How to write full mark essay in Yr 7-12 (tips from a James Ruse graduate)December 18, 2020
State Ranker Frankenstein Notes: Worlds of Upheaval (English Extension 1)December 21, 2020
How to Write a Section II Critical Response
As one of the most important writing skills for English Extension 1, being able to compose a critical piece in response to a complex elective question takes practice. However, to create a sophisticated response under time constrains further requires you to have a strong understanding of the syllabus and the texts you are studying.
The first step to answering a question for your elective that you have studied throughout the year is to first ensure you have a solid understanding of the elective itself. Obtaining a digital copy or printing the syllabus yourself for your elective then highlighting keywords and forming questions out of them will be a valuable tool when revising as you now have a question bank to respond to.
Preparation: Resource Collation
Following this, tailoring your response to best meet the needs of the question comes down to ensuring you have relevant and high-level analysis on both your main and related texts. As a hot tip, really spending the time to read scholarly articles on your texts and trying your best to understand them will majorly help you as you could now have an additional perspective on the text you are studying.
As you may know, the start of your essay is undoubtedly important in ensuring you answer the question succinctly while offering unique perspectives. Employing sophisticated vocabulary that actually fits in with the question and works well with your essay holistically is another skill that will help you in answering any critical response question. Take a read of these few sentences and take a moment to first digest what this
question is asking and second why it makes a strong thesis.
“The fragmentation of the socio-political climates in human history, as mirrored through paradigmatic binaries, are inextricably permeated through the dichotomy between alternate historical periods. Accordingly, the accumulation of grotesque global events catalysed the profound shift in global consciousness and is documented through the literature of the time to reflect and activate change in attitudes, perspectives and social circumstances.”
The body of your essay is the bulk of your argument and shows the marker that you truly know your texts in relation to the question being asked. Taking the time to study your analysis and find which parts resonate will you helps make it easier when it comes exam time as you have an authentic appreciation for your texts. Consistently linking back to the question is a must include as it directly shows the marker you are still answering the same question, even five paragraphs into the essay! Including literary analysis, sophisticated commentary and integration of your own opinion of the text supported your understanding of the syllabus are a few of the essential elements of body paragraph success. Take a read at the beginning of a general body paragraph about ‘Waiting for Godot’ below and make note of the
sophisticated phrases, contextual detail and strong topic sentence. To see a detailed guide on how to write essays from scratch, visit our blog post “How to Write a Full Mark Essay in Yr 7-12“.
“Indeed, Samuel Beckett’s absurdist drama, ‘Waiting for Godot’, manifests as an artistic rebellion, as Beckett promulgates that existential angst and individual paralysis within the era is a direct implication of ideological uncertainty. Through subverting literary conventions, Godot is able to reflect the societal dichotomies during an uncertain age, further amplifying Beckett’s attempt in divulging the malleability of truth during times of upheaval. According to Beckett himself, “to find a form that accommodates the mess” is the task of a Cold War artist; as government regulation intensified over both media and the
arts during the 1940s, intentional subversion and manipulation of the form of traditional drama became a means of defying the imposed controls. Analogously, categorized as the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’, a term coined by Martin Esslin, Beckett employs notions of irrationality and incongruity of life into the drama
to overturn what society generally regarded as ‘real’; undoubtedly, the premier shocked the audience as it presented a new type of theatrical performance that used unconventional methods, having nearly caused riots across Western Europe (Esslin 2).”
The depth of textual detail and insightful analysis of language features and form is also very important, and make sure that it continually links back to the question, your topic sentence and thesis statement. The following is a continuation of the previous segment of a body paragraph:
“In conveying the senselessness of life and the loss of ideals, Beckett unconventionally questions existence, then immediately juxtaposes this with vaudeville humour, as the protagonists’ hapless drollery calls to mind the buffoonery of comedians and tramps, such as Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy. Nonetheless, the deadpan humour, non-sequitur commenting and the drama’s static nature are accentuated by the constant mutter of “nothing to be done”, a leitmotif depicting purposelessness and lack of understanding. Furthermore, Beckett exacerbates the deterioration of ideological certainty through the absence of meaningful dialogue, reaffirming Irish critic Vivican Mercer, stating that “nothing happens, twice”. When such stylistic and linguistic features are coupled with the Cartesian solipsism of “I think, therefore I am”, Beckett reiterates the grapple of humankind to apprehend personal identity amidst deviating socio-cultural paradigms. Moreover, the personification of existential ennui and cyclical suffering is further perpetuated by Vladimir and Estragon’s tenacious adoption of a Sisyphean repetition and struggle as the stage direction in “Yes, let’s go. [They do not move]” becomes a mimesis for the macrocosmic attitudes of nihilism and disillusionment that predicted the anxieties of the early phases of the epoch. Notwithstanding, many critics including Martin Esslin, consider Lucky’s thinking act as a “wild
schizophrenia word salad”; there is indeed a method in madness, bringing about a sense that words have been put together haphazardly to create a particular structure, and therein lies the meaning. Resultantly, Lucky’s speech may be a reflection of the play itself in concise form, producing meaning from its formlessness and lack of substance, with Beckett himself remarking that the “threads and themes of the play are being gathered together [in Lucky’s speech]”. Absurdist elements are portrayed, including Lucky’s continual repetition that everything happens for “reasons unknown”, yet repeatedly says “I resume”, underscoring that despite human efforts being meaningless, one must strive to achieve something positive.”
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