'HOW' is a pesky word that has caused the downfall of even the brightest English students 😧 It’s a word examiners and teachers use to encourage students to offer ANALYSIS.
😇 THE SAFE ‘HOW’ 😇
This is where examiners and teachers provide a parameter for the analysis.
E.G. “Explain HOW THE USE OF SETTING shapes the construction of one of the characters in this passage.”
You are being asked specifically to analyse the setting and how it influences character construction. You've been given a parameter for the HOW (analysis).
“Explain HOW THE PATTERNS OF LANGUAGE OR STRUCTURE are used to represent a complex idea.”
“Explain HOW A TEXT USES VOICE to encourage you to empathise with others.”
😈 THE WATCH-YOUR-BACKSIDE ‘HOW’ 😈
This is where YOU are left to choose the type of analysis you will offer. And this is where the downfall occurs 😧
Because a parameter has not been provided, some students fail to realise they are still expected to discuss the important course concepts they’ve been sweating over for the last two years.
E.G. “Explain HOW at least one text you have studied appeals to a particular audience.”
Can you see there is a lack of direction regarding the HOW? BUT! You are still expected to offer analysis.
So where do you go from here?
We suggest picking from ANY of the topics below, all of which allow you to offer analysis and successfully address the HOW:
🧐 Consider generic conventions (structure, point of view, setting, characterisation, ideas or themes or issues, stylistic features).
🧐 Consider language features – WRITTEN (metaphor, simile, personification inclusive pronouns, statistics, rhetorical questions etc) or VISUAL (camera angles, lighting, juxtaposition, mise en scene, symbols etc)
🧐 Consider values and/or attitudes in the text.
🧐 Consider context (production and reception).
Think about it. A film or novel or poem may appeal to a particular audience because of setting. Because of the values that are reinforced, or challenged. Because of the time period in which it was produced, or received. Because of the characterisation…..and so on.
There are LOADS of things you could potentially discuss. The key is not to ignore the HOW.
Don't make the mistake of thinking this sort of question is easy or straightforward. You still need to offer analysis and show you are thinking about the way the text has been CRAFTED. 😊