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Cal – Planning for critical essays. When you’re in the exam, you need to plan your response. This might be either a mind-map or a list… Either way, if spend the first five minutes of the exam planning your response then you will greatly improve your chances of passing this exam.

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When you’re in the exam, you need to plan your response. This might be either a mind-map or a list…

  • Either way, if spend the first five minutes of the exam planning your response then you will greatly improve your chances of passing this exam.
line of thought
Line of thought
  • The most important thing to do before you even start planning is to decide what your line of thought or your argument is for your essay.
  • In other words, how will you answer the task?
remember the basic plan
Remember - The Basic Plan

Introduction

  • Name the work and author
  • Refer to the question or task
  • Give a brief account of plot
  • Give a brief account of theme

Body of the essay

  • 3-6 PCQEs - always referring to the task

Conclusion

  • Name the work and author
  • Refer to the task
  • Sum up points already made.
  • Give a personal reaction to the text.
main body of your essay
Main body of your essay
  • This should be around four or five paragraphs .
  • Each one should refer to relevant features such as characterisation, setting, language, key incident(s), turning point, plot, structure, narrative technique, theme, ideas, description in order to further prove your argument about this essay.
  • Decide how you will build up your argument for this essay – which features and examples do you plan to use?
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Read the question carefully and pick out key phrases. It is essential that you answer the task.

  • Write down your key points – the arguments that will answer the task.
  • Identify the features of the novel you will discuss in the essay.
  • Identify the examples/quotes you will use to back up your points.
1 aspect of human nature guilt
1) Aspect of human nature – guilt.
  • Cal’s guilt:
    • Involved in the murder of Marcella’s husband
    • Leads to feelings of guilt and self-hatred
    • Leads to his need for forgiveness which is why he pursues/becomes obsessed with Marcella
    • His guilty past eventually catches up with and Cal is almost relieved as he feels like he deserves punishment
    • The novel shows how guilt can cause a person to behave in a certain way – self-hating, seeking forgiveness/redemption.
2 satisfactory ending
2) Satisfactory ending:
  • Shows that Cal cannot escape the violent world he lives in.
  • Shows that Cal as well as Marcella and her husband are victims of the hatred in Northern Ireland – give examples of this.
  • Shows that Cal’s guilt and self-hatred are so strong that he seems almost happy to be arrested at the end – again give examples of this from throughout the book.
3 setting
3) Setting:
  • Created through images of the painted kerbstones, the violence of the local youths, the burning of the house.
  • Leads to Cal’s feelings of isolation and fear.
  • Leads to Cal’s involvement with the IRA which creates his feelings of guilt and self-hatred and his need for forgiveness.
  • The constant sense of violence – images of abattoir, the cow etc.
4 conflict
4) Conflict:
  • Conflict between nationalist/IRA and loyalist/protestant paramilitaries.
  • Conflict between characters – Cal and Crilly and Skeffington.
  • Cal’s inner conflict – guilt, self-hatred, need for forgiveness.