Comprehending, Responding


'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.

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).
Other examples:
“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.”
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. 😊

The Composing Section, Step 2 – Deciding WHY to write? (PURPOSE)

Before you start to write, you’ve got to have a PURPOSE – a reason for writing (aside from the fact that your teacher is making you do it! 🤨)
The PURPOSE (your reason for writing) determines which LANGUAGE FEATURES and STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS you will use.
Look at these ones:
Use lots of descriptive and figurative language for a start, particularly in narrative writing. Humour, anecdotes and allusions will work well to entertain audiences in an article or speech too.
Use your persuasive language techniques (also called rhetorical devices), emotive and descriptive language, and try to appeal to reason, values or emotion.
Use your factual information, statistics, authorities, expert opinions etc to be convincing and believable.
As you can see, the purpose for writing dictates the type of language devices you will use. And you will be rewarded for knowing which ones to use when.  Watch this video - now this girl knows the art of being persuasive! 😎👍
NEXT POST: The Composing Section Step 3 – Who am I writing for? (AUDIENCE)