Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Y13: Further advice for your LTB4 coursework:
A2 Literature Coursework:
LTB4- Comparing Texts

-an outline for a successful approach-

Regeneration by Pat Barker compared with either Sassoon’s or Owen’s war poetry

What the essay must do
Show knowledge of a complete prose text
Compare / contrast this with another text
Show knowledge of prose narrative technique, preferably in comparison and contrast with the form and structure of poetry or drama
Evaluate different critical interpretations of the texts and show clear evidence of a personal response
Be a well-shaped, cogently-argued, technically accurate essay, within the upper limit of 3,000 words.
Use appropriate quotation and close reference throughout.

Ways of comparing texts
Through purpose (how is Sassoon’s purpose different from Barkers?)
Through audience (how is Barker’s audience different from Owen’s?)
Through type, kind or genre.
Through context and circumstances of production (Owen’s poetry largely written whilst at Craiglockhart)
Through context and circumstances of reception (cultural attitudes to war and traumatic experience generally are very different in the early C20th compared to the late C20th / early C21st)
Through historical period
Through thematic links

Overall structure for your essay
The reason for your comparison- what do you hope to demonstrate by laying the two texts side by side?
The technique of the first text (probably Regeneration)
The technique of the second text, occasionally ‘glancing back’ and making explicit points of comparison and contrast.
Conclusion, which probably gives an informed but personal response to the effectiveness of the literary techniques of both texts (in other words, a sophisticated version of, ‘I like X best because…’)

Extracts from Chief Examiner’s report

“This unit covers all the Assessment Objectives, with the most weighting being given to AO2ii- responding with knowledge and commenting on relationships and comparisons between literary texts. Because of this it is important that careful consideration is given to:
-which aspects of the texts will be focused on for comparison
-roughly equal commentary on each of the two texts.”

“In order to ensure that AOs 3 and 5 were covered, many centres made the very wise choice of using issues of narrative, genre and context as the focus for their comparative tasks. Such tasks worked much better than comparison of content, where candidates inevitably provided a great deal of subject matter but very little critical analysis.”

“AO1 is required in this unit, which means the essay must have a cohesive argument. Clarity and accuracy of expression should simply be expected at this level.”

“It has been noted how often candidates made their most effective comparisons at the end of assignments, when such ideas would have been better placed at the start.”

“It is worth stressing here that comparison of texts will inevitably involve more difference (ie contrast) between the texts than similarity. Some candidate seem to think that they are required to find arcane points of sameness when they would be much better using the AOs to explore fundamental differences.”

“The best responses show candidates who are always bearing comparison and contrast in mind, but who are aware that if they are to make sophisticated points they need to spend some time on each text separately.”

“AO4 can sometimes be difficult to signal in a task when so many other things are expected. One tactic is to refer explicitly to critical debate within the task, another is to give clear instructions to candidates that they must make reference to different interpretations when forming their own personal responses. For the higher bands, candidates must evaluate other interpretations as well as show an awareness of them.”

“In terms of A05, context should support analysis of meaning, not be separate from that analysis.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a novel based around the inhabitants of Craiglockhart war hospital in Scotland and contains a mixture of fictional characters and fictionalized historical characters, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Captain W.H.R. Rivers. Braker uses their voices in order to tell not only the story of the novel but their each individual stories. Barker maintains an informed historical perspective on both real and imagined events, along with a fresh approach to the well-trodden ground of novels about the Great War; Regeneration is concerned with the psychological and sociological consequences of war experience, rather than with the battlefield itself. The larger architecture of the novel helps present rounded characters and Barker’s third person narrator is able to dip in and out of their viewpoints using free indirect style, perhaps the dominant narrative technique of the novel.

In contrast with Barker’s historical perspective, Siegfried Sassoon wrote most of his poetry contemporaneously with the war and his purpose was to present not only what he had personally experienced but also to make a political point: to help show his opposition to the war’s continuation and highlight “political errors”. Not only this, he wanted to show sympathy for the suffering soldiers and help raise the public’s attention about what they were going through. The often short, linguistically dense poems Sassoon wrote are much more emotionally direct than Barker’s more expansive, exploratory text. For example in Enemies an in depth ventrue into the voice of a soildier stood among “ Germans” he “shot”, showing the effects reprecutions him. Very hard hitting and to the point which is constant throughout Sassoons poetry. It is interesting however, that Rivers uses that the fictionalized Sassoon of Regeneration may have recovered from war trauma so quickly because his poetry was a “therapeutic” way of him expressing his feelings, helping him to deal with his repressed memories and horrifying nightmares.

Within Pat Barkers Regeneration she often uses many different voices in order to not only convey different sides of stories but also to help dip into their own lives and experiences. She does this so effectively by using free and indirect style giving her the ability to gain many perspectives on different situations. Also though and maybe more importantly it gives the reader a distinguishable way to tell apart the characters voices as she alters her style of writing to correspond with the individual characters. This helps gain an intimacy with each character and develops a recognizable voice for the reader to be able to identify. For example from Sassoon’s perspective we hear him describe the light in the room as a “glimmering arc” the poetic voice used helps the reader know who is talking. This is also easy to describe using the character of Captain Rivers “Pipes lined the walls……gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine” again through the medical references used we know it to be from Rivers viewpoint.

8:15 AM  

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