Oh hello new chapter of my life…

Congratulations ! And very well done !!! Good luck for September – you’ll be great !!! 🙂

Goodbye and Good Luck Everyone !

English Literature Rocks ! is now closing – unless anyone would like to use it to post their degree studies!

English Literaure has ‘rocked’ with this ‘gang’ ! It’s been an honour and a privilege to work with this class of young people. I have ‘watched you grow’ as they say on the Year 11 ROA leaflets – and how you have grown. We have had 1439 views !!! Our ‘biggest’ month was March 2013 when we had 244 !

We have been ‘viewed’ in 1271 times in the UK, 87 in USA, 12 in INdia, 7 in Spain, 6 in Australia, 5 in Morocco, 4 in New Zealand, Ireland and Bangladesh, twice in Saudia Arabia, Canada, Hong Kong, Macedonia, Phillippines, Jersey, Tanzania and Austria and viewed once in Pakistan, Qatar, Bosnia, Taiwan, France, Jamaica, Netherlands, Nigeria, Serbia, Belgium, Korea, SIngapore and Indonesia !!

I find the idea that our work has been viewed and possibly helpful to other students all over the world both amusing and quite moving!

Even more importantly, we have read each others and whatever the final outcomes, the A2 coursework produced 100% band top work with half of our class being awarded by myself full marks! There is no doubt in my mind that working consistently, regularly and sharing each others ideas have made a huge contribution to this outstanding performance.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my Sunday evenings reading your ideas and looking at your ‘finds’ – the youtube videos, the interviews and personal research you have published and shared have expanded my knowledge and enhanced my understanding of the texts as well as your own – I only wish we could submit a link with your work to the examination board.

Above all, I hope you have learned to write for a broader audience than just ‘a teacher’. And I believe that this has been firmly behind some of the excellent blogs you have produced. As you now go on to university this will stand you in good stead as it so important for everyone to feel they have a voice – just like the authors we have studied on the course. You have been published and you have been read!


Good luck everyone ! And keep in touch – Hala le blog, mes enfants, diolch yn fawr – it’s been a blast !! 🙂

AO3 – Different Readings

I have posted the OCR F664 exemplar essay link – you should have a hard-copy, but may have not received one or misplaced it.

You need to give different types of different interpretation – e.g. on Owen you could give two alternative readings to a specific poem – and say what evidence (i.e. which words/phrases in the poem) there is to support both e.g. ‘Futility’ – the reference to ‘rouse’ the dead soldier suggests Owen is still thinking like a Christian but is either losing his faith or is angry with ‘God’; on the other hand the references to the ‘sun’ ‘waking the clay’ is more in keeping with the theory of evolution given by scientists – so there are two possible interpretations – Owen is losing his faith in Christianity and turning towards the scientific theory of evolution – or he is simply angry with God, as the Bible also talks about God making Adam/mankind from ‘clay’.

Another kind of ‘different reading’ is a known critic – like the ones given in the photocopies from the Bloom’s collection. You have at least a couple of known critics who have claimed that what Heller does in ‘Catch-22’ is such and such, whilst in another article, another recognised critic says the main thing Heller achieves is showing something else. The different critics each cite different incidents or sentences from the novel. You have to evaluate these by looking at the quotations given to support their ‘theories’ / interpretations and discuss whether you agree with them, and whether there are other parts of the novel which may or may not support them. You need to look at the exemplar essays again to see how other students have woven these into their arguments – or even look at your F662 essay from last year to remind yourself how you did it last time.

Finally, the third way is to look at a ‘general approach’. For example, a Marxist reading of ‘Catch-22’ may argue that what the novel shows is that war exaggerates the greed of capitalism, that it corrupts people – reference to the misuse of the parachute silk. In a communism society where everyone is working for each other, readers would be horrified to discover a soldier could jeopardise their fellow airmen in this way. This interpretation then needs to be evaluated – i.e. is there sufficient evidence consistently throughout the novel to support this ? Some would argue there is, as there is clearly a moral decline with the chaplain losing faith in God, the use of the term ‘filed’ in reference to the injured in the hospital etc all hint at people losing their sense of right and wrong – the other hand, it could be argued that this behaviour would not have been restricted to just the American soldiers – consider the conversation with the old Italian man who explains about survival over centuries – before capitalism was developed.

You must show you have considered different ways of reading the texts, and then you have come to your own conclusions, by agreeing with some and disagreeing with others. Again, look at the exemplars and your own F662 work

AO3 and AO4 Assessment Criteria

Below is the standardisation material of exemplar essays for F664. The first pages give the examiners’ comments, and below them are the actual essays.

Please look at especially the first essay, and notice the examiner’s annotation in the margin, especially where they have written AO3 – notice the number and kind of comments about different readings: references to other people who have read and published reviews/critiques are quoted in the essay, and then the student has commented on or responded to these references.

Notice they do not ‘praise’ writers or texts – they focus on what they have achieved or what the text is saying about the focus of the text.

Notice AO4 is only addressed to explain the meaning of the text – it is not given in chunks once the context of the novel, play or poems have been introduced. Context information needs to be used to support YOUR ARGUMENT, it is not an add-on.


F664 exemplars

The use of satire in Jonathan Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal…’ and Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch-22′


Satire is the use of humour, irony and exaggeration to ridicule and criticise people’s stupidity. It is especially used in contemporary politics or other topical issues of the period. When looking and using satire, main characteristics of it are humour, grotesque and comic imagery, exaggeration to imply irony and caricatures.

‘A Modest Proposal’ written by Jonathan swift in 1729 is a prime example of the use of satire. During this period, thousands of people living in Ireland were suffering the horrific circumstances of poverty and consequently dying. Swift’s satirical essay was written to criticise the harsh exploitation of Irishmen by the politicians of the time, shocking them with grotesque imagery and questions dripping with irony for them to realise their responsibilities of the country. In ‘A Modest Proposal’, Swift presents the characteristics of satire well in his writing, especially the use of grotesque and exaggerated images and irony. When he…

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Morris Dickson on Catch 22

An excellent find! A lot of useful material there! Take care to distinguish between appraisal (what is good and bad) and interpretation (which the novel says or suggests).


I found this article on the Daily Beast which summarises Catch 22’s influence, I removed it from the website due to it being hard to read with adverts :

The Catch in “Catch-22”

Joseph Heller’s iconic novel “Catch-22” set the political and moral agenda of the last 50 years with its hilarious cynical viewpoint. Morris Dickstein on how we still haven’t escaped or really heard the novel’s message.
Most books disappear quickly down the memory hole. Even powerful literary works rarely outlast their generation. The world moves on and last year’s sensation can seem as dated as yesterday’s papers. For a book to survive half a century it must excite passion in individual readers and touch a nerve in the national psyche. Joseph Heller’s much-loved 1961 novel Catch-22 is just such a book, as unkillable as Yossarian, its stubbornly nay-saying anti-hero. The novel did not take off immediately, despite the…

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