    (1) Romeo and Juliet essay questions:

    Sacrifice – not an ideal topic for this text

    Contrast between two characters – good choice here would be Tybalt and Romeo. Tybalt says he ‘hates peace’. We see his aggression in the scene at the Capulet party and, of course, in Act 3 sc 1. Tybalt wants to keep the feud going. Romeo, by contrast, keeps apart from it (see early scene – he is not involved in the street brawl; he shuts himself away, pining for Rosaline; he tries to act as peacemaker in Act 3 sc 1).

    Contrast between views of characters and society – another good choice. This is an essay on the theme of love versus hatred. The feud is an integral part of the society (all social levels are involved, hence the opening scene with the brawl between Montage and Capulet servants; involvement of the heads of the families as well as Tybalt, etc) Romeo and Juliet contrast with their society as their love for each other is more important to them than the feud. However, it is society (in the form of the feud) that is a key factor in ruining their chances of happiness; it is because of the feud that they have to keep their relationship secret.

    Relationship between a male and female that changes – yes: Romeo changes his view on love (teenage crush on Rosaline replaced by genuine love when he meets Juliet); their relationship changes/develops (very quickly as at first they did not know each other and then they fall in love at first sight); they are forced to grow up quickly because of the hostile circumstances they live in (e.g. note Romeo’s immaturity in the Balcony Scene and how he has become more mature in the wedding night scene). Their love is strong enough to survive the banishment of Romeo. Circumstances (i.e. the feud) keep them apart but they are able to be united in death at the end.

    (2) Essay about tension at beginning/end:
    First of all, remember that in all critical essay answers, you are expected (a) to give detailed, specific analysis of character, incidents, etc AND (b) show awareness of the 'bigger picture' - i.e. an understanding of the text AS A WHOLE.

    Even questions which say 'choose an incident', 'choose a key scene/chapter' or 'discuss the ending' will always expect you to link up the chosen section of the text with the whole text.

    What makes a beginning or end effective is that it is contains elements which are developed/have been developed in the rest of the play. You need to show how what occurs in the introduction/conclusion to the play relates to the play as a whole.

    One example from "Romeo and Juliet": the prologue introduces the theme of fate “Star-cross’d lovers” and the rest of the play shows how the lovers’ lives were affected by fate.


    (3) CLOSE READING. This is a big subject and it’s difficult to cover everything here.

    Advice on all the techniques required can be found on the Bitesize Close reading site.
    www.bbc.co.uk/bitesi...

    In addition, here is some useful extra guidance on sentence structure questions which people often find difficult.

    If you have difficulty with Sentence Structure questions, try to memorise this CHECKLIST FOR SENTENCE STRUCTURE QUESTIONS. In the exam, go through each feature by a process of elimination until you reach one that applies to the passage.

    Remember the four key words: LENGTH - TYPE - PATTERN - PUNCTUATION.
    The answer is bound to relate to one of these.

    CHECKLIST
    • Sentence length [long/short? Purpose? Long for explanation; short to create contrast or climax or to emphasise a point]

    • Sentence type [Statement? Exclamation? Question? Rhetorical question? Minor sentence (i.e. verbless sentence)]

    • Sentence pattern: e.g.
    repeated phrase;
    series of sentences beginning with same words;
    build up to a climax (or anti-climax);
    list (if so, look at the order in which things are listed – in order of importance or build-up to a climax, for example);
    inversion (reversal of normal word order to throw emphasis on first word(s) of sentence);
    parenthesis (marking off extra information in the midst of sentence, usually with dashes);
    antithesis (balancing of opposites)

    • Punctuation: look for clues to sentence structure in the punctuation (e.g. colon/semi-colon/dashes)


    As always in Close Reading questions, remember that simply IDENTIFYING the feature won’t gain you many marks; you must show the EFFECT of the use of the feature in the context of the passage by making specific reference to/quotation from the text.

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  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by U15669916 (U15669916) on Sunday, 19th May 2013

    Thank you very much for your reply, this has been very helpful to me.

    I have one more question, for The Cone Gatherers, can you answer a question on love by talking about Calum and Neil's brother love for one another?

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by bitesize_english_teacher (U15197928) on Sunday, 19th May 2013

    Yes, that should be OK.

    Report message4

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