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Click here to find out more. Writing to explain, review or comment? Writing a review of a book or film? This gives an impression of confidence with the text and the question. This page will show you an example of a very effective way to begin an exam answer. Next move on to what are called the ‘body paragraphs’ of your essay. And always support your points with a well chosen, suitable and brief quotation or description of the action in a play.
Follow this by a commentary in which you discuss some relevant aspect of the qualities of style and language used in the quotation. For example, did the writer use language or structure to attract the reader’s attention, to engage the reader, to help the reader look at life differently, and so on? Aim to build up your body paragraphs so they develop into a structure that answers the essay question effectively and progressively. Make sure to avoid overly obvious or simplistic points and remember that it is easier and more logical to begin at the beginning and work through the text to its end. Make sure that the quotations you choose to support your points are significant enough in their effect to allow you to discuss their style and language meaningfully. This important technique is an ideal way of ensuring that you support and comment each of the points you make to support your overall conclusion about the text and question. It encourages you to remember to develop your own insights into the author’s likely motivations and reasons.
Here is an example of this method of analysis in action, based on the poem ‘Stealing’ by Carol Ann Duffy. The same general process can be applied to any other kind of text – fiction or non-fiction. What fascinates me about many of Duffy’s poems is the unusual style she uses. It is so different from many other poems I have read on my GCSE course. An example of this is in her poem, ‘Stealing’. Always introduce or explain the point if necessary. The most unusual thing I ever stole?
Notice that this quotation provides good evidence to support the point made it also has a particular style and use of language worthy of commentary. Finally, what your evidence shows. For example, how it affects the reader, why the author might have chosen to use it at this point in this particular text and how it contributes to the whole text. This part of your analysis gains most marks as it allows you to look as deeply into the author’s methods and intentions as your knowledge, powers of insight and time will allow. This style of writing catches the reader’s attention easily and quickly because it stands out as different. The reader just want to read on – after all, who would steal a snowman? Duffy writes in a style that almost allows the reader to ‘hear’ the young person’s voice.
The words Duffy chooses language and the way she structures these two sentences with the second a short ‘minor’ sentence makes the poem look and sound unusual. In class, we heard Duffy say in a video that she likes her poems read aloud, as ‘performance poetry’. This poem is no exception. Here is a fine example of a poetry essay. You could be having fun instead.
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