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Critical Essay introductions. TART T - Introduce title of text A - Author and brief statement about the main issues of the text. R - Refer to essay task and reason for writing the essay. T – Techniques you will mention. Introductions.

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critical essay introductions
Critical Essay introductions
  • TART

T - Introduce title of text

A - Author and brief statement about the main issues of the text.

R - Refer to essay task

and reason for writing

the essay.

T – Techniques you

will mention.


Q. Choose a novel or short story which is set during a period of social or political change .

Discuss how important the writer’s evocation of the period is to your appreciation of the text as a whole

  • Good! 

In the novel ‘The remains of the day’ by Kazuo Ishiguro, the setting of Post war Britain the 1920’s and ‘30’s is explored. Both these times were of great social, economic and political upheaval and this setting is essential in conveying many of the writer’s themes, such as loss, loyalty and dignity. The writer uses the setting and symbolism to develop these themes.

tart up an intro for each of these questions for jekyll and hyde

1) Choose anovel in which a character seeks to escape from the constraints of his or her environment or situation.

Explain why the character feels the need to escape and show how his or her response to the situation illuminates a central concern of the text.

2)Choose a novelin which the novelist makes use of more than one location.

Discuss how the use of different locations allows the novelist to develop the centralconcern(s) of the text.

3) Choose a novel or short story where the method of narration makes an important contribution to the success of the text.

Explain briefly the method of narration used by the author and then show in more detail the ways in which it contributes to the overall theme.

TART up an intro for each of these questions for Jekyll and Hyde…

enough of a tart
Enough of a TART?
  • Are the introductions structured as effectively as they could be?
    • Highlight the elements of TART used.
  • How could they be better?
    • 2. Rewrite the introductions, including the elements of TART that they are lacking.
step two summary
Step two: Summary
  • Key Features of a Good Summary Paragraph:
  • Relevance of text. (Historical context, a note on the author etc)
  • Identify and explain the main theme(s) and how it/they are conveyed.
  • No more than 4 sentences to explain beginning, middle and end of the plot.
your task
Your task
  • Write an introduction and summary for the following question.
  • Choose a novel which explores the nature of evil. Show how the author’s exploration of the theme enhanced your understanding of evil.
  • Remember to read the question carefully, ensure you know what it is asking and decide beforehand what techniques you would explore in your answer before mentioning them in your intro.
jekyll and hyde summary
Jekyll and Hyde summary
  • “Jekyll and Hyde” – set in Victorian London during a time of great scientific and religious upheaval – focuses on the strange events that surround the life of Dr Henry Jekyll and his mysterious protégé, Edward Hyde. Jekyll’s friend, the eminent lawyer Mr Utterson, takes the reader through a series of seemingly coincidental events that ultimately lead to the shocking revelation of the nature of Dr Jekyll’s work. The novel, the most famous of Stevenson’s publications, brings to light the hypocrisy of the Victorian society in which it was set. Stevenson questions the very foundations on which this extremely Christian society had built itself.

Step one – Introductions

  • Use TART to include write an effective one.
  • What does TART stand for?

Step two – summary

  • Relevance of the text
  • Identify and explain main themes
  • No more than 4 lines summing up what happens in the text.
step three main body paragraphs
Step three – main body paragraphs
  • This is where you really get down to answering the question! This is also where you realise that Close Reading and Textual Analysis are actually valuable because you must show understanding as well as analyse and evaluate points.
what should these look like
What should these look like?
  • You should aim for 4 sections, spending around 5-10 minutes on each.


  • Topic sentence.
  • A point fully made in context (understanding)
  • Some evidence – a quotation to support this, indented from the margin.
  • An explanation which fully analyses this textual evidence.
  • Response, containing personal opinion on what you have analysed.
  • Closing sentence (including key words from the essay question).
remember this
Remember this…
  • Topic sentence – what your paragraph will be about in relation to the task.
  • Point – say something about the text.
  • Example – quotation which has been introduced letting the reader know where in the text it came from.
  • Explanation – technique + explanation of why it is effective in this instance.
  • Response – Personal engagement with the text and a link back to the task.
merchant of venice example paragraph
Merchant of Venice example paragraph.

Just as Shakespeare influences our feelings towards Shylock through his characterisation of Antonio and the Christians in Venetian society, he also forces us to reappraise our opinion of the Jewish moneylender as we learn of the treatment he suffers at the hands of Launcelot, his Christian servant, and Jessica, his daughter. Launcelot, in a soliloquoy delivered in Act 2, Scene 2, reveals his contempt for his master:

“Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew my master’’

Shakespeare’s use of inversion subtly reveals Launcelot’s disdain and lack of respect for Shylock as he identifies him firstly as a Jew before his ‘master’. This lack of respect for Shylock compounds our feelings of sympathy towards him as even someone with the social standing of Launcelot, who Shylock clothes and feeds, looks down on him as a result of his beliefs.

your turn
Your turn…
  • Choose a novel in which the use of setting in time and/or place has a significant part to play in your appreciation of the text as a whole.
  • Give the relevant details of the setting and then discuss fully why it has such significance.

Relevant features/techniques for prose:

Characterisation, key incidents, setting, symbolism, structure, language, mood/atmosphere, method of narration…


Relevant features/techniques for poetry:

Imagery: metaphor, simile, personification etc. Word choice. Tone/mood. Structure…

example paragraph
Example paragraph
  • The back door to Jekyll’s house relates to the elusive Mr Hyde to whom reactions are the polar opposite to that of Jekyll. Stevenson describes the back entrance which Hyde is seen to go through:

‘The door was blistered and distained, the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence’

This illustrates a horrible image of something totally disregarded. The word choice of ‘blistered’ and ‘sordid’ give the impression of the door decaying. The word ‘blistered’ is particularly effective as it has connotations of illness and infection. This relates directly to the character of Hyde as the evil connected to him spreads and affects the other characters in the story like a disease. The description instantly tells the reader that there is something wrong linked to the rear of the house. The word ‘sordid’ links directly with Hyde as it implies something disgusting and squalid. Stevenson uses setting here to link with characterisation and helps the reader to gain a fuller understanding of the hidden and deformed Mr Hyde.

what now
What now?

You should have:

  • An introduction using TART
  • A brief and effective summary

You now need:

  • To plan each section by finding quotations for each
  • To get writing!
before you get started
Before you get started…
  • Try to add sophistication by at times incorporating quotations into your sentence, i.e:
  • When Hyde acts with, ‘ape-like fury’ the contrast of the composed Jekyll and animalistic Hyde is ever more clear.

As opposed to:

  • Hyde is described like an animal, the writer describes his actions as:

‘ape-like fury’.

  • Use this space to give an overall answer to the question.
  • Sum up the points you have made.
  • Use the words of the task again.
  • Give an overall personal response to the text.

In conclusion, Duffy’s ‘Havisham’ presents us, in the titular character, with a persona who is driven by particularly feelings of hatred. This hatred intensifies over the course of the text, ending in threats of violence not only towards her once fiancé but indeed all men. It is this undiscriminating sense of detestation that paints the character, ultimately, in an unsympathetic light. From close study of this text I have learned that some emotions, if not carefully managed, can be highly destructive – not least of all one’s own mental health, much like Miss Havisham who does not even know, “her, myself, who did this / to me?”